It has now been one week since Seymour Hersh published an in-depth report claiming that the Biden administration deliberately blew up the Nord Stream II gas pipeline without Germany’s consent or even knowledge – an operation that began planning long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Based on interviews with national security insiders, Hersh – the journalist who broke the stories of the My Lai Massacre, the CIA spying program and the Abu Ghraib torture scandal – claims that in June, U.S. Navy divers traveled to the Baltic Sea and attached C4 explosive charges to the pipeline. By September, President Biden himself ordered its destruction. But, according to Hersh, all understood the stakes and the gravity of what they were doing, acknowledging that, if caught, it would be seen as a flagrant “act of war” against their allies.

Despite this, corporate media have overwhelmingly ignored the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter’s bombshell. A MintPress News study analyzed the 20 most influential publications in the United States, according to analytics company Similar Web, and found only four mentions of the report between them.

The entirety of the corporate media’s attention given to the story consisted of the following:

  • A 166-word mini report in Bloomberg;
  • One five-minute segment on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (Fox News);
  • One 600-word round-up in The New York Post;
  • A shrill Business Insider attack article, whose headline labels Hersh a “discredited journalist” that has given a “gift to Putin.”

The 20 outlets studied are, in alphabetical order:

ABC News; Bloomberg News; Business Insider; BuzzFeed; CBS News; CNBC; CNN; Forbes; Fox News; The Huffington Post; MSNBC; NBC News; The New York Post; The New York Times; NPR; People Magazine; Politico; USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

Searches for “Seymour Hersh” and “Nord Stream” were carried out on the websites of each outlet and were then checked against precise Google searches and results from the Dow Jones Factiva news database.

This lack of interest cannot be explained due to the report’s irrelevance. If the Biden administration really did work closely with the Norwegian government to blow up Nord Stream II, causing billions of dollars worth of immediate damage and plunging an entire region of the world into a freezing winter without sufficient energy, it ranks as one of the worst terrorist attacks in history; a flagrant act of aggression against a supposed ally.

Therefore, if Biden did indeed order this attack, it is barely possible to think of a more consequential piece of news. Indeed, according to Hersh, all those involved – from Biden, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan – understood that what they were doing was “an act of war.”

The Nord Stream attack was also one of the world’s worst ecological disasters, constituting the largest single leak of methane in history – a gas 80 times worse for the planet than carbon dioxide at accelerating climate change.

“The media system has, predictably, tried to marginalize the report,” Bryce Greene, a writer and media critic who has closely followed the press’ lack of interest in scrutinizing the Nord Stream story, told MintPress, adding,

They don’t want to deal with the repercussions. It also reflects poorly on the profession…Even Jeffery Sachs in his Bloomberg interview said that journalists he knew personally understood that evidence, but also understood that the media system they worked in wouldn’t respond kindly to any suggestion of US complicity, so they kept quiet.”

Greene explained that bothersome facts about the war have consistently been swept under the rug, noting that,

This is indicative of the entire Ukraine War coverage. From hiding the history of NATO expansion, to calling Ukrainian Nazis Russian propaganda, to CBS even retracting a story about Ukrainian corruption. The fact that US media figures want to be seen as ‘on the good team’ or ‘on the right side of history’ means that they’re unwilling to confront reality as it exists.”


This complete radio silence from most of the country’s most influential news organizations is all the more remarkable, considering Hersh’s revelations have been all over newswire services. Reuters, for example, has published 14 separate reports on the topic since Thursday. Every large media outlet in America (and many medium-sized and even small ones) subscribes to Reuters, republishing content from their newswires.

One of the main tasks of a newsroom editor is to follow the newswire and follow up on Reuters’ content. This means that editors around the country have been bombarded with this story every day since it broke, and virtually every single one of them has passed on it – 14 consecutive times. Thus, even when repeatedly presented with free content to monetize, almost every newsroom in the U.S. decided against it. Independent, reader-supported media, however, have covered the story much more closely.

This is not to say that Reuters has been supportive of Hersh’s assertions. Its first article on the subject, for example, was entitled “White House says blog post on Nord Stream explosion ‘is utterly false,’” thereby allowing the Biden administration to set the agenda and downplay Hersh’s investigation as a mere blog post – something those in alternative media were quick to highlight. Hersh self-published his report on the online platform Substack – a fact that either undermines his findings or the credibility of the corporate media apparatus, depending on one’s perspective.

“The most incredible thing about the backlash against Hersh’s article on the U.S. blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines is the fact that it’s clear no establishment media outlet has any intention of carrying out the basic journalism needed to confirm or refute what he’s reported,” wrote journalist and MintPress contributor Jonathan Cook.

Other journalists, particularly those connected to the Western intelligence services, were scathing of the report. “The only people Hersh impresses any more [sic] are the sort of people who carry water for Putin and Assad, or the terminally dumb,” quipped Bellingcat’s Eliot Higgins. Christo Grozev, another Bellingcat writer, labeled Hersh “senile,” “corrupt,” and an “obsessive liar” whose “irresponsible single-anonymous-source reporting by a name with legacy authority is among the worst damage to journalism anyone ever caused.”

Fact-checking website Snopes also sprung into action, calling Hersh’s claim a “conspiracy” that rested on a single “omnipotent anonymous source.”

In an interview with the Radio War Nerd podcast, Hersh fired back, claiming:

The New York Times and the Washington Post have just ignored me. What they think I should do is use [the source’s] name, get him put in jail, stuff like that, which would end my career. I’ve been doing this for 50 years. My Lai started in 1969, and I will tell you something…I will protect people.”

He also noted that he actually cultivated multiple corroborative sources for the story.


According to Hersh’s source, last June, under the cover of an international NATO exercise happening in the area, U.S. Navy divers based in Panama City, Florida, planted remotely-triggered C4 explosives on a section of the pipeline. Then, three months later, the order was given to blow it up. Navy divers were assisted by the Norwegian military, who found the perfect location; calm and shallow water just off the coast of Bornholm Island, Denmark.

An earlier Nord Stream pipeline was already supplying Germany and Western Europe with Russian gas, providing a cheap and readily available source of fuel to heat and power the continent. With the introduction of the second pipeline, Europe would have become effectively energy-independent of the United States, raising the possibility that the continent might move in a neutral or independent political direction too, creating a powerful regional bloc of its own rather than the current Atlanticist (i.e., U.S.-dominated) model that prevails. The 760-mile pipeline travels along the Baltic Sea floor, from western Russia to northeastern Germany, transporting liquified natural gas into homes and businesses throughout Europe. As such, it represents a vastly more cost-efficient form of energy than purchasing American liquified national gas or fracked oil – something Washington had been leaning hard on Europe to switch to.

Successive White House administrations had long made their opposition to the new, multi-billion dollar project publicly known. But Hersh alleges that the Biden administration began planning the sabotage in 2021, many months before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Nord Stream 2 Sanctions Feature photo
Tubes are stored in Sassnitz, Germany, during construction of the natural gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, Dec. 6, 2016. Jens Buettner | DPA via AP

The choice to use Navy divers rather than members of America’s Special Operations Command was reportedly down to secrecy. Unlike Special Ops, by law, Congress, the Senate and House leadership do not need to be briefed about Navy operations. “The Biden Administration was doing everything possible to avoid leaks,” Hersh wrote.

Nevertheless, many in the know had cold feet. “Some working guys in the CIA and the State Department were saying, ‘Don’t do this. It’s stupid and will be a political nightmare if it comes out,’” Hersh’s source said.

In the end, Biden himself gave the mission the green light, and three months after it was completed, Washington pressed the button, destroying the pipeline.

In the immediate aftermath of the destruction, Western corporate media were coy about the culprit, even suggesting that Vladimir Putin himself was by far the number one suspect in the case. They also actively suppressed any other opinions on the matter, sometimes to a near-comical degree. Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs, for example, was abruptly taken off the air by Bloomberg as he ran through circumstantial evidence suggesting Western forces could be behind the attack.


Hersh’s account adds weight to Sachs’ assertions. But is it credible? On the one hand, Hersh is a veteran investigative journalist who has built a stellar reputation over decades, working closely with government sources to break important news stories. On the other, his bombshell relies almost entirely on unnamed sources. It is standard journalistic practice to name and check sources. The Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics states that “reporters should use every possible avenue to confirm and attribute information before relying on unnamed sources” and that they must “always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity” because too many “provide information only when it benefits them.”

Without a name to go with a claim, there are no consequences for sources (or journalists, for that matter) simply lying to further their agenda. Hersh, therefore, is implicitly asking readers to trust his credibility and his judgment. Moreover, Hersh’s sources are government and intelligence insiders. Part of their role is placing false or inaccurate information into the public domain to further the state’s agenda. Journalistically speaking, then, anonymous government or intelligence officials are about the least credible sources imaginable.

Nevertheless, it seems clear that, given Washington’s war on whistleblowers, no source would ever publicly disclose this sort of information unless they were ready to risk decades in prison. Therefore, they could reasonably qualify for anonymity.

Greene took a nuanced position on the story’s credibility, stating,

Is everything Hersh alleged correct? While it would surprise me if there were evidence of any other power being behind the pipeline explosion – which would mean Hersh’s report is a complete fabrication – it would not be surprising if a few of Hersh’s details don’t line up, but that is common in journalism, and not always the result of bad faith or incompetence.

“The thing to remember is Hersh’s sources are in the world of military and intelligence. They will lie, exaggerate, obfuscate – and of course get things wrong by mistake,” Greene added, “But The compartmentalized nature of any bureaucracy – and the intelligence world especially – means that the full picture is sometimes murky, even to those considered to be ‘in the know.’ The fact that Hersh’s source knows so much detail is remarkable but certainly not implausible given the history of high-level leakers.”


If the United States did indeed sabotage Nord Stream II, it was one of the least well-hidden and most signposted attacks in history. The U.S. and NATO had, for years, publicly made clear that they were exploring options to stop the project.

A few weeks before the Russian invasion last February, Biden summoned German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to the White House, where the president made him participate in a bizarre press conference in which Biden stated, “If Russia invades — that means tanks or troops crossing the border of Ukraine — then there will be no longer a Nord Stream II. We will bring an end to it.”

The event had the air of an adult chastising a misbehaving child, yet Biden was, in effect, telling Scholz to his face that his country’s infrastructure might face a U.S. attack.

To be fair to the president, he was merely repeating what many in his administration had been publicly saying for months. Both Victoria Nuland and State Department Spokesperson Ned Price had independently stated that “one way or another, Nord Stream II will not move forward.”

Likewise, after the attack, the U.S. barely tried to hide its satisfaction. “This is a tremendous opportunity,” Antony Blinken beamed. The Secretary of State continued,

It’s a tremendous opportunity to once and for all remove the dependence on Russian energy, and thus to take away from Vladimir Putin the weaponization of energy as a means of advancing his imperial designs. That’s very significant and that offers tremendous strategic opportunity.”

NordStream Pipeline feature photo
Police accompany a protest against sanctions on Russia while a banner with the inscription “Open Nordstream 2 immediately” is held, Sept 05, 2022. Sebastian Willnow | DPA via AP

Other prominent officials thought U.S. culpability for the blast was so obvious that they assumed that they would take credit for it rather than claim Russia carried out a false flag attack. Member of the European Parliament and former Foreign Minister of Poland, Radek Sikorski, for example, tweeted out a picture of the blast with the words “Thank you, USA.” Sikorski, married to U.S. national security state insider Anne Applebaum, later deleted his post.

For Greene, the United States is near the top of the list of potential culprits. As he explained,

The charge of U.S. complicity is supported by a good deal of circumstantial evidence: The clearest answer to the ‘cui bono’ [who benefits?] question is obviously the U.S. Even before Hersh’s reporting, German officials reportedly said they were open to the idea of Western complicity. So in that sense, Hersh’s reporting is in line with what we already know (and what the mainstream media refuses to seriously discuss).”

Certainly, Washington has significantly benefited from the explosion. Its major competitor (Russia) has been seriously economically weakened, and European purchases of expensive American liquified natural gas have more than doubled since last year. Norway, too, has gained from the blast and is now Germany’s principal supplier of gas, allowing it to make billions in profits.


Born in 1937 into a working-class Jewish immigrant family, Hersh cut his teeth as a crime reporter in early 1960s Chicago. He first came to national attention in 1969, however, when he exposed the massacre of hundreds of Vietnamese civilians by U.S. troops at My Lai – a scoop that won him the Pulitzer Prize. His revelations were far from welcome in establishment media, though, and he had to fight to get even a small startup newswire to take a chance on his story.

In 1974, Hersh again caused a national scandal after exposing a massive Nixon-era CIA spying operation targeting hundreds of thousands of left-wing activists, anti-war dissidents and other anti-establishment figures. Again, far from being heralded, the majority of the corporate press attempted to defend the national security state and discredit him and his reporting.

Thirty years later, he dropped yet another bombshell on the American public, exposing the U.S.’ widespread torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

Whether it was reporting on the U.S.’ role in the 1973 coup in Chile or undermining the Obama administration’s claims on chemical weapons attacks in Syria, Hersh has courted controversy and attracted flak throughout his career. Yet his fearlessness has won him respect the world over. As journalist Glenn Greenwald stated,

Seymour Hersh is beyond any reasonable dispute one of the two or three most accomplished, important and courageous journalists of his generation. Very few journalists on the planet – and virtually none who still work inside the nation’s largest media corporations – can even get close to him when it comes to having broken more major, history-changing stories.”


It is for this reason that Hersh’s reporting is so important – and why corporate media’s steadfast refusal to cover it is so noteworthy. If Hersh is correct, the United States and Norway essentially attacked their supposed NATO allies, something that could have gigantic geopolitical implications. Article 5 of NATO’s treaty states that if a NATO member is attacked, then all other NATO members must defend said country. Several NATO members, including the United Kingdom and France, possess nuclear weapons.

Of course, NATO will not declare war on the United States, precisely because it is, since its very inception, an unequal alliance. As Lord Ismay, the organization’s first secretary general, explained, “NATO’s role is to keep the Russians out, the Germans down and the Americans in”. In other words, it is a U.S.-dominated confederation meant to stifle the pan-European project that sought to reorient the continent away from serving the U.S. and towards becoming an independent regional bloc.

While the culprit of the attacks still remains in doubt, many of the consequences are not.

Germans – like much of Europe – have had to endure freezing winters amid enormous fuel price spikes. The dearth of energy has helped spark double-digit inflation in Germany that has eroded the savings of tens of millions of people. Energy costs are causing vast numbers of businesses to permanently close and presents a crisis of competitiveness for European industry, which is struggling to compete with American and Asian manufacturers enjoying cheap fuel.

Moreover, huge numbers of European businesses are closing or reducing their domestic workforce in favor of moving production to the U.S., where, alongside cheaper energy costs, the Biden administration is offering them financial incentives to do so. The European Union has accused Washington of breaching World Trade Organization rules.

Thus, it could be said that the invasion of Ukraine has marked a turning point in geopolitical history, whereby the United States is not only carrying out a proxy war against Russia, but engaged in an economic war against the entirety of Europe. If Hersh’s Nord Stream story is true, it could send a shockwave throughout Europe and should cause long held beliefs about the nature of Europe’s relationship with the United States to be challenged. Therefore, given the massive negative consequences of all this for Washington, perhaps it is no surprise that the revelation will not be televised.

Feature photo | Illustration by MintPress News

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

نقاش في الكونغرس الأميركي حول «اتفاقيات أبراهام»

الكونغرس: العمل أكثر في لبنان لمنع تأثير إيران

الجمعة 17 آذار 2023

التعاون الأمني بين إسرائيل ودول في المنطقة يحدّ من قدرة إيران على إيصال مواردها الفتاكة إلى حدود الكيان (أ ف ب)

غسان سعود  

قبيل ساعات من تتويج المباحثات الإيرانية – السعودية بـ«مصالحة بكين»، كان الكونغرس الأميركي يشهد نقاشاً بين نواب وخبراء معنيين بالشرق الأوسط حول «توسيع اتفاقيات أبراهام»، والتزام «الشركاء المفترضين»، وفي مقدمهم السعودية، بتنفيذ الأجندة الأميركية في ما يتعلق بالصين وروسيا وإيران وأسعار النفط. ويتبيّن، بالصوت والصورة، أن مرادف «التأثير الإيجابي» بالنسبة للإدارة الأميركية هو «حماية مصالح إسرائيل أكثر، فقط»، مع تركيز واضح على تسويق الولايات المتحدة كصديقة للشعوب تتطلع إلى ازدهارها ورفاهيتها، تمهيداً لإدخال الدول في مسارات التطبيع… مع اعتراف ضمني بأن عدم وجود رؤية مشتركة بين الولايات المتحدة وشركائها لمواجهة «النفوذ الإيراني الخبيث» يهدد كل الطموحات الأميركية في المنطقة

عُقد الاجتماع الدوريّ للجنة الفرعية للشؤون الخارجية في مجلس النواب الأميركي حول الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا، الخميس الماضي، عشية إعلان «مصالحة بكين»، تحت عنوان «توسيع اتفاقيات أبراهام» (فيديو الجلسة). حضر الاجتماع، إلى جانب أعضاء اللجنة، كل من رئيس معهد اتفاقات أبراهام للسلام روبرت غرينواي والجنرال الأميركي المتخصص في شؤون الشرق الأوسط جوزف فوتيل والسفير الأميركي السابق في إسرائيل دانيل شابيرو مدير «مبادرة N7» (الحرف الأول من n أي تطبيع، و7 للدلالة على إسرائيل والدول العربية الست التي طبعت معها: البحرين، مصر، الأردن، المغرب، السودان، الإمارات).

وفي مداخلته، أشار شابيرو إلى تقدم مسارات التطبيع عبر مجموعات عمل تشمل أكثر من 150 مشاركاً من الدول السبع في أبو ظبي في كانون الثاني الماضي، إضافة إلى اتفاقية التعاون في مجال الأمن السيبراني بين البحرين والمغرب والإمارات وإسرائيل والولايات المتحدة. أما الطموحات الكثيرة لتكريس التطبيع فأبرزها برامج تلفزيونية «تثقيفية وترفيهية»، ليخلص المجتمعون بسرعة إلى ضرورة أن يتجاوز الدعم الأميركي في المنطقة التعاون العسكري، إلى المجالات التجارية و«المناهج التربوية والتعليمية» والتعاون الصحي و… «مكافحة الأوبئة»، مع تركيز خاص على لبنان. فبعد إشارة النائب الديموقراطي براد شيرمان إلى نجاح إدارة الرئيس جو بايدن في إنجاز الاتفاق بين لبنان وإسرائيل حول الحدود البحرية، قال رئيس اللجنة الفرعية الجمهوري جو ويلسون إن هذا الترسيم مهم للاقتصاد اللبناني، ويسمح لإسرائيل بمواصل إنتاج النفط وإرساله إلى مصر لتكريره وتصديره إلى إيطاليا للتخفيف من اعتماد أوروبا على روسيا، في سلسلة تبيّن الترابط الاستثنائي بين الملفات: لبنان يفوز، إسرائيل تفوز، مصر تفوز، إيطاليا تفوز ومجرم الحرب بوتين يخسر. وقال ويلسون «هناك أهمية كبيرة لدعم لبنان الذي يجب أن يكون عظيماً لكنه ليس كذلك». هناـ تدخلت النائبة الديموقراطية كاثي مالينغ لافتة إلى أن «لبنان على وشك أن يصبح دولة فاشلة»، فيما «سوريا مصدر مشكلات لا حصر لها في المنطقة»؛ ما يدفع إلى السؤال ما إذا كانت لدول «اتفاقيات أبراهام» القدرة على «التأثير الإيجابي» في هذين البلدين؟ ليجيب فوتيل، كما تفهم الإدارة الأميركية «التأثير الإيجابي»، بالقول إن «التعاون الأمني والدفاعي بين إسرائيل ودول أخرى في المنطقة يعزز فرص اتخاذ تدابير تحدّ من قدرة إيران على إيصال مواردها الفتاكة أكثر فأكثر قرب حدود إسرائيل». وأكد أن القيادة المركزية الأميركية «تحاول» وضع شبكات استشعار وطائرات من دون طيار لمراقبة حركة «نقل المساعدات الفتاكة»، بحراً اليوم وجواً غداً، ومع مزيد من الاستثمار يمكن معالجة «بعض من النفوذ الإيراني الخبيث» الذي ينتشر في سوريا ويؤثر على إسرائيل. ورداً على سؤال مالينغ عن كيفية توسيع «اتفاقيات أبراهام»، قال شابيرو إن هناك المفاوضات التي ترعاها الولايات المتحدة وهناك «التعاون الأمني الذي تقوده وزارة الدفاع والجيش مع جيوش المنطقة، وهناك مجالات صحية وثقافية وتجارية يمكن تحقيق اختراقات مهمة بواسطتها». أما غرينواي فركز على «توفير القدرات لشركائنا بما يمكّنهم من الدفاع عن أنفسهم بشكل أفضل، ويخفف في المقابل العبء الملقى على عاتق الولايات المتحدة للدفاع عنهم». ورأى أن الممر الإلزامي لتكريس التطبيع هو التبادل التجاري بين هذه الدول وحاجتها الاقتصادية إلى بعضها البعض.
بدوره، شدد فوتيل على أن «المشاركة الدفاعية المنسّقة للتعاون المعلوماتي» هي الأساس، عبر ربط المعلومات الأمنية بين مختلف «شركاء الولايات المتحدة»، فيما قال غرينواي إن عدم وجود اتفاق مشترك بين الولايات المتحدة وهؤلاء الشركاء على كيفية التعامل مع التهديد الإيراني يحول دون إحراز تقدم، حتى على مستوى التعاون الأمني. وأكد أن الصراع الإسرائيلي – الفلسطيني يهم دول المنطقة، لكن ليس بقدر «التهديد المباشر لبقائهم من طهران اليوم»، و«الحاجة ماسة لقيادة أميركية مباشرة رداً على هذا التهديد الإيراني»، مشيراً إلى أهمية دعم الولايات المتحدة لإسرائيل في هذه المرحلة، حيث تراقب بقية دول المنطقة هذا الدعم عن كثب «بشكل لا يصدق».

يمكن تحقيق اختراقات مهمة عبر التعاون الأمني مع جيوش المنطقة وفي المجالات الصحية والثقافية والتجارية

ولا يمكن لدول المنطقة أن تكون أكثر تأييداً لإسرائيل من الولايات المتحدة. مع العلم أن «بناء الدعم يضيف نفوذاً وشركاء للولايات المتحدة»، مطالباً الإدارة الأميركية في ختام مداخلته بتأمين الموارد أو إعادة النظر في الموارد الحالية لاستخدامها بشكل أكثر فعالية لدعم «اتفاقيات أبراهام» والمبادرات التطبيعية الأخرى. وهنا، أشار شابيرو إلى أن الرواية المتداولة في الشرق الأوسط عن «انسحاب أميركي أو غياب أميركي أو تحول أميركي نحو مناطق أخرى» مبالغ فيها ومضر جداً. ولا بد من القول بوضوح «إننا ما زلنا هناك»، و«لا تزال القيادة المركزية الأميركية الجامع الرئيسي والشريك الرئيسي لجميع هذه البلدان، تتقدمها إسرائيل». «قد تكون لدينا وجهات نظر مختلفة حول طرق التعامل مع مشكلة ما، لكن الولايات المتحدة ملتزمة بشراكاتها، وملتزمة بالتأكد من قدرة شركائها على الدفاع عن أنفسهم، وملتزمة بالتواجد هناك كسند نهائيّ. ونحن نتوقع أن يتصرف شركاؤنا الإقليميون بما يتماشى مع المصالح الأميركية الأساسية عندما يتعلق الأمر بالصين وروسيا وأسواق النفط، حيث لا بد أن تتوقع أن تتدفق الشراكة بالاتجاهين، حين تكون شريكاً جيداً ومخلصاً. ولفت في ختام مداخلته إلى أن التدهور الأمني بين الإسرائيليين والفلسطينيين سيؤدي حكماً إلى زعزعة استقرار الأردن، ويصعّب الأمور على مصر، ويوتّر علاقة إسرائيل وشركائها العرب الجدد، ويؤخّر التقدم بين إسرائيل وشركاء لم ينضموا إلى «أبراهام» بعد، مركزاً على أهمية إظهار الولايات المتحدة دائماً بمظهر «المستثمر المهتم بمحاولة تحسين أوضاع الشعوب الاقتصادية والاجتماعية، قبل وقت طويل من إمكانية التفاوض فعلياً للوصول إلى حلول تطبيعية إضافية».

Banks Collapse Indicates Major Economic Crisis in USA and Europe: Expert Tells Al-Manar 

13 Mar 2023

Source: Newsweek

By Al Mayadeen English 

Congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna confesses that “Syria is a prime example of America’s flawed foreign policy status quo, kept alive by warmongers on both the Right and Left.”

Syrian schoolchildren walk as US troops patrol near the Turkish border in Al-Hasakah, November 4, 2018. (Reuters)

In an opinion piece for Newsweek, Congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna — who serves as the Representative for Florida’s Thirteenth Congressional District. Rep. — lashed out at the foundations of US foreign policy, calling for redirecting “US’s foreign policy away from a failed internationalist foreign policy consensus.”

This comes shortly after The Intercept highlighted in a new report that the Obama administration’s senate representative, a strong advocate in support of aggressively challenging Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, is now backing a push by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. to force the US to leave the country within 180 days.

The Republican’s introduction of the resolution, most notably with such a short timetable that would doom it to a lopsided defeat, sparked a flurry of lobbying to turn it into a bipartisan coalition, including progressive groups like Just Foreign Policy and Demand Progress, as well as conservative groups like FreedomWorks, Concerned Veterans for America, and Citizens for Renewing America.

Opposition to US meddling in Syria has been bipartisan since the beginning of the war. In 2013, Daily Kos and HuffPost produced whip counts before an Obama-called vote to authorize the use of force, urging progressives to vote no. Before Obama pulled the legislation from the floor, HuffPost counted 243 members of Congress who planned to vote no or lean toward no.

The Congresswoman openly backs Gaetz’s proposal, arguing that the policy of “keeping Americans overseas is necessary for stopping terrorist attacks is absurd.”

“Frankly I’m tired of hearing, if we don’t fight them there, they’ll come here,” she said.

Luna acknowledged that “Syria is a prime example of America’s flawed foreign policy status quo, kept alive by warmongers on both the Right and Left.”

She blamed former US President Barack Obama for what she described as a “naive campaign for regime change in the Middle East which fundamentally misunderstood the region at large and was a futile experiment.”

“Obama’s half-hearted slogan, “Assad must go,” raised false hopes among a certain section of Syrians that only extended the civil war. Worse, it resulted in a civil war which directly resulted in the rise of ISIS.”

The Congresswoman also asserted that distant countries pose no existential threat to the United States and can be adequately managed through long-distance capabilities and cautious alliance policies. 

She also criticized the US Congress urging its members to genuinely worry about “terrorists in America.”

“We need to focus on the two problems our foreign policy pundits have consistently ignored, misread, and downplayed: our nonexistent southern border and the influx of terrorists coming into our own country, and the rise of a peer rival in China”.

In her opinion piece, she also raised the following questions: “Why aren’t the billions of dollars spent in the Middle East being invested in guarding our own border? Why are American forces patrolling distant nations yet not our own, which is under threat? Why was the equipment left behind during our botched withdrawal from Afghanistan not sold or shipped to Taiwan?”

Luna further confessed that the US’ “nation-building” in the Middle East was not “a prudent policy.”

The Congresswoman explained that the US grabbed billions of dollars from taxpayers and diverted them to NGOs, the military, failed governance projects, and foreign assistance waste while leaving many places in shambles.

“All that has resulted from this failed mission is the Middle East emerging as a region of permanent protectorates, with zero upsides and no measurable benefit to the United States. In fact, it has only increased local hostility.”

She also warned that China has been benefiting while the US has been meddling in the affairs of countries in the Middle East, most notably Syria.

The Congresswoman stressed that “the era of utopian foreign policy ideas based on faulty theories is over,” although Gaetz’s resolution to withdraw soldiers from Syria did not pass. Luna further hailed that one in every four of our Congress members backed the proposal from both the Republicans and Democrats.

“Members of Congress don’t swear an oath to the people of Syria, Ukraine, or anywhere else. They swear an oath to the people of the United States,” she concluded.

Why does the US continue to station troops in Syria?

Since ISIS has been defeated in Syria and Iraq, many analysts argued that the reasons for the US to remain stationed in Syrian territory have been left unclear. 

The US frequently loots oil from Syrian gas fields and transports them to other occupation bases in Iraq via illegal crossings. Syrian news agency SANA reported last Saturday that US occupation troops have looted a new batch of oil from Syria’s Al-Jazeera fields. The convoy was on its way to US military bases in Iraq via the illegal Al-Mahmudiya crossing in Al-Yarubiya region.

According to civilian sources, the convoy comprises 23 vehicles and includes covered trucks and tanks filled with stolen oil. The sources further added that an additional convoy made up of 34 trucks exited the illegal Al-Walid crossing in Al-Yarubiya. 

The last time US troops plundered Syrian oil was on February 27. The oil was looted from the same Al-Jazeera fields and was transported to Iraq via illegal crossings. US troops claim to be occupying the area in order to rid the region of terrorists, yet the US has strategically implanted itself there for the purposes of stealing Syria’s oil, as well as destabilizing President Bashar Al-Assad’s government. 

In December of 2022, Syria’s Foreign Ministry said the US occupation forces and their affiliated military groups’ systematic lootings of Syrian oil, wheat, and other national resources have amounted to direct losses valued at $25.9 billion and indirect losses valued at over $86 billion.

It further estimated the total value of the Syrian oil sector losses to amount to $111.9 billion.

Read more: Russian-Syrian coordination: The US is looting Syrian oil

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Inhumane Stipulation of Humanitarian Item in US anti-Syria Caesar Act

 February 9, 2023

Mohammad Salami

Eight years after the United States of America waged an international terrorist war on Syria with all the tragic atrocities suffered by the Syrian people across the entire Arab country, the US President Donald Trump signed in December “Caesar Act” allegedly aimed at protecting the Syrians.

Paradoxically, the Act, which came into force on June 17, 2020, was not passed by the US Congress to protect the innocent Syrian civilians from the terrorist groups backed by Washington and allies. However, the target was the democratically-elected Syrian President Bashar Assad and the government, which means besieging Syrian and cutting off its official supply line.

In addition to the socioeconomic woes suffered by the Syrian people due to Caesar Act, the neighboring countries, including mainly Lebanon, were deprived from all the geographical and economic privileges that could be gained out of the relations with Syria.

Due to Casar Act Jordan and Egypt were not allowed to provide Lebanon with electric power and gas as the US administration rejected to grant them any waiver.

On February 6, 2023, a devastating earthquake hit Syria and Turkey, killing and injuring dozens of thousands of residents and destroying huge numbers of buildings.International aids rushed into Turkey, but Caesar Act prevented most of the world countries, except  Iran, Iraq, China, Russia, Lebanon and Algeria, from sending aids to Syria.

Briefly, Syria is suffering a big calamity. The following video shows rescue teams dragging the corpse of a father with his alive son out of the debris.

Back to the text of Casar Act, in case of humanitarian crises, the US President may waive, for renewable periods not to exceed 2 years. However, the Act stipulates that the waiver must address a humanitarian need and, simultaneously, be consistent with the national security interests of the United States.

Caesar Act Item

In other words, the political considerations of the United States comprise the essence of the humanitarian waiver, which exposes the crises-hit civilians to more agonies.

The US national security has been always linked to the considerations of Syria’s enemy-‘Israel’. Thus, the waiver will never be approved in accordance with the interests of the Syrian people.

Caesar Act itself is an unjust move of aggression against the state and people in Syria, and the waivers, included in the Act, require more inhumane conditions, even in the items related to the humanitarian cases.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

McCarthy calls for investigating Biden over classified documents

 January 12, 2023


By Al Mayadeen English 

US President Joe Biden’s lawyers discovered a second batch of classified documents from his vice presidency at a new location.

President Joe Biden visits Mexico City on January 9. (Getty Images)

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called for a Congressional investigation of Biden after classified documents were found at his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

“Congress has to investigate this,” McCarthy said, pointing to the Justice Department’s investigation of former president Donald Trump for keeping more than 100 classified documents at his home in Palm Beach, Florida.

Moreover, Republican lawmakers in Congress will look into President Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified government records while serving as vice president because it is a serious felony, Republican Congressman Paul Gosar said on Thursday.

A day after the president was briefed about the first set of records discovered in his private office in Washington, Biden’s lawyers discovered a second batch of classified documents from his vice presidency at a new location.

“Joe Biden stole classified documents and secretly hid them in his office while he was Vice President yet suddenly democrats could care less. Negligently retaining classified documents is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Republicans in congress will investigate and see to it that Biden answers for his crimes,” Gosar said in a statement.

In the same context, the White House announced Thursday that “a small number” of classified documents dating from the Obama-Biden administration had been discovered at Joe Biden’s private residence in Wilmington, Delaware.

Other documents were discovered at a Washington think tank where Biden used to work, embarrassing the White House as authorities investigate an even larger scandal involving ex-President Donald Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents.

Biden says ‘cooperating fully’ with classified documents review

In the meantime, Biden stated on Thursday that he is “fully cooperating” with a Justice Department investigation after classified documents were discovered at his private residence in Wilmington, Delaware.

Lawyers “discovered a small number of documents with classified markings in storage areas and file cabinets in my home and my personal library,” Biden said, adding, “I take classified documents and classified material seriously.”

Yesterday, Biden said that he was “surprised” to learn that classified documents were taken to his personal office after he left the vice presidency and that he has no idea what is in the records. Meanwhile, Democratic and Republican leaders on Capitol Hill demanded more information about the discovery that prompted a Justice Department investigation.

“I was briefed about this discovery and surprised to learn that there are any government records that were taken there to that office,” Biden said during a news conference in Mexico City on Tuesday evening.

“But I don’t know what’s in the documents. My lawyers have not suggested I ask what documents they were. I’ve turned over the boxes — they’ve turned over the boxes to the Archives. And we’re cooperating fully — cooperating fully with the review, which I hope will be finished soon, and there will be more detail at that time,” he added.

This came after the White House confirmed that the US Justice Department is reviewing a batch of potentially classified documents found in the office space of Biden’s former institute in Washington.

Richard Sauber, special counsel to Biden, indicated that “a small number of documents with classified markings” were discovered when the President’s personal attorneys were emptying the offices of the Penn Biden Center, where Biden kept an office after he left the vice presidency in 2017 until shortly before he launched his presidential campaign in 2019.

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What should we make of the latest Muppet show in DC?

December 23, 2022

There’s a mad dog pulling at his chain
A hint of danger in his eye
Alarm bells raging ’round his brain
Roger Waters

So “Ze” aka “Zelia” came to DC and was given a massive welcome by the US Congress.  The last time a foreign leader was treated as if he was the US President was was Bibi Netanyahu spoke to Congress.  The fact that war criminals and crooks Zelia and Bibi got such a treatment tells you everything you need to know about who really runs the US Congress.

Congress, by the way, decided to act like the gang highway robbers it is and declared that it will “confiscate” (which implies a legal authority, if not it is called “steal”) Russian assets, thereby fulfilling Putin’s “prophecy” made in 2013 when he warned the Russian business community that its assets in the West would be stolen and that they would spend years trying to get them back.

It makes me wonder if the imbeciles in Congress understands what fulfilling this prophecy will mean for the USA as a jurisdiction to keep your assets in?

Then there is this: the Hyena of Europe is preparing for a mobilization which further indicates that it is about to try to bite off some piece of the Ukraine under the guise of some kind of (pseudo) “peacekeeping” or even “protection” mission which would not officially be a NATO operation, but which will be run out of Mons just like the entire Ukrainian military has been for a long while now.

Just as I was writing this, Gonzalo Lira just posted a (very good) video about this, check it out:

Now for a small piece of (possibly) good news, Biden has declared that US “partners” are “are not looking for a Third World War.  I would not make too much of this, since Biden is mostly unaware of the reality around him, and he is probably not privy to the decision-making of the real powers, the “collective Biden” which run the USA.  Next, Biden, like all US Presidents, is a professional liar, so again, let’s not celebrate quite yet.  Finally, this might be a feint (but if so, it won’t impress anybody in Russia).

So what is “the plan”?

Frankly, I don’t believe that there is one.

Since Dubya and Obama the White House has been occupied by weak and frankly clueless leaders, hence the various interests groups which control DC run “their own foreign policy”.  So, like vectors, the various goals and means of the key actors add up to create a “sum vector” which can *look* like “a policy” or “a plan”, but it is no such thing.  What is true of the US is even MORE true for NATO.  Hence the Poles pulling at their chain like rabid dogs to the horror of the comparatively sane(er) Europeans.

I fully agree with Andrei Martyanov – the folks in charge in the West are totally clueless and they have absolutely no idea how to walk away from the mess they created.  The Neocons probably would prefer a worldwide nuclear war to a Russian victory, but non-Neocon actors might not want to die for a sick, narcissistic, gang of ignorant yet self-worshiping thugs.

Who will prevail?

I have absolutely no idea.  I am not sure anybody else knows either.

What I do know is that Russia has been preparing non-stop for a full-scale continental war since at least 2014 (see here for details).  Defense Minister Shoigu has declared that next year Russia will add five new artillery divisions, eight bomber aviation regiments, one fighter regiment, three motor-rifle divisions, two air-assault divisions, and six army aviation brigades to the Russian armed forces!  And, by the way, these “artillery divisions” will be what is called “high power” brigade/division in Russia, that is to say that they get the very heavy weapons, like 203mm and 240mm self-propelled mortars.  Something which the newly recreated First Guards Tank Army (a “Shock Army” in Russian military terminology) would need to further increase its huge firepower power.

And did I mention that Russia has fully modernized her nuclear triad and that key weapons factories in Russia are now working for 6 days weeks with 3 shifts working non-stop?

And those of you who follow Andrei Martyano’v blog also know how ubiquitous (true) hypersonic weapons are becoming the Russian armed forces.

Let’s just say that such firepower is total overkill for the Ukraine, so we can safely conclude that the Russian force planners did not have Banderastan but NATO in mind when they decided what type of forces Russia should develop next…

So far NATO has done a lot of tough talking, but it is pretty clear that (besides the rabid Poles) few Europeans have the stomach for a full-scale continental war in Europe which will leave their country in ruins.  Yet, they are terrified of the US Neocons and therefore only can try to silently drag their feet while they are being dragged by the Neocons to the precipice.


And now, for some week-end music, I want to share with you the beautiful song “Wide River to Cross” (composed by Buddy & Julie Mille) in two versions:

Diana Krall with Jerry Douglas on the dobro:

and a very moving version by Roger Waters and US veterans (to whom, Roger, in his typical kindness, shows compassion and love, as he – correctly – identifies them as victims of the evil US imperialism he so often denounces.  Enjoy!


There’s a sorrow in the wind
Blowing down the road I’ve been
I can hear it cry while shadows steal the sun

But I cannot look back now
I’ve come too far to turn around
And there’s still a race ahead that I must run

I’m only halfway home, I’ve gotta journey on
To where I’ll find, find the things I have lost
I’ve come a long long road but still I’ve got some miles to go
I’ve got a wide, a wide river to cross

I have stumbled, I have strayed
You can trace the tracks I made
All across the memories my heart recalls
But I’m still a refugee, won’t you say a prayer for me?
‘Cause sometimes even the strongest soldier falls

I’m only halfway home, I’ve gotta journey on
To where I’ll find, I’ll find the things I have lost
I’ve come a long long road but still I’ve got some miles to go
I’ve got a wide, a wide river to cross

I’m only halfway home, I’ve gotta journey on
To where I’ll find, I’ll find the things that I have lost
I’ve come a long long road but still I’ve got some miles to go
I’ve got a wide, a wide river to cross
I’ve got a wide, a wide river to cross

The US love for Ukraine or Hate against Russia?

December 23, 2022


by Zamir Awan 

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine is on his first overseas visit since the crisis began in February 2022. He is already in Washington and met with President Joe Biden at the White House. The visit amounts to a daring show of solidarity and backing with Ukraine’s most powerful ally and its largest foreign supplier of weapons, or the masterminds of the whole crisis.

Sitting next to Biden in the Oval Office, Zelensky spoke in English and expressed “all my appreciations, from my heart, from the heart of Ukrainians — all Ukrainians” for the U.S. designs. It seems he is committed to Washington’s plans. Biden told Zelensky that the Ukrainian people “inspire the world.” But at what cost? Is it worth it to keep happy the masters at such a huge cost???

Zelensky will deliver an address to a joint session of Congress later in the day in which he will again convince that Ukraine still needs more powerful weapons, according to Ukrainian politicians. As a matter of fact, he was not satisfied with the limited assistance and control over weapons. His desires are much higher and unlimited.

The U.S. announced a new aid package of $1.8 billion that includes a Patriot missile battery, the most advanced U.S. ground-based air defense system. The Patriot could help Ukraine defend against Russian missile and drone attacks that have targeted its energy infrastructure. In military circles, the Patriot is viewed as a security blanket, protection from incoming fire. But Russia has developed its own weapons much more advanced and Patriot cannot intercept them.

Zelensky’s trip came after U.S. lawmakers proposed $44 billion more in emergency aid to Ukraine, which would bring the total U.S. wartime assistance to more than $100 billion. But many Republican lawmakers are hostile to authorizing more money to Ukraine just as they are poised to take control of the House of Representatives in January. The US expenditures above Trillion Dollars in Afghanistan and a long war over two decades could not make them win the war. This meager amount is far behind making Ukraine win over Russia.

In a speech to defense officials yesterday, President Vladimir Putin agreed to an increase in the size of Russia’s armed forces. He said there would be “no limits in terms of financing” Russia’s campaign in Ukraine. Russia has spent 150 billion in its operation in Ukraine but gained economic benefits worth around 500 to 600 billion.

As a matter of fact, Russia has not planned for a full-scale war in Ukraine, its limited special military operation was on the same line as in 2014 in Crimea. Once the Russians achieved their limited targets and goals, might have returned back. It was the US plan to engage Russia for a longer period of time and bleed for a prolonged time. Despite Russian early warmings and declaring Ukraine as its Red Line, the US kept on instigating Russia to intervene in Ukraine providing the American an excuse to engage Russia for a prolonged time.

The US is not sincere with Ukraine nor in love. If the Americans love Ukraine, they might have provided unlimited weapons and advanced weapons to make Ukraine win. But, this is not their intention, not their goals. Actually, they are in hate with Russia and wanted to counter the revival of Russia through Ukraine and may keep them engaged for a prolonged time to make Russia suffer economically. The US put sanctions on Russia to harm it economically.

Sanctions proved counterproductive and the Russian economy has not suffered at all. Its trade has remained the same, but, the trading partners have changed, China, India, Pakistan, and many other countries are becoming bigger trading Partners with Russia. Pushing out from the SWIFT banking system has no impact on its financial transactions as China has compensated and provided them with alternates. It Oil and Gas export has not reduced, and India and China have been importing much more. Furthermore, the increase in Oil and Gas prices in the international market has become supported the Russian economy.

On the other hand, Europe has been victimized by the Ukraine war. The Fuel and Food prices have jumped much high. Few European countries are providing subsidies to their citizens but not all of the European countries are rich enough to extend subsidies to their citizens. As a result, many Europeans are suffering.

The public in Europe is turning against the Ukraine war and demanding the end of this war immediately. There are protests and agitations in some European capitals and slogans are heard against NATO and withdrawal from NATO. The current leaders in Europe are bound under the agreement to support NATO and Ukraine’s war. But, it is predicted that in the upcoming some of the political parties may come up with the idea to promise the public to end the war, end NATO support or exiting from NATO, etc., may win the general elections. It is pretty sure that public sentiments will dominate in the next elections and visionary politicians will make bold decisions.

There is an awareness in the public that blindly following the US is not the ultimate goal, but, must think about national interests. War in Europe is not desired, no one wants it and the public may reflect their anger at the time of voting. The next elections will be decisive and may change the fate of not only Europe but the whole world. Geopolitics might be changed completely. It is a matter of time only, public sentiments must be respected at all costs.

Europe has learned after so many wars in the past and reached the conclusion that war is not a solution nor is beneficial to anyone. Even the winner of the wars was also proved losers. Europe is committed to no wars and Ukraine’s war needs to end soon, the sooner the better. It is the American war against the Russians hate, and Europe has to pay a heavy cost.

Humankind deserves peace and peace must prevail globally.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Founding Chair GSRRA, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, and Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail:

Zelensky lands in US, meets with Biden

December 22, 2022 

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrives in Washington, DC, as he expects the United States to send more arms and other equipment to his country.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with US President Joe Biden at the White House, Washington, DC, United States, December 21, 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived at the White House on Wednesday for a meeting with US President Joe Biden in light of the ongoing war in his country.

Biden and First Lady Jill Biden greeted Zelensky upon his arrival for bilateral talks regarding the war, as well as views on a potential peace and further sanctions on Moscow.

Zelensky landed in the US earlier in the day as part of a trip to Washington, which was only announced on the eve of his visit.

The Ukrainian President will be addressing a joint session of the US Congress on Wednesday evening as lawmakers mull ratifying legislation that will include billions of dollars to be sent to Ukraine as “aid”.

The United States involved itself excessively in security arrangements to bring Zelensky to the US, according to the White House. 

According to media reports, US military aircraft escorted Zelensky to Washington.

Retired US Marine Corps Intelligence Officer Scott Ritter revealed Tuesday that the West is laying the groundwork to overthrow Zelensky and replace him with Valery Zaluzhny, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces.

In an interview for the Judging Freedom YouTube channel, Ritter claimed that “the West pushed Zelensky into the background, focusing on Zaluzhny as the future leader of Ukraine.”

According to Ritter, there is a tendency in the Western media to promote the figure of Zaluzhny, pointing out that the days of the reign of Zelensky are coming to an end, as he no longer has the previous power and could not influence the subsequent outcome of events.

“People like General Zaluzhny will determine the future of Kiev. When the conflict reaches its final stage, it will be he who will sit at the negotiating table from Ukraine’s side,” the retired intelligence officer indicated.

Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi had also indicated that Zelensky is trying to involve NATO in a direct conflict with Russia, explaining that the Ukrainian President and his advisors are determined to escalate the situation.

Winter as a weapon

Biden said the US would continue sending aid to Kiev while increasing military support for the country, including in terms of air defense systems.

“We are going to continue to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to defend itself, particularly air defense. That’s why we’re gonna be providing Ukraine with a Patriot missile battery and training Ukrainian forces to use it,” Biden said.

During remarks alongside Zelensky, Biden claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to use winter as a weapon in Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.

“He’s trying to use winter as a weapon,” Biden said during remarks in the Oval office.

Biden has already started fulfilling his promises.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier in the day that the United States will provide an additional $1.85 billion in military assistance for Ukraine, with the assistance consisting of a Patriot air defense system.

“$1.85 Billion in Additional US Military Assistance, including the First Transfer of Patriot Air Defense System,” Blinken said in a press release.

The Pentagon announced on Wednesday that one Patriot air defense system, additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), and High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARMs), among other military hardware, are included in the recently announced $1.85 billion US security assistance package for Ukraine.

According to the press release, the package also includes small guns, explosives, armored vehicles, mortar systems, and 500 precisely guided 155mm artillery rounds.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Washington for several hours

Zelensky in US Congress confirms war in Ukraine is war for US

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses a joint session at the US Congress to reaffirm that if Russia wins the war in Ukraine, the world order established by the US post WWII will inevitably crumble.

Ukrainian President brings Ukrainian flag to US Congress in joint session only to have it raised by US House Speaker (AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived at the White House on Wednesday for a meeting with US President Joe Biden in light of the ongoing war in his country and addressed the US Congress in a joint session as lawmakers mull ratifying legislation that will include billions of dollars to be sent to Ukraine as “aid.”

During the address, Zelensky urged US lawmakers to provide his forces with more weapons as well as impose additional anti-Russian sanctions.
“We have artillery, yes – thank you,” Zelensky acknowledged in his address, and then questioned whether that is enough and went on to answer himself “Honestly, not really.”
Zelensky claimed that “to make sure the Russians completely pull out, more shells and cannons are needed.”

The Ukrainian President then called for increased unilateral sanctions against Russia, arguing that Congress had the capacity to impose stronger sanctions. 

Early in his address Zelensky claimed that Kiev has already “defeated Russia in the battle for minds of the world” and the rest of the West had achieved a “victory” over the Russian Federation which he insisted “will never influence us again.”

Zelensky also used the occasion to attack not only the Russian Federation, but also Iran as he stated that “Russia found an ally” in what he called “its homicidal strategy – Iran.”

Furthermore, Zelensky added that “one terrorist has found the other,” and warned that the Russia-Iran partnership threatened not just Ukraine, but all Western nations, as he stated that “It is just a matter of time before they strike your other allies if we do not stop them now.”

Also in his speech, the Ukrainian President hinted that only regime change will “liberate” Russia and noted that “the Russians will stand a chance to be free only when they defeat the Kremlin in their minds.”

Zelensky agrees with Putin, fights until the last Ukrainian

There were a few significant statements in Zelensky’s speech where he reaffirmed that the war in Ukraine is about changing the world order. Zelensky stated “This struggle will define in what world our children and grandchildren will live, and then their children and grandchildren.” 

While he pointed out that this war is one for generations to come, he added that he, and those whom he represented in Ukraine and the world, stand with the American version of the world order. He recalled US President Franklin Roosevelt, who defined modern liberalism in the US and dominated US politics throughout the two World Wars; an era that set the current global world order.

Zelensky stated, “the American people, in their righteous might, will win through to absolute victory,” referring to victory in the war in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian President also stated, whilst in the US Congress, that a potential victory against Russia “will prove to any potential aggressor that no one can succeed in breaking national borders, no one committing atrocities and reigning over people against their will.”

It is of note that the US is currently illegally occupying Syrian soil and looting Syrian oil, and is currently in violation of numerous international resolutions and the UN charter in a number of countries.

Moreover, Zelensky brought with him a flag from Bakhmut to the US and described it as “a symbol of our victory,” wherein the US and Ukraine are fighting one and the same war against world order change. and then noted that “we will win because we are united — Ukraine, America, and the entire free world.”

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, agreed with the Ukrainian President and tweeted that “the fight for Ukraine is the fight for democracy itself.”

Zelensky, in conclusion, thanked the US and added “may God protect our brave troops and citizens, may God forever bless the United States of America. “

Read more: Putin: The world is changing for the better

Some members of Congress were not impressed

GOP Representatives Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Dianne Harshbarger, and Jim Jordan remained seated at times when the rest of the US Congress gave Zelensky a standing ovation. These GOP reps were criticized by others however, their positions were not new. 

Gaetz, on his Twitter page, hinted at US Congress’ double standards as he noted that when 

Jen Psaki, former White House Press Secretary, called Zelensky’s trip a “sales pitch” via her Twitter profile, noting decreasing support for Ukraine in the US.

While Donald Trump Jr. argued that the Ukrainian President is an “ungrateful international welfare queen.”

Republicans vow audit to track Biden’s $20 bln Ukraine aid

It is worth noting that earlier in November, the Biden administration is currently scurrying to track down the approximately $20 billion in military aid it sent to Ukraine, amid a warning by Republicans of impending audits after they take over the House in January.

Incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has previously stated that Ukraine will not receive a “blank check”. The purpose of the audit is meant to track how the funds are being delivered and exactly where – as prior suspicions point to many shipped arms ending up on the black market.

Controversial Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, who announced the audit decision, promised to “hold our government accountable”, as other colleagues such as Rep. Jason Crow echoed to the Washington Post: “The taxpayers deserve to know that investment is going where it’s intended to go,” adding: “In any war, there can be missteps and misallocation of supplies.”

The lawmakers called out current monitoring efforts as inadequate since the Biden administration inspected just 10% of the 22,000 weapons transported to Ukraine between February and November 1, according to the Post

However, US allies in Europe believe such an audit won’t fully cut off funding, such as UK Parliament member Tobias Ellwood who said in October: “You’d be playing into Putin’s hands… If America pulls back, Putin could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.”

Read more: Russia operation aimed at derailing West’s ominous plans: Lavrov

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Under ‘democracy’ cover, US set to tighten grip on Central America

November 29 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

US Congress discusses a new bill to increase grip over Central American countries that are shifting away from Washington’s influence.

US Congress

The US Congress is discussing a new bill to support Washington’s political influence in Central America, as the United States’s grasp over the region frails.

With leftist governments taking over in Nicaragua and Honduras, and an independent government in El Salvador, all critical of the United States, the US Congress is discussing a new bill titled “Central American network for Democracy Act.”

It was proposed to allocate an amount of USD 10 million to support this bill for the fiscal year 2023.

The new American legislative proposal stipulates that the US State Department shall establish a “fellowship program” to be known as the “Central American Network for Democracy.”

The program aims to “support a regional corps of civil society activists, lawyers (including members of the judiciary and prosecutors’ offices), journalists, and investigators for regional democracy and rule of law activities in Central America,” according to the bill.

The draft also includes in its clauses a focus on assisting “members of the regional corps in leveraging lessons learned in order to contribute to regional democracy and rule of law activities in Central America, including electoral and transition support, institutional reform, anti-corruption investigations, and local engagement.”

The new bill calls for the secretary of state to take steps that may be necessary to obtain support for the fellowship program associated with “international foundations, regional and United States governmental and non-governmental organizations, and regional and United States universities; and to ensure the fellowship program is well coordinated with and complementary of existing mechanisms, such as the Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund.”

Read more: 13 American countries refrain from condemning Russian operation

It also calls for coordination of efforts between the “Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury, the Organization of American States, the Inter-American Court for Human Rights, and the United Nations.”

The most direct-interventionist approach set by the bill comes in the form of potentially strengthening “protection for the physical safety of individuals who must leave their home country to participate in the program, including assistance for temporary relocation, English language learning, and mental health support.”

Read more: Putin: US fuelling conflict in Asia, Africa, and Latin America

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US Midterms: Three Palestinian-American Lawmakers Secure US Congress Seats

November 9, 2022

Rashida Tlaib, (R), Ruwa Rumman and Abdel Nasser Rashid secured their seats at the US Congress. (Photo: via Social media)

Three Palestinian Americans have won seats in the US Congress following the country’s midterm elections on Tuesday, The New Arab reported.

Palestinian-Americans Rashida Tlaib, Ruwa Rumman, and Abdel Nasser Rashid secured their positions as congressional representatives for the Democratic Party.

Tlaib – who has previously served as Congresswoman and confronted President Biden over his support for Israel – won her seat as the representative for the state of Michigan’s 12th congressional district.

Ruwa Romman won her place to represent Georgia’s 97th state house district and has been labeled a “trailblazer” by supporters for being the first Muslim woman to serve in the state’s General Assembly.

Rashid won a seat as the state representative for Illinois’s 21st district, also making history as the first Palestinian Muslim to do so, according to Jetpac Resource Centre, which trains American Muslims and allies to run for public office.

Votes are still being counted in several states, as the Democrats enjoy a stronger-than-expected showing in the elections.

(The New Arab, PC, SOCIAL)

Polls begin to close in US midterm elections

Nov 9 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Parts of Indiana and Kentucky were the first to close polling places.

Polls begin to close in US midterm elections.

Polling stations begin to close on Tuesday in several states in the US midterm elections, with the future of US President Joe Biden’s program and control of Congress up for grabs.

Parts of Indiana and Kentucky closed at 23:00 am (6:00 EST). All 435 seats are at stake in the House and one-third of the Senate. Moreover, five states are holding referendums on abortion. 

However, voting will continue as was throughout the evening in states farther toward the West. Initial results are expected to come out later on Tuesday night.

The tabulation of votes could last into Wednesday – maybe even later – if any complications or challenges come up.

The midterms are pivotal because their results will determine which of the two parties, Democrats and Republicans, will run Congress.

Republicans are expected to take over the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Congress, while control over the upper chamber, the Senate, is largely undetermined.

More updates to follow. 

Stay updated: US Midterm Elections 2022

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عندما يستثمر ابن سلمان في «القبَلية» الأميركية

الثلاثاء 18 تشرين الأول 2022

علاقة أميركا مع الدول المرتبطة بها، هي علاقة مصلحة متبادلة (أ ف ب)

موسى السادة  

يتيح قرار منظّمة «أوبك +» الأخير، خفْض إنتاج النفط بما يقارب المليونَي برميل يومياً، فرصة لقراءة الأبعاد المختلفة للعلاقات الدولية اليوم، وأبرزها العلاقة بين المملكة السعودية والولايات المتحدة، إذ إن تداعيات هذا القرار ستطاول أكثر من ملفّ، في ظلّ وضع دولي غير مسبوق تسارعت التحوّلات فيه بعد الحرب الروسية على أوكرانيا. تستدعي قراءةٌ كتلك، التنبّه إلى ثلاثة أوجهٍ مختلفة متشابكة: أوّلها، الاختلال في قوّة الولايات المتحدة وأدوات سيطرتها على السياسة الدولية، وثانيها، حجم هذا الاختلال وكيفية تأثيره في الداخل الأميركي واستقطاباته السياسية والاجتماعية، وثالثها التغيّر في ديناميكية علاقة الدول المرتبطة بأميركا، خصوصاً حين الحديث عن دولة بحجم وأهمية السعودية، التي تمتدّ وتنصهر ارتباطاتها بالولايات المتحدة، بشكل يتداخل مع مجال السياسة الداخلية الأميركية.

من هنا، يمكن النظر إلى قرار «أوبك +» من زاوية كوْنه خطوة سعودية ستؤثّر في الهيمنة الأميركية الدولية. ذلك أن واحداً من تداعياته سيكون دعم الاقتصاد الروسي، المنخرط في مجهود عسكري ضدّ أوكرانيا وحلف «الناتو». أمّا الزاوية الأخرى، فهي تأثير القرار في الداخل الأميركي، في فترة زمنية حسّاسة تسبق الانتخابات النصفية، وهذا بالتحديد هو ما يشغل الأميركيين أكثر من تأثير الخطوة في الطرف الروسي. وفي حين كان الخطاب الرسمي السعودي بالغ الدبلوماسية في التعاطي مع القرار، إلّا أن مُريدي السعودية، وبل حتى سواهم، قاربوه كدليل على استقلالية قرار المملكة وتقديمها مصلحتها الوطنية أولاً، وإنْ كان في وجه أميركا نفسها، وهو ما دفع خصوم السعودية، القائم خطابهم على تبعيّتها لـ«بيت الطاعة» الأميركي والغربي، إلى اتّخاذ موقع دفاع، في تنابُز إعلامي وسياسي مديد في المجال السياسي العربي.

إلّا أن ما يجب اعتباره من القرار، بعيداً عن هذا التنابز، هو عبر قراءة مركّبة لشكل العلاقة التاريخية بين المملكة وأميركا، بالإمكان توسيعها أيضاً لتشمل كلّ دولة تُحكم من نُخب تتشابك وترتبط مصالحها مع الولايات المتحدة. فالتفسير الهشّ القائم على تبسيط شكل العلاقة إلى حدود «سيّد» يأمر وينهى كيفما وأينما شاء دونما أيّ اعتبارات؛ و«عبد» يطيع، إنّما هو تفسير خاطئ يؤسّس لقراءة خاطئة. الواقع أن علاقة أميركا مع الدول المرتبطة بها، هي علاقة مصلحة متبادلة، وأن ما يقتضيه لفظ «الهيمنة الأميركية» هو أن كفّة القوة ضمن علاقة المصلحة تلك، تميل بشكل قاهر لصالح الأميركيين. تختلف، هنا، أدوات القوة وأشكالها من دولة إلى أخرى، ومنها مثلاً الابتزاز بوقْف المِنح المالية والعسكرية، أو التهديد بالتضييق والعقوبات، أو في الحالة المميّزة في الخليج العربي التهديد برفع الحماية العسكرية، مثلما ينادي به اليوم العديد من أعضاء الكونغرس الأميركي، وصرّح به مسؤولون أميركيون مختلفون ومباشرة على شاشات التلفزة، بقولهم: «هل يظنّ السعوديون أن الروس أو الصينيين قادرون على توفير الحماية لهم؟».

المثير والمهمّ، هو كيف أمست السياسة الأميركية أشبه بسياسات دول غير متماسكة

وإذ يأتي هذا التهديد ضمن مسار تاريخي من الشدّ والجذب وفق ما تقتضيه المصلحة، فإن الأمر المختلف اليوم هو أننا أمام واقع دولي وأميركي داخلي مغاير، يظهّر اهتزازاً لفعالية أوراق الابتزاز الأميركية، وهو ما فهمه السعوديون جيداً.
ولعلّ أهمّ وجوه اهتزاز السطوة ذاك، يمكن استشفافه من مراقبة تبدُّل شكل علاقة النُّخب الحاكمة الخليجية بالولايات المتحدة وجرأتها السياسية. فهذه النُّخبة السعودية هي أوّل مَن يستشعر ويهاب تقهقر أميركا التي رهنت ديمومة حُكمها بها. وبالنسبة إلى المملكة، وتحديداً منذ تسلُّم محمد بن سلمان السلطة الفعلية، كانت السنوات السبع الماضية مخاضاً للتكيّف في التعامل مع الأميركيين، والأهمّ الوصول إلى القدرة على استغلال تناقضاتهم الداخلية. ومن هنا، ولكي لا يُفهم قرار «أوبك +» كانحياز كامل إلى الروس، حرص السعوديون على موازنته، بإعلانهم عن هِبة مادّية بقرابة 400 مليون دولار لأوكرانيا، وأيضاً تواصلهم مع المسؤولين الأوكرانيين والطلب منهم التغريد بتصريحات تثمّن مواقف المملكة. هذه الموازنة في حدّ ذاتها تعكس ضعفاً أميركياً وغربياً، حيث تخشى الدول حتى المرتبطة أمنياً واقتصادياً بواشنطن، وعلى الرغم من احتدام الصراع الروسي – الغربي، من التخندق الصارخ إلى جانب أيّ من الطرفَين.
البُعد الآخر الذي تظهّره هذه الموازنة، هو أن قرار «أوبك +» في جوهره ليس اصطفافاً ضدّ الغرب مع روسيا، بل محاولة للتأثير في الداخل الأميركي وفي حكومة الرئيس جو بايدن على وجه التحديد، إذ تُعدّ السياسة الداخلية الأميركية مسرحاً مهمّاً ليس للحُكم السعودي فقط، بل حتى للشخصيات السعودية المعارضة، التي تعمل من داخل التجاذبات الحزبية على التحريض على حُكم آل سلمان، سواء على المستوى القضائي أو الإعلامي. ولذلك، يؤثّر السعوديون في المجال السياسي الأميركي في إطار مصالحهم، وبحجم ونوع غير مسبوقَين، لم يكونا ليتحقّقا لولا حجم الاستقطاب والتناقضات الداخلية الأميركية الحادّة. بتعبير آخر، إن الاهتزاز الذي يصيب الولايات المتحدة على الساحة الدولية، وحجم الاستقطاب السياسي – الاجتماعي في داخلها، يؤثّر أحدُهما في الآخر بشكل سلبي. ومن هنا، يمسي وصْف البيت الأبيض قرار «أوبك +» بـ«بالعمل العدائي» خاوياً، والأمر ذاته ينسحب على مسألة التدخّل في الانتخابات. ذلك أن حجم الشقاق الجمهوري – الديموقراطي، حال دون إقرار موقف موحّد تجاه خطوة المنظّمة، ليضيع ردّ الفعل في زحمة الاختلافات الحزبية. وحتى وإنْ حرص الجمهوريون على تبيان امتعاضهم من القرار، لكي لا يَظهروا بمظهر غير المبالين بأثره في الناخبين الأميركيين، إلّا أنهم ألقوا باللوم المباشر على بايدن. ويضاف إلى ذلك، قيام أعضاء من الحزبَين بتبنّي سرديات مِن قَبيل أن بايدن أراد من السعوديين مجرّد تأجيل القرار شهراً واحداً حتى تَظهر نتائج الانتخابات، أو سردية أن الجمهوريين هم مَن دفعوا بالسعوديين نحو خطوتهم الأخيرة للإضرار ببايدن ومحاولة كسْب الانتخابات. وهنا، ضاع موضوع تمرّد السعوديين وقيامهم بما وُصف بـ«العمل العدائي».

المثير والمهمّ، هو كيف أمست السياسة الأميركية أشبه بسياسات دول غير متماسكة، أو حتى بسياسات النُّخب الحاكمة العربية القائمة على تعصّب الأطراف بعضها ضدّ بعض. فلو وضعْنا القرار السعودي في حقبة زمنية ماضية، ولْنقل في فترة باراك أوباما الأولى، فما كان له أن يتمّ، إذ إن الهوية الأميركية كانت متماسكة على نحو سيدفع الجميع إلى اعتبار الخطوة «عملاً عدائياً»، إلّا أن القبَلية الحزبية والاستقطاب الأميركي اليوم، وهّنا من الهوية الأميركية لصالح المصالح الحزبية – الهويّاتية الضيّقة. ومن هنا، يَبرز قرار «أوبك +»، ليس كمحاولة للانعتاق من الولايات المتحدة، اقتصادياً وسياسياً وعسكرياً وبل حتى ثقافياً، بل كمؤشّر إلى ولادة مرحلة دولية، وأميركية داخلية، جديدة على الدول المرتبطة نُخبها بالأميركيين، وقواعد لَعِبها مختلفة عن الماضي، وهذا بالتحديد ما يحاول السعوديون التأقلم معه، وصوغ وجودهم ضمن تناقضاته.

من ملف : السعودية – أميركا: أزمة تخادُم

مقالات ذات صلة

Is Russia a Terror State?

July 25, 2022

Note: our “friends” from Commentary Magazine show their true agenda 🙂  It is quite comical to see US Zionists pointing fingers are others for “terrorism” when the USA is by far the biggest supporter and user or terrorists organizations on the planet, from Gladio to al-Qaeda…

Is Russia a Terror State?
by Noah Rothman


“The security situation throughout Ukraine continues to be violent and unpredictable due to ongoing military attacks by Russia,” the U.S. State Department warned on July 14. “Avoid large gatherings and organized events as they may serve as Russian military targets anywhere in Ukraine, including its western regions.” This was not the first time the American diplomatic mission in Kyiv warned civilians to avoid “gatherings and organized events,” but the atrocity that forced State to reissue this alert was horrific enough to take the admonition seriously.

Earlier that day, Russia fired three submarine-launched cruise missiles at targets in the Western Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, though it is unclear what the intended targets might have been. Those missiles fell on a populated shopping center, a dance studio, and a wedding venue, instantly killing 23 and wounding another 71 while burying scores more beneath the rubble. Some speculated that Russia’s intended target was a Ukrainian officer’s club, but the dubious military value of that target and the likelihood of collateral damage given the density of the city around it don’t do much to absolve Russia. Indeed, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that collateral damage is deliberate and that terrorizing the Ukrainian public is the desired outcome.

If the United States has concluded that Moscow is deliberately targeting civilian “gatherings,” that should make academic any debate over whether to deem Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. And yet, the debate rages on.

According to Politico last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued an ultimatum to Secretary of State Antony Blinken: Either you label Russia a terror state, or we will. Resolutions that would brand Moscow a terrorist actor have been circulating in both federal legislative chambers since the spring, but Congress has not acted in deference to the Biden White House. Pelosi said the designation is “long overdue,” but the administration has been dragging its feet. The State Department insists the existing suite of sanctions against Russia is sufficient to isolate Moscow and reduce its capacity to project force in Ukraine. Additionally, the “secondary” sanctions a terrorism designation would trigger against nations and individuals with business ties to Russia could perversely weaken the existing sanctions regime.

“The sanctions we have in place and have taken are the same steps that would be entailed by the designation of a state sponsor of terrorism,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price insisted. But given that the State Department is in effect alleging that Moscow is prosecuting a campaign of terror, Congress may not accept this rationale much longer. Indeed, evidence of Russia’s wartime atrocities mounts by the day.

A Human Rights Watch report published this weekend alleged that Russian forces have engaged in a systematic campaign of torture. Detainees have been electrocuted, burned, and had their ribs and teeth broken. Reporting from occupied areas of Ukraine is replete with allegations of summary executions and forced abductions. Many thousands of Ukrainians have been “evacuated” to Russia where they are re-educated in “filtration camps.” Although Moscow and Kyiv reached a tentative deal to once again allow the export of grain through the country’s Black Sea ports, which would relieve some of the pressure this war has put on global food prices, a Russian cruise missile strike on the port city of Odessa’s shipping infrastructure this weekend calls into question Moscow’s commitment to humanitarianism.

The U.S. government does not deny that these atrocities are occurring. Indeed, officials warn that the worst is yet to come. Moscow intends to annex into the Russian Federation the territory it presently occupies in Ukraine, at which point it can proceed unmolested toward the goal of this war: breaking and eliminating the very idea of a Ukrainian identity.

Meanwhile, Russia proper has become intensely repressive and militaristic. Any expression of dissent against the war in Ukraine has been criminalized. Academics and journalists have been arrested. The number of “foreign agents” subject to punitive legal measures has exploded. Ominously, Jewish organizations can now count themselves among the many “foreign agents” Russia seems set on persecuting. “Multiple Jewish organizations in Russia have received threatening letters in recent weeks from the Russian Justice Ministry regarding their work,” the Jerusalem Post reported. The writing on the wall is legible from orbit.

The Biden administration has valid reasons for wanting to avoid the complications that would follow designating Russia a terrorist state, but Russia’s terroristic actions are rendering the White House’s resistance untenable. The administration’s hand may soon be forced. If so, it will be Russia, not Congress or the community of democratic nations, that forced it.

Michael Hudson: Podcast with Michael Hudson, Steve Keen, Steve Grumbine

July 17, 2022

Posted with Michael Hudson’s permission

Grambine, Macro and Cheese, July 9 2022.
For those who would like to hear the recorded conversation

Michael Hudson [intro/music]

A central tenet of the World Bank from the beginning is to convince countries not to grow their own food, but to create plantation agriculture to prevent family-owned farming of food, to grow plantation export crops and they become dependent on the United States for their grain.

[00:00:22.610] – Steve Keen [intro/music]

If you look at just the shipping involved in international trade, it’s something of the order of 20%, I think, of our carbon production comes out of the entire mechanics of shipping goods around the planet. And we realize we’ve massively overshot the capacity of the biosphere to support our industrial sedentary civilization. So, one way to reduce that is by reducing international trade.

[00:01:35.130] – Geoff Ginter [intro/music]

Now, let’s see if we can avoid the apocalypse altogether. Here’s another episode of Macro N Cheese with your host, Steve Grumbine.

[00:01:43.110] – Steve Grumbine

All right. And this is Steve with Macro N Cheese. Another great episode for everyone today. I have two guests, two very good friends, and very happy to have them join me today. Professor Steve Keen and Michael Hudson. You can’t get two better guys than this. And we’re going to have a very action packed conversation.

We’re going to be talking about central banking, the IMF, World Trade Organization, World Bank. And we’re going to be looking at how the US uses the monetary system to bring about its imperial powers that it exerts on the world. And we’re going to look at some of the things that are happening with Russia and Ukraine right now that ship the US control over the global commerce and the behaviors of non US countries.

They’re starting to think for themselves and make some decisions, and we’re watching the facade crack a little bit. Steve Keen, who is the author of the book Debunking Economics and more recently The New Economics: A Manifesto, is joining me, as well as Michael Hudson, who has just recently written the book The Destiny of Civilization: Finance Capitalism, Industrial Capitalism or Socialism. So, without further ado, Michael and Steven, welcome to the show, sirs.

[00:03:04.530] – Michael Hudson

Good to be here.

[00:03:05.800] – Steve Keen

Thank you indeed.

[00:03:06.960] – Grumbine

So the reason why I brought us together, you guys are both phenomenal on your own, but together, I think that we can maybe tackle this. As an MMT advocate, I find myself friends with an awful lot of people, and you gentlemen have been doing this for a long time, and I know that you have some pushback within the MMT community.

In particular, this concept of “imports are a benefit and exports are a cost.” This is a core MMT staple. And some of the concerns that came out as a result of the Covid crisis showed us the resource based failures of a global supply chain and how some of the aspects of our financial system and the shipping of real resources from areas that had high Covid, how it impacted our abilities to take care of life on life’s terms.

It also became quite clear that the US hegemony over the world using dollar diplomacy is starting to show cracks in the foundation as well, as we watch Russia thumb its nose at US sanctions. So, getting into this, Steve Keen, I know that you have taken some issue with Warren Mosler’s prescription that imports are a benefit and exports are a cost.

Taking Warren’s position on this, I believe Warren is saying exports are real goods and services we’re sending out, whereas imports we’re handing pieces of paper to people. And this is a win for the importing nation. And we’ve seen the power of the US dollar and the ability to basically create colonial outposts, colonized communities living and dying off of US dollars. So there’s a power dynamic as well. What is your pushback with Warren’s import/export model?

[00:05:03.270] – Keen

There are quite a few elements to it. First of all, the idea that exports are a cost and imports are a benefit. One term that I’ve seen one Modern Monetary Theory advocate used to explain is to say, the opportunity cost is all theirs. In other words, they have therefore gone by sending a good to us like an automobile to the buyer in return for currency.

They’re doing without the opportunity of the vehicle. And when you take a good look at the manufacturing side of things, the reality for most firms is they have diminishing marginal cost and excess capacity. So the standard thing when you’re competing in a domestic market is you have spare capacity you’re not using, but you can’t get enough demand domestically.

Now, I know MMT can say that should be handled by the government using additional spending power and creating the spending power to absorb the excess capacity. But they don’t at the moment. So what tends to happen instead is that countries will use export-oriented industrialization to use their additional capacity more effectively, which is what’s led to the industrialization of China and in many ways the de-industrialization of America.

Personally, I don’t think the opportunity cost is the right way to think about international trade at all. It’s a neoclassical way of thinking. It assumes neoclassical conditions about production which are empirically false. I don’t think anything in MMT should be based on bad foundations and I think that is a bad foundation.

Then when you see the discussions about monetary sovereignty and saying that countries who don’t have to issue debt in the currency which is not their own currency, they have monetary sovereignty, those who have to issue debt in a currency which is not their own don’t have monetary sovereignty. One way you end up in not having monetary sovereignty is running large balance of trade deficits and not being the reserve currency of the planet.

So I think the advice that exports are a cost and imports are a benefit doesn’t make sense for countries which have been running a trade deficit, are importing more than they’re exporting, so they’re using their own pieces of paper fundamentally, initially, but if they keep on doing it, they’ve got to start using American pieces of paper, and then they’re in deep trouble. So I just think it’s a nice slogan, but I think it’s a bad idea.

[00:07:20.250] – Grumbine

So it makes sense to me given the nature of the pandemic. You and I spoke, I guess it was almost two years ago, about supply chains and pandemics, and we talked at length about how the iPhone is made in some 37 different countries – and countries that were isolated due to the pandemic. It also impacted production in general. Right now I’m in Information Technology, and I work with Cisco, and Cisco being the backbone of the entire Internet globally.

They have lead times even today of up to a year for some of the equipment, partially because of semiconductor shortages. But this is a piggyback to that in that there is the accounting identities of trading paper for goods and services, but then there is the actual functional output of that. And for countries like the United States, we do have Most Favored Nation status in the sense that we are the primary world reserve currency.

And I think part of that has to do with the fact that the price gas and gas purchases are done through US dollars as well. But overall, I think that we have to be aware that we’re not being a very good partner on the planet in general. A lot of the power plays the United States uses to be able to get those goods and services into the US Is done through warfare and sanctions, as we’ve seen all around the world. We use them to great harm in the global South.

However, we saw Russia here recently thumb their nose at us and say, the only thing we’re really lacking is high tech products, and we got China that can hook us up with that. All you’ve done is accelerated our departure from a dollar denominated world, which I guess brings us to you, Michael. Your book talks extensively about this. Can you help piggyback off of what Steve said regarding the supply chains and the impact of that import/export dynamic with what’s going on right now with Russia, China and Ukraine?

[00:09:34.590] – Hudson

Well, MMT has not spent much time talking about the balance of payments. It’s basically a theory of the domestic economy. The problem of the whole discussion that just took place is that trade is not the most important element of the balance of payments. For the United States, the trade balance has been just about in balance for almost 50 years, 70 years, actually.

What’s in balance is America’s military spending abroad. That’s the deficit that is pumping dollars into the world economy. But now to get back to Steve’s point, realizing that we’re dealing with trade, only a small portion of the balance of payments, Steve’s point is, let’s ignore all the other elements of the balance of payments – the debt service and the capital accounts and others.

If you import more than you export, and you have to actually pay cash for the imports and get cash for the export, then you have to borrow money. And once you borrow money, because most trade is denominated in dollars, this means you have to borrow US dollars. You don’t buy imports with your own currency. Now, MMT is all about how sovereign governments can create their own money and create their own currency, but they can’t print their foreign currency.

That’s the problem with having more imports than exports. And once you begin to borrow dollars, you have to pay interest on it. And all of a sudden, they’re running a deficit, it’s going to reduce your foreign exchange rates. Well, let’s look at what’s going to happen this summer as an example. We know that energy prices, oil prices are going way up.

And President Biden just says they’re going to be with us for a very long time because his major contributors are the oil companies, and he’s promised them that he’s going to enable them to make super profits to help raise the Dow Jones average. And the other element is food. Well, America is going to make a killing on oil exports because the United States controls the world oil trade.

The United States is also a major agricultural exporter, and it’ll make a killing because NATO has imposed sanctions on Russia, preventing Russia from exporting oil and food – it’s the largest grain exporter – into the economy. So you’re going to have South America, Africa, and the global South countries all of a sudden running big deficits.

Well, at the same time, there’s an enormous deficit of debt service that they owe to finance all of the trade deficits that they’ve been running ever since they followed neoliberal ideals to open their markets to depend on foreign food and basically US manufacturers. The Federal Reserve has just begun to raise interest rates. And the result of raising interest rates has been the dollar is going way up against the Latin American currencies, the African currencies, the South African rand, the Brazilian currency.

So you’re going to have the global South being in an absolute currency squeeze this summer. What are they going to do? Well, President Putin has said, well, we’re going to offer an alternative in the form of the BRICS bank. Well, it’s true that a bank can’t create foreign currency. The BRICS bank can enable countries to run a deficit in two ways.

Number one, the bank can be fueled by each member giving, say, a trillion dollars or some kind of proportional currency to the bank. So currency swap agreements, just like the United States has been negotiating for the last 50 years. You can all have a currency swap. Also, the BRICS bank can create its version of Special Drawing Rights – IMF SDRs – or what John Maynard Keynes proposed in 1944: “bancors.”

It can create paper gold of its own and distribute to countries. Well, the problem is, Putin said, we’re willing to sell your grain and oil and to take your currency in exchange, but we don’t want to save your balance of payments simply so that now you can afford to pay the debt service that you owe to US dollar bond holders, bank holders, and the IMF and the World Bank that got you into the mess you’re in to begin with.

So the problem is the stability of insulating your trade from the foreign exchange going up and down requires a split of the world into two different economic zones: US/NATO, the white people’s economic zones, and let’s call it the nonwhite economic zones. And remember, the Ukraine say that Russians are not white and racially different. Basically, the Nazi ideology is that any country that’s not neoliberal is not white.

So you’re going to have the world splitting, and we’re really talking about how to create a monetary system for the world splitting. I want to get back to one other thing Steve said about the opportunity cost. If imports are a great advantage to the United States, is it worth having American corporations move to low wage labor abroad, shifting the production abroad so that America is deindustrialized?

Has that been an advantage? Or let’s look at it from Russia’s point of view. Until this last spring, Russia was importing food, cheese, raw materials. And because of the sanctions, Russia has had to all of a sudden develop import substitution. It’s producing its own cheese. It produced its own agriculture that’s thriving.

And President Putin has said that Russia is going to spend more and more of its oil export receipts on funding import-replacing industry. Well, that sounds like a good idea, because we’re really talking about independence. And the balance of payments ultimately determines a constraint on domestic policy. I think that’s what Steve was talking about for opportunity costs.

You can’t just look at the flows on a balance sheet: “Well, we’re getting something for nothing.” If you import more than you export, you’re running up foreign debt, and you’re becoming more and more dependent on foreign countries who are acting in their own interests, not your own interests. So you have to put this whole discussion in the political context.

[00:16:15.210] – Grumbine

So I would see this as a national security issue in that with these essentials – Fadhel Kaboub talks about the spectrum of sovereignty: energy sovereignty, food sovereignty, technological sovereignty, the ability to live without external supports. And each country has varying levels of that. And so each country would have to be looked at differently just based on what they’re even capable of producing.

I guess my question to you, as we think about countries in the global South that have had the kiss of the IMF on them and the debt peonage that they have been laboring under. In Africa, Sankara’s speech talking about “I can either pay you or I can feed my people.” You can see the role that US interests through the IMF have had to import their goods and services into our country.

They don’t have a choice. They are basically colonial states that have the US thumbprint on them. So the United States has exerted this imperial power in this geopolitical nightmare. We are watching them break away from that today.

[00:17:34.050] – Hudson

But you’re leaving one of the real villains in the piece, and that’s the World Bank.

[00:17:38.290] – Grumbine

Oh, yes.

[00:17:39.020] – Hudson

A central element of the World Bank from the beginning is to convince countries not to grow their own food, but to create plantation agriculture, to prevent family-owned farming of food, to grow plantation export crops, and to become dependent on the United States for their grain. Well, if imports are a benefit and imports mean that the United States can put a sanction on you and starve your people like the United States tried to do in China in the 1950s, do you really want to become import dependent on food?

Let’s compare the World Bank to the Chinese Belt and Road and the BRICS bank that’s proposed. The World Bank would only make foreign exchange loans. That meant it would only make loans to countries who would invest in infrastructure that would help its exports. Well, imagine how this works for agriculture.

If you were going to develop your agriculture in the global South countries, you’d do pretty much what the United States did in the 1930s that had the most rapid increase in productivity of any industry in the last few centuries. And that was because the government took the lead in agricultural extension services, seed testing, educating farmers as to seed variety, setting up local farm management organizations.

Before the time that Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland became the great intermediaries in promotion of domestic self-sufficiency for farms, the World Bank wouldn’t make any loans at all for this, even though the World Bank local commissions and reports all said that this is what they need. The World Bank was almost always headed by someone very close to the US Military, starting with John J. McCloy at the beginning and going through McNamara and all of the subsequent Pentagon people who were put in charge of the World Bank.

And above all, they wanted to continue to base America’s export boom in agriculture and to make other countries food dependent. And that is one of the things that has led them into debt. So if you have a country like Chile that has the richest land in the world because it has the richest supply of guano deposits in the world. It also has the most unequal land distribution in Latin America – latifundia and microfundia – not any kind of balanced food production.

So that all of Chile’s exports and copper, by specializing, have been overwhelmed by the costs of importing food that it could have grown all by itself. So the idea of free trade is shaped by what will the international organizations controlled by the US give credit for, ends up to create underdevelopment and dependency instead of development. And that developmental aspect is a different story from MMT money creation. And we’re talking about something else that is part of a much bigger system.

[00:20:43.410] – Grumbine

Steve, based on what Michael just said, I know that you are concerned with the environment and bringing production back home. And around the world, people that are not hip to the US empire are trying to convince countries to look at building bonds between each other to create trade zones that mitigate some of the US power over dominating their countries.

We’ve got a very tiny window to solve climate crisis as well. So all these things are converging at one time trying to deleverage US interests from the world interests and watching as the nonwhite countries are banding together and the white countries are banding together. And it seems like the opportunity to save ourselves from extinction is passing before our very eyes.

In the vein of what he just said, how do we marry some of the ideas that we have, the climate crisis with the geopolitical crisis that we’re battling here?

[00:21:49.110] – Keen

Well, the large part of it is that the focus of neoclassical economics has always been on specialization and doing it with so-called comparative advantage. And what that gives you is an incredibly fragile system, as we’ve seen with Covid, because if you actually distribute production across the planet and you have a long supply chain, then of course that can collapse in an instant with something like Covid coming along.

And equally, if you have a famine, if the major food baskets get wiped out by a famine or a war. We’ve got the war already. The famine may well come by a drought and a crop failure as well. Then suddenly you can’t feed your people and you have no domestic alternative. So I think we have to get away from the focus on efficiency and even in that sense, the gain of swapping paper for goods, which is part of the MMT slogan.

Start thinking: no, we need to be resilient and capable of handling a range of different disturbances which could come our way. And on that basis you need to have your production local.

[00:22:47.310] – Grumbine

So within that space mitigating some of the travel carbon footprint expenses that clearly solves one problem. But where you had smokestacks to create basic amounts of goods and services in one country, now you’re building smokestacks across the globe and I don’t see any meaningful effort to green technology to make those things happen.

I am curious what decentralizing production does in terms of the carbon footprint and how developing local supply chains will in turn impact our ability to stave off climate crisis.

[00:23:30.090] – Keen

Yeah, if you look at just the shipping involved in international trade. It’s something at the order of 20%, I think, of our carbon production comes out of the entire mechanics of shipping goods around the planet, and we realize we’ve massively overshot the capacity to support our industrial sedentary civilization. So one way you can reduce that is by reducing international trade.

I think that’s what’s going to start happening, partly because you have the example of Cisco. You suddenly wait a year to get a piece you used to wait two weeks for because of the breakdown of the supply chain. The same thing will become even, I think, even more extreme when climate change forces us to drastically reduce our production levels.

If you don’t have the domestic production capability, you’re going to lose the possibility of those goods. And in some cases, we have to drastically reduce our consumption of a range of goods. Automobiles is an obvious instance of that. But in others, we want to continue – and food production is one of those. Clearly, you want to produce your food locally.

So, again, I think we’ve been very blase about the physical side of production, and that’s what I would like MMT to start looking at. And in that context, I think it might change the attitude about imports and exports.

[00:24:57.730] – Intermission

You are listening to Macro N Cheese, a podcast brought to you by Real Progressives, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching the masses about MMT, or Modern Monetary Theory. Please help our efforts and become a monthly donor at PayPal or Patreon, like and follow our pages on Facebook and YouTube, and follow us on Periscope, Twitter, Twitch, Rokfin, and Instagram.

[00:25:49.010] – Grumbine

Michael, in the Russia example, where in one fell swoop they get cut off from the SWIFT system and the US is beating their chest, “We’ve got Putin on the run.” It doesn’t look like Putin is on the run at all right now.

[00:26:02.900] – Hudson

I’m glad you’re bringing up the NATO war against countries resisting neoliberalism, because you use the word “green.” And the European Greens basically are advocating two fuels of the future: coal and cutting down the forests. Germany, by blocking Russia’s gas, they are essentially replacing Russian gas and oil with Polish and Ukrainian coal – and digging down the forest.

I’ve walked very often through German villages, and most houses have whole stacks of cut-down lumber that they essentially burn in their fireplaces for heat. You’re having an enormous deforestation and replacement of gas with coal. And the Green Parties are the advocates for the major polluters in the world, and they’re the advocates for global warming.

And that’s because they’re part of the Cold War attack on Russia. And they say it’s worth having global warming as long as we can fight against countries that resist neoliberalism and resist the American European takeover. So you want to realize the politics – that the Greens of Europe are not friends of the environment.

Now, to get back to your question about the isolating of Russia. Isolating Russia hasn’t isolated it at all. It’s driven Russia together with China, in the first instance, and then China and Russia together have joined with India, Iran, Syria, they’re now joining with Brazil and Argentina all to create an alternative economic order and social order and political order.

And the political order is basically based on the main distinction between the non-neoliberals and the neoliberals, and that is: who will control the money supply. And China is the prime example. Instead of private banking creating the credit to create loans basically for financial reasons, China will create credit to spend into the economy the way that MMTers hope to see credit created.

Namely, spend to hire labor, to make new means of production, hopefully in an environmental way, as opposed to the commercial banks that look at “how do we make money in the short term?” Well, you make money in the short term by cutting down the forest of the Amazon. You don’t look at global warming.

And already you’ve had the heads of American oil companies and investment firms say “what do we care about global warming ten years in the future? We care about the next three months’ earning statement, and the next year. Ten years from now, the sea levels go up. We can deal with it then.” So you’re dealing with two different economic philosophies and as the world divides into these two different economies, this is an important element.

And as Steve just pointed out, neoliberal economics doesn’t take into account the environment because that’s long term. Economists call that exogenous, meaning it’s outside our tunnel vision. And the question is whether you’re going to look at the world economy as the overall system interconnected, which is what Steve and I do, or whether you’re going to say we’re going to just cut the financial sector apart and only look at the corporate and financial sector of how to make money quickly.

That’s really the difference. So obviously Russia was not really troubled very much by being cut off – or even by being isolated. What America is doing is driving Russia together with all of the countries that have refused to condemn it. And America basically is creating an iron curtain, locking these countries – isolating them from Europe and the United States – going their own way, which I don’t think Russia and China are unhappy to see occurring.

[00:29:54.480] – Grumbine

I completely agree with that. The idea that the US thinks they are going to knock these giants down and they’ve just said we’re going to invest in our own country. Instead of being a cooperative society, we see this as a combative society. We decided we have to fight them and create cold wars to isolate them so we can catch up.

But you nailed it with the concept of the private short-term thinking that private collateral, banking, loans, filling short-term needs because we can’t see out as far as those folks because they aren’t living and dying the same capitalist way that we do things here in the United States. They have invested in the public purpose.

China has got the ability to do just about everything. Do you think it’s going to take us getting our proverbial asses handed to us by the rest of the world to wake up? Do you think we’ll ever wake up? Or this is just the way it will always be, at least until tsunamis take us out?

[00:30:56.870] – Hudson

Who is the we? Who’s going to wake up? When you say we, it’s as if you mean American citizens in the population. But we are not the government who makes the policy. We are not the Davos Group and the campaign contributors. Their “we” are the oil industry, the big agricultural monopolies, the other monopolies, and Wall Street. That’s the finance, insurance and real estate sector [FIRE].

And they are going to just continue doing what they want. And you’ve seen from the recent Supreme Court rulings in the United States that the government is not permitted to enforce any climate preservation rules. That has been ruled unconstitutional unless Congress can pass environmental law. And in order for Congress to pass a law, as opposed to just an executive branch joining the environment, you have to have 60 out of 100 votes.

American dual politics doesn’t permit either party to get 60 votes unless there’s a landslide. And the only party that has a prospect of getting 60% would be the Republicans. So basically, even if the people wake up, the government people and their campaign contributors are just going to continue to make money to live in the short term. That’s what differentiates neoliberalism and socialism.

[00:32:17.630] – Grumbine

Very well stated. To me, I think of this as war. Murder. I don’t think of this as some polite gentleman’s disagreement. I see this as wanton death and destruction, all in the name of profit. How do we stop this? Can we stop this? Congress is bought and paid for. Our government, our Supreme Court doesn’t represent the people, and the President has proven to be a feckless neoliberal as well.

I see nothing to feel any sense of hope, and I’m not sure that hope is a requirement. It seems like the only alternative we have is in the street, is to become ungovernable, is to get rid of a government that is no longer representative of the people.

[00:33:04.010] – Hudson

[laughs]  Well, Steve’s gone to Thailand and I’m dealing mainly with China. That’s how we’ve coped. [laughter] Neither of us are going to be President of America.

[00:33:15.690] – Keen

No. The American political system is almost designed to stop anything being done. I was involved in the Australian election recently, as you probably remember. And though my party did extremely badly and money still was obviously vitally necessary to get a political profile, even in countries with good electoral systems, Australia does have a good electoral system, and America has got the best electoral system money can buy, and that’s a disaster.

It’s hard to get away from money enabling parties to have political position to be seen in the media. And that’s actually a great reason for MMT: create money for publicly financed election campaigns rather than having it out of private pockets. But given that, you have an electoral system where you don’t actually vote for anybody, the electoral college piece of nonsense, which itself is crazy.

Every state has got a different system, which is crazy. You don’t have the central bureaucracy handling the voting system, which is crazy. And you have gerrymandering because the boundaries are decided by local political groups, which is crazy. So the extent to which America needs to reform its political structure to approximate a democracy is ridiculous. And that’s partly why money interests can so easily dominate what happens in the American political sphere. And right-wing religious ideology as well.

[00:34:43.950] – Grumbine

Absolutely. The Calvinistic bullshit in this country is over the top. But there’s a tone policing aspect to this. I think there are people out there who don’t understand that this election system that we have in the United States isn’t getting us what we want or need. They think they just need to phone bank harder, vote harder.

Fact is, in my 53 years, I have not seen any meaningful legislation passed. I do not consider the ACA meaningful legislation. I’ve seen a lot of bad legislation pass that hurts us. And this is not really intended to be an America-centric show, except that America seems to be the big bully. It’s creating a lot of the problems. It’s got its own citizens in hell and it’s trying to create hell on earth for the rest of the world.

I spend a lot of time trying to get this information out the door. It’s very important information, but it’s only important in the sense that it’s good to know. I don’t see any of it amounting to a movement, a passing of legislation. We can tell people that if we don’t consider the economy in the world as a superorganism and degrowth, we don’t have anybody thinking this way.

[00:36:00.090] – Keen

There is actually – I don’t know the name of it, but I do know that there’s a political group in America which is campaigning to have Australia’s electoral system adopted by America. Have it include an electoral commission that determines borders between one electorate and another, a single centralized system that counts the votes rather than the crazy range of stuff you have at the state level.

And controls on the size of electorates so they can be no more than 20% larger or smaller than a target – and they should be 10%. And then preferential voting so you don’t just vote for one candidate, like if you vote for the Greens in America, you guarantee the Republicans win the election because the Green votes are taken away from the Democrat.

So have preferential voting, which means you can actually put the party you prefer first and know that the party that’s your fallback will actually get the vote if your first party doesn’t get up. So all these sorts of reforms. I know that there are people who are campaigning about it because the frustration that you’re expressing is very widely felt in America. But of course, try getting that through a Republican-dominated Congress. It ain’t going to be easy.

[00:37:01.170] – Grumbine

No. It does leave you wondering if this is not just political theater. I talked to Warren the other day and Warren asked the question to me. He said, “you ask, are they doing a good job? And I answer back, well, for whom?” Somebody’s doing okay right now. It just isn’t the regular people in society. Somebody’s doing great, though. And I don’t see a path. As much as I want to, I see no path forward.

I don’t want to feel this way, but I don’t see a path forward. Michael, with your international perspective, I guess my question to you, given the fact that you’re focusing on China and you see the US through the lens that we’ve just discussed, do you see an ending to this that is positive for the world, that gets us to a successful conclusion, meaning we survive? Do you see any hope whatsoever in changing that narrative? And if not, what’s next?

[00:38:01.530] – Hudson

There’s no path forward in the way that we’ve been talking about because the suggestions that Steve makes cannot be legislated by Congress. They are limited by the Constitution. And in order to do what Steve recommends – very good ideas – you would need a new Constitutional Convention. The right-wing, the polluters, the monopolists, the bankers, have been preparing for a Constitutional Convention for about 30 years, and it wouldn’t be very nice.

[00:38:32.370] – Grumbine


[00:38:32.370] – Hudson

Our Constitution in America was written for the slave owners to permit any states to block any federal power because they worried that the federal power might try to free the slaves. Well, now that element of the Constitution, of state’s rights, is enabling the oil industry, the polluting industry, the banks, the credit card companies to essentially prevent any solution along any lines except those of the ultra right-wing.

But the problem goes beyond America and beyond Europe. Western civilization took a wrong track about 3000 years ago. The Near East and almost all of Asia had a tradition of canceling the debts when they threatened the economy. In Japan, you had revolutions, you had the Near East rulers canceling the debts. That’s what my books are about.

And you had essentially the jubilee years throughout the Near East. And this promotion of economic growth and in effect, prosperity, was always run by a central ruler. There had to be a ruler, the job of divine kingship or undivine kingship, throughout the Near East, Asia, all the way to China. And India. All of these cultures sought to prevent a commercial class and a financial class from emerging and taking over.

And the merchant class was realized as playing an important role, but it was not allowed to dominate society. But around the 8th century BC, when Syrian traders began to move into the Aegean and Mediterranean to Greece and Italy. There weren’t any kings. The west didn’t have kings. They had local chieftains who were a Mafia-type society.

And the result is that ever since Greece and Rome, you had a completely different set of laws and legal philosophy than what you had in the Near East and Asia. You had pro-creditor laws making what is called the security of contracts and the irreversibility of land being forfeited to creditors. And the result is you had creditors oligarchy evolving.

So when President Biden said the current war of NATO against Russia and China is a war of democracy against autocracy, what it means by democracy are Western civilization’s oligarchies. There haven’t been any democracies, really – maybe very briefly in Athens – but the Western cultures are all oligarchies. What he calls an autocracy is a government strong enough to prevent a financial oligarchy from developing and taking over the land and taking over politics and making its own laws for itself.

And it’s a civilizational difference. And both Steve and I have spent a lot of our time talking about how the Western economies cannot evolve further without a debt write-down, without writing down the debts that are of the 99%, they’re owed to the 1%, the oligarchy that’s controlling all of Western politics. Asia has a way to go a different way.

China doesn’t have a financial oligarchy because it treats money and credit as a public utility through the Bank of China. And so the Bank of China, as we said, makes loans to actually develop the economy. And that’s what Russia says it’s going to begin doing, not to create a financial class to make money at the expense of the 99%. So we’re dealing with a civilizational problem.

And the question is, which form of civilization? Can you rescue Western civilization from the wrong track? Well, only by creating an alternative on the right track and leaving Western civilization and say, well, you’re missing out on the development. Do you want to continue in poverty or are you going to have a revolution?

[00:42:31.650] – Grumbine

You’ve seen yellow and blue profile pictures for everybody totally sympathetic to Ukraine. And our government saying “we are not going to abandon them no matter what.” Biden has signaled that we have unlimited money to give to Ukraine, and he can’t possibly write down $2 trillion in student debt. This weird split dichotomy of truth and lies passes right by the average person.

With what you just stated, which side is going to win? Sadly, the bad guys seem to always win. I rarely see the good guys win. Who is “the good guys”? In full disclosure, I’m a socialist. We don’t even have a left party in the United States. There’s no appetite for that kind of thing in the United States. And those of us that want it are the minority. How do you envision this playing out?

[00:43:26.670] – Hudson

I thought I just said it: a different civilization going its own way.

[00:43:31.740] – Grumbine

Well, what you said was the question of good and evil, basically, which one is going to win? I’m asking you, how do you see it playing out? Because the US can’t continue doing what it’s doing and grow. You need the debt jubilee. We’ve chosen not to. Asia has those systems built and they have choices. So the question I’m proposing, given that, do you see any chance of the US coming to grips with itself? Or do you see this being a one-way trip to destitution?

[00:44:03.570] – Hudson

The latter.

[00:44:05.010] – Grumbine

Fair enough.

[00:44:05.830] – Hudson

That’s all I can say. There is no sign at all of a change. The fact that Steve and I can be on your show – we are not published in the major magazines anymore. We’re not on the major network shows. What you call the bad guys always call themselves the good guys. What you call evil calls itself good. So the question is, what kind of good guys you’re going to have?

The good guys that want to blow up the world and impoverish society, which is what neoliberalism says are the good guys or the good guys for the 99%, which America says are autocracies that we have to fight?

[00:44:41.830] – Grumbine


[00:44:42.670] – Keen

I think I might put a bit of a perspective. People often say, “what’s your alternative?” And what they really mean is “what’s your alternative that I’m going to like?” And I think there is an alternative, but as people feel, “I don’t like it” then other people won’t like it as well. And that is that given the scale of the environmental crisis we’re facing and the fact that it’s coming far sooner than we’re being led to believe, because courtesy of believing their classical economists on it.

When it hits, the countries that are most likely to survive will hold together are those that the West calls authoritarian. And the defining feature of those cultures when you’ve actually been inside them, is that, yes, there is a very strong state and yes, it tends to get its own way and people do what they’re told to some extent, but it’s because at the same time they know they’ve benefited from that state.

So back in China, when you talk to people in China, they will be critical of the Communist Party and say at the same time, the industrialization since then has been incredible and their lives have improved radically over that period of time. I know people who were literally in Mao suits in 1969 who are having a very comfortable retirement when they faced far worst terms back under the old strictly communist regime.

But what you have with a country like that is if China decides it has to radically ramp up renewable energy resources, also install nuclear if necessary, it’s going to do it and not face the opposition the German Greens give to new nuclear power stations, for example. So the capacity to have a top down society is more likely to be then you’re going to survive the crisis that comes forward from climate change.

I can’t see countries that call themselves democracies succeeding in that situation because they will not be able to agree on the level of cutback that’s necessary and who it gets imposed upon. We’re a more centralized society. We’re more successful at doing that and more likely to hold together during the downturn the climate will cause.

[00:46:40.110] – Hudson

You need a strong enough government to check the power of an oligarchy and to prevent a creditor landowner oligarchy from developing. And libertarians, while pretending to be for liberty, they’re for a centrally planned economy, but a centrally planned economy by the oligarchy, by the financial sector, and by the real estate owners. So every economy is planned. And the question is, who’s going to do the planning?

[00:47:05.190] – Grumbine

Yes. And with that in mind, I want to read to you some stuff that came out of this NATO 2022 Strategic Concept – just so that people understand exactly how bad it is. Document defines Russia as the most significant and direct threat to the allies’ security while addressing China for the first time and the challenges that Beijing poses towards allies’ security interests and values.

Documents also state that climate change is a defining challenge of our time. Strategic Concept is updated roughly every decade as NATO’s second most important document. It reaffirms the values of the alliance, provides a collective assessment of security challenges, and guides the alliance’s political and military activities. Previous version was adopted at the NATO Lisbon Summit in 2010.

Point I’m making is they’re bringing more countries in and now setting up China and Russia as the bad guys. This has been going on for a long time, I guess Reaganism with the Cold War. And you brought it up, I think it’s worth mentioning, towards the end of the Chinese Revolution and the US efforts back then to do these same things to China then.

All these institutions, World Bank, IMF, the Peace Corps, all these different NGOs, these were brought out as a direct counter to Russia’s communism and a fear that communism would spread to the global South to prevent them from getting in bed with the Russians. But our country, the United States in this case, has been instrumental in setting up these shadow organizations to prevent any kind of socialism or people-led initiatives around the world.

And it seems like this is going to become the next war. If it’s not going to be just another Cold War, it’s definitely going to be some war because they are lining up the Axis and allies already. I guess. Take us out on this note.

[00:49:13.290] – Keen

I think I take it over a different angle and say that the global politics we’ve had over the last 80-100 years, actually, since the dominance of America, which we pretty much say from the end of the Second World War, has been completely oblivious to the impact we’re having on the planet. The biosphere itself. And the biggest political player on the planet is the biosphere.

And that’s going to start determining what the wars are in future. And I don’t think any country in the world is prepared for that battle. China has maybe probably the most effective capacity to respond to the challenges that are coming this way, but there’s no way America or Russia or anywhere in Europe are aware of the threats they face.

This is a warfare against an implacable foe which we’ve created by destroying the sustainability of the biosphere, by expanding human industry to three to four times the scale that the planet could actually support. That’s the real war that is coming our way.

[00:50:08.600] – Hudson

And Steve, you mentioned how global shipping and trade adds to the global warming. Obviously, the military spending is a huge, huge factor. So the Americans and the Green Parties of Europe are on the wrong side of history. They are doing just the opposite of preserving de-development. They are the advocates of more and more global warming. So literally, you have a group, a bloc, wanting to destroy the environment and a bloc trying to protect itself from the Western destruction.

[00:50:40.830] – Grumbine

Yeah, very scary. And then we’ve got a lot of folks that think that they’re going to appeal to their greater sense of reason to get them to suddenly stop all this, vote their way to a Green New Deal, and it’s all just going to go away. Gentlemen, thank you so much for this time. I really appreciate it. It’s rare to have two such phenomenal guests at once, so I really do appreciate this immensely. Michael, tell us where we can find more about your work.

[00:51:07.230] – Hudson

Well, on my website,, and on my Patreon account. Steve also has a Patreon account. He got me onto Patreon. And the books that I describe what we’re talking about are available on Amazon. The Destiny of Civilization and Super Imperialism.

[00:51:27.450] – Grumbine

Very good. Steve, I know we got you on Patreon, but tell us a little bit about your books and where we can find more of your work.

[00:51:33.710] – Keen

Okay, well, again, my main recent book is The New Economics: A Manifesto, and that’s published by Polity press. So you can get it through Polity or you can get it through Amazon. There’s more than one way to get a hold of it. And the main thing I’m doing is developing the software package to enable us to think about the economy the way we should think about it, which is dynamically, non equilibrium, monetary and so on.

And that’s Minsky, which people can find at SourceForge, the open source software package site, SourceForge. Search for SourceForge and Minsky together and you’ll find it. But those are my main two things. I’ve also opened up a substack account recently – – mainly because Patreon loses a lot of customers by stuffing up their credit cards. So Patreon, Substack and Minsky.

[00:52:18.030] – Grumbine

Very good. All right. And with that, my name is Steve Grumbine. My special guests, Steve Keen and Michael Hudson. This is the podcast Macro N Cheese. We’re out of here.

US Senators introduce resolution to end US involvement in Yemen

July 16, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

One of the Senators details how millions of innocent Yemenis have endured untold suffering and a humanitarian catastrophe since the war on Yemen began.

Senators introduce resolutions to end US involvement in Yemen.

Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) filed a bipartisan resolution in the Senate on Thursday to direct the withdrawal of US Armed Forces from unauthorized involvement in the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

The resolution, which has the backing of more than 100 members of Congress from both parties in the House, is considered privileged in the Senate and can be voted on the floor ten calendar days after it is introduced.

“We must put an end to the unauthorized and unconstitutional involvement of US Armed Forces in the catastrophic Saudi-led war in Yemen and Congress must take back its authority over war,” said Sen. Sanders.

“More than 85,000 children in Yemen have already starved and millions more are facing imminent famine and death. More than 70 percent of Yemen’s population currently relies on humanitarian food assistance and the UN has warned the death toll could climb to 1.3 million people by 2030. This war has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis today and it is past time to end U.S. complicity in those horrors. Let us pass this resolution, so we can focus on diplomacy to end this war.”

“The war in Yemen has been an unmitigated disaster for which all parties to the conflict share responsibility,” said Sen. Leahy.

“Why are we supporting a corrupt theocracy that brutalizes its own people, in a war that is best known for causing immense suffering and death among impoverished, defenseless civilians? Congress never agreed to this war. Absent a congressional declaration of war that is required by the Constitution and the War Powers Act, Congress should end US support for the Saudi military’s indiscriminate bombing, naval blockade, and other involvement in Yemen.”

Sen. Warren detailed how “millions of innocent Yemenis have endured untold suffering and a humanitarian catastrophe” since the Saudi-led war on Yemen began.

Read next: US Arms in Saudi’s Pool of Blood: The Yemeni Massacre

“The American people, through their elected representatives in Congress, never authorized US involvement in the war – but Congress abdicated its constitutional powers and failed to prevent our country from involving itself in this crisis. The US must immediately end its support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen unless explicitly authorized by Congress.”

While there is presently a weak cease-fire in place that has halted Saudi-led coalition attacks on civilians, a cruel aerial and naval blockade that limits mobility and prevents food, fuel, and medical supplies from entering Yemen remains in force.

More than 377,000 people have been killed since the war began in 2015, with nonmilitant causes such as hunger, sickness, and a lack of clean water accounting for 60% of the deaths. During that period, the Saudi-led coalition has carried out over 23,000 bombings in Yemen, killing about 19,000 civilians, while the US has provided nearly $55 billion in military assistance to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

President Biden committed at the start of his term to withdraw assistance for Saudi-led operations in Yemen. Unfortunately, the United States continues to provide maintenance, logistics support, and spare parts to the Saudi Air Force. The Yemen War Powers Resolution would carry out Biden’s promise by terminating US backing for Saudi-led attacks on Yemen, including:

1. Ending US intelligence sharing in order to enable offensive Saudi-led coalition strikes.

2. US logistical support for offensive Saudi-led coalition strikes, including maintenance and spare components for coalition members flying jets hitting Yemen, is being phased down.

3. Without special statutory permission, US military personnel may not be assigned to command, coordinate, move, or accompany Saudi-led coalition forces engaging in hostilities.

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US Says May Have to Suspend Weapons Shipments to Ukraine

May 14, 2022

The flow of US weapons to Ukraine might be cut off, at least temporarily, unless Congress quickly approves nearly $40 billion in new spending to help Kiev repel Russia’s offensive in the former Soviet republic, the Pentagon warned.

“May 19 is the day we really, without additional authorities, begin to not have the ability to send new stuff in . . .,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Friday. “By the 19th of May, it’ll start impacting our ability to provide aid uninterrupted.”

Weapons shipments to Kiev wouldn’t immediately stop on May 20 without new funding because there would still be some supplies in the pipeline purchased under the approximately $100 million in spending authority that the Pentagon currently has remaining for Ukraine aid, Kirby said. However, he added, but by losing its ability to source new cargoes, the Pentagon would face “a period of time with nothing moving” if there’s an extended delay in the new funding approval.

“We’ve been moving at a fairly fast clip here, both in terms of the individual packages that have been approved and how fast that stuff is getting into Ukrainian hands,” Kirby said. “Literally, every day, there are things going in, and we would like to continue to be able to continue that pace for as long as we can.”

Washington’s latest Ukraine aid package, valued at $39.8 billion, was overwhelmingly approved by the House on Tuesday night, but the Senate failed in an effort to fast-track the bill for approval on Thursday. Senator Rand Paul [R-Kentucky] objected to unanimous consent – a provision that allows for bills with strong bipartisan support to go to a quick vote without debate – after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer [D-New York] refused to add language to the aid legislation requiring that an inspector general be appointed to oversee how the money is spent.

Schumer excoriated Paul for standing in the way of quickly approving the massive aid package and argued that Washington has a “moral obligation” to help Ukraine fight Russian forces. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell [R-Kentucky] also pressed for an immediate vote on the bill, but Paul’s objection meant that passage would be delayed to next week at the earliest.

Paul argued that Americans are already “feeling the pain” of an inflation crisis, which he said was driven by excessive deficit spending, “and Congress seems intent on only adding to that pain by shoving more money out the door as fast as they can.” He added, “We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the US economy.”

Kirby reiterated a Pentagon request to provide new Ukraine funding by the third week of May. “Obviously, we continue to urge the Senate to act as quickly as possible so that we don’t get to the end of May and not have any additional authorities to draw upon.”

Source: Agencies and Al-Manar English Website

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