FROM SIMP TO SOLDIER: HOW THE MILITARY IS USING E-GIRLS TO RECRUIT GEN Z INTO SERVICE

JUNE 1ST, 2023

Source

ALAN MACLEOD

Amid a crisis in recruitment, the U.S. military has found a new way of convincing a war-weary Generation Z to enlist: thirst traps.

Chief among these attractive young women in uniform posting sexually suggestive content alongside subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) calls to join up is Hailey Lujan. In between the thirst traps and memes, the 21-year-old makes content extolling the fun of Army life to her 731,000 TikTok followers. “Don’t go to college, become a farmer or a soldier instead,” she instructs viewers in a recent video. “Just some advice for the younger people: if you’re not doing school, it’s ok. I dropped out of college. And I’m doing great,” she adds.

If Lujan feels like a psyop (a psychological operation) it is because, technically, she is. Lujan is a psychological operations specialist; one of a small number of Army personnel whose job is to carry out influence and disinfo operations, either on or offline. Thus, she is using her femininity to recruit legions of lustful teens into an institution with an infamous record of sexism and sexual assault against female soldiers.

According to Lujan, being a soldier is the “coolest job in the world.” She certainly does make Army life look fun, as she abseils down walls, fires a howitzer, and flies around in an Apache helicopter. “101st airborne division knows what the girls (and boys) really want”, she notes as she plays around with a high-tech, remote controlled robot.

Until late last year, Lujan’s social media accounts were far more tame. But as she pivoted towards content of her in skimpy outfits or suggestive, military-related videos and pictures, her following exploded to nearly three-quarters of a million on TikTok alone. Judging by the comments, her army of followers sees military life in a new light.

There are many active duty service members with large social media followings, but what makes Lujan stand out is her offbeat, Gen-Z style humor and how she leans into the idea that she is a military propaganda operation. With videos titled “My handlers made me post this”, “Not endorsed by the DoD  :3” or “most wholesome fedpost”, she revels in layers of irony and appears to enjoy the whole “am I or aren’t I” question that people in her replies and mentions constantly debate.

The ironyposting is dialed up to 11, however, with Lujan’s own videos about psychological operations. In a video entitled “no one is immune to propaganda”, she even shares content laying out how the U.S. government manipulates public opinion through the media. In true Gen-Z style, she captioned another of her videos “propaganda this propaganda that let me take a propa ganda at them yitties”.

@lunchbaglujan

Something astronomically Federal happened along the way

♬ original sound – 💝💝

As many popular e-girls have done, she has diversified her content, producing a calendar and t-shirts for her battalions of loyal simps to buy. Her official personal website is called Sike Ops.

Lujan’s content appears to be a part of a weird new strategy of military outreach, shocking academics and military experts alike. “My main reaction is disgust and disappointment. People like Lujan are why I ended up declaring myself a conscientious objector during the Iraq War,” Rosa del Duca, adjunct professor of journalism at Diablo Valley College and author of “Breaking Cadence: One Woman’s War Against the War” told MintPress, adding:

I can’t believe she’s getting away with posting some of this stuff. Everyone learns in boot camp that when you are in uniform, you cannot act unprofessionally, or you get in deep trouble. Maybe they [Army brass] saw how popular Lujan’s posts are, and how she’s basically doing recruiting for them and left her alone.”

Matthew Alford, a media and propaganda specialist from the University of Bath, U.K., was similarly amazed by her content. “Lujan’s content and messaging is wild. If she really is being used by the military for recruitment, then we have entered a brave, bizarre new world of Army recruitment strategies,” he told MintPress.

YVAN EHT NIOJ

There is no doubt that Lujan is aware that she functions as a new, avant-garde Army recruitment tool. In one short film made with a fellow military influencer, she stars as the pretty military bait, luring young men into service. Played for laughs, the film shows a young man standing outside an Army recruitment center, deciding not to enlist, only to see the dreamy Lujan enter the building, after which he joins up in a haze of horniness.

Thus, it is clear that Lujan is indeed a military recruitment tool. The only question is whether the famously image-conscious Army merely tacitly approves of her content, or whether they are intimately involved in its production. MintPress asked the Department of Defense for clarification, but has received no response.

Nevertheless, Edward Bernays, the father of modern propaganda, might conclude that it matters little if Lujan is or is not an Army psyop; the consequence is still to get impressionable young men to associate lust with the military, connecting sexual desire with the armed forces – in effect, making them horny for war.

The fact that Lujan is a psychological operations specialist with the Army makes the whole situation even more suspicious, given that her jobs is to convince, persuade and propagandize in creative new ways. The Army recruitment website description of the role sounds eerily similar to her own content. “As a Psychological Operations Specialist, you’ll be an expert at persuasion,” it reads, adding:

You’ll assess and develop the information needed to influence and engage specific audiences. You’ll broadcast important information through various mediums and assist U.S. and foreign governments, militaries, and civilian populations.”

Multiple videos suggest Lujan is connected with the 101st Airborne Division. Location data shows she is based at Fort Campbell, a large military installation on the Tennessee-Kentucky border that houses the storied division. Last year, she took part in Saber Junction 22, a huge military exercise in Germany, featuring thousands of troops from the U.S., Italy, Romania, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and a host of NATO ally states.

ARMIES OF SIMPS

Lujan is far from the only serviceperson on military TikTok (#MilTok) promoting military life, however. Juliana Keding – a military policewoman with over 900,000 followers – regularly combines thirst traps with videos about Army life. Meanwhile, U.S. Air Force medic Rylee (@RyeRoast, 468,000 TikTok followers), has even leaned into the idea that her online persona is also a psyop. Yet their content is less overt and there is no hard recruitment sell with them. Indeed, they rarely discuss it at all.

Perhaps the closest star to Lujan in tone and content is Israeli Defense Forces military policewoman Natalia Fadeev, aka @GunWaifu. With 2.7 million TikTok followers, Fadeev is the queen of the simp-to-soldier pipeline, posting highly suggestive content alongside passionate defenses of Israel. Her videos (many of which have garnered over 1 million views each) suggest that Palestinians are an invented people, that Israel is a safe haven for LGBT groups and that the IDF is the most moral army in the world. In addition to the propaganda, Fadeev has also flirted with the idea that her account is an Israeli psyop.

YOUTUBERS JOIN THE MILITARY

TikTok is not the only battleground for young people’s minds, however. In the last year, a significant portion of the Biden administration’s record-breaking $857 billion defense budget went on advertising. The Army in particular has spent large sums of money collaborating with some of YouTube’s biggest stars to produce barely disguised recruitment videos.

YouTube star Michelle Khare (3.71 million subscribers) “joined the Army” for her video, traveling to Fort Benning, GA, where she tackled obstacle courses, practiced marksmanship, and trained to jump out a plane. Glossing over the fort’s infamous reputation for training many of the world’s most brutal military dictators, the video ends with the message, “To Army soldiers and veterans, thank you for your service.” The description box features multiple pro-Army hashtags, plus an affiliate link to sign up for service. The video has already garnered 2.8 million views.

In April, YouTube mega influencer Ben Azelart released a strikingly similar partnered video to Khare’s, called “YouTubers vs. U.S. Army” in which he also glamorized military life, interviewing one officer who told him that the Army is, at its core, about:

The absolute transformation of the individual into a more accomplished, better version of themselves. As a valued member of a team, stepping out of your comfort zone, doing something new, challenging yourself, but being encouraged along the entire way.”

And like Khare, Azelart was careful to direct his 20.8 million subscribers towards an Army recruitment link, stating, “The challenges we had to endure were both physically and mentally challenging, but so rewarding! The Army is an opportunity, a bridge to self-development, and a place where you can be a valued member of a team regardless of hometown, ethnicity, or gender.”

Meanwhile, pro gaming star Doug “Censor” Martin flew out to Fort Carson, CO, to shoot a fawning extended advertisement for the military, presenting Army life as just like playing military shooter video game “Call of Duty.”

“Without you guys, what do we have?” Martin says to the soldiers he encounters, adding;

We love you; we appreciate all of you guys. If you guys have any interest in joining the Army, there are so many different career paths, over 200 career paths. If you guys want to know any more information, click the links down below. I had so much fun coming out here, this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

This sort of content is far more potent than the simple advertisements between television programs of yesteryear. Firstly, because it is the show and allows the Army to showcase itself to millions of impressionable viewers, most of whom cannot differentiate between paid and unpaid content. Furthermore, it comes courtesy of stars viewers love, respect and trust.

WAR MACHINE

The difference, however, between these and other advertisements YouTube stars run is that they are not selling their suggestible young audiences soda or shoes, but are trying to convince them to join the world’s most sophisticated and ruthless killing machine. A new study from the Costs of War project at Brown University estimated that 4.5 million people have died as a result of the U.S.’ post-9/11 wars, primarily in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Pakistan. In addition, the report estimates at least 38 million more people have been forced to flee their homes. Yet this sort of brutal devastation is not even hinted at in these promotional videos.

The United States is a nation addicted to war, spending 229 of its 247 years of existence in some kind of conflict. It controls a network of over 800 military bases spanning the globe, and, according to a Congressional report, has carried out a staggering 251 foreign military interventions since the end of the Cold War in 1991. A new report compiled by the Institute for Policy Studies shows that the U.S. spends more on its military than 144 nations combined.

This constant drive towards war takes a serious toll on those recruits who enlist. The job attrition rate is extremely high; only 17% of active duty military members stay around long enough to earn any pension whatsoever. Veterans complain of broken promises from recruiters, while every year, between 6,000 and 7,000 veterans commit suicide.

Del Luca also noted that women face a particularly hard time. “The military is extremely sexist,” she said;

Even the VA agrees that 1 in 3 women in uniform are sexually assaulted while ‘serving.’ I put ‘serving’ in quotation marks because I don’t see a useful service being done. Young people who join the military are taught how to kill and use weapons and follow orders and shut up.”

These carefully choreographed advertisements say nothing about these harsh realities, instead painting a rosy picture of life in uniform as one of endless opportunities and dignified service.

PROPAGANDA BLITZ

Faced with a shortfall in recruitment, the military has been aggressively marketing itself towards younger and younger generations. The Army has sponsored gaming tournaments, even fielding their own U.S. Army Esports team and directly trying to recruit teens on streaming sites such as Twitch. The Amazon-owned platform eventually had to clamp down on the practice after the military used fake prize giveaways that lured impressionable young viewers onto recruitment websites.

As detailed in a previous MintPress investigation, the Armed Forces also work closely with video game companies on titles such as “Call of Duty,” flying executives out to ensure they become, in their own words, more “credible advocates” for American power.

Meanwhile, Dr. Alford’s research has exposed how deep the connection between Hollywood and the Pentagon has become, with the Department of Defense essentially co-producing thousands of movies and TV shows. “In our 2017 book ‘National Security Cinema’ we listed around 2000 titles worked on by the state. By the time our film, ‘Theaters of War’ was out in 2022, we had evidence for 10,000. This suggests an incredible level of public manipulation – and cover up”, he told MintPress.

These titles include a vast array of blockbuster films, including “Iron Man”, “The Avengers” and “Top Gun: Maverick”, all the way down to light entertainment like “Teen Idol”, “The Price is Right” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”.

Militaristic propaganda is everywhere in pop culture. Katy Perry’s music video for “Part of Me” is shot at Camp Pendleton in California and shows the star joining the Marines to better herself. Meanwhile, Major League Baseball held what it called a “military appreciation week” last month, where players, coaches and all on-field personnel were instructed to wear camo “service-inspired” caps and encouraged to sport camo socks, helmets and other gear. Some teams are going further: the Washington Nationals are hosting six “Branch Day” games this summer, dedicated to the six arms of the U.S. military. The events are sponsored by arms manufacturer Raytheon Technologies. Major League Baseball did not respond to MintPress’ questions, but previous ultra-nationalistic displays were not independent outbursts of patriotism, but carefully planned events paid for by the military, meaning that the taxpayer footed the bill to be exposed to such propaganda.

It is now well-established (if not well-known) that the Department of Defense also fields a giant clandestine army of at least 60,000 people whose job it is to influence public opinion, the majority doing so from their keyboards. A 2021 exposé from Newsweek described the operation as “The largest undercover force the world has ever known,” warned that this troll army was likely breaking both domestic and international law, and explaining that,

These are the cutting-edge cyber fighters and intelligence collectors who assume false personas online, employing ‘nonattribution’ and ‘misattribution’ techniques to hide the who and the where of their online presence while they search for high-value targets and collect what is called ‘publicly accessible information’—or even engage in campaigns to influence and manipulate social media.”

The Twitter Files further exposed the Department of Defense’s shadowy propaganda, showing how it worked with Twitter to carry out a Washington-run influence project across the Middle East, even as Twitter claimed it was working to shut down foreign-backed disinformation operations.

NOT OUR WAR

For all the creatively dystopian attempts to market itself as a positive force to young people, it is far from clear whether the military is succeeding in its goal. 2022 saw the lowest recruitment figures since the draft was abolished in 1973. The Army alone missed its enlistment target by 25%, or 15,000 active-duty soldiers. The numbers for 2023 are expected to be even more dismal. A great number of Generation Z do not qualify for service on medical grounds, and even fewer wish to join. According to a recent survey, America’s youth are decidedly against becoming a cog in the war machine; only 9% of Zoomers express any interest in enlisting in the Armed Forces.

This, according to U.S. Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth, is in large part down to many “misconceptions” people have about soldiers being sexually harassed, developing PTSD or driven to suicide by what they have seen. Others, such as del Luca, might consider those justified concerns. The military, she says, preys on desperate idealistic teens trying to find a way out of their life circumstances or go to college.

Every single veteran you meet will tell you that the expectations they had before enlisting were wildly different from how their service ended up,” she said; “I hope teens wise up to the fact that they are being hunted and lured by recruiters who have a quota to fill… If the military was a great, honorable profession, then they wouldn’t need to spend $6 billion a year bribing people to join.”

While it is still not certain whether they are actually directing and paying for it, what is clear is that the U.S. military is hoping that E-girls will be part of their recruitment solution, turning armies of horny American teens from simps into soldiers.

Feature photo | Illustration by MintPress News

Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles. He has also contributed to FAIR.orgThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin Magazine, and Common Dreams.

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The cost of all this is not only financial but the simple math can be worked out in terms of the distrust of the U.S. general public and loss of confidence in the U.S. institutions and the President’s credibility.

Washington DC is viewed by many as sending us terribly patronizing cancel culture messages along the lines of “Don’t you dare listen to what Vladimir Putin says”, but this is where a truth bombshell by Seymore Hersh, a seasoned professional in journalism who exposed the Mỹ Lai massacre in Vietnam, comes from. The 86-year old Seymore Hersh referred to the anonymous but genuine source with all the brutal details told the world how the Nord Stream’s three pipelines out of four in total were demolished. The Collective Biden is behind it of course. All the arrangements happened on the last floor of the old building of the Executive Cabinet in Washington DC. One cannot help noticing another grim example in a long succession of examples of U.S. Machiavellianism.

One has to wonder how much their Machiavellianism-ridden political rituals of all shapes and forms have cost the U.S. and the world so far. This is the U.S. effort to plunder as many resources globally and pocket as much profit as possible along the way. Ukraine is undoubtedly one of their ‘profit and power pursuits’. The U.S. goes around brandishing their quasi declaration that this is their courageous campaign for the EU/European energy security issue. But the real truth is normally quite the opposite. The U.S. regrettably chooses to bomb sovereign countries for alleged ‘humanitarian reasons’ only to diabolically call all civilian casualties ‘collateral damage’. By the same token, the U.S. evil elite bent almost double so as to destroy European energy efficiency in order to falsely declare it as the campaign for its safety and well being. The aftermath of it all is they are now paying several times more for gas than before.

Their desperation to oust Russia out of the big picture is almost palpable. The Nord Stream is the greatest willfully malicious damage done to any peacetime engineering project for the general public use. The damage wrought is estimated at circa 30 billion euros. This was one of the most wantonly destructive terrorist attacks of all time. What is the cost of the damage done to lay the Nord Stream to waste? Shall we go back in history and try to work out how much it cost to send nukes and destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945? And one wonders why the U.S. committed that monstrous cruelty on Japan if Japan had already been on the brink of capitulation? Nuclear bombs were thrown at civilians nonetheless with the intention only to send a clear message to the then USSR in close geographical proximity. Any country ready and willing to commit such appalling atrocities, is ready to do anything at any cost. Another such thing was to spread deliberate and downright American lies about Vietnam. The Tragic Tokyo Bay Plane Crash was proven to be made up, engineered and orchestrated with all the political theatrics.

To get back to Europe geographically and more recent history, with the beginning of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the explosion and the ensuing massacre in the Vace Mickina Street in Sarajevo on 27 May, 1992 was yet another false flag brutally engineered by USA though; the American perpetrators surely knew the then militant Muslim forces were to blame for it. But the U.S. political elite back then used that U.S.-orchestrated incident to launch the most brutal sanctions on the former Yugoslavia and to strongarm the rest of their vassal countries to follow suit. They were well aware all that was a barefaced lie. The same goes for Račak in Kosovo (and Metohija) and more recently Bucha incident in Ukraine. A German documentary ‘It began with a lie’ told the real truth yet it was presented on German TV once and never again. It talked about all the U.S. and NATO lies including the ones about Račak in Kosovo on 15 January 1999, which led to the aggression against Yugoslavia. And then one cannot help but recall the late Colin Powell and his infernal misdeeds with the fake claims about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction.

All these colossal adverse consequences are beyond any quantifiable measure. Sadly all this seems to have ominous clang, leading to a possible world war now. And now back to the USA and all this ongoing monkey business over a balloon, which is soon to give way to the media spins about alleged aliens and UFOs and all the fear porn around it. Even Edward Snowden responded a couple of days ago that it is but a media spin to silence any questioning and/or reasonable debate on the Nord Stream blast, without the approval of the U.S. Congress, which might as well cost Biden even his presidential position.

So now besides the Nord Stream blast, we have a series of new confrontations with China. The cost of all this is not only financial but the simple math can be worked out in terms of the distrust of the U.S. general public and loss of confidence in the U.S. institutions and the President’s credibility to boot.

With hindsight, on January 17, 1961, Dwight D. Eisenhower ends his presidential term by warning the nation about the increasing power of the military-industrial complex. I am not entirely convinced that the sufficient critical mass in the U.S. will take heed of it soon enough.

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ماذا بعد الحرب في أوكرانيا…؟

 السبت 21 كانون الثاني 2023

زياد حافظ

في هذه المحاولة الاستشرافية في مطلع 2023 قراءة وتساؤلات لمرحلة ما بعد الحرب في أوكرانيا. ننطلق في هذه القراءة من فرضية نناقشها في ما بعد أنّ روسيا ستحسم المعركة العسكرية في أوكرانيا ما قبل نهاية ربيع 2023. لكن هذا لا يعني انّ الصراع مع الحلف الأطلسي بشكل عام والولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص قد ينتهي. فالسؤال يصبح كيف سيتعامل الحلف الأطلسي وخاصة الولايات المتحدة مع الحقائق الميدانية التي تكون قد تحقّقت في الميدان؟

هناك عدة حالات ممكنة ولكن باحتمالات متباينة مبنية على قراءة في ذهنية القيادات الغربية والإمكانيات المتوفرة ضمن ميزان قوّة مختلّ لصالح روسيا بشكل عام وخاصة لصالح المحور العالمي الرافض للهيمنة الأميركية و/ أو الأطلسية. وما يُعقّد المشهد هو اعتبار الطرفين المتخاصمين أيّ روسيا والحلف الأطلسي أنّ الحرب في أوكرانيا حرب وجودية وبالتالي لا يمكن لأيّ طرف أن يتصوّر مخرجاً إلاّ النصر القاطع. وبما أنّ فرضية هذه القراءة تتبنّى حتمية النصر الروسي ما يبقى علينا هو تصوّر ما يمكن أن يقدِم عليه الأطلسي. وعندما نتكلّم عن الأطلسي نقصد بالدرجة الأولى الولايات المتحدة، ثم الاتحاد الأوروبي كمؤسسة، ثم الدول الأوروبية التي تماهت مع سياسات الولايات المتحدة وأخيراً بيروقراطية الحلف الأطلسي كمؤسسة قائمة بحدّ ذاتها. غير أنّ الحلقة الأساسية هي الولايات المتحدة لأنّ ما يمكن أن تقدم عليه سينجرّ بشكل أو بآخر على مؤسسة الحلف الأطلسي والاتحاد الأوروبي.

أما الحلقة الأضعف فهي الدول الأوروبية التي ستتعرّض إلى اضطرابات اجتماعية وسياسية بسبب التراجع الاقتصادي الناتج عن سياسة العقوبات المفروضة على روسيا وخاصة في قطاع الطاقة التي كانت تستوردها بشكل رخيص من روسيا دون أن تجد البديل الاقتصادي الذي يحرّرها من الاتكال على روسيا. والنتائج البنيوية على الاقتصاد الأوروبي هي تفكيك البنية الصناعية التي كانت ركيزة الطبقة الوسطى والاستقرار الاجتماعي. ليس هناك من آفاق إيجابية للاقتصاد الأوروبي في ظلّ ذلك التحوّل البنيوي خاصة مع صعود دول الجنوب الإجمالي وفي مقدّمته الصين والهند والبرازيل الذين سيتقاسمون الناتج الصناعي العالمي. دول أوروبا قد تكون دول متاحف التاريخ وللسياحة والترفيه وليس أكثر. فتصبح دولاً لا وزن لها في إدارة شؤون العالم. وهذا الهبوط لن يكون سهلاً بل ترافقه توترات اجتماعية وانتفاضات سياسية تعيد النظر في البنى السياسة والاقتصادية والاجتماعية لهذه الدول. وما سيساهم في ذلك الانحدار الكارثي هو الرداءة غير المسبوقة للقيادات السياسية سواء كانت في الحكم أو في المعارضة. المشهد البريطاني يتلاقى مع المشهد الألماني والمشهد الفرنسي، تلك الدول التي كانت تتصدّر المشهد الأوروبي. فأما دول الأطراف في أوروبا فقد تغرق أيضاً في حروب عرقية ودينية دون أن تكون لها ركيزة تستند إليها. فعلى سبيل المثال وليس الحصر اسبانيا تواجه حركة انفصالية في منطقة كتالونيا، وإيرلندا الشمالية قد تنفصل عن المملكة المتحدة لتلتحق بالجمهورية الإيرلندية، واسكتلندا قد تستقلّ عن المملكة المتحدة، وكورسيكا عن فرنسا، وبلجيكا تنقسم إلى قسم فرنسي وقسم فلمنكي. وما تبقّى من أوكرانيا خارج القبضة الروسية قد يذهب قسم منه إلى بولندا، والقسم الآخر إلى رومانيا ومولدوفيا. خارطة أوروبا مُعرّضة لتغيير جذري أسوة بما نتج في الحروب الأوروبية في القرون الماضية. كما هناك كلام عن انشطار إيطاليا بين جنوب فقير وشمال ثري. أما النعرات الطائفية في منطقة البلقان فمن السهل إشعالها مجدّداً مع سقوط الحكومات المركزية في حقبة الضيق الاقتصادي.
تصدّعات أوروبا

أما الاتحاد الأوروبي كمؤسسة فيشهد تصدّعات داخلية عززتها الإجراءات العبثية بحق روسيا وارتداداتها على الاقتصادات الأوروبية. فالزمرة الحاكمة في مؤسسة الاتحاد الأوروبي ملتزمة عقائدياً بمقرّرات دافوس لإعادة التعيين للاقتصادات القائمة نحو اقتصادات أكثر «لطفاً بالبيئة» على حدّ زعمهم. وهذا التوجه إلى مصادر طاقة نظيفة ومتجدّدة بشكل قسري وسريع سيؤدّي حتماً إلى تفكيك البنية الصناعية القائمة ما يوقع دول الاتحاد في حالة فقر وتراجع حضاري شبيه بالقرون الوسطى. فالطاقة هي مصدر الحضارة والعبث فيها له ارتدادات خطيرة على سكّان هذه الدول. لكن عدداً من حكومات دول الاتحاد يتململ من طغيان الزمرة المسيطرة على الاتحاد خاصة أنها لا تخضع لمساءلة ومحاسبة. وحكومة فيكتور اروبان المجرية تقود حملة التمرّد ضدّ الاتحاد قد تتبعها حكومة صربيا. من جهة أخرى أبدت بعض الدول الأوروبية كألمانيا وفرنسا امتعاضها من استغلال الولايات المتحدة للشحّ في قطاع الطاقة لفرض أسعار اضعاف ما كانت تدفعه لروسيا. ونعتت هذه الدول الولايات المتحدة بالتصرّف «غير الصديق» مع الحليف!

أما الدول الأوروبية فالتصدّعات التي أحدثتها الحرب الأوكرانية تتفاقم خاصة أنّ النموذج الاقتصادي النيوليبرالي المسيطر بعد سقوط الاتحاد السوفياتي وصل إلى طريق مسدود. كما أنّ النظام النيوليبرالي حوّل السلطة الفعلية للشركات الكبرى وخاصة بيوت المال التي لا تكترث لحال المواطنين. وهذه القوى المسيطرة على القرار السياسي والاقتصادي والثقافي في تلك الدول تستولد نخباً وقيادات من المستوى الرديء على صعيد العلم، والفهم، والأخلاق. وبالتالي ليس في الأفق المنظور إمكانية بروز قيادات أوروبية تضع مصلحة دولها فوق أيّ اعتبار وخاصة تلك الاعتبارات التي تريد إعادة الهندسة الاجتماعية وفقاً لمقرّرات منتدى دافوس. لذلك لا يمكن أن نتوقع خلال السنة الجديدة أيّ تغيير جذري في المشهد الأوروبي إلاّ ربما المزيد من التوترات والفوضى الأمنية والاقتصادية والاجتماعية ما يجعل أوروبا تفقد دوراً كانت تقوم به على الصعيد العالمي. فكيف يمكن وصف سلوك القيادات الأوروبية التي حوّلت أوروبا من ثاني كتلة اقتصادية في العالم، وربما في بعض الأحيان الأولى، إلى مجموعة دول مترهّلة. هذا انتحار جماعي أقدمت عليه قيادات حمقاء بكلّ معنى الكلمة.

تبقى الولايات المتحدة العنصر الأساسي في الحلف الأطلسي. والمشهد الأميركي معقّد حيث الخطاب السياسي السائد لدى المؤسسة الحاكمة وخاصة عند المحافظين الجدد الذين قبضوا على القرار السياسة الخارجية لا يسمح بأيّ تراجع أمام روسيا. لقد أصبحت الطبقة الحاكمة والمحافظون الجدد أسرى الخطاب السياسي حيث الانتصار على روسيا بات شرط ضرورة للبقاء. فلا يتصوّر المحافظون الجدد عالماً وروسيا موجودة على الأقلّ بشكلها الحالي. فلا بدّ من قلب النظام القائم في روسيا والإتيان بنخب سياسية تساهم في تقسيم روسيا إلى عدّة ولايات أو دول ضعيفة تحول دون إمكانية نهوض لدولة لها وزن على الصعيد الدولي. والمحافظون الجدد يحرصون على إجهاض أيّ محاولة للتفاهم مع روسيا تفادياً لحرب قد تخسرها حتماً الولايات المتحدة مهما كانت الكلفة عالية على روسيا. فعلى سبيل المثال وليس الحصر تسبّب المحافظون الجدود تسريب خبر لقاء بين مدير وكالة المخابرات المركزية وليم بيرنز ونظيره الروسي في أنقرة لإجهاض أيّ محاولة لمنع التصعيد في أوكرانيا الذي إذا ما استمرّ سيضع الجيش الروسي في مواجهة مباشرة مع الجيش الأميركي. وهذا الأمر لا يريده الطرفان سواء كان الرئيس الروسي بوتين أو الأميركي بايدن. لكن المحافظين الجدد لهم أجندة مختلفة ولا يكترثون لنتائج حتمية عن مواجهة عسكرية مباشرة بين الدولتين.

أجندة المحافظين الجدد!

السؤال المطروح هو هل يستطيع المحافظون الجدد تجاوز التحفّظات داخل الإدارة الأميركية التي لا تريد المواجهة المباشرة مع روسيا؟ ليس من السهل الإجابة خاصة أنّ المرحلة السابقة شهدت نصر المحافظين الجدد في توريط الولايات المتحدة في الصراع الذي كان بالإمكان تجنّبه مع روسيا. فهم من رفضوا التعامل مع العروض الروسية لحلّ الأزمة في أوكرانيا، وهم بالأساس من قام بالانقلاب على الحكومة المنتخبة شرعيا في أوكرانيا في 2014 وفي مقدمتهم فيكتوريا نيولند زوجة روبرت كاغان كبير المنظرين للمحافظين الجدد. وهم من استعمل اتفاقات منسك في 2015 للمراوغة لتمكين القوّات الأوكرانية لمواجهة روسيا. وهم من أجهضوا الاتفاق الذي تمّ الوصول إليه في أنقرة بين روسيا وحكومة زيلينسكي في نيسان/ ابريل 2022 بعد 3 أشهر من بدء العملية العسكرية الروسية في أوكرانيا. وهم من يدفعون إلى تفريغ ترسانات الدول التي كانت في كنف حلف وارسو وإرسال السلاح والذخائر لأوكرانيا. وهم من يدفعون البنتاغون لتفريع ترسانة الولايات المتحدة من الأسلحة المتطوّرة وإرسالها إلى أوكرانيا. النتيجة لكلّ ذلك هو تدمير كلّ السلاح المتوفر لأوكرانيا وقتل الجنود ودون تحقيق أيّ تقدّم على الأرض. فسجل المحافظين الجدد هو تراكم هائل من الفشل ولكن لا يوجد من يُسائل ويحاسب. ولذلك ستستمرّ إدارة بايدن في ارتكاب الحماقات تلو الحماقات دون تحقيق أي نتيجة لصالح الولايات المتحدة حتى يصبح تحطّم أوكرانيا أمراً واقعا لا يمكن الهروب منه.

المحافظون الجدد لهم أجندة من بند واحد وهي فرض هيمنة الولايات المتحدة على العالم وإنْ أدّى ذلك إلى تدمير الحلفاء وتهديد العالم بحرب نووية لن ينج منها أحد. فهم لا يكترثون لآثار سياساتهم طالما كانوا متمسكين بمفاصل صنع القرار في الولايات المتحدة سواء في الإدارة أو مراكز الأبحاث أو الجامعات أو الإعلام المرئي والمكتوب. وشبكة علاقات المحافظين الجدد لا تقتصر على الولايات المتحدة بل امتدّت إلى دوائر القرار في مكوّنات الحلف الأطلسي وإنْ كانت سياساتهم تدمّر تلك المكوّنات.

استطاع المحافظون الجدد أن يفرضوا سردية بين النخب الحاكمة في الولايات المتحدة والدول الأوروبية المتحالفة معها مفادها أنّ الصراع مع روسيا هو صراع بقاء بينما في الحقيقة هو صراع لتدمير روسيا والاستيلاء على ثرواتها الهائلة من المواد الخام، والطاقة، والمعادن الثمينة والنادرة. كما أنّ حجم روسيا الجغرافي يهدّد مصالح الولايات المتحدة فلا بدّ من تفكيك الدولة الاتحادية. وتعمّ مراكز الأبحاث في الولايات المتحدة عن خرائط محتملة لروسيا المفككة. وبالنسبة للولايات المتحدة فإنّ الهدف الحقيقي هو الحفاظ على هيمنتها وخاصة هيمنة الدولار الذي يواجه تحدّيات من اقتصادات ترفض تلك الهيمنة. والطابع الوجودي لهذا الصراع مبني على ثقافة الفكر الرأس المالي أن التوسّع هو الوسيلة الوحيدة للبقاء. وتاريخ الولايات المتحدة مبني على التوسّع الجغرافي، في البداية تجاه الغرب حتى الوصول إلى المحيط الهادي ومن ثمّ القفز إلى الجزر في ذلك المحيط وصولاً إلى الفليبين والشاطئ الشرقي للصين.

أما جنوباً، فكانت نظرية مونرو التي منعت الدول المستعمرة في القرن التاسع عشر من التواجد في أميركا اللاتينية وجعلها الحديقة الخلفية للولايات المتحدة. وتحفظ في أدراج الإدارات المتتالية خطط احتلال كندا إذا ما اقتضى الأمر! والآن تعمل الولايات المتحدة على التوسع في القطب الشمالي حيث توجد ثروات نفطية وغازية وشرقاً نحو القارة الآسيوية. وبالتالي لا بدّ من وضع اليد على روسيا.

المشروع الأميركي لوضع اليد على روسيا كان مكتوماً بعد سقوط حائط برلين. لكن سرعان ما تبدّدت الوعود المقطوعة للقيادات الروسية بعدم التوسّع شرقاً للحلف الأطلسي. وحجر الزاوية في مواجهة روسيا هو أوكرانيا وفقاً لنظرية زبغنيو بريجنسكي الذي اعتبر أوكرانيا ضرورة أساسية للقضاء على روسيا. المهمّ هنا أنّ التوسع الشرقي للحلف الأطلسي تجاه روسيا يشكّل خطراً وجودياً على روسيا لا يمكنها تجاهله خاصة إذا ما تمّ نشر الصواريخ البالستية النووية فيها كما يدعو إليه قادة النظام الانقلابي في أوكرانيا. حاولت القيادة الروسية إقناع الإدارات المتتالية بعدم التوسع شرقاً لكن العنجهية الأميركية لم تكترث للهواجس الروسية. لسنا هنا في إطار سرد تطوّر العلاقات الروسية الأطلسية/ الأميركية بل لنؤكّد أنّ صوغ الخطاب السياسي يدعو إلى المواجهة لدرء خطر وجودي يعني الوصول إلى الحرب لحلّ المشكلة. الحرب هنا لن تقتصر على الحرب بالوكالة كما هو الحال الآن في أوكرانيا أو ربما عبر بولندا في ما بعد بل في المواجهة المباشرة العسكرية مع روسيا.

ما يؤكّد عمق الأزمة بين النخب الأميركية مقال صدر يوم السبت في 7 كانون الثاني/ يناير 2023 في صحيفة «واشنطن بوست» والموقع من كوندوليزا رايس وزيرة الخارجية السابقة في ولاية بوش الابن وروبرت غيتس وزير الدفاع السابق في كلّ من ولايات بوش الابن وباراك أوباما. في المقال اعتراف واضح أنّ الوقت هو لصالح روسيا ولا بدّ من زيادة الجهود الأميركية (أيّ زيادة التمويل والإمداد لأنها مربحة للمجمّع العسكري الصناعي) وذلك لمنع النصر الروسي. فهذا الأمر سيكون له تداعيات كارثية بالنسبة للولايات المتحدة (خاصة للمجمّع العسكري الصناعي) وأنّ إمكانية تغيير تلك النتائج ستكون صعبة للغاية إنْ لم تكن مستحيلة. والهيمنة الأميركية على العالم أصبحت مطلباً «وجودياً» بالنسبة لتلك النخب التي لا تكترث لنتائج تلك الطموحات والتي لا تأخذ بعين الاعتبار التحوّلات التي حصلت في موازين القوّة. فمقال رايس وغيتس دعوة صريحة لاستمرار الحرب مهما كانت النتائج.

فما هي إمكانيات مواجهة مباشرة بين الحلف الأطلسي وروسيا، وبالأخصّ بين الولايات المتحدة وروسيا؟ حقيقة، إنّ المواجهة في أوكرانيا لها طابعان: الأول مع الحكومة الأوكرانية والثاني الذي تمّ إعلانه منذ بضعة أيام على لسان وزير الدفاع الاوكراني أنّ المواجهة هي بين روسيا والحلف الأطلسي. هدف العملية العسكرية الروسية في أوكرانيا هو تدمير الجيش الأوكراني وخلع النازيين من الحكم في أوكرانيا ومنع الحكومة من الالتحاق بالأطلسي. التطوّرات الميدانية أبرزت تدفق السلاح والذخيرة من مجمل دول الحلف الأطلسي دون أن يغيّر في ميزان القوّة في المعركة الذي كان ولا يزال لصالح روسيا. واليوم تعلن هذه الدول عن نفاذ سلاحها وذخيرتها لتزويد القوّات الأوكرانية بما كانت تملك من بقايا سلاح حلف وارسو. أما السلاح الغربي الذي يسيطر على معظم دول أوروبا الغربية فإنّ معرفة القوّات الأوكرانية بذلك السلاح ما زالت محدودة وتحتاج لوقت طويل للتتأقلم معها.

لكن هل تستطيع الولايات المتحدة الاستمرار بسياسة حرب رغم ضعف الجهوزية. ولا نقصد هنا الجهوزية العسكرية فحسب بل الجهوزية الاقتصادية. يشير الستير كروك وهو دبلوماسي سابق ومن أهمّ العقول السياسية المحلّلة للمشهد السياسي في آخر مقال له بتاريخ 13 كانون الثاني/ يناير 2023 على موقع «ستراتيجك كلتشار فوندشن» إلى أنّ الغرب يتجه تدريجياً لتحويل اقتصاداته لاقتصادات حرب وخاصة في ما يتعلّق بسلسلة التوريد في الإنتاج الصناعي. لكن في رأينا هذه عملية طويلة المدى خاصة بعد تفكيك البنية التحتية الصناعية في الولايات المتحدة والمملكة المتحدة وبالتالي القدرة على تحويل الطاقة الصناعية إلى طاقة إنتاجية حربية كما حصل في الحرب العالمية الثانية أمر مشكوك به في المدى المنظور. فاستبدال سلسلة التوريد التي اعتمدت خلال العقود الأربعة الماضية لتوطين مفاصل عديدة من القطاعات الصناعية في عالم الجنوب الإجمالي لا يمكن إنجازه بفترة قصيرة. فروسيا، ومعها الصين وسائر دول الجنوب الإجمالي لن يتركوا المجال لذلك التحويل.

لذلك نعتقد أنّ المعركة العسكرية الاستراتيجية بين روسيا وأوكرانيا قد حسمت في رأينا لصالح روسيا وأنّ ما تبقّى هو ترجمة الحسم الاستراتيجي إلى معالم مادية سواء في التقدّم الجغرافي أو في التغيير النظام السياسي في أوكرانيا وإنْ اقتضى الأمر دخول كييف لفرض نظام جديد. وقد يحصل ذلك خلال سنة 2023.

المواجهة مع الأطلسي طويلة

أما المواجهة مع الأطلسي فقد تطول خاصة أنّ الغرب يراهن على إطالة الحرب دون تدخّل مباشر للولايات المتحدة وسائر دول الحلف الأطلسي. ويعتمد المحافظون الجدد على سيطرتهم على الإعلام والسردية التي تقول بأنّ أوكرانيا «تنتصر» والقضية مسألة إمدادات فقط لا غير. لكن بدأت النخب الحاكمة تواجه معضلة تفسير انهيار خطوط الدفاع الأوكرانية وخاصة في منطقة سوليدار وباخوت. فهل ستتخذ الخطوة التالية بدخول جيوش الأطلسي بشكل مباشر في أوكرانيا؟

المزاج السياسي المعادي لروسيا في دول أوروبا غير مؤيّد للدخول في حرب مع روسيا. استطلاعات الرأي العام واضحة بهذا الشأن. فالمواطن الأوروبي بغضّ النظر عن رأيه في روسيا وحكّامها لا يريد ولا يتحمّل ثمن المواجهة. ولقد بدأت تظهر معالم «التعب» من أوكرانيا. ولكن المنحى الذي نشهده هو عدم اكتراث الحكومات الغربية للرأي العام الداخلي كما جاء على لسان وزيرة الخارجية الألمانية أنّ المانيا مستمرّة بدعم الجهود الحربية في أوكرانيا وأنها لا تكترث لآراء المواطنين وهذا بكلّ وضوح. لكن العديد من المؤشرات تفيد بأنّ الدول الأوروبية غير جاهزة وغير راغبة للدخول في حرب. أما الولايات المتحدة فهناك من يدفع إلى الدخول المباشر إلى أوكرانيا وإنْ كان الوجود العسكري الأميركي كـ «خبراء» و «مدرّبين» و «مستشارين» أصبح من المسلّمات. والمحافظون الجدد يدفعون إلى المواجهة المباشرة بعد استنفاذ الوكلاء علماً أنّ الجهوزية العسكرية الأميركية غير متوفّرة كما جاء على لسان رئيس هيئة الأركان المشتركة مارك ميلي في جلسة استجوابه في لجنة الدفاع في الكونغرس عند استلام مهامه. قال آنذاك في 2018 إنّ الجهوزية الأميركية لا تتجاوز 40 بالمائة وإنّ هدفه هو إيصال الجهوزية الأميركية إلى 60 بالمائة بحلول 2024.

وتأكيداً على ذلك يصدر معهد «أميركان هريتاج فونداشن» تقريراً سنوياً عن الجهوزية العسكرية الأميركية. وعلى مدى السنوات الخمس الماضية لم يتجاوز تقييم تلك الجهوزية مرحلة «الهامشية» أيّ لا تستطيع الحسم في أيّ مواجهة. وإذا أضفنا المحاكاة النظرية للمواجهة العسكرية مع أيّ من روسيا أو الصين أو إيران فكانت النتائج دائماً لصالح خصوم الولايات المتحدة. صحيح أنّ الولايات المتحدة تنفق أكثر من أيّ دولة في العالم لكن هذا الانفاق لا يعني تفوّقاً في الجودة كما تظهر التقارير حول فعّالية ركائز السلاح الجوّي أو البرّي الأميركي. وإذا أدخلنا في المعادلة السلاح المتفوّق الروسي خاصة في الصواريخ الفائقة لسرعة الصوت وغياب وسائل دفاع مضادة له فإنّ التفوّق التكتيكي والاستراتيجي للسلاح الروسي أصبح كاسراً.

وهناك خبراء عسكريون كـ اندري مرتيانوف يشكّكون بالقدرات البشرية لقيادة الأعمال العسكرية حيث خبرة القادة العسكريين الأميركيين في خوض حروب حقيقية ضدّ خصوم لديهم الحزم والعزم لا يُشجّع على إمكانية نصر عسكري. فتجربة الحرب الكورية والفيتنامية والعراقية والأفغانية تدلّ بوضوح إلى أنّ التفوّق الناري لا يعني بالضرورة النصر. لكن بعيداً عن هذه الاعتبارات ما نريد أن نقوله إنّ الولايات المتحدة غير جاهزة على الصعيد العسكري لخوض حرب طويلة مع دولة من طراز روسيا أو الصين على الأقلّ في المدى المنظور. لدى الولايات المتحدة قدرة نارية تدميرية هائلة تستطيع تدمير المعمورة آلاف المرّات ولكن ليس لديها كيف تترجمها في السياسة.

هناك عقول باردة خارج البنتاغون كدوغلاس مكغريغور او لاري جونسون أو فيليب جيرالدي أو راي مكغوفرن أو لاري ويلكرسون على سبيل المثال وليس الحصر تعي هذه الحقائق وتحاول ضبط إيقاع مسار السلطة السياسية. لكن المحافظين الجدد يتربّصون بها ويمنعون أن تصل تلك الآراء إلى مركز القرار. لذلك سيحتدم الصراع داخل الدولة العميقة بين من يؤيّد توجّهات المحافظين الجدد ومن يخشى من الوقوع في الهاوية. ولا نستبعد تكرار مشهد إنشاء لجنة بيكر ـ هاملتون جديدة التي كفّت يد المحافظين الجدد في إدارة بوش بعد الفشل في العراق. البديل عن كفّ يد المحافظين الجدد هو الحرب التي ستكون مدمّرة للولايات المتحدة وللعالم.

وهنا يكمن العامل الداخلي في الولايات المتحدة الذي قد يغيّر المعادلات بين الدولة العميقة والبيت الأبيض. مسلسل الفضائح التي تطال الرئيس الأميركي يتنامى ما يعني أنّ الدولة العميقة تريد التخلّص من إمكانية ترشّحه مجدّداً في 2024. فتعيين محقق خاص جمهوري الانتماء السياسي للكشف عن تفاصيل «الفضائح» يؤكّد أنّ المؤسسة الحاكمة بما فيها قيادة الحزب الديمقراطي تريد التخلّص من جوزيف بايدن والآتيان بـ كمالا هاريس في حال تنحّى بايدن عن منصبه، أو فتح الطريق لترشيح ميشال أوباما في 2024. في مطلق الأحوال فإنّ التطوّرات الداخلية قد تحوّل الأنظار عن الإخفاق في أوكرانيا ويتيح الفرصة لصوغ خطاب جديد يتجاهل الإخفاق في أوكرانيا. التغيير في السياسة التي تفرضه الوقائع يحتم تغيير في الأشخاص وهذا ما يمكن توقّعه في الأشهر المقبلة لمنع التدهور الذي الكارثي الذي يهدّد الجميع.

في الخلاصة نرى ما بعد الحرب في أوكرانيا الانتصار الكاسح لروسيا وتصدّع الاتحاد الأوروبي. كما سنرى تصاعد النقاش حول الدخول الأطلسي بشكل عام والولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص في حرب نووية محدودة بالنسبة للمحافظين الجدد. لكن في المقابل لا يستطيعون ضبط إيقاعها لأنّ روسيا لن تستجيب لرغبات المحافظين الجدد. فليس هناك من مواجهة نووية «محدودة»! لذلك لا نتوقع الوصول إلى تلك المرحلة بل ربما بداية تفكيك الحلف الأطلسي الذي فقد جدواه ومصداقيته. أما على صعيد الوضع الداخلي في الولايات المتحدة فتراكم الفشل في السياسة الخارجية سيظهر الحاجة للتغيير. من سيقود التغيير وكيف فهذا حديث ليوم آخر. الرهان هو على ما تبقّى من عقول باردة خاصة في أجواء التردّي لمستوى النخب السياسية في الغرب

*باحث وكاتب اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي وعضو منتدى سيف القدس

Bakhmut has turned into Ukrainian bloodbath (Col. Macgregor)

December 24, 2022

More Billions to Ukraine as America Falls Apart

The war in Ukraine was caused by the US regime change in 2014 and the neocon insistence that Ukraine join NATO.

 -August 29, 2022

By  Jonas E. Alexis, Assistant Editor

ISKANDARIYA, IRAQ – JULY 19: U.S. soldiers with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment patrol a new ditch they have dug to protect the base from attack on July 19, 2011 in Iskandariya, Babil Province Iraq. As the deadline for the departure of the remaining American forces in Iraq approaches, Iraqi politicians have agreed to meet in two weeks time in order to give a final decision about extending the U.S. troops’ presence beyond the end of the 2011 deadline. Violence against foreign troops has recently picked-up with June being the worst month in combat-related deaths for the military in Iraq in more than two years. Currently about 46,000 U.S. soldiers remain in Iraq. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By Ron Paul

There is a video clip making the rounds showing President Biden speaking at a recent NATO summit about the seven billion dollars the US government had – at that time – provided to Ukraine. Attached to that is another clip showing the horrific state of several US major cities, including in Pennsylvania, California, and Ohio. The video of American cities is shocking: endless landscapes of filth, trash, homelessness, open fires on the street, drug-addicted zombies. It doesn’t look like the America most of us remember.

Watching Biden bragging about sending billions of dollars to corrupt leaders overseas with American cities looking like bombed-out Iraq or Libya is US foreign policy in a nutshell. The Washington elites tell the rest of America that they must “promote democracy” in some far-off land. Anyone who objects is considered in league with the appointed enemy of the day. Once it was Saddam, then Assad and Gaddafi. Now it’s Putin. The game is the same, only the names are changed.

What is seldom asked, is what is in this deal for those Americans who suffer to pay for our interventionist foreign policy. Do they really think a working American in Ohio or Pennsylvania is better off or safer because we are supposedly protecting Ukraine’s borders? I think most Americans would wonder why they aren’t bothering to protect our own borders.

A reported 200,000 illegals crossed the border into the US in July alone. You can believe they are learning quickly about the free money provided by the US government to illegals. They’ll probably get a voting card as well.

Last Friday the Pentagon announced that yet another $775 million would be sent to Ukraine. As Antiwar.com reported, it was the eighteenth weapons package to Ukraine in six months. Has there ever been a more idiotic US intervention in history?

Supporters of this proxy war may celebrate more aid to Ukraine, but the reality is that it is in no way aid to Ukraine. That’s not how the system works. It is money created out of thin air by the Fed and appropriated by Congress to be spent propping up the politically-connected military-industrial complex. It is a big check written by middle America to rich people who run Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. Americans watch their budget being stretched to the limit while the Beltway fat-cats loosen their belts to continue enjoying the gravy train.

Bloomberg reported earlier this summer that inflation is costing the average American household more than $5,200 this year. Inflation is a tax on middle class and poor Americans. The wealthy – like those who run Raytheon and Lockheed Martin – always get the new money first, before prices go up. The rest of us watch as the dollar buys less and less.

As Washington salivates over fighting Russia in Ukraine, the rest of America feels like we’re becoming Zimbabwe. How long until it takes a trillion dollars for a loaf of bread? Will there be a run on wheelbarrows?

There is a way out. It’s called “non-interventionism.” The war in Ukraine was caused by the US regime change in 2014 and the neocon insistence that Ukraine join NATO. The State Department and CIA thought it was a great victory to overthrow the elected government, but meanwhile the rest of us get the bill. No NATO and not one more penny for Ukraine!

SOURCELibertarian Institute

Jonas E. Alexis, Assistant Editor

Jonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the new book, Kevin MacDonald’s Metaphysical Failure: A Philosophical, Historical, and Moral Critique of Evolutionary Psychology, Sociobiology, and Identity Politics. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.

AS MORE STUDENTS, FACULTY BACK BDS, AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES MAINTAIN APARTHEID TIES

MAY 31ST, 2022

A poster on a closed shop shows an Israeli milk carton and Arabic in red reads: “boycott,” during a general strike, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Palestinians across Israel and the occupied territories are on strike in a rare collective action against Israel’s policies, as the war, now in its second week, showed no signs of abating. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

JESSICA BUXBAUM

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — This month, City University of New York’s (CUNY) law school faculty unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, joining a chorus of American universities advocating for Palestinian rights. Harvard University’s Crimson newspaper endorsed the movement earlier this year, with 50 of the school’s faculty members supporting the decision. And in March, the Middle East Studies Association also voted to endorse the BDS movement.

As college campuses across the U.S. grow in their support for Palestine, their administrations – many still having relations with major Israeli universities complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestine – appear less likely to agree. With that in mind, BDS activists urge supporters to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

HOW ISRAELI UNIVERSITIES ARE COMPLICIT

As illustrated by Visualizing Palestine, a data-driven project crafting graphics on the Palestine-Israel issue, several notable Israeli universities assist the state in maintaining its oppression of Palestinians. Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, Ariel University, Haifa University, Bar-Ilan University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and the Technion Institute of Technology all contribute to ongoing colonial violence.

Israeli academic Aparthied

Credit | VisualizingImpact

Israeli academic Aparthied

Credit | VisualizingImpact

For instance, Tel Aviv University invites weapon manufacturers like Elbit Systems to its annual Technology Employment Fair and invites students to Elbit Systems events for the purpose of recruitment. The school has also played a role in establishing the Israeli army’s military doctrines and ethical codes and training students to provide legal defense through its army reserve program. The school’s Greenberg National Institute of Forensic Medicine is currently keeping 63 Palestinian corpses in a medical lab freezer as part of Israel’s policy of withholding bodies to use as bargaining chips in future negotiations.

Technion also works with arms developers, partnering with Elbit Systems and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems on research projects. Technion, Ben-Gurion, and Bar-Ilan all participated in building a humanoid robot with funding provided by the Israeli and U.S. defense departments. Bar-Ilan and Technion also collaborate with the Israeli military to develop equipment used in executing home demolitions.

Hebrew University coordinates with the Israeli police in harassing and surveilling nearby Palestinian communities. Haifa University hosts a program training students on how to become “digital advocates for Israel.” And Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University, Ben-Gurion, and Haifa University offered benefits and scholarships to students who participated in the military assault on Gaza in 2014.

These universities are deeply entwined in Israel’s apartheid, making their American partners also indirectly complicit.

AMERICAN ACADEMIA AND ISRAELI APARTHEID

Despite growing calls from student activists for their schools to support the BDS movement, American universities continue to collaborate with Israel.

“The university is putting itself at risk of importing the racist policies of the Israeli state into university campuses because of the collaboration that’s required,” Nasreen Abd Elal, information designer at Visualizing Palestine, told MintPress News. Abd Elal was referring to Columbia University’s dual degree program with Tel Aviv University, which was launched in 2020. She was involved in the student campaign against it at Columbia.

Columbia isn’t the only American school linked to complicit Israeli universities, though. Many of the U.S.’ leading universities coordinate with Israeli institutions. The following schools have study-abroad exchange programs or research partnerships with Tel Aviv University, in addition to Columbia and CUNY:

Technion and Cornell partnered together to create the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute in 2011. Washington University of St. Louis partners with Technion through its McDonnell International Scholars Academy. The University of Illinois partners with both Tel Aviv and Hebrew University through its research center, Discovery Partners Institute. In 2019 Ariel University, which is located in an illegal Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, announced a partnership with Florida Atlantic University.

Many of these academic institutions are also heavily invested in Israeli companies, including ColumbiaTuftsUNC, and Urbana-Champaign. Harvard grabbed headlines in April when its newspaper endorsed the BDS movement, but the school maintains investments in several companies listed on the UN’s database of companies involved in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise. These include Bookings Holdings, Expedia, General Mills, and Motorola.

While BDS campaigns across college campuses have gained momentum, to this day no American university has actually divested from Israel.

NOT JUST ACADEMIA

Schools aren’t the only ones associating with Israeli universities. Several American companies also have ties.

Technion has partnered with American corporations Google, IBM, Intel, Nvidia, KLA, Amazon, Medtronic, Cisco, Marvell, and Cadence Design Systems. IBM has also participated in events with Ariel University, according to the research center Who Profits from the OccupationSoftware company PTC began collaborating with Technion on a research and development center in 2021.

BGN Technologies, Ben-Gurion’s technology transfer company, established its Advanced Technologies Park. The park’s tenants include American firms dbMotion and Oracle. BGN Technologies also works with American entities the Georgia Institute of Technology, Nexant, Delek US, Duquesne Light Company, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, and the MITRE Corporation, through its joint consortium related to developing cyber protection infrastructure.

And the Cleveland Clinic Foundation entered into an academic cooperation agreement with the Hebrew University in 2017.

SUPPRESSING PALESTINIAN ACADEMIC FREEDOM

BDS resolutions in academia aren’t passing at a record or even significant rate, but Abd Elal says the administrative reaction to those that have passed demonstrates the movement is working:

The instinctual response of administrators tends to come out swinging in opposition saying, “We’ll never commit to divestment.“ But the fact they feel obliged to respond is provoking that confrontation. Students and faculty are seeing how the university will throw out the democratic mandate because of their interest in maintaining good relationships with their investors.”

Abd Elal added that these campaigns have managed to garner a groundswell of support, and that, in itself, is powerful. “There have been significant strides made in building solidarity on campus and getting people to commit to not going to these institutions and putting pressure on the administration to end [the agreements],” she said.

The call for an academic boycott goes beyond the institutional level, however. “The Israeli state and occupation marginalize Palestinian students and universities and restrict access of international scholars and students to Palestinian universities, which is a significant threat to academic freedom,” Abd Elal said.

In February, the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGATpublished new instructions on foreign entry into the West Bank. These guidelines included a swath of new restrictions for individuals wishing to learn or work at Palestinian universities. Foreign lecturers must hold a doctorate and can only teach in certain fields. COGAT will permit only 150 foreign students at Palestinian universities each year and can limit the fields of study open to them.

As detailed above, many American universities have academic agreements with Israeli universities. Yet promoting a free exchange of ideas between Israeli and American academics tends to ignore the crippling hold Israel has on Palestinian education.

Abd Elal explained that Visualizing Palestine’s graphic wasn’t meant to just describe how Israeli universities are complicit in apartheid, but also how the Israeli state has an interest in suppressing Palestinian academic freedom. “The occupation really cuts off Palestinians from the academic community,” she said. “So for that reason, the academic boycott is a key way of standing in solidarity with our academic peers.”

Feature photo | Nasser Nasser | AP

Jessica Buxbaum is a Jerusalem-based journalist for MintPress News covering Palestine, Israel, and Syria. Her work has been featured in Middle East Eye, The New Arab and Gulf News.

A LEMMING LEADING THE LEMMINGS: SLAVOJ ZIZEK AND THE TERMINAL COLLAPSE OF THE ANTI-WAR LEFT

JUNE 23RD, 2022

JONATHAN COOK

Have you noticed how every major foreign policy crisis since the U.S. and U.K.’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 has peeled off another layer of the left into joining the pro-NATO, pro-war camp?

It is now hard to remember that many millions marched in the U.S. and Europe against the attack on Iraq. It sometimes feels like there is no one left who is not cheerleading the next wave of profits for the West’s military-industrial complex (usually referred to as the “defense industry” by those very same profiteers).

Washington learned a hard lesson from the unpopularity of its 2003 attack on Iraq aimed at controlling more of the Middle East’s oil reserves. Ordinary people do not like seeing the public coffers ransacked or suffering years of austerity, simply to line the pockets of Blackwater, Halliburton, and Raytheon. And all the more so when such a war is sold to them on the basis of a huge deception.

So since then, the U.S. has been repackaging its neocolonialism via proxy wars that are a much easier sell. There have been a succession of them: Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iran, Venezuela and now Ukraine. Each time, a few more leftists are lured into the camp of the war hawks by the West’s selfless, humanitarian instincts – promoted, of course, through the barrel of a Western-supplied arsenal. That process has reached its nadir with Ukraine.

NUCLEAR FACE-OFF

recently wrote about the paranoid ravings of celebrity “left-wing” journalist Paul Mason, who now sees the Kremlin’s hand behind any dissension from a full-throttle charge towards a nuclear face-off with Russia.

Behind the scenes, he has been sounding out Western intelligence agencies in a bid to covertly deplatform and demonetize any independent journalists who still dare to wonder whether arming Ukraine to the hilt or recruiting it into NATO – even though it shares a border that Russia views as existentially important – might not be an entirely wise use of taxpayers’ money.

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It is not hard to imagine that Mason is representative of the wider thinking of establishment journalists, even those who claim to be on the left.

But I want to take on here a more serious proponent of this kind of ideology than the increasingly preposterous Mason. Because swelling kneejerk support for U.S. imperial wars – as long, of course, as Washington’s role is thinly disguised – is becoming ever more common among leftwing academics too.

The latest cheerleader for the military-industrial complex is Slavoj Zizek, the famed Slovenian philosopher and public intellectual whose work has gained him international prominence. His latest piece – published where else but The Guardian – is a morass of sloppy thinking, moral evasion and double speak. Which is why I think it is worth deconstructing. It encapsulates all the worst geostrategic misconceptions of Western intellectuals at the moment.

Zizek, who is supposedly an expert on ideology and propaganda, and has even written and starred in a couple of documentaries on the subject, seems now to be utterly blind to his own susceptibility to propaganda.

COD PSYCHOLOGY

He starts, naturally enough, with a straw man: that those opposed to the West’s focus on arming Ukraine rather than using its considerable muscle to force Kyiv and Moscow to the negotiating table are in the wrong. Opposition to dragging out the war for as long as possible, however many Ukrainians and Russians die, with the aim of “weakening Russia”, as US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wants; and opposition to leaving millions of people in poorer parts of the world to be plunged deeper into poverty or to starve is equated by Zizek to “pacifism.”

“Those who cling to pacifism in the face of the Russian attack on Ukraine remain caught in their own version of [John Lennon’s song] ‘Imagine’,” writes Zizek. But the only one dwelling in the world of the imaginary is Zizek and those who think like him.

The left’s mantra of “Stop the war!” can’t be reduced to kneejerk pacifism. It derives from a political and moral worldview. It opposes the militarism of competitive, resource-hungry nation-states. It opposes the war industries that not only destroy whole countries but risk global nuclear annihilation in advancing their interests. It opposes the profit motive for a war that has incentivised a global elite to continue investing in planet-wide rape and pillage rather than addressing a looming ecological catastrophe. All of that context is ignored in Zizek’s lengthy essay.

Instead, he prefers to take a detour into cod psychology, telling us that Russian president Vladimir Putin sees himself as Peter the Great. Putin will not be satisfied simply with regaining the parts of Ukraine that historically belonged to Russia and have always provided its navy with its only access to the Black Sea. No, the Russian president is hell-bent on global conquest. And Europe is next – or so Zizek argues.

Even if we naively take the rhetoric of embattled leaders at face value (remember those weapons of mass destruction Iraq’s Saddam Hussein supposedly had?), it is still a major stretch for Zizek to cite one speech by Putin as proof that the Russian leader wants his own version of the Third Reich.

Not least, we must address the glaring cognitive dissonance at the heart of the Western, NATO-inspired discourse on Ukraine, something Zizek refuses to do. How can Russia be so weak it has managed only to subdue small parts of Ukraine at great military cost, while it is at the same time a military superpower poised to take over the whole of Europe?

Zizek is horrified by Putin’s conceptual division of the world into those states that are sovereign and those that are colonized. Or as he quotes Putin observing: “Any country, any people, any ethnic group should ensure their sovereignty. Because there is no in-between, no intermediate state: either a country is sovereign, or it is a colony, no matter what the colonies are called.”

SOVEREIGN OR COLONIZED?

The famed philosopher reads this as proof that Russia wants as its colonies: “Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Finland, the Baltic states … and ultimately Europe itself”. But if he weren’t so blinded by NATO ideology, he might read Putin’s words in a quite different way. Isn’t Putin simply restating Washington realpolitik? The U.S., through NATO, is the real sovereign in Europe and is pushing its sovereignty ever closer to Russia’s borders.

Putin’s concern about Ukraine being colonized by the U.S. military-industrial complex is essentially the same as U.S. concerns in the 1960s about the Soviet Union filling Cuba with its nuclear missiles. Washington’s concern justified a confrontation that moved the world possibly the closest it has ever come to nuclear annihilation.

Both Russia and the U.S. are wedded to the idea of their own “spheres of influence”. It is just that the U.S. sphere now encircles the globe through many hundreds of overseas military bases. By contrast, the West cries to the heavens when Russia secures a single military base in Crimea.

We may not like the sentiments Putin is espousing, but they are not especially his. They are the reality of the framework of modern military power the West was intimately involved in creating. It was our centuries of colonialism – our greed and theft – that divided the world into the sovereign and the colonized. Putin is simply stating that Russia needs to act in ways that ensure it remains sovereign, rather than joining the colonized.

We may disagree with Putin’s perception of the threat posed by NATO, and the need to annex eastern Ukraine, but to pretend his speech means that he aims for world domination is nothing more than the regurgitation of a CIA talking point.

Zizek, of course, intersperses this silliness with more valid observations, like this one: “To insist on full sovereignty in the face of global warming is sheer madness since our very survival hinges on tight global cooperation.” Of course, it is madness. But why is this relevant to Putin and his supposed “imperial ambition”? Is there any major state on the planet – those in Europe, the United States, China, Brazil, Australia – that has avoided this madness, that is seeking genuine “tight global cooperation” to end the threat of climate breakdown.

No, our world is in the grip of terminal delusion, propelled ever closer to the precipice by capitalism’s requirement of endless economic growth on a finite planet. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing great ecological damage, but so are lots of other things – including NATO’s rationalization of ever-expanding military budgets.


UKRAINIAN HEROISM

But Zizek has the bit between his teeth. He now singles out Russia because it is maneuvering to exploit the consequences of global warming, such as new trade routes opened up by a thawing Arctic.

“Russia’s strategic plan is to profit from global warming: control the world’s main transport route, plus develop Siberia and control Ukraine,” he writes. “In this way, Russia will dominate so much food production that it will be able to blackmail the whole world.”

But what does he imagine? As we transform the world’s climate and its trade routes, as new parts of the world turn into deserts, as whole populations are forced to make migrations to different regions, does he think only Putin and Russia are jostling to avoid sinking below the rising sea waters. Does he presume the policy hawks in Washington, or their satraps in Europe, have missed all this and are simply putting their feet up? In reality, maneuvering on the international stage – what I have called elsewhere a brutal nation-state version of the children’s party game musical chairs – has been going on for decades.

Ukraine is the latest front in a long-running war for resource control on a dying planet. It is another battleground in the renewed great power game that the U.S. revived by expanding NATO across Eastern Europe in one pincer movement and then bolstered it with its wars and proxy wars across the Middle East. Where was the urge for “tight global cooperation” then? To perceive Ukraine as simply the victim of Putin’s “imperialism” requires turning a blind eye to everything that has occurred since the fall of the Soviet Union three decades ago.

Zizek gets to the heart of what should matter in his next, throw-away line:

Those who advocate less support for Ukraine and more pressure on it to negotiate, inclusive of accepting painful territorial renunciations, like to repeat that Ukraine simply cannot win the war against Russia. True, but I see exactly in this the greatness of Ukrainian resistance.”

Zizek briefly recognises the reality of Ukraine’s situation – that it cannot win, that Russia has a bigger, better-equipped army – but then deflects to the “greatness” of Ukraine’s defiance. Yes, it is glorious that Ukrainians are ready to die to defend their country’s sovereignty. But that is not the issue we in the West need to consider when Kyiv demands we arm its resistance.

The question of whether Ukrainians can win, or whether they will be slaughtered, is highly pertinent to deciding whether we in the West should help drag out the war, using Ukrainians as cannon fodder, to no purpose other than our being able to marvel as spectators at their heroism. Whether Ukrainians can win is also pertinent to the matter of how urgent it is to draw the war to a close so that millions don’t starve in Africa because of the loss of crops, the fall in exports and rocketing fuel prices. And arming a futile, if valiant, Ukrainian struggle against Russia to weaken Moscow must be judged in the context that we risk backing Russia into a geostrategic corner – as we have been doing for more than two decades – from which, we may surmise, Moscow could ultimately decide to extricate itself by resorting to nuclear weapons.

INTELLECTUAL CUL DE SAC

Having propelled himself into an intellectual cul de sac, Zizek switches tack. He suddenly changes the terms of the debate entirely. Having completely ignored the U.S. role in bringing us to this point, he now observes:

Not just Ukraine, Europe itself is becoming the place of the proxy war between [the] U.S. and Russia, which may well end up by a compromise between the two at Europe’s expense. There are only two ways for Europe to step out of this place: to play the game of neutrality – a short-cut to catastrophe – or to become an autonomous agent.”

So, we are in a U.S. proxy war – one played out under the bogus auspices of NATO and its “defensive” expansion – but the solution to this problem for Europe is to gain its “autonomy” by …

Well, from everything Zizek has previously asserted in the piece, it seems such autonomy must be expressed by silently agreeing to the U.S. pumping Ukraine full of weapons to fight Russia in a proxy war that is really about weakening Russia rather than saving Ukraine. Only a world-renowned philosopher could bring us to such an intellectually and morally barren place.

The biggest problem for Zizek, it seems, isn’t the U.S. proxy war or Russian “imperialism”, it is the left’s disillusionment with the military industrial complex: “Their true message to Ukraine is: OK, you are victims of a brutal aggression, but do not rely on our arms because in this way you play into the hands of the industrial-military complex,” he writes.

But the concern here is not that Ukraine is playing into the arms of the war industries. It is that Western populations are being played by their leaders – and intellectuals like Zizek – so that they can be delivered, once again, into the arms of the military-industrial complex. The West’s war industries have precisely no interest in negotiations, which is why they are not taking place. It is also the reason why events over three decades have led us to a Russian invasion of Ukraine that most of Washington’s policy makers warned would happen if the U.S. continued to encroach on Russia’s “sphere of influence”.

The left’s message is that we are being conned yet again and that it is long past the time to start a debate. Those debates should have taken place when the U.S. broke its promise not to expand “one inch” beyond Germany. Or when NATO flirted with offering Ukraine membership 14 years ago. Or when the U.S. meddled in the ousting of the elected government of Ukraine in 2014. Or when Kyiv integrated neo-Nazi groups into the Ukrainian army and engaged in a civil war against the Russian parts of its own populace. Or when the U.S. and NATO allowed Kyiv – on the best interpretation – to ignore its obligations under the Minsk agreements with Russia.

None of those debates happened. Which is why a debate in the West is still needed now, at this terribly late stage. Only then might there be a hope that genuine negotiations can take place – before Ukraine is obliterated.

CANNON FODDER

Having exhausted all his hollow preliminary arguments, we get to Zizek’s main beef. With the world polarizing around a sole military superpower, the U.S., and a sole economic superpower, China, Europe and Russia may be forced into each other’s arms in a “Eurasian” block that would swamp European values. For Zizek, that would lead to “fascism”. He writes: “At that point, the European legacy will be lost, and Europe will be de facto divided between an American and a Russian sphere of influence. In short, Europe itself will become the place of a war that seems to have no end.”

Let us set aside whether Europe – all of it, parts of it? – is really a bulwark against fascism, as Zizek assumes. How exactly is Europe to find its power, its sovereignty, in this battle between superpowers? What vehicle is Zizek proposing to guarantee Europe’s autonomy, and how does it differ from the NATO one that is – even Zizek now seems to be conceding – actually just a vassal of the U.S., there to enforce Washington’s global-spanning “sphere of influence” against Russia and China.

Faced with this problem, Zizek quickly retreats into mindless sloganeering: “One cannot be a leftist if one does not unequivocally stand behind Ukraine.” This Bushism – “You are either with us or with the terrorists” – really is as foolish as it sounds.

What does “unequivocal” mean here? Must we “unequivocally stand behind” all of Ukraine’s actions – even should, say, neo-Nazi elements of the Ukrainian military like the Azov Brigade carry out pogroms against the ethnic Russian communities living in Ukraine?

But even more seriously, what does it mean for Europeans to stand “unequivocally” behind Ukraine? Must we approve the supply of U.S. weapons, even though, as Zizek also concedes, Ukraine cannot win the war and is serving primarily as a proxy battleground?

Would “unequivocal support” not require us to pretend that Europe, rather than the U.S., is in charge of NATO policy? Would it not require too that we pretend NATO’s actions are defensive rather intimately tied to advancing the U.S. “sphere of influence” designed to weaken Russia?

And how can our participation in the U.S. ambition to weaken Russia not provoke greater fear in Russia for its future, greater militarism in Moscow, and ensure Europe becomes more of a battleground rather than less of one?

What does “unequivocal” support for Ukraine mean given that Zizek has agreed that the U.S. and Russia are fighting a proxy war, and that Europe is caught in the middle of it? Zizek’s answer is no answer at all. It is nothing more than evasion. It is the rationalization of unprincipled European inaction, of acting as a spectator while the U.S. continues to use Ukrainians as cannon fodder.

MUDDYING THE WATERS

After thoroughly muddying the waters on Ukraine, Zizek briefly seeks safer territory as he winds down his argument. He points out, two decades on, that George W. Bush was similarly a war criminal in invading Iraq, and notes the irony that Julian Assange is being extradited to the U.S. because Wikileaks helped expose those war crimes. To even things up, he makes a counter-demand on “those who oppose Russian invasion” that they fight for Assange’s release – and in doing so implicitly accuses the anti-war movement of supporting Russia’s invasion.

He then plunges straight back into sloganeering in his concluding paragraph: “Ukraine fights for global freedom, inclusive of the freedom of Russians themselves. That’s why the heart of every true Russian patriot beats for Ukraine.” Maybe he should try telling that to the thousands of ethnic Russian families mourning their loved ones killed by the civil war that began raging in eastern Ukraine long before Putin launched his invasion and supposedly initiated his campaign for world domination. Those kinds of Ukrainians may beg to differ, as may Russians worried about the safety and future of their ethnic kin in Ukraine.

As with most things in life, there are no easy answers for Ukraine. But Zizek’s warmongering dressed up as European enlightenment and humanitarianism is a particularly wretched example of the current climate of intellectual and moral vacuity. What we need from public thinkers like Zizek is a clear-sighted roadmap for how we move back from the precipice we are rushing, lemming-like, towards. Instead he is urging us on. A lemming leading the lemmings.

Feature photo | Graphic by MintPress News

Jonathan Cook is a MintPress contributor. Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect MintPress News editorial policy.

China Could Starve US Military-Industrial Complex of Ability to Build Weapons with One Move

 

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360°

TEHRAN (FNA)- China’s control of nearly 90 percent of the world’s supply of rare earth minerals threatens to ground US military aircraft, halt American tanks in their tracks, prevent the country’s most advanced surface-to-air missiles from taking flight, and stop troops from communicating using their portable radios, according to a report.

Congress and the Pentagon are aware of the issue and want throw cash at the problem to solve it, according to a Fox News report.

Late last month, lawmakers on the House Armed Services Committee asked for a special fund in the fiscal 2023 defence budget for rare earth minerals. The Pentagon itself is seeking a $253.5 million cash injection for the procurement of strategic minerals, including titanium, tungsten, and cobalt.

Senate Armed Services Committee lawmakers have put together their own bill, dubbed the REEShore Act, seeking both cash for minerals and government incentives to mine them in the USA.

The bipartisan REEShore Act bill was cosponsored by Republican Tom Cotton and Democrat Mark Kelly, with Kelly, a retired astronaut, claiming he could actually see the impact of China’s rare earths mineral mining while flying in space.

“I’ve flown in space over China many times, orbited this planet hundreds of times. You look down over China and you see like what looks like lakes of very strange colours. And it’s because that they’re processing of things like rare earth metals. It’s a very dirty process”, Kelly told Fox.

Cotton warned that the Pentagon’s existing rare earths stockpiles would last “under a year” if China cut off supplies.

Ronald Reagan Institute director Roger Zakheim complained that the US had effectively “given” China its monopoly in this area.

“We’ve essentially ceded it to China and that impacts everything from our F-35 fighter aircraft to the phones that we use every day in our lives,” he said.

The US was a global leader in rare earths production and processing for most of the 20th century, but ceded its position to China in the 1980s, with the PRC now controlling the vast majority of the market thanks to tightened US environmental regulations, globalisation, and warming US-China ties in the 1990s and 2000s.

Amid the slow souring of relations starting in the mid-late 2010s, US officials and media began complaining about China’s dominance in rare earth minerals, with the issue brought up repeatedly during Washington’s trade wars with Beijing during Donald Trump’s presidency. Over the past three years, US officials and the Pentagon have announced a series of plans to diversify rare earths production and processing to Africa, Australia, and even the UK.

The danger of a Chinese cutoff of US access to strategic minerals has garnered fresh attention under the Joe Biden administration amid the heating up of tensions over a broad range of issues, from US commitments to Taiwan and the challenging of Chinese claims in the South China Sea to Beijing’s diplomatic support for Russia in the Ukraine crisis and unsettled trade and technology disputes.

Chinese industry experts have dismissed the US’ ability to quickly or easily replace the Asian nation’s rare earths, with Renmin University of China researcher Chen Xiaoqin telling Sputnik in 2019 that if the Americans could find an alternative to Chinese supplies, they would have done so a long time ago.

Drew Horn, a former US Army Green Beret-turned-founder of GreenMet, a US hedge fund investing in securing strategic rare earth minerals, told Fox it would take a tremendous amount of effort for the US to challenge China’s hegemony in this sector.

“It’s incredibly difficult to synchronise and bring all of it together in a way that actually moves the needle. Because what you’re talking about is essentially creating a vertically aligned supply chain that now only exists in China,” he complained.

Nikolai Patrushev: Truth Is on Our Side – About the Timing of the Special Operation

June 03, 2022

Source

Translated by Leo V.

Original Link: https://aif.ru/politics/world/pravda_na_nashey_storone_nikolay_patrushev_o_srokah_specoperacii

The special operation in Ukraine brought to a climax the confrontation between Russia and Western countries led by the United States. The battles are going on not only in the vastness of Ukraine, but also in the economic, political and cultural planes.

What threats are facing Russia and how long can the special operation continue, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev told AiF.

What Is the West Trying to Do?

– Gleb Ivanov, AiF.ru: Nikolai Platonovich, the United States and other Western states are openly demonizing Russia, switching to direct insults. What is it connected with?

– Nikolai Patrushev: The style of the Anglo-Saxons has not changed for centuries. And so today they continue to dictate their terms to the world, boorishly trampling on the sovereign rights of states. Covering their actions with words about the struggle for human rights, freedom and democracy, they are actually implementing the doctrine of the “golden billion”, which suggests that a limited number of people can flourish in this world. The destiny of the rest, as they believe, is to bend their backs in the name of their goal.

In order to increase the welfare of a handful of magnates in the City of London and Wall Street, the governments of the United States and United Kingdom, controlled by big capital, are creating an economic crisis in the world, dooming millions of people in Africa, Asia and Latin America to starvation, limiting their access to grain, fertilizers and energy resources. By their actions they are provoking unemployment and a migration catastrophe in Europe. Uninterested in the prosperity of European states, they are doing everything to make them disappear from the pedestal of economically developed countries. And for unconditional control over this region, the Europeans were put on a chair with two legs called NATO and the EU, disdainfully watching how they balance.

– Today, it is increasingly being said that Western pharmaceutical companies are interested in the spread of dangerous diseases and in the daily dependence of mankind on drugs…

– Some experts express an opinion about the man-made coronavirus infection, believing that it could have been created in the Pentagon laboratories with the assistance of a number of major multinational pharmaceutical companies. ClintonRockefellerSoros and Biden funds were involved in this work under state guarantees. Instead of caring for the health of mankind, Washington spends billions on the study of new pathogens. In addition, Western medicine is increasingly practicing genetic engineering, synthetic biology methods, thereby blurring the line between artificial and natural.

– Washington is hatching plans to recognize Russia as a terrorist country, some countries like Lithuania are already officially assigning such a status to Russia…

– As they say, a thief’s hat is on fire. Today it is easier to say which of the largest international terrorist organizations did not arise with American assistance. The United States widely uses them as an instrument of geopolitical confrontation, including with our country. Back in the mid-1980s, under the control of American intelligence services, Al-Qaeda was created on Afghan soil to counter the Soviet Union. In the 1990s, the United States created the Taliban movement to influence Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Guided by their supposedly “national interests”, the United States overthrew objectionable regimes in Libya, Iraq by force of arms, and tried to do it in Syria. And the main striking force in all cases is radical groups, the further unification of which led to the creation of a terrorist monster called the Islamic State, following Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, which got out of control of the Americans.

It is also known about Washington’s warm relations with neo-Nazi thugs in Ukraine.

What Does Denazification Mean?

– There is still a lot of controversy about neo-Nazis in Ukraine. In the West, they unanimously repeat that they are not there. President Biden, asking Congress for billions of dollars in arms supplies to Ukraine, calls this country the front line of the struggle for freedom…

– It’s likely that Westerners will not take off their rose-colored glasses until the brutalized Ukrainian thugs start to rage on their streets. By the way, not only in Europe. Remember the recent shooting in America’s city of Buffalo. I would like to ask the Americans what is the difference between a neo-Nazi who shoots people in a supermarket and the Azov militants, who humiliated and destroyed the civilian population of Donbass every day, year after year?

What is meant by denazification? There has been a lot of talk about it in recent months, but not everyone understands this term.

Everything will become clear if you remember the history. During the Potsdam Conference, the USSR, the USA and Britain signed an agreement on the eradication of German militarism and Nazism.

Denazification meant a number of measures. In addition to punishing Nazi criminals, the laws of the Third Reich were repealed, which legalized discrimination based on race, nationality, language, religion, and political beliefs. Nazi and militaristic doctrines were eliminated from school education.

Our country set such goals in 1945, and we are setting the same goals now, freeing Ukraine from neo-Nazism. However, at that time England and the USA were with us. Today, these countries have taken a different position, supporting Nazism and acting aggressively against most countries of the world.

What Will Happen to Ukraine?

– Some of our readers sometimes express concern, as they write, about “the delay in the timing of the special operation in Ukraine.”

– We are not chasing deadlines. Nazism must either be 100% eradicated, or it will rear its head in a few years, and in an even uglier form.

– How do you assess the chances of a successful completion of the special operation?

– All the goals set by the President of Russia will be fulfilled. It cannot be otherwise, since truth, including historical truth, is on our side. Not for nothing that General Skobelev once said that only our country can afford such a luxury as to fight out of a sense of compassion. Compassion, justice, dignity are powerful unifying ideas that we have always put and will put at the forefront.

– And what fate awaits Ukraine? Will it survive as a state?

– The fate of Ukraine will be determined by the people living on its territory. I would like to remind you that our country has never controlled the fate of sovereign powers. On the contrary, we helped them to defend their statehood. We supported the US during their civil war. France was given repeated assistance. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, they did not allow it to be humiliated, and during the First World War they saved Paris twice. It was the USSR that did not allow the British and Americans in 1945 to divide Germany into many states. It is well known about the decisive role of Moscow in the unification of Germany, which was most opposed by the French and the British. Russia played an equally important role in the history of Polish statehood. At the same time, today the West in every possible way obscures the contribution of our country to the preservation of other states.

– By the way, Finland, which now wants to join NATO, also formed as state inside the Russian Empire?

– You’re right. Moreover, Finland emerged from the Second World War, despite it participating on the side of Germany, with minimal damage to itself thanks to the position of Moscow. Now, together with Sweden, Finland has been persuaded to join NATO, ostensibly for their own security. Turkey and Croatia, however, object, but, I think, all the same, Helsinki and Stockholm will be accepted into the bloc, because Washington decided so, as well as Brussels which is controlled by them. The will of other peoples is not of interest to the leadership of the United States, although, I believe, many of the inhabitants of these countries understand what kind of adventure they are being pushed into.

NATO is not a defensive, but a purely aggressive offensive military bloc, joining it implies the automatic transfer of a significant part of its sovereignty to Washington. If the military infrastructure of the alliance expands on the territory of Finland and Sweden, Russia will perceive this as a direct threat to its own security and will be obliged to respond.

– NATO members persistently nod to the Finns and Swedes at Ukraine…

– But the logic here is the opposite. It was the actual leadership of the NATO members by the Kiev authorities that led to the catastrophic scenario. If Ukraine had remained independent, and not controlled by the current puppet regime, obsessed with the idea of joining NATO and the EU, then it would have long ago expelled all Nazi evil spirits from its land. Meanwhile, an endlessly smoldering conflict in this country is seen as an ideal scenario for the entire North Atlantic alliance led by the United States. The West needs Ukraine as a counterbalance to Russia, and also as a testing ground for the disposal of obsolete weapons. By fueling hostilities, the United States is pumping money into its military-industrial complex, again, as in the wars of the 20th century, remaining on the winning side. At the same time, the United States considers the inhabitants of Ukraine as a consumable material, which has no place in the very “golden billion”.

Forgotten History

– Speaking of billions. Zelensky says Russia must pay reparations to Ukraine…

– It is Russia that has the right to demand reparations from the countries that sponsored the Nazis in Ukraine, and the criminal Kiev regime. The DPR and LPR should demand compensation from them for all material damage for 8 years of aggression. And the Ukrainian people themselves deserve reparations from the main instigators of the conflict, i.e. the United States and United Kingdom, which force Ukrainians to fight, support neo-Nazis, supply them with weapons, send their military advisers and mercenaries.

Many Ukrainians, unfortunately, still believe what the West and the Kiev regime tell them. Sobering up will come sooner or later. They have yet to open their eyes and see that the country actually does not exist, that the gene pool of the people, its cultural memory are being destroyed by Westerners and replaced by rabid gender concepts and empty liberal values.

– Forgetting history and abandoning their values, apparently, the trouble is not only for Ukrainians?

– Of course. Last year I visited the Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Minsk. The guide shared with me her impressions of the visit of a group of students from the United States, who throughout the entire tour doubted whether they were being told the truth in the museum, because they naively believed that it was America that defeated Nazi Germany.

Unfortunately, some school teachers in our country adhere to such a false version of fateful events. Distort the facts and many training guides. The subject of the heroism of the Soviet people during the years of the Great Patriotic War is given little time in history lessons, and in textbooks it is often described superficially. As a result, only a few high school students can name the names of those who won the Victory in 1945 at the cost of their own lives, and almost no one heard about the heroes of the First World War or the Patriotic War of 1812.

Battle For Memory

– What do you see as the reason?

– First of all, we need to look at the training of teaching staff. It’s time to recall the thoughts of Ushinsky and Makarenko that the teacher shapes the personality of the student, and his vocation should not be the provision of services, but enlightenment, education and upbringing. Specialized universities should prepare future teachers as high-class masters, and not stamp them on the assembly line.

Teachers occupy a special place in the life of every citizen, therefore, arbitrary interpretation by individual teachers of world and national history, which undermines the authority of our country and programs the minds of children on the basis of false facts and myths, is unacceptable. The psychological manipulation of youth, the gap between generations, the distortion of historical truth – all this is incompatible with the professional vocation of a teacher.

– I recall the catchphrase attributed to Bismarck that “battles are won by teachers.”

– In my opinion, the idea is certainly true. Especially in the conditions of the hybrid war, which is now deployed against Russia. And in it, teachers are at the forefront. There is a need for personal responsibility of the heads of educational institutions, whose graduates did not hold books on the heroism of the Soviet people during the Great Patriotic War, or have a vague idea of the exploits of those who fought for the Motherland.

It is impossible to push the issues of patriotic education of youth into extracurricular activities. In the reports, all this is described beautifully, but there is no result. In some schools, including private schools, the word ‘patriotism’ is considered obsolete.

– How do you propose to change this situation?

– It is necessary to raise the authority of teachers who are faithful to their profession, devoting their lives to educating true patriots. The most important task today is the revival of historical traditions, as well as the protection of traditional Russian spiritual and moral values. To solve it, a systematic approach to upbringing and education is needed. There is a need to implement the state program in this area at all stages of a person’s maturation and his formation as a citizen. A comprehensive model of this process should be developed.

At present, our students and teachers are actually squeezed out of the Western scientific and educational sphere. I believe it is advisable to abandon the so-called Bologna Process system of education and return to the experience of the world’s best domestic educational model.

In addition, it is necessary to provide for a significant increase in the scale of the state order for the creation of works of literature and art, filmhttp://(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bologna_Process)s and television programs aimed at preserving historical memory, instilling pride in our country and forming a mature civil society, clearly aware of the responsibility for its development and prosperity.

Only in this case, we will be able to successfully counter the threats and challenges that are formed by the collective West to influence the individual, group and public consciousness.

NATO vs Russia: what happens next

In Davos and beyond, NATO’s upbeat narrative plays like a broken record, while on the ground, Russia is stacking up wins that could sink the Atlantic order.

By Pepe Escobar

May 24 2022

Three months after the start of Russia’s Operation Z in Ukraine, the battle of The West (12 percent) against The Rest (88 percent) keeps metastasizing. Yet the narrative – oddly – remains the same.

Photo Credit: The Cradle

On Monday, from Davos, World Economic Forum Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab introduced Ukrainian comedian-cum-President Volodymyr Zelensky, on the latest leg of his weapons-solicitation-tour, with a glowing tribute. Herr Schwab stressed that an actor impersonating a president defending neo-Nazis is supported by “all of Europe and the international order.”

He means, of course, everyone except the 88 percent of the planet that subscribes to the Rule of Law – instead of the faux construct the west calls a ‘rules-based international order.’

Back in the real world, Russia, slowly but surely has been rewriting the Art of Hybrid War. Yet within the carnival of NATO psyops, aggressive cognitive infiltration, and stunning media sycophancy, much is being made of the new $40 billion US ‘aid’ package to Ukraine, deemed capable of becoming a game-changer in the war.

This ‘game-changing’ narrative comes courtesy of the same people who burned though trillions of dollars to secure Afghanistan and Iraq. And we saw how that went down.

Ukraine is the Holy Grail of international corruption. That $40 billion can be a game-changer for only two classes of people: First, the US military-industrial complex, and second, a bunch of Ukrainian oligarchs and neo-connish NGOs, that will corner the black market for weapons and humanitarian aid, and then launder the profits in the Cayman Islands.

A quick breakdown of the $40 billion reveals $8.7 billion will go to replenish the US weapons stockpile (thus not going to Ukraine at all); $3.9 billion for USEUCOM (the ‘office’ that dictates military tactics to Kiev); $5 billion for a fuzzy, unspecified “global food supply chain”; $6 billion for actual weapons and “training” to Ukraine; $9 billion in “economic assistance” (which will disappear into selected pockets); and $0.9 billion for refugees.

US risk agencies have downgraded Kiev to the dumpster of non-reimbursing-loan entities, so large American investment funds are ditching Ukraine, leaving the European Union (EU) and its member-states as the country’s only option.

Few of those countries, apart from Russophobic entities such as Poland, can justify to their own populations sending huge sums of direct aid to a failed state. So it will fall to the Brussels-based EU machine to do just enough to maintain Ukraine in an economic coma – independent from any input from member-states and institutions.

These EU ‘loans’ – mostly in the form of weapons shipments – can always be reimbursed by Kiev’s wheat exports. This is already happening on a small scale via the port of Constanta in Romania, where Ukrainian wheat arrives in barges over the Danube and is loaded into dozens of cargo ships everyday. Or, via convoys of trucks rolling with the weapons-for-wheat racket. However, Ukrainian wheat will keep feeding the wealthy west, not impoverished Ukrainians.

Moreover, expect NATO this summer to come up with another monster psyop to defend its divine (not legal) right to enter the Black Sea with warships to escort Ukrainian vessels transporting wheat. Pro-NATO media will spin it as the west being ‘saved’ from the global food crisis – which happens to be directly caused by serial, hysterical packages of western sanctions.

Poland goes for soft annexation

NATO is indeed massively ramping up its ‘support’ to Ukraine via the western border with Poland. That’s in synch with Washington’s two overarching targets: First, a ‘long war,’ insurgency-style, just like Afghanistan in the 1980s, with jihadis replaced by mercenaries and neo-Nazis.  Second, the sanctions instrumentalized to “weaken” Russia, militarily and economically.

Other targets remain unchanged, but are subordinate to the Top Two: make sure that the Democrats are re-elected in the mid-terms (that’s not going to happen); irrigate the industrial-military complex with funds that are recycled back as kickbacks (already happening); and keep the hegemony of the US dollar by all means (tricky: the multipolar world is getting its act together).

A key target being met with astonishing ease is the destruction of the German – and consequently the EU’s – economy, with a great deal of the surviving companies to be eventually sold off to American interests.

Take, for instance, BMW board member Milan Nedeljkovic telling Reuters that “our industry accounts for about 37 percent of natural gas consumption in Germany” which will sink without Russian gas supplies.

Washington’s plan is to keep the new ‘long war’ going at a not-too-incandescent level – think Syria during the 2010s – fueled by rows of mercenaries, and featuring periodic NATO escalations by anyone from Poland and the Baltic midgets to Germany.

Last week, that pitiful Eurocrat posing as High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, gave away the game when previewing the upcoming meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council.

Borrell admitted that “the conflict will be long” and “the priority of the EU member states” in Ukraine “consists in the supply of heavy weapons.”

Then Polish President Andrzej Duda met with Zelensky in Kiev. The slew of agreements the two signed indicate that Warsaw intends to profit handsomely from the war to enhance its politico-military, economic, and cultural influence in western Ukraine. Polish nationals will be allowed to be elected to Ukrainian government bodies and even aim to become constitutional judges.

In practice, that means Kiev is all but transferring management of the Ukrainian failed state to Poland. Warsaw won’t even have to send troops. Call it a soft annexation.

The steamroller on the move

As it stands, the situation on the battlefield can be examined in this map. Intercepted communications from the Ukrainian command reveal their aim to build a layered defense from Poltava through Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhia, Krivoy Rog, and Nikolaev – which happens to be a shield for the already fortified Odessa. None of that guarantees success against the incoming Russian onslaught.

It’s always important to remember that Operation Z started on February 24 with around 150,000 or so fighters – and definitely not Russia’s elite forces. And yet they liberated Mariupol and destroyed the elite neo-Nazi Azov batallion in a matter of only fifty days, cleaning up a city of 400,000 people with minimal casualties.

While fighting a real war on the ground – not those indiscriminate US bombings from the air – in a huge country against a large army, facing multiple technical, financial and logistical challenges, the Russians also managed to liberate Kherson, Zaporizhia and virtually the whole area of the ‘baby twins,’ the popular republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Russia’s ground forces commander, General Aleksandr Dvornikov, has turbo-charged missile, artillery and air strikes to a pace five times faster than during the first phase of Operation Z, while the Ukrainians, overall, are low or very low on fuel, ammo for artillery, trained specialists, drones, and radars.

What American armchair and TV generals simply cannot comprehend is that in Russia’s view of this war – which military expert Andrei Martyanov defines as a “combined arms and police operation” – the two top targets are the destruction of all military assets of the enemy while preserving the life of its own soldiers.

So while losing tanks is not a big deal for Moscow, losing lives is. And that accounts for those massive Russian bombings; each military target must be conclusively destroyed. Precision strikes are crucial.

There is a raging debate among Russian military experts on why the Ministry of Defense does not go for a fast strategic victory. They could have reduced Ukraine to rubble – American style – in no time. That’s not going to happen. The Russians prefer to advance slowly and surely, in a sort of steamroller pattern. They only advance after sappers have fully surveilled the terrain; after all there are mines everywhere.

The overall pattern is unmistakable, whatever the NATO spin barrage. Ukrainian losses are becoming exponential – as many as 1,500 killed or wounded each day, everyday. If there are 50,000 Ukrainians in the several Donbass cauldrons, they will be gone by the end of June.

Ukraine must have lost as many as 20,000 soldiers in and around Mariupol alone. That’s a massive military defeat, largely surpassing Debaltsevo in 2015 and previously Ilovaisk in 2014. The losses near Izyum may be even higher than in Mariupol. And now come the losses in the Severodonetsk corner.

We’re talking here about the best Ukrainian forces. It doesn’t even matter that only 70 percent of Western weapons sent by NATO ever make it to the battlefield: the major problem is that the best soldiers are going…going…gone, and won’t be replaced. Azov neo-Nazis, the 24th Brigade, the 36th Brigade, various Air Assault brigades – they all suffered losses of 60+ percent or have been completely demolished.

So the key question, as several Russian military experts have stressed, is not when Kiev will ‘lose’ as a point of no return; it is how many soldiers Moscow is prepared to lose to get to this point.

The entire Ukrainian defense is based on artillery. So the key battles ahead involve long-range artillery. There will be problems, because the US is about to deliver M270 MLRS systems with precision-guided ammunition, capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 70 kilometers or more.

Russia, though, has a counterpunch: the Hermes Small Operational-Tactical Complex, using high precision munitions, possibility of laser guidance, and a range of more than 100 kilometers. And they can work in conjunction with the already mass-produced Pantsir air defense systems.

The sinking ship

Ukraine, within its current borders, is already a thing of the past. Georgy Muradov, permanent representative of Crimea to the President of Russia and Deputy Prime Minister of the Crimean government, is adamant: “Ukraine in the form in which it was, I think, will no longer remain. This is already the former Ukraine.”

The Sea of ​​Azov has now become a “sea of ​​joint use” by Russia and the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), as confirmed by Muradov.

Mariupol will be restored. Russia has had plenty of experience in this business in both Grozny and Crimea. The Russia-Crimea land corridor is on. Four hospitals among five in Mariupol have already reopened and public transportation is back, as well as three gas stations.

The imminent loss of Severodonetsk and Lysichansk will ring serious alarm bells in Washington and Brussels, because that will represent the beginning of the end of the current regime in Kiev. And that, for all practical purposes – and beyond all the lofty rhetoric of “the west stands with you” – means heavy players won’t be exactly encouraged to bet on a sinking ship.

On the sanctions front, Moscow knows exactly what to expect, as detailed by Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov: “Russia proceeds from the fact that sanctions against it are a rather long-term trend, and from the fact that the pivot to Asia, the acceleration of reorientation to eastern markets, to Asian markets is a strategic direction for Russia. We will make every effort to integrate into value chains precisely together with Asian countries, together with Arab countries, together with South America.”

On efforts to “intimidate Russia,” players would be wise to listen to the hypersonic sound of 50 Sarmat state-of-the-art missiles ready for combat this autumn, as explained by Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin.

This week’s meetings in Davos brings to light another alignment forming in the world’s overarching unipolar vs. multipolar battle. Russia, the baby twins, Chechnya and allies such as Belarus are now pitted against ‘Davos leaders’ – in other words, the combined western elite, with a few exceptions like Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Zelensky will be fine. He’s protected by British and American special forces. The family is reportedly living in an $8 million mansion in Israel. He owns a $34 million villa in Miami Beach, and another in Tuscany. Average Ukrainians were lied to, robbed, and in many cases, murdered, by the Kiev gang he presides over – oligarchs, security service (SBU) fanatics, neo-Nazis. And those Ukrainians that remain (10 million have already fled) will continue to be treated as expendable.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir “the new Hitler” Putin is in absolutely no hurry to end this larger than life drama that is ruining and rotting the already decaying west to its core. Why should he? He tried everything, since 2007, on the “why can’t we get along” front. Putin was totally rejected. So now it’s time to sit back, relax, and watch the Decline of the West.

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

Is US Commitment to Ukraine War at Tipping Point?

22 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Alastair Crooke 

For now, the goal for Ukraine and its NATO allies should be to contain the Russian offensive within southeastern Ukraine, push Putin’s forces back where possible – and make this war too painful for Russia to continue indefinitely’.

The war in Ukraine has unfolded, but not in the way western commentary foresaw

Are we seeing an inflection point in the conflict over Ukraine, which growing numbers of US lawmakers tell us is, in truth, a US ‘war’ on Russia?  What the latter means however, is not clear, but it sounds like the early laying down of a narrative for possible military escalation. But is military escalation still feasible? 

It is perhaps too early to claim strategic ‘inflection’ — but what does seem to be happening is that mis-matched timelines are grinding out their ineluctable and harsh realities.

At the very outset of the Russian operations, Biden authorised emergency spending, and of US military trainers on the spot providing intelligence and tactical targeting guidance to help the Ukrainian army destroy Russian forces. The Ukrainians get it all — every twitch in Russian operational deployment is handed immediately to Russia’s enemies.

Concomitantly, as a contribution to info-war, military experts appeared across western MSM to herald an imminent “Ukrainian victory” based on the country’s allegedly ‘spectacular battlefield successes’ and Russia’s ‘extraordinary incompetence’. The US and British rush to judgement partly reflected a real failure on their part to recognise that Russia was mounting a soft, slow and steady campaign of manoeuvre — because simply that is not ‘how we in the West do things’.  

However, much of it almost certainly reflected an uncritical 100% reliance on Ukrainian sources, and on wishful thinking. After the enormous eight-year investment in the training and equipping of the quarter-million Ukrainian army to NATO standards, the latter surely would prevail (they imagined) against a mere 140,000 Russians.  The desire to erase the humiliation of the twenty year NATO training programme in Afghanistan – that unravelled in eleven days – almost certainly contributed to the western gung ho rhetoric: ‘Vindication at last’.

In the last few days, US Defence Secretary Austin called General Shoigu (the first call, since the start of operations that Shoigu has accepted to take). Austin asked for an immediate ceasefire. Shoigu however, declined the request.

At about the same moment, Chancellor Scholz called President Putin (and had a long discussion).  Scholz also wanted an immediate ceasefire, but his focus was more on agreeing some swap, by which the besieged Avozstal fighters could withdraw from the underground Avozstal tunnels.  

The western efforts to secure release of these fighters has been at the forefront of initiatives over the last week. Scholz also raised his hopes for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine issue, but Putin was no more yielding than was Shoigu. (Interestingly, Scholz also, according to the read-out, broached the coming global food emergency in his call).

Europe has painted itself into a corner on its political initiatives. The obvious retort to Europe’s plea to Putin is: Go and persuade Zelensky. But Europe has unreservedly pinned itself to Zelensky alone determining the terms of any ceasefire — and he says he will not yield anything to Russia, and will only speak with Putin without any framework agreed in advance.

Nonetheless, here we have two Western leaders suing for a cessation of military action. 

The war in Ukraine has unfolded, but not in the way western commentary foresaw. Ukrainian forces look shattered and exhausted. Supplies and reinforcements are not reaching the Ukrainian troops who now are largely unable to move, or re-deploy away from fixed defensive positions along the Slovyansk-Severodonetsk–Donetsk lines.  And these lines are looking vulnerable to collapse. 

Confronted with the unambiguous failure of assistance to rescue Ukrainian forces from certain destruction, the Biden administration is pivoting its narrative: the New York Times is saying that Russian forces have advanced to the border between Donetsk and Luhansk, [which] if confirmed makes it more probable that Russia could entirely control Donbas. And the Washington Post reports that Biden wants now to pivot to Asia, ‘after the Ukraine war marked a rallying moment for the geo-political West. It triggered a new steely approach by Europeans to confront Russia and spurred the imminent expansion of NATO.

And David Ignatius, a bell weather for Washington shifts, also reports: ‘The world will eventually celebrate a final Ukrainian victory and the expulsion of the last Russian invader. But that could be years, even decades, away. We aren’t going to see a peace treaty signed any time soon. For a long while, Ukraine is likely to be a partially divided country. For now, the goal for Ukraine and its NATO allies should be to contain the Russian offensive within southeastern Ukraine, push Putin’s forces back where possible – and make this war too painful for Russia to continue indefinitely’.

Scholtz’s telecon too, suggests that the EU is waking up to the merciless reality of timelines in the sphere of sanctions. Instead of being able to trigger an almost instantaneous collapse of the Russian economy, the latter is doing okay — quite okay, despite sanctions. It looks as if it is the EU’s plans rather, for an oil embargo, that are rapidly unravelling. And instead of a quick win (again as confidently forecast by the experts), the EU now faces the long grinding down of its economy, through energy, food and inflationary crises.

It does sound like Biden is talking-the-talk of a ‘pivot’, having ‘got the reality’. The rushing through of the $40 billion package may well represent a consolation prize (slush fund) for the Military Industrial Complex and for certain allies in Ukraine to be rewarded, but the question is, will Washington subsequently walk-the-walk?  

An escalation through Poland seizing its ‘historic lands’ in Ukraine (the western part), could be used to present the American people with a war that Americans do not want, but cannot easily stop. Such Polish intervention would please Neo-con currents in the US and UK, though the expected follow-through for this current would be far from smooth sailing, if pursued.

Conflict involving Russians and Poles in any form would likely trigger a call for the NATO council to meet, and to address Article V of the NATO Treaty that provides for support from all members, should a NATO member (in this case Poland) be attacked.

Note however, that such support is not automatic. In the case of Turkey having shot down a Russian fighter jet, Turkey attempted to frame any Russian retribution as an Article V event — however NATO member states disagreed, arguing that Turkey was the author of its own misfortune, and that it would have to deal with the consequences alone.

War with Russia is precisely what the Pentagon and most NATO members do not want. This is a strong card in the Russian hand.

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

Gonzalo Lira: The Pentagon Says: Russia No—But China Yes

May 17, 2022

Nothing to Celebrate?

May 11, 2022

Source

by James Tweedie

On May 8, when Victory in Europe (VE) Day is celebrated in the West, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield told CNN that Russia had “nothing to celebrate” on its own Victory Day on May 9.

Her reasoning, faithfully transcribed on the US mission’s website, was that “They have not succeeded in defeating the Ukrainians.”

Given that Victory Day and VE Day both specifically commemorate the allied defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, Thomas-Greenfield’s comments were like saying the US, Britain and France had nothing to celebrate this year because they got chased out of Afghanistan by the Taliban last August.

The ambassador is either an apologist for Nazism or merely too ignorant to do her job. She should at least read some objective reports about the conflict in the Ukraine.

In fact Russians had two immediate military victories to celebrate that Monday. Russian and Lugansk People’s Republic troops captured the town of Popasna, a lynchpin in the Ukrainian army’s defensive line that it had held for eight years.

Meanwhile Kiev, apparently desperate for a victory of its own to rain on the parade through Moscow’s Red Square, launched an airborne and marine assault on the now-famous Zmeinyy (Snake) Island off the coast of Odessa oblast.

Some sources say the Russians withdrew their small force holding the island as bait for a trap, but either way it went horribly wrong for the Ukrainians. They lost four jet fighters and strike aircraft, up to 10 helicopters, a corvette and three infantry landing craft. More than 60 of their personnel were killed, of which 27 were abandoned on the island.

The Ukraine is like a bull elephant that has been shot right in the heart in mid-charge. The beast keeps on bellowing and rampaging around, not yet realising that it’s already dead.

It becomes clearer by the day that the Ukrainian army attempting to occupy the remains of the Donbass republics, newly recognised by Russia just as the West ‘recognised’ its creations of Kosovo and South Sudan, is dead on its feet.

Its navy, air force, artillery, tanks and transportation are almost destroyed. Its casualties are replaced with boys and old men press-ganged off the streets of Kiev and Lvov, some without proper boots. Its senior officers are fled or dead.

Meanwhile the collective West, dominated as always by the Washington, pours in its hodgepodge of arms that belong in a museum, not on the battlefield. The latest arrivals are the 90 much-vaunted 155mm howitzers donated by the Pentagon — and made in UK, because the US military-industrial complex seemingly can’t produce a simple towed cannon any more.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin insisted on April 28 that the artillery pieces would prove “decisive” in the war with Russia. The former Raytheon executive can’t stop speaking in his arms industry sales patter. 90 guns is about what the Ukrainian army is losing every week. What use are they anyway against Russia’s hypersonic missiles, with a range of hundreds of miles and an accuracy radius of seven metres?

Pouring random assortments of arms into a country and expecting it to win against a well-organised and equipped opponent is just as incoherent a strategy as the war of attrition the US waged in Vietnam, or sending a whole army into a frontal assault on a mountain pass defended by a thousand.

Who is going to operate all this stuff if most of the experienced weapon and vehicle crews have become casualties or prisoners? How is it even supposed to get to the front when Russia has air superiority over the country and stand-off weapons that can reach right out to the border with Poland and kill hundreds of foreign mercenaries?

“Ukraine clearly believes it can win and so does everyone here,” Austin told his NATO counterparts at the Rammstein airbase a few days earlier, in a touching display of mass delusion on a US-occupied piece of Germany. “Ukraine needs our help to win today and they will still need our help when the war is over.”

In a pre-recorded virtual address to the Ukrainian parliament on May 3, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made similar exhortations. “The so-called irresistible force of Putin’s war machine has broken on the immoveable object of Ukrainian patriotism,” Johnson declared triumphantly. “Ukraine will win, Ukraine will be free.”

Kiev is claiming it can rebuild its exhausted, demoralised, bled-white army in the west of the country — or better yet, in NATO-member Poland — and march east in a great wave of self-righteous retribution to reclaim the Donbass and Crimea.

This is accompanied by bizarre fascistic artwork of crusader knights, flying the 30-year-old Ukrainian flag, slaughtering Russian army orcs — literal fantasy role-playing game orcs with the letter ‘Z’ marked on their foreheads. And Western leaders are actually taking this stuff seriously.

Austin believes that fighting this war the last drop of Ukrainian blood will weaken the Russian military enough that it won’t be able to fight another war for years to come. Not so long ago this retired four-star general publicly referred to present-day Russia as the Soviet Union, whether by accident or on purpose we do not now.

Perhaps Austin should read a little history and discover that the USSR lost 27 million human lives in the war against Nazi Germany and its many European fascist allies, all now current or prospective NATO members.

Six million Soviets soldiers and partisans fell on the battlefield. Three million more were murdered by the Nazis as as prisoners of war, along with 18 million civilians.

Yet the Soviet Union emerged from that cataclysmic war stronger than ever, as the superpower that counter-balanced the US in the post-war order.

Like Germany in 1945, the Ukraine is marching fanatically towards its terrible Götterdämmerung, leaving a trail of footprints in its own blood. And NATO is standing behind, cheering it on and prolonging the death-agony.

Yemen & Ukraine: A tale of two wars

1 April 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen Net

Fra Hughes 

The media tries to make us believe that black is white, that the aggressors are the victims, and the oppressed are the villains.

Yemen & Ukraine: Compare and contrast a tale of two wars

Two very distinct and separate wars are concurrently happening in West Asia and Eastern Europe.

Both wars have their origins in people fighting to free themselves from a corrupt government.

The Yemini people rose in a popular revolution against a corrupt regime that acted in the interests of regional and international power blocks and not in the interests of its people.

The people of Ukraine found themselves the victim of a regime change operation in 2014 resulting in a coup that forced the democratically elected leader Viktor Fedorovych Yanukovych to flee for his life as a fascist junta was installed.

While the people of Yemen fought for independence and free sovereignty, the people of Ukraine were facing a government led by neo-Nazis, Russophobic ultra-nationalists who were determined to destroy one-third of the population who are Russian-speaking Ukrainians. The specter of the Great Patriotic war loomed over the people as echoes and ghosts from 1941 returned to haunt the people who had defeated fascism in Ukraine and liberated the country from the Nazi occupation.

So we have a tale of two wars.

When the people led the revolution of Yemen threatened the Saudi favored government, the incumbent President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi fled to Riyad and with the help of mercenaries, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, planes armed with American and British bombs directed and controlled by “Israel”i American and British military advisers, Hadi continued his war against the Yemeni people to regain power.

Yemen armed forces and the popular mobilization units of the Ansurallah resistance movement have resisted all the efforts to date by Hadi, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, America, and the West to reinstall his puppet regime.

In Ukraine, we had a popular resistance to a foreign installed coup when the people of Donbas and Crimea fought for autonomy and the universal basic human right to live free from an unelected undemocratic fascist government hell-bent on destroying their culture and ethnicity and even their very lives of those who dared to resist.

Two separate conflicts both with similar origins and one common enemy 

In Yemen, the people fought a corrupt foreign-backed government. In Ukraine, the people fought against a foreign installed government. 

America backed the unpopular and elected unopposed President of Yemen.

America also backed financed directed and controlled the coup in Ukraine.

In the geopolitical machinations of American foreign policy, they effectively created both wars;

The war on Yemen presently occurring has the backing of the Biden administration as they help reinforce the illegal inhuman siege of the country while they also arm and direct the aerial bombing campaign which destroys Yemeni lives, infrastructure, hospitals, schools, roads and bridges. They also prevent food, aid medicine and fuel from being delivered, to alleviate the worst excesses of the war which they control.

It is a proxy war on Iran led by America Saudi Arabia the EU Britain and “Israel”. Every death has been and continues to be avoidable, if only the political will existed to hold a ceasefire and end the violence.

But the alliance of the unholy does not want peace, because war sells.

It sells weapons and it sells shares.

The military-industrial complex which finances and supports the American political system is making vast profits.

Profits that help bolster election campaigns and private bank accounts.

In Ukraine, after the people of Donbas and Crimea secured their freedom, a continued low-level conflict was encouraged to keep the drums of war beating,

Kiev refused to implement the Minsk Agreements of 2014 and 2015 which recognized the Republic of Donetsk and Lugansk and was the basis of a bilateral ceasefire that was constantly broken by Ukrainian shelling along the contact line killing thousand and injuring many more over the last 8 years.

Biden was the Vice President in 2014 when the coup was installed in Kiev.

Since his return to power as President, he has supplied the Ukrainian fascist forces with modern state-of-the-art armaments and encouraged Zelensky to saber rattle for war with Russia.

Biden has used Ukraine in a proxy war with Russia.

Putin and the elected government of Russia supported by Belarus and Georgia among others of the Russian Federation sent the army into Ukraine to prevent a potential massacre of the people of Donbas and Crimea as 120,000 Ukrainian battle-ready troops prepared to invade.

We have millions of displaced Ukrainians. We have thousands dead and wounded and a prospect of a long war between a resupplied Ukrainian army in the west of Ukraine and the now liberated areas of east Ukraine under Russian protection.

In Yemen, we have hundreds of thousands dead and injured. Millions of refugees and up to 25 million people face famine, death through starvation 

It is reported a Yemeni child dies every ten minutes from this sanction-induced man-made famine.

America Britain NATO and increasingly “Israel” are involved in both conflicts.

Western imperialism and American unipolar hegemony are increasingly leading to war conflict death displacement and starvation on a global scale.

While the poorest Arab country defends its sovereignty against a coalition of some of the richest countries on the planet, Yemen with its increasingly sophisticated drone and ballistic missile capacity equips its military with the expertise to target anywhere in Saudi Arabia the Emirates and even further afield, it is only a matter of time before Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates realized that their war which has already failed, may very well lead to the destruction of the Saudi and Emirati economies.

In Ukraine, the fallout from the Russian invasion has already led to fuel price hikes in America and Europe with more economic hardships to be suffered not by the rich elite who are fueling these wars but by the people already struggling under neoliberal austerity measures so much favored by the IMF and the privatization sector in western governmental structures that reinvents itself with each new administration.

While Yemen’s lives count for nothing in West Asia and Ukrainian refugees fleeing to Russia are invisible, we witness the propaganda machine, which brooks no dissent, savagely attacks Russia as the aggressor and promotes western Ukrainians as the victims.

While Yemen is portrayed as the aggressor and Saudi Arabia as the victim much like the Palestinians are terrorists and the “Israel” is are just a peace-loving nation that desires only to live without fear.  

The media tries to make us believe that black is white, that the aggressors are the victims, and the oppressed are the villains.

These may be two conflicts but it has one origin.

American foreign policy has no regard for morality, humanity, dignity or life, it is directed by the corporate desire to control the world markets, create division and profit, in equal measure, destroy any dissent and control the sovereign resources of other nations.

They used to do it by military occupation directly as they did in Iraq, Vietnam, and Ireland but now its proxy wars using unilateral coercive measures, financial sanctions, proxy wars and regime change black operations through the CIA and NGOs.

We must all stand with Yemen, Donbas and Crimea, Palestine and Cuba, Venezuela and Iran, Lebanon and Syria, North Korea and Nicaragua, indeed everywhere that stands against imperialism and for a multipolar world.

The destruction of the global south which sees the wealth of those nations flow to the Northern hemisphere must stop.

We are living in an ever-changing world.

I pray for the death of imperialism and the triumph of socialism in a multi-polar global economy where wealth and resources are shared for the benefit of the people, for all mankind, and not the elite.

Eat the rich, end the wars, support the resistance. 

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

The Prospect of Peace and its Enemies

 

BY GILAD ATZMON

The USA, Britain and NATO  believe that the war in Ukraine makes Russia weak, reduces Putin into an Amalek figure, makes NATO strong and will lead to an extensive boost to the USA’s military industrial complex. Accordingly, Biden, Johnson and NATO want an indefinite continuation of the war. 

 

It is time to identify who needs the war to continue as Biden is not alone on that front.  Zelensky also wants the war to continue. He knows that any agreement with Russia would make his situation ‘very complicated.’ Ukrainian nationalists who appear  to be bravely fighting  the Russian army and are lauded by every Western MSM outlet, won’t accept a single territorial concession. It is hard to imagine the war coming to an end without such a concession especially given Russia’s clear territorial gains in the south, the east and the north.   And Zelensky, the actor, knows that his current theatrical role is, beyond doubt, the peak of his career. From now on it is downhill. For Zelensky, the war ought to continue forever. 

 

And what about the Ukrainian people, do they want the war to end? It depends who you ask. If you follow the British and American press you are given the impression that Ukrainians are united behind their leader in a collective and suicidal mission. But the truth is that four million have left the country, ten million have been displaced within Ukraine and these numbers are increasing daily. The country is being systematically destroyed, some of its cities reduced to dust. If this is what the  people want, as the BBC wants us to believe, the war will never end.  If, instead, the Ukrainians are ordinary human beings, which is more likely and an intelligent assumption, they must be very tired of the disaster inflicted on them by their leader and the warmongering West. As ordinary human beings, Ukrainians care for the future of the land, their kids, their cities, their culture, their heritage –  they may well want to preserve it all rather than to die in the ‘name of it.’

 

We often read that Zelensky pleads with Israel to broker a peace deal with Russia despite the fact that Israel isn’t exactly the most  natural candidate as a broker for harmonious coexistence. A lot has been written in recent years about the Israeli and Ukrainian fantasy of replacing Russia as  Europe’s primary suppliers of  gas. The current  war in Ukraine positions Israel as the potential primary European gas supplier. This week  Israel’s prominent news channel N12 stated that  “Israel will help Europe to cut itself off from Russian gas.” N12 reports that in a Paris International Energy Agency conference the Israeli Energy Minister began discussions regarding the immediate export of Israeli gas to Europe.   

 

Why did Putin rush to save Syria and the Assad regime? One answer is that Russia needed a Mediterranean  port for its navy. Why would the Russians need such a port on the Eastern Mediterranean shore? One possible answer: Putin understood that he might have to interfere with a potential  underwater gas pipe from Gaza’s seashore to Greece. The port of Latakia places the Russian Navy in a crucial strategic position to undermine such a project.   In other words, despite his current collaboration with Israel on Syria, Putin has known for a while that a naval conflict with Israel is inevitable.  Of course, the Israelis also know that.

 

But Israel’s enthusiasm for the ‘peace negotiator role’ has other crucial ingredients. Israel’s current economic strength is largely the outcome of the Jewish state establishing itself as a safe haven for Russian oligarchs’ mammon, and many of these oligarchs are Jewish and also Israeli citizens. If Israel becomes  a ‘peace broker’  then Israel, due to neutrality,  won’t have to participate in the sanction carnival against Russia.  If the war goes on indefinitely, Israel won’t just maintain the constant flow of Russian wealth into its banks, it will actually become the primary escape route for Russian money. For the obvious reasons, Zelensky insists peace talks resume in Jerusalem under the auspices of PM Bennett. Putin, however,  doesn’t seem enthusiastic about the Jerusalem option. He may grasp by now what Israel is like and what it is after.

 

Putin is a living riddle. I have  good reason to believe that he isn’t mentally unstable  as he is often described in Western MSM. More likely, this experienced tactician has some geo-political  and militarily objectives in mind. But the problem is that no one seems to know what these objectives are. I, for instance,  don’t believe that Putin intended  to invade Kyiv or any other large Ukrainian city except perhaps strategic assets such as Mariupol.   I am also convinced that Putin didn’t plan to ‘impose regime change’ in Ukraine. Putin probably saw a growing military danger from Ukraine and its expanding Western inclinations. He most likely wanted to obliterate  Ukraine’s military ability and by doing so, deliver a clear message to every Eastern European country. Putin wanted and still desires  to eventually settle the conflict with Ukraine’s  democratically elected leader, i.e. Zelensky. More than anyone around, Putin needs Zelensky well and alive at least until the conclusion of his military manoeuvre.

 

As such Putin  may be the only  player  in this horrid deadly theatre with a clear exit strategy and a plan for future coexistence.  He may be the only world leader who envisages an end to this conflict. His vision may be unacceptable to the entire West at this stage. It may be very unpopular in Ukraine and for obvious reasons. But as it seems no one in the West has dared to challenge Russia militarily and I guess that this is partially because no one in the Western military elite really buys into the popular narrative of the Russian army being ‘weak’ and ‘defeated.’   

 

It occurs to me that when Biden called for Putin’s removal in Poland yesterday, it is because Putin is aiming at a conclusive end to this tragic drama in Ukraine, hopefully soon, while Biden and his many partners see a benefit to prolonging  this disaster forever.  

Ukraine crisis increases European demand for US drones, missiles

17 Mar 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen Net 

European governments are approaching the US government and defense contractors with a shopping list of arms, with the Ukraine crisis driving an increase in demand.

A US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone sits in a hanger at Amari Air Base, Estonia, July 1, 2020 (Reuters)

As Russia’s operation in Ukraine ramps up, Europe’s governments have readied shopping lists of arms for the US government and its defense contractors.

The list includes drones, missiles, and missile defenses. Germany, which is nearing a deal for 35 F-35 jet fighters, inquired about systems to defend against ballistic missiles, while Poland was looking to purchase Reaper drones from the US according to a Polish government official.

“This order is an answer to (the) … security situation, particularly in central and eastern Europe,” Krzysztof Platek, a spokesperson for the Polish Defence Ministry’s Armament Agency, said in an interview on Wednesday.

Other countries in Eastern Europe have also submitted requests for weapons being used by Ukraine against Russia’s forces, such as anti-aircraft Stinger missiles and anti-tank Javelin missiles.

Keeping up with demand

Mara Karlin, a Pentagon assistant secretary of defense said last week that the US’ European allies are “doubling down” on their defense spending.

Moreover, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Administration is having weekly meetings to review requests related to the approval of arms sales to foreign governments by US contractors. A team has been set up to respond to the increased demand.

“The Department of Defense is exploring options to support Ukraine’s needs, rapidly replenish U.S. inventories and backfill depleted stocks of allies and partners,” a senior Defense official said according to Reuters, adding that the Pentagon was working with contractors on ways to “mitigate supply chain constraints (and) accelerate production timelines.”

The potential surge in sales of US weaponry raised Lockheed Martin’s stock by 8.3% and Raytheon’s by 3.9%. The two manufacturers jointly produce Javelins, while Raytheon produces Stingers.

 Will the Military Industrial Complex Permit Good Relations Between the U.S. and China?

November 16, 2021

British and Australian armies’ veteran, former deputy head of the UN military mission in Kashmir and Australian defense attaché in Pakistan

Brian Cloughley

The world would benefit enormously if Joe Biden terminated its ascent by coming to terms with China and Russia, Brian Cloughley writes.

At the recent semi-successful United Nations COP26 conference on climate change there was an unexpected revelation that the U.S. and China had engaged in some thirty virtual meetings on the subject over the past year. Their decision to “jointly strengthen climate action” was very welcome from the environment point of view, and even more welcome because it demonstrated that Washington and Beijing could actually get along in one aspect of international relations. It also raised the question as to whether they could ever sit down together and discuss the equally pressing problem of looming conflict.

When U.S. climate envoy John Kerry announced the agreement he acknowledged that although “the United States and China have no shortage of differences” it seemed that “on climate, cooperation is the only way to get this job done.” In this, however, he seemed to be taking a different track to President Joe Biden, who played into the ever-welcoming hands of Washington hawks on November 2 when he castigated Presidents Xi and Putin for non-appearance at the COP gathering. This, he declared, was a “big mistake” and contrasted with the fact that “we showed up” but “they didn’t show up… It is a gigantic issue and they just walked away. How do you do that and claim to have any leadership mantle?”

It is barely credible that the President of the United States would state that the Presidents of the world’s other most important countries are not effective leaders. The BBC’s record of his diatribe is disturbing, as it demonstrates a desire for confrontation rather than a genuine preparedness to calm things down. He said that “the fact that China is trying to assert, understandably, a new role in the world as a world leader — not showing up, come on.” He continued by declaring that Russia’s wilderness was burning while President Putin “stays mum” about the problem. He did not know, or deliberately ignored the fact that, as the BBC reported, “before Mr Biden’s speech Mr Putin virtually addressed a meeting on forest management at the COP26 summit on Tuesday, saying that Russia takes the ‘strongest and most vigorous measures to conserve’ woodlands.”

There was little surprise that as COP26 was drawing to a close, President Xi warned against a return to “Cold War-era” divisions when it was made known that he and President Biden would meet on November 15. He said plainly that “attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geopolitical grounds are bound to fail,” and China’s Ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, expanded on the subject at a function in Washington of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, saying that China “always bears in mind the fundamental interests of the people of both countries and the whole world, and handles China-U.S. relations from a strategic and long-term perspective”.

Most people are aware that China has a long-term view on its place in the world, and even President Biden, in his message to the gathering, declared that “from tackling the Covid-19 pandemic to addressing the existential threat of climate crisis, the relationship between the U.S. and China has global significance. Solving these challenges and seizing these opportunities will require the broader international community to come together as we each do our part to build a safe, peaceful and resilient future.” He did not, however, place any emphasis on bilateral negotiations, which was left to President Xi, who wrote that “China-U.S. relations are at a critical historical juncture. Both countries will gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is the only right choice.”

President Xi’s desire that China should get together with the United States specifically to plan a joint way ahead for a peaceful future has not been echoed in Washington where, as reported by the Straits Times, “the White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated that Washington and Beijing had ‘an agreement in principle’ to have a virtual summit before the end of the year.” Her explanation was that “this is part of our ongoing efforts to responsibly manage the competition between our countries,” while stressing that it was “not about seeking specific deliverables.” In other words, don’t let anybody get their hopes up that Mr Biden would pursue collaboration that will lead to improved bilateral relations. He might not go so far down into the insult sewer as to reiterate his previous public declaration that Mr Xi doesn’t have a “leadership mantle”, but it is unlikely there will be long-term substance.

It is not surprising that Mr Biden is reluctant to compromise, because the Pentagon and its associates have already notified the world they consider China to be menacing and that the United States should “meet the pacing challenge presented by the PRC’s increasingly capable military and its global ambitions”.

In its November 3 Report to Congress, the Pentagon details “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China” and presents the Pentagon’s case for continuing to expand the U.S. military and acquire even more staggeringly expensive weaponry. As the New York Times reported, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said that China “is clearly challenging us regionally, and their aspiration is to challenge us globally… they have a China dream, and they want to challenge the so-called liberal rules-based order.” The Washington Post noted the Report’s concern about China’s global vision, in that it “already has established a military base in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa. To support its goals, it wants to build more facilities overseas and is considering more than a dozen countries that include Cambodia, Pakistan and Angola. Such a network could interfere with U.S. military operations and support offensive operations against the United States.”

The Pentagon’s warning that China’s establishment of a military base in a foreign country constitutes a threat is absurd to the point of risibility, especially in the context of the U.S. military footprint which extends to “750 military base sites estimated in around 80+ foreign countries and colonies/territories.” Further, it is calculated that the U.S. spends more on its military than the combined defence budgets of eleven major countries : China, India, Russia, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Australia.

It is not surprising that William Hartung and Mandy Smithberger wrote in TomDispatch on November 9 that “The arms industry’s lobbying efforts are especially insidious. In an average year, it employs around 700 lobbyists, more than one for every member of Congress… A 2018 investigation by the Project On Government Oversight found that, in the prior decade, 380 high-ranking Pentagon officials and military officers had become lobbyists, board members, executives, or consultants for weapons contractors within two years of leaving their government jobs.” And of even more concern for the workings of democracy it is sinister, in the words of Dan Auble, that “defence companies spend millions every year lobbying politicians and donating to their campaigns. In the past two decades, their extensive network of lobbyists and donors have directed $285 million in campaign contributions and $2.5 billion in lobbying spending to influence defence policy.”

Good luck to Mr Biden. Let us hope that he will sacrifice popularity for peace and that he will bear in mind the words of his illustrious predecessor President Eisenhower, sixty years ago, that “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Indeed it has risen. But the world would benefit enormously if Joe Biden terminated its ascent by coming to terms with China and Russia.

AMERICA 2021 (Paul Joseph Watson)

January 24, 2021

Paul Joseph Watson

boys are back in town.

The Making of US Empire at the dawning of its end

The Making of US Empire at the dawning of its end

January 21, 2021

by Pepe Escobar posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

As the Exceptional Empire gets ready to brave a destructive – and self-destructive – new cycle, with dire, unforeseen consequences bound to reverberate across the world, now more than ever it is absolutely essential to go back to the imperial roots.

The task is fully accomplished by

Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy , by Stephen Wertheim, Deputy Director of Research and Policy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and a research scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University.

Here, in painstaking detail, we can find when, why and especially who shaped the contours of US “internationalism” in a roomful of mirrors always disguising the real, ultimate aim: Empire.

Wertheim’s book was superbly reviewed by Prof. Paul Kennedy. Here we will concentrate on the crucial plot twists taking place throughout 1940. Wertheim’s main thesis is that the fall of France in 1940 – and not Pearl Harbor – was the catalyzing event that led to the full Imperial Hegemony design.

This is not a book about the U.S. industrial-military complex or the inner workings of American capitalism and finance capitalism. It is extremely helpful as it sets up the preamble to the Cold War era. But most of all, it is gripping intellectual history, revealing how American foreign policy was manufactured by the real flesh and blood actors that count: the economic and political planners congregated by the arch-influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the conceptual core of the imperial matrix.

Behold Exceptionalist nationalism

If just one phrase should capture the American missionary drive, this is it: “The United States was born of exceptionalist nationalism, imagining itself providentially chosen to occupy the vanguard of world history”. Wertheim nailed it by drawing from a wealth of sources on exceptionalism, especially Anders Stephanson’s Manifest Destiny: American Expansion and the Empire of the Right.

The action starts in early 1940, when the State Dept. formed a small advisory committee in collaboration with the CFR, constituted as a de facto proto-national security state.

The CFR’s postwar planning project was known as the War and Peace Studies, financed by the Rockefeller Foundation and boasting a sterling cross-section of the American elite, divided into four groups.

The most important were the Economic and Financial Group, headed by the “American Keynes”, Harvard economist Alvin Hansen, and the Political Group, headed by businessman Whitney Shepardson. CFR planners were inevitably transposed to the core of the official postwar planning committee set up after Pearl Harbor.

A crucial point: the Armaments Group was headed by none other than Allen Dulles, then just a corporate lawyer, years before he became the nefarious, omniscient CIA mastermind fully deconstructed by David Talbot’s The Devil’s Chessboard.

Wertheim details the fascinating, evolving intellectual skirmishes along the first eight months of WWII, when the prevailing consensus among the planners was to concentrate on the Western Hemisphere only, and not indulge in “balance of power” overseas adventures. As in let the Europeans fight it out; meanwhile, we profit.

The fall of France in May-June 1940 – the world’s top army melting down in five weeks – was the game-changer, much more than Pearl Harbor 18 months later. This is how the planners interpreted it: if Britain were the next domino to fall, totalitarianism would control Eurasia.

Wertheim zeroes in on the defining “threat” for the planners: Axis dominance would prevent the United States “from driving world history. Such a threat proved unacceptable to U.S. elites”. That’s what led to an expanded definition of national security: the U.S. could not afford to be simply “isolated” within the Western Hemisphere. The path ahead was inevitable: to shape world order as the supreme military power.

So it was the prospect of a Nazi-shaped world order – and not U.S. security – that shook foreign policy elites in the summer of 1940 to build the intellectual foundations of global U.S. hegemony.

Of course there was a “lofty ideal” component: the U.S. would not be able to fulfill its God-given mission to lead the world towards a better future. But there was also a much more pressing practical matter: this world order might be closed to liberal U.S. trade.

Even as the tides of war changed afterwards, the interventionist argument ultimately prevailed: after all, the whole of Eurasia could (italics in the book) eventually, fall under totalitarianism.

It’s always about “world order”

Initially, the fall of France forced Roosevelt’s planners to concentrate on a minimum hegemonic area. So by midsummer 1940, the CFR groups, plus the military, came up with the so-called “quarter sphere”: Canada down to northern South America.

They were still assuming that the Axis would dominate Europe and parts of the Middle East and North Africa. As Wertheim notes, “American interventionists often portrayed Germany’s dictator as a master of statecraft, prescient, clever and bold.”

Then, at the request of the State Dept., the crucial CFR’s Economic and Financial Group worked feverishly from August to October to design the next step: integrating the Western Hemisphere with the Pacific Basin.

That was a totally myopic Eurocentric focus (by the way, Asia barely registers on Wertheim’s narrative). The planners assumed that Japan – even rivaling the US, and three years into the invasion of mainland China – could somehow be incorporated, or bribed into a non-Nazi area.

Then they finally hit the jackpot: join the Western Hemisphere, the British empire and the Pacific basin into a so-called “great residual area”: that is, the entire non-Nazi dominated world except the USSR.

They found out that if Nazi Germany would dominate Europe, the U.S. would have to dominate everywhere else (italics mine). That was the logical conclusion based on the planners’ initial assumptions.

That’s when U.S. foreign policy for the next 80 years was born: the U.S. had to wield “unquestionable power”, as stated in the CFR planners “recommendation” to the State Dept., delivered on October 19 in a memorandum titled “Needs of Future United States Foreign Policy”.

This “Grand Area” was the brainchild of the CFR’s Economic and Financial Group. The Political Group was not impressed. The Grand Area implied a post-war peace arrangement that was in fact a Cold War between Germany and Anglo-America. Not good enough.

But how to sell total domination to American public opinion without that sounding “imperialistic”, similar to what the Axis was doing in Europe and Asia? Talk about a huge P.R. problem.

In the end, U.S. elites always came back to the same foundation stone of American exceptionalism: should there be any Axis supremacy in Europe and Asia, the U.S. manifest destiny of defining the path ahead for world history would be denied.

As Walter Lippmann succinctly – and memorably – put it: “Ours is the new order. It was to found this order and to develop it that our forefathers came here. In this order we exist. Only in this order can we live”.

That would set up the pattern for the subsequent 80 years. Roosevelt, only a few days after he was elected for a third term, stated it was the United States that “truly and fundamentally…was a new order”.

It’s chilling to be reminded that 30 years ago, even before unleashing the first Shock and Awe over Iraq, Papa Bush defined it as the crucible of a “new world order” (incidentally, the speech was delivered exactly 11 years before 9/11).

Henry Kissinger has been marketing “world order” for six decades. The number one U.S foreign policy mantra is “rules-based international order”: rules, of course, set unilaterally by the Hegemon at the end of WWII.

American Century redux

What came out of the 1940 policy planning orgy was encapsulated by a succinct mantra featured in the legendary February 17, 1941 essay in Life magazine by publishing mogul Henry Luce: “American Century”.

Only six months earlier planners were at best satisfied with a hemispheric role in an Axis-led world future. Now they went winner takes all: “complete opportunity of leadership”, in Luce’s words. In early 1941, months before Pearl Harbor, the American Century went mainstream – and never left.

That sealed the primacy of Power Politics. If American interests were global, so should be American political and military power.

Luce even used Third Reich terminology: “Tyrannies may require a large amount of living space. But Freedom requires and will require far greater living space than Tyranny.” Unlike Hitler’s, the unbounded ambition of American elites prevailed.

Until now. It looks and feels like the empire is entering a James Cagney Made it, Ma. Top of the World! moment – rotting from within, 9/11 merging into 1/6 in a war against “domestic terrorism” – while still nurturing toxic dreams of imposing uncontested global “leadership”.

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