من يقف وراء استهداف ناقلتي النفط… وما هي الآفاق؟

يونيو 14, 2019

حسن حردان

في لحظة اجتماع رئيس الوزراء الياباني شينزو آبي مع مرشد الثورة الإسلامية في إيران الإمام علي الخامنئي ناقلاً رسالة من الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب في محاولة لإقناع طهران بالتفاوض مع واشنطن لإنهاء التوتر الحاصل، والذي افتعلته إدارة ترامب بانسحابها من الاتفاق النووي والتنكّر لتوقيع واشنطن عليه، دوّت انفجارات قوية متتالية في بحر عُمان بعد استهداف ناقلتي نفط عملاقتين محمّلتين بالخام، وشبّت حرائق هائلة على متن الناقلتين المستهدفتين، وهما من الناقلات العملاقة التي تحمل النفط الخام من الخليج…

وقد طرح ذلك التساؤلات حول الجهة التي تقف وراء استهداف الناقلتين، والأهداف التي تسعى إليها، هل هي لإحباط الوساطات الدولية الجارية من أكثر من طرف غربي بين طهران وواشنطن، لا سيما أنّ هذه الوساطات تأتي بناء على رغبة وطلب ترامب…

من الواضح أنّ إيران ليس لها مصلحة في القيام بمثل هذا الهجوم ضدّ ناقلات النفط، لا سيما أنها في وضع مريح في الصراع الدائر بينها وبين الولايات المتحدة، فهي متيقنة من أنّ واشنطن لا تجرؤ على شنّ الحرب عليها، ولهذا تراجع مناخ التهديد بالحرب، وقد عكست ذلك مواقف ترامب التي وضعت حداً لخطاب الحرب الذي كان يروّج له مستشاره للأمن القومي جون بولتون، وفي نفس الوقت تبيّن عدم قدرة واشنطن على تصفير صادرات إيران النفطية.. في ظلّ قرار صيني روسي حازم بالاستمرار في شراء النفط الإيراني، وإعلان اليابان عبر مسؤول في شركة كوزمو اليابانية يوم الاثنين الماضي أنها بدأت باستيراد أول شحنة من النفط الإيراني وشحن 850 ألف برميل من النفط الخام بما فيه 200 ألف برميل من النفط الخفيف و650 ألف برميل من النفط الثقيل…

وقد أعلنت شركة «إس آند بي غلوبال» الأميركية مؤخراً انّ البنوك اليابانية حصلت علي التراخيص اللازمة لاستئناف صفقات شراء النفط الإيراني.. والمعلومات تشير إلى أنّ الناقلتين اللتين استهدفتا تحملان شحنات نفط متجهة إلى اليابان… ما يؤكد أنّ استهداف الناقلتين إنما هو لإحباط جهود اليابان ومعاقبتها على استئناف شراء النفط الإيراني ودورها في التوسط بين واشنطن وطهران.. لهذا فإنّ الجهة التي تقف وراء ضرب الناقلتين متضرّرة من هذه التطورات التي تصبّ في مصلحة موقف إيران الذي يرفض تقديم التنازلات لواشنطن وتصرّ على رفض أيّ تفاوض مع الولايات المتحدة بعد أن خرجت على الاتفاق النووي ولم يعد بالإمكان الوثوق بها، فيما المطلوب أولاً ان تعود واشنطن إلى الالتزام بالاتفاق والتراجع عن فرض العقوبات الاقتصادية ضدّ إيران قبل الحديث عن أيّ تفاوض..

وإذا ما دققنا بالجهات المتضرّرة من التطورات الجارية في مصلحة إيران وتراجع خطاب الحرب في واشنطن، يأتي في المقدّمة كيان العدو الصهيوني الذي يقف بالأصل ضدّ الاتفاق النووي وعمل في ما بعد عبر اللوبي الصهيوني في واشنطن والمحافظين الجدد على ممارسة الضغوط على إدارة ترامب للانسحاب من الاتفاق وهو ما حصل…

كما يأتي في المرتبة التالية دعاة الحرب في واشنطن الذين يعارضون سياسة ترامب في التفاوض مع إيران… وقد تكون السعودية أيضاً لها مصلحة في استهداف الناقلتين، فهي منخرطة في السياسة الإسرائيلية لتوجيه البوصلة من العداء ضدّ كيان العدو الصهيوني إلى العداء ضدّ الجمهورية الإسلامية الايرانية، لا سيما أنّ المسؤولين في الرياض يشعرون بالخيبة من توجهات ترامب بعد تفجيرات ناقلات النفط في ميناء الفجيرة، بعدم الذهاب إلى التصعيد ضدّ ايران وتهيئة المناخ لشنّ الحرب ضدّها..

غير أنّ الاستهداف الجديد لناقلات النفط أكد مجدّداً الحاجة الغربية الأميركية للتهدئة مع إيران وقطع الطريق على الجهات التي تسعى إلى التصعيد لما لذلك من مخاطر تهدّد إمدادات النفط من الخليج وباب المندب إلى دول العالم التي تستورد نحو 20 بالمئة من احتياجاتها النفطية من المنطقة.. ومثل هذا الأمر يصبّ بالتأكيد في مصلحة إيران التي أكدت أكثر من مرة أنه لا يمكن السماح بوقف تصدير نفطها وبقاء الآخرين يصدّرون نفطهم..

لكن إلى أين تتجه الأمور؟

كلّ المعطيات تؤشر إلى عدم ترجيح خيار الحرب لأن لا واشنطن تريد الإقدام عليها بسبب كلفتها الباهظة وتداعياتها على المصالح والنفوذ الأميركي في المنطقة إلى جانب أنها ستؤدّي إلى وقف إمدادات النفط واشتعال أسعاره بشكل جنوني.. وفي المقابل فإنّ خيار التفاوض بين طهران وواشنطن احتمالاته ضعيفة جداً اذا لم يكن مستبعداً لأنّ طهران لن تقبل العودة إلى التفاوض أقله قبل أن تعود واشنطن إلى الالتزام بالاتفاق النووي وما يتضمّنه من التزامات، فيما إدارة ترامب ترفض ذلك وتسعى إلى التفاوض لتعديل الاتفاق عدا أنّ ترامب ليس له مصلحة في التراجع عن هذا الموقف لأنه سيعتبر فشلاً كبيراً لسياساته وهزيمة أمام إيران ويؤدّي إلى خسارته دعم وتأييد اللوبي الصهيوني في الانتخابات الرئاسية المقبلة التي يطمح فيها للفوز بولاية ثانية… ولهذا فإنّ المرجح أن يبقى الصراع بين إيران والولايات المتحدة تحت سقف لا حرب ولا تفاوض… وبالتالي بقاء التوتر والصراع بوسائل غير مباشرة وعبر الضغوط الاقتصادية التي تمارسها واشنطن ضدّ طهران على الرغم من أنها لن تفلح في دفع القيادة الإيرانية إلى التراجع قيد أنملة عن مواقفها الرفضة لأيّ شروط وإملاءات أميركية…

كاتب وإعلامي

Trade War: China Accuses US of ’Naked Economic Terrorism’

By Staff, Agencies

China accused the United States of “naked economic terrorism” on Thursday as Beijing ramps up the rhetoric in their trade war.

The world’s top two economies are at loggerheads as trade talks have apparently stalled, with US President Donald Trump hiking tariffs on Chinese goods earlier this month and blacklisting telecom giant Huawei.

“We are against the trade war, but we are not afraid of it,” vice foreign minister Zhang Hanhui said at a press briefing to preview President Xi Jinping’s trip to Russia next week.

“This premeditated instigation of a trade conflict is naked economic terrorism, economic chauvinism, and economic bullying,” Zhang said.

He also warned that “there is no winner in a trade war.”

China has hit back with its own tariff increase while state media has suggested that Beijing could stop exports of rare earths to the United States, depriving Washington of a key material to make tech products.

“This trade conflict will also have a serious negative impact on the development and revival of the global economy,” Zhang said.

China and Russia have broad consensus and common interests on the trade war issue, he said.

“China and Russia will certainly strengthen economic and trade cooperation, including cooperation in various fields such as economic and trade investment,” Zhang added.

The Chinese official further stated: “We will certainly respond to various external challenges, do what we have to do, develop our economies, and constantly improve the living standards of our two peoples.”

Huawei: US Blacklist Will Harm Billions of Consumers and American Companies

Huawei CEO against China Punishing Apple for Trump’s 5G Purge

 

Trump’s Trade War is Already Over

Related image
Tom Luongo
May 12, 2019

I hate to break the news to China bashers, but the trade war with the US is over. I’ve maintained for months that Trump has no leverage in trade talks with China. If he did China would have done a deal by now.

They haven’t and they likely won’t unless you are talking some form of deal which allows Trump to save face here. But to be honest I’m beginning to doubt whether anyone in the White House cares. This is about the Great Powers Game and the simpleton idea that for one country to win in trade another has to lose.

This is, of course, nonsense.

Trade is not a zero-sum game. Ideally, all voluntary trade is a win-win scenario for both the buyer and the seller. If it wasn’t the trade would not be made. Lost in the numbers is the comparative perceived value of the exchange.

China is still running a massive trade surplus and that is true. But from the perspective of US trade, that is as much a function of Trump’s own profligate spending habits as any structural inequalities.

Trump is running a $1 trillion budget deficit. This is money that is conjured up out of thin air by the miracle of selling bonds. $1 trillion in bonds. Where do you think those $1 trillion in government expenditures goes to?

The moon? Laos?

No. It goes to China. It also finds its way into the US equity market Trump is so in love with and other places that produce goods that we Americans buy with that money. If Trump wants to win the trade war with China he should consider spending a little less money allow consumer prices here in the States to fall and let his tax cuts continue to attract capital for the right reasons – the value the American work force is capable of generating.

Instead Trump slapped 10% tariffs on Chinese goods last year. This has done nothing except exacerbate the trade deficit with China. The overall trade deficit is now at record levels.

Moreover, China responded exactly as one would expect, by allowing the Yuan to depreciate by roughly 10%. It did so for a number of reasons.

First, to protect domestic exporters as one would expect. But more importantly, to assist vulnerable Chinese banks exposed to any slow down and keep them liquid, which it did through Central bank operations.

Over at my blog recently I noted:

China’s not going to implode over these tariffs. It will give Xi and his central bank the opportunity to devalue the yuan in response to the slower flow of dollars. It has to protect the lion’s share of its trade with Southeast Asia and Europe whose currencies are already in trouble.

And it will bail out the most strategically-sensitive banks and businesses over-exposed to them. It’s what they did last year in response to the 10% tariff and it is what will happen this time.

Lastly, however, is the part no one actually wants to discuss which is that China has to protect its trade with Southeast Asia and Europe. The Yuan didn’t devalue in a vacuum. The euro is down 13% from its high as are currencies like the Indonesian Rupiah, the Malaysian Ringgit and Thai Baht.

What Trump and his team are arguing for in trade negotiation is no different than what they’ve offered Iran and Lebanon, surrender your sovereignty or face punishment.

So, China reciprocates and cuts off US soybeans and other food exports. Now, a year later, Midwest banks are facing surging bankruptcies from farmers hit with the double whammy of no exports to China (who now buys them from Brazil) and massive flooding from an abnormally vicious winter and spring.

They have Trump to thank for this. He didn’t help them by not thinking through how we could be hurt by China’s reaction to his belligerence.

The same way Wisconsin dairy farmers are also going bankrupt thanks to the continued flood of cheap European dairy keeping wholesale milk prices low. Why is this happening? Russia countered European and American sanctions over Crimea with a ban on imports of European dairy.

US Global Power: The Trump Period, The End of Unipolarity

Global Research, May 02, 2019

Introduction

US global power in the Trump period reflects the continuities and changes which are unfolding rapidly and deeply throughout the world and which are affecting the position of Washington.

Assessing the dynamics of US global power is a complex problem which requires examining multiple dimensions.

We will proceed by:

  • Conceptualizing the principles which dictate empire building, specifically the power bases and the dynamic changes in relations and structures which shape the present and future position of the US.
  • Identifying the spheres of influence and power and their growth and decline.
  • Examining the regionsof conflict and contestation.
  • The major and secondary rivalries.
  • The stable and shifting relationsbetween existing and rising power centers.
  • The internal dynamics shaping the relative strength of competing centers of global power.
  • The instability of the regimes and states seeking to retain and expand global power.

Conceptualization of Global Power

US global power is built on several significant facts.  These include:  the US victory in World War II, its subsequent advanced economy and dominant military position throughout five continents.

The US advanced its dominance through a series of alliances in Europe via NATO; Asia via its hegemonic relationship with Japan, South Korea, Philippines and Taiwan as well as Australia and New Zealand in Oceana; Latin America via traditional client regimes; Africa via neo-colonial rulers imposed following independence.

US global power was built around encircling the USSR and China, undermining their economies and defeating their allies militarily via regional wars.

Post WWII global economic and military superiority created subordinated allies and established US global power, but it created the bases for gradual shifts in relations of dominance.

US global power was formidable but subject to economic and military changes over time and in space.

US Spheres of Power:  Then and Now

US global power exploited opportunities but also suffered military setbacks early on, particularly in Korea, Indo-China and Cuba. The US spheres of power were clearly in place in Western Europe and Latin America but was contested in Eastern Europe and Asia.

The most significant advance of US global power took place with the demise and disintegration of the USSR, the client states in Eastern Europe, as well as the transformation of China and Indo-China to capitalism during the 1980’s.

US ideologues declared the coming of a unipolar empire free of restraints and challenges to its global and regional power. The US turned to conquering peripheral adversaries.  Washington destroyed Yugoslavia and then Iraq – fragmenting them into mini-states. Wall Street promoted a multitude of multi-national corporations to invade China and Indo-China who reaped billions of profits exploiting cheap labor.

The believers of the enduring rule of US global power envisioned a century of US imperial rule.

In reality this was a short-sighted vision of a brief interlude.

The End of Unipolarity: New Rivalries and Global and Regional Centers of Power: An Overview

US global power led Washington into  ‘overreach’, in several crucial areas:  it launched a series of costly prolonged wars, specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan, which had three negative consequences:  the destruction of the Iraq armed forces and economy led to the rise of the Islamic State which overtook most of the country; the occupation in Afghanistan which led to the emergence of the Taliban and an ongoing twenty year war which cost hundreds of billions of dollars and several thousand wounded and dead US soldiers; as a result the majority of the US public turned negative toward wars and empire building

The US pillage and dominance of Russia ended, when President Putin replaced Yeltsin’s vassal state.  Russia rebuilt its industry, science, technology and military power.  Russia’s population recovered its living standards.

With Russian independence and advanced military weaponry, the US lost its unipolar  military power.  Nevertheless, Washington financed a coup which virtually annexed two thirds of the Ukraine.  The US incorporated the fragmented Yugoslavian ‘statelets’ into NATO.  Russia countered by annexing the Crimea and secured a mini-state adjacent Georgia.

China converted the economic invasion of US multi-national corporations into learning experiences for building its national economy and export platforms which contributed which led to its becoming an economic competitor and rival to the US.

US global empire building suffered important setbacks in Latin America resulting

from the  the so-called Washington Consensus.  The imposition of neo-liberal policies privatized and plundered their economies, impoverished the working and middle class, and provoked a series of popular uprising and the rise of radical social movements and center-left governments.

The US empire lost spheres of influence in some regions (China, Russia, Latin America, Middle East) though it retained influence among elites in contested regions and even launched new imperial wars in contested terrain.  Most notably the US attacked independent regimes in Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Somalia and Sudan via armed proxies.

The change from a unipolar to a multi polar world and the gradual emergence of regional rivals led US global strategists to rethink their strategy.  The Trump regime’s aggressive policies set the stage for political division within the regime and among allies.

The Obama – Trump Convergence and Differences on Empire Building

By the second decade of the 21stcentury several new global power alignments emerged:  China had become the main economic competitor for world power and Russia was the major military challenger to US military supremacy at the regional level.  The US replaced the former European colonial empire in Africa.  Washington’s sphere of influence extended especially in North and Sub Sahara Africa:  Kenya, Libya, Somalia and Ethiopia.  Trump gained leverage in the Middle East namely in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Jordan.

Israel retained its peculiar role, converting the US as its sphere of influence.

But the US  faced regional rivals for sphere of influence in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Algeria.

In South Asia US faced competition for spheres of influence from China, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In Latin America sharp and abrupt shifts in spheres of influence were the norm.  US influence declined between 2000 – 2015 and recovered from 2015 to the  present.

Imperial Power Alignments Under President Trump

President Trump faced complex global, regional and local political and economic challenges.

Trump followed and deepened many of the policies launched by the Obama- Hillary Clinton policies with regard to other countries and regions . However Trump also radicalized and/or reversed policies of his predecessors. He combined flattery and aggression at the same time.

At no time did Trump recognize the limits of US global power.  Like the previous three presidents he persisted in the belief that the transitory period of a unipolar global empire could be re-imposed.

Toward Russia, a global competitor, Trump adopted a policy of ‘rollback’.  Trump imposed economic sanctions, with the strategic ‘hope’ that  by impoverishing Russia, degrading its financial and industrial sectors that he could force a regime change which would convert Moscow into a vassal state.

At the beginning of his Presidential campaign Trump flirted with the notion of a business accommodation with Putin. However, Trump’s ultra-belligerent appointments and domestic opposition soon turned him toward a highly militarized strategy, rejecting military – including nuclear – agreements, in favor of military escalation.

Toward China, Trump faced a dynamic and advancing technological competitor. Trump resorted to a ‘trade war’ that went far beyond ‘trade’ to encompass a war against Beijing’s economic structure and social relations.  The Trump regime-imposed sanctions and threatened a total boycott of Chinese exports.

Trump and his economic team demanded China privatize and denationalize its entire state backed industry.  They demanded the power to unilaterally decide when violations of US rules occurred and to be able to re-introduce sanctions without consultations.  Trump demanded all Chinese technological agreements, economic sectors and innovations were subject and open to US business interests.  In other words, Trump demanded the end of Chinese sovereignty and the reversal of the structural base for its global power.  The US was not interested in mere ‘trade’ – it wanted a return to imperial rule over a colonized China.

The Trump regime rejected negotiations and recognition of a shared power relation: it viewed its global rivals as potential clients.

Inevitably the Trump regime’s strategy would never reach any enduring agreements on any substantial issues under negotiations.  China has a successful strategy for global power built on a 6 trillion-dollar world-wide Road and Belt (R and B) development policy, which links 60 countries and several regions. R and B is building seaports, rail and air systems linking industries financed by development banks.

In contrast, the US banks exploits industry, speculates and operates within closed financial circuits.  The US spends trillions on wars, coups, sanctions and other parasitical activities which have nothing to do with economic competitiveness.

The Trump regime’s ‘allies’ in the Middle East namely Saudi Arabia and Israel, are parasitic allies who buy protection and provoke costly wars.

Europe complains about China’s increase in industrial exports and overlook imports of consumer goods.  Yet the EU plans to resist Trump’s sanctions which lead to a blind alley of stagnation!

Conclusion

The most recent period of the  peak of US global power, the decade between 1989-99 contained the seeds of its decline and the current resort to trade wars, sanctions and nuclear threats.

The structure of US global power changed over the past seven decades.  The US global empire building began with the US command over the rebuilding of Western European economies and the displacement of England, France, Portugal and Belgium from Asia and Africa.

The Empire spread and penetrated  South America via US multi-national corporations. However, US empire building was not a linear process as witness  its unsuccessful confrontation with national liberation movements in Korea, Indo China, Southern Africa (Angola, Congo, etc.) and the Caribbean (Cuba).  By the early 1960’s the US had displaced its European rivals and successfully incorporated them as subordinate allies.

Washington’s main rivals for spheres of influence was Communist China and the USSR with their allies among client state and overseas revolutionaries.

The US empire builders’ successes led to the transformation of their Communist and nationalist rivals into emergent capitalist competitors.

In a word US dominance led to the construction of capitalist rivals, especially China and Russia.

Subsequently, following US military defeats and prolonged wars, regional powers proliferated in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Latin America. Regional blocs competed with US clients for power.

The diversification of power centers led to new and costly wars.  Washington lost exclusive control of markets, resources and alliances.  Competition reduced the spheres of US power.

In the face of these constraints on US global power the Trump regime envisioned a strategy to  recover  US dominance – ignoring the limited capacity and structure of US political , economic and class relations.

China absorbed US technology and went on to create new advances without following each previous stage.

Russia’s recovered from its losses and sanctions  and secured alternative trade relations to counter the new challenges to the US global empire.  Trump’s regime launched a ‘permanent trade war’ without stable allies. Moreover, he failed  to undermine China’s global infrastructure network; Europe demanded and secured autonomy to enter into trade deals with China, Iran and Russia.

Trump has pressured many regional powers who have ignored his threats.

The US still remains a global power.  But unlike the past, the US lacks the industrial base to ‘make America strong’.  Industry is subordinated to finance; technological innovations are not linked to skilled labor  to increase productivity.

Trump relies on sanctions and they have failed to undermine regional influentials.  Sanctions may temporarily reduce access to US markets’ but we have observed that new trade partners take their place.

Trump has gained client regimes in Latin America, but the gains are precarious and subject to reversal.

Under the Trump regime, big business and bankers have increased prices in the stock market and even the rate of growth of the  GDP, but he confronts severe domestic political instability, and high levels of turmoil among the branches of government.  In pursuit of loyalty over competence, Trump’s appointments have led to the ascendancy of cabinet officials who seek to wield unilateral power which the US no longer possesses.

Elliot Abrams can massacre a quarter-million Central Americans with impunity, but he has failed to impose US power over Venezuela and Cuba.  Pompeo can threaten North Kore, Iran and China but these countries fortify alliances with US rivals and competitors.  Bolton can advance the interests of Israel but their conversations take place in a telephone booth – it lacks resonance with any major powers.

Trump has won a presidential election, he has secured concessions from some countries but he has alienated regional and diplomatic allies.  Trump claims he is making America strong, but he has undermined lucrative strategic multi-lateral trade agreements.

US ‘Global Power’ does not prosper with bully-tactics.  Projections of power alone, have failed – they require recognition of realistic economic limitations and the losses from regional wars.

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Award winning author Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

The head of the Russian GRU reveals US plans against Venezuela (MUST SEE!)

The head of the Russian GRU reveals US plans against Venezuela (MUST SEE!)

May 02, 2019

The U.S. wants to change the government in Venezuela and use Colombia to do that. The head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Vice-Admiral Igor Kostyukov, stated that. He made that statement at the conference on international security. It was held last week in Moscow.

محور المقاومة غير قلق… وواثق من قوته

أبريل 25, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– من جهة تبدو المنطقة مليئة بإشارات التصعيد، خصوصاً بعد القرارات الأميركية المتلاحقة منذ إلغاء التفاهم النووي مع إيران من طرف واحد، ومن بعده إعلان الاعتراف بالقدس عاصمة لكيان الاحتلال، ثم بدء العقوبات على إيران. فالاعتراف بضم كيان الاحتلال للجولان السوري، ومن بعده تصعيد العقوبات على إيران بإلغاء الاستثناءات، وفي قلب السياق نفسه الهجمة المتصاعدة على حزب الله سياسياً ومالياً وأمنياً، والحصار الاقتصادي على سورية، وعودة الغارات الإسرائيلية المتقطعة على مواقع داخل سورية تُحسب لمحور المقاومة. ومن جهة مقابلة لا يبدو محور المقاومة قلقاً، ويقرأ قادته التطورات والأحداث بمعايير مختلفة عن تلك التي تسود الصالونات السياسية، ومقالات المحللين وإطلالات بعضهم المتلفزة، بمن فيهم المحسوبون على ثقافة المقاومة.

– قياديون بارزون في محور المقاومة يردون على الأسئلة التي تطال عدم الرد على الغارات الإسرائيلية، بأسئلة عن سبب عدم قيام «إسرائيل» باستهداف أي موقع للجيش السوري منذ سقوط الطائرة الروسية، ويعتبرون فرض هذا التطور نجاحاً بوضع قواعد اشتباك جديدة، تحيّد الاستقرار في سورية كهدف أراد الأميركيون والإسرائيليون وضعه في كفة موازية لقبول الشروط التي عرضتها واشنطن وتل أبيب بخروج أي وجود لإيران وقوى المقاومة من سورية. وهو وجود زادت مبرراته والقناعة بأهميته كضرورة، مع الإعلان الأميركي عن الاعتراف بضم الجولان لكيان الاحتلال، وصارت المعادلة قائمة على أن إيران وقوى المقاومة باقون في سورية بطلب دولتها، لكنهم مستعدّون أن يتحملوا تبعات هذا البقاء بوجه اي استهداف دون توريط سورية في المواجهة، وأنه في حال أي استهداف لسورية فالأمر سيكون مختلفاً، فيتعاضد الجميع بمن فيهم روسيا لفعل ما ينبغي. وهذا بات معلوماً لدى قادة كيان الاحتلال، وهو موضوع تقيّد بمضمونه حتى الآن.

– الدخول في تحدٍّ معنوي اعتباري لا يعني محور المقاومة كثيراً، خصوصاً أنه واحد من أهداف العمليات التذكيرية الإسرائيلية التي تريد القول إن قادة تل أبيب لم يتخلّوا عن رفض وجود إيران وقوى المقاومة، لكنها لا تغير شيئاً في موازين القوى والردع، والأولوية التي يراها المحور في سورية هي مساعدة الدولة السورية على استعادة الأراضي السورية المتبقية خارج نطاق سلطة الدولة وجيشها، خصوصاً أن الدور التعطيلي الذي كان منوطاً بالغارات الإسرائيلية قد تم احتواؤه، وتمّت السيطرة عليه بهدوء وثبات، وبالتنسيق والتعاون بين الدولة السورية وروسيا وإيران وقوى المقاومة، وفي حسابات المحور أن ما تبقى من ولاية الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب ومع إعادة انتخاب بنيامين نتنياهو، المعادلات القائمة ستبقى قائمة، كما ظهّرتها صواريخ تل أبيب، فلن نشهد تسويات نوعيّة ولا حروباً كبرى.

– يقدّم قادة المحور أمثلة على الوضع القائم، فيقولون إن التصعيد على إيران، تقابله قدرة إيرانية على مواصلة بيع النفط والغاز، أكثر مما كانت تبيع إيران قبل عشر سنوات بمرّة ونصف، وإن كان من بلدان يجب ترقب مفعول العقوبات الأميركية في جذبها، لأن لها تأثيرات حقيقية ولأن واشنطن تملك حضوراً ونفوذاً فيها، فهي تركيا والعراق وباكستان، لأنها دول جوار مؤثرة ولأنها سوق رئيسية للنفط والغاز الإيرانيين، إضافة للهند والصين، وفي تركيا والعراق وباكستان حضور أميركي عسكري واستخباري، وهي أول دول أعلنت عدم الالتزام بالعقوبات المتجددة دون استثناءات. فإن كان الأمر منسقاً مع واشنطن فهو دليل على ان العقوبات ظاهرة صوتية، وإن لم يكن منسقاً فهو تمرد الأقربين والأفعل والأهم، وتلك علامة على أن أميركا كلها صارت ظاهرة حبريّة، يوقع رئيسها بالخط العريض ولا أحد يقيم حساباً لتوقيعه.

ينصرف قادة محور المقاومة لتعزيز قدرات الردع، وقضم وهضم المزيد من الإنجازات، وتعزيز قوة سورية والسير بدفع العملية السياسيّة التي زالت الكثير من التحفظات الأميركية المنقولة بواسطة المبعوث الأممي، على الشروط السورية بخصوصها، فما عاد الموقف الأممي على ما كان، ولا عاد الموقف الأوروبيّ، من عودة النازحين وشروط الحل السياسي، على ما كان. وهذا يعني إما تنسيق أوروبي أممي مع واشنطن، وبالتالي لا جدية للتهديدات والتصعيد، أو أنه تمرّد وشقّ لعصا الطاعة، وهذا أخطر، لأنه مؤشر على سقوط المهابة الأميركية.

بهدوء ستمضي المدّة الباقية من ولاية الرئيس ترامب دون مواجهات كبرى وتسويات كبرى، لكن بضجيج عالٍ، ومحور المقاومة لن يقابل الضجيج بالضجيج، ولا الحبر بالحبر، بل سيواصل البناء وتمتين التحالفات، وأهمها التحالف مع روسيا والصين وتشجيع تركيا وباكستان على المزيد من الاقتراب، والاستثمار على نتائج صمود اليمن، وتطوّر الموقف العراقي، وفي نهاية العام المقبل لكل حادث حديث، ويخلق الله ما لا تعلمون، بقي ترامب في البيت الأبيض أم لم يبق!

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Ayatollah Khamenei: Europe has left the JCPOA in practice

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March 26, 2019

Ayatollah Khamenei: Europe has left the JCPOA in practice

The following is the full text of the speech delivered on March 21, 2019 by Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in a meeting with a large gathering of pilgrims at the holy shrine of Imam Ridha (as) in the city of Mashhad. The meeting was held on the first day of the year 1398.

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master and Prophet, Ab-al-Qassem Al-Mustafa Muhammad, and upon his pure, immaculate and chosen household – those who guide the guided, and who are infallible – especially the one remaining with Allah on earth

Allah, bestow as many greetings upon Your representative – Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha – as Your knowledge encompasses. Bestow Your greeting upon him, one that is as permanent as Your dominions and Your authority. Allah, send as many greetings to Your representative – Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha – as Your knowledge encompasses. Send Your greeting to him, a greeting that is as permanent as Your glory, Your greatness and Your magnificence

I would like to congratulate you on the birthday anniversary of the Leader of Justice and the eternal Commander of the Faithful throughout history – Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib – which is the real Nowruz. Also, I wish to congratulate you on the arrival of the new year and the Nowruz eid. Beautiful Iranian taste has chosen this day as the beginning of the new year and the Iranian solar year – the Iranian hijri year – begins from the outset of spring and from Nowruz.

Also, I would like to congratulate the enlightened hearts of the mutakefin [those who engage in itikaf] on the occasion of the days of itikaf [an Islamic practice during which one retreats a particular number of days to the mosque for prayers and studying the Holy Quran]. I hope that God’s mercy, blessings and attention to the pure souls of our mutakefin will be extended to all the people of Iran and all individuals from different social backgrounds – particularly our youth.

I thank Allah the Exalted for giving me another opportunity to meet with you dear people, residents of this city and pilgrims in the shade of the light of the Holy Shrine of Imam Ridha (as).

I have prepared four issues to discuss with you dear brothers and sisters and I hope that I can discuss them with you dear brothers and sisters in brief. One issue is about the current year – the year 1398. Another matter is about our issues with the west and western governments. The third matter is about the economy and this year’s slogan which is boosting production and the economy. And the fourth and last issue is a word with our dear youth about the issues of the country, future affairs and the affairs of the Revolution.

As for current issues, one witnesses that some spokespeople, writers and pundits have referred to this year as the year of threats. I do not agree with this in any way. I believe that by Allah’s favor, the year 1398 is the year of opportunities: the year of abundant resources and achievements. Of course, those who say otherwise and constantly speak of threats are knowingly or unknowingly under the influence of the bragging expressed by the enemies of this nation. In addition to what they do in reality, the enemies of this nation have also waged a psychological war. They express certain viewpoints and they boast. These boasts and brags should be understood for what they are. Throughout the year 1397, they were making the same boasts and they were trying to make some people lose heart.

One of those first-rate idiots, whom I introduced a while ago [Supreme Leader’s speech in meeting with the people of Qom, delivered on January 9, 2019], said in the beginning or in the middle of the year 1397 that if they- the US- get out of the Bar-Jaam [JCOPA], there will be riots in the streets of Iran and that the people will not even be able to buy bread. Another one of those first-rate idiots said that in the year 2019, these American gentlemen will celebrate Christmas in Tehran. Well, these are the statements they made.

I do not know. There are two viewpoints: one is that their analysis about regional matters and the affairs of the country is so weak and shallow and that they actually say these things seriously. In other words, such statements originate from foolishness. Another viewpoint is that they want to wage a psychological war in a malicious way. They promote these ideas in global media in order to wage a psychological war. It is not clear to me which viewpoint is correct. Both might be correct: both foolishness and malice.

I said that the year 1398 is the year of opportunities. I wish to explain this a little bit. At the moment, the main problem of our country is the economic problem and the issue of the livelihood of underprivileged classes. Part of this problem is related to the sanctions imposed by western powers– the US and Europe. And part of it stems from our internal shortcomings and our own managerial weaknesses. Sanctions can become an opportunity– later on, I will expand on this. And witnessing these shortcomings and weakness can provide us with precious experience for the future and for the management of the country in the future. Both these can be opportunities.

Sanctions can be an opportunity. Why? Because experience has shown that whenever the revenues of countries benefitting from natural resources such as oil decreases, they think of implementing economic reforms and they become motivated to develop these reforms. They become motivated to liberate themselves from dependence and they adopt appropriate measures. This happens when the revenues from natural resources are reduced. Later on, when those resources return to their prior state and when their financial resources increase again, they forget about continuing those reforms. So, the pressure stemming from a decrease in the revenues of natural resources has this great advantage, not only for us but also for all countries similar to us because it will save them from dependence on this natural resource, from being a one-product country and from this oil-based economy.

One of the main problems of our economy is that it is based and dependent on oil. This is really the truth of the matter. In the present time, extensive research is being conducted both at a governmental level and at a research-based and academic level in order to find ways to manage the country with non-oil revenues. This is a very important and good measure. When oil revenues are abundantly available to us, neither government officials nor others will naturally think of doing something else.

We have tangibly and vividly experienced something similar to this in the area of the defense resources of the country. In the Sacred Defense Era, during the war that was imposed on us, the materialistic powers of the east and the west– both capitalist and socialist and communist powers– would give the best weapons and resources to Saddam, while our hands were tied. As everyone knew at that time, they would not even sell us barbed wire. This was of course difficult, but this difficulty made our youth, our thinkers and our talented and creative personalities think of liberating us from our dependence on foreign weapons.

By Allah’s favor, today our condition in the area of defense resources is better than almost all countries in the region. Our enemies too are stressing this. They too are acknowledging this in order to use it as a tool to exert pressure. Of course, it will not be used a tool to exert pressure. Despite their foolish desires, we will continue to strengthen our defense capabilities. At that time, if they had sold us weapons, if they had given us tanks, missiles and ammunitions, we would not have thought of producing them on our own.

Well, if we had had them, we would have continued to be dependent and our need for others would not have been removed, similar to many other countries in our region which you are familiar with. Their countries are a warehouse of weapons, but these weapons belong to others and their use is contingent on the willpower of others. They themselves have neither power nor the scientific and practical capability to use them correctly. We would have become like them.

Today, by Allah’s favor, this is not the case. Therefore, need generates movement and motivation in us. When we cannot access oil revenues in their completely, we will naturally search for alternatives. This is a task that has been initiated and by Allah’s favor, it will produce results. The Iranian nation will taste the fruits of these endeavors later on. They will witness the results in the future.

I stress that we should not keep nagging about the sanctions. We should not have high expectations of those who impose these sanctions – the US and Europe – either. In the section related to the west, I will explain why. We cannot expect anything from them. We should sit and devise the plans for confronting sanctions and we should pursue them seriously. This is our responsibility. This is the responsibility of government organizations, of the research committees in the legislative branch and of our youth, thinkers and intellectual personalities in the country.

They should examine and find the ways to confront sanctions by considering the affairs of the country. There are many ways to confront the oppressive and malicious sanctions imposed by the enemy. Of course, I have received a report showing that high-ranking executive officials are preparing the ways to confront sanctions. They should address it in a more serious, urgent and practical way. The affairs of the country should not be delayed.

Today, everyone agrees that the enemy is waging an economic war against us. Everyone knows this. Of course, I have always repeated that the enemy is at war with us, but some people would not believe it. However, today everyone believes it. All officials have realized and agreed that the enemy is at war with us. War is not only about cannons and guns. Economic wars, security wars, intelligence wars and political wars: these are all different forms of wars and they are sometimes more dangerous than a military war. The enemy is at war with us.

Well, this war manifests itself through economic matters. Today, everyone has accepted this. Of course, we should defeat the enemy at this war and by Allah’s favor, we will defeat him. Yes, we will defeat him, but this is not enough. However, I want to say something else and my demand from all the various activists of the country – including in the government, in universities and among the people – is something else. What I want to say is that as well as defeating the enemy, we should create deterrence. This is what I want to say. Sometimes, you defeat the enemy, but he waits for another opportunity to deliver another blow. This confrontation is of no use.

We should reach a point which has a deterring effect. In other words, the enemy should feel that he cannot damage our dear country from the area of economics and that he cannot pressure the nation. We should reach this point: deterrence. This is possible. I would like to mention the military again as an example. Fortunately, we are in such a condition in the area of the military. One day, the enemy’s planes would bombard our cities at a high altitude while we could not do anything about it. We did not have enough defensive weapons. He used to fire missiles, but we did not have any weapons to respond.

After that, we developed our defense capabilities. Today, our enemies – at least the ones in the region or the ones who have forces in the region – know that the Islamic Republic can confront and strike every enemy in the region with its accurate and active missiles. They have realized this. This is deterrence! This means that the enemies who are sometimes tempted to launch a military attack should realize that it is not possible, that the Islamic Republic has a mighty fist and a strong hand which can retaliate. This is deterrent power. We should reach this point in the area of economic matters. So, this is an opportunity which is available to us because of the sanctions imposed by the enemies. Today, we can work on this. This was the first matter.

I said that we should not pin our hopes on westerners. Now, I want to enter into the second discussion which is about our confrontation with western powers and governments. We have many things to say in this regard. What I want to say is that in order to gain this deterrent economic power, we should completely forget about the help and cooperation of westerners. We should not wait for them. This is because westerners have shown that they cannot be expected to help. We can expect them to hatch plots, to act in a treacherous way and to stab us in the back, but we cannot expect them to help, to show sincerity and to cooperate.

Whenever you see that westerners help a government and a country, they are in fact preparing the ground for their own work. Westerners used to help the taghuti [Pahlavi] regime, but they were not actually offering help to him, rather they were helping themselves to sell their own weapons. They were serving their own unconditional dominance over the country’s oil. They were helping 60,000 military advisors in the country. The day when the Revolution achieved victory, there were about 60,000 American forces in the country –mainly in Tehran. They would feed from the public funds of Muslims and they would work for themselves. If they help somewhere, they are in fact serving their own goals and their own cause. They cannot be expected to help.

This is not particular to us either. It is not the case that westerners behave like this only towards the Islamic Republic or towards Iran. It is not like that. Western countries behave like this towards all countries which they can bully. Notice that three centuries of colonialism – the colonialism of weak countries – crushed hundreds of millions of people. It destroyed their lives and exerted great pressure on them. The Europeans – at that time, the Americans were not there – used to colonize Asia, Africa and Latin America and suck up their resources. They would loot their wealth, would prevent them from making scientific, practical and technological progress and would keep them backward. The phenomenon of colonialism was not particular to us. It happened to all those countries which could be bullied by those powers.

As for Iran, they began to deliver their blows from the mid-Qajar era. In the Iran-Russia wars, the English betrayed Iran. They entered the scene as mediators, but they stabbed us in the back. They acted in the same away on the issue of the tobacco monopoly and on the issue of Amir Kabir and the way they treated him. It was the pressures of the English and European embassies in Tehran which forced the foolish king to shed Amir Kabir’s blood, thus eliminating a man who could have transformed Iran. They behaved in the same way on the issue of bringing the dictatorial regime of Reza Khan to power. The Europeans and the Americans behaved in the same way on the issue of eliminating the government of Mosaddeq. They acted in the same way in different economic, political and security matters, on the issue of the imposed war and after that on the issue of the sanctions. We should not forget these events.

Westerners have always behaved like this towards us. We cannot have any hope for their help. On the recent issue, the issue of the Bar-Jaam, what was the duty of the Europeans? Well, a seven-sided agreement had been signed– six countries on one side and Iran on the other side. One of the parties– the US– got out of the deal. What was the duty of the other parties? Their duty was to stand up against the US and to state that they would be committed to the deal. Their duty was to lift sanctions completely. They should have stood firm, but they did not do so with different excuses. Not only did they not stand up against the US, but they also got out of the deal in practice, despite the fact that they would constantly say to us that we should not get out of the Bar-Jaam. They have even imposed new sanctions on Iran. This is how Europeans behave. What can we expect from them?

Recently, it is constantly being said that they have created a financial channel. Well, it sounds more like a joke! Of course, it is a bitter joke. This financial channel does not make any sense. There is a world of difference between what constitutes their duties and what they are saying in the present time. On our last international issue, the Europeans stabbed us in the back, just like what they did in the past. They betrayed us. They cannot be expected to do anything. We cannot have any expectations of them.

I will tell you that this is how things are, generally speaking. This is the result of extensive study and it is based on our own experiences and those of the others: I will tell you that politics and power in the west and in western countries – mainly the US and European countries – are oppressive, bullying, illogical and greedy. They know nothing about logic. Logic is not in their vocabulary. Deep inside, western politicians are savage individuals in the true sense of the word. You should not be surprised at this. They wear a suit, they wear a tie, they put on perfume and they carry a Samsonite brief case, but they are savages and they act in a bestial manner in practice.

Notice that in the recent incident in New Zealand during which Muslims were killed, an individual enters two mosques and fires many rounds of bullets at tens of individuals, killing and martyring more than 50 people in the process. Well, is this not terrorism? The Europeans– neither their politicians nor their press– were willing to refer to this as a “terrorist act”, rather they referred to it as an “armed attack”. Is that an “armed attack”? What then is terrorism? Whenever a crime is committed against even one single individual who is favored by them, they rally all human rights efforts and label it as a terrorist act in order to confront it, but in such a clear and vivid case, they do not call it a terrorist act. They are like this.

I do not know of a country in the region and perhaps in the world which is as bad as the Saudi government. The Saudi government is despotic, dictatorial, oppressive, dependent and corrupt. They provide nuclear resources for such a government. They have announced that they will build a nuclear power plant for them. They have announced that they will build centers for producing missiles. It is alright there, because that country is dependent on them. It is alright because it belongs to them. Of course, they are only announcing this. Even if they build such things, I personally will not be unhappy because I know that in a not-too-distant future, it will all fall into the hands of Islamic mujahids! [Crowd chants: “Death to America!”]

Therefore, malice and mischief is in the nature of western powers and there is no difference between the US and Europe in this regard. Of course, the US is more malicious. For different reasons, the US is more malicious and it is not particular to the person who holds office in the US administration, rather their whole politics is based on this. They delivered a report to me showing that in recently, the US Congress– these are interesting figures– has either passed or presented 226 bills and drafts against the Islamic Republic in the years 1396 and 1397. Two hundred and twenty six bills in order to show their opposition and malevolence against the Islamic Republic! This is malice.

Of course, I have a complaint about our own Majlis: how many bills and drafts has our own Islamic Consultative Majlis presented or passed against US malice? So, western powers are like this. We cannot have other expectations of them.

Of course, some people inside the country embellish the image of westerns. They justify malicious acts of westerners. They airbrush their image and prevent public opinion from realizing how much malice and malevolence exists in the nature of these apparently decent governments – governments such as France, England and other such governments. There are people from the press and the media among them: the likes of Taqizadeh. During the time of taghut, an individual like Taqizadeh said something like this: that Iran should become westernized from head to toe. He meant that the lifestyle in Iran should be westernized. Today too, new Taqizadehs make such statements. Of course, they do not say it with such naked clarity, but that is what they mean.

Those who keep injecting and promoting western thoughts, western lifestyle, western methods, and western nomenclature in our literature, our thought system, our universities and our schools are the new Taqizadehs. Those who stand behind the 2030 Education Agenda – the 2030 Education Agenda means turning the Islamic lifestyle into the western lifestyle – are today’s Taqizadehs. Of course, by Allah’s favor, our pious youth and our revolutionary people will not allow these Taqizadehs to establish their ideas.

You should pay attention to this point. I am saying this because some people misrepresent my statements. These comments do not at all mean breaking off our relations with western countries. It is alright to establish relations. During the term of different administrations and throughout all these years, I have always encouraged administrations to establish relations with different countries: with our neighboring countries, with Islamic countries, with different movements and orientations and with European countries, all in different ways. In the present time, I still believe this. It is alright to establish relations, but what is problematic is following and trusting others. What I am saying is that we should not trust them.

Many or at least some of our problems originate from trusting westerners. There is nothing wrong with establishing relations. You can establish relations, but you should know the other side. You should not confuse the path and take the wrong direction with their smiles, their deceit and their false statements. This is what I am saying. Otherwise, it is alright to be in contact. Of course, fortunately, our government officials have reached the conclusion today that one cannot take the same path as that of westerners. They have felt this. In the future, our behavior and conduct might differ as a result of this new knowledge, God willing.

Now that we have spoken about the west, I would like to add that there are two opposing orientations about the west, both of which are wrong: one orientation is based on unreasonable bias and prejudice and reluctance to see western positives. Westerners launched a good movement in the area of science. They endeavored hard and they made progress with persistence. The same is true of technology and some behavioral traits. I have spoken about them at length in different speeches. These things should not be denied. We should learn every good thing wherever it is in the world.

I have mentioned frequently that we have no objections to being pupils. We will learn from anyone who knows more than us and this is alright with us. However, we should not be pupils forever. Therefore, having a reactionary attitude towards the west and having an unreasonable bias against the west which makes us reject whatever comes from that region – no matter what it is – is renounced by us.

The opposite point to this is “westoxication”. Westoxication is a grave danger. In the heart of the westoxicated Pahlavi regime, an intellectual who was deep-rooted in religious matters – the late Jalal Al-e Ahmad who was the son of a clergy and who had deep religious connections: he used to be in contact with us and he would express his respect and love for Imam [Khomeini] during his exile – brought up the issue of westoxication. Today, the issue of westoxication is an important issue. We should not forget it. Therefore, both prejudice and bias on the one hand and westoxication on the other hand are wrong. As I said, the west cannot be trusted. We should keep in contact, but we should not rely on them. We should benefit from their science and their positive aspects, but we should not trust them in any way. This is what I wanted to say in this regard. This was the second matter.

Now, let us move to the matter of the economy. Now that we cannot trust the west, what should we do for the economy of the country? The issue of the economy of the country is an important issue. This is what I want to say in this regard: for the blossoming of the country’s economy, we need an endeavor which is both jihadi and scientific. The issues related to the economy of the country will not be resolved with laziness, with lack of energy and with lack of motivation. A jihadi endeavor should be made. Jihadi management should dominate the economic affairs of the country and decision-making. We should make a jihadi endeavor.

Jihadi endeavor means an endeavor accompanied by effort, tirelessness and purity. In other words, we should clearly see that such individuals do not work for the sake of filling their own pockets and that they work for the people and for God.

An endeavor should be like this as well as being scientific. They should sit and find the correct ways with scientific and precise methods. They should be knowledgeable and competent and they should have different resources at their disposal. Such individuals should sit and work. If this happens, the economy of the country will definitely be in full blossom.

I am not an economist, but I study and I ask for their viewpoints. I listen to their viewpoints carefully. Our experts believe that the capacities of the country for developing the economy are very rich and complete capacities. We have no shortcomings. Our human resource capacity is very good, our natural capacities are very good and our geographical capacity is also very good. In the statement on the ‘Second Phase of the Revolution’, I explained some of these capacities. So capacities exist and furthermore, there is money in the country.

Also there is constant complaints about cash liquidity. Of course, this is correct. If liquidity does not receive attention, it will deliver a blow. However, if it is managed efficiently and if it is guided towards investment, it will help the country blossom and it will develop the economy. Therefore, there is an abundance of capacities in the country.

Some executive organizations have performed well. Some people think that no tasks have been carried out. This is not the case. Some executive organizations have performed well in different areas including in the area of agriculture, water, soil and areas related to developing underprivileged regions and infrastructural tasks. Of course, in some areas too, this is not the case. There is lack of energy and negligence in some areas. Sometimes, tasks are carried out with delay.

In a letter which I think was written to me in the year 1393 or 1394, a high-ranking official said that they were preparing a bill related to reforming banking transactions and the banking system in general – one of our economic problems is the problem related to the banking system – and he said that the bill would be examined by the Majlis a few months later. However, they have reported to me that after the passage of four years, that bill has not yet been delivered to the Majlis. Well, this is a long delay and holdup!

The units that have performed well should be rewarded and encouraged and the units that have delayed work should be warned. I myself have issued warnings in this regard. I say these things in public and among the people only when I have already discussed them in private with the gentlemen themselves. These issues should become an inseparable part of public opinion and they should turn into a public demand.

Production should be supported. We named this year, “The Year of Boosting Production”. This year should be the year of boosting production. Last year, when I brought up the issue of supporting Iranian products, a good movement was launched. The people and some producers gave it a good reception. I have been informed that when the people – the majority of the people – go to different stores, they ask for Iranian goods and products. When the salespeople bring their foreign counterparts, they do not accept it. This means progress. However, I cannot claim that the slogan was completely acted on. The reports do not confirm this. Therefore, the slogan of supporting Iranian products continues to be equally important, but the main and the most important issue is to boost production.

If production is boosted, then there will be a huge transformation in different areas. If production is boosted, it influences employment and inflation, it affects the balance of the budget and it helps increase the value of the national currency. Notice that all these are our important economic problems. Experts and those who are well-informed about economic matters confirm that if production is boosted in the country, there will certainly be such advantages and results. This should be accomplished and it should be included in the agenda: both in the agenda of the administration and the Majlis, and in the agenda of those who have the capability to enter the arena of production.

We know certain individuals who had money and resources, who could have put the money in the bank to benefit from the interest without any trouble for many years, but they did not do so. Instead, they invested it into production, saying that they want to help the country move forward. Such people will be rewarded by God! The people who act like this will be rewarded by Allah the Exalted.

Producers, investors and economic activists – honest and sincere economic activists – should be assisted. Those who generate wealth for the country should be assisted. There should be an endeavor to improve the business environment. This should be done with necessary laws, methods and procedures.

Another condition is that we should be wary of those who take advantage of the situation. Some individuals took advantage of the situation and they continue to do so. Opportunists exist and there are different types of them. Just as Iranian creativity and the Iranian innovative mind can be utilized in good ways, it can also do mischief from time to time. One witnesses mind-boggling methods for taking advantage and we see it in the reports. Well, officials should be careful. The executive branch, the judiciary branch and other supervisory organizations should watch over the matter.

I discussed the matter with the honorable President. He said in one of his public speeches that they want to sell such and such a factory. I said to him that they should be careful because some people buy the factory from you not with the purpose of continuing the work and boosting production, rather they buy it in order to sell the machinery, fire the workers and turn the land into a skyscraper! One should be wary of such individuals. One should be wary of such opportunists.

Some people establish banks by benefiting from the law for establishing banks – one of the wrong measures adopted in the country was to allow people to create banks one after another – and then, they collect the people’s money, set up fake companies, give the people’s money to their own companies as debt, loans and banking facilities and thus fill their own pockets. They do such things. We should be careful of such people and we should not ignore them.

If they are prevented from doing these things and if we support honest entrepreneurs instead and boost production, then the problem of unemployment will be solved on the basis of what experts say. The problem of inflation, poverty among underprivileged classes, the banking system and the value of national money and even the issue of the administration’s budget deficit will be resolved through a boost in production. These problems can be solved this way. Therefore, the issue is an important one.

And when I speak about production, I do not only mean industrial production. Industrial and agricultural production, stockbreeding, developing large, medium-sized and small industries and even developing handicrafts, home-made products and animal husbandry – breeding livestock in villages – will greatly help the expansion of public welfare in societies. They should plan for such tasks. Of course, knowledge-based companies play a big part in this regard. They should receive due attention.

Unnecessary imports should be prevented. One of the important areas and articles of the economy of resistance – which I brought up and which is being discussed at length and clarified by others including the officials in the government and other individuals – is the issue of domestic production. And the condition for boosting domestic production is curbing unnecessary imports. They have reported to me that they are doing such and such things for the economy of resistance and that they have prepared such and such plans. Very well, surely these reports are compatible with reality. In other words, they have really done these things, however they have not showed themselves in reality.

The reason is the existence of imports. One witnesses that the market is full of imports. This will lead to the failure of domestic production! They import those goods which are produced inside the country. This will cause domestic production to fail. Officials should prevent this. These are important matters. If this happens, the economy of resistance will be implemented in the true sense of the word.

To sum up, I stress that government organizations should focus on boosting production this year. If there is a need for certain laws, they should ask the Majlis to take action. If there is a need for the presence of the judiciary branch and other supervisory organizations, they should ask them to take action and to cooperate – they gather in the meeting that I mentioned: the meeting between the heads of the three branches of government. Production should be boosted no matter what! This was the third issue.

My last point today is addressed to the youth. It is actually addressed to all the people, but particularly to the youth. First of all, I want to mention that the response to my statement on the Second Phase of the Revolution – the statement on the occasion of the 40th year of the Revolution – given by people from different social backgrounds including academics, the masses of youth, students, seminarians, the clergy and others was a very appropriate and gladdening response. This shows that there is a need for elucidation and that the level of preparedness throughout the country, particularly among youth, is good. The officials of the country should make the most of this preparedness. What I want to say to youth is that they should shoulder both small and big responsibilities. This is the cure to the problems of the country. In the second phase of the Revolution, we should place the country’s progress on the shoulders of the youth.

In the first phase of the Revolution, it was Imam who guided the people, but it was the youth who launched the movement and who turned on the engine of progress. It was they who launched the movement. Today, your efforts are focused on ensuring the independence and dignity of the country. It is you who are paying the price for it today. The price that the Iranian nation and our youth are paying is with the purpose of achieving complete independence – in different areas – national dignity and the dignity of the Islamic community.

Future generations will benefit from your achievements. In the past too, youth accepted to pay the price for fighting against the taghuti regime by going to prison and being beaten until the Revolution thankfully achieved victory and the taghuti regime was destroyed. Or during the imposed war, families paid the price for defending the country and so today, you are living your life with complete security. Today too, you should pay the price for standing up against the enemy so that future generations will benefit from your achievements.

The main point that I want to raise is that what should happen in the second phase of the Revolution is primarily gaining an understanding about our assets and taking them seriously. We should know what assets we have and we should take them seriously. We should know our advantages and capacities and those of the country and we should be serious about them. We should utilize them and benefit from them. The country has extensive capacities. Secondly, we should identify diseases and pests. We should identify the ways that the enemies use to penetrate and we should stand up against them in a serious manner.

Today, the second phase of the Revolution is this: identifying capacities and assets and benefiting from them. Similarly, we should identify maladies, rifts, shortcomings and setbacks and we should roll up our sleeves to solve them.

You should know that the west and the US have reached the conclusion that if the Iranian nation wills something, it will definitely achieve it! They have reached the conclusion that they cannot fight against the national willpower of the people of Iran. If they will something, then creating obstacles and mischief will be of no avail. So, what should they do? They have reached the conclusion that they should do something so that the Iranian nation no longer wills anything, to do something to weaken its willpower. They are thinking of this.

Today, billions of dollars are being spent in the world in order to create a rift in the political and religious beliefs of our youth with the purpose of destroying its determination to move and to rise. They want to destroy our willpower. They want to prevent you from making a decision. Their effort is focused on preventing the willpower of the Iranian nation from being shaped in the direction of progress, confrontation and the establishment of an Islamic society and an Islamic civilization. They know that if this willpower is solidified, it will certainly achieve its goals.

Of course, they did so in the past – many years ago – as well. During the time of the taghuti regime, they used to promote the idea among the youth of the country that if you want to achieve civilization and progress, you should put aside religion. They would say that religion, piety and religious faith is not compatible with science, progress and the like. Today, they should open their blind eyes and see that our best, our greatest and our most advanced industries – we are at the top of the list in these industries and competing with top-tier countries in the world – are being developed by youth who read Dua Kumayl, who say night prayers, who engage in itikaf, who are interested in Dua Nudbah and who are very pious! We are top of the table in advanced industries in today’s world: in nanotechnology, in nuclear technology, in missile-related technologies, in biotechnology and other advanced technologies in the world. We are on the frontline of such technologies.

The main people who do these tasks are pious youth whom I know up close. Youth should increase their efforts in the arena of science, intellectuality, politics and hard work. They should not attend to trivial and unimportant matters. They should not attend to matters which lead to discord. They should pursue unity, focused work and pious and jihadi actions. They should highlight our borders with the enemy in the areas which were discussed today. They should not create borders with insiders and with domestic forces because of slight differences of opinion.

As Imam said, they should let out all their cries on the enemies and on America! The administration, the Majlis, the judiciary branch and others should help youth as much as they can in order to achieve this progress. And I will tell you – as I have told you many times – that by Allah’s favor and grace, the future of the country will be very much better than our present-day condition!

Dear God, by the blessedness of Muhammad and his household, make what we said and what we do serve You and Your cause and accept it from all of us

Make us the real soldiers of Islam and true mujahids on the path of the truth.

Send our greetings to the Imam of the Age (may our souls be sacrificed for his sake). Help us benefit from the prayers of that noble personality.

Associate the pure souls of the martyrs and the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam, with their saints

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings

source: http://english.khamenei.ir/news/6583/Europe-has-left-the-JCPOA-in-practice

The Saker interviews Jorge Valero, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Source

February 19, 2019

[This interview was made for the Unz Review]

I am continuing to try to understand what is really happening in Venezuela by talking to those who actually know that and, following my interview with Michael Hudson, it is today it is my immense privilege and honor to present you with a full interview I made with His Excellency Mr. Jorge Valero, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Permanent Representative of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva.

I am immensely grateful to Ambassador Valero for taking the time to answer my questions in extenso just a few days away from what might well turn out to be a US false flag or even invasion of Venezuela (promised to all by Trump and Guaido for the 23rd of February).  May God grant him and the Venezuelan people the wisdom, courage and strength to defeat the Empire!

The Saker
——-

The Saker: My first question is about you personally.  There is a Wikipedia entry under your name (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorge_Valero) but since Wikipedia is, at best, a hit-and-miss kind of source, what could you tell our readers about yourself which they ought to know before we turn to the issue of the current situation in Venezuela?

Ambassador Valero: I was born in Valera, State of Trujillo, Venezuela on November 8th, 1946. I graduated from the University of Los Andes (ULA, for its acronym in Spanish) as a historian. I did my graduate studies at the University College London, in Latin American Studies. I am an expert in diplomatic archives. I was an undergraduate professor and the University of Los Andes and a graduate professor at the Central University of Venezuela (UCV, for its acronym in Spanish). I was elected as a Congressman to the Legislative Assembly of the State of Trujillo, and later Congressman to the National Congress. I was Venezuela’s Ambassador to the Korean Republic. When, President Chávez, was elected in 1998; he appointed me as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. I presided the Presidential Commission appointed by President Chávez, which was in charge of organizing the II OPEC Summit, in Caracas on September 2000. I have been Ambassador – Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the OAS; the UN – New York and currently to the UNOG. I have written a literary work in various genres. More than 20 essays; poetry; diplomacy and social-political analysis. Dozens of national and international conferences.

The Saker: One of the major efforts of Hugo Chavez was to establish a number of multi-lateral frameworks and agreements like the ALBA, CELAC, UNASUR, and projects like the SUCRE, the Petrocaribe, TeleSUR or PetroSUR.  How effective have these frameworks and projects been in supporting the Venezuelan struggle against US imperialism?  Do you feel that these entities are playing a helpful role or not?

Ambassador Valero: Hugo Chávez was a paradigm of Latin American and Caribbean integration. In this regard, he was a key factor in the creation of ALBA, UNASUR, CELAC, PETROCARIBE, and TELESUR. Chávez reclaimed the integrationist ideology of our Liberator Simón Bolívar, who prosed the creation of “La Patria Grande,Nuestroamericana” (Great Our American Homeland), to defend the interests of our peoples and face any foreign threat raising the flags of unity, peace, sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples. PETROCARIBE is a solidary initiative in favor of developing countries, notably, the countries of our Caribbean surroundings that benefit from an oil bill with discounts and with long payment terms. Chávez has also been a paradigm in the promotion of a multi-polar world, where foreign affairs are founded by sovereign equality of States, overcoming the decaying North American Empire unilateralism. Thus, the Empire’s fury has been unleashed against the Bolivarian Revolution: coups d’état, oil sabotage, the promotion of violence and terrorism against the Venezuelan people. Henceforth, the continuous coup d’état promoted by the supremacist-racist-xenophobic and war-mongering government of Donald Trump that aims to impose a governing puppet and the threats of a military invasion in our homeland, which are part of the above-described context.

Hugo Chávez advocated for a new type and renewed multilateralism. Respect for the founding principles of international law and the Charter of the United Nations. Multilateralism is disrupted by Trump’s government, which has disregarded universal agreements on climate change; withdrawn from both UNESCO and the Human Rights Council; disregarded the agreement on the peaceful use of atomic energy with Iran, signed by USA, Germany, France, United Kingdom, China and the European Union; retraced the path to normalizing the bilateral relations with Cuba; unleashes a commercial war against China, and threatens the Russian Federation with an atomic war in his dispute to control outer space. Vis-à-vis those reckless and aggressive policies that threaten human existence it is necessary to raise the flags of multilateralism even higher.

The Saker: The Empire has created the so-called “Lima Group” which is just a typical trick to bypass the UN or legitimate regional organizations.  This is exactly what the USA did with the so-called “friends of Syria,” and the goal is the same: to overthrow a democratically elected legitimate government and replace it with a vassal puppet regime.  Yet countries like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, and Peru all agreed to participate in this anti-Venezuelan farce.  How do you explain such a betrayal by so many of these Latin American countries?  Does their agreement to betray Venezuela and serve the Empire’s interest not show that these states have no real sovereignty or foreign policy and that they are all de-facto US colonies?

Ambassador Valero: Certainly, the self-proclaimed “Lima Group” is a cartel made up of satellite governments of the imperial government to break Latin American and Caribbean unity, and, due to the failure of using the Ministry of the Colonies, which is the OAS to isolate Venezuela in this organization. The empire and its minions couldn’t approve Article 20 of Inter-American Democratic Charter of the Permanent Council of the OAS and resort to the United Nations Security Council, where they also failed. The creation of puppet governments by the US is not new. It has happened in Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Syria. The puppets imposed in those countries where supported by armed terrorist groups, including, mercenary armies trained and financed from abroad.

Nevertheless, in Venezuela, the puppet has no support from the people nor the military, since in our country there is a consistent and patriotic civilian-military alliance, which guarantees and will guarantee -come what may- the defense of the sovereign and sacred jurisdiction of Simon Bolivar’s homeland. The US satellite governments against Venezuela are a minority even in Latin America and the Caribbean. Of the 193 countries that make up the United Nations only 34 support the puppet, which translates into 17.6%. For example, a single country in Africa and there are 54. One in Oceania and there are 15. One in the Middle East and there are 16. 15 countries in Europe, and there are 50. And 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and there are 35. You are right, the satellite countries that follow the Empire’s orders have no autonomous and sovereign foreign policy. Some of these governments, particularly, in Latin America are presided by people that have a criminal background: drug trafficking, corruption, genocide, paramilitarism, sexual offenses. Some are the result of a coup d’état.

The Saker: Another interesting initiative was the creation of Petro-cryptocurrency.  Now with the inflation making the Bolivar almost useless, how effective do you believe this alternative currency is to 1) bypass US sanctions, and sabotage and 2) serve as an alternative currency to help the Venezuelan economy recover from its current plight?

Ambassador Valero: The Petro-cryptocurrency was created to free us from the tyranny of the US dollar in the international financial market. Therefore, Trump’s government has established Draconian measures to block the flow of this cryptocurrency. Incidentally, the economic war and the unilateral coercive measures bring about galloping inflation, migration and relocation of people abroad. We are blocked from accessing the capital markets. They rob the Venezuelan State’s property in the US. They kidnap the Venezuelan State’s bank accounts in that country. The unilateral coercive measures and the sanctions cause, as expressed by the former UN Independent Expert, Alfred de Zayas, death and suffering. Measures against international law and the Charter of the United Nations and deny the Venezuelan people their human rights. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, Idriss Jazairy acknowledged this.

The Saker: Russia and China have been working on an alternative to the SWIFT.  Is that something the Venezuelan government is also looking into?

Ambassador Valero: Experts from China and Russia provide expert advice to the Venezuelan State to successfully overcome the financial blockage and criminal sanctions of Trump’s government.

The Saker: What can you tell us about the current state of the Venezuelan petrochemicals industry?  Now that the US has stolen 7 BILLION dollars belonging to PDVSA, how can the PDVSA continue to operate after being robbed from such a huge sum of money?  At what levels is Venezuela currently producing and refining oil?

Ambassador Valero: The damage caused to the Venezuelan economy surpasses 35 billion dollars in the blockade of assets and accounts. They try to rob the Venezuelan peoples from the company CITGO that operates in Dallas, Texas that distributes gasoline and fuels to thousands of gas stations in the US East Coast. The Bolivarian government will undertake all the necessary legal actions to avoid that the Trump government steals the national patrimony. PDVSA, our national oil company, is completely deployed to guarantee the production, distribution, and commercialization of our crude oil. We have found new partners in the hydrocarbon’s market in the world, mainly, China, Russia, India, and Turkey.

The Saker: Since the US-backed coup attempt by Guaido, there has been remarkably little actual violence in the streets of Venezuela, and all the signs point to the fact that Guaido does not have the support of a majority of the people.  Yet he sure does have enough support within some sectors of the Venezuelan society (the kind of folks who go and protest against Nicolas Maduro while carrying US flags).  How did the government succeed in preventing that minority from doing in Venezuela what was done in Libya and Syria: instigate enough violence to justify a “humanitarian” foreign intervention?  In Kiev, there were snipers shooting at both the security forces and the protestors (which also happened in Caracas in 2002 I believe), and I was expecting that to happen in Caracas, but it did not (at least so far).  How do you explain this?

Ambassador Valero: Since the National Constituent Assembly was elected peace reigns in the republic.

The puppet that the US aims to impose has neither the people nor the military’s support to disrupt public peace. In general, in Venezuela, there is peace and tranquility. The Venezuelan people love peace. Peace is an essential part of State policies. Nevertheless, terrorist and violent groups financed from abroad, especially, the USA and Colombia act in popular districts in some cities in the country. The puppet and the puppeteer, Trump’s government try to disrupt public peace. They call to destroy the democratic rule of law and justice in Venezuela. They refuse to dialogue and promote intolerance and violence. The puppet asks the puppeteer to send US troops to invade our homeland. Infertile calls since our people remain presto to defend our participatory and protagonist democracy, as well as, the democratic institutions.

Trump’s government tries to reproduce the format that the Empire used in Syria and Libya: a parallel transition government. Prepares mercenaries in neighboring countries to foray in the national territory. They aimed to use the OAS and the Human Rights Council. Remember that Libya was expelled from the Human Rights Council through a Resolution, which was later confirmed by the UN General Assembly immediately after a Resolution was approved in the Security Council, which approved the creation of a no-fly zone. What followed is well known: cask missiles against Libya that caused thousands of deaths and destruction in civilian and military infrastructure. Trump’s government wants to implement the same strategy against Venezuela. He has called upon the Security Council to validate his objective for a military invasion in Venezuela. Fortunately, for both world and regional peace, the governments of Russia and China declared that they would use their right to veto in the UN Security Council to block such criminal objective.

Peace in our region is crucial. CELAC proclaimed Latin America and the Caribbean as a zone of peace. A military invasion from Trump’s government in Venezuela will have continental and worldwide consequences. President Nicolás Maduro affirmed that a Yankee invasion would create a new Vietnam.

The Saker: Does Venezuela feel sufficiently supported at the UN in general and at the UNSC specifically by Russia and China or do you feel that Venezuela needs more help from these countries?

Ambassador Valero: Russia and China are Venezuela’s strategic allies. With these two military, commercial, and technologic powers we have cooperation agreements in many fields. Likewise, Venezuela has abundant solidary backing and support from most of the countries in the world.

On January 26, 2019, Trump’s government indented to condemn Venezuela in the Security Council. They ran off with their tails between their legs, since no resolution was approved against our country. Most of the permanent and non-permanent members of this Council rejected the interventionist objective, and, contrarily approved to promote dialogue among Venezuelans. We are in a condition to overcome motu proprio our challenges. The dialogue between the government and the opposition, without preconditions, is the path to follow. Henceforth, our government has enthusiastically supported the “Montevideo Mechanism” proposed by the governments of Mexico, Uruguay, Bolivia and the member countries of CARICOM.

The Saker: It is pretty obvious that Mr. Guaido has committed a number of violations of the Venezuelan law ranging from calling for an illegal demonstration to being involved in an anti-constitutional coup attempt.  In a normal situation, that man ought to be legally charged and prosecuted for his crimes (including, in my opinion, subversion and treason).  Yet the USA threatened to go to war against Venezuela (aka “serious consequences“) if Guaido is arrested which, by itself, is a gross violation of international law and of the UN Charter.  What can, in your opinion, the Venezuelan government do to do what any other government would do and restore law in order without risking providing a pretext for a US invasion?

Ambassador Valero: The puppet has continuously violated the Bolivarian Constitution. Likewise, he disregarded the fundamental tenets of international law and the Charter of the United Nations. The Venezuelan State is made up of five powers. If something has characterized, the Bolivarian government is being a devoted defender of the independence of each of those powers. It will be the National Constituent Assembly and the Public Ministry who will make the necessary decisions. And you are right: these are crimes of subversion and treason. Breaking democratic legality and wrongfully usurping functions should not be tolerated.

The puppet’s permanent calls for violence and destabilization, his self-proclamation in a street in Caracas, and his call for a foreign military intervention place him against all nation and international law. Makes him a criminal that should be punished with the force of the Venezuelan laws.

The Saker: Speaking of a possible US invasion – do you believe that these are just the usual empty threat of Donald Trump or do you think that there is actually a real risk of overt US military aggression against your country?  How about the covert aggression already taking place?  What can you tell us about US/Colombian (some say Israeli?) covert operations against Venezuela?

Ambassador Valero: Donald Trump’s threats are not empty. The aggression is in full swing. Trump is the bombastic spokesman of war and foreign intervention. His threats are part of the Empire’s recolonizing goals. The government of Uncle Sam’s nation and its allies and lackeys impose neoliberal policies on the peoples of the world. Trump dusted off the Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary. Recruits and trains mercenaries in its military bases in Colombia. Prepares his arsenal to wage war against Venezuela. This is why we should turn a blind eye to provocations. The governments of the US and Colombia are experts creating false positives.

We insist: the threat of a military foray by the empire is a possibility that should not be ruled out. Both our people and our National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB, for its acronym in Spanish) are prepared to react with heroism and determination in case of such an event. Patriotism has rekindled as never before in history. We are ready to guarantee our definite independence.

Venezuela became the subject of discussion in the whole world. Our natural wealth, our geographic location in the American hemisphere, our political tenet of building a model of society where social justice prevails, our relations of solidarity and cooperation with the other countries of the world, our firm decision of being a free and sovereign country, emancipated from all sorts of domination make us –as people say- the crown jewel.

The Saker: It is pretty clear that the Israelis have never forgiven Hugo Chavez for speaking up for Palestinian rights and for openly denouncing Israeli policies.  As far as you know, are the Israelis currently involved in anti-Venezuelan activities including economic sabotage, political subversion, covert operations, etc.?  How relevant is Israel in what is going on today?

Ambassador Valero: The Israeli government has nothing to forgive us for. Our condition of sovereign country grants us the right to decide how we relate to other countries in the world. Defending the Palestinian cause is in the center of our foreign policy. We denounce in multilateral for Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people. Demanded the cessation of the cessation of the occupation of the Gaza Strip, to end the extermination policy of Israel against Palestine and the Occupied Arab Territories. We recognize Palestine as a free and sovereign country with which we hold strong bonds of cooperation. There lies Israel’s hatred against the Bolivarian Revolution. It is no news that this government is involved in the interventionist plans against our country. The Israeli government bets on the overthrowing of President Nicolás Maduro, by Donald Trump’s government. It has recognized his puppet.

The Saker: Finally, what is your guess as to what will happen in the short-term to mid-term future?  Do you believe that the Guiado coup has already failed or do you believe that this was only a temporary setback for the Empire and that now we will see more and further attempts at crushing the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela and the rest of Latin America?

Ambassador Valero: The civilian-military union is categorically defeating the coup d’état. Nevertheless, the empire will not stop in its destabilizing and coup-mongering pretentions against the Bolivarian Revolution. As it has been demonstrated our people are inspired by the legacy of our liberators and the supreme commander Hugo Chávez Frías. And at the avant-garde of the fight for our sovereignty and self-determination is President Nicolás Maduro. Chavismo is the new face of being Venezuelan.

The Venezuelan people will resist with heroism and patriotic spirit the constant siege of Trump’s government. The Bolivarian Revolution conceived a new nation project, which aims to obtain happiness, equality, equity, freedom, and brotherhood of all Venezuelans. These are inherent principles of our democracy and the Venezuelan way of socialism.

The Venezuelan people have resisted with dignity and stoicism the terrible conditions it has been subjected to due to the imperial pretensions of impeding the advance of our revolutionary process. No foreign power and its domestic pawns will be able to stop the triumphal march of the Bolivarian Revolution.

The Saker:Your Excellency, thank you for granting me this interview!

The Venezuela Phase of US Global Demise “The end of America’s unc

The Venezuela Phase of US Global Demise

The Venezuela Phase of US Global Demise

“The end of America’s unchallenged global economic dominance has arrived sooner than expected,” wrote US political economist Michael Hudson in a recent cogent essay.

Hudson goes on to point out with copious irony how the “end of US monetary imperialism” has been accelerated by a rightwing former real estate magnate, President Donald Trump, surrounded by a cabal of Neocons in his White House administration.

The author, whose earlier book, ‘Super Imperialism’, prefigured much of today’s geopolitical configuration, contends that: “International finance and foreign investment have become the key flash point in global power politics today.”

Central to the historic loss of US global economic dominance is the imminent demise of the dollar as the premier international currency, and thereby its use as a monetary weapon for Washington.

The latest blow-up in international relations involving Venezuela and Washington’s designs for regime change is but the latest in a whole gamut of international developments, tensions and confrontations which ultimately stem from America’s desperate attempt to maintain its global hegemony.

Over the past 12 months, there has been a slew of countries dumping their holdings of dollars and US Treasury bills. Russia, China, Japan, Turkey and others have been offloading the American currency with spades. Meanwhile, Russia and others have been busy stockpiling gold reserves as a more secure strategic asset.

That is surely a sign of systematic “de-dollarization” owing to a general declining confidence in the American currency, as well as a tacit political decision to discreetly disarm Washington’s “monetary imperialism”.

Other significant indicators include China’s denomination of its enormous oil trade with Saudi Arabia and other petrodollar sources henceforth in the Chinese Yuan.

Russia and China have already innovated bilateral trade using each other’s currencies. This is another example of how Washington’s bullying use of sanctions and control over the international payment system is leading inevitably to the establishment of alternative, non-dollar trade mechanisms.

The launch last week by the European Union of a non-dollar payment system for trade with Iran in order to avoid US sanctions is evidence of further international movement away from dependency on the American dollar as the erstwhile international reserve currency. Again, Washington has been overplaying its hand here too.

Threatening to sanction European nations for doing business with Iran under the terms of the 2015 international nuclear accord – which Trump unilaterally abandoned last year – has forced the Europeans to protect their own vital interests, which necessarily entails circumventing the US dollar system.

In short, the American rulers are unwittingly digging their own grave.

As Michael Hudson points out, the erstwhile US hegemony is entering into an accelerated decline, largely brought on by its own hubris and unilateral aggression – even towards supposed allies.

It seems that in order to avert this collapse of power, the US is amping up the aggression and militarism in a desperate bid to assert itself.

Hence we see the US taking the reckless step of walking away from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russia. Many informed arms control experts around the world, including in the US, are deeply concerned that the Trump administration is gravely damaging global security and “moving the world closer to a nuclear war”.

Behind the US decision to tear up the INF treaty is the calculation in Washington of trying to intimidate Russia and China militarily, whom several recent American planning documents target as “great power rivals”.

Washington’s aggression and threats towards Iran also fit into this ramped up militarism as a form of political power play.

America’s dramatic escalation of tensions with Venezuela over the past two weeks is another page from the same playbook. It is almost staggering the audacity of Washington’s threats of military attack on the South American country.

The Trump administration’s brazen ultimatums for regime change and confiscation of Venezuela’s oil wealth are a shocking violation of international law, according to former UN rapporteur Alfred de Zayas.

Pathetically, many European states are kowtowing to Washington’s aggression towards the government of President Nicolas Maduro, even though these same states have themselves been humiliated of late by American bullying.

Venezuela can thus be best understood as another phase of the US dollar’s historic demise, and the concomitant bigger demise of American global power.

The South American country is believed to hold the largest reserves of oil on the planet, exceeding that of Saudi Arabia. Much of its trade is dedicated to the US market. Unfortunately, that has given Washington a lot of leverage for economic warfare against Caracas.

Again, however, the arrogant Americans are in danger of overplaying their hand. Threats of military aggression – while criminally reprehensible – are easier said than done. If Venezuela can weather this current geopolitical storm, the country will no doubt turn its prodigious oil business further towards Russia, China, Turkey and others in the East who have not joined Uncle Sam’s lynch mob running amok in the Caribbean.

As with Washington’s aggression on so many other fronts – towards Russia, China, Iran, Europe – the American gross misconduct against Venezuela is augmenting the very direction it most fears: a multipolar world where US hegemony no longer prevails.

The configuration of chaos and conflict is a very dangerous one. The volatile mix could blow up into a global military confrontation. Washington’s desperation to avert its fate of demise could result in a one reckless aggression too far. A foolhardy invasion of Venezuela could be such a detonator.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to understand the present international precariousness as stemming from inherent American economic problems. That is the key factor that links up all the other seemingly disparate tensions and conflicts. Venezuela is but another demonstration of a wider structural problem centered on American capitalism’s collapse.

Russian, Chinese and other informed planners are presumably well aware of the fraught transition in global politics away from US imperial dominance. Moscow and Beijing hardly want a sudden collapse of American power because that could precipitate a disastrous military reaction. A gradual undermining and weakening of the dollar in a phased withdrawal is probably the safest way to defuse the American time bomb.

Photo: Pixabay

Next Generation 5G and the US-China “Cellphone War”: The Arrest of Meng Wanzhou

Global Research, December 20, 2018
Global Research 16 December 2018
Trade War

Updated, December 20, 2018

The unspoken US policy objective behind the arrest of  Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on trumped up charges, consists in breaking China’s technological lead in wireless telecommunications. 

What is at stake is a coordinated US and allied intelligence initiative to ban China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd from the “next generation” state of the art 5G global mobile phone network.

The intelligence operation is led by “Five Eyes”, a so-called “intelligence-sharing alliance to combat espionage” between the US and its four (junior) Anglo-Saxon partners: UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand.  

Western media tabloids repeatedly refer to legitimate “national security concerns” as a justification for the banning of China’s telecom equipment.

What is at stake is a fierce battle in the global wireless telecom industry. 

Spy Chiefs Meet Behind Closed Doors in Nova Scotia 

On July 17, the spy chiefs from the “Five Eyes” nations travelled from Ottawa to Nova Scotia for a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (who was on a Nova Scotia tour including meetings with NS Premier Stephen McNeil)

The meeting with the “Five Eyes” spy chiefs hosted by Trudeau was held at an (unnamed) coastal resort in Nova Scotia. It was casually described by The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) as “an informal evening after intense talks in nearby Ottawa”. Nearby?

The encounter with Canada’s Prime Minister was neither informal nor spontaneous. His presence at that meeting served to provide a “political green-light” to the “Five Eyes”  “intelligence campaign” against China:

“Trudeau, …  dropped in on the gathering to share some thoughts about geopolitical threats [from China and Russia].

In the months that followed that July 17 dinner, an unprecedented campaign has been waged by those present – Australia, the US, Canada, New Zealand and the UK – to block Chinese tech giant Huawei from supplying equipment for their next-generation wireless networks.

This increasingly muscular posture towards Beijing culminated in last week’s arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, in Vancouver, over alleged breaches of US sanctions with Iran. (Sidney Morning Herald, December 13, 2018)

CIA Director Gina Haspel and Britain’s MI6 Chief Michael Younger were in attendance. The intent of this meeting was crystal clear. The arrest of Meng Wanzhou was part of a broader intelligence strategy directed against China which had been planned well in advance.

Trudeau’s July 16-17 tour in Nova Scotia was reported upon. Sofar, the Canadian media has failed to mention Trudeau’s July 17, 2018 meeting with the “Five Eyes” chiefs of intelligence.

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Screen-scan  of Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2018

Failure of the US Telecom Industries

It’s what you call “Fair Competition”. Bring in the Spy Chiefs!

Let’s face it : The US based telecom conglomerates are up against the wall.  The industry is in a shambles.

Moreover, the US no longer produces smart phones. Its manufacturing base in Silicon Valley has been closed down. US smart phone companies increasingly rely on China not only for cellphone production but also for the development of intellectual property.

China is not only the largest producer of cellphones Worldwide, it is a leader in wireless technology. According to an August 2018 report by Deloitte Consulting:

China is winning the race against the United States to build a faster nationwide wireless network that uses 5G technology, billed as the mobile industry’s future. Unless the U.S. moves more quickly, it will be at a major disadvantage when it comes to creating dominant new companies in the emerging space….

Accordingly, countries that adopt 5G first are expected to experience disproportionate gains in macroeconomic impact compared to those that lag,” the report’s authors said.

U.S. companies have been sounding the alarm over a purported race against China over 5G, perhaps playing to the fears and strategic desires of the Trump White House. (Fortune, August 7, 2018)

Global Research is based in Montreal.

The complicity of the Canadian government in the arrest of  CFO Meng Wanzhou on behalf of the Trump White House is reprehensible. It puts in jeopardy Canada’s longstanding economic, social and cultural ties with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

UPDATE

Did the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) play a role in the arrest of Ms. Meng Wanzhou on December 1, 2018?

The arrest of Meng Wanzhou on December 1 in Vancouver coincided with the evening dinner meeting between presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump in Buenos Aires on the sidelines of the G-20 summit.

Moreover, according to China’s news agency Xinhua Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau had advanced knowledge of the arrest and did nothing to prevent it from happening:

“…He didn’t notify the Chinese side. Instead, he let this kind of nasty thing to happen and assisted the US side’s unilateral hegemonic behaviour – this has hurt the feeling of Chinese people.”

As outlined above, Prime Minister Trudeau had already granted the green-light to the “Five Eyes” intelligence chiefs at the July 17 secret meeting in Nova Scotia.

Huawei portrayed by CSIS as a threat to National Security

While news reports and official statements intimate that Huawei constitutes a potential cybersecurity risk, Ms. Meng Wanzhou was arrested on December 1, 2018 in Vancouver for allegedly having violated the US sponsored Iran sanctions regime.

What was the role of Canada’s Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) in the arrest of Meng Wanzhou?  CSIS Director David Vigneault hosted the “Five Eyes” meeting of spy chiefs in Ottawa and Nova Scotia on July 17. Prime Minister Trudeau was present at the Novo Scotia meeting.

December 4, 2018: Three days after the arrest of Meng Wenzhou, Canada’s spy chief David Vigneault addressed a luncheon meeting at the Economic Club (EC) of  Canada in Toronto, intimating that “hostile states [China] are targeting large [Canadian] companies and universities”.  According to Vigneault:

 “Many of these advanced technologies are dual-use in nature in that they could advance a country’s economic, security and military interests.”

In his address, Canada’s spy chief warned of the danger of “state-sponsored espionage through technology such as next-generation 5G mobile networks.” (Globe and Mail December 4, 2018)

“Canadian Security Intelligence Service director David Vigneault’s comments come as three of the country’s Five Eyes intelligence-sharing allies have barred wireless carriers from installing equipment made by China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.in the 5G infrastructure they are building to provide an even-more-connected network for smartphone users.

On December 3, 2018, the head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, publicly raised security concerns about Huawei telecommunications being involved in his country’s communications infrastructure.

Both Canada and Britain are conducting security reviews of the Chinese company’s 5G technology.

Mr. Vigneault said large corporations typically hold the most valuable information but they try to put in state-of-the-art cyberdefences, while Canadian universities are largely unaware how they are vulnerable to economic espionage and the threat of infiltration by unnamed state actors who would use their expertise to gain an edge in military technologies. Huawei has developed research and development partnerships with many of Canada’s leading academic institutions.” (Globe and Mail, December 4, 2018, emphasis added)

It should be noted that the meeting and the specific theme of David Vigneault’s presentation at the Economic Club on December 4, 2018 had been scheduled well in advance of the arrest of Ms. Meng Wanzhou on December 1.  (See Economic Club )
.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research,  Montreal, December 16, 2018, updated December 20, 2018

*     *     *

Selected Article

America’s “Cell Phone War” against China: HuaWei CFO Meng Wanzhou Held Hostage by Canada

By Christopher Black, December 14, 2018

It is clear the US is pushing the battle line to our door … We can completely regard the US arrest of Meng Wanzhou as a declaration of war against China.”

China’s Toughness v. Weak-Kneed Russia: Beijing’s Response to Arrest of Meng Wanzhou

By Stephen Lendman, December 14, 2018

In response to the lawless arrest, detention, and mistreatment of Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer Sabrina Meng Wanzhou by Canadian authorities in Vancouver on December 1, acting as a Trump regime proxy, Beijing demanded her immediate release, warning of “grave consequences” otherwise.

“Five Eyes” Intelligence Agencies Behind Drive Against Chinese Telecom Giant Huawei.

By Nick Beams, December 14, 2018

Evidence has come to light that US operations against the Chinese telecommunications giant HuaWei (华为) and the arrest and detention of one of its top executives, Meng Wanzhou, to face criminal charges of fraud brought by the US Justice Department are the outcome of a coordinated campaign by the intelligence agencies of the so-called “Five Eyes” network.

Trump and China: Towards a Cold or Hot War?

By Marc Vandepitte, December 12, 2018

At first glance, the dispute between the US and China revolves around unfair competition and theft of intellectual property. On closer inspection it is about something much more fundamental, namely frantic attempts by Washington to preserve its hegemony over this planet. Are we heading for a clash between the two titans?

Video: Behind the US Attack on Chinese Smartphones

By Manlio Dinucci, December 12, 2018

After having imposed heavy taxes on Chinese merchandise – 250 billion dollars – President Trump, at the G-20, accepted a “truce” by postponing further measures, mainly because the US economy has been struck by Chinese retaliation.

On World Human Rights Day, the Inhumane Treatment of Huawei Meng Wanzhou by Canadian Authorities Becomes Clearer

By Adam Garrie, December 10, 2018

After summoning the Canadian Ambassador in Beijing, China has now summoned the American Ambassador to discuss the status of Meng Wanzhou – the Chinese political prisoner who remains behind bars in Canada in spite of having committed no wrongdoing.

Trump’s Trade War with China: Imagine What Would Happen if China Decided to Impose Economic Sanctions on the USA?

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, November 29, 2018

What Trump does not realize is that the trade deficit with China contributes to sustaining America’s retail economy, it also contributes to the growth of America’s GDP.

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Trump’s Trade War May Be His Waterloo

Trump’s Trade War May Be His Waterloo

MATTHEW JAMISON | 16.12.2018

Trump’s Trade War May Be His Waterloo

With the passing of former American President George Herbert Walker Bush we have been reminded of what a sincere and good friend President Bush was of China and the Chinese people, and how after President Nixon’s seminal opening to China, Bush played a pivotal role in cementing the burgeoning diplomatic relationship between the USA and PRC, for the benefit of the planet as a whole.

This wise and enlightened statesmanship and with it the careful and thoughtful management of the Sino-American alliance stands in stark contrast to the reckless and bewildering management (or mismanagement) of American-Chinese relations under the Trump administration. The Trump administration have taken US-China relations to their worst state of being since Nixon and Kissinger’s historic founding of modern diplomatic relations between the two global giants in the 1970s with Chairman Mao.

By initiating a bewildering and highly damaging, plus needless, trade war between the Earth’s two largest economies Trump squandered much good will that existed after his election to attempt to work in a serious and statesmanlike fashion for the betterment of the Washington-Beijing relationship – the most important strategic state on state diplomatic relationship of the 21st century. The appointment of the Trade advisor Peter Navarro has also been extremely nauseating and disturbing for the overall direction of the Trump administration’s policy regarding China.

It has been bewildering because the tariffs the Trump administration have introduced on American-Chinese trade have badly hit American businesses and consumers, not that a person and shabby con artist business merchant such as Trump could care less about that, he has after all spent his entire life sticking it to working class folks. There has always been a natural, organic synergy to US-China relations with a mutual win-win for both countries rather than a zero-sum game. That is why the Tariffs have been so disruptive, damaging and discouraging for the symbiotic nature of the Washington-Beijing alliance, and it is an alliance, that when a good and healthy state of relations between DC and Beijing has existed has always been of the greatest benefit for the American and Chinese peoples united in friendship and cooperation and for the world as a whole.

That is why the management of the American-Chinese relationship is of the greatest strategic global geopolitical importance, especially as this century the PRC will be an incredible economic superpower that will drive and influence a huge amount of global economic growth. With this the management and handling of the relationship between America and China is a top tier significant planetary and historical matter alongside such pressing global challenges of our age like climate change. By behaving so badly and acting in such an immature, petty and irresponsible way in conducting Superpower diplomacy with a pre-eminently ancient, supremely wise and magnificent civilization such as China, Donald Trump may just finally have met his Waterloo. Unless Trump changes tack immediately matters will only get worse for the Trump administration, and indeed further down the line in years to come, the Trump organisation.

Trump must sack Peter Navarro and have a shake up and overhaul of the Office of US Trade Representative. Protectionists must be junked and a preference for free trade restored. Trump must also stop his anti-China rhetoric which is not helpful and only serves to whip up unfounded prejudice and paranoia among his supporters. Trump must also desist immediately from pursuing the CFO of Huawei and shut that appallingly politically motivated case down. The Trump Trade Tariffs must go with normalcy returning to US-China trade which was the case before Trump instigated these disgusting tariffs. And Trump must rein in his Vice-President Mike Pence who has been making matters worse and increasing tensions with ignorant, inflammatory and stupid comments regarding the rightful Chinese sovereignty over the South China Sea. Trump is fundamentally a non-serious spoilt brat showman who has never really had to work hard for anything in his life but rather has had it handed to him on a plate. As a politician, apart from getting some groups whipped up and putting on one heck of a tour de force in modern American political campaigning, Trump has shown little real appetite or knowledge or skill for actually running a Government and a country with far too much of his time spent on twitter or watching the media. Yet patience is starting to wear very thin for this Trump clown circus act that passes for a Superpower Government.

Photo: Flickr

محاولة أميركية لاستفراد روسيا وتطويع أوروبا ومهادنة الصين

 

ديسمبر 7, 2018

د. وفيق إبراهيم

الدولة الأميركية العميقة لا تزال تعمل بإتقان على الرغم من هلوسات الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب الذي يعبّر عن حاجات بلاده بأسلوب رجال البورصة الذين لا يلمُّون بالأساليب الدبلوماسية ولا تثير اهتمامهم.

هذه الدولة تعرف من هم منافسو إمبراطوريتها وأين توجد مكامن الخلل فتعمل على معالجتها بالاساليب الترمبية.

يبدو أنها اكتشفت حاجة الامبراطورية الى آليات جديدة لمنافسة وتطويع القوى الأخرى، الامر الذي يتطلب وقتاً وهدنة مع منافسيها فقسمتهم الى ثلاث فئات:

أخطار استراتيجية عالمية تتجسّد في روسيا التي تعاود اجتياح الشرق الأوسط بالتدريج انطلاقاً من الميدان السوري وأهميتها كامنة في قوة عسكرية ضاربة لديها الأنواع التقليدية والنووية وأسلحة الفضاء بشكل يوازي معادلات القوة الأميركية ويزيدها في بعض الأحيان، ولديها أفقٌ مفتوح على أميركا الجنوبية وآسيا وبخلفية تحالف عميق مع الصين. للملاحظة فإن مساحة روسيا تزيد مرتين عن المساحة الأميركية وثلاث مرات ونصف المرة عن الصين. ويختزن باطنها اقل بقليل من نصف ثروات الأرض، لكنها لم تبدأ باستغلالها لخلل في العلاقات بين التقدم الصناعي البطيء ومخزون الثروات وذلك منذ الاتحاد السوفياتي.

لجهة أوروبا وخصوصاً ألمانيا وفرنسا فبلدانها سقطت في السلة الأميركية سياسياً واقتصادياً وعسكرياً منذ انتصار الولايات المتحدة في الحرب العالمية الثانية في 1945. هذا لا يعني أنها أصبحت كالدول العربية، فلا تزال دولاً صناعية وعلمية وقوية عسكرياً ولديها مداها العالمي خلف أميركا والصين واليابان، ألمانيا مثلاً استطاعت في العقد الأخير التسلق الى المرتبة العالمية الثالثة اقتصادياً ولولا الاتفاق العسكري الذي قبلت بموجبه أن لا تتسلح منذ خسارتها الحرب العالمية الثانية في 1945 لصنعت أسلحة قد تتفوّق بها على روسيا وأميركا معاً. تكفي الاشارة الى أن هناك قواعد عسكرية أميركية ترابط فيها منذ هزيمتها في الحرب العالمية الثانية 1945.

وبذلك تمكن الأميركيون من استتباع أوروبا لنفوذهم بشكل كامل مؤسسين معها بنى عسكرية وسياسية مشتركة الحلف الاطلسي- على قاعدة العداء للاتحاد السوفياتي ولاحقاً لوريثته أوروبا الشرقية المتاخمة لموسكو.

لكن أوروبا اليوم تصطدم بمعوقات ترامبية أميركية تمنعها من الحصول على مواقع متقدمة، لكنها تعتبر أن من حقها وراثة الفراغات الناتجة عن التراجع الأميركي. لكن الصراخ الترامبي المتقاطع مع حركات تأديب تواصل ضبط أوروبا في الأسر الأميركي ولا تمنع حصول تلاسن بين ترامب ورئيس فرنسا ومستشارة المانيا بشكل حاد.

إن ترامب يعتبر أن على أوروبا دعم بلاده في وجه روسيا والصين من دون أي تأفف او تذمر لانه يحميها حسب مزاعمه، مضخماً ظاهرة الخوف من روسيا «البلد المرعب» متماثلاً بذلك مع اسلافه الذين كانوا يثيرون خوف القارة العجوز من الاتحاد السوفياتي ذي القدرات التسليحية الضخمة والعقيدة الشيوعية المناهضة لمفهوم «العالم الحر الغربي» وكانوا يثيرون ايضاً رعب العرب في الخليج والشرق الاوسط من «الإلحاد والكفر» من الشيوعية الروسية.

هناك اذاً صراع أميركي روسي مكشوف ومتصاعد الى جانب محاولات أميركية لتطويع أوروبا.

ماذا عن الصين: تمكنت بكين من اختراق الاسواق العالمية بسلع رخيصة منافسة واستفادت من إقرار نظام العولمة لاقتحام الاسواق الأميركية بطرح سلع أقبل عليها المستهلك الأميركي الشمالي والجنوبي من أبناء الطبقتين الوسطى والفقيرة فيما عجزت السلع الأميركية من اختراق أسواق الصين بسبب عجز طبقاتها عن التماهي مع أسعارها العالية قياساً لمرتباتهم الضعيفة.

إن راتب العامل الأميركي ذي الحد الأدنى للأجور يعادل عشرة اضعاف العامل الصيني وربما أكثر.

فحدث خلل هائل في العلاقات الصينية الأميركية لمصلحة بكين وهذا ما أزعج ترامب وامبراطوريته؟

اعتبر أن روسيا قوة عسكرية وليست اقتصادية، وهذا لن يؤدي مهما ساءت العلاقات معها الى اندلاع حروب بينهما لأنها مخيفة وقد تفجر الكرة الأرضية نفسها. لذلك رأت امبراطورية ترامب ضرورة إرباك روسيا في أوروبا الشرقية وشرقي سورية وإعادتها الى «حرب تسلح جديدة» قد تؤدي الى اجهاض مشاريعها التوسعية أي تماماً كما حدث للسلف السوفياتي الذي انخرط في حرب تسلّح في مرحلة الرئيس الأميركي السابق ريغان ادت الى سقوطه اقتصادياً وبالتالي سياسياً.

للإشارة فإن الاتحاد السوفياتي كان بمفرده يجابه الأميركيين والأوروبيين وأحلافهم في اليابان والخليج وأميركا الجنوبية. هذه القوى التي نظمها الأميركيون للاستفادة منها آنذاك في حروب الفضاء والتسلح.

هذا ما دفع البيت الابيض الى اتهام روسيا بالعودة الى إنتاج صواريخ نووية متوسطة المدى وقصيرة واختراق المعاهدة الموقعة بين البلدين بهذا الصدد منذ 1987.

إن المتضرر الاكبر من تدمير هذه المعاهدة هم الأوروبيون الذين هاجموا الأميركيين المصرّين على الانسحاب من المعاهدة، لأنهم يعرفون انهم الأكثر تضرراً من إلغائها، لأنهم اقرب الى الاراضي الروسية لكن واشنطن لا تأبه لصراخهم وكانت تريد من حركتها تفجير إشكالات روسية أوروبية تعاود فرض الطاعة على أوروبا لإمبراطوريتها الاقتصادية السياسية بأسلوب التخويف من روسيا.

ضمن هذا الإطار يلجأ الأميركيون الى كل الوسائل المتاحة لهم لضبط الطموح الأوروبي فيستعملون الموالاة فيها محرّضين في الوقت نفسه المعارضات مثيرين ذعرها من روسيا حيناً والصين حيناً آخر.

والهدف واضح وهو الإبقاء عليها في الحضن الأميركي.

ماذا عن الصين؟ لا تشكل خطراً عسكرياً بالنسبة إليهم، لكنها تجسد رعباً اقتصادياً. يقول المتخصّصون ان بكين قد تتجاوز الناتج الأميركي بعد أقل من عقد فقط وأهميتها انها لا تخلط سلعها بطموحات سياسية. لذلك تبدو الصين سلعة اقتصادية يختبئ خلفها صاحبها الذي يرسم ابتسامة دائمة لا تفارق مُحياه. وهذا ما يسمح للسلعة الصينية باختراق أفريقيا وآسيا والشرق الاوسط والاسواق الأميركية والأوروبية لأنها تُدغدغ إمكانات ذوي الدخل المتوسط والمنخفض.

هذا ما دفع امبراطورية ترامب الى البحث عن طرق جديدة لمهادنة الصين فوجدها في إطلاق تهديدات وحصار وعقوبات فمفاوضات على طريقة السماسرة وطلب منها بوضوح مسألتين عاجلة وآجلة: الأولى تتعلق بخفض الضرائب على البضائع الأميركية لتصحيح الميزان التجاري بين البلدين الخاسر أميركياً فوافقت بكين، لكنها لا تزال تتردّد في تلبية الطلبات الأميركية الحقيقية وهي ضرورة بناء الصين لمعامل السلع التي تبيعها في الأسواق الأميركية داخل أراضي الولايات المتحدة وذلك لتأمين وظائف لملايين الأميركيين العاطلين عن العمل فيها.

يبدو هذا العرض مغرياً لكن التدقيق فيه يكشف انه مجرد فخ… فبناء معامل صينية في أميركا يعني استعمال أدوات وعمال أميركيين تزيد من اسعارهم عن الأسعار الصينية الرخيصة بعشرات المرات، كما ان توظيف عمالة أميركية فيها يعني التسبب برفع اسعار السلع الصينية حتى توازي اسعار السلع الأميركية وربما أكثر فتسقط قيمتها التنافسية.

وهذا يعني أن الهدنة الصينية الأميركية هي خداع متبادل بين طرفين يعتمدان على شراء الوقت لاستيلاد ظروف أفضل لبناء علاقات متوازنة.

فهل تنجح سياسات إنقاذ الامبراطورية الأميركية؟

يبدو أن العالم يتجه بسرعة نحو عالم متعدد الاقطاب لن تتمكن «هلوسات» ترامب من إجهاضه لان الصين مستمرة في الهيمنة الاقتصادية على العالم، وروسيا تواصل توسيع دورها العالمي، أما أوروبا فإن عصر تحررها من الكابوس الأميركي لم يعد بعيداً فهل رأى أحدكم عربياً في هذه المعادلات؟

Related

A Decalogue: The Ten Theses of American Empire-Building: A Dialogue

Global Research, November 10, 2018

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First published by Global Research on August 11, 2018

Introduction

Few, if any, believe what they hear and read from leaders and media publicists. Most people choose to ignore the cacophony of voices, vices and virtues.

This paper provides a set of theses which purports to lay-out the basis for a dialogue between and among those who choose to abstain from elections with the intent to engage them in political struggle.

Thesis 1

US empire builders of all colors and persuasion practice donkey tactics; waving the carrot and wielding the whip to move the target government on the chosen path.

In the same way, Washington offers dubious concessions and threatens reprisals, in order to move them into the imperial orbit.

Washington applied the tactic successfully in several recent encounters. In 2003 the US offered Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi a peaceful accommodation in exchange for disarmament, abandonment of nationalist allies in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In 2011, the US with its European allies applied the whip – bombed Libya, financed and armed retrograde tribal and terrorist forces, destroyed the infrastructure, murdered Gaddafi and uprooted millions of Africans and Libyans. . . who fled to Europe. Washington recruited mercenaries for their subsequent war against Syria in order to destroy the nationalist Bashar Assad regime.

Washington succeeded in destroying an adversary but did not establish a puppet regime in the midst of perpetual conflict.

The empire’s carrot weakened its adversary, but the stick failed to recolonize Libya ..Moreover its European allies are obligated to pay the multi-billion Euro cost of absorbing millions of uprooteded immigrants and the ensuing domestic political turmoil.

Thesis 2

Empire builders’ proposal to reconfigure the economy in order to regain imperial supremacy provokes domestic and overseas enemies. President Trump launched a global trade war, replaced political accommodation with economic sanctions against Russia and a domestic protectionist agenda and sharply reduced corporate taxes. He provoked a two-front conflict. Overseas, he provoked opposition from European allies and China, while facing perpetual harassment from domestic free market globalists and Russo-phobic political elites and ideologues.

Two front conflicts are rarely successful. Most successful imperialist conquer adversaries in turn – first one and then the other.

Thesis 3

Leftists frequently reverse course: they are radicals out of office and reactionaries in government, eventually falling between both chairs. We witness the phenomenal collapse of the German Social Democratic Party, the Greek Socialist Party (PASOK), (and its new version Syriza) and the Workers Party in Brazil. Each attracted mass support, won elections, formed alliances with bankers and the business elite – and in the face of their first crises, are abandoned by the populace and the elite.

Shrewd but discredited elites frequently recognize the opportunism of the Left, and in time of distress, have no problem in temporarily putting up with Left rhetoric and reforms as long as their economic interests are not jeopardized. The elite know that the Left signal left and turn right.

Thesis 4

Elections, even ones won by progressives or leftists, frequently become springboards for imperial backed coups. Over the past decade newly elected presidents, who are not aligned with Washington, face congressional and/or judicial impeachment on spurious charges. The elections provide a veneer of legitimacy which a straight-out military-coup lacks.

In Brazil, Paraguay and Venezuela, ‘legislatures’ under US tutelage attempted to ouster popular President. They succeeded in the former and failed in the latter.

When electoral machinery fails, the judicial system intervenes to impose restraints on progressives, based on tortuous and convoluted interpretation of the law. Opposition leftists in Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador have been hounded by ruling party elites.

Thesis 5

Even crazy leaders speak truth to power. There is no question that President Trump suffers a serious mental disorder, with midnight outbursts and nuclear threats against, any and all, ranging from philanthropic world class sports figures (LeBron James) to NATO respecting EU allies.

Yet in his lunacy, President Trump has denounced and exposed the repeated deceits and ongoing fabrications of the mass media. Never before has a President so forcefully identified the lies of the leading print and TV outlets. The NY Times, Washington Post, the Financial Times, NBC, CNN, ABC and CBS have been thoroughly discredited in the eyes of the larger public. They have lost legitimacy and trust. Where progressives have failed, a war monger, billionaire has accomplished, speaking a truth to serve many injustices.

Thesis 6

When a bark turns into a bite, Trump proves the homely truth that fear invites aggression. Trump has implemented or threatened severe sanctions against the EU, China, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, North Korea and any country that fails to submit to his dictates. At first, it was bombast and bluster which secured concessions.

Concessions were interpreted as weakness and invited greater threats. Disunity of opponents encouraged imperial tacticians to divide and conquer. But by attacking all adversaries simultaneously he undermines that tactic. Threats everywhere limits choices to dangerous options at home and abroad.

Thesis 7

The master meddlers, of all times, into the politics of sovereign states are the Anglo-American empire builders. But what is most revealing is the current ploy of accusing the victims of the crimes that are committed against them.

After the overthrow of the Soviet regime, the US and its European acolytes ‘meddled’ on a world-historic scale, pillaging over two trillion dollars of Soviet wealth and reducing Russian living standards by two thirds and life expectancy to under sixty years – below the level of Bangladesh.

With Russia’s revival under President Putin, Washington financed a large army of self-styled ‘non-governmental organizations’ (NGO) to organize electoral campaigns, recruited moguls in the mass media and directed ethnic uprisings. The Russians are retail meddlers compared to the wholesale multi-billion-dollar US operators.

Moreover, the Israeli’s have perfected meddling on a grand scale – they intervene successfully in Congress, the White House and the Pentagon. They set the Middle East agenda, budget and priorities, and secure the biggest military handouts on a per-capita basis in US history!

Apparently, some meddlers meddle by invitation and are paid to do it.

Thesis 8

Corruption is endemic in the US where it has legal status and where tens of millions of dollars change hands and buy Congress people, Presidents and judges.

In the US the buyers and brokers are called ‘lobbyists’ – everywhere else they are called fraudsters. Corruption (lobbying) grease the wheels of billion dollars military spending, technological subsidies, tax evading corporations and every facet of government – out in the open, all the time and place of the US regime.

Corruption as lobbying never evokes the least criticism from the mass media.

On the other hand, where corruption takes place under the table in Iran, China and Russia, the media denounce the political elite – even where in China over 2 million officials, high and the low are arrested and jailed.

When corruption is punished in China, the US media claim it is merely a ‘political purge’ even if it directly reduces elite conspicuous consumption.

In other words, imperial corruption defends democratic value; anti-corruption is a hallmark of authoritarian dictatorships.

Thesis 9

Bread and circuses are integral parts of empire building – especially in promoting urban street mobs to overthrow independent and elected governments.

Imperial financed mobs – provided the cover for CIA backed coups in Iran (1954), Ukraine (2014), Brazil (1964), Venezuela (2003, 2014 and 2017), Argentina (1956), Nicaragua (2018), Syria (2011) and Libya (2011) among other places and other times.

Masses for empire draw paid and voluntary street fighters who speak for democracy and serve the elite. The “mass cover” is especially effective in recruiting leftists who look to the street for opinion and ignore the suites which call the shots.

Thesis 10

The empire is like a three-legged stool it promotes genocide, to secure magnicide and to rule by homicide. Invasions kills millions, capture and kill rulers and then rule by homicide – police assassinating dissenting citizens.

The cases are readily available: Iraq and Libya come to mind. The US and its allies invaded, bombed and killed over a million Iraqis, captured and assassinated its leaders and installed a police state.

A similar pattern occurred in Libya: the US and EU bombed, killed and uprooted several million people, assassinated Ghadaffy and fomented a lawless terrorist war of clans, tribes and western puppets.

“Western values” reveal the inhumanity of empires built to murder “a la carte” – stripping the victim nations of their defenders, leaders and citizens.

Conclusion

The ten theses define the nature of 21st century imperialism – its continuities and novelties.

The mass media systematically write and speak lies to power: their message is to disarm their adversaries and to arouse their patrons to continue to plunder the world.

*

Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

إيران في مواجهة الحرب الاقتصادية الأميركية

نوفمبر 6, 2018

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

منذ نجاح ثورتها الإسلامية في العام 1979، وإيران عرضة لعدوان أميركي متواصل تتغيّر أشكاله ويستمرّ في جوهره وطبيعته مركزاً على هدف واحد هو إسقاط نظام سياسي تحرّري استقلالي قام على فكرة كسر التبعية والوصاية التي تمارسها القوى الاستعمارية بقيادة وتخطيط أميركي.

بيد أنّ إيران رغم تلك السلسلة من المواقف والاستهدافات العدوانية ضدّها، ورغم ما حشدته أميركا من قوى إقليمية ودولية في مواجهتها تمكّنت في العقود الأربعة الماضية من النجاح في بلوغ أربعة أهداف استراتيجية كبرى لم يكن المعتدي يتصوّر إمكانية تحقيق أيّ منها، فقد تمكّنت إيران من تثبيت ثورتها وحماية النظام الإسلامي الذي جاءت به هذه الثورة، كما تمكّنت من حماية الوحدة الوطنية والأمن الداخلي والسلام العام، كما حققت درجة متقدّمة من الاكتفاء الذاتي في المجالين العسكري والاقتصادي، ولكن الأهمّ والأخطر على سياسة الهيمنة الأميركية هوالنجاح الإيراني في إقامة الفضاء الحيوي الاستراتيجي الإقليمي ذي البعد الدولي العام والمصان بمنظومة مركبة معقدة من عناصر سياسية وعسكرية وتحالفات استراتيجية، ما يعني انّ العدوان الأميركي المتمادي فشل في ليّ ذراع إيران وعجز عن تحقيق أهدافه الاستراتيجية خلال 40 عاماً.

اليوم وفي الذكرى 39 لقيام الطلاب الإيرانيين باحتلال السفارة الأميركية في طهران باعتبارها وكر تجسّس على الثورة تعمل على إسقاطها، في هذه الذكرى يعلن الرئيس الأميركي ترامب، وبعد طول تهديد وتوعّد، يعلن عن حزمة من التدابير الكيدية العدوانية ضدّ إيران، تدابير يهدف منها «خنق إيران» اقتصادياً الى درجة تؤدّي الى عزلها دولياً وقطع ايّ تعامل مالي او تجاري او اقتصادي معها خاصة في مجال النفط والتحويلات المالية، تدابير يقصد منها الأميركي دفع الشعب الإيراني للخروج إلى «الثورة» ضدّ النظام الإسلامي وتحقيق الهدف الاستراتيجي الأكبر لكلّ من أميركا و»إسرائيل» التي لا تجد لها عدواً يتقدّم على عدائها لإيران وحزب الله الذي تعتبره هي وأميركا ذراع إيران في كامل الإقليم.

ومع هذه التدابير الكيدية التي تسمّيها أميركا «عقوبات»، في حين انّ التسمية الموضوعية لها هي حرب اقتصادية عدوانية تشنّ على دولة مستقلة ذات سيادة، حرب تشنّ على أساس ذرائع واهية كاذبة لا تمتّ للحقيقة بصلة، حرب ترافقت انطلاقتها المشدّدة اليوم مع لائحة من الشروط تطلب أميركا من إيران تلبيتها إذا ارادت إعادة البحث والمراجعة لتلك المسماة «عقوبات»، شروط إذا تمّ تحليلها وتصنيفها والوقوف على القصد منها لأمكن القول بانّ أميركا تريد وبكلّ بساطة ان تقدم إيران على الانتحار وشطب نفسها عن الخريطة الاستراتيجية الإقليمية والدولية وتسليم قيادها الى أميركا، شروط تعدّد حتى بلغت الاثني عشر شرطاً يمكن ان تختصر بعناوين أربعة هي:

1 ـ تخلي إيران عن أيّ حق في المجال النووي مهما كانت طبيعته مدنية او عسكرية، بحثية او استثمارية.

2 ـ تخلي إيران عن أيّ حق بامتلاك القوة المناسبة للدفاع عن النفس وفقاً للأخطار القائمة وإسقاط معادلة الردع الاستراتيجي التي حمت إيران ومصالحها خلال السنوات الماضية وفتح الباب للوصاية الدولية الدائمة عليها.

3 ـ التخلي عن الثورة الإسلامية والتنكّر لمبادئها والتخلي عن قضية فلسطين وعن هدفها الاستدراجي بإقامة شرق أوسط لأهله.

4 ـ تخلي إيران عن فضائها الاستراتيجي الحيوي وشطب نفسها عن الخريطة الاستراتيجية الإقليمية، لتتمكّن أميركا من استباحة المنطقة دون أيّ تهديد او خطر يمنعها من السير قدُماً في «صفقة القرن».

ونظراً لخطورة الشروط الأميركية تلك على واقع إيران ومستقبلها وحق شعبها في السيادة والاستقلال، فإننا لا نرى مطلقاً أيّ فرصة للقبول بهذه الشروط او حتى مجرد مناقشتها، وأعتقد انّ من وضعها يعرف ذلك ويدرك بأنها مستحيلة التطبيق لأنه يعرف الطبيعة الإيرانية التي ترفض الذلّ والاستسلام وانْ كان يجهل او يتجاهل ذلك فعليه ان يتذكّر الأداء الإيراني خلال العقود الأربعة الماضية وكيف انّ إيران خرجت منتصرة من حروب بالحديد والنار او حروب اقتصادية بالتضييق والعزل والحصار.

ويبدو جلياً انّ إيران التي لا تسعى لعداء او مواجهة مع أحد لم يعتد عليها وتتمنّى أطيب العلاقات مع دول العالم باستثناء من يغتصب الحقوق ويعتدي على الآخرين كما هي حالها مع «إسرائيل». انّ إيران هذه لا تتهرّب من المواجهة إذا فرضت عليها كما هي الحال الآن مع أميركا التي تشنّ الحرب الاقتصادية القاسية واللئيمة عليها. ما يعني انّ إيران على عتبة مواجهة جديدة قد لا تكون سهلة، ولكن انطلاقاً من الأوراق التي قد تلعبها إيران في ميدان المواجهة الاقتصادية يطرح السؤال عن مصير المواجهة؟

وللإضاءة على ما يتوقع من نتائج المواجهة تلك يكون مفيداً ان نتوقف عند ما لدى إيران من مصادر القوة المؤثرة في المواجهة وهنا يمكن التوقف عند ما يلي:

أ ـ قوة النظام الإسلامي في إيران وشجاعة المسؤولين فيه، وقد كان مؤثراً جداً ان يتصدّى مرشد الثورة الإسلامية السيد علي خامنئي بنفسه معلناً انّ إيران ستنتصر اليوم في الموقعة الجديدة كما انتصرت في المواقع السابقة خلال الأعوام الأربعين الماضية، وعد يسنده على طاقات تملكها إيران في الداخل وعلاقات دولية متينة مع الخارج، ثم تأتي رسالة التحدي الأخرى من رئيس الجمهورية حسن روحاني بقوله: «سنبيع النفط ونخرق العقوبات».

ب ـ الإرادة والقوة التي يبديها الشعب الإيراني المتماسك خلف قيادته حيث أثبت هذا الشعب قدرة فائقة على التحمّل والمواجهة والتمسك بنظامه الإسلامي وهو يعرف انّ الثبات هنا يشكل وجهاً من وجوه الدفاع عن الثورة والاستقلال والسيادة، وطبعاً يريد الشعب ان يحفظ النعمة التي يعيشها في الأمن والسيادة والاستقلال، ولهذا جاءت التظاهرات العارمة التي عمّت المدن الإيرانية يوم بدء العقوبات الأميركية لتؤكد على هذه القوة الشعبية في المواجهة.

ج ـ قوة الاقتصاد الإيراني المبني على فلسفة «الاقتصاد المقاوم» وهو الذي تمكّن من رفع درجة الكفاية الذاتية الى مستويات عليا، وقد ساعدت سنوات الحصار والتضييق السابقة على رفع مستوى القوة والصلابة في هذا الاقتصاد الى حدّ جعله يلامس الاكتفاء الذاتي بنسبة تصل الى 85 .

د ـ العلاقات الإيرانية مع الخارج وهي علاقات تبادلية متوازنة في كتير من الوجوه، وبالتالي انّ المحافظة على هذه العلاقات لن يكون في مصلحة إيران فقط بل هي مصلحة لكلّ أطرافها، ولهذا شاهدنا كيف انّ كثيراً من الدول أعلنت مسبقاً رفضها للانصياع لـ «الأوامر» الأميركية بمقاطعة إيران، ما اجبر أميركا على إعفاء 8 دول من تدابيرها، الأمر الذي أدّى الى فشل أميركا في تنفيذ مقولة «صفر صادرات نفطية إيرانية».

ه ـ اجتراح البدائل المالية والاقتصادية وفتح الأبواب أمام العملات الأجنبية لتكون النقد البديل المعتمد. وهنا نشهد توسع التجارة الدولية بالمقايضة او بالعملة الوطنية للدول، وفي هذا إلحاق الضرر بالدولار وبأميركا وفتح الطريق أمام نظام مالي عالمي جديد لا يعتمد الدولار عموداً فقرياً فيه.

و ـ التدابير الاحتياطية الاستباقية المعلنة او المستترة التي اتخذتها إيران وحلفاؤها للالتفاف على العقوبات الأميركية وللخروج من النظام المالي والاقتصادي الأميركي والتي ستشكل صدمة لأميركا عندما تشهر او يكشف عنها.

ز ـ موقف الدول ذات المصلحة بعدم نجاح أميركا في حربها الاقتصادية ضدّ إيران مثل روسيا والهند والصين والاتحاد الأوروبي، لانّ هذه الدول والكيانات السياسية تعلم جيداً انّ نجاح أميركا في قراراتها الكيدية القسرية الأحادية سيشكل لها حافزاً لتطبيق هذه التدابير على أيّ كان في العالم وتعيد الى الأذهان مفهوم النظام العالمي الأحادي القطبية الذي تتربّع فيه أميركا على عرش العالم وحيدة دون منازع. وبالتالي يجد العقلاء انّ فشل الحرب الاقتصادية الأميركية على إيران اليوم يشكل مصلحة دولية وخدمة للقانون الدولي العالم.

وعلى هذا الأساس، ورغم كلّ التهويل الأميركي فإننا نرى انّ حظوظ نجاح أميركا في تدابيرها الاجرامية القسرية الكيدية ضدّ إيران، انّ حظوظ نجاحها منخفضة جداً في ظلّ شبه استعداد دولي تبديه إيران ودول قوية أخرى للمواجهة وكسر القرار الأميركي، وإذا كانت أميركا العاجزة عن تكرار التجربة العسكرية في أفغانستان او العراق او ليبيا في إيران، اذا كانت تظنّ انّ حربها الاقتصادية هذه ستعوّض لها خسارتها الاستراتيجية في سورية والمنطقة، فانّ ظنها في غير محله في مواجهة قوى صاعدة ومتغيّرات دولية لن تستطيع أميركا وقفها او احتواءها او حجب مفاعيلها والتصدّي لها، وسيكون فشل أميركا في الحرب الاقتصادية ضدّ إيران مدوياً وسالباً منها ورقة طالما هدّدت بها فرجف من تهدّده وأذعن لها. ولهذا نرى انّ العالم كله سيكون مشدود الأنظار الى ميدان هذه الحرب ينتظر نتائجها التي لن تتأخر أكثر من ثلاثة أشهر على ما نعتقد، فتجاح إيران في هذه المواجهة هو نجاح للعالم في وجهة الغطرسة الاستعمارية الأميركية.

أستاذ جامعي ـ باحث استراتيجي

The US Sanctions – Hit Trump, so That Russia Is Afraid by Ruslan Ostashko

Translated and captioned by Leo.

Make sure to press CC for English captions.

On Facebook, there is only talk about the new sanctions, and not only there, of course. Against the background of the rise of the dollar, the deafening chorus performing the operetta “This is the end,” tries to block the voices of those who are not inclined to rash conclusions. Basically, “you won’t strangle our song, and won’t kill it.”

Let’s discard the hysterical chants and take a look at what exactly Washington is going to undertake against Russia and how it threatens us. Let’s go.

This is what is being talked about in the bill, which American lawmakers are waving, shouting that they will kick our asses.

Prepared by Senators Lindsay Graham, Robert Menendez, Corey Gardner and Ben Cardin, the text actually begins with appeals to President Donald Trump. In particular, he is called upon to support efforts to counter the interference “by the Russian government or other foreign players in the activities of US government agencies, as well as in the democratic processes in the country.” The second wish is “to publicly urge the Russian government to return the Crimea to the control of the Ukrainian government, and also to urge the separatists to abandon support for violence in eastern Ukraine.” This paragraph also refers to the “occupation and support of separatists” in the territories of Georgia and Moldova. Another demand (again to President Trump) is to urge Moscow to abandon the support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who, according to the authors of the bill, continues to “commit war crimes.”

Wait. Hold on… Who is this bill against? Against Russia, or against the US President? From the available data, it turns out that the main goal of the initiative of the American senators is to prevent Trump from reducing tensions with Moscow at any cost.

That is, in fact, they act according to the principle, “beat your own, so that others would be afraid.” But the bill contains nothing new. It only links all the sanctions that have already been imposed against Russia earlier in a single bundle of dill, as if codifying them. Well, good for them. We are neither cold nor hot from this.

However, this is a sound position, following which many hysterical back-ups made in the form factor of adult men are simply not capable. A vivid proof of this is the rise in the dollar.

Notice, nothing has changed yet, the American bill has not been passed, and the dollar rate has already crept up. This is explained by the fact that investors are fearful. But not only that – there are other arguments.

Here is what the liberal publication Kommersant writes:

“The market situation is such that several factors work against the ruble at once. Conversion of dividends of the largest Russian companies contributes to its weakening. The 2017 dividend payout season itself ended in July with payments for shares of Gazprom and Surgutneftegaz (respectively for 190 billion rubles and 28 billion rubles). In late July, analysts called the sale of foreign exchange earnings for dividend payments one of the reasons for the strengthening of the ruble exchange rate to 62 rubles for $1. Now the reverse process has begun.”

It means factors. Objective ones. Oh well. Here you have more of the “objective factors” that my colleague Vladimir Kornilov paid attention to.

Vladimir Kornilov@Kornilov1968

Меня спрашивают о причинах проседания рубля. Понятно, паника вокруг “санкций из ада” сыграла свою роль. Но обратите внимание, как накануне за деньги (!), на правах рекламы эту панику продвигали в соцсетях “Открытые медиа” Ходорковского. Т.е. он платит за распространение паники

“They ask me about the reasons for the sinking of the ruble. Clearly, the panic around the ‘sanctions from hell’ played a role. But notice how, on the day before, for money (!), as an advertisement, this panic was promoted on the Open Media social network of Khodorkovsky. That is, he pays for spreading panic.”

The conclusion is obvious: we are dealing with a planned attack. No harm will be sanctioned to us, unless crowds of investors believe that they will. And they will not break down the ruble. This is what we are seeing. However, this is not the first time, and it’s time to get used to it. Remember the predictions of “a dollar for 80 [rubles]?” And “a dollar for 200 [rubles]?” Where are their authors now, have they been hiccuping for several years now?

The authors of the latest forecasts will go to exactly the same place, because there are no objective reasons for the ruble to fall. And sane media, not prone to liberal hysteria for Khodorkovsky’s money, write about it.

“Fear of devaluation is not worth it. As it often happens on the stock exchanges, after a couple of days of sales, investors calm down – and the rates return to their previous levels. Moreover, there are no other negative factors on the horizon. Firstly, the price of oil is still above $70. Secondly, we have accumulated huge international reserves. In the pot, the Central Bank has $460 billion. And, if necessary, part of this money can be spent on the market to smooth out exchange rate fluctuations. And thirdly, it is unlikely that the US Congress will want to go according to a tough scenario. Most likely, sanctions, as has happened more than once, under the pressure of American business, which has a large weight in overseas politics, will soften.”

Pay attention to the third point. After all, in addition to sanctions from the Congress, the State Department announced that it would once again punish Russia for the “highly likely” Skripal poisoning.  How will they punish? Oh, this is an extravaganza.

In particular, we will talk about a ban on the export to Russia of goods that may be associated with national security. At the same time, Russia was issued an ultimatum: if it does not provide Washington with convincing guarantees against the use of chemical and biological weapons, then new sanctions will follow. Among them – a decrease in the level of diplomatic relations, a strict restriction of exports and imports, as well as the suspension of Aeroflot flights to the United States.

Let’s break down the points. They want to reduce the level of diplomatic relations. Alright, let him recall the ambassador. What do we lose? All the real estate that the Russian Foreign Ministry had in the US was already stupidly and brazenly pressed. They would be happy to break another international agreement, but there is nothing more to wring out. Do you [Russians] need an American ambassador in Moscow? I do not.

The second point is a strict restriction of exports and imports. Well, what products, “related to national security,” do we buy from them? None, it is they who buy rocket engines and aviation titanium from us. And those American manufacturers who buy vital components for themselves have the most powerful lobby in Congress. So these elderly clowns similar to McCain are unlikely to allow the State Department to turn around.

The third point: the suspension of Aeroflot flights to the USA. Wait a minute, I already heard that somewhere. Yes, that’s it, it was in April.

“Aeroflot may refuse direct flights to the States. The reason is that Washington deliberately delays the issuance of visas to pilots and crew members. The carrier has already asked for help from diplomats and the Ministry of Transport.”

 

That is – America showed off, our company itself wanted to cancel the flights, but the Washington fraer passed back. How did it then affect the ruble exchange rate? It didn’t. So why should this lead to devaluation now?

That is, you see: when we begin to delve into the topic, dig a little further than hysterical headlines, all these supposedly new cool sanctions no longer look like a “double blow” in the style of the ancient action movie with Van Damme, but looks like a pathetic attempt to use the decrepit hegemony to pressure Russia at least some leverage.

Let them pressure us. They, because of the limited mental abilities, do not think beyond the two-way combinations. That is, they don’t understand that by activating these levers, in the long term they are depriving themselves of the opportunity to use them, as was the case with a bunch of other levers.

If I, you and millions of our fellow citizens do not want to buy dollars in a panic tomorrow, then the ruble exchange rate will not fail. It is on the arrangement of a panic that all these loud headers and strained crowing are calculated.

Keep calm, and soon we will see the next series of lamentations of “Putin betrayed us,” when the ruble rises again, and sanctions, suddenly, will have an effect on our country, just the opposite of Washington’s political elders’ expectations.

Trump’s Trade War And Escalation Of US-China Standoff

South Front

Tensions between the US and China are rising in the economic, diplomatic and military spheres. The economic policy of the administration of US President Donald Trump as well as the US strategy aimed at deterring growing Chinese military capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region and Chinese influence around the world in general have led to an open economic and diplomatic conflict between the two states.

Since the start of 2018, the US has imposed a series of tariffs on a wide range of Chinese goods and, according to President Trump, is ready to make further steps in order to defend US national interests.

On January 22, 2018, the US officially announced their decision to impose duties of as much as 30% on solar equipment made abroad, mostly in China. On July 6, the Trump administration kicked off 25% tariffs targeting $34 billion worth of Chinese goods. These tariffs affected water boilers, X-ray machine components, airplane tires and various other industrial parts. China immediately implemented retaliatory tariffs on its $34 billion list of US goods including soybeans, pork and electric vehicles. At that time, Beijing called the situation the “biggest trade war in economic history.” However, the situation continued to develop.

On August 23, the US imposed additional 25% tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese imports targeting such goods as electronic parts, plastics, chemicals, batteries, and railway cars. Beijing retaliated with its own fresh tariffs on $16 billion worth of additional imports from the US including fuel, steel products, cars and medical equipment.

On September 24, Washington imposed 10% tariffs on about $200 billion worth of imports from China, and threatened duties on about $257 billion more if China retaliated against the action. The Chinese Commerce Ministry answered that it had no choice but to retaliate against new US trade tariffs. Beijing hit back announcing 10% tariffs on $60 billion of US imports.

According to the Trump administration the tariffs are needed to protect US businesses, especially industry and intellectual property, and to reduce the trade deficit with China. Since the start of the “trade war”, US and Chinese top officials have held a series of meetings but have found no options to resolve the existing differences.

Furthermore, on September 20, the US sanctioned a Chinese defence agency and its director for purchasing Russian combat aircraft and S-400 surface-to-air missiles. On the same day, sanctions were imposed on 33 Russian individuals and entities. The State Department claimed that its actions weren’t intended to undermine the military capabilities or combat readiness of any country, but rather to punish Russia in response to its alleged interference in the US election process. In response, China’s Foreign Ministry said the action was unjustifiable and demanded the US withdraw the penalties or “bear the consequences.”

Thus, the conflict expanded into the military and political field. Speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on September 26, President Trump accused China of “attempting to interfere” in the upcoming 2018 election in the US against his administration. Nonetheless, the US president provided no evidence for his claims. Additionally, the Trump administration approved the sale of $330 million of military equipment to Taiwan. This move caused another round of tensions with China.

“We urge the US side … to immediately cancel this deal and cut off military ties with Taiwan to avoid doing serious damage to China-US relations, peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and cooperation between the US and China in important areas,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stated, commenting on the issue.

The Taiwan issue has been a focal point of US-Chinese tensions since the very start of the Trump presidency. For example, on December 2, 2016, shortly after his election win, Trump spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen by phone discussing politics, economy, and security in the Asia-Pacific region. This was the first time since 1979 that a US President or President-elect had directly spoken to his Taiwanese counterpart. Trump openly declared that his administration would use the Taiwan issue as a bargaining chip to get a better trade deal with Beijing. The idea that China and Taiwan are part of the same country also known as The One-China policy has been the basis of US-China dialogue concerning the island since the 1970s.

The balance of power in Asia Pacific in general and particularly in the South China Sea and East China Sea are also a hot point in US-China relations. The US is actively working to deter the growing Chinese influence on military and diplomatic levels. The US Armed Forces send warships and jets close to Chinese military facilities built on artificial islands, and hold drills near the contested area. The Chinese side is not going to abandon its South China Strategy and responds in a similar manner.

In late September the US sent its nuclear capable B-52 bombers to the South China Sea as well as to the East China Sea.

On September 26, the US consulate in Hong Kong stated that China had denied a request for a port call from the U.S. Navy’s amphibious assault ship the USS Wasp.

On September 30, the Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur had an encounter with a Chinese warship, with the two vessels being as close as 45 yards to each other, according to US Navy officials. The US warship was conducting freedom of navigation operations in the vicinity of Gaven Reef in the South China Sea when the incident occurred.

In early October, the New York Times reported, citing a US official that China had canceled an annual meeting with US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis planned for mid-October in Beijing.

The relations between the US and China appear to be tense and preconditions exist which may cause them to worsen in the near future. Currently, there are two main directions in which the current situation might develop: an escalation scenario and a deconfliction scenario.

In case of the escalation scenario, US-Chinese relations would deteriorate rapidly with the Trump administration taking further steps in the framework of its “trade war” against Beijing. If China were able to resist this pressure more or less successfully, the diplomatic and economic pressure imposed would give a boost to the further regionalization of the world. China, Russia and other powers affected would have to contribute additional effort to develop an economic model, which would allow them to counter pressure from the US. This system would actively rely on regional economic ties and trade in national currencies. China, Russia, the EU, Iran, Turkey are already actively working to develop such mechanisms. On September 24, the EU, Russia and China agreed with Iran on a new payment system to trade despite the US sanctions. The joint statement said that they were determined “to protect the freedom of their economic operators to pursue legitimate business with Iran.”

At the same time, Turkey, China, Russia and India have openly moved to make payments on key contracts, especially in the military industrial cooperation field, in their national currencies as well as boosting their regional cooperation. Thus, the US sanctions policy became a factor undermining the current global economic model guaranteeing its dominance.

If the increase of the US pressure on China were to succeed and Beijing and its key partner Moscow were isolated, this would deepen significantly the economic crisis in China, which is expected by some analysts in the upcoming years. Chinese economic development would be stopped or even thrown back. In turn, the US thanks to its industry and postindustrial sector of the economy would make a leap forward maintaining its economic hegemony.

Nevertheless, this scenario would be possible only if the Chinese-Russian economic, military and diplomatic cooperation were to be undermined as a result of the smart policy pursued by Washington or for some other reason. Symptoms of this US soft power policy designed to undermine Russia-China cooperation can be observed in the Russian and Chinese media sphere. Multiple Russian experts more or less affiliated with the US ideologically or economically, through grants and funding, promote the idea that Russia should limit its allegedly “unprofitable” cooperation with China and even put effort into deterring Chinese economic and diplomatic policy in the region. On the other hand, some Chinese experts promote an idea that Russia is a weak state and should not be seen as an equal partner.

It should be noted that China employing its foreign diplomatic and economic policies does not show any kind of altruism. In fact, it pursues its economic and political goals in the most profitable way. However, this approach is common for any world power defending its national interests. And currently, it’s in Chinese national interests to maintain a mutually beneficial co-operation with Russia and other independent powers.

The de-escalation scenario in US-Chinese relations is possible if the Trump administration were to reshape its policy towards Beijing and strike a new political economic deal with the Chinese leadership. So, Washington would have to lift a part, if not all, of the imposed restrictions and maybe soften its policy on China in some points. China would accept such a deal, but would not abandon its goal to dominate in the Asia-Pacific region and then become a superpower. Thus, Beijing would be using this deal to strengthen its economic and political positions in Eurasia and around the world.

In turn, the Washington establishment would seek to employ a divide and rule approach to undermine ties between Moscow and Beijing. If this approach were to succeed, the US would be able to deal with its key competitors one at a time.

In any of these scenarios, military, diplomatic and economic tensions would grow around the world. The main reason for this is the approach of the Washington establishment, which is steadily undermining the global order established after World War 2. On the other hand, the actions of the Trump administration have their own logic. It seeks to stop the economic development and to limit the influence of their key global and regional competitors, like China, Russia and Iran. In light of the existing mid and long term threats to US dominance, Washington seems to be determined to use the current complicated situation around the world to strengthen the US national economy, in particular its industry, to solve the social and economic problems caused by previous US administrations and to deal with its geopolitical opponents using all existing means and measures.

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Unlawful US Global Operations

Republican and undemocratic Dem regimes meddle aggressively worldwide, Trump the latest in a long line of warrior presidents – waging endless wars in the name of peace the US abhors.

America’s military footprint threatens nations on every continent. Wherever it shows up, mass slaughter, destruction and human misery eventually follow.

Will the Asia/Pacific become another US war theater? Was nothing learned from Washington’s humiliating Southeast Asia defeat?

Is China on America’s target list? Trade war with Beijing is economically destructive. Will hot war follow? 

Provocative US actions seem headed in this direction – madness confronting a nation militarily powerful enough to respond as punishingly as its struck, including against the US mainland if things go too far.

Washington is a serial international law scofflaw, operating by its own rules, no others, threatening all nations unwilling to bend to its will.

The US abuses what freedom of navigation operations (FONOP) are all about, threatening other nations by intruding close to or in their waters.

Early last year, Trump regime war secretary James Mattis falsely claimed the world order “is under the biggest attack since WW II…from Russia, from terrorist groups, and with what China is doing in the South China Sea.”

Truth is polar opposite of his belligerent remark. The US created and supports ISIS and other terrorist groups. 

It consistently meddles in parts of the world not its own – politically, economically and militarily, notably by unlawful militarized sanctions and hot war.

Last year, the US Indo-Pacific Command (PACOM) developed a schedule for South China Sea naval patrols, claiming its freedom of navigation operations (FONOP) right.

Beijing justifiably considers intrusion of US warships in or near its waters provocative. 

Reportedly PACOM plans a major early November show of naval and air force in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait – provocatively close to Chinese waters, certain to trigger a strong Beijing response.

An unnamed Chinese official called what’s reportedly coming an escalation of Sino/US tensions, adding Beijing will respond by increasing its military presence in both areas.

China earlier criticized the way Washington abuses is freedom of navigation rights. On Sunday, a Chinese destroyer nearly collided with the USS Decatur close to its Nansha (Spratly) Islands.

Both ships came within 135 feet of each other. Washington consistently holds other countries responsible for its own provocations and lawless actions.

An earlier Global Times editorial bluntly warned that “(i)f the United States’ bottom line is that China has to halt its activities, then a US-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea.”

“China will have no choice but to” respond to US provocations. Beijing’s waters are its own. It won’t tolerate US intervention where it doesn’t belong.

Last month, China’s envoy to Britain Liu Xiaoming accused “big countries outside the region (of) sen(ing) warships and aircraft all the way to the South China Sea to create trouble,” adding:

“(F)reedom of navigation” abuses by) the United States  (and its partners constitute) a serious infringement of China’s sovereignty.”

PACOM prepared “a classified proposal to carry out a global show of force as a warning to China,” CNN reported.

The Pentagon refused to confirm or deny the report. According to China’s Global Times, “(i)t’s  highly likely that the US will intensify its provocation(s) against China,” adding:

“Washington must exercise restraint, or China’s countermeasures will accelerate…the cost the US has to pay for escalating provocations.”

“Peace and stability could be on the edge of collapse at some point. If Washington wants to play this way, China will have to respond accordingly.”

US rage for global dominance increases the chance for confrontation with China, Russia, Iran, and other countries. Global war is possible by accident or design.

A Final Comment

In response to escalated Trump regime trade war, China halted all US oil imports. It’s been the second largest buying of US oil, averaging 334,880 barrels a day through August.

Beijing buys most of its crude from Russia, over 1.2 million barrels last year, Saudi Arabia and Iran its other two major suppliers. China also buys most of its soybeans from South America.

Russian crude oil production reached a record high in September at 11.36 million barrels per day, according to its energy ministry.

By Stephen Lendman
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