More Gonzalo Lira: No More Lies, No More BS

May 21, 2022

And this is the real issue:

And a little real history and situation today, that would be fine to discuss at a barbecue and probably not at a formal summit.

Norman Finkelstein : Russia has the historical right to invade Ukraine (updated with transcript)

May 15, 2022

The Debrief with Briahna Joy Gray, April 8, 2022.

Source: http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/norman-finkelstein-on-ideology-in-the-classroom-and-ukraine-the-debrief-with-briahna-joy-gray/

Transcript:

Question: How much of a similarity maybe do you see between the kind of… the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the way some people handle some of the reactionary and right-wing elements in the Palestinian defense and opposition, versus how some of the left is talking about the Ukraine defense and the Azov battalions… Do you think there’s a comparison? And I’ll just leave the question at that. Thanks.

Norman Finkelstein: Well I have to ask Briahna’s permission to go in a digression…

Briahna: Absolutely.

Norman Finkelstein : Okay. On the question of the Ukraine, the thing that’s troubled me about the public conversation of the Ukraine or hysteria —it’s not even a conversation, it’s hysteria about the Ukraine— is the following: those who are not totally immersed in the mainstream propaganda, some of the people you’ve had on your program and people who are not especially of the left, they have no particular left-wing allegiance, like John Mearsheimer at University of Chicago, or before he passed away Stephen F. Cohen who predicted that if you keep up with this NATO expansion in the Ukraine, there’s going to be a war. He said that in Democracy Now in 2014, and he was right. And other people, Professor Chomsky. I would include in that group several others, and they’ll all say the following thing:

Number one, the Russians were promised that there would be no NATO expansion to the East, that was the quid pro quo for the reunification of Germany after the decomposition of the Soviet Union. The Russians were promised that but the West went ahead. We’re talking about the 1990s: the promises were given, but the West then went ahead and started to expand NATO once, as John Mearsheimer likes to put it there was the first tranche, then the second tranche of expansion… Then NATO starts expanding in Georgia and in the Ukraine. The Soviet Union says it’s a red line.

To stop this, the Soviet Union offers a perfectly reasonable resolution: just neutralize Ukraine like we neutralized Austria after World War II, neither aligned with an Eastern bloc nor aligned with a Western bloc. That seemed to me perfectly reasonable. And the people I mentioned, Mearsheimer, Cohen passed away since but Professor Chomsky and a number of others, they’ll all agree on the reasonableness of Putin’s demands.

And then the reasonableness of those demands, those demands have to, as Briahna says in her paper and as she said this evening, they have to always be seen in context. So what’s the context? The context is the Soviet Union, the former Russia, it lost… the estimates are about 30 million people during World War II. The United States which, if you watch American movies, you would think the US won World War II, it lost about two hundred thousand people. The UK was the second candidate for winning World War II, they lost about four hundred thousand people. The Soviet Union lost 30 million people. Even those who didn’t take courses in the hard sciences can reckon the difference between several hundred thousand and thirty million. Now that’s not an ancient memory for the Russians. If you… I remember Stephen F. Cohen saying “when I grew up in little America —he was from Kentucky— we used to celebrate…” I forgot what was called here Victory Day, V-something, he said “but you know now as adults we don’t celebrate that anymore in the United States, Victory in World War II”, he said, but Russia, he said, they still celebrate V-Day, they still celebrate it. I live in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. A large part is Russian Jews, a large part is Russian Jews. You go out in May, you go out on the V-Day, and you can see that Russians up to 80 and 90 year olds, they’re wearing medals, they’re medals from World War II. That memory is alive.

And now there’s this Ukraine, where Nazis are playing an outsized role. I’m not saying they’re a majority, but in the political and military life, they play an outsized —disproportionate let’s call it— role. This Ukraine where Nazis are playing an outsized role, are aligned with a formidable military bloc called NATO, NATO keeps advancing and advancing and advancing, closing on Russia, trying to suffocate it… And beginning around 2016, under Trump, begins to arm the Ukraine, pouring in weapons, engaging in military exercises with NATO, behaving very provocatively. And then the Foreign Minister Lavrov finally says we’ve reached the boiling point.

Now everything I just told you, Professor Chomsky, John Mearsheimer and others will acknowledge it. The mainstream press won’t even acknowledge that but people who call themselves just, legitimately call themselves dissidents, although Mearsheimer wouldn’t call himself a dissident, he just calls himself a realist. Nice guy, I consider him a friend, I like him. They’ll acknowledge all that. But then they say the invasion was criminal. Criminal invasion, criminal, criminal, criminal. And my question which I’ve constantly been putting in correspondence is a very simple one: if you agree that for 20 years—more than 20 years, more than two decades—, Russia has tried to engage in diplomacy; if you agree that the Russian demand to neutralize Ukraine —not occupy it, not determine its government, its form of economy, just neutralize it like Austria after World War II—, if you agree that was a legitimate demand; if you agree that the West was expanding and expanding NATO; if you agree that Ukraine de facto had become a member of NATO, weapons pouring in, engaging in military exercises in NATO; and if you agree… You know, Russia lost 30 million people during World War II because of the Nazi invasion, so there’s a legitimate concern by Russia with all of these —if you excuse my language— Nazis floating around in the Ukraine, then the simple question is: What was Russia to do?

I’m not saying I agree with the invasion, I’m not saying it went right, but I think one thing: the invasion showed… you know what the one thing the invasion showed, Briahna, was that Russia is kind of weak militarily, which is why all the more they may have been fearful of a NATO-backed Ukraine filled with Nazis, and probably at some point positioning nuclear missiles on its border. And I think 30 million, 30 million people… Listen to this: I think 30 million people is 30 million arguments in favor of Russia. Now I’m not going to say, because I’m not a general and I’m not a diplomat, so I’m not going… I’m not a military strategist so I’m not going to say it was the wisest thing to do. I’m not going to say it was the most prudent thing to do. But I will say —and I’m not afraid to say it because it would dishonor the memory of my parents if i didn’t say it—, I will say that they had the right to do it. And I’m not taking that back. They had the right to do it. They had if I can call it the historic right to do it. 30 million people (killed during WW2), and now you’re starting again, you’re starting again. No, no, you know I can’t go for it, I can’t go for those who acknowledge the legitimacy of the arguments made by Putin but then call the invasion criminal. I don’t see that.

Now you could say the way they executed it may have had criminal elements. However I don’t know… Well, you went to Harvard Law School, I don’t know if you studied the laws of war, but the laws of war make a very big distinction between ‘jus ad bellum’ and ‘jus in bello’, namely whether the launching of the war was legitimate or whether it was an act of aggression versus the way you conduct the war, ‘jus in bello’. Maybe the conduct, targeting of civilians and so forth, that probably violates the laws of war, but that’s a separate issue under law from “did they have the right to attack”. I think they did. I’m not going to back off from that.

You know, these are for me… even at my age, these are acts of deference to the suffering of my parents. My parents felt a very deep love for the Russian people, because they felt the Russian people understood war. They understood what my parents went through [in the Warsaw Ghetto & Auschwitz] during World War II, so there was a very deep affection… My father even, at the end of his life, he learned fluent Russian because neighborhood is all Russian. And you know, Polish to Russian is not a huge leap but also he liked the Russian people. So in my family growing up, the worst curse (insult)… there were two curses, two curses: curse number one was “parasite”. You have to work. My parents had a very… they had a work ethic. Believe me, I could have lived without the idea of pleasure, it didn’t exist in my house: you had to work. And the second word, the second curse, the second epithet was “traitor”. A traitor. And I know my parents would regard me as a traitor if I denounced what the Russians were doing now. How they’re doing it, as they say, probably there are violations and maybe egregious violations of the laws of war, we’ll have to wait to see the evidence, but their right to protect their homeland from this relentless juggernaut, this relentless pressing on their throats, when there was such an easy way to resolve it…

You know, if you read War and peace, and I suspect you did because you’re quite a gifted writer, obviously you were a reader…

Briahna: I confess, there was a copy on my shelf that I have started many times, but I haven’t… I’ve never finished it.

Norman Finkelstein: I’m surprised… In any case, War and peace is about the invasion of Russia, the war of 1812, and Tolstoy, the centerpiece of War and peace is the great battle of Borodino, and he describes it in this kind of terrifying detail. In the battle of Borodino, 25 000 Russians were killed, or maybe it was all together 25 000, I can’t remember, I think was 25 000 Russians were killed. Why do I mention it? So for Russians the seminal event of the 19th century was the war of 1812 and the invasion of Russia. For the 20th century, it’s World War II, and just in the battle of Leningrad, just Leningrad, not Saint-Petersburg, just Leningrad, a million Russians were killed. There was cannibalism! This is serious, World War II for the Russians. And you want me to just forget about that? That’s just a trivial fact? A trivial fact? No! Now you’ll ask yourself: in all the coverage that you’ve heard about your Russian attack on Ukraine, all the coverage you’ve read and listened to, how many times have you heard that 30 million Russians were killed during World War II? How many times?

Briahna Very infrequently. It’s never stated in this context.

Norman Finkelstein: Absolutely. And Stephen F. Cohen… You know, he was my Professor at Princeton and for a while he was my advisor. He… I didn’t know him well and at the end we had a falling down over my whole dissertation catastrophe, debacle, but Cohen had a genuine affection for the Russian people. He did. He loved the Russians. He loved the Russian people. And so when he begins his presentation… There is a Youtube of him debating the former US Ambassador, Mc Faul I think, Michael Mc Faul. How does he begin? He begins with how Russians remember the V-day. You know, that’s the starting point for me, it’s a starting point.

http://www.twitter.com/caitoz/status/1525620613980643328

Now you might say well, doesn’t your whole argument then justify what Israel does because of what happened to Jews during World War II? It’s an interesting question because the most moving, the most moving speech in support of the founding of the State of Israel, by far the most moving speech, you know who it was given by at the UN? It was given by the Soviet foreign minister Gromyko. And he said it was another act of generosity. Remember I mentioned to you earlier the boy’s act of generosity where he looks past what Trichka says about Black people, and as a student I thought it was a very generous act. So now the Russians lost 30 million people in World War II, but Gromyko says the suffering of the Jews, it was different, it was horrible. Here is a Russian saying that. And he said if a binational State is not possible, they earned their right to a State. So I say I applied the same standard. Now the way Israel carried out its right to establish a State by expelling the indigenous population, appropriating their land and creating havoc and misery for generation after generation, decade after decade, no I’m not going there. But yes I do believe… in recent correspondence with some friends I use the expression “I think Russia has the historic right to protect itself”, not by violating somebody else’s right to self-determination but neutralization, I think that’s legitimate.

Briahna: So I want to ask you this because you know it wouldn’t be right for me to put this question to Ro Khanna and not put this question to you. You are speaking so compellingly about the kind of moral valences of who’s entitled to feeling insecure as a nation, who’s entitled because of the historical cost it has paid to defend itself and to defend whatever you want to call it, you know, democracy in fascism, all of these kinds of words, has paid in terms of the number of human lives and kind of an unmatched price, and I think that’s…

Norman Finkelstein: The Chinese lost about 26 million to the Japanese, so it was close.

Briahna: It’s close but still… And yet when I was talking to Ro Khanna and he was saying well, ultimately he’s arguing on the other side that America is 100% right, Russia’s 100% wrong and this is a just war regardless of the substance. I would push him on this idea, of even if you believe it to be just kind of morally, the act I’m going to have to as a leftist is pushback against the idea that the preemptiveness of the war is okay, and that war is a solution. It is something that we should be tacitly or implicitly condoning. And I wonder what you make of that question.

Norman Finkelstein: Look, Briahna, not to flatter you but you always ask the right questions, and that’s why I was careful in what I said. You referred to the pre-emptiveness. Russia tried for 22 years. That’s giving a lot of time to diplomacy! 22 years is a lot of time!

And the question is: at what point, at what point does Russia get to act? When there are nuclear-tipped missiles on its border? Is that when it gets to act? I don’t agree with that. I think of course you have to give maximum time to see if diplomacy is going to work, absolutely…

Briahna: And then you start fighting? And then you send in troops? Because Norm, this is the… whether or not you believe…

Norman Finkelstein: I’m very happy, I’m very happy to take to heart your question. And that leads me again with the same question that I returned to you and I’ve returned to all of my correspondents over the past six weeks. If it’s clear that all the negotiations are in bad faith, if it’s clear that Ukraine had become de facto a member of NATO, what was Russia supposed to do? You say “don’t send in troops”. Fine. I come from a family that was completely anti-war. My mother used to say “better a hundred years of evolution than one year of revolution”. She had enough of war. I have no problem with your recoiling at the process. But what I’m saying is what was Russia supposed to do?

Briahna: What I’m asking is how you distinguish between your feelings that this is a moral war, this is a justified act, fine, and someone like Ro Khanna’s belief that US intervention, continued support of NATO, Western powers, sending weapons into Ukraine, arming the Azov battalion, is as he puts it a just war. The fact that you are both making these arguments, regardless… I’m not making an equivalent between the value of your arguments but obviously Ro Khanna thinks what he thinks and my point to him was you using vague terms like “just war” is exactly what’s allowed the kind of jingoistic parade to lead us into so many other incursions. So how principally do you distinguish? I understand your feeling and I understand the historical citations and the loss of life that leads you to the conclusions that you’ve been led to, but someone on the other side will say the same thing, someone else said “Well Marshall well this is how many Ukrainians have suffered and this is…”

Norman Finkelstein: But you’re canceling, if I may use that word, you’re canceling the context. You see I began my whole discussion with you, not with the position of Biden or the position of lunatics like Judy Woodruff, you know, and PBS. I said my quarrel is with people on the left who agree with all of my context but then make the leap and say it’s a criminal invasion. And I say to Professor Meirsheimer, Professor Chomsky and many others who acknowledge everything I just said, I say then what was… if you agree with everything I said, what was Putin supposed to do? I don’t see what he was supposed to do. I’m lost. It’s an impasse. I don’t see what…

Briahna: You were making a reference earlier to laws of war and rules before, i don’t know about it, I’ve never studied the laws of war, but it does seem to me that a line is drawn between… and I know that people are going to say something can be constructively war and you know. But in terms of an actual invasion and boots on the ground or missile strikes or things like that, the thing that Russia has to do even if it disadvantages them strategically in some ways is to wait until the other person hits first.

Norman Finkelstein: I don’t agree with that. I would say, as in any case, you have to demonstrate its last resort, and therefore you do have to demonstrate…

Briahna: How do you do that? Because that’s the question, how do you make sure that this is not just the same kind of…

Norman Finkelstein: I’m going to give you a historical analogy, probably the details which you’re unfamiliar with, but just allow me to just sketch it out. So in 1967, Israel launches a war, it occupies the West Bank, Gaza, Syrian Golan heights, and then it occupies this huge area, the Egyptian Sinai. And after the 67 war, about three years later, when Anwar Sadat comes into power, he says “I’m willing to sign a peace treaty with Israel but they have to return the territory they acquired during the 67 war”, because that’s the law : under international law, it’s inadmissible to acquire territory by war. Israel acquired the territory during the june 67 war, so these territories belong to Egypt. Israel says no, we’re not leaving the Sinai. Sadat says “Look, I’m offering you a peace treaty, I’m offering you peace, just return what’s not yours, the Egyptian Sinai”. Israel says no. Then Israel starts creating facts in the ground in the Sinai, it starts building settlements, those same settlements you’re familiar with in the West Bank. And then it announces in 1972 it’s going to rebuild what’s called the old jewish city of Carmel. Egypt says you’re not going to do that. You’re crossing a red line. Egypt says if you don’t stop this we’re going to attack, we’re going to attack. Everybody ignores Egypt because Arabs don’t know how to fight wars. The Arabs were nicknamed after 67, the term of abuse for an Arab was they were “monkeys”, they called them monkeys. They don’t know how to fight wars. Okay? And then come october 1973. Guess what: Sadat attacks. And the Israelis were so shocked they thought the whole thing was over, they called it… Moshe Dayan who was the Defense minister at the time, or the Foreign minister I can’t remember which, I think Defense minister at the time, he says… he made this panicky phone call, he said it’s the end of the third temple. This is it, we’re finished. Well it wasn’t the end of the third temple but it was a significant, heavy loss to Israel, they lost between two and three thousand soldiers, which is the largest number except for the war in 1948.

Now here’s the point: the point is no country in the world, none, including the United States, no country in the world condemned Sadat for aggression, none. And you know, for Israel it was a close call, or it seemed to be. In retrospect it turned out not to me, but it seemed to be a close call. Nobody condemned Egypt. Why? One, its demand was legitimate. Return the Sinai, it’s not yours, it’s our territory. Number two: Sadat tried negotiations for six years. And number three, as hard as he tried to negotiate, Israelis kept provoking and provoking and provoking until they announced rebuilding the old jewish city of Carmel. And Sadat says it’s over and then plans with Syria the attack which happens, what’s called the Yom Kippur war, the october war in 1973.

So now fast forward to Putin: the man was reasonable (neutralize Ukraine), negotiates over 20 years to fighting over this NATO expansion in the East, and then they start provoking them even more, they start pouring weapons into the Ukraine, they start carrying on joint military exercises between Ukraine and NATO. And then all of these swarmy Nazis start to surface. No I’m not saying Nazis control the government but they play an outsized role in the government, in the military. And I don’t see what’s the difference between what Putin did and what Sadat did. I don’t see the difference. I think it was the same thing, and nobody condemns Sadat for aggression. No one.

Briahna: But I’m asking I think a different question. I’m really not interested in litigating any given case mostly because I don’t know what the hell any of these things are about, so like I don’t really… I’m not going to say whether this war is just, that’s for other people to determine. What I do know is that everyone is making that argument on all kinds of sides, including people I know I don’t disagree with. And so many wars have been started with the argument that it is a just war for x, y and z reasons, and it’s okay to act despite there not having been a direct act of aggression against the allegedly aggrieved party. And so all I’m asking is to give some thought to how one would articulate a standard that can’t be so easily abused.

Norman Finkelstein: You know, Rihanna, I agree, it’s like once you grow up in life, you discover that life is very little about principles: it’s mostly about judgment. Principles get you not very far. I remember I got this lesson from Professor Chomsky, as he always puts it in his very lucid, simple terms. He said to me once: “Norman, we all know it’s wrong to lie, but if a rapist knocks in your door and asks “Is your daughter in the bedroom”, there’s a clash of principles there obviously. And so at the end of the day, what is required is not the application of an abstract principle but the faculty of judgment. When principles clash, you have to exercise judgment. You then have to look at particulars, the specifics.

Briahna: Excuse me, I appreciate that, which is probably why, you know, this is the limit, this is the limit of it for me and I’ll… I’m happy to take more questions from people who I’m sure know much more about the particulars. Although your last statement about, you know, principles versus judgment, and you know, the rapist at your door, does make me, it does make me tempted to ask you about what you think about the slap. […]

[If you want to know what Norman Finkelstein thinks about Will Smith’s slap at the Oscars, and other more serious issues, check the full podcast].

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Empire of Lies Eager to Receive Mr. Sarmat’s Business Card

April 29, 2022

Source

The only antidote to propaganda dementia is served by sparse voices of reason, which happen to be Russian, thus silenced and/or dismissed.

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

Especially since the onset of GWOT (Global War on Terror) at the start of the millennium, no one ever lost money betting against the toxic combo of hubris, arrogance and ignorance serially deployed by the Empire of Chaos and Lies.

What passes for “analysis” in the vast intellectual no-fly zone known as U.S. Think Tankland includes wishful thinking babble such as Beijing “believing” that Moscow would play a supporting role in the Chinese century just to see Russia, now, in the geopolitical driver’s seat.

This is a fitting example not only of outright Russophobic/Sinophobic paranoia about the emergence of peer competitors in Eurasia – the primeval Anglo-American nightmare – but also crass ignorance about the finer points of the complex Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership.

As Operation Z methodically hits Phase 2, the Americans – with a vengeance – have also embarked on their symmetrical Phase 2, which de facto translates as an outright escalation towards Totalen Krieg, from shades of hybrid to incandescent, everything of course by proxy. Notorious Raytheon weapons peddler reconverted into Pentagon head, Lloyd Austin, gave away the game in Kiev:

“We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.”

So this is it: the Empire wants to annihilate Russia. Cue to War Inc.’s frenzy of limitless weapon cargos descending on Ukraine, the overwhelming majority on the road to be duly eviscerated by Russian precision strikes. The Americans are sharing intel 24/7 with Kiev not only on Donbass and Crimea but also Russian territory. Totalen Krieg proceeds in parallel to the engineered controlled demolition of the EU’s economy, with the European Commission merrily acting as a sort of P.R. arm of NATO.

Amidst the propaganda dementia cum acute cognitive dissonance overdrive across the whole NATOstan sphere, the only antidote is served by sparse voices of reason, which happen to be Russian, thus silenced and/or dismissed. The West ignores them at their own collective peril.

Patrushev goes Triple-X unplugged

Let’s start with President Putin’s speech to the Council of Legislators in St. Petersburg celebrating the Day of Russian Parliamentarism.

Putin demonstrated how a hardly new “geopolitical weapon” relying on “Russophobia and neo-Nazis”, coupled with efforts of “economic strangulation”, not only failed to smother Russia, but impregnated in the collective unconscious the feeling this an existential conflict: a “Second Great Patriotic War”.

With off the charts hysteria across the spectrum, a message for an Empire that still refuses to listen, and doesn’t even understand the meaning of “indivisibility of security”, had to be inevitable:

“I would like to emphasize once again that if someone intends to interfere in the events taking place from the outside and creates threats of a strategic nature unacceptable to Russia, they should know that our retaliatory strikes will be lightning fast. We have all the tools for this. Such as no one can boast of now. And we won’t brag. We will use them if necessary. And I want everyone to know about it – we have made all the decisions on this matter.”

Translation: non-stop provocations may lead Mr. Kinzhal, Mr. Zircon and Mr. Sarmat to be forced to present their business cards in select Western latitudes, even without an official invitation.

Arguably for the first time since the start of Operation Z, Putin made a distinction between military operations in Donbass and the rest of Ukraine. This directly relates to the integration in progress of Kherson, Zaporozhye and Kharkov, and implies the Russian Armed Forces will keep going and going, establishing sovereignty not only in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics but also over Kherson, Zaporozhye, and further on down the road from the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea, all the way to establishing full control of Nikolaev and Odessa.

The formula is crystal clear: “Russia cannot allow the creation of anti-Russian territories around the country.”

Now let’s move to an extremely detailed interview by Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev to Rossiyskaya Gazeta, where Patrushev sort of went triple-X unplugged.

The key take away may be here: “The collapse of the American-centric world is a reality in which one must live and build an optimal line of behavior.” Russia’s “optimal line of behavior” – much to the wrath of the universalist and unilateralist hegemon – features “sovereignty, cultural and spiritual identity and historical memory.”

Patrushev shows how “tragic scenarios of world crises, both in past years and today, are imposed by Washington in its desire to consolidate its hegemony, resisting the collapse of the unipolar world.” The U.S. goes no holds barred “to ensure that other centers of the multipolar world do not even dare to raise their heads, and our country not only dared, but publicly declared that it would not play by the imposed rules.”

Patrushev could not but stress how War Inc. is literally making a killing in Ukraine: “The American and European military-industrial complex is jubilant, because thanks to the crisis in Ukraine, it has no respite from order. It is not surprising that, unlike Russia, which is interested in the speedy completion of a special military operation and minimizing losses on all sides, the West is determined to delay it at least to the last Ukrainian.”

And that mirrors the psyche of American elites: “You are talking about a country whose elite is not able to appreciate other people’s lives. Americans are used to walking on scorched earth. Since World War II, entire cities have been razed to the ground by bombing, including nuclear bombing. They flooded the Vietnamese jungle with poison, bombed the Serbs with radioactive munitions, burned Iraqis alive with white phosphorus, helped terrorists poison Syrians with chlorine (…) As history shows, NATO has also never been a defensive alliance, only an offensive one.”

Previously, in an interview with the delightfully named The Great Game show on Russian TV, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had once again detailed how the Americans “no longer insist on the implementation of international law, but on respect for the ‘rules-based world order’. These ‘rules’ are not deciphered in any way. They say that now there are few rules. For us, they don’t exist at all. There is international law. We respect it, as does the UN Charter. The key provision, the main principle is the sovereign equality of states. The U.S. flagrantly violates its obligations under the UN Charter when it promotes its ‘rules’”.

Lavrov had to stress, once again, that the current incandescent situation may be compared to the Cuban Missile Crisis: “In those years, there was a channel of communication that both leaders trusted. Now there is no such channel. No one is trying to create it.”

The Empire of Lies, in its current state, does not do diplomacy.

The pace of the game in the new chessboard

In a subtle reference to the work of Sergei Glazyev, as the Minister in Charge of Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasia Economic Union explained in our recent interview, Patrushev hit the heart of the current geoeconomic game, with Russia now actively moving towards a gold standard: “Experts are working on a project proposed by the scientific community to create a two-circuit monetary and financial system. In particular, it is proposed to determine the value of the ruble, which should be secured by both gold and a group of goods that are currency values, to put the ruble exchange rate in line with real purchasing power parity.”

That was inevitable after the outright theft of over $300 billion in Russian foreign reserves. It may have taken a few days for Moscow to be fully certified it was facing Totalen Krieg. The corollary is that the collective West has lost any power to influence Russian decisions. The pace of the game in the new chessboard is being set by Russia.

Earlier in the week, in his meeting with the UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, Putin went as far as stating that he’d be more than willing to negotiate – with only a few conditions: Ukrainian neutrality and autonomy status for Donbass. Yet now everyone knows it’s too late. For a Washington in Totalen Krieg mode negotiation is anathema – and that has been the case since the aftermath of the Russia-Ukraine meeting in Istanbul in late March.

So far, on Operation Z, the Russian Armed forces have used only 12% of its soldiers,10% of its fighter jets, 7% of its tanks, 5% of its missiles, and 4% of its artillery. The pain dial is set to go substantially up – and with the total liberation of Mariupol and the resolution one way or another of the Donbass cauldron there is nothing the hysteria/propaganda/weaponizing combo deployed by the collective West can do to alter facts on the ground.

That includes desperate gambits such as the one uncovered by SVR – Russian foreign intel, which very rarely makes mistakes. SVR found out that the Empire of Lies/War Inc. axis is pushing not only for a de facto Polish invasion to annex Western Ukraine, under the banner of “historical reunification”, but also for a joint Romanian/Ukrainian invasion of Moldova/Transnistria, with Romanian “peacekeepers” already piling up near the Moldova border.

Washington, as the SVR maintains, has been plotting the Polish gambit for over a month now. It would “lead from behind” (remember Libya?), “encouraging” a “group of countries” to occupy Western Ukraine.

So partition is already on the cards. Were that ever to materialize, it will be fascinating to bet on which locations Mr. Sarmat would be inclined to distribute his business card.

بضع دقائق في رأس الرئيس بوتين


الخميس 21 نيسان 2022

ناصر قنديل

يقول أحد الجنرالات المخضرمين العارفين بقوانين الحرب والذين شاركوا في صناعة بعض من معاركها، إن ثلاثة قرارات اتخذها الجنرال فلاديمير بوتين تحتاج شجاعة استثنائيّة يصعب أن يمتلكها قائد عسكريّ أو سياسيّ، الأول هو قرار بدء الحرب في ظروف جيوسياسية شديدة التعقيد. فالرئيس بوتين كان يعلم أنه يدخل غمار حقل شوك مليء بالمفاجآت والاحتمالات ليس ما جرى إلا بعضاً منها. وقرار الحرب على أوكرانيا يعادل عام 1961 قراراً أميركياً بغزو كوبا، بينما الظروف ليست معكوسة، فلا روسيا هي أميركا الستينيات القوة التي يمكن لأحد مواجهتها، ولا أوكرانيا هي كوبا المحاصرة والضعيفة. والثاني هو قرار تفعيل الأسلحة النووية ورفع جاهزيتها الى مستوى التأهب، وهو قرار يعادل الاستعداد لدخول حرب نووية، لم يسبق أن فعله أحد آخر، حتى أميركا والاتحاد السوفياتي في مرحلة النزاع حول الصواريخ السوفياتية في كوبا وما عرف بأزمة الخنازير بقيا على مسافة من مثل هذا القرار. والقرار الثالث هو إعلان الانسحاب من المحور الرئيسي للهجوم الروسي الذي استهدف العاصمة كييف، وكان على مقربة من قلبها، واتخاذ القرار من طرف واحد بما فيه من مخاطرة بالاضطرار للعودة لاسترداد المناطق التي تم الانسحاب منها بكلفة أعلى، وما فيه من فرص للخصوم لتصويره هزيمة للجيش الروسي واعترافاً بالفشل، هو قرار يصعب على قادة عسكريين وسياسيين كثيرين اتخاذه.

التجول الافتراضي لبضع دقائق في عقل الرئيس بوتين يبدو رحلة مغرية، لمحاولة استكشاف ما يدور في عقل هذا الرجل الذي تدور على طاولته وبين يديه، خرائط العالم الجديد، وتتوقف على تواقيعه مصائر الكثير من السياسات والحسابات والحروب. وهذا التجول الافتراضي هو حصيلة حوار ممتع للتداول في الفرضيات التي وضعها الرئيس بوتين لدى رسم سياق حربه واتخاذ قراراته، جرى مع صديق خبير بطريقة تفكير الرئيس الروسي من جهة، ومتابع لتفاصيل السياسات الدولية والحروب المعاصرة، وصراعات الطاقة والجغرافيا السياسية المندلعة منذ مطلع القرن الحادي والعشرين، من جهة مقابلة، وتبدأ الرحلة من السؤال الأهم، ماذا يريد الرئيس بوتين، وماذا يخشى؟

تبدأ الخلاصة الأولى بالاكتشاف الخطير، وهو أن الرئيس بوتين لا يخشى الحرب النووية وهو واثق من كسبها إذا اندلعت، وهو يعتقد أن الخوف منها سيتسبب بالذعر السياسي ودفع أثمان بلا طائل تحت شعار تفاديها. وأن الحرب النووية اذا كانت ضمن خطة الطرف الغربي المقابل فسيكون دفع العبودية الكاملة ثمناً لتفاديها هو الطريقة الوحيدة لاستبعادها، واذا لم تكن ضمن مشروع الغرب، فإن الاستعداد لها وعدم خشيتها لن يدفعا بالغرب نحوها، بل سيجعلانه مستعداً للتفكير بجدية وعقلانية، باستحالة الجمع بين تفاديها وممارسة الهيمنة والعبودية على العالم دولاً وشعوباً، ورفض الأخذ بمعايير موحدة لمقاربة القضايا الدولية الشائكة والمتراكمة، والتي تشكل علاقة الشرق بالغرب أهمها، ومحورها الرئيسي، ولذلك فإن الرئيس بوتين حسم أمر عدم الخشية من الحرب النووية مبكراً واتخذ الاستعدادات العسكرية وغير العسكرية التي تتيح له الخروج منها منتصراً، معتبراً أن هذا هو أقصر الطرق لمنع وقوعها، وأنه التعبير الأسمى عن الحس الإنساني بالسعي لتفادي الخراب الذي ستحمله للعالم. وهذه القناعة هي التي كانت وراء إنفاق مئات مليارات الدولارات على تطوير الأسلحة الاستراتيجية التي لم يكشف الا عن القليل منها، لكن الغرب يعرف ويعترف بأن روسيا للمرة الأولى تسبقه على هذا الصعيد بعشر سنوات.

إذا كان الأمر الأول هو ما لا يخشاه الرئيس بوتين فما الذي يخشاه؟ الذي كان يخشاه الرئيس بوتين، هو أن ينجح الغرب بصياغة مواجهة ذكية تفكك العلاقة بين مستويات الحرب الثلاثة، المستوى الأوكراني – الأوكراني ومحوره التعامل المنصف قانونياً وإنسانياً وثقافياً ولغوياً مع الأصول الروسية، لأن هذا هو محور قضية دونباس، العنصرية المبنية على هوية غربية شوفينية تجاه كل ما يمت لروسيا بصلة بالدم او الدين او اللغة. والمستوى الثاني هو المستوى الإقليمي، ومحوره التوازن الأمني في أوروبا بين روسيا ودول الناتو، وكانت رسالة موسكو لطلب الضمانات الأمنية من واشنطن، تتضمن عرضاً وافياً لمضمون عناوينه، وقضية أوكرانيا وانضمامها للناتو كانت رأس جبل الجليد في هذا الملف. والمحور الثالث هو مستوى العلاقات الدولية وسعي روسيا لنظام عالمي جديد متعدد الأقطاب صرح المسؤولون الروس مراراً عن فهمهم له وسعيهم إليه. وهذا المحور هو الإطار الحاضن عملياً وسياسياً واستراتيجياً لكل تفاصيل وسياقات الحرب الأوكرانية من الزاوية الروسية. ويعتقد الرئيس بوتين أنه لو نجح الغرب بفك التشابك بين هذه المحاور، فبادر عبر الحكومة الأوكرانية بإعلان الانفتاح العملي على مقتضيات إنهاء الحقبة العنصرية بحق ذوي الأصول والمتعلقات الروسية، وشجع على التفاوض حول حياد أوكرانيا، كترجمة طبيعية للتسليم باستحالة ضمها إلى الناتو، لنجح بحرمان روسيا من المنصة التي وفرتها الحرب للهم الاستراتيجي الأول لروسيا وهو إعادة صياغة العلاقات الدولية، ولنجح الغرب بمحاصرتها كقوة إقليمية وحرمانها من فرصة لعب دور القوة الدولية العظمى، التي تستحيل هزيمتها، كما تقول وقائع ما بعد حزمات العقوبات الأشد قسوة، وأزمات الطاقة والغذاء التي تدق أبواب العالم من أوروبا أولاً.

الحصيلة الأولى للجولة أن الرئيس بوتين يعتبر أنه نجح بفرض تفادي الحرب النووية بوضعها خياراً حاضراً على الطاولة، وأن الغرب تصرّف بحماقة وغباوة سهلت عليه مهمة جعل النظام العالمي الجديد محور الصراع، بعدما زاد الربط بين محاور الصراع الثلاثة، فبدلاً من تفكيك السياسات العنصرية بحق ذوي الأصول والمتعلقات الروسية في أوكرانيا قام بعولمة العنصرية ضد الروس عبر ما حملته كل العقوبات الغربية، بصورة استنهضت الوطنية الروسية إلى درجة غير مسبوقة تحت الشعور بخطر التهديد، وجعلت حربهم الوجودية هي الحرب التي يخوضها بوتين، ولو كانت الأثمان اعلى كلفة عما هي الآن بالأرواح وظروف المعيشة، والروس دفعوا ملايين الأرواح وعمران مدنهم كلها تقريباً لاجتثاث عنصرية مشابهة مثلتها النازية التي ستحتفل روسيا بذكرى النصر عليها قريبا، وبدلاً من التشجيع على حياد أوكرانيا يتحدث الغرب عن ضم دولتي فنلندا والسويد المحايدتين إلى الناتو، وبدلاً من تحييد قطاعي الطاقة والعملات كنقاط ضعف غربية كان يجب عدم كشفها، ذهب الغرب الى الملعب الذي يرغب به الرئيس بوتين لمنازلة الغرب وهو ليس إلا في نقطة البداية بعد.

قرار بدء الحرب وقرار تفعيل السلاح النووي كانا ترجمة لهذا الفهم، وقد تحققت هذه الأهداف، وقرار الانسحاب من محيط كييف ترجمة للاطمئنان بأن المحور الثالث للحرب، أي مستقبل العلاقات الدولية، صار هو العامل الحاسم، فمن الخطأ المساهمة بمنح البعد الأوكراني من الحرب أبعد مما يستحق، والحرب لم تعد الا منصة مفتوحة لأسابيع أو شهور او سنوات، حتى يتحقق الهدف، وهو ولادة نظام عالمي جديد. ومدة الحرب يقررها مدى مواصلة اوروبا محاولة الجمع المستحيل بين مصالحها الجوهرية والتبعية لأميركا، وما تظنه واشنطن لعبة عض على الأصابع تنتظر من يصرخ أولاً، هي في الحقيقة لعبة لحس مبرد، فيها طرف يلاعب لسانه بالمبرد ويتلذذ بطعم دمه، كحال أوروبا، ومن يعض على الإصبع الأوروبي هو الأميركي وليس روسيا. وروسيا تعض على الإصبع الأميركي من بوابة قدرة أوروبا على التحمل، وقدرة أميركا على تخيل مستقبلها دون أوروبا، وموعد الصراخ الأوروبي قريب، ومثله موعد الصراخ الأميركي. في عقل الرئيس بوتين معادلة، مرتاح لمسار الأمور وفقاً للخطة والتوقيت المقررين، ومستعد لكل الاحتمالات، لكن يصعب على الكثيرين فهم معنى ذلك بسهولة، إلا عندما يراهم يجلسون الى طاولة التفاوض لمناقشة ما هو أبعد من أوكرانيا والأمن الأوروبي وأمن الطاقة، لرسم قواعد جديدة للعلاقات الدولية تثق موسكو ويثق الرئيس بوتين أن مكانة موسكو فيها ستكون حاسمة ومقررة.

Western Nations Wanted to Destroy Russian Economy: Prime Minister

 April 7, 2022

Western nations wanted to destroy the Russian economy with sanctions, some of which are in essence nothing short of outright piracy, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin warned on Thursday, as he delivered his yearly government performance report to parliament.

“Unfriendly nations found no better way than to return to the typical pirate practice, if we call a spade a spade. By freezing our assets, they de facto robbed the country,” the prime minister said.

Mishustin was referring to the decision to freeze Russian foreign reserves denominated in dollars and euros, which amounted to about $300 billion.

According to White House statements, the US is trying to force Russia to default on its sovereign debt, having banned Moscow earlier this week from using funds under American jurisdiction to make payments on its loans. Officials said the Kremlin will now have to “choose between draining its available funds to make debt payments or default.”

Russia reportedly paid interest on its debt in rubles this week. It also announced that it would require buyers of its natural gas to make payments to a Russian bank, which will then exchange the money into rubles.

Moscow said the scheme was designed to protect its profits from being frozen. Some Western nations buying Russian fuel ave declared they will not pay in rubles because the current contracts do not require them to do so.

During his report to the lawmakers, Mishustin conceded that the economic pressure against the country has had a serious effect. “The current situation can be called without reservation the most difficult in the three decades of [modern] Russian history,” he said.

However, the PM insisted that his government could deal with the issues presented by the Western moves. “Those who are trying to isolate us and cut us out of the world economy will fail,” he said. “Our nation is integrated into the global processes.”

He called on opposition factions in the parliament to rally behind the government and help it steer the nation through the crisis. Doing so is necessary to protect the interests of the Russian people, he said.

“Whatever disputes we may have about the development of the country and various parts of life in it, I am certain that we are united on the goals of defending our citizens and national security,” he said.

The US and its allies targeted Russia with an unprecedented number of economic sanctions in retaliation to Moscow’s military attack against Ukraine in late February. Mishustin said Western nations launched the onslaught “to stir panic and hurt everyone” in Russia.

“The architects of the strategy expected this sanctions storm to destroy our economy within days. This scenario did not come to fruition,” the prime minister said.

Moscow attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to regularize the status of the regions within the Ukrainian state.

Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two regions by force.

Source: Websites

بوتين يفاجئ الغرب بعقل استراتيجيّ خطير

الإثنين 4 نيسان 2022

 ناصر قنديل

رغم كل الأوراق التي تبدو ظاهرياً بيد الغرب عموماً وأميركا خصوصاً في المواجهة مع روسيا، ورغم إدمان الكثير من المحللين، الملتحقين بالسياسات الغربية والأميركية وكذلك المناوئين لها، على ترويج معادلة أن الغرب وعلى رأسه أميركا، لديهما خطط جاهزة هي التي تحكم مسارات الأحداث، وصولاً للقول إن روسيا وقعت في فخ نصبه الغرب لها، وإن الحسابات التي وضعها الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين لحربه جاءت مخالفة للواقع، فإن التدقيق البعيد عن التأثر بالبروباغندا المهيمنة على القراءات والتحليلات الإعلامية، وهي غربية وأميركية بالتأكيد، سيوصل أي باحث جدي ومهني إلى استخلاص مفاده، أن الورقة الوحيدة التي باتت بيد الغرب وأميركا هي السيطرة على منصات الحرب الإعلامية، ومحاولة فرض رواية للأحداث تخدم استنتاجات تخدم الحسابات الغربية والأميركية.

تمّ بناء خطة الغرب للمواجهة على فرضية سيناريوات للحرب العسكرية، تفترض أنها الميدان الرئيس للصراع، ووضعت الخطط لتزويد الجيش الأوكراني بالمال والسلاح والمرتزقة من جهة، وتحصين الجبهة الشرقية لحلف الناتو، خصوصاً في بولندا، من جهة موازية، بصفتها الوجهة الرئيسية للمواجهة مع روسيا في ظل تعذر الدخول المباشر في الحرب، وسعي الأميركيين لتفادي الوقوع فيها، وفجأة يعلن الرئيس الروسي تموضعاً لقواته يتضمن الانسحاب من جوار العاصمة الأوكرانية كييف التي قالت الرواية الأميركية إنها هدف العملية العسكرية الروسية، وتفقد كل الخطط العسكرية الغربية قيمتها بحصر المواجهة العسكرية في دونباس، في ظل هيمنة روسية على البحر والجو، وفرضها لحصار محكم على تدفق الوقود. ولا تستقيم رواية ربط هذا التموضع بهزيمة روسية بينما المفاوضات تدور حول تكريس الحياد الأوكراني بوثيقة خطيّة ستشكل أساس ما سيلي من مفاوضات، كما لا يستقيم جمعها مع الرواية الموازية بأن التموضع خدعة مشكوك بها تمهيداً لهجوم جديد، فيما يبدو الرئيس الروسي دقيقاً بالقول إن المرحلة الأولى من الحرب انتهت بالنسبة اليه بتحقيق ثلاثة أهداف، تدمير القدرة العسكرية الثقيلة للجيش الأوكراني، استرداد السيطرة لحساب سكان إقليم دونباس على مناطقهم، الحصول على تعهد أوكراني بقبول الحياد إطاراً لمستقبل أوكرانيا، بحيث سيتم الفصل من الآن وصاعداً، بين مسارين، مسار أوكراني روسي عنوانه الحياد والقرم، ومسار أوكراني أوكراني يحتمل البقاء عسكرياً بانتظار نضوج ظروفه للتفاوض السياسي، وربما تحت سقف المشاركين سابقاً في إطار مينسك، ولا يبدو بعيداً عن نظرية بوتين فرضية التوصل الى اتفاق بين روسيا وأوكرانيا تنسحب بموجبه القوات الروسية ويستمر التفاوض حول القرم لخمس عشرة سنة، كما تقول الوثيقة الأوكرانية، وهي تحت السيطرة الروسية، بينما الحرب مستمرّة في دونباس، والمشاريع التفاوضية على الطاولة.

أطلق الغرب وعلى رأسه أميركا مساراً موازياً للمسار العسكري، هو مسار العقوبات. وكان الرهان على نتائج مدوية ستصيب القدرات الروسية، بل تماسك الطبقة السياسية والمجتمع الروسيين، وصولاً لتفكيك التحالفات الروسية الدولية، وإذا بالنتائج تأتي مخيبة للآمال الغربية والأميركية، فلم يتحقق شيء من هذه التوقعات، بل تحولت العقوبات الى مسار معاكس مع شن الرئيس بوتين لهجوم اقتصادي مالي عبر ربط بيع الغاز لأوروبا بالروبل الروسي. وهو الحدث الذي صار عنوان المواجهة الذي يتقدم على حساب المسار العسكري تدريجياً، ولا يخفى أن هذا المسار ليس مجرد رد فعل على نتائج الحرب في أوكرانيا، فهو إعادة رسم لمعادلات الأسواق العالمية في ملف الطاقة من جهة، وملف السيطرة المالية والنقدية الغربية والأميركية على نظام التبادل والتسعير. وتلك ملفات تحدد هوية النظام العالمي الجديد الذي لم يعد مجرد خطاب سياسي روسي، بل صار هدفاً رسمياً معلناً لحلف يضم روسيا والصين وإيران والهند وشركاء آخرين في العالم، ولا يبدو أنه سيتوقف بمجرد انتهاء الحرب في أوكرانيا.

بمثل ما كان مثيراً للسخرية الحديث عن فشل روسي بالتقدم نحو كييف، صار واضحاً ان الدخول الى العاصمة الأوكرانية لم يكن هدفاً روسياً. وبقدر ما كان مثيراً للضحك الحديث عن انهيار الاقتصاد الروسي يبدو مثيراً للانتباه حجم الارتباك الغربي والأوروبي من معادلة الغاز والروبل. وفي الحالتين تبدو الخلاصة واحدة، وعنوانها العبقرية الاستراتيجية للرئيس بوتين التي فاجأت الغرب ولا تزال، أمام هزال قادته وخططهم، والأخطر أنها تجعل وسائل الإعلام التي كانت منصة الغرب الباقية لتسجيل الأرباح، الى منصات يتقن الرئيس بوتين توظيفها لحسابه، عبر مفاجآته المتلاحقة.

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Negotiations: a primer for Zone A residents

March 30, 2022

Okay, I am going to ask you to make a real effort and, for a while at least, drop your certitudes and what you believe is a good or a bad way to prosecute a war.  Instead, I am going to appeal to your common sense.

Long before the Russian Special Military Operation (SMO) in the Ukraine started, but following the Russian ultimatum, I indicated many times that what Russia would be doing is the following: ask for negotiations and if the other side rejects them, Russia would turn up the “pain dial”, slowly, step by step.  If the other side agreed to negotiations, but then used them to stall and negotiate in bad faith, same response: Russia would turn up the pain dial.  A little.  Step by step.

And do WHAT exactly next???

What is the point of turning on the pain dial and remaining silent?

The purpose of the pain dial is to convince your enemy to agree to substantive talks.  Conversely, that means that turning the pain dial WITHOUT offering talks simply makes no sense.

Yeah, yeah, I know, in Zone A NOT to negotiate with the enemy is a sign of manhood, virility, courage, prowess and being “Presidential”.  Which did not stop the Ubermacho Trump from… … negotiating with “Rocket Man” and then end up being totally screwed over by him.  So, I get it, when you are used to stupid politicians, you do not want negotiations, or you end up with SNAFUs like Biden telling the 82nd in Poland about “we you will be there” (that is in the Ukraine!).

But please understand that Russian politicians are not as stupid as yours.

And a country with smart and well-educated diplomats does not need to fear talks, quite the contrary.

Lavrov vs Bliken – you get what I mean?

Next, another Zone A hangup: the goal of a war.

In Zone A, wars are to be fought towards maximal destruction of lives and infrastructure.  That is what the US promises its enemies “we will bomb you to the stone age” and that is what Uncle Shmuel did to Iraq.  Only to eventually lose that war too (ditto for all the other wars the US has ever fought since WWII).

In Zone B people understand that the goal of a war is to achieve a political outcome.

As Ho Chi Minh tried to explain to his ignorant counterparts “you can kill ten of our men for every one we kill of yours. But even at those odds, you will lose and we will win“.

“Just” mass murder achieves very little and the little it does achieve is never long lasting.  And nobody looks very “Presidential” after getting his ass handed to him!

For the Kremlin, this is a no brainer: you always talk to anybody worth talking two, especially if these talks increases your chances to:

  • Lose less soldiers
  • Lose less equipment
  • Kill less people (on both sides)
  • Preserve the civilian infrastructure
  • Get a sense of how your enemy is doing and feeling
  • Prove to your own and foreign public opinion that you are using violence only as a last resort
  • Only slowly increasing the pain on your pain dial, thereby making each increase more sensitive
  • Save immense sums of money
  • Have somebody on the other side to sign a declaration of surrender
  • Allow the country which you defeated to recover faster and better

What did the US ignoramuses do in Iraq?

  1. First they did bomb it viciously and genocidally (Madeleine Aldumb admitted that openly!)
  2. Then they invaded with the “kill! kill! kill!” mindset.
  3. Then they declared victory.
  4. Then they got stuck and defeated.
  5. Then they shamefully had to run with their tails tucked.

General Shamanov vs General Petraeus – you get what I mean?

Now I do NOT want Russia to follow this no doubt “brilliant” US plan.

Turning the Ukraine into Iraq is NOT what Russia wants or needs.

So, and especially for those alternatively gifted or really mentally stuck in Zone A:

Russia is doing the absolutely correct thing by negotiating and talking with pretty much everybody and anybody.  The problem is not the fact of talks, it is the dismal way the Russians (superb negotiators but sub-pathetic PR people) presented the information, which they did only partially, rather ambiguously and with all the wrong faces doing the talking.

The benefit of this PR disaster was a wave of rage and patriotism which is now even way higher than it was at the initiation of combat operations.  There is a kind of an informal referendum going on in Russia where people vote with their feet to go to the local recruitment center and volunteer for combat in the Ukraine!

Now the center of gravity of this operation is clearly going to go to the big cauldron containing two more cauldrons in the Donbass.

Nobody really knows how many Ukrainian soldiers are left alive there, what their condition and morale are, and how much of their deep defenses still stand.  But here is what we do know:

  • This is the biggest Ukrainian force in the entire theater of operations
  • There are AT LEAST several TENS OF THOUSAND soldiers still left
  • These were the best trained and equipped forces of the Ukrainian military
  • The way the Nazis organized them is, roughly, that in each Ukrainian “brigade” there is at least one bona fide Nazi “battalion” tasked with making darn sure that nobody negotiates with the Russians or, if they do, that those who do quickly get dispatched.

In these conditions a direct assault by Russian forces is always an option, they have proven in Mariupol and Avdeevka that they can do that when needed.  I remind you that during WWII the Soviet Union liberated 1’200 (one thousand two hundred!) towns and cities from Nazi occupiers.  The Russian military knows more about urban warfare than any other army on the planet, especially modern urban warfare.

But it would be INFINITELY better to convince these Ukrainian forces (which are doomed, and they understand that!) to surrender and, for that goal, offer them some kind of “out” which would include some tangible concessions/rewards for those units who will accept the inevitable and surrender.

The same goes for the “big” top level negotiations in Belarus or Turkey.  Here is what Lavrov declared today about these talks.  The Ukrainian side agreed to:

  • No nukes for the Ukraine
  • No NATO for the Ukraine
  • No alliances of any kind and a neutral Ukraine
  • Give up any claims on Crimea and the Donbass

Now if you do not see these as major concessions, you have issues I cannot help you with.

I will just say that many Ukie propagandists instantly dismissed it all as “false” just as they have, apparently, “resurrected/transported” the two Ukrainian soldiers who tortured Russian POWs to a location in Kiev.  The truth is that these are painful and major concessions.  Hence the desperate Ukie (and, really, US!) needs to present ANY negotiations as “5min to total surrender” by the Russians – the reality is too awful for the leaders of the Empire of Lies to even contemplate, let alone admit.

Add to this the “disarmament” of the Ukraine by the Russian armed forces and you will see that things are going pretty fantastically well, especially for such a short and RELATIVELY small and limited operation.  At least that is true for the military aspect.  Info operations, alas, not so much 😦

Finally, and as always, I remind you that this is not, repeat, NOT, about the Ukraine.

Disarming and denazifying the Ukraine is only a means towards a much more important goal: the future collective security architecture of a post-NATO Europe which, in turn, is just the cornerstone of all of international security.

So, the goal is NOT to denazify the Ukraine, that is a means towards the goal, the real goal is to denazify the planet.

Oh I know, very few, if any, in Zone A will see that as anything but totally over the top hyperbole.  Why?

It’s a mental block: most folks in Zone A think of themselves and their country as somehow “indispensable”, but they are wrong.  Far from being indispensable, they need to be permanently re-educated (over several generations!) and eventually integrated into Zone B as a “normal”, morally and mentally sane, country.

This, by the way, also implies NEGOTIATIONS with the US, NATO and all of Zone A!

And if Zone A does not want to negotiate anything?  Correctomundo!  You turn up the pain dial, and ask again.  Then repeat until Zone A accepts talks.

It’s that simple, really.

My very last comment will be this: right now, the purely military aspects of the SMO are taking second place to the economic cataclysm which Zone A brought upon itself (and much of the world).  The Eurolemmings especially are only slowly beginning to discover the immene joy and privilege of being a member of the European Reichsgau of Empire of Lies truly is!

What can I say?  They SO richly deserve this….

And if all of the above is just Putinist propaganda, by all means, send a letter to the Russian General Staff, ask for a meeting, and explain to all these boneheads how warfare “your way” is so much superior to warfare “their way”.  Begin by listening all the heroic victories which your country has ever won.

Or apply to the CIA.  They actually might hire you! 😆

Andrei

Sitrep: That ‘bumbling’ presidential aide Medinsky ….

March 30, 2022

source

Posted by Amarynth

… kept the real goodies for this day, a day after the talks.

The news is breaking now.  Medinsky says in a presser with Rossiya-24 broadcaster, that for the first time, Kiev is ready to fulfill the key demands from Russia.

These stories are still in development both on RT and on Sputnik.  I quote from RT:

“Yesterday, for the first time, the Ukrainian party announced, not only orally but also in written form, that it’s ready to fulfill a number of the most important conditions for building normal, and, hopefully, good-neighbourly relations with Russia in the future.

Let me remind you that after the 2014 coup d’état in Ukraine Russia has been making these demands to the Kiev regime, to its patrons, especially the United States, for years. Russia proposed negotiations, proposed to conclude various kinds of agreements that were supposed to guarantee Ukraine’s security and provide Russia’s national interests in this area.

All these demands had been ignored for years. And the North Atlantic Alliance has also been creating an anti-Russian foothold from Ukraine, more precisely, from Ukrainian territory, for years.

Ukraine’s entry into NATO, the creation of NATO military bases on its territory seemed to be a settled issue. It was a matter of time.

I’ll note, and this has already been proven, that there were also efforts on creating biological weapons. Moreover, the issue of Ukraine’s acquisition of nuclear weapons was also made public knowledge.

All these years, the Kiev regime has carried out an open genocide against the residents of Donbass. There’s a lot of evidence for this. There’s irrefutable evidence that Kiev was planning to launch an offensive against Donbass in the near future. In that case Russia would have had to stand up for tens and tens of thousands of our Russian citizens living there anyway.

Under these circumstances, Russia was forced to launch a pre-emptive special military operation.

Yesterday, for the first time in all these years, the Kiev authorities declared that they are ready to negotiate with Russia and conveyed the provisions of a possible future agreement, which states the following:

• the refusal to join NATO, fixation of Ukraine’s bloc-free status;

• the renunciation of nuclear weapons;

• an obligation to conduct troop exercises only with the consent of the guarantor states, which must include Russia.

That is, Ukraine stated that it’s ready to fulfill these demands that Russia has been insisting on all these years.

If all these obligations are fulfilled, the threat of creating a NATO bridgehead on Ukrainian territory will be eliminated.

That’s why it’s so important to agree upon this treaty at the highest level.

However, the negotiations and our work continue.

I’d like to stress that Russia’s position regarding Crimea and Donbass remains the same.”

https://www.rt.com/russia/552987-top-russian-negotiator-ukraine-peace-deal/


A reminder of Lavrov’s talks with the Serbian Media

💬 FM Sergey Lavrov: What matters the most right now is to stop indulging the Ukrainians who want to use talks and solutions as a smokescreen. They have succeeded in this posture when they derailed the Minsk Agreements immediately after signing them in February 2015. In the end, they said that they refused to fulfil them. We know how good they are at pretending to be involved.

This time, they will not get away with it. We need to make sure that the talks yield results, and once they do, the Presidents will formalise them.

(Excerpt from the Minister’s interview (https://www.mid.ru/ru/foreign_policy/news/1806841/?lang=en) with the Serbian media, Moscow, March 28, 2022)


There is of course another piece of news widely reported, and I quote from Pepe Escobar (in true Escobar style) Telegram channel:

DOMINUS VOBISCUM

The Vatican Bank used 10 million euros to BUY RUBLES from the Russian Central Bank so they could pay for their gas.

They followed the instructions by the Russian Federation government to the letter.

If this multinational organization In Nome del Padre, Figlio & Spirito Santo can do it, why not some bloody Germans?

Sitrep: Russia-Ukraine Negotiations – further details revealed

March 29, 2022

ISTANBUL: Russia-Ukraine talks outcome

Russia has agreed to meet Kiev half-way, agreeing a Putin-Zelensky meeting could be held if a finalized peace treaty pre-approved by foreign ministers from both nations is presented simultaneously, Vladimir Medinsky said.

The official described the Istanbul meeting as “constructive” and said his delegation had received a clearly outlined position on what it sought to achieve.

Russia’s MoD also announced it was drastically reducing its military op in parts of Ukraine, including near the capital, Kiev. The ministry cited “the talks moving into the practical dimension,” as the reason for the change.

Russia’s top negotiator Vladimir Medinsky has disclosed the key points of Istanbul talks:

▪️Ukraine is ready to become a neutral state, unable to own nuclear weapons, with internationally guaranteed independence

▪️Guarantees will not be extended to Donbass region and Russia owned Crimean Peninsula – which would make Kiev formally abandon idea to annex them militarily

▪️Ukraine would be unable to have any military presence – including NATO and Russian forces

▪️Russia does not oppose Ukraine potentially joining the European Union

▪️Kiev is requesting for final treaty to be formalised by Russian and Ukrainian heads of states

Follow the presser here:  https://t.me/rtnews/22903

Ukraine is not Palestine, Russia is not Israel

March 26, 2022

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. (Photo: Government of Ukraine, via Wikimedia Commons)

By Issa Khalaf

Most people of goodwill and strong politico-moral sense who seek justice and fairness, all of us who are just plain human, naturally desire to be consistent in how we assess and judge the world outside us.  However, we cannot speak intelligently without acknowledging that one must navigate the inherent tension between moral-legal consistency and context and veracity.

There was no lack of just war theory academics, including within the rich Catholic tradition, actually arguing, at the time, that the 2003 US invasion and obliteration of Iraq, which killed hundreds of thousands, mostly civilians, displaced millions of mostly Sunni Arabs (decimating the core of the educated, secular, professional middle class), constituted a just war.

We cannot but be moved and outraged at the strong tormenting the weak.  Palestinians, at the receiving end for close to seventy-five years, are especially aware and sensitive to occupation, oppression, refugees, war.

But this is not the complete reality of and in Ukraine.  Yes, civilians are suffering and many escaping from active war zones—notwithstanding context or who is at fault, who is the victim.  Rare in war are there good and bad sides, villains and heroes.  Nor am I arguing the legality or otherwise of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, or that preemptive war is legal, or weighing the legal merits of Russia’s “responsibility to protect” in the Donbass.  And no, civilians should not be punished for the reckless idiocy of their leaders.

Neither the “might makes right” premise of the “realists” nor the war gods of “the liberal international order” is moral or legal.  Still, we can’t be mired in the exegesis of rights.

The argument for the Ukrainian state’s justice and presumed victimhood, its innocence and helplessness in face of Russian power, rings hollow.

What is particularly disappointing, are those Palestinian and Arab-Americans who seem to have accepted the received wisdom—including of young people tweeting their outrage, transferring their virtue signaling to a place many can’t find on a map—of legal and moral right for Ukraine.  Advancing basic arguments about double standards and inconsistencies in the application of international law and norms, viewing Ukraine as the recipient of unmitigated, unregenerate Russian aggression and brutality, emphasizing that international law cannot be selectively applied to Palestine and Ukraine, they presume to convince those who have never done right by them.

Palestine will not, ever, obtain redress, justice from the US/EU and certainly not if the Israeli ruling fanatics imbued with Zionist ideological craziness can help it.

The appeal to international law misses the essential geopolitical correctness of the Russian case, of aggressor and aggressed, aggravator and aggrieved, but also the implications for Palestine, the Middle East, and the world, of US/Western actions: specifically, at this critical juncture in history, the destabilization of international order and security, festering local conflicts and disputes, endless wars, and continuing impoverishment of the world’s under-classes.

Russia of course is a major power, with a great asymmetry in strength between it and Ukraine, thereby stymieing any further critical comparison, much less nuance, scrutiny or context.

Russia, it can be argued is acting out of defense, Israel is not.  Ukraine, backed by creeping, belligerent US/NATO expansion to Russia’s borders, demanding of its Western backers before the war to acquire nuclear capability is a real, present danger to Russian national security; Israel, armed with nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, is a dangerous, destabilizing threat to regional and world peace.

Russia is not fighting a defenseless state, but one de facto allied and armed by US/NATO, with an armed forces count of about 300,000, including paramilitaries; Israel’s is perhaps the strongest military in the Middle East.

The Russian offensive is not motivated by ideologically-inspired expansionist motives; Israel is a hyper-expansionist, colonizing apartheid state.  Russia does not engage in dispossession and ethnic cleansing, Israel and Ukraine do.  Russia does not conduct war with criminality; Israel and Ukraine do.  Russia aspires to a secure, fair, economically prosperous neighborhood and world, Israel hinders this locally and doesn’t give a damn globally.  (For Israel’s extremely well-organized and financed supporters—aka lobbies—in Washington and other Western capitals, there’s only one state that comes first.)

Russia does not have an institutionally racist, exclusivist ideology, Israel and Ukraine do.  Russia is not a religio-ethnic or ethnolinguistic state, Israel and Ukraine are.  Ukraine is not a stateless, occupied, captive population, Palestine is.  Israel is interested in using the Ukraine conflict to “ingather” Ukrainian Jews to solidify its demographic lead and disappear Palestine, Russia does not do this in Ukraine or elsewhere.

The Ukrainian and Israeli regimes enjoy the support of the same imperial, global hegemon, are hostile to their neighbor(s), and are extremists unaware that their long term survival, security and prosperity hinges on peace and coexistence with the others within them and around them.  Both suffer from suicidal myopia.

With the exception of innocent people suffering, there’s little political or moral equivalence between Palestine and Ukraine, including schoolyard talk about Ukraine’s right to join NATO.

Residing in the US or other Western countries, apprehending from the centers of power, saturated with a monolithic narrative, you would believe that Russia’s leader is unspeakably evil, even neurotically demented, out of control, the Russian people deserving their comeuppance.  Russians’ vulgar cruelty, their crude methods in prosecuting war, indiscriminate killing of civilians, women and children included, is the Orwellian propaganda we’re fed, and apparently, legions of Americans and Europeans have internalized these lies.

There is another side to this narrative told by military experts worth listening to: Russia’s offensive is designed to minimize the physical and immoral impact of war, its movement methodical, patient, restrained.  It is simultaneously pursuing war and diplomacy; has not targeted vital physical and social infrastructure, including utilities; encircled but not leveled cities; created “cauldrons” around the enemy’s large military formations rather than annihilating them to effect surrender; opened humanitarian corridors everywhere for civilians to exit cities, provided food, water, medical care; and refrained from using air power (so far) to minimize damage to property.

The objective is not to kill and destroy, but to preserve.  Kiev has not been attacked for that reason, the Russians aiming to have their political demands met including neutrality and demilitarization, and thus ending the war.  (How Ukraine is politically-territorially-administratively organized after it’s over remains to be seen.)

Astoundingly, one would never know any of this. The leading newspaper of record and warmongering, The New York Times, beats the Ukraine victim narrative while insisting that Ukraine is stronger and Russia weaker than thought in this war.  What am I saying?  That people are indeed getting killed and uprooted; that stray munitions hit civilian buildings; that some low-level crimes may occur, but the killing and destruction by the professional, disciplined Russian military are comparatively small and unintentional.  Has anyone in American media verified any Ukrainian claim of destroyed, civilian-filled swimming pools, theatres, hospitals, shopping centers, art schools or investigated the Russian version?

Not that one lost life is morally defensible, but we cannot critically process without facts.

Contrast the Ukraine war with the inveterate display of Israeli barbarity.  Indiscriminate murder from air, ground, sea against defenseless populations, Gaza being the prime example; use of horrible weapons from cluster to phosphorous bombs; destruction of schools, hospitals, water systems, laying medieval sieges to punish civilians by starving them; use of human shields, sniping at old men, women and children; and all manner of crimes against humanity (not to mention unprovoked attacks against neighboring states).

These crimes are of course well documented, including dozens of UNSC resolutions regarding the Israeli occupation’s egregious violations of international law, much less any semblance of morality.

The Ukrainians aren’t much better.  Aside from their genocidal war against ethnic Russians, including unspeakable brutality in the Donbass, their army and hardcore Nazi formations have in fact terrorized and killed their own civilians to prevent them moving through the humanitarian corridors (as in the homicidal Azov battalion in Mariupol where 125,000 civilians are held captive), placed artillery and military formations in neighborhoods as a hostage to avoid Russian attack, moved into civilian buildings, used human shields, murdered journalists, those deemed to be politically incorrect towards war, and opposition figures, shelled their own civilian facilities, presumably accidentally, and blamed it on the Russians, and early on in the war, the regime’s security services murdered one of its own negotiators.

Ending the war is of the utmost urgency, but the Kiev regime is, under US pressure and its own extremists, stalling and escalating even when its army is scattered and surrounded, the US imperative being to maintain the stream into Ukraine of lethal weapons and neo-Nazi fighters and other assorted mercenaries trained by the CIA (and British) since at least 2015, and assiduously work overtime to cause a Russian quagmire even at the growing risk of a nuclear cataclysm.

It needs reiteration: Ukraine’s ruling military/oligarchic/xenophobic elite is intensely corrupt, right-radical, chauvinistic, and undemocratic, violently imposing its authority on a country of intensely divided identities.

This elite’s sociopolitical and cultural base is in parts of the western half of the country with its anachronistic Galician-Polish loathing towards Russia and ethnic Russians in Ukraine, and whose nationalists and crypto-Nazis view Russians as Asiatic mongrels.  Though accounting, with their supporters, for some 10 percent of the population, neo-Nazi and old-fashioned Nazi groups have had a huge, outsized effect on the state.

Many are familiar with the quote from a leading expert, the late Stephen F. Cohen, that Kyiv “encouraged” and “rehabilitated” neofascists, “even memorializing Ukrainian collaborators with Nazi German extermination pogroms and their leaders during World War II, renaming streets in their honor, building monuments to them, rewriting history to glorify them…”

We are talking about monuments to western Ukrainian Nazis who, along with that other equally virulently Russophobic state, Poland, collaborated, in their territories, with the German Nazi occupation in the murder of millions of Jews in the Holocaust.

In the racist, supremacist realm, the Ukrainian and Israeli regimes ironically have much in common.

Aside from the war’s material and political realities, there’s the astounding matter of the “information war,” so tightly controlled and orchestrated by the West and which hands down leaves Russia in the dust, that most of us are clueless regarding up from down, war from peace, criminality from humanity, victim from victimizer, legal from illegal, fake from real.  The intense propaganda is directed at American and Western publics to convince them of war and economic sacrifice.

The information blackout and frenzied emotional manipulation by the mass and social medias, including a deluge of misinformation and manufactured stories and false images from other places and conflicts, the terrifying assault on dissenting voices in context of iconoclastic madness, the fear and censorship of speaking out makes this whole affair disgusting, rife with hypocrisy, and horrifyingly fearsome.

Which leads us to Volodymyr Zelensky, that erstwhile, scripted hero whose racism towards Palestinians exactly matches the screeching anti-Palestinian racists and killers heading the Israeli government.  One would think a hero is empathetic, altruistic, just, unselfish, honest, and much else.  Instead, Zelensky thinks Israel, towards which he feels a cozy kinship, is the sufferer and victim of the Palestinians.

A bizarre, unholy mix, this story, featuring cynicism, immorality, illegality, duplicity:

–A president-comedian-actor and a Ukrainian-Israeli oligarch, the wealthiest in Ukraine, who made and enriched Zelensky and financed his TV show (as well as his real presidential run) in which he played president and whose indoctrinating message was the wonderful utopia of joining NATO and the EU;

–This president in tenuous control of the armed forces and neo-Nazi formations and police state methods of the interior ministry and security services, ruling alongside radical nationalists and many in the regime who hate Jews;

–All regime factions super-racist towards the Palestinians and viciously anti-Russian;

–Tel-Aviv doing the aliyah-shuttle for Ukrainian Jews, not other Ukrainians, unless one counts the tokens;

–Israel involved in arming race-mixing-hating neo-Nazi militias and training nefarious elements;

–Israelis coming and going, feeling at home as if Ukraine were their business playground;

–All sides enabled by an ideologue-managed US, its “deep state” massively projecting its denial-rage, incapable of strategic empathy, apparently willing to blow up Europe than be denied global control.

The victims here are truly the Ukrainian people abused by all sides, followed by the rest of us.

-Issa Khalaf has a D. Phil. in political science and Middle East Studies from Oxford University. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

«العولمة السعيدة» لا تمنع حرباً: العالم على عتبة الانشطار

  الثلاثاء 22 آذار 2022

روسيا تُركّز ضرباتها: تحضيرات لحسم «الدونباس» أحمد الحاج علي

وليد شرارة

أدّت الحروب بين القوى الكبرى، في العصور الغابرة والحديثة، دوراً مركزياً في صياغة العالم، أو إعادة صياغته، على المستويات الجيوسياسية والجيو ــــ اقتصادية، وفقاً لرؤى المنتصرين فيها ومصالحهم. وإذا حصرنا اهتمامنا بفترة ما بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية، فإن مآلات هذه الأخيرة، وموازين القوى التي كرّستها، هي التي أنتجت “النظام الدولي الليبرالي” ــــ وهو الاسم الكودي للهيمنة الأميركية على عدد من بقاع المعمورة ــــ، من جهة، وأتاحت تشكيل المعسكر الاشتراكي وانتصار حركات التحرّر الوطني في بقاع أخرى، من جهةٍ ثانية. الأمر نفسه ينطبق على المرحلة التي تلت نهاية الحرب الباردة، بعد انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي، وما تخلّلها من مساعٍ لتوسيع نطاق الهيمنة الأميركية نحو مناطق جديدة، وتأبيدها على الصعيد الدولي.

«إحياء الناتو» ضدّ موسكو وبكين

لم يكن “الناتو” في “حالة موت سريري”، كما قال الرئيس الفرنسي، إيمانويل ماكرون، في لحظة انفعال، رداً على تهديدات متكرّرة من نظيره الأميركي آنذاك، دونالد ترامب، بالانسحاب من الحلف، بذريعة عدم مضاعفة أعضائه الأوروبيين إنفاقهم العسكري السنوي. علاوة على ذلك، فإن الإهانات المستمرّة التي وجّهها ترامب للمسؤولين الأوروبيين خلال عهده، وتلويحه بإمكانية توقّف الولايات المتحدة عن “حماية” بلدانهم، حدت ببعض هؤلاء إلى استعادة معزوفة الدفاع الأوروبي المشترك والمستقلّ، على المستوى الخطابي لا أكثر. فالتعاون العسكري الأورو ــــ أميركي في إطار “الناتو”، لم يتراجع يوماً، وخاصّة في دول جبهته الشرقية مع روسيا، حيث ازداد عديد قواته المنتشرة في بولندا وبلدان البلطيق، وكذلك المناورات التي تجريها. ولا بدّ من الإشارة أيضاً إلى أن الاتحاد الأوروبي ودوله كان لهم دور رئيسيّ في افتعال الأزمة في أوكرانيا، عندما ساهموا، في أواخر عام 2013، في التحريض على رئيسها آنذاك، فيكتور يانوكوفيتش ــــ الذي رفض توقيع اتفاقية التجارة والشراكة مع الاتحاد ــــ، ودعموا القوى التي أطاحته في أواخر شباط 2014.

فسخ الشراكة وتفكّك العولمة

أولى الدعوات إلى إعادة النظر بالعولمة الاقتصادية، وما نجم عنها من مفاعيل “سلبية” بالنسبة إلى الاقتصاد الأميركي، أطلقها الرئيس الأميركي السابق، دونالد ترامب، الذي شنّ حرباً تجارية على الصين، وحضّ على فسخ الشراكة معها. المواقف الرافضة لسياساته وتوجهاته ــــ آنذاك ــــ لم تصدر فقط من بكين، بل كذلك من أوساط الشركات الأميركية والغربية الكبرى، ووسائل الإعلام اللصيقة بها، كمجلة “إيكونوميست” وصحيفة “فايننشال تايمز”. اللافت، اليوم، هو أن الدعوات إلى إخضاع المصالح الاقتصادية، ومبدأ حرية التجارة “المقدّس” للاعتبارات الاستراتيجية، أضحى يصدر من هذه الأبواق، حتى ولو لم تشجّع على فسخ شراكة شاملة.

كان بإمكان دول أوروبا، عندما حشد بوتين قواته على حدود أوكرانيا، التجاوب مع مطلبه بتحييدها

ففي عددها الأخير، وعنوان غلافه “النظام الدولي البديل”، رأت”ذي إيكونوميست”، أن “المواجهة مع روسيا كشفت تناقضاً متنامياً بين حرية التجارة والحرية كمبدأ”. ففي مقال بعنوان “تجارة مع العدو”، اعترفت الأسبوعية “الرصينة” بأن “العدوانية العسكرية لبوتين تثير أسئلة مزعجة حول العولمة بالنسبة إلى أنصار حرية التجارة مثل الإيكونوميست. هل يصحّ أن تقيم مجتمعات مفتوحة علاقات اقتصادية مع أخرى مستبدّة، كالصين وروسيا، تنتهك حقوق الإنسان وتهدّد الأمن، وتصبح أكثر خطورة كلّما ازدادت ثراءً؟ الإجابة سهلة من حيث المبدأ: على الديموقراطيات أن تطوّر مبادلاتها التجارية دون المساس بأمنها القومي. عملياً، الموازنة بين الأمرَين مهمّة بالغة الصعوبة. حرب روسيا تظهر ضرورة إعادة صياغة جراحية لشبكات الإنتاج والتوريد لمنع الدول المستبدّه من التنكيل بتلك الليبرالية… الاجتياح الروسي أكد للغرب خطورة التجارة مع الخصوم. الاعتبار الأوّل أخلاقي. عقود شراء نفط الأورال وقمح البحر الأسود موّلت القمع الذي يمارسه بوتين وإنفاقه العسكري المتعاظم. الاعتبار الآخر أمني، يرتبط بإدمان أوروبا وصناعاتها على غاز روسيا، وما تصدّره من معادن وأسمدة. هذه التبعية تزيد من قوّة الأنظمة المستبدّة، وتُضعِف عزم الديموقراطيات، وتضعها في موقع شديد الهشاشة في حالة الحرب”.

إخراج روسيا من النظام المالي الدولي، عبر إقصائها من نظام “سويفت”، والسعي إلى إيجاد مصادر بديلة منها للغاز والنفط بالنسبة إلى أوروبا، وحزمة العقوبات المفروضة عليها، والتي يجري التلويح بها حيال الصين وأيّ دولة أخرى تتعاون معها لـ”التحايل” على الأخيرة، ما هي سوى خطوات أولى في مجابهة مرشّحة للتصعيد، بالتوازي مع استعار تلك الدائرة في الميدان العسكري. وبما أن القوى الغربية ترى أن هذه المجابهة المصيرية هي مع محور روسي ــــ صيني، وليس مع روسيا وحدها، وأن الصين هي الخصم الأخطر والمستفيد الأوّل منها، فإن الاعتبارات الاستراتيجية ستطغى على تلك الاقتصادية في التعامل معها. بطبيعة الحال، فإن ضخامة المصالح المشتركة مع بكين، وحجم الأضرار الذي سينجم عن عملية فكّ ارتباط معها، سيدفع قوى اقتصادية وازنة في الغرب إلى الاعتراض عليه، غير أن الاستراتيجية العليا لدول تحاول وقف تراجع هيمنتها، في مقابل أخرى صاعدة بسرعة هائلة، لا تنسجم مع المصالح الخاصّة لبعض الشركات. في مثل هذا السياق، فإن وجود مصالح مشتركة حتى بين الدول نفسها لا يحول دون الحرب في ما بينها، وعلى من يشكّ في ذلك أن يقرأ، أو يعيد قراءة، كتاب المفكر السياسي الأميركي غراهام أليسون، “فخ توسيديد”، ليتحرّر من بقايا خرافات “العولمة السعيدة” وأوهامها.

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منذ بدء العملية العسكرية الروسية في مواجهة تقدم حلف الناتو نحو الحدود الروسية، وتحول أوكرانيا إلى ساحة حرب، وتحول الشعب الأوكراني والجيش الأوكراني والاقتصاد الأوكراني إلى وقود لحرب ميؤوس منها، وتفاديها وقف على قبول صيغة الحياد بدلاً من وهم الانضمام إلى حلف الناتو الذي تقوم عقيدته على إعلان روسيا عدواً أول، ويعني انضمام أوكرانيا إليه اعلان حرب على روسيا، وخطة الناتو تقوم على خوض حرب إعلامية على جبهتين بدلاً من الحرب العسكرية التي يخشى خوضها، الجبهة الأولى هي إقناع الأوكرانيين بمواصلة القتال وحدهم رغم تخلّي الناتو عنهم، والتوهم بأن العقوبات المفروضة على روسيا من جهة، والأسلحة والأموال التي يتم شحنها عبر الحدود إلى أوكرانيا من جهة أخرى، تكفيان لإفشال العملية العسكرية الروسية. أما الجبهة الثانية فهي موجهة للعالم وللأوكرانيين معاً، ومضمونها إقناع الرأي العام بأن معيار النجاح والفشل، ليس التقدم في الجغرافيا، ولا تجاوز تأثير العقوبات، بل عدم تحقيق ذلك بسرعة، ومعيار السرعة وضعت له معادلة النجاح بدخول كييف في يومين أو ثلاثة، وهو أمر يحتاج لإثبات واقعيته قبل تسويقه، لكن تسويقه هو المهم، للمضي قدماً في الحديث عن الفشل، ومن بعده الدخول في حرب نفسية مضمونها تفسير الفشل، الذي لم يقع إلا في الإعلام، لكنه صار حقيقة في وعي الكثيرين، وصار ممكناً نقلهم للتساؤل عن السبب وتقديم سردية مناسبة للتلاعب بعقولهم حول سبب وقوع الفشل.

القطبة المخفيّة كلها في جملة نسبت زوراً للرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، الذي قال نبدأ عملية عسكرية خاصة في أوكرانيا، فأضيفت إليها من مكان مجهول معلوم كلمة سريعة، وسرت كالنار في الهشيم، وصار الحديث عن سريعة قبل أي شيء آخر، ثم صارت السريعة بيومين او ثلاثة، فهل توقع العملية السريعة واقعي بالأساس، كي يقبل الاستنتاج بأن تسويقها لم يكن ضمن خطة مبرمجة لخوض حرب إفشال العملية العسكرية في عقول الرأي العام من بوابة هذه الفرضية المستحيلة، حتى لو نجحت في الواقع الميداني، والمعيار للقياس هو ببساطة، حيث واجهت أميركا التي تعتبر أنها قوة عظمى أشد قوة من روسيا، خصماً مشابهاً أقل قوة من أوكرانيا، وأخذ الزمن الذي احتاجته أميركا لفرض سيطرتها قياساً لما يحدث مع روسيا، التي امتلأت الصحف والتقارير الغربية والقنوات الفضائية الأجنبية والعربية بتحليلات الخبراء، والضباط المتقاعدين الفاشلين عسكرياً، ليبيعوا نظرية الفشل، ويدخلوا في استصناع أسباب مفترضة له، مستنسخة عما كتبه خبراء البنتاغون، مرة بالحديث عن مشاكل لوجستية، وأخرى بالحديث عن ضعف السيطرة والقيادة، وثالثة بالحديث عن نقص المحروقات، ورابعة عن ضعف استخباري، ودائماً بفعل المقاومة الأوكرانية، وصولاً لآخر المبتكرات بالحديث عن نقص في عدد الجنود الروس اللازمين للفوز بالنجاح، وكلها عناصر يمكن قبول نقاشها اذا ثبتت القطبة المخفية الأصلية، وهي أن العملية العسكرية الروسية فشلت، وأن معيار الفشل هو السرعة؟

بالقياس أمامنا تجربة أميركية في حرب يوغوسلافيا، عام 1999، بعد عشر سنوات حرب أهلية مدمّرة، لبلد مساحته لا تعادل 15% من مساحة أوكرانيا، وعدد سكانها كذلك 15% من عدد سكان أوكرانيا، وليس لها حدود مع أي دعم تتلقاه، وحكومة معزولة سياسياً داخل أوروبا وخارجها، وفي زمن السطوة الأميركية الأحادية على العالم، وفي ظل غطاء نسبيّ من قرار أممي بفرض وقف النار وحماية المدنيين، ولم تحسم معركة بلغراد العاصمة الصربية واليوغوسلافية أساساً، إلا بعد 78 يوماً من القصف المدمّر، ما يعني ان الخبرة الأميركية اذا قامت على اعتبار روسيا بالقدرة الأميركية ذاتها وبوضعيتها ذاتها في ظل الأحادية، واعتبرت أن أوكرانيا في ظروف دولية وداخلية مشابهة لظروف صربيا، وحصرت المقارنة بالمساحة وعدد السكان، فإن المدة التي يجب أن تحاسب روسيا على أساسها في حسم معركة كييف يجب أن تكون ستة اضعاف الـ 78 يوماً، اي سنة ونصف، وهناك تجربة أخرى خاضتها أميركا وهي في ذروة سطوتها، بغزو أفغانستان والعراق، ونجحت خلالها بدخول كابول بعد شهرين وبغداد بعد عشرين يوماً، وأعلن الرئيس الأميركي نهاية العملية العسكرية في العراق بعد 40 يوماً، وكانت الحصيلة الاعتراف الأميركي بعد أقل من سنة عن فشل ذريع، وعن تحول العراق الى مستنقع يغرق فيه الأميركيون، وصولاً للقبول بالانسحاب دون تحقيق الهدف، أي بناء نظام حكم حليف لواشنطن، او كما قال الرئيس جو بايدن عن مبررات الانسحاب من أفغانستان بعد عشرين عاماً، رغم إعلان النجاح بعد عشرين يوماً، أنه لو بقينا عشرين عاماً اخرى فلن يتغير شيء، سنفشل، لكننا سندفع آلافاً أخرى من الضحايا وتريلينوات أخرى من الأموال.

بالمقارنة يبدو واضحاً أن الأميركيين بخوضهم حربا إعلامية تحت عنوان «السرعة معيار النجاح»، يريدون عبرها للروس مصيراً لعمليتهم مشابهاً لمصير العمليتين الأميركيتين في العراق وأفغانستان، الغرق حتى الأذنين بالفشل، وسلوك الطريق الذي سلكه الأميركيون، وهو البحث عن نصر سريع عنوانه احتلال العاصمة وتنصيب حكم بديل تابع، والدخول في مواجهة مقاومة شعبية تنطلق من رفض الاحتلال، بينما يحرص الروس على خوض عملية عسكرية تنتهي باتفاق سياسي مع الحكم الأوكراني الحالي، تعرف موسكو أنه لن يحدث إلا إذا اقتنع الغرب بلا جدوى حملاتهم المالية والإعلامية ومساندتهم العسكرية للحكومة الأوكرانية، لجعل روسيا تقع في فخ القطبة المخفية، وتتحول الى قوة احتلال لا تعرف ماذا تفعل بالدولة التي تحتلها، ولا كيف تحمي نظاماً تابعاً تقيمه فيها، وموسكو تعرف كيف تدير عناصر اليأس الغربي، انطلاقاً من النجاح في احتواء الصدمة الأولى للعقوبات، وتمتين تحالفاتها مع الصين وإيران، ومواصلة التقدم الثابت والهادئ في الجغرافيا الأوكرانية، مع الحذر الشديد من التورط في أعمال قتل جماعيّ للمدنيين، ومواصلة السعي التفاوضي لجعل خيار الحياد الأوكراني نموذجاً لمناطق عازلة تفصل روسيا عن حلف الناتو منعاً للاحتكاكات التي يمكن أن تؤدي لنشوب حرب عالمية.

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