The Russia-China vote

The Russia-China vote

November 03, 2020

by Pepe Escobar with permission and cross-posted with Asia Times

Whatever the geopolitical and geoeconomic consequences of the spectacular US dystopia, the Russia-China strategic partnership, in their own slightly different registers, have already voted on their path forward.

Here is how I framed what is at the heart of the Chinese 2021-2025 five-year plan approved at the plenum in Beijing last week.

Here is a standard Chinese think tank interpretation.

And here is some especially pertinent context examining how rampant Sinophobia is impotent when faced with an extremely efficient made in China model of governance. This study shows how China’s complex history, culture, and civilizational axioms simply cannot fit into the Western, Christian hegemonic worldview.

The not so hidden “secret” of China’s 2021-2025 five-year plan – which the Global Times described as “economic self-reliance” – is to base the civilization-state’s increasing geopolitical clout on technological breakthroughs.

Crucially, China is on a “self-driven” path – depending on little to no foreign input. Even a clear – “pragmatic” – horizon has been set: 2035, halfway between now and 2049. By this time China should be on a par or even surpassing the US in geopolitical, geoeconomic and techno power.

That is the rationale behind the Chinese leadership actively studying the convergence of quantum physics and information sciences – which is regarded as the backbone of the Made in China push towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The five-year plan makes it quite clear that the two key vectors are AI and robotics – where Chinese research is already quite advanced. Innovations in these fields will yield a matrix of applications in every area from transportation to medicine, not to mention weaponry.

Huawei is essential in this ongoing process, as it’s not a mere data behemoth, but a hardware provider, creating platforms and the physical infrastructure for a slew of companies to develop their own versions of smart cities, safe cities – or medicines.

Big Capital – from East and West – is very much in tune with where all of this is going, a process that also implicates the core hubs of the New Silk Roads. In tune with the 21st century “land of opportunity” script, Big Capital will increasingly move towards East Asia, China and these New Silk hubs.

This new geoeconomic matrix will mostly rely on spin offs of the Made in China 2025 strategy. A clear choice will be presented for most of the planet: “win win” or “zero sum”.

The failures of neoliberalism

After observing the mighty clash, enhanced by Covid-19, between the neoliberal paradigm and “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, the Global South is only beginning to draw the necessary conclusions.

No Western propaganda tsunami can favorably spin what is in effect a devastating, one-two, ideological collapse.

Neoliberalism’s abject failure in dealing with Covid-19 is manifestly evident all across the West.

The US election dystopia is now sealing the abject failure of Western liberal “democracy”: what kind of “choice” is offered by Trump-Biden?

This is happening just as the ultra-efficient, relentlessly demonized “Chinese Communist Party” rolls out the road map for the next five years. Washington cannot even plan what happens the day ahead.

Trump’s original drive, suggested by Henry Kissinger before the January 2017 inauguration, was to play – what else – Divide and Rule, seducing Russia against China.

This was absolute anathema for the Deep State and its Dem minions. Thus the subsequent, relentless demonization of Trump – with Russiagate topping the charts. And then Trump unilaterally chose to sanction and demonize China anyway.

Assuming a Dem victory, the scenario will veer towards Russia demonization on steroids even as hysterical Hybrid War on China will persist on all fronts – Uighurs, Tibet, Hong Kong, South China Sea, Taiwan.

Now compare all of the above with the Russian road map.

That was clearly stated in crucial interventions by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Putin at the recent Valdai Club discussions.

Putin has made a key assertion on the role of Capital, stressing the necessity of “abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favor of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.”

Putin once again stressed the importance of the role of the state: “The state is a necessary fixture, there is no way […] could do without state support.”

And, in concert with the endless Chinese experimentation, he added that in fact there are no economic rules set in stone: “No model is pure or rigid, neither the market economy nor the command economy today, but we simply have to determine the level of the state’s involvement in the economy. What do we use as a baseline for this decision? Expediency. We need to avoid using any templates, and so far, we have successfully avoided that.”

Pragmatic Putin defined how to regulate the role of the state as “a form of art”.

And he offered as an example, “keeping inflation up by a bit will make it easier for Russian consumers and companies to pay back their loans. It is economically healthier than the deflationary policies of western societies.”

As a direct consequence of Putin’s pragmatic policies – which include wide-ranging social programs and vast national projects – the West ignores that Russia may well be on the way to overtake Germany as the fifth largest economy in the world.

The bottom line is that combined, the Russia-China strategic partnership is offering, especially to the Global South, two radically different approaches to the standard Western neoliberal dogma. And that, for the whole US establishment, is anathema.

So whatever the result of the Trump-Biden “choice”, the clash between the Hegemon and the Top Two Sovereigns is only bound to become more incandescent.

الفائز بِكُرة من لهب

أميركا 2020: الإمبراطورية كما لم تُرَ من قبل!

الأخبار

 وليد شرارة 

الثلاثاء 3 تشرين الثاني 2020

الفائز بِكُرة من لهب

المرشّح الفائز في الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، أكان جو بايدن أم دونالد ترامب، سيواجه تحدّيات وصعوبات داخلية وخارجية، نُدِر أن واجه مثلها رئيس أميركي منذ نهاية الحرب العالمية الثانية. فالذي سيتربّع على مقعد رئاسة الإمبراطورية الأميركية المنحدرة سيجد نفسه أمام شرخ داخلي لا سابق له بين «أميركتين» يخشى الكثيرون أن يفضي إلى نزاعات أهلية دامية ومديدة، وأمام مشهد دولي تتسارع فيه ديناميات صعود المنافسين، مع ما تحمله من تهديدات بالانزلاق الى صدامات مباشرة معهم يصعب التنبّؤ بنتائجها، بالتوازي مع مسار تفكّك التحالفات الموروثة من حقبات سابقة، وتصاعد الصراعات بين أفرقاء إقليميين ودوليين تتراجع قدرة الولايات المتحدة على التحكّم فيها. الفوز في الانتخابات الرئاسية، في مثل هذا السياق العام، قد لا يكون أكثر من «هدية مسمومة»، تمثّل مقدمة لسلسلة من الانتكاسات والإخفاقات سيتحمّل مسؤوليتها رئيسٌ سيجد نفسه مضطراً إلى الأخذ بخيارات أحلاها شديد المرارة.


نُذُر النزاعات الداخلية
معدّلات المشاركة المرتفعة والمفاجئة في الانتخابات الرئاسية مفاجأة غير سارّة بالنسبة إلى دونالد ترامب. سبق لهذا الأخير أن حذر، خلال مهرجان انتخابي يوم السبت الماضي، من وقوع «أحداث شديدة السوء» في حال إعلان هوية الفائز يوم 3 تشرين الثاني، متوقعاً أن تَعمّ الفوضى بلاده. لَمّح ترامب، في أكثر من مناسبة في الأسابيع الماضية، إلى احتمال وقوع عمليات تزوير بسبب التصويت عن بعد، وهو احتمالٌ نفاه مدير «أف.بي.آي» المُعيّن من قِبَله، كريس وراي. هو يعلم أن نقطة ضعفه الأبرز، التي استغلّها منافسه الديمقراطي بقوة، هي إدارته الكارثية لجائحة كورونا وتداعياتها المُروّعة إنسانياً واقتصادياً واجتماعياً في الولايات المتحدة، والتي أدت إلى تعبئة قطاع وازن من الرأي العام ضدّه. «مجموعة الأزمات الدولية»، التي تُعنى عادة بتحليل خلفيات النزاعات في البلدان «النامية» واقتراح آليات لحلّها سلمياً، أصدرت، في خطوة وُصفت بـ»الاستثنائية» من قِبَل رئيسها روبرت مالي، تقريراً يشير إلى احتمال وقوع «اضطرابات وأعمال عنف واسعة» في الولايات المتحدة على خلفية الانتخابات والتشكيك في نتائجها من قِبَل كتل وازنة من الأميركيين. التقرير، الذي نشرت «الأخبار» يوم الإثنين أهمّ ما ورد فيه، يُركّز على أن رفض ترامب لنتائج الانتخابات واحتمال إقدامه على الطعن في نتائجها أمام القضاء، إضافة إلى عوامل أخرى: «غرق الولايات المتحدة بالأسلحة وسجلها السوداوي السابق في الحروب الأهلية، والقتل العشوائي، إضافة إلى الصراع الطبقي الحادّ والعبودية وغيرها، وتنامي الحركات المنادية بتفوّق العرق الأبيض في عهد ترامب، وتزايد الظلم العنصري ضدّ السود ووحشية الشرطة، جميعها أسباب تُرجّح إمكانية حدوث أعمال عنف».

ستدخل الولايات المتحدة في فترة طويلة من غياب الاستقرار السياسي


وحتى إذا نجح الفريق المنتصر في الانتخابات في تجاوز مرحلة من الصراع الداخلي المحموم، فإنه سيجابَه خلال سنوات حكمه بمعارضة داخلية عنيدة من قِبَل قطاع وازن من المجتمع والنخبة السياسية الأميركيَّين. يصحّ هذا الكلام على ترامب وبايدن على حدّ سواء. المنتصر بينهما سيُتّهم بعدم تمثيل الإرادة الشعبية «الحقيقية»، وبـ»التضحية» بالمصالح الوطنية على مذبح مصالحه الخاصة ومصالح القوى السياسية والاجتماعية الداعمة له. ستترتّب على هذا الاستقطاب الداخلي العميق مساعٍ من الفريق المعارض لإفشال السياسات التي يعتمدها ذلك المنتصر بغية إضعافه وإلحاق الهزيمة به في المستقبل. بكلام آخر، ستدخل الولايات المتحدة في فترة طويلة من غياب الاستقرار السياسي، «الضروري لحسن سير النظام الديمقراطي» بحسب تعبير مُنظّريه، وتزايد للتناقضات الداخلية ستكون له انعكاسات سلبية على موقعها الدولي.

خطر الانزلاق إلى حرب مع الصين
العداء المستشري والمتزايد للصين في النخبة السياسية الأميركية، بجناحَيها الديمقراطي والجمهوري، وارتفاع مستوى التوتر معها في جوارها المباشر، في بحر الصين وحول تايوان، والإصرار على تشديد الضغوط والعقوبات التجارية والاقتصادية عليها بحجة انتهاكها لحقوق الإنسان في هونغ كونغ والسين كيانغ، جميعها عوامل تجعل من إمكانية الانزلاق نحو صدام مفتوح معها فرضية واقعية. قبل تناول المعطيات التي قد تدفع في هذا الاتجاه، لا بدّ من إدراك أبرز سمة في الوضع الدولي الراهن، وهي الانتقال من هيمنة أحادية إلى انتشار وتوزّع القوة على الصعيد الدولي، مع صعود دور أطراف جدد، وفي مقدّمتهم الصين، وتحوّلها إلى منافس من المستوى نفسه، ورفض القطب المهيمن سابقاً، وهذا هو الأهمّ، التسليم بالانتقال المذكور. مثل هذا السياق هو الذي يؤسِّس تقليدياً للنزاعات والحروب.
يرى كريستوفير لاين، أستاذ العلاقات الدولية في جامعة تكساس، في مقال لافت في العدد الأخير من «فورين أفيرز» بعنوان «العواصف القادمة»، أن فرضية استحالة الصدام المباشر بين القوى العظمى، والتي سادت بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية، أساساً بسبب خطر الإفناء المتبادل الناتج عن امتلاك كلّ منها للسلاح النووي، باتت غير مطابقة للوقائع الراهنة، وأوّلها التطور الهائل الذي تمّ في مجال الأسلحة النووية التكتيكية، والذي يتيح المجال لاستخدامها بشكل محدود، ومن دون الذهاب إلى درجة الإفناء المتبادل. الحُجّة الثانية التي تورَد أيضاً من أنصار استحالة الصدام المباشر هي تداخل المصالح الاقتصادية بين الأطراف الدوليين، وفي حالتنا هذه بين الولايات المتحدة والصين. يؤكد لاين ما سبق أن أشار اليه العديد من الباحثين، من أن مسار فسخ للشراكة بين البلدين قد بدأ في السنوات الماضية، وأن تفكيك شبكة المصالح الضخمة المشتركة يتسارع في الآونة الأخيرة، وبقرار من قيادتَيهما. علاوة على ذلك، فإن وجود مصالح مشتركة وروابط اقتصادية وثقافية عميقة لم يمنع الحرب بين بريطانيا وألمانيا في 1914، على رغم غياب أيّ أسباب مباشرة لها، كالنزاع الحدودي أو التنافس للسيطرة على بلد ما، بينهما. يردّ الأكاديمي الأميركي الدافع الرئيس للحرب إلى تعاظم القدرات العسكرية، خاصة البحرية، لألمانيا، وكذلك الاقتصادية والصناعية، وما مَثّله من تحدٍّ لقوة مهيمنة كبريطانيا، بدأت تشعر في تلك الحقبة بتراجع قدراتها. وهو يعتبر أن «هذه المسارات الانتقالية من النادر أن تتمّ بشكل سلمي. القوة المسيطرة عادة ما تكون متغطرسة، وتعطي دروساً لبقية دول العالم حول كيفية إدارة شؤونها، وتتجاهل مخاوفها وتطلّعاتها. مثل هذه القوة، بريطانيا في الماضي، أميركا اليوم، تقاوم بعناد انحدارها، والقوة الصاعدة متلهّفة للحصول على ما تعتبره حصتها العادلة من المغانم، أكانت في ميادين التجارة أم الموارد أم مناطق النفوذ». الرئيس الأميركي المقبل سيكون أمام تحدّي إدارة الصراع مع الصين، مع ضبط سقفه للحؤول دون الانزلاق نحو الحرب معها.

مسار تفكّك التحالفات
يُلام ترامب باعتباره مسؤولاً عن إضعاف تحالف الولايات المتحدة مع بقية الديمقراطيات الغربية بسبب تعريفه الضيّق للمصالح الأميركية ورؤيته «المركنتيلية». في الحقيقة، فإن الخلافات الاقتصادية والتجارية بين واشنطن وشركائها الأوروبيين، والتباينات المتزايدة في المصالح، ظهرت بوضوح للعيان منذ رئاسة أوباما، وتفاقمت بطبيعة الحال مع ترامب. في حال بقاء الأخير في السلطة، فإنها مرشّحة للمزيد من التفاقم، مع ما يستتبع ذلك من تداعيات على التحالف. في حال انتصار بايدن، وعلى رغم إعلانه نيّته «ترميم» العلاقات مع هؤلاء الشركاء، فإن طموحه إلى اتباع «سياسة خارجية لصالح الطبقة الوسطى» يعني التشدّد في مفاوضاته التجارية والاقتصادية معهم، والسعي إلى منع نموّ علاقاتهم مع منافسيه الدوليين كروسيا والصين. وتأتي النزاعات بين الدول الأعضاء في «الناتو»، كتلك الدائرة في ليبيا أو شرق المتوسط، لتُضاعف من صعوبة الحفاظ على تماسك الحلف في ظلّ التناقضات المتنامية في مصالح بعض أعضائه.
حقيقة الشرخ الداخلي في الولايات المتحدة، ومخاطر التدحرج نحو نزاع مدمّر مع الصين والاتجاه إلى تزايد الصراعات والنزاعات بين العديد من اللاعبين الدوليين، وحتى غير الدوليين، في أنحاء مختلفة من العالم، ستجعل من الفائز في الانتخابات الأميركية كَمَن فاز بِكُرة من لهب.

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سقوط الإمبراطوريّة الأميركيّة والبحث عن مخلص!

ناصر قنديل

في الدولة الإمبراطورية الأعظم في العالم التي تمثلها أميركا انتخابات، هي واحدة من عشرات الانتخابات المماثلة التي شهدتها وقدمت خلالها نموذجاً للانتقال السلمي للسلطة، بصورة جعلت منها النموذج الأعرق للديمقراطية في العالم، وفي الدولة الإمبراطورية العظمى، والنموذج الديمقراطي الأعرق، يتفق المرشحان المتنافسان على شيء واحد هو أن الانتخابات هذه المرّة قد لا تشهد انتقالاً سلمياً للسلطة، فالرئيس الحالي دونالد ترامب هو أول رئيس أميركي يهدّد بعدم التسليم بنتائج الانتخابات وعدم تسليم السلطة، والمرشح الديمقراطي جو بايدن يحذر من أعمال شغب وفوضى، ومحللون وسياسيون وخبراء كثر من النخب الوازنة في الوسطين السياسي والإعلامي يتحدّثون علناً عن خطر حرب أهلية تنتظر أميركا، والتقارير المجمع عليها من مناصري الفريقين المتنافسين تتحدّث عن حمى تسلح وعن تمرّد ولايات على الدولة الفدرالية إذا فاز المرشح المنافس للمرشح الذي يتملك غالبية كاسحة في هذه الولايات. والحديث يدور هنا عن أكثر من عشر ولايات تدين بولائها للديمقراطيين بصورة كاسحة ومثلها تدين بالولاء للجمهوريين بصورة كاسحة.

للمرة الأولى في التاريخ الأميركي لا تملك السياسة الأميركية في الحزبين فرصة لحل أزمتها الداخلية بالتوجّه نحو الخارج، ولا يملك كل من الحزبين حلولاً سحرية لأزمات الداخل، والتغيير الجوهري الذي يراهن عليه كل من المرشحين يعني مساساً بثوابت قيمية وجودية للفريق الآخر، بصورة تجعل خسارته الانتخابات أكبر من خسارة مؤقتة بما تعنيه من فتح الطريق لمجتمع من نوع آخر، وقيم حاكمة أخرى، ما يضع وحدة الدولة والمجتمع على المحك، وفي عمق المأزق الأميركي يشترك الحزبان الواقفان وراء المرشحين في بلوغ الطريق المسدود في خوض الحروب، بعد ولايتين لجورج بوش أشد الرؤساء الجمهوريين رهاناً على الحرب الخشنة، وولايتين لباراك أوباما أشد الرؤساء الديمقراطيين رهاناً على الحرب الناعمة، والحصيلة فشل مكثف في الولايات الرئاسية الأربع، وصولاً للحرب التي شهدتها الولاية الخامسة التي كان عنوانها دونالد ترامب، وعنوانها العقوبات وحروب الحصار المالي، التي أضافت للفشل مزيداً من الفشل، لتجد أميركا نفسها أمام طريق مسدود بين حرب تعجز عن خوضها وتسوية لا تجرؤ على الخوض فيها.

أمام الأميركيين أميركيتان مختلفتان جذرياً مع فوز كل من المرشحين المتنافسين، واحدة تلغي الأخرى، داخلياً وخارجياً، في مشاريع التنمية الاقتصادية، والتوجهات الضريبية والبيئية، وفرص العمل والأجور، والتأمينات الصحية والتعامل مع كورونا، والعلاقة بين الأعراق والإطار القانوني للمواطنة الأميركية، فأميركا ترامب بيضاء للأثرياء لا تعترف بضوابط البيئة والصحة، تسود فيها شركات النفط والسلاح والعقارات وتحصر صناعة السياسة بها، وهي أميركا التي تقع في صلب مخاطر المواجهات غير المعروفة النتائج، مع سلبيات عدائية تطال كل العالم من روسيا والصين وصولاً الى اوروبا مروراً بإيران سورية وكوريا الشمالية؛ بينما أميركا بايدن هي اميركا مختلفة جذرياً، حيث لم يعد ممكناً الكلام عن رفض العنصرية بالنسبة للسود واللاتينيين من دون تغييرات تشريعية جذرية، ولم يعد ممكناً للطبقات الوسطى وما دونها قبول الإصلاح الاجتماعي والطبي من دون نظام ضرائبي جديد، ولا يمكن الحفاظ على دعم الجماعات البيئية من دون إجراءات حاسمة ستصيب شركات النفط والسلاح في الصميم، وتنظم القطاع العقاري بمعايير يرفضها اصحاب الرأسمال العقاري. وخارجياً هي أميركا العائدة الى محاولة ترميم الجسور التي نسفها ترامب، على قاعدة الاختلاف والندية، لكن ايضاً على قاعدة التعاون والبحث عن الحلول السياسية للنزاعات، في ملف اتفاقية المناخ وملف منظمة الصحة العالمية والملف النووي الإيراني، وملف التفاوض على حلّ يستند لصيغة الدولتين للقضية الفلسطينية.

في أميركا يكثر أنصار المرشحين من استعمال صفة المخلص في توصيف مشروعه وترشيحه، فيما خيار ترامب يعني إصابة وجودية لنصف الأميركيين، وخيار بايدن يعني إصابة وجودياً للنصف الآخر، والأهم من اسم الرابح في الانتخابات هو أن نهاية الانتخابات تعني بداية مسار مصيري خطير للإمبراطورية التي تترنح وتفقد توازنها، ليست الحرب الأهلية مجرد شائعة فيه، بعد قرنين من الصعود المستقر، يصير الشحوب والتراجع خطاً بيانياً مستداماً، والقفزة الى المجهول قاب ساعات أو أكثر، ويصير تفادي الساعة السوداء للسقوط المدوّي للإمبراطورية العظمى بذاته إنجاز غير قابل للتحقق إلا بفوز كاسح لأحد المرشحين، حيث يبدو بايدن هو الأوفر حظاً لتحقيقه، حيث فوزه الضئيل يشكل صاعق التفجير الداخلي للإمبراطورية، وفوزه الكاسح ربما يكون بوليصة تأمينها من التصدع، وربما يكون هذا حافزاً لتصويت غير متوقع لصالحه لتفادي الأسوأ، بحيث يبدو بايدن مشروع مخلص بنظر دعاة وحدة «الأمة الأميركية» من الحزبين لرد الاعتبار للسياسة ولو من موقع أضعف.

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Blacklist of Iranian media by Bernie’s DSA suggests no Iran change with Biden

Monday, 02 November 2020 6:17 AM  [ Last Update: Monday, 02 November 2020 8:01 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (L) and former Vice President Joe Biden (File photo)

By Ramin Mazaheri

Blacklist of Iranian media by Bernie’s DSA suggests no Iran change with Biden

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

PressTV’s guiding light has always been to be a “voice for the voiceless”. This is why it was collectively decided that in our coverage of the US presidential election primacy should be given to third parties and non-mainstream political groups, as a political duopoly systematically and legally suppresses them with such vehemence that it causes many to say that US elections should actually not be considered fair or open.

We have interviewed and passed on the analyses of socialists, Greens, Libertarians and more. However, perhaps the most prominent outsider political group has repeatedly refused our normal media requests – the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which is perhaps best incarnated by its figurehead, the failed presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

In another effort designed to give unheard American voices more media coverage, PressTV sent their primary election correspondent not to Washington, New York City or California, but to the unofficial capital of what’s disparaged as “flyover country” – Chicago, the nation’s 3rd-largest city. However, in online discussions DSA’s Chicago chapter openly refused to speak with Iranian media, saying: “The officers of our organization have decided that it would not serve our interests to do an interview.”

That’s a curiously self-centered phrase for a group of officers who likely aspire to serve as civil servants – aren’t civil servants supposed to put the ideals and needs of the nation ahead of their own interests?

Chicago DSA’s conduct was, sadly, in keeping with PressTV’s experience with DSA’s national leaders: for weeks their New York City headquarters has not returned our calls, even when the calls were from PressTV management asking about this apparent blacklist of Iranian media. Representative Rashida Tlaib, one of DSA’s two national-level politicians, also refused to return contacts from PressTV, even though we assumed that she would definitely want to help break past the longstanding communication barriers which have been erected by American Islamophobia. 

Personally, I am not surprised by any of this: If I had one euro for every time an (allegedly) leftist group in France (where I am normally based) refused to speak with PressTV – I could afford a month’s vacation. But for the Iranian taxpayer and voter French fake-leftism is not as important as the DSA’s refusal to speak to Iranian media: France has slavishly followed Washington’s foreign policy on Iran for decades, and DSA now aspires to set that policy.

PressTV feels it is critical to broadcast the DSA’s blacklisting of Iranian media because DSA’s prejudice has many political implications within the country that has waged such devastating capitalist-imperialist war on Iran since 1979. Iran, too, has a critical election coming up to prepare for – in June 2021.

Regardless of the timing of the US presidential election – and Iranians reject the absurd, pathetic and amateurish recent claims that Iranian operatives have meddled in the 2020 US election – it is critical to broadcast this information to Iranians so they can have a proper amount of time to absorb and incorporate the implications of DSA’s anti-Iran prejudice into their own analyses as voters and responsible citizens. 

So PressTV’s decision is merely responsible public journalism. This cannot – as DSA openly feared, you will read – possibly be construed as “foreign meddling” by any thinking person.

That preamble now dispensed with, the conundrum posed by DSA’s arrogant blacklisting is this:

If this is the (allegedly) leftist wing of the Democratic Party, and they are so very nakedly anti-Iranian, then why should an Iranian believe that victories by Joe Biden and the Democratic Party will herald a major change in Washington’s belligerent, murderous, long-running policy towards Iran? Many currently suggest this, but DSA’s anti-Iranian stance must give us pause for reconsideration.

The (allegedly) leftist wing of the Democratic Party is not some new, principled, pro-Iran lobby in the lobby-dominated US system

DSA is the one influential group within the Democratic Party (but I will easily disprove the myth of their reach shortly) which openly and repeatedly promises to push the Democrats to the left, and yet they clearly have no interest in basic discussion or the merest exchange with Iranians.

They will talk about Iran, but not with Iran – this is a fundamentally unilateral and classically imperialist stance, no?

And this stance remains unjustly firm even when Iranians insist openly that they have a cooperative and even sympathetic stance towards DSA – I have already related PressTV’s editorial policy regarding the election. Iranians will likely see parallels between the efforts of PressTV to speak cooperatively with DSA officials and the efforts of Iranian diplomats to speak cooperatively with officials in Washington.

DSA may be surprised to learn that Bernie Sanders was reasonably appealing to Iranians, and probably for the same reason he is somewhat popular among the American public – he and DSA make pleasant-sounding promises which contradict the incredible and undeniable belligerence, violence and rapacity of Washington. For an Iranian nation which debated for years in public about the JCPOA pact on Iran’s nuclear energy program, which sacrificed much to implement it, and which is waiting even today for Western nations to finally uphold their word after signing it, there is a lot of lure in words like these from the DSA’s most prominent elected official member, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: 

“I think, overall, we can likely push Vice President Biden in a more progressive direction across policy issues,” said Ocasio-Cortez in September. “I think foreign policy is an enormous area where we can improve; immigration is another one.”

But how can DSA improve US foreign policy if they refuse to dialogue with foreign nations and their media representatives? How can the knowledge of foreign policy which is held by DSA officials – from the national down to the local level – increase, and thus improve their ability to conduct foreign policy if elected or appointed to office, if they are forbidden or unwilling to engage with foreigners? How can foreign policy improve when dialogue comes from only one unilateral direction? How can diplomatic progress be pushed in a more progressive direction if there is such a huge gap between words and actions, as Iran is currently fuming about due to the West’s failure to honor the treaty they have signed?

For many in places like Iran, China, Russia and elsewhere, these logical questions are about as difficult to understand as it is to understand the funny way a knight moves in chess, yet all this appears to be beyond the ken of DSA. Whatever DSA’s rationale – ignorance, apathy, duplicity, inexperience, cynicism – it results in a huge, telling blind spot which may produce deadly real-world consequences for Iranians.

However, DSA is not just illogical, but also – we are sad to say – unprincipled and even hysterical.

The Chicago chapter of DSA made this very clear in their messaging to me (PressTV may decide to publish all our correspondences, but only if our honesty and accuracy is questioned – we assume it will not be.) when they said, “…DSA will not reach the levels of relevancy necessary to be an active player in building those ties if we make choices that our political enemies can use to claim we are under the influence of foreign powers.”

DSA rather exemplifies the common global perception of Western-style democracy via admitting to a belief that one should attain political relevancy not by years of exemplary public service and by providing proofs of moral selflessness in favor of the masses and especially of the lower classes, but merely by making enough brutal realpolitik moves.

What DSA fails to realize is that even if they achieve their goal of relevancy, by the time they do the perceptive American people will have seen right through their phony claims, hypocrisy and inability to uphold quintessentially American values like the freedom of the press. This article is one example – necessarily rendered for public view and public judgment – of DSA’s phony claims. DSA will simply not get away with xenophobic, anti-free press polices such as this one forever, I am sorry to inform them.

To whom does this policy extend? Russia, China, Cuba, etc.? These countries will also publicly ask the same questions Iran is asking now. How much of the world is DSA planning to exclude from the human right of free speech, free press and the expectation of basic politeness and cooperation?

DSA seems to foolishly believe they are a private group or private media – absolutely not: many of their members are running for public office and thus they must be transparent, diplomatic and held to higher standards – DSA does not seem to realise their own voters will expect that of them?

DSA is not going to push the establishment anywhere, because they are the establishment

In that explanation from DSA there is another telling trait: unreasoning hysteria, which leads to very real, very damaging xenophobia, ignorance and the foundations of war. It’s hysterically paranoid of DSA to assert that merely speaking with Iranian media – which has very little reach in the US (due to American censorship of our outlets) – automatically means that DSA members are “under the influence of foreign powers”.

This reveals a hysteria regarding the unscrupulous behavior of their opposition – DSA’s “political enemies”, who are also, incidentally, their fellow citizens – but more importantly it reveals the lack of a backbone to stand up to and to combat unscrupulous and hysterical behavior.

There is also an implication there about what they seem to believe is the low intelligence of the average US citizen – that they apparently cannot be trusted to think rationally, and for themselves, and in favor of freedom of the press? That’s surprising, especially because the average American is so very much in favor of freedom in the press.

But it mainly reflects a hysterical lust for power. DSA is saying quite clearly: to hell with the average American’s oft-trumpeted values of free press and free speech if it might hinder DSA’s acquisition of influence and privilege.

I don’t know why they are so worried about gaining power? DSA already has it. (Or, rather, they incorrectly think that they do.)

Every single other third party jumped at the chance when Iranian media came knocking on their door with a promise of balance, fairness and open ears except for DSA. This is because DSA is undoubtedly a part of the establishment, unlike other third parties and non-mainstream political groups. DSA is not an official political party, but they do much to give this impression. No, DSA is and has always been merely committed to working within the Democratic Party establishment and has no interest in upending the anti-democratic duopoly which dominates the US and – crucially – keeps providing the world’s richest nation with such atrocious public servants.

Ok, so they are another American political group which is totally allied with the establishment and thus is also totally anti-Iran – so what?

How bad is DSA’s blacklisting of Iranian media, really?

The reality is that DSA are a paper tiger if there ever was one. Iranian voters, diplomats and thinkers must look past their youthful, photogenic appearances and (obviously) empty words.

DSA currently has about 75 members holding national, state, city and county posts in this huge country of 330 million people. That includes just three members in federal posts, all in the House of Representatives. Bernie Sanders is not even a member of DSA. The idea that such a powerless minority will somehow be handed top cabinet posts in a Biden presidency is beyond laughable, yet DSA supporters constantly dangle this exact claim.

However, that ludicrous claim is made precisely to get people to not vote for a real third party, especially a genuinely socialist one, like Party for Socialism & Liberation for example. What’s even funnier is that American reactionaries fearfully believe these outlandish claims by DSA! But American reactionaries are especially foolish.…

Non-Americans should realize that DSA exists to act as an anti-progressive safety valve within the Democratic Party – DSA is incredibly effective at ensuring that the establishment does not have to make any genuine domestic changes. They are not “socialists”, they are “reformists”, and their obvious flaw is that they are mere reformists of an atrocious, antiquated, aristocratic, capitalist-imperialist system.

DSA has just brazenly proven that when it comes to Iran they won’t lift a finger in favor of major changes in Washington.

But they want no real changes domestically, too, and they couldn’t even get them achieved even if they weren’t just paper tigers: From Bernie’s backing down in 2016 despite leaked proof of collusion against his candidacy by the Democratic Party elite, to the ascendance of the Clintonista Kamala Harris in 2020, to infuriatingly and unforgivably adding the qualifying adjective of “Democratic” to “Socialist” which actually propagandizes against international socialism and not for it, to the unspoken reality that DSA’s media prevalence is almost wholly due to a hysterical American right-wing which needs some leftists (even fake-leftists) to scapegoat – this list can go on and on and on. 

Deeper explanations as to why DSA is repeatedly seen but never felt in American politics are obviously too numerous to list here, but – when it comes to DSA readers – this article does not aim to focus on DSA’s shortcomings but instead to persuade them to reform their anti-Iranian press policy.

The reality which non-American readers must comprehend is that the US system is based entirely on the influence of monied lobbies. Iranians must realize that there is absolutely not one single pro-Iranian lobby within the US, but that there are many, many anti-Iran lobbies willing to pay for influence (and also for Iran’s destruction) within this strange “democracy with American characteristics”.

In short, unless Iran sells off a significant minority of Iran’s state-controlled economy to American corporations, or unless Iran recognizes Israel, no such pro-Iran lobby can be created: those are the preconditions which the US 1% has always insisted upon from modern Iran in order to end their hot and cold war.

Of course, not only are these things democratically rejected by the Iranian people, but any intelligent analysis of Iran shows that (and DSA members may learn something new about Iran here) any political party which undertook such efforts would be democratically voted out of office before they could complete such immoral, unpatriotic and anti-revolutionary tasks. Iran is a unique (revolutionary) nation with a unique (revolutionary) structure, and just as the US Constitution clearly prescribes an awful duopoly, modern Iranian culture has created – via undeniably vibrant, innovative and open debate over decades – a political system which proscribes certain things, two of which were mentioned in the preceding paragraph.

This is precisely why people like Bernie Sanders and DSA hold such appeal in Iran: the enlightenment of the average US voter appears to be the only way that Washington will ever give up their war on revolutionary (unique) Iran.

This is precisely what makes DSA’s blacklist of Iranian media so disheartening: it shows that neither mainstream party appears to have any sincere goodwill towards Iran – which is the basis of cooperation between equals – not even on the (alleged) left.

Of course, that concept is hardly new among Iranians.

Conclusion: One is on the right path over and over again, but via necessary self-corrections

It seems entirely necessary to assert that DSA’s promises of a progressive push to foreign policy towards Iran are not achievable at best and entirely disingenuous at worst, especially if they do not engage in immediate and sustained self-reform.

The current leaders of the DSA stand in incorrect opposition to the democratic will of 80 million Iranians, and we can safely assume the democratic will of their own members as well, and probably – by a slight democratic majority – the democratic will of 330 million Americans.

As it currently stands DSA – like so many Westerners – arrogantly, imperialistically and chauvinistically insists that they have the right to tell Iranians what they should want, and what they should do, and that if Iranians do not slavishly follow them then this means war… or at least silence, suppression and blacklisting for starters.

That is all totally unacceptable.

This article serves notice to Iranians as to what the DSA appears to have in mind for Iran should they gain power – their views are absolutely not rightly-guided. As to Americans who are about to head to the ballot box, this article makes no suggestion – it only fairly and accurately adds new information.

PressTV would like to place great emphasis on the ideas which are guiding our coverage of this unfortunate issue:

PressTV expresses no any animosity nor hard-heartedness to DSA due to their mistakes regarding Iran – they have obviously been misled via decades of unchecked Western Iranophobia. PressTV cannot stress enough that our desire for normal cooperation, friendly discussion and moral comportment has not been changed one iota despite this disagreement and the necessary airing of our fair and dispassionate criticisms, which are made entirely in the name of normal journalistic and (informal) diplomatic dialogue. PressTV would be rude to appear as if we are making any demands of anyone or any organisation – nor would PressTV degrade themselves thusly – we only politely ask, publicly, that DSA reform their stance on their misguided decision to blacklist Iranian media.


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

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

The Refusal of Democrats & Republicans to Face Political Reality

Source

☆ ZENITH NEWS® AN INDEPENDENT NEWS AGENCY

Eric Zuesse November 1, 2020

Almost all of America’s Democratic and Republican voters are simply closed-minded, and refuse to acknowledge that each of this nation’s two political Parties is controlled by its billionaires and is profoundly corrupt, not allowing any progressive legislation (but only conservative and liberal legislation, which is backed by billionaires) to get through, nor any progressive jurist to receive a high court appointment, nor any progressive Presidential candidate to win the Party’s nomination — such as Bernie Sanders in 2016, and in 2020. It’s a dictatorship by America’s Republican and Democratic billionaires, no democracy, at all, and the vast majority of voters in each Party refuse to recognize this core reality about today’s America. To them, it’s Democrats versus Republicans, instead of billionaires versus the public. They are wrong, and they don’t even care that they are wrong.

For example, on the Republican side, the fact that Donald Trump’s coronavirus leadership has been a catastrophic failure and is recognized throughout the world to be so, is ignored by some and denied by others, but it’s not recognized by Republican voters — they are in reality-denial about it. Also, for another example, these voters are in reality-denial about Trump’s racism and race-baiting. They deny the clear evidence of it.

However, on the Democratic side, the fact that Joe Biden is profoundly corrupt is simply ignored, as is the fact that he stole the nomination from Sanders by lying through his teeth. As is the fact that Biden was the U.S. Senate’s leading advocate in the Democratic Party for continuing segregation (‘separate but equal’). He was a stealthy bigot, not only on segregation, but on criminal justice. Also, the fact that Biden is an ardent proponent of U.S. imperialism and of the privatization of infrastructure in the conquered countries so as to sell them off to U.S.-and-allied investors, is likewise totally ignored by Democrats. (The main difference between Biden and Trump on foreign policy is over which country is the most important to conquer: for Trump it’s China; for Biden it’s Russia; but both want to conquer also Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and a few others.)

Perhaps the truth that both Republican and Democratic voters resist more strongly than any other is that the Republicans’ leadership regarding coronavirus-policy has been disastrously myth-laden and bad, and that Democrats are better only in that they are not leading this disaster, but Democrats have actually gone along with Trump on it wherever the polls were showing that a majority of the public were supporting his policy on the given matter. In other words: Biden’s policy has been simply to gloat over Trump’s getting all of the blame, and to avoid crucial specifics on what his own policy and priorities would be. But a choice between two evils is still evil — it’s an evil system. What is evil there is not merely the options, but the corrupt system that restricts those options to only ones that are acceptable to the actual rulers, to the very few — the aristocracy — that benefit from, and control, the corruption. That’s what’s more evil than either of the two nominees is. It is the people who are financing their political careers. And this is the reality that the vast majority of America’s voters, in both Parties, refuse to recognize. They refuse to recognize the more-fundamental problem, which problem is the trap that the country has degenerated into. Without recognizing that more-fundamental problem, there is no way out of it — not even possibly a way out of it.

Here is how disastrous it is, as reflected in the coronavirus results:

Great leadership on this matter was recognized right at the very start of the soaring pandemic:

On 5 April 2020, Suze Wilson, of Massey University, headlined “Three reasons why Jacinda Ardern’s coronavirus response has been a masterclass in crisis leadership”, and she wrote of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern:

Imagine, if you can, what it’s like to make decisions on which the lives of tens of thousands of other people depend. If you get things wrong, or delay deciding, they die.

Your decisions affect the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people, resulting in huge economic disruption, mass layoffs and business closures. Imagine you must act quickly, without having complete certainty your decisions will achieve what you hope.

Now imagine that turning your decisions into effective action depends on winning the support of millions of people.

Yes, you do have enforcement capacity at your disposal. But success or failure hinges on getting most people to choose to follow your leadership – even though it demands sudden, unsettling, unprecedented changes to their daily lives.

This is the harsh reality political leaders around the world have faced in responding to COVID-19.

As someone who researches and teaches leadership – and has also worked in senior public sector roles under both National and Labour-led governments – I’d argue New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is giving most Western politicians a masterclass in crisis leadership.

Three communication skills every leader needs

When it comes to assessing New Zealand’s public health response, we should all be listening to epidemiologists like Professor Michael Baker [Otago U., “‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown [announced 23 March 2020], and the challenging weeks ahead” March 23, 2020]. On Friday, Baker said [“Coronavirus: NZ with a chance to be only Western nation to eradicate COVID-19 – expert”, 3 April 2020]. New Zealand had the “most decisive and strongest lockdown in the world at the moment” – and New Zealand is “a huge standout as the only Western country that’s got an elimination goal” for COVID-19. …

What has been the result of that policy?

At the moment, as I write, the definitive website tracking the Covid-19 cases and deaths around the world, which is https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries, shows that the United States has had 26,860 cases per million residents, and 695 deaths per million residents. By contrast: New Zealand has had 388 cases per million residents, and 5 deaths per million residents. Per million people, America has 69 cases for each coronavirus case in N.Z., and 139 deaths for each such death in N.Z. That’s the difference between a society that serves its population, and a society that doesn’t. The difference is huge multiples, not merely a few percent.

But not all of the blame for this goes to Donald Trump, and not all of the credit for this goes to Jacinda Ardern. A dysfunctional society, such as America, has far lower levels of public trust in its leaders, because it has far less reason than New Zealanders do to trust their leaders. Even if Trump had been trying to do what Ardern did, Americans would have been vastly more resistant to it, than New Zealanders were. New Zealanders love their country, and don’t hate each other trying to grab control of it, out of fear that ‘the other side’ might win, as the case is in America. In America, the actual other side — the behind-the-scenes rulers — already have control, no matter which of their two Parties dominates, and so the only real solution for that dictatorship is for the public to take the country back from them. But this can’t be done if the voters are in denial of that reality. The head-in-the-sand approach can’t do it. But that’s the approach in America.

If Michael Baker was able to recognize as early as March 23rd that N.Z. was “looking like the only Western country with a chance of eradicating COVID-19,” then maybe his prediction’s coming true (to the extent that it has) wasn’t only luck.

But how well have the best non-Western countries been doing on this matter? Here are the best coronavirus-performers among them (and, for the most part, they are countries that Americans have been taught to despise): Vietnam (12 and 0.4), Cambodia (17 & 0), Taiwan (23 & 0.3), Burundi (46 & 0.08), Niger (50 & 3), Thailand (54 & 0.8), China (60 & 3), Papua (65 & 0.8), Yemen (69 & 20), Chad (87 & 6), Burkina Faso (117 & 3), DRC (124 & 3). Mali (171 & 7), Benin (209 & 3), Somalia (246 & 6), Uganda (250 & 2), South Sudan (257 & 5), Togo (264 & 6), Liberia (278 & 16), Angola (283 & 8), Nigeria (298 & 5), Malawi (306 & 9), Syria (310 & 15), Sudan (311 & 19), Mozambique (386 & 3). And all of those can be compared to N.Z. (388 & 5).

Above those were: Rwanda (389 & 3), Sri Lanka (392 & 0.7), South Korea (506 & 9), Zimbabwe (554 & 16), Cuba (582 & 11), Madagascar (608 & 9), Hong Kong (which is China’s richest city: 706 & 14), and Japan (768 & 14).

The next-lowest Western country is Australia (1,076 & 35). Therefore, the two best-performers in the West were N.Z. and Australia, which suggests that one of the common factors for their shared remarkable success is simply their being geographically isolated in the same region, which is predominantly non-Western, more Asian.

Then, the next-best Western country is Finland (2,700 & 64). Then Greece (3,027 & 56). Then Venezuela (3,153 & 27). Then Norway (3,332 &51). Then Estonia (3,337 & 64). Then Lithuania (4,040 & 50). Then Germany (5,359 & 121).

America isn’t the world’s worst coronavirus-country, at 26,860 & 695, but it’s certainly the worst large country, because it is the world’s 12th-worst, and its population is 331.6 million, whereas the second-largest of the worst 12 has only 11.6 million: Belgium (27,661 & 931). The third-largest of them, Israel, has 9.2 million (33,770 & 265). The 4th-largest, Panama, has 4.3 million (29,796 & 607). Five of the worst 12 countries have under 1 million population. America is the unchallengeable giant of the baddies, but Brazil has 213 million population, and its figures, which place it as the 16th-worst country (25,328 & 738), are very close to America’s.

So: both of the bad giants, America and Brazil, have Governments that are diametrically the opposite of N.Z.’s Government. Whereas N.Z.’s is democratic socialist, America’s and Brazil’s are fascist libertarian (otherwise called authoritarian neoliberal). Of course virtually all countries call themselves “democratic,” but most (actually) are not — it’s just PR, propaganda, for them. An international survey in 53 countries asked residents “Yes” or “No” on “My country is democratic,” and America ranked #38 out of the 53, with the top 10 countries, in order, being: Taiwan, Denmark, Switzerland, S. Korea, China, Austria, Vietnam, India, Norway, and Argentina. At the very bottom, #53, was Venezuela.

It’s therefore obvious that, even if America was, at some former time, a great country, it isn’t any longer. But, if it used to be, then it has declined enormously. Surveys show that Americans don’t think that the country is improving, but instead that it’s “on the wrong track.” Obviously, America is getting worse, not better. Also obviously, neither of the two billionaire-controlled Parties even has any sincere intention of reversing that decades-long trend into the abyss. The people who control it won’t let go of it. And the public don’t want to take control of it. They don’t even want to recognize how dire America’s condition, and direction, are. More of the same is acceptable to them; and, so, control of the country gyrates from Democratic billionaires to Republican billionaires and then back again, ad infinitum, but being the billionaires all the time, no real change. The billionaires face no effective resistance, in America, because the voters for each of the two Parties think that their “them” (“not us”) is the other Party, instead of being the nation’s billionaires. In such a circumstance, what group will even try to take the country back from the few hundred individuals who have controlled it, now, for decades — at least ever since 1981, if not since 1945? It’s going from bad to worse, but how bad will it get? Is there anything to reverse that decades-long trend? Certainly, a prerequisite would be for Democrats and Republicans to face, no longer to deny, the political reality in America. Nothing indicates any such tendency, as of yet. Therefore, lots worse seems likely.

Trump’s 1st win gutted Iran’s moderates – will 2nd win push a military man into office?

Source

November 01, 2020

Trump’s 1st win gutted Iran’s moderates – will 2nd win push a military man into office?

By: Habib A. Abdolhossein for the Saker Blog

Habib is the editor-in-chief at PressTV, Iran’s English-language media organisation. He is an Iranian media expert and holds an M.A. in Media management from the University of Tehran.

With less than two days to the US election many Iranians are eagerly following the news, as they expect the outcome to impact their own futures.

The ultimate fate of the fragile 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and the future of ties between Tehran and Washington truly hinge on the outcome of the November 3 vote.

US President Donald Trump left the nuclear agreement in tatters by abandoning it in May 2018. He imposed the “strongest sanctions ever” against Iran as part his “maximum pressure” campaign aimed at forcing Iran to make compromises on crucial issues, including its nuclear activities and its highly-touted missile program.

The feeling in Tehran is that Tump’s re-election would mean the continuation of the “maximum pressure” campaign. In fact, the incumbent says if he wins the vote Iran will be forced to seek a deal “within the first month” of his second term. But as his hands are still wet with the blood of Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, he is not the desirable option for Iran to resume talks with.

Joe Biden’s victory, on the other hand, is expected to genuinely shift US policy on Iran. In an opinion article published by CNN, Biden said if elected president he would, “offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy”.

Biden’s presidency could be a game-changer for Iran’s reformists and moderate politicians who are vying for a political comeback by championing enhanced relations with the West.

“If Biden becomes U.S. president and rejoins the JCPOA, Iran will get a major achievement… But if Trump is re-elected, he will continue his maximum pressure against Iran and will pose new challenges for the Iranian economy,” confirms Dr. Ahmad Naghibzadeh, Tehran University professor and a member of Executives of Construction Party, a reformist party in Iran.

Reformists, who are already under fire for their support for President Hassan Rouhani’s administration, thus consider pursuing diplomacy with Biden as a more feasible way to promote their agenda.

“The new government should take advantage of the opportunities made after the U.S. elections to normalize ties with the world and tackle the sanctions…. Reformists view power as a tool for entering into negotiations with the world,” says Seyed Hossein Marashi, spokesman of the pro-reform Kargozaran Sazandegi Party.

However, the obvious reality is that such an attitude barely strikes a chord with the general public in Iran – geopolitical concerns have been put on the back burner after years of being a regularly-discussed topic. A majority of Iranians are instead obsessed with economy, which is cracking under sanctions and the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.

Vote of no-confidence for Reformists

Back in 2013, Rouhani swept to a landslide, first-round victory as a centrist with a campaign of “prudence and hope”. Rouhani promised to rescue the economy by ending Iran’s international isolation. Seven years on, with the economy reeling from re-imposed US sanctions, those hopes have clearly been dashed. Many of his supporters are disappointed and even outraged with Rouhani’s “empty” promises of change.

Rouhani’s victories in the 2013 and 2017 presidential elections actually had less to do with his own popularity than with a tacit alliance with the reformists. Support from key reformist figures, including ex-President Mohammad Khatami, who had pinned hopes onto Rouhani’s pro-reform pledges, played a key role.

Many voters see too big a gap between Rouhani’s campaign rhetoric and the reality of his governance. Furthermore, his performance has also inflicted a heavy toll on the popularity of moderates who threw their weight behind him.

“Rouhani was not a reformist but the reformists put their social capital on sale by supporting him…” says former MP Nasser Qavami, who believes reformists have already lost the game by supporting a non-reformist.

Reformists and other moderates now have almost no selling point to entice even their own disillusioned supporters to vote. They can no longer hope to defeat the conservatives who have already conquered parliament.

The 2020 parliamentary elections were a litmus test for moderates: With the lowest turnout since the 1979 Islamic Revolution (admittedly affected by the pandemic), reformists didn’t just lose the vote but were annihilated: they dropped from a plurality of 121 seats to just 20 seats.

Trump or Biden? Yes, it does it make a difference for Iran

Whether the incumbent Donald Trump is re-elected or his Democratic rival Joe Biden wins the White House cannot help but decisively impact Iran’s immediate foreign policy strategy because, from the point of view of moderates, the two candidates have genuinely different approaches to Iran. This runs counter to the conservatives’ view, which is that an anti-Iran policy is the only policy possible from Washington no matter who is elected.

Seyed Mohammad Marandi, a key political analyst and a professor at Tehran University, believes Iran will be in a better position if Trump wins the U.S. election.

“An internationally isolated US under Trump will have little chance of gaining any serious accomplishment against Iran. But if Biden wins, he will act better in forging consensus against Iran,” Marandi asserts.

Despite his bellicose rhetoric, Trump has indicated that he doesn’t want a war with Iran, and he has employed military intervention far less than his recent predecessors. However, there is no guarantee he will follow this same strategy in his second term, worrying many.

“Since he doesn’t need voters’ support in his second term, the possibility of military confrontation with Iran increases,” suggests Afshar Soleimani, an Iranian political analyst.

With that in mind, a Trump victory may cause Iran to ultimately lean towards a more aggressive approach: ditching the landmark nuclear deal and boosting the controversial missile program. Much to the chagrin of the US, Iran is now allowed to export arms after a 13-year old ban was just lifted under the JCPOA. Houthis in Yemen and Lebanon’s Hezbollah top the list of allies whom Iran may supply with weapons.

The best option to enforce this type of a change to foreign policy could be a president who has served in the military.

Military-turned president in the making?

This should be viewed as a major strategic shift as the Islamic Republic has always had a civilian president.

“This position should be run by a strategic individual who has a better military and security expertise to take on a pivotal role in the strategic management of the country,” says Hossein Allahkaram, a conservative pundit and former IRGC officer.

There are mounting speculations that former defense minister and IRGC commander General Hossein Dehqan may run for president in the 2021 election. A senior military advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Dehqan has already served in the defense ministry in the Khatami and Rouhani administrations. He also headed the key Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs during Ahmadinejad’s first term.

But the vital question is whether Iranian society is ready to accept a military commander as president?

“This depends on the national strategy. A military president is not likely to win a landslide victory,” says reformist analyst Mohammad Sadeq Javadi Hessari. “This could be an option by conservatives to take advantage when low voter turnout is expected,” he crucially emphasizes.

Iranians have already indicated that they have great reverence for their military commanders – millions turned out in nationwide funerals and commemorations after Soleimani was killed.

For many Iranians Trump’s re-election means more tensions with the US are certain. With low voter turnout expected, a soldier-turned president could be an option unless Washington’s “maximum pressure” stops before Iran’s June 18th presidential vote.

Such a choice could even work with Biden as president: It could pressure the White House to not set impossible preconditions for returning to the JCPOA, or not attempt to keep the sanctions in place as leverage.

What’s certain is that the new US president will have little chance to negotiate a new deal with outgoing Iranian president Rouhani, whose term ends in almost eight months.

Iranians will certainly be more demanding should they enter any talks with US again. They have lost their top general Soleimani and incurred serious damages under Trump-era sanctions. They expect US compensation to be offered just to resume talks.

Opening the window of diplomacy seems to be more conceivable with Biden than Trump. The victor would be wise to remember that resistance is expected to remain an option for Iran – as usual – regardless of who is finally elected in the United States.

Social media’s erasure of Palestinians is a grim warning for our future

Jonathan Cook

26 October 2020 12:39 UTC 

Facebook, Google and Twitter are not neutral platforms. They control the digital public square to aid the powerful – and can cancel any of us overnight

Palestinian critics say Facebook has become ‘another face of occupation’ (AFP/File photo)

There is a growing unease that the decisions taken by social media corporations can have a harmful impact on our lives. These platforms, despite enjoying an effective monopoly over the virtual public square, have long avoided serious scrutiny or accountability. 

In a new Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, former Silicon Valley executives warn of a dystopian future. Google, Facebook and Twitter have gathered vast quantities of data on us to better predict and manipulate our desires. Their products are gradually rewiring our brains to addict us to our screens and make us more pliable to advertisers. The result, as we are consigned to discrete ideological echo chambers, is ever greater social and political polarisation and turmoil.

Western publics are waking up very belatedly to the undemocratic power social media wields over them

As if to underline the ever-tightening grip these tech corporations exert on our lives, Facebook and Twitter decided this month to openly interfere in the most contentious US presidential election in living memory. They censored a story that could harm the electoral prospects of Joe Biden, the Democratic challenger to incumbent President Donald Trump. 

Given that nearly half of Americans receive their news chiefly via Facebook, the ramifications of such a decision on our political life were not hard to interpret. In excising any debate about purported corruption and influence-peddling by Biden’s son, Hunter, carried out in his father’s name, these social media platforms stepped firmly into the role of authoritarian arbiter of what we are allowed to say and know. 

‘Monopoly gatekeeper’

Western publics are waking up very belatedly to the undemocratic power social media wields over them. But if we wish to understand where this ultimately leads, there is no better case study than the very different ways Israelis and Palestinians have been treated by the tech giants. 

The treatment of Palestinians online serves as a warning that it would be foolish indeed to regard these globe-spanning corporations as politically neutral platforms, and their decisions as straightforwardly commercial. This is to doubly misunderstand their role.How Facebook threatens vulnerable Muslim communities Read More »

Social media firms are now effectively monopolistic communication grids – similar to the electricity and water grids, or the phone network of a quarter of a century ago. Their decisions are therefore no longer private matters, but instead have huge social, economic and political consequences. That is part of the reason why the US justice department launched a lawsuit last week against Google for acting as a “monopoly gatekeeper for the internet”. 

Google, Facebook and Twitter have no more a right to arbitrarily decide who and what they host on their sites than telecoms companies once had a right to decide whether a customer should be allowed a phone line. But unlike the phone company, social media corporations control not just the means of communication, but the content too. They can decide, as the Hunter Biden story shows, whether their customers get to participate in vital public debates about who leads them.

The Hunter Biden decision is as if the phone company of old not only listened in to conversations, but was able to cut the line if it did not like the politics of any particular customer. 

In fact, it is even worse than that. Social media now deliver the news to large sections of the population. Their censoring of a story is more akin to the electricity company turning off the power to everyone’s homes for the duration of a TV broadcast to ensure no one can see it.

Censorship by stealth

The tech giants are the wealthiest, most powerful corporations in human history, their riches measured in hundreds of billions, and now trillions, of dollars. But the argument that they are apolitical – aiming simply to maximise profits – was never true. 

They have every reason to promote politicians who side with them by committing not to break up their monopolies or regulate their activities, or, better still, by promising to weaken controls that might prevent them from growing even more fabulously rich and powerful. 

Social media algorithms help drive decisions on content removal (AFP/File photo)
Social media algorithms help drive decisions on content removal (AFP/File photo)

Conversely, the tech giants also have every incentive to use the digital space to penalise and marginalise political activists who urge greater regulation either of their activities, or of the marketplace more generally. 

Unlike their explicit deletion of the Hunter Biden story, which incensed the Trump administration, social media corporations more usually censor by stealth. That power is wielded through algorithms, the secret codes that decide whether something or someone appears in a search result or on a social media feed. If they desire, these tech titans can cancel any one of us overnight. 

This is not just political paranoia. The disproportionate impact of algorithm changes on “left-leaning” websites – those most critical of the neoliberal system that has enriched social media corporations – was highlighted this month by the Wall Street Journal. 

Wrong kinds of speech

Politicians increasingly understand the power of social media, which is why they want to harness it as best they can for their own ends. Since the shock of Trump’s election victory in late 2016, Facebook, Google and Twitter executives have regularly found themselves dragged before legislative oversight committees in the US and UK.

There, they are ritually rebuked by politicians for creating a crisis of “fake news” – a crisis that, in fact, long predated social media, as the deceptions of US and UK officials in linking Saddam Hussein to 9/11 and claiming that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” testify to only too clearly. 

The online fate of Palestinians points to a future in which the already-powerful will gain ever greater control over what we know and what we are allowed to think

Politicians have also begun holding internet corporations responsible for “foreign interference” in western elections – typically blamed on Russia – despite a dearth of serious evidence for most of their allegations

Political pressure is being exerted not to make the corporations more transparent and accountable, but to steer them towards enforcing even more assiduously restrictions on the wrong kinds of speech – whether it be violent racists on the right or critics of capitalism and western government policy on the left.

For that reason, social media’s original image as a neutral arena of information sharing, or as a tool for widening public debate and increasing civic engagement, or as a discourse leveller between the rich and powerful and weak and marginalised, grows ever more hollow.

Separate digital rights

Nowhere are ties between tech and state officials more evident than in their dealings with Israel. This has led to starkly different treatment of digital rights for Israelis and Palestinians. The online fate of Palestinians points to a future in which the already-powerful will gain ever greater control over what we know and what we are allowed to think, and over who is visible and who is erased from public life.

Israel was well-positioned to exploit social media before most other states had recognised its importance in manipulating popular attitudes and perceptions. For decades, Israel had, in part, outsourced an official programme of hasbara – or state propaganda – to its own citizens and supporters abroad. As new digital platforms emerged, these partisans were only too willing to expand their role.Facebook accused of censoring Palestinians under pretext of fighting hate speech Read More »

Israel had another advantage. After the 1967 occupation of the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, Israel began crafting a narrative of state victimhood by redefining antisemitism to suggest it was now a particular affliction of the left, not the right. So-called “new antisemitism” did not target Jews, but related instead to criticism of Israel and support for Palestinian rights. 

This highly dubious narrative proved easy to condense into social media-friendly soundbites. 

Israel still routinely describes any Palestinian resistance to its belligerent occupation or its illegal settlements as “terrorism”, and any support from other Palestinians as “incitement”. International solidarity with Palestinians is characterised as “delegitimisation” and equated with antisemitism. 

‘Flood the internet’

As far back as 2008, it emerged that a pro-Israel media lobby group, Camera, had been orchestrating covert efforts by Israel loyalists to infiltrate the online encyclopedia Wikipedia to edit entries and “rewrite history” in ways favourable to Israel. Soon afterwards, politician Naftali Bennett helped organise courses teaching “Zionist editing” of Wikipedia. 

In 2011, the Israeli army declared social media a new “battleground” and assigned “cyber warriors” to wage combat online. In 2015, Israel’s foreign ministry set up an additional command centre to recruit young, tech-savvy former soldiers from 8200, the army’s cyber intelligence unit, to lead the battle online. Many have gone on to establish hi-tech firms whose spying software became integral to the functioning of social media.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a 2019 cyber industry conference in Tel Aviv (AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a 2019 cyber industry conference in Tel Aviv (AFP)

An app launched in 2017, Act.IL, mobilised Israel partisans to “swarm” sites hosting either criticism of Israel or support for Palestinians. The initiative, supported by Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, was headed by veterans of Israeli intelligence services. 

According to the Forward, a US Jewish weekly, Israel’s intelligence services liaise closely with Act.IL and request help in getting content, including videos, removed by social media platforms. The Forward observed shortly after the app was rolled out: “Its work so far offers a startling glimpse of how it could shape the online conversations about Israel without ever showing its hand.”

Sima Vaknin-Gil, a former Israeli military censor who was then assigned to Israel’s strategic affairs ministry, said the goal was to “create a community of fighters” whose job was to “flood the internet” with Israeli propaganda

Willing allies

With advantages measured in personnel numbers and ideological zeal, in tech and propaganda experience, and in high-level influence in Washington and Silicon Valley, Israel was soon able to turn social media platforms into willing allies in its struggle to marginalise Palestinians online.  

In 2016, Israel’s justice ministry was boasting that Facebook, Google and YouTube were “complying with up to 95 percent of Israeli requests to delete content”, almost all of it Palestinian. The social media companies did not confirm this figure.

The Anti-Defamation League, a pro-Israel lobby group with a history of smearing Palestinian organisations and Jewish groups critical of Israel, established a “command centre” in Silicon Valley in 2017 to monitor what it termed “online hate speech”. That same year, it was appointed a “trusted flagger” organisation for YouTube, meaning its reporting of content for removal was prioritised. 

Tech corporations are now the undeclared, profit-driven arbiters of our speech rights. But their commitment is not to open and vigorous public debate

At a 2018 conference in Ramallah hosted by 7amleh, a Palestinian online advocacy group, local Google and Facebook representatives barely hid their priorities. It was important to their bottom line to avoid upsetting governments with the power to constrain their commercial activities – even if those governments were systematically violating international law and human rights. In this battle, the Palestinian Authority carries no weight at all. Israel presides over Palestinians’ communications and internet infrastructure. It controls the Palestinian economy and its key resources.

Since 2016, Israel’s justice ministry has reportedly suppressed tens of thousands of Palestinian posts. In a completely opaque process, Israel’s own algorithms detect content it deems “extremist” and then requests its removal. Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested by Israel over social media posts, chilling online activity. 

Human Rights Watch warned late last year that Israel and Facebook were often blurring the distinction between legitimate criticism of Israel and incitement. Conversely, as Israel has shifted ever further rightwards, the Netanyahu government and social media platforms have not stemmed a surge of posts in Hebrew promoting anti-Palestinian incitement and calling for violence. 7amleh has noted that Israelis post racist or inciteful material against Palestinians roughly every minute. 

News agencies shut down

As well as excising tens of thousands of Palestinian posts, Israel has persuaded Facebook to take down the accounts of major Palestinian news agencies and leading journalists. 

By 2018, the Palestinian public had grown so incensed that a campaign of online protests and calls to boycott Facebook were led under the hashtag “FBcensorsPalestine”. In Gaza, demonstrators accused the company of being “another face of occupation”. Leila Khaled shutdown shows how corporate tech is enemy of free speechRead More »

Activism in solidarity with Palestinians in the US and Europe has been similarly targeted. Ads for films, as well as the films themselves, have been taken down and websites removed. 

Last month, Zoom, a video conferencing site that has boomed during the Covid-19 pandemic, joined YouTube and Facebook in censoring a webinar organised by San Francisco State University because it included Leila Khaled, an icon of the Palestinian resistance movement now in her seventies.

On Friday, Zoom blocked a second scheduled appearance by Khaled – this time in a University of Hawaii webinar on censorship – as well as a spate of other events across the US to protest against her cancellation by the site. A statement concerning the day of action said campuses were “joining in the campaign to resist corporate and university silencing of Palestinian narratives and Palestinian voices”.

The decision, a flagrant attack on academic freedom, was reportedly taken after the social media groups were heavily pressured by the Israeli government and anti-Palestinian lobby groups, which labelled the webinar “antisemitic”.

Wiped off the map

The degree to which the tech giants’ discrimination against Palestinians is structural and entrenched has been underscored by the years-long struggle of activists both to include Palestinian villages on online maps and GPS services, and to name the Palestinian territories as “Palestine”, in accordance with Palestine’s recognition by the United Nations. 

That campaign has largely floundered, even though more than a million people have signed a petition in protest. Both Google and Apple have proved highly resistant to these appeals; hundreds of Palestinian villages are missing from their maps of the occupied West Bank, while Israel’s illegal settlements are identified in detail, accorded the same status as the Palestinian communities that are shown. 

New houses are built in the Nokdim settlement in the occupied West Bank on 13 October (AFP)
New houses being built in the Nokdim settlement in the occupied West Bank on 13 October (AFP)

The occupied Palestinian territories are subordinated under the name “Israel”, while Jerusalem is presented as Israel’s unified and undisputed capital, just as Israel claims – making the occupation of the Palestinian section of the city invisible. 

These are far from politically neutral decisions. Israeli governments have long pursued a Greater Israel ideology that requires driving Palestinians off their lands. This year, that dispossession programme was formalised with plans, backed by the Trump administration, to annex swathes of the West Bank. 

Google and Apple are effectively colluding in this policy by helping to erase Palestinians’ visible presence in their homeland. As two Palestinian scholars, George Zeidan and Haya Haddad, recently noted: “When Google and Apple erase Palestinian villages from their navigation, but proudly mark settlements, the effect is complicity in the Israeli nationalist narrative.” 

Out of the shadows

Israel’s ever-tightening relationship with social media corporations has played out largely behind the scenes. But these ties moved decisively out of the shadows in May, when Facebook announced that its new oversight board would include Emi Palmor, one of the architects of Israel’s online repression policy towards Palestinians. 

Palestinians know only too well how easy it is for technology to diminish and disappear the voices of the weak and oppressed, and to amplify the voices of the powerful

The board will issue precedent-setting rulings to help shape Facebook’s and Instagram’s censorship and free speech policies. But as the former director-general of the justice ministry, Palmor has shown no commitment to online free speech. Quite the reverse: she worked hand-in-hand with the tech giants to censor Palestinian posts and shut down Palestinian news websites. She oversaw the transformation of her department into what the human rights organisation Adalah has called the Orwellian “Ministry of Truth”. 

Tech corporations are now the undeclared, profit-driven arbiters of our speech rights. But their commitment is not to open and vigorous public debate, online transparency or greater civic engagement. Their only commitment is to the maintenance of a business environment in which they avoid any regulation by major governments infringing on their right to make money.

The appointment of Palmor perfectly illustrates the corrupting relationship between government and social media. Palestinians know only too well how easy it is for technology to diminish and disappear the voices of the weak and oppressed, and to amplify the voices of the powerful. 

Many more of us could soon find ourselves sharing the online fate of Palestinians.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.Jonathan CookJonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth since 2001, is the the author of three books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is a past winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His website and blog can be found at: http://www.jonathan-cook.net

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ابراهيم الأمين 

الإثنين 2 تشرين الثاني 2020

الإقبال الكبير على الانتخابات في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، يقابله إقبال كبير في كل العالم على متابعة هذا الحدث. صحيح أنه منذ سنوات طويلة، ينظر العالم كله بعين القلق الى من سيكون رئيس أميركا، لكن هذه المرّة، يتصرّف البشر كأن مصيرهم عالق على نتيجة التصويت. إنها معضلة العلاقة الإلزامية بالممسك بمفاتيح أساسية لحياة مليارات البشر في العالم. وإذا كان الأميركيون لديهم حساباتهم الخاصة لتقرير من يفضّلون، فإن البشرية تتصرّف بتوتر ناجم عن كونها محرومة من إلقاء الورقة في صندوق سيختار من له دور أساسي في مستقبلهم. في هذه اللحظة، يتصرف البشر مثل قاطني بيروت من غير «سكانها الأصليين»، أي الذين لا يقدرون على اختيار مجلسها البلدي الذي يدير أمورهم اليومية. ها نحن الآن، نحسب لأنفسنا دوراً في هذه الانتخابات.

ولأننا كذلك، نختلق عناوين ونقاشات ومتابعات لما يحصل هناك، على قاعدة أنّ لنا رأينا بما سيحصل. وكما أن في أميركا انقساماً كبيراً في الرأي، فعند المواطنين غير المسجلين في كل الكرة الأرضية انقساماتهم أيضاً. المتماهون مع التجربة الأميركية، والراغبون بعيش الحلم الأميركي، يريدون فوز جو بايدن. غالبية هؤلاء يعتقدون أن بايدن سيعزز الطريقة الأميركية كما كانت عليه قبل مجيء ترامب، وأن المسألة تتعلق بشخص ترامب. ولذلك، يفترضون أنه كما يغيّر الرئيس الجديد أعضاء إدارته، فإن بايدن، في حال فوزه، سيعيد أميركا الى ما كانت عليه قبل وصول ترامب.

وجلّ هؤلاء يفكرون بأن ابتسامات الديموقراطيين ستعيد الألق الى صورة أميركا في العالم. هم مثل أبناء المدن الأميركية الكبرى، الذين يريدون رئيساً لا يكون مصدر سباب وشتيمة لهم. لكن هؤلاء يقيسون الأمر من زاوية تأثير الانتخابات على تواصلهم المباشر مع هذه البلاد. هؤلاء، مثلاً، يعتبرون أن سياسات أميركا الداخلية أو الخارجية ستكون أقل فظاظة لو أتى بايدن. وهؤلاء يخجلون بترامب كخجلهم بحكام بلادهم في العالم. هم يفضّلون النسخة المهذبة عن الرجل الأبيض. لكنهم يرفضون أي نقاش حول عقل بايدن، بل يريدون حسم الأمر عند حدود سلوكه.

ثمة في العالم من يؤيد السياسات الأميركية في الخارج. وثمة في العالم مَن يريد أن تبقى أميركا قائدة العالم. وهؤلاء يحسمون أن كل شيء جيد لن يكون جيداً إذا لم يكن مصدره أميركا… فكرة أو سيارة أو تكنولوجيا أو أي شيء. وهؤلاء لا يروقُهم أن يكون هناك نقاش واسع حول من يحكم أميركا، والغالبية من هؤلاء تكره ترامب، لكنها لا تنتقد سياساته، بل تقف عند سلوكه. وكأن الأمر سيكون على صورة أخرى، لو أن رئيس أميركا جاء وسرق أموال العرب مثلاً، لكن مع ابتسامات وكلام لطيف. أمّا أن يسرق أموالنا و«يبهدلنا» فهذا كثير…

لكن في العالم فئة أخرى تكره أميركا. وتعريف الكره يجب ألّا يكون محاطاً برهاب التمييز بين الحاكم والمحكوم وكل الزعبرات التي تسبق عادة كلمة «ولكن»: نعم هناك حكومة منتخبة رديئة، ولكن… صحيح أن الشعب الأميركي هو من اختار هذا الرئيس ولكن… الأخطاء التي ترتكب في العالم مسؤولية المجتمع الأميركي ولكن…!

لندع هذه الـ«ولكن» جانباً، ولنعد الى رأي خصوم أميركا، خصوم النظام الاقتصادي والسياسي والتعليمي والثقافي والعلمي والبيئي والصحي والسلوكي والديني والإثني وكل ما يتعلق بهذه الدولة. لأن الأمر هنا لا يبقى متعلقاً بحسابات من ينتظر الأعاجيب والمعجزات.

شعوب الجنوب، ومن غير البيض، يعانون الأمرّين منذ عشرات السنين إن لم يكن أكثر. ومصدر معاناتهم الدور المركزي الذي قام به الغرب، سواء عندما قادته أوروبا أو عندما تولّته أميركا. العقل نفسه، والأهداف نفسها، والغاية نفسها التي تختصر بسلبنا كل شيء. حريتنا وقدرتنا على التفكير قبل ثرواتنا وبلادنا. وهذا الغرب، هو الذي أنتج العقل التسلطي بكل صوره البشعة، وبكل قتله العشوائي الذي أصاب ملايين البشر، وهو العقل الذي يمنح قلة متعجرفة، حق التفوق والتصرف من دون محاسبة أو مساءلة. وهو العقل الذي لا يزال يحكم من بيده الأمر في قلب أميركا وقلب الغرب عامةً. وهو عقل فيه كل شيء من الشر. نظريات دينية وحضارية وثقافية وعنصرية متعددة الألوان، وتجاهل مستمر لحقوق الآخر. ولأن هذا الغرب تقوده أميركا اليوم، فإن مصلحة أهل الجنوب هي في انهيار النظام الحاكم في قلب أميركا. وربما يرى البعض جنوناً في الاعتقاد بأن خلاص العالم يبدأ بانهيار هذا الكيان الذي اسمه الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، وانهيار كل النظام الحاكم في أوروبا الغربية.

ما يعنينا هو هذه التمنّيات بأن تفيق أميركا على واقع سياسي يزيد من أزماتها الداخلية، ويعقّد من آليات الحكم فيها


ولأننا على هذا النحو، يجب أن يُسمح لنا بأن نتصرّف إزاء الانتخابات الأميركية من دون وهم صاحب الحق بالاقتراع. كل ما لدينا هنا هو مجرد آمال، بمعزل عن توافقها مع التقديرات أو التوقعات. في هذه اللحظة، ما يعنينا هو هذه التمنّيات، بأن تفيق أميركا على واقع سياسي يزيد من أزماتها الداخلية، ويعقّد من آليات الحكم فيها، ويجعل اقتصادها أكثر تعثّراً، وسوقها أقل رواجاً، وانقساماتها أكثر حدّة، وخلافاتها أكثر توتراً… ما سبق يحتاج إلى التجديد للأهبل الأكبر دونالد ترامب. الأهبل الذي يناسبنا ولو ألقى المزيد من القنابل فوق رؤوسنا. فهو مهما فعل، لن يزيد عما فعله أسلافه من «العقلاء». وإذا خسر ترامب، فالتمنيات أن تكون خسارته غير جليّة، فينعقد الخلاف حول البتّ بها. وليحصل ما يحصل. ولأن الأمر على هذا النحو، فإن كل كلام وتنظير آخر هو مجرد كلام من أشخاص أو جهات يتوهّمون أن لهم دوراً في صناعة القرار في أميركا، وهم في حقيقة الأمر يريدون لأميركا ما يرونه، من زاويتهم، أنه الأصح. عملياً، هم يتمنّون أيضاً. وهم مثلنا، من مواطني هذه الدولة المنتشرين في كل أرجاء المعمورة، ممن لا يملكون حق التصويت. ولأنهم كذلك، ليتوقفوا لحظة عن تلبّس شخصية الرجل الأبيض وهم يتحدثون الى شعوبهم.

5 Reasons Why You Should Buy A Gun Before the 2020 Elections

October 31, 2020

Guess what? Russia also interferes in Kiwi elections!

Can You Smell What the Chinese Are Cooking?

ZENITH NEWS -Can You Smell What the Chinese Are Cooking?

Pepe Escobar

Independent geopolitical analyst, writer and journalist

October 30, 2020©

Less than a week before the game-changing U.S. presidential election, the real heart of the geopolitical and geoeconomic action is virtually invisible to the outside world.

We’re talking about the fifth plenum of the 19th Chinese Communist Party (CPC) Central Committee, which started this past Monday in Beijing.

The plenum congregates the 200 members – and another 100 alternate members – of the civilization-state’s top decision-making body: the equivalent, in Western liberal democracy terms, of the Chinese Congress.

The outline of what will be the 14th Chinese Five-Year-Plan (2021-2025) will be announced with a communiqué at the end of the plenum this Thursday. Policy details will be streaming in the next few weeks. And everything will be formally approved by the National People’s Congress (NPC) in March 2021.

For all practical purposes, this should be regarded as what China’s leadership is really thinking.

Meet “China’s system”

President Xi has been quite busy, delivering an extensive work report; a draft of the five-year plan; and a full outline of China’s top targets all the way to 2035.

Xi has been forcefully stressing a “dual circulation” strategy for China; to increase the focus on the domestic economy while balancing it with foreign trade and investment.

Actually a better definition, translated from Mandarin, is “double development dynamics”. In Xi’s own words, the aim is to “facilitate better connectivity between domestic and foreign markets for more resilient and sustainable growth”.

One spectacular achievement we already know about is that Xi’s goal for China to reach the status of a “moderately prosperous society” has been met in 2020, even under Covid-19. Extreme poverty has been eliminated.

The next step is to deal long-term with the absolutely critical issues of crisis of global trade; less demand for Chinese products; and varying degrees of volatility caused by the unstoppable rise of China.

The key priority for Beijing is the domestic economy – in tandem with reaching key tech targets to enhance China’s high-quality development. That implies building high-end, integrated supply chains. And then there’s the tortuous road of implementing necessary institutional reforms.

Crucially, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is “guiding” companies to invest in core technology; that means semiconductors, 5G applications, the Internet of Things (IoT), integrated circuits, biomedicine.

So everything is, once again, all about the Chip War – which is at the heart of AI, 5G, supercomputing, quantum computing, material science, biotechnology, new energy vehicles and space science.

China’s leadership is very much aware that the real high stakes revolve around the next generation of chip technology.

Enter the concept of China’s system: or how to fight the “U.S.-initiated cold war in high technology”.

“China’s system” has been developed by IT expert Ni Guangnan. It aims to “replace U.S. technologies in core areas including the key IT infrastructure, in which the U.S.-led IOE system, an acronym for an IT network based on major three supplies – IBM, Intel and Oracle – have the monopoly. With self-developed servers, database and storage, the system could be based on chipsets with lower performance with no need for 14-nanometer (nm) or 7-nanometer chip fabrication – prime targets of the U.S.-led crackdown.”

Various calculations in China roughly agree that by the end of this year the economy is set to be 72% the size of the U.S.’s. The State Council forecasts that the Chinese economy will overtake the EU in 2027 and the U.S. by 2032.

But if measured by PPP (purchasing power parity), as both the IMF and The Economist have already admitted, China is already the world’s largest economy.

The fifth plenum once again reiterates all the goals inbuilt in Made in China 2025. But there’s more: an emphasis on the “2035 vision” – when China should be positioned as a global tech leader.

The “2035 Vision” concerns the halfway point between where we are now and the ultimate target in 2049. By 2035 China should be a fully modernized, socialist nation and a superpower especially in science and technology and Defense.

Xi had already stressed it way back in 2017: China will “basically” realize “socialist modernization” by 2035. To get there, the Politburo is seeking an extremely ambitious synthesis of “scale, speed, quality, efficiency and safety”.

Beyond Westphalia

Considering that the Trump administration has been engaged on a relentless offensive since May 2018, it was only since last July that the CCP leadership has been consistently preparing China for what it considers a lengthy and fierce struggle with the U.S.

That has elicited quite a few comparisons with what the Little Helmsman Deng Xiaoping referred about Mao Zedong in 1938. Mao at the time said that China should “be on the defensive first before gathering enough strength to fight to a strategic stand-off and eventually win the ‘protracted war’” against the Japanese invasion.

Now we have a weiqi strategy all over again. Beijing will only launch what amounts to a concerted counterpunch across the chessboard when it’s able to close the tech gap and establish its own domestic and global supply chains completely independent from the U.S.

Beijing will need a major soft power P.R. operation to show the world how its drive in science and technology is aimed as a global good, with all humanity benefiting, irrespective of nations. The Chinese Covid-19 vaccine should be setting the example.

In a recent podcast discussing one of my latest columns on Lanxin Xiang’s book The Quest for Legitimacy in Chinese Politics,

Brazilian China expert Elias Jabbour came up with a stunning formulation.

Jabbour echoed top Chinese scholars when he stressed China won’t behave as an aggressive Westphalian state: “The subversion of Westphalia by China came from the fact it incorporated the Russian Revolution to 1949. China is laying out for the future an order that may subvert Westphalia.”

So what we have here is that the foremost concept of Xi’s China – whose best English translation reads as “community with a shared future for humanity” – is actually the subversion of Westphalia. A subversion from within.

Jabbour reminds us that when Mao said that only socialism may save China, he meant save it from the treaty of Westphalia, which facilitated the dismemberment of China during the “century of humiliation.”

So in the end a strategic marriage between Marx and Confucius in Xi’s China is more than feasible, transcending geopolitics as we know it, which was born as a national ideology in France, Germany and Britain.

It’s as if Xi was trying, as Jabbour noted, to “go back to original Marxism as a leftist Hegelianism”, geared towards internationalism, and mixing it with the Confucius view of tianxa, “all under heaven”. That’s the master idea behind “community with a shared future for humanity.”

One can always dream that another world is indeed possible: think of a cultural renaissance of the overwhelming majority of the Global South, with a fruitful cross-fertilization of China and Asian economies, the evolving decolonization struggle of Latin America, and the weight of the African diaspora.

But first, the next Chinese five-year plan has got to roll.

Corbyn and the Tyranny of Correctness

 BY GILAD ATZMON

corbyn.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

Liberal film maker Michael Moore, who in 2016 predicted Donald Trump’s electoral victory, is again interfering with the premature celebration over Biden’s victory.

 Yesterday, just  five days before the election, Moore sounded the alarm, strongly suggesting that the polls showing Biden with a comfortable lead over Trump are not accurate. 

In a TV interview Moore said: “The Trump vote is always being undercounted. Pollsters- when they actually call the Trump voter, the Trump voter is very suspicious of the ‘Deep State’ calling them and asking them who they’re voting for.”

 Moore is devastated by the thought that Trump may continue residing at the same address for another four years, but that does not affect the acuity of his observation. In this peculiar world, a large proportion of Americans are reluctant to admit their support for the elected president. This is not just an American phenomenon. Many Brits won’t admit that they voted Brexit and would probably vote Brexit again. Many Brits wouldn’t admit that they supported the Tories but when they voted, they served up the Labour party its biggest blow in its electoral history. The same happened in Israel’s recent elections. Netanyahu performed far better on election day than in the pollsters’ predictions. The explanation given in Israel was that his voters do not tell the truth to pollsters.

History provides us with a manifold of occasions in which the masses pretended to support the regime, the ruling party or a tyrant. What we  see in the West currently is the opposite. A large segment of the public is actually fearful of the opposition, of those who are committed to ‘liberate’ them from their ‘crypto fascist’ rulers in the name of ‘liberal values’ and ‘freedom.’

Americans aren’t fearful of Trump, his party, the intelligence services, the NSA, the FBI or the CIA.  They are actually afraid of the ‘progressive’ social media giants and their ‘community standards’. In the USA much of the mainstream media  isn’t shy of being one sided and  blatantly conceals  news that may present the presidential challenger in a negative light. It is even more disturbing that many Americans appear to be fearful of the opposition and its powers over them. This suggests that America isn’t even remotely a free place. In America, as in Britain, the opposition has evolved into a dark, authoritarian force.

What is at the core of this authoritarian shift?  The so-called Left; ‘liberals’ and ‘progressives’ are totally removed from the cultural and political core values that made the Left into a meaningful argument. The level of detachment is so severe that most Leftists, progressives and liberals don’t even remember what those values are. The so-called Left has failed to adapt to the new reality. They, evidently,  seek political  power, but they fail to provide a plan that would make the world a slightly better place. It doesn’t take a genius to point at Trump’s dysfunctional operation as much as it is easy to point at Boris Johnson’s comical cabinet but what is it that the opposition offers instead? I would have liked to say ‘not a lot,’ but the answer is actually ‘nothing at all.’

The humiliating crash of Jeremy Corbyn is probably the most useful window into the evaporation of Left and progressive politics on both sides of the Atlantic. When Corbyn was elected to lead the Labour Party in September 2015, he was regarded as a principled Left ideological icon, a man who had supported the oppressed throughout his entire political career: even those who did not support him agreed that Corbyn was Britain’s leading anti racist. Within days of  Corbyn’s nomination as the Labour PM candidate, Corbyn displayed all the traits of a rock star. Millions of young Brits and others around the world saw him as a hero of justice and offered themselves as his avant-garde in his battle for justice and against austerity.

Yesterday, the same Corbyn was subject to the final humiliating blow. He was suspended from the party he led until a few months ago. What happened between 2015 and 2020?  

As soon as Corbyn assumed the lead of Labour both he and his party were subject to relentless attacks by the Israel Lobby and British Jewish Institutions. One after another, Corbyn’s closest allies were targeted. Corbyn didn’t stand up for any of them, or if he did, he made sure to conceal his intervention. Thousands of Labour members were suspended and expelled from the Party for criticising Israel, its lobby, or noting any exceptionalist aspects of Jewish political culture. But throughout the witch hunt, Corbyn remained silent. And when it came to politics, Corbyn couldn’t take a firm position on Brexit or any other matter. It took Corbyn only four years to waste the huge support he had initially  and to reduce his party into a tragic act. In those four years, the British Labour Party explored every authoritarian method. It harassed and collected private information about its members, it even spied on its members’ social media accounts.  It operated in concert with the police and the Israel lobby against its own precious members. During all that time while Corbyn was the leader of the party,  not once did he act as a  leader and stand  up and call for a stop to the madness.  

Corbyn was suspended yesterday following his reaction to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) verdict that Labour had broken the law in its handling of antisemitism complaints during the period when Mr Corbyn was in charge.

No one in the treacherous British press dared mention it, but the meaning of this suspension is that even the ex-leader of the Labour party, a person who was a PM candidate last December, is not allowed to express his personal views. All he is allowed to do is to follow the script. Clearly it isn’t just the masses who are terrorised by tyranny of correctness, even the Labour Party and its leadership are subject to the most authoritarian proscriptions. They are commanded to follow a script. The only question that remains open  is who writes the script and who translates it into English?

But the absurdity is even greater. The EHRC was formed by the Labour government back in 2007. Its non-official task was to tackle right wing racism in an attempt to interfere with the British National Front. From its inception, the EHRC was designed to police thought and speech. Looking at Corbyn and the damage the Labour party inflicted on itself, the chickens have come home to roost. Labour has been beaten by the dictatorial machine it invented to police its political enemies.

We do not yet know who is going to win the USA presidential election. But even if Biden wins, it is impossible to deny the fact that pretty much every second American voter believes that Trump is the better man to lead the country. The same applies in Britain, even if Labour had won the last election, every second Brit believes that Brexit is the right way forward.

I believe that if there is anything left out of the Athenian spirit and Christian ethos that made the West into a precious civilization that inspired others, it is that we must  ‘love our neighbour.’  In 2020 loving your neighbour means to agree to disagree, to see a human and humanity in each other. To love your neighbour is to search for that which unites us and to stand firm against those who break us into biological identitarian segments separated by gender, skin colour, sexual orientation etc. To love your neighbour in 2020 is to seek harmony.

The Left in its current authoritarian form cannot lead us towards this goal. It is an occupied zone. The Left needs a reset, it needs to delve into its metaphysical origin: into that unifying instinct that is also universal. Corbyn was a star when people believed that he really cared for ‘the many’ and not ‘the few.’ He evaporated as a political power when the many understood that he and his party were puppeteered by the very few.  

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A Dem Presidency means The Return of the Blob

A Dem Presidency means The Return of the Blob

October 30, 2020

by Pepe Escobar with permission and cross posted with Asia Times

What happens on November 3rd ? It’s like a larger than life replay of the famous Hollywood adage: “No one knows anything.”

The Dem strategy is crystal clear, spawned by the gaming of election scenarios embedded in the Transition Integrity Project and made even more explicit by one of TIP’s co-founders, a law professor at Georgetown University.

Hillary Clinton, bluntly, has already called it: Dems must re-take the White House by any and all means and under any and all circumstances.

And just in case, with a 5,000-word opus, she already positioned herself for a plum job.

As much as Dems have made it very clear they will never accept a Trump victory, the counterpunch was vintage Trump: he told the Proud Boys to “stand back” – as in no violence, for now – but crucially to “stand by”, as in “get ready”.

The stage is set for Kill Bill mayhem on November 3rd and beyond.

Say it ain’t so, Joe

Taking a cue from TIP, let’s game a Dem return to the White House – with the prospect of a President Kamala taking over sooner rather than later. That means, essentially, The Return of the Blob.

President Trump calls it “the swamp”. Former Obama Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes – a mediocre hack – at least coined the funkier “Blob”, applied to the incestuous Washington, DC foreign policy gang, think tanks, academia, newspapers (from the Washington Post to the New York Times), and that unofficial Bible, Foreign Affairs magazine.

A Dem presidency, right away, will need to confront the implications of two wars: Cold War 2.0 against China, and the interminable, trillion-dollar GWOT (Global War on Terror), renamed OCO (Overseas Contingency Operations) by the Obama-Biden administration.

Biden became the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1997 and was the chair in 2001-2003 and again in 2007-2009. He paraded as total Iraq War cheerleader – necessary, he maintained, as part of GWOT – and even defended a “soft partition” of Iraq, something that fierce nationalists, Sunni and Shi’ite, from Baghdad to Basra will never forget.

Obama-Biden’s geopolitical accomplishments include a drone war, or Hellfire missile diplomacy, complete with “kill lists”; the failed Afghan surge; the “liberation” of Libya from behind, turning it into a militia wasteland; the proxy war in Syria fought with “moderate rebels”; and once again leading from behind, the Saudi-orchestrated destruction of Yemen.

Tens of millions of Brazilians also will never forget that Obama-Biden legitimized the NSA spying and Hybrid War tactics that led to the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff ,the neutralization of former President Lula, and the evisceration of the Brazilian economy by comprador elites.

Among his former, select interlocutors, Biden counts warmonger former NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen – who supervised the destruction of Libya – and John Negroponte, who “organized” the contras in Nicaragua and then “supervised” ISIS/Daesh in Iraq – the crucial element of the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski strategy of instrumentalizing jihadis to do the empire’s dirty work.

It’s safe to game that a Biden-Harris administration will oversee a de facto NATO expansion encompassing parts of Latin America, Africa and the Pacific, thus pleasing the Atlanticist Blob.

In contrast, two near-certain redeeming features would be the return of the US to the JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal, which was Obama-Biden’s only foreign policy achievement, and re-starting nuclear disarmament negotiations with Russia. That would imply containment of Russia, not a new all-out Cold War, even as Biden has recently stressed, on the record, that Russia is the “biggest threat” to the US.

Woke Kamala in da house

Kamala Harris has been groomed to rise to the top from as early as the summer of 2017. Predictably, she is all for Israel – mirroring Nancy Pelosi (“if this Capitol crumbled to the ground, the one thing that would remain is our commitment to our aid…and I don’t even call it aid…our cooperation with Israel.”

Kamala is a hawk on Russia and North Korea; and she did not co-sponsor legislation to prevent war against Venezuela and, again, North Korea. Call her a quintessential Dem hawk.

Yet Kamala’s positioning is quite clever, reaching two diverse audiences: she totally fits into The Blob but with an added woke gloss (trendy sneakers, the advertised affection for hip hop). And as an extra bonus, she directly connects with the “Never Trumper” gang.

Never Trumper Republicans – operating especially in Think Tankland – totally infiltrated the Dem matrix. They are prime Blob material. The ultimate neo-con Never Trumper has got to be Robert Kagan, husband of Maidan cookie distributor Victoria “F**k the EU” Nuland; thus the running joke in many parts of West Asia, for years, about the “Kaganate of Nulandistan”.

Kagan, self-glorified and idolized as a star conservative intellectual, is of course one of the co-founders of the dreaded neo-con Project for the New American Century (PNAC). That subsequently translated into gleeful Iraq War cheerleading. Obama read his books in awe. Kagan forcefully backed Hillary in 2016. Needless to add, neo-cons of the Kagan variety are all rabidly anti-Iran.

On the money front, there’s the Lincoln Project , set up last year by a gang of current and former Republican strategists very close to, among others, Blob stars such as Daddy Bush and Dick Cheney. A handful of billionaires gleefully donated to this major anti-Trump super-PAC, including J. Paul Getty’s heir Gordon Getty, the heir of the Hyatt hotel empire John Pritzker, and Cargill heiress Gwendolyn Sontheim.

Those Three Harpies

The key Blob character in a putative Biden-Harris White House is Tony Blinken, former deputy national security adviser during Obama-Biden and arguably the next National Security Adviser.

That’s geopolitics – with an important addendum: former national security adviser Susan Rice, who was unceremoniously dropped from the Vice-President shortlist to Kamala’s profit, may become the next Secretary of State.

Rice’s possible contender is Senator Chris Murphy, who in a strategy document titled “Rethinking the Battlefield” predictably goes undiluted Obama-Biden: no “rethinking”, really, just rhetoric on fighting ISIS/Daesh and containing Russia and China.

Suave Tony Blinken used to work for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 2000s, so no wonder he’s been very close to Biden even before the first Obama-Biden term, when he rose to the top as deputy national security adviser and then, in the second term, as deputy Secretary of State.

Close to Blinken is Jake Sullivan, who under the protective wing of Hillary Clinton replaced Blinken as national security adviser in the second Obama-Biden term. He will have a top place either in the National Security Council or the State Department.

But what about The Three Harpies?

Many of you will remember The Three Harpies, as I coined them before the bombing and destruction of Libya, and again in 2016, when their remixed version’s push for a glorious sequel was rudely interrupted by Trump’s victory. When it comes to Return of the Blob, this is the 5K, 5G, IMAX version.

Of the three original Harpies, two – Hillary and Susan Rice – seem set to snatch a brand new power job. The plot thickens for Samantha Power, former US ambassador to the UN and the author of The Education of an Idealist, where we learn that such “idealist” rips Damascus and Moscow to shreds while totally ignoring the Obama-Biden drone offensive, kill lists, “leading from behind” weaponizing of al-Qaeda in Syria re-baptized as “moderate rebels”, and the relentless Saudi destruction of Yemen.

Samantha seems to be out. There’s a new Harpy in town. Which brings us to the real Queen of the Blob.

The Queen of the Blob

Michele Flournoy may be the epitome of the Return of the Blob: the quintessential, imperial functionary of what former CIA analyst Ray McGovern brilliant christened MICIMATT (the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank complex).

The ideal imperial functionary thrives on discretion: virtually no one knows Flournoy outside of the Blob, so that means the whole planet.

Flournoy is a former senior adviser to the Boston Consulting Group; the co-founder of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS); a senior fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Center; under secretary of Defense during Obama-Biden; favorite of top Harpy Hillary to be Pentagon chief after 2016; and once again favorite to become Pentagon chief after 2020.

The most delicious item on Flournoy’s CV is that she’s the co-founder of WestExec Advisors with none other than Tony Blinken.

Every Blob insider knows that WestExec happens to be the name of the street alongside the West Wing of the White House. In a Netflix plot, that would be the obvious hint that a short walk of fame straight into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue looms in the horizon for the star protagonists.

Flournoy, more than Blinken, turned WestExec into a certified hit in the Beltway MICIMATT profiting from virtually no P.R. and media blitzes, and talking exclusively to think tanks.

Here’s a crucial glimpse of Flournoy thinking. She clearly states that just a benign American deterrence towards China is a “miscalculation”. And it’s important to keep in mind that Flournoy is in fact the mastermind of the overall, failed Obama-Biden war strategy.

In a nutshell, Biden-Harris would mean The Return of the Blob with a vengeance. Biden-Harris would be Obama-Biden 3.0. Remember those seven wars. Remember the surges. Remember the kill lists. Remember Libya. Remember Syria. Remember “soft coup” Brazil. Remember Maidan. You have all been warned.

حدود التغيير في السياسة الخارجية الأميركية اذا فاز بايدن…

حسن حردان

مخطئ كثيرا من يعتقد أن تغييرا جوهريا سيطرأ على سياسة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية الخارجية، في حال فاز المرشح الديمقراطي جو بايدن، وخسر الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب، لكنه مخطئ أيضا اذا ما اعتقد انه لن تكون هناك فوارق واختلافات في طريقة مقاربة الأزمات والتعامل مع الوقائع والمستجدّات الإقليمية والدولية انطلاقا من النتائج التي افضت إليها سياسة استخدام القوة العسكرية والارهاب بالوكالة والحصار الاقتصادي والمالي والعقوبات.. والتي لم تفض إلى تحقيق هدف واشنطن في تعويم مشروع هيمنتها على العالم، وإنما كشفت ان للقوة الأميركية حدودا، لا سيما عندما تضرب بعرض الحائط مصالح الدول الكبرى، الخصوم منها والحلفاء.. وعندما تواجه ارادة الشعوب المقاومة الرافضة للهيمنة الاستعمارية الأميركية على غرار سورية وإيران وفنزويلا الخ…

فما هو الثابت في سياسة الحزبين الجمهوري والديمقراطي؟..

وما هي نقاط الاختلاف بينهما؟.

أولا، على صعيد الثوابت في السياسة الخارجية، يجب لفت النظر الى أن الحزبين الديمقراطي والجمهوري لا يختلفان في سعي الولايات المتحدة الى:

1 –

فرض الهيمنة الاستعمارية في العالم والتسيد والسيطرة والتحكم بالقرار الدولي، والعمل على نهب خيرات الدول والشعوب والتحكم بسياساتها بما يخدم مصالح كارتيلات الشركات الأميركية..

2 –

دعم كيان العدو الصهيوني سياسيا واقتصاديا وماليا وعسكريا وتمكينه من السيطرة على المنطقة، والتحول إلى المركز الذي تدور في فلكه جميع دول المنطقة في إطار ما اطلق على تسميته مشروع الشرق الأوسط الجديد الذي تهيمن فيه «إسرائيل» وتشكل نقطة الارتكاز والجذب والاستقطاب في المنطقة الذي ترتبط عبره بالمركز الاستعماري الغربي..

ثانيا، اما على صعيد أوجه الاختلاف والتباين، فإن الحزبين يختلفان في الأساليب والتكتيكات لتحقيق أهداف السياسة الاستعمارية الأميركية، وحماية ودعم «إسرائيل .. ويتمظهر هذا الخلاف في..

1 –

طربقة مواجهة الأزمات الدولية، ففي الوقت الذي يجنح فيه الحزب الجمهوري إلى استخدام القوة العسكرية الأميركية الصلبة، وتوظيف كل أسلحة القوة الأخرى في خدمتها لفرض السيطرة على الدول التي ترفض الخضوع للهيمنة الأميركية.. ويرفض فيه الحزب الجمهوري أي حلول أو تسويات تكتيكية في سياق التكيف مع المتغيرات وموازين القوى، عندما تصل سياسة استخدام القوة إلى طريق مسدود.. فإن الحزب الديمقراطي يتبع سياسة براغماتية، فهو يفضل المزج بين استخدام القوة العسكرية الصلبة والقوة الناعمة، وعندما يجد أن هناك صعوبة في تحقيق الأهداف الأميركية الاستعمارية لا يتوانى عن الدخول في تسويات مؤقتة وعقد الصفقات التكتيكية.. للخروج من المأزق. ٦ش

2 –

الموقف من الحلول المطروحة للصراع العربي الصهيوني.. الحزب الجمهوري يدعم بدون تحفظ، السياسة الإسرائيلية في سعيها إلى فرض الحل الصهيوني للصراع والقائم على رفض حل الدولتين، والعمل لفرض قيام الدولة الصهيونية العنصرية على كامل أرض فلسطين التاريخية.. ما عدا طبعا قطاع غزة، ومنح الفلسطينيين إدارة ذاتية في مناطق تواجدهم في إطار السيادة الصهيونية المطلقة والعمل على فرض ذلك بالقوة وإجبار الحكومات العربية على الاستسلام لهذا الحل الصهيوني والاعتراف بوجود «إسرائيل» كدولة صهيونية عنصرية والقبول باندماجها في المنطقة..

اما الحزب الديمقراطي فيرى أن مصلحة «إسرائيل» تكمن في قبول حل الدولتين، لأنه هو السبيل لضمان أمن واستقرار الكيان الصهيوني وتكريس شرعية وجوده ودمج «إسرائيل» في المنطقة لتتحول إلى مشروع طبيعي قادر على العيش من دون الحاجة الدائمة للمساعدات الأمريكية الغربية، التي هي أشبه بالمصل الذي يعطى للمريض الذي لا يستطيع الاستغناء عنه إلا إذا شفي تماما من مرضه العضال..اما رفض حل الدولتين فإنه سوف يؤدي إلى استمرار الصراع وتحول «إسرائيل» إلى نظام شبيه بنظام الفصل والتمييز العنصري الذي كان قائما في جنوب أفريقيا قبل سقوطه.. لأن «إسرائيل» لا تستطيع أن تحكم الشعب الفلسطيني في وطنه وحرمانه من إعطائه حق إقامة دولة كاملة، والاعتراف بوجوده، ولاسيما أن السنوات القليلة المقبلة سوف يصبح عدد الفلسطينيين في فلسطين التاريخية أكثر من عدد الإسرائيليين.. وهو ما كان حذر منه الرئيس الصهيوني السابق شيمون بيريز ووصفه بالقنبلة الديمغرافية ورأى الحل يكمن بالانفصال عن الفلسطينيين..

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الموقف من الاتفاق النووي الإيراني.. الحزب الديمقراطي في عهد الرئيس باراك أوباما، عندما أدرك ان استخدام القوة لضرب إيران وتدمير مفاعلها النووي ومرتكزات قوتها، فيه مخاطر كبرى على المصالح والقواعد العسكرية الأميركية في المنطقة وعلى» اسرائيل»، وأن الحصار المفروض على إيران، منذ اربعين عاما، لم يفلح في إخضاع طهران، عمد أوباما إلى خوض مفاوضات شاقة مع إيران، وبمشاركة الدول الأوروبية وروسيا والصين، تم في نهايتها التوصل إلى اتفاق بشأن البرنامج النووي الإيراني يتضمن موافقة إيران على اجراءات تضمن ابقاء برنامجها للأغراض السلمية، مقابل رفع العقوبات الدولية المفروضة عليها بشكل تدريجي..

أما الحزب الجمهوري، فبعد فوز ترامب في الانتخابات السابقة وتسلمه السلطة، سارع إلى الخروج من الاتفاق النووي والعودة إلى سياسة تشديد الحصار على إيران في محاولة لاجبارها على الموافقة على تعديل الاتفاق بما يحقق أهداف «إسرائيل»، مما وجه ضربة موجة لمصداقية الولايات المتحدة بشأن التزامها في الاتفاقيات الدولية التي توقع عليها..وقد أدت هذه السياسة إلى اضعاف النفوذ الأميركي في مجلس الأمن وجعل أميركا في حالة من العزلة عندما عجزت عن كسب التأييد إلى جانب مشاريعها التي قدمتها لتجديد العقوبات ضد إيران ومنع رفع حظر التسلح المفروض عليها.. ولم تجد إدارة ترامب أحدا حتى من حلفاء امريكا الأوروبيين يصوت إلى جانبها.. وقد زاد من حنق الدول الغربية إزاء واشنطن اقدام ترامب على شمولها في الحرب التجارية التي شنها ضد معظم دول العالم، ما دفع هذه الدول بما فيها أوروبا إلى اتخاذ إجراءات مماثلة.. وظهر اعتراض الحزب الديمقراطي على هذه السياسة الخارجية عبر اتهام بايدن ل ترامب بأنه أضعف مكانة أميركا الدولية وأحدث خللا كبيرا في علاقات أميركا مع حلفائها وأدى إلى اضطراب في السياسة الأميركية..

من هنا فإن بايدن اذا ما فاز يعتزم العمل على تصحيح هذه الأضرار التي أصابت الولايات المتحدة على المستوى الدولي نتيجة سياسات ترامب.. وبالتالي احتمال ان تعود إدارة بايدن إلى الالتزام بالاتفاق النووي الذي وقع في عهد أوباما وقد يكون مع بعض التعديلات الشكلية التي لا تمس جوهر الاتفاق لتبرير وإيجاد المخرج لهذه العودة.. لكن هذا مرهون بموافقة طهران على هذا المخرج.. كما من المتوقع أن يعمد بايدن إلى إعادة الدفء إلى العلاقات الأميركية الاوروبية، والتعامل البراغماتي مع كل من الصين وروسيا، لأن الديمقراطيين يدركون جيدا أن العلاقات مع بكين وموسكو محكومة بالمصالح المتداخلة اقتصاديا مع الصين، والتوافق لإيجاد تسويات مع موسكو في ساحات الصراع والاشتباك، غير المباشر، في المنطقة والعالم، انطلاقا من توازن القوى الذي رست عليه.. طالما أن حسم هذا الصراع بالذهاب إلى حرب عالمية ليس فيه مصلحة لأحد، لأن الحرب ستكون مدمرة للجميع، ولن يكون فيها منتصر، بل الكل سيكون خاسرا لكون الجميع يملك الأسلحة النووية وغير من الأسلحة المدمرة..

أما في حال فاز ترامب بولاية ثانية فإن استمراره في سياسته الحالية لن تكون نتائجها أفضل بالنسبة للولايات المتحدة بل ستزيد من تدهور مكانة أمريكا الدولية، وتضعف أكثر من حضورها خصوصا أن العالم يتجه أكثر فأكثر نحو التعددية والاستغناء عن أمريكا على ضوء تقدم الصين وتصدرها المرتبة الأولى كأكبر اقتصاد عالمي وتراجع أمريكا إلى المرتبة الثانية حسب تقرير اخير لصندوق النقد الدولي، مما يعتبر اول إقرار من أهم مؤسسة مالية عالمية تملك فيها واشنطن قدرة توجيه سياساتها المالية.

American Militarism Marches On: No Discussion or Media Coverage of Washington’s War Against the World

Philip Giraldi October 22, 2020

Nearly everyone has heard the comment attributed for former Clinton consigliere Rahm Emanuel that one should never let a good crisis go to waste. The implication of the comment is that if there is a major crisis going on the cover it provides permits one to do all sorts of things under the radar that would otherwise be unacceptable. That aphorism is particularly true in the current context as there are multiple crises taking place simultaneously, all of which are being exploited to various degrees by interested parties.

One of the more interesting stories carefully hidden by the smoke being generate by civil unrest, plague and personal scandals is the continued march of American militarism. The story is particularly compelling as neither main party candidate is bothering to talk about it and there is no discussion of foreign policy even planned for the final presidential debate. Last week eccentric multi billionaire Elon Musk announced that he and the Pentagon are developing a new 7,500 m.p.h. missile capable of delivering 80 tons of military cargo nearly anywhere in the world in under an hour. It would undoubtedly be a major advanced capability catering to those military planners who envision continued U.S. intervention worldwide for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, agreement on a new START treaty that would limit the proliferation of some hypersonic weapon systems is stalled because the White House wants to include China in any deal. Beijing is not interested, particularly as Donald Trump is also claiming that Beijing will pay for the multi-trillion dollar stimulus packages that the United States will ultimately require to combat the coronavirus “… because this was not caused by our workers and our people, this was caused by China and China will pay us back in one form or another. We’re gonna take it from China. I tell you now, it’s coming out of China. They’re the ones that caused this problem.”

Indeed, China and Russia continue to be the boogeymen trotted out regularly to scare Americans. Last week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s State Department issued a statement warning that “some foreign governments, such as those of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Russian Federation, seek to exert influence over U.S. foreign policy through lobbyists, external experts, and think tanks.” Why the statement was issued at this time, so close to elections is unclear, though it is possibly an attempt to line up possible scapegoats if the electoral process does not produce results acceptable to whomever loses. In fact, Russia and China hardly find a place on the list of those who fund lobbyists and think tanks.

Also of interest is another story about how Washington has chosen to interact with the world, one involving both enemy du jour Iran and Venezuela. Readers will undoubtedly recall how the United States seized in international waters four Greek owned but Liberian flagged tankers loaded with gasoline that were bound for Venezuela. The tankers were transporting more than a million gallons of fuel to economic basket case Venezuela, a country which is in its sad condition due to sanctions and other “maximum pressure” imposed by Washington, which has also sanctioned Venezuela’s own oil industry. The fuel was seized based on unilaterally imposed U.S. sanctions on Iranian sale or export of its own petroleum products, a move intended to strangle the Iranian economy and bring about an uprising of the Iranian people. As the sanctions imposed by Washington are not supported by the United Nations or by any other legal authority, the seizure is little more than exercise of a bit of force majeure that used to be called piracy.

Even though foreign and national security policy has not really been discussed in either the Biden or Trump campaign, there is general agreement in both parties that Venezuela is a rogue regime that must be replaced while Iran is an actual, tangible threat due to its alleged misbehavior in the Middle East. It has been dubbed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the “number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world.” Saner voices have observed that neither Venezuela nor Iran threaten the United States in any way and that the U.S. and Israel continue to kill many more civilians than Iran ever has, but they have been drowned out by the media talking heads who constantly spout the established narrative.

Well, the alleged Iranian fuel has arrived in New Jersey and a legal battle for custody of it has begun.  The fuel had been removed from the Greek tankers and transferred to other tankers for removal to the United States but the complication is that the Trump administration must now prove its case for forfeiture before the oil can be sold. The U.S. justification for seizing the cargoes is the claim that the fuel was an asset of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which the Treasury, Justice and State Departments have conveniently designated a foreign terrorist organization. But that contention is disputed by the cargoes’ owners, who claim to have nothing to do with the IRGC. They include other energy exporters and shippers in the Middle East, namely Mobin International Limited, Oman Fuel Trading Ltd and Sohar Fuel Trading LLC FZ. They have filed a motion for dismissal and are seeking return of the fuel plus additional compensation for the losses they have suffered. One has to hope they win as it is the United States that is in the wrong in this case.

The entire saga of the tankers and the fuel is symptomatic of the undeclared economic warfare that the United States now prefers to use when dealing with adversaries. And there is considerable evidence to suggest that Washington is trying to goad Iran into responding with force, providing the U.S. government with a plausible rationale for responding in kind. President Trump has directly threatened Iran in an October 9th public statement in which he promised the Iranians that “If you fuck around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are gonna do things to you that have never been done before.”

So, Washington’s aggression directed against much of the world continues with a national election less than two weeks away but no one is talking about it. That would seem odd in and of itself, but the sad part is that it is deliberate collusion on the part of government and media to make sure the voting public remains unaware the extent to which the United States has in reality become a pariah, a full-time bully in its foreign relations.

تحرير كامل فلسطين يقترب بسرعة والأوهام لن تحمي كيان العدو!

محمد صادق الحسيني

إنّ كلّ ما يحكم سلوك وتصرفات قادة العدو، السياسيين والعسكريين هو الأوهام والذعر من المستقبل القاتم، الذي ينتظرهم.

فها هو نتن ياهو يحاول ان يبيع جمهوره أوهام انتصاراته الفارغة بتوقيع اتفاقيات مع الإمارات المتحدة والبحرين والسودان. لكن هذا الجمهور يواصل التظاهر ضدّه يومياً مطالباً باستقالته ومحاكمته بتهم الفساد وتلقي الرشى. أما وزير حربه، الجنرال بني غانتس، الأكثر قدرة من نتن ياهو على قراءة موازين القوى العسكرية في المنطقة، فقد هرع الى واشنطن، ليس لتأمين التفوق العسكري «الإسرائيلي» الشامل كما ادّعى أمام وسائل الإعلام في واشنطن، وإنما لاستجداء الإدارة الأميركية لحماية كيانه من المرحلة الاخيرة، من الهجوم الاستراتيجي لقوات حلف المقاومة، والذي يتوقعه هو وأركان حربه بعد الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية.

وهو الأمر الذي اضطر، رئيس أركان الجيش الصهيوني، الجنرال أڤيڤ كوخافي، قبل أيام قليلة، الى تنفيذ المناورة التشبيهية على الحدود الشمالية، والتي ستستمرّ حتى ‪يوم الخميس المقبل، حيث كانت قد تأجلت مرتين قبل ذلك بحجة وباء كورونا، على حدّ زعم كوخافي، بينما حقيقة الأمر تقول بغير ذلك. اذ انّ سبب التأجيل الحقيقي هو خوف الأركان الصهيونية من استفزاز قوات المقاومة في لبنان ويجعلها تردّ على تلك الاستفزازات.

وهذا ما يؤكده البروفيسور افرايم إنبار، رئيس معهد القدس للاستراتيجيا والأمن، في تصريح له نشره موقع «جيروساليم بوست» الالكتروني، بتاريخ 26/10/2020، حيث قال انّ «عمليات التطبيع ربما تدفع حزب الله لشنّ حرب على إسرائيل»، أيّ انّ مناورات جيش الاحتلال ليست روتينية وإنما هي انعكاس للهلع، الذي يسود أوساط القيادتين السياسية والعسكرية، من اقتراب موعد تنفيذ قوات حلف المقاومة للمرحلة الأخيرة من هجومها الاستراتيجي، والذي سينتهي بتحرير كامل فلسطين وعاصمتها القدس.

وهذا ما يعترف به، بشكل غير مباشر، الناطق العسكري للشؤون الدولية (الإعلام الخارجي) في الجيش الصهيوني، العقيد جوناثان كونريكوسنقصد الاعتراف بالهلع والذعر، الذي يعتري القيادات العسكرية الصهيونية، حيث قال في تصريح له نشره موقع «جيروساليم بوست» الالكتروني، بتاريخ 26/10/2020، «إنّ حزب الله يشكل الخطر الداهم على المدنيين الاسرائيليين»…!

وهذا بالضبط ما يترجم خوفاً وهلعاً، لن ينفعهم في مواجهته لا محمد بن زايد ولا محمد بن سلمان، المدمنين على تعاطي المخدرات واللذين خضعا للعلاج من هذه الآفة، في بلد غير عدو للعرب، من دون تحقيق نتائج إيجابية…!

وعلى من يشك في هذه الحقيقة أن يتابع حركة أنف كلّ منهما، عند ظهورهما على شاشات التلفزة، وهي الحركة التي لا يمكن للمدمن التحكم بها والمتمثلة في تحريك الأنف يميناً ويساراً من دون لمسه…!

ورغم ذلك كله فإنّ تقارير مستعجلة وردت الى دوائر صنع القرار في عدد من عواصم محور المقاومة الذي يتسع رغم انبطاح هؤلاء الأتباع والأذناب، تفيد بانّ احتمالات إقدام العدو الصهيوني وبدعم من بعض أجنحة الدولة العميقة في أميركا على القيام بعمليات انتقامية او ردعية بهدف او ذريعة منع إيران من التموضع في سورية او منع حزب الله من الصعود الى الجليل، او ايّ ذريعة أخرى، على وقع تصاعد حدة الانتخابات الأميركية وتسابق الحزبين في خدمة العدو الصهيوني…!

لهؤلاء ولكلّ من تبقى من أمراء حرب صغار في تل أبيب بعد انقراض ملوك «اسرائيل» نقول:

«إسرائيل» سقطت ليس فقط عندنا، في قلوبنا وأنفسنا وأذهاننا وعقولنا نحن جيل العرب والمسلمين المتحررين من نظام التبعية والانقياد للهيمنة الأميركية والرجعية العربية، بل وسقطت أيضاً في الجبهة الداخلية لبيت العنكبوت الذي بدأ يحيط بكم من كلّ جانب أيها الصهاينة الجبناء. وهذا وصف صحافتكم ونخبكم التي بدأت تتحدث علناً عن الخراب الثالث…!

ايّ حماقة سترتكبونها ستحمل في طياتها نهايتكم، فنحن في جهوزية شاملة وكاملة، وسنردّ لكم الصاع بعشرة مما تعدّون…!

وسيكون مصيركم يشبه مصير أسيادكم الذين فروا من العراق في العام 2011 بكفالة الجنرال الحاج قاسم سليماني الذي استقبل يومها مبعوثاً أميركياً خاصاً من داخل العراق، يتوسّل اليه الاستفادة من موقعه المعنوي لدى قوات المقاومة العراقية ليوقفوا عملياتهم ليخرجوا بسلام من داخل العراق (وتوسلاتكم موجودة بالصوت والصورة لدى قيادة المحور لمن قد يشكك بذلك من الكتبة المأجورين وأبواق المتزلفين لكم لا سيما الجدد منهم)!

فحذار حذار أيها الصهاينة من اللعب بالنار في سورية او لبنان، ولا يغرّنكم تشجيع بعض الدوائر الاميركية لكم، فقد تكون تخبّئ إرادة التضحية بكم بعد أن أصبحتم ثقلاً كبيراً على كاهلهم (كما تفيد تقارير مؤكدة لدينا)!

لقد أعذر من أنذر، احجزوا تذاكر العودة الى مواطنكم الأصلية، أو تعلموا السباحة سريعاً قبل فوات الأوان!

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

السباق بين بايدن وترامب «على المنخار»

ناصر قنديل

محاولة استقراء مسار السباق الانتخابي بين المرشحين الرئاسيين في الانتخابات الأميركية الثلاثاء المقبل، ليست تحبيذاً لمرشح ولا رهاناً على وصول مرشح، ولا مشاركة في لعبة الترجيح، بل هي محاولة مجردة على قاعدة البحث بالمعطيات المتوافرة لتسهيل فهم المشهد الانتخابي في دولة بحجم تأثير أميركا على العالم كله عموماً، وعلى منطقتنا خصوصاً، سياسياً واقتصادياً وعسكرياً، لأن الفرق كبير بين عدم الوقوع في عبودية الرهانات واستلاب الانتظار، وبين السعي للفهم وامتلاك المعرفة.

النقطة الأولى التي لا بد من تثبيتها ولو كانت تحصيل حاصل في معرفة السياق الانتخابي الرئاسي الأميركي عند المتابعين، هي عدم كفاية الأخذ بنتائج استطلاعات الرأي لتوزع نسب الناخبين بين المرشحين، حيث يمكن لمن يفوز بأغلبية أصوات الناخبين أن يفشل بالفوز الرئاسي كما حدث مع المرشح آل غور عام 2000 عندما خسر أمام الرئيس جورج بوش، رغم فوزه بأغلبية أصوات الناخبين، بثورة تنبأت به وأصابت استطلاعات الرأي، وتكرر الأمر ذاته عام 2016 مع المرشحة هيلاري كلينتون التي خسرت السابق الرئاسي أمام الرئيس دونالد ترامب رغم فوزها بأغلبية أصوات الناخبين وفقاً لما توقعت استطلاعات الرأي وأصابت، والسبب كما هو معلوم يعود لطبيعة النظام الانتخابي الأميركي القائم على ترجمة نتائج الانتخابات في كل من الولايات الأميركية باختيار ممثلين للولاية في المجمع الانتخابي بعدد من الأصوات بوازي حجم الولاية السكاني ونسبة تمثيلها في الكونغرس، يناله من ينال أغلبية اصوات الولاية عموماً، باستثناء ولايتين فقط تتوزّع فيهما مقاعد الممثلين نسبياً بين المرشحين الرئاسيين بحجم ما يناله كل منهما من أصوات ناخبي الولاية، وهناك ست ولايات تملك وحدها أكثر من ثلث أعضاء المجمع الانتخابي (191 من أصل 538) هي ولايات كاليفورنيا وتكساس وفلوريدا ونيويورك وبنسلفانيا والينوي، ويمكن ببساطة أن تتركز أصوات الناخبين الذين يمنحون تصويتهم للمرشح الحاصل على غالبية كاسحة تزيد عن الحاجة لنيل تمثيلها في المجمع الانتخابي بينما يخسر تمثيل ولايات أخرى بفارق بضعة أصوات.

في الانتخابات الحالية تشكل انتخابات 2016 نقطة انطلاق لاستقراء المسار الانتخابي، ورغم استطلاعات الرأي التي تقول بتفوق وتقدم المرشح جو بايدن على الرئيس دونالد ترامب يبدو كلام ترامب الواثق من الفوز خارج السياق ظاهرياً، لكن التدقيق بتفاصيل معركة كسب أصوات المجمع الانتخابي تمنح لتفاؤله أسباباً موجبة، حيث فاز ترامب عام 2016 بمجموع 306 مندوبين مقابل 232 لهيلاري كلينتون، رغم فوز كلينتون بفارق يقارب ثلاثة ملايين صوت على ترامب في مجموع تصويت الناخبين، الذين توزعوا بنسبة 48% لحساب كلينتون و46% لترامب، وتسهيلا لفهم المشهد الانتخابي الراهن ننطلق من الولايات الـ14 المتنازع على تمثلها بين المرشحين وتصويتها السابق والمتوقع، وفقاً لاستطلاعات الرأي، والتي تملك بمجموعها 212 صوتاً في المجمع الانتخابي والولايات هي: أريزونا (11 مندوباً) وفلوريدا (29) وجورجيا (16) وايوا (6) وميشيغين (16) ومينسوتا (10) ونيفادا (6) ونيوهامشير (4) وكارولينا الشمالية (15) وأوهايو (18) وبنسلفانيا (20) وتكساس (38) وفرجينيا (13) ووسكنسون (10)، ووفقاً لنتائج عام 2016، حازت كلينتون منها على تصويت 33 مندوباً يمثلون 4 ولايات هي مينسوتا ونيوهامشير ونيفادا وفرجينيا، بينما حاز ترامب على سائر مندوبي الولايات الـ10 الأخرى البالغ 179 مندوباً.

يحافظ الحزبان الجمهوري والديمقراطي على أغلبيات كافية للفوز بسائر الولايات التي فاز كل منهما بها في انتخابات 2016، والتي تمنح بايدن في هذه الانتخابات 2020 199 مندوباً وتمنح ترامب 127 مندوباً، وفيما تقول استطلاعات الرأي في الولايات أن بايدن سيحافظ بقوة على الولايات التي فاز بها حزبه من الولايات المتنازع عليها، ضامناً فوارق بين 6% و9% عن الأصوات التي سينالها ترامب في هذه الولايات، بحيث يضمن بايدن الـ 232 مندوباً الذين حققتهم كلينتون، بينما يفشل ترامب في حسم أي من الولايات التي فاز بها عام 2016 وفق استطلاعات الرأي، باستثناء أوهايو وتكساس (56 مندوباً) بفوارق 2-3% بينما كان قد فاز بها بفوارق 8-9% عام 2016، ويصير مجموعه 183 مندوباً.

يتنافس بايدن وترامب على 8 ولايات منها 3 ولايات هي وسكنسون وبنسلفانيا وميتشيغن، فاز بها ترامب بفوارق بين 0.7 و1.5% فقط، وتشير استطلاعات الرأي فيها الى تفوق حملة بايدن بنسب تتراوح بين 5-7%، وهذه الولايات تؤمن لحملة بايدن 46 مندوباً، فيصل الى رقم 278 مندوباً، مقابل 183 مندوباً لترامب، والمطلوب للفوز تجميع 270 مندوباً يمثلون أغلبية المجمع الانتخابي البالغ 538 مندوباً، لينحصر التنافس في ولايات أريزونا (11) وفلوريدا (29) وجورجيا (16) وأيوا (6) وكارولينا الشمالية (15)، فإذا كرر ترامب حسم تمثيلها بنيل 77 مندوباً سيحصل على مجموع 260 مندوباً فقط.

وفقاً لحملة ترامب الفوز مضمون في الولايات الخمسة رغم استطلاعات الراي التي تمنح الفوز لبايدن، مستندة الى ان الفارق لا يتعدى الـ 2% في كل من هذه الولايات، وهي فوارق تقع ضمن هوامش الخطأ العلمي في الاستطلاعات، وتتيح فرصة فوز ترامب بالقدرة على تخطيها، ووفقاً للقيمين على الحملة تشكيك بقدرة حملة بايدن على حسم مشيغين، رغم فارق الـ 7% في استطلاعات الرأي لصالح بايدن، وهذا يطرح مصير 16 مندوباً فاز بهم ترامب عام 2016 بفارق 0.2%، ويعيد بايدن الى رقم الـ 262 مندوباً، فيخسر الانتخابات كلها، وبالمقابل تراهن حملة بايدن على تعزيز فرصها بالفوز بمندوبي فلوريدا (29) في ظل تفوق بفارق 2% في استطلاعات الراي، مقابل فوز ترامب بها عام 2016 بفارق 1.2% وهو الأدنى بالقياس لسائر الولايات التي يسعى ترامب للفوز بها، واذا صحت تقديرات حملة بايدن سيفوز بالرئاسة بـ 307 مندوبين أي بزيادة مندوب عن فوز ترامب عام 2016، بينما اذا اصابت حملة ترامب بتقديراتها فسيفوز بـ 276 مندوباً.

السباق على المنخار هو تعبير يستخدمه متابعو سباقات الخيل، وبين ترامب وبايدن حيث التسليم بفوز بايدن بأغلبية الأصوات بات محسوماً، يدور التنافس على مصير ميشيغين التي يكفي أن يخسرها بايدن من دون أن يكسب فلوريدا لتترجح حظوظ ترامب الذي يحتاج فوزاً بست ولايات ليضمن فوزاً رئاسياً على الحافة بتفوق بـ6 مندوبين فوق الغالبية المطلوبة وفارق 14 مندوباً عن المنافس بايدن.

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التصويت المبكّر لـ ترامب يؤكد حتميّة سقوطه…

د. جمال زهران

يحتدم الصراع بين المرشح الديمقراطي (بايدن)، والمرشح الجمهوري (ترامب)، والذي يشغل منصب الرئيس. وكما سبق الشرح في مقال سابق، فإن المرشح الديمقراطي في موقف صعب، في مواجهة منافس جمهوري يشغل موقع الرئيس الفعلي. ومع ذلك فإنّ بايدن ومن خلفه الحزب الديمقراطي مجتمعاً وبلا أيّ انشقاقات، يقود معركة مصيرية ضد ترامب الرئيس والجمهوري، ونتيجتها هي التقدّم المستمرّ على منافسه، من دون تغيير في نتائج السباق نحو البيت الأبيض. بينما على الجانب الآخر، يقف ترامب عارياً أمام الشعب الأميركي، وفي موقف الدفاع عن موقعه الرئاسي بكافة السبل، وينتهج كل أساليب الخداع والكذب، ويعتبر أن الهجوم هو خير وسيلة للدفاع. فهو يهاجم الإعلام لأنه يسكت على خصمه بايدن الذي اتهمه بأنه «مجرم»، وأنّ الإعلام أيضاً «مجرم» لأنه يسكت على المجرم بايدن! وبذلك فإنه يريد لفت الأنظار إليه، ورسالة مبطنة للإعلام للاهتمام به في اللحظات الأخيرة! كما أنّ ترامب هاجم أيضاً الحزب الجمهوري الذي ينتمي إليه، بأنه يهاجمه ولا يقف إلى جواره، ودعا إلى توحّد الصفوف والوقوف معه باعتباره يواجه خطراً حقيقياً!

وبدلاً من أن يستميل الإعلام وحزبه الجمهوري بالحسنى وبالخطاب الليّن والناعم، فهو قد اختار أسلوب الهجوم الخارج عن المألوف! هو إذن يخوض المعركة في أيامها الأخيرة، تأكيداً بأنه قد أفلس ولم تعد لديه أوراق قوية يدير بها أيام المعركة الأخيرة، الأمر الذي يحتم سقوطه في انتخاب 3 نوفمبر ونحن على مقربة أيام منها. ومما يؤكد ذلك، فقد تابعنا تسريباً من داخل فريق إدارة حملته الانتخابية، يتضمّن، استعداد فريق الحملة للسقوط، ويفكرون في ترتيب الأوضاع في ما بعد الخسارة الكبرى حسب نص ما تمّ تسريبه. ومن نقل عن هؤلاء يشير إلى أنهم يبكون بعد أن تأكدوا من الخسارة، وأنه لم يعد بوسعهم إنقاذ الموقف. كما أنّ أحد رجال الحملة الانتخابية قد صرّح من دون أن يظهر اسمه، بأنه من المستحيل توقع النجاح مع شخص مثل ترامب بعد سنوات أربع أمضاها في الرئاسة، خلاصتها نتائج سلبية، ولذلك فقد فشلت كلّ الجهود المنظمة في إدارة الحملة الانتخابية، مع شخص مثل ترامب يتسم بالفوضوية والسطحية! إلى هنا، فإنّ النتيجة المحتملة بل والحتمية هي سقوط ترامب، والاستعداد لما بعد!

وعلى الجانب الآخر، فقد بدأت عملية التصويت المبكر في الولايات المختلفة، بدأت بالولايات الكبرى مثل فلوريدا وكاليفورنيا وأريزونا، وهي الولايات الحاسمة في نتيجة الانتخابات، لما تمتلكه من أكثر من نصف عدد المجمع الانتخابي الكلي، ومَن يكسبها فقد رجحت كفة نجاحه واجتيازه عتبة الوصول إلى البيت الأبيض.

وكانت قد أجريت استطلاعات بمعرفة (رويترز – إبسوس)، ونشرت نتائجها الأربعاء الماضي 21-أكتوبر، أظهرت تقدّم المرشح الديمقراطي لانتخابات الرئاسة الأميركية جو بايدن، على منافسه دونالد ترامب، في ولاية فلوريدا. وكذلك الأمر في ولاية أريزونا، فإنّ بايدن لا يزال متقدماً.

كما أن بايدن يتفوّق على ترامب على مستوى جميع الولايات الأميركية بتسع 9 نقاط مئوية بين الناخبين المحتملين، وهي نسبة كبيرة مع الاقتراب من يوم الثلاثاء العظيم في 3 نوفمبر المقبل.

وطبقاً لاستطلاع آخر بين 16-20 أكتوبر، فإنّ 51%، سيصوّتون لصالح بايدن، تأكيداً لنجاحه، بينما 42% سيعطون أصواتهم للرئيس ترامب.

وفي استطلاع «رويترز – إبسوس»، قد ركز على استطلاع آراء الناخبين المحتملين في 6 ولايات هي: ويسكونسن، وبنسلفانيا، وميتشيغان، ونورث كارولينا، وفلوريدا وأريزونا، وهي الولايات الحاسمة، مَن يكسبها فقد يتأكد فوزه بالانتخابات، بأن يتقدّم بايدن إلى مقعد الرئاسة في البيت الأبيض، وخلع ترامب منه، وتأكيد رسوبه في واقعة نادرة ما تتكرّر في الانتخابات الأميركية.

وتؤكد «نيويورك تايمز»، في آخر تقرير لها عن الانتخابات الأميركية، أنّ ترامب لم يتغيّر، ولذلك فإنّ الناخب الأميركي قد يرفضه مؤكداً.

ختاماً… فإنّ كلّ المؤشرات تؤكد على سقوط ترامب ورحيله، وعلى المرتبطين بشخص ترامب داخل أميركا وخارجها في أوروبا وخاصة منطقتنا العربية والشرق الأوسط، أن يعدّوا أنفسهم لما بعد ترامب في الرابع من نوفمبر المقبل. ولنا عودة الأسبوع المقبل عن تداعيات المناظرة الثانية بين بايدن وترامب والاحتمالات النهائية للنتيجة.

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*أستاذ العلوم السياسية والعلاقات الدولية، والأمين العام المساعد للتجمع العربي الإسلامي لدعم خيار المقاومة، ورئيس الجمعية العربية للعلوم السياسية.

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Global arms embargo on Iran lifted, Tehran hails victory: Al Mayadeen TV Report

Global arms embargo on Iran lifted, Tehran hails victory: Al Mayadeen TV  Report | Middle East Observer

October 24, 2020

Description:

Al Mayadeen TV report on the implications of the lifting of the international arms embargo on Iran.

Source: Al Mayadeen TV (YouTube)

Date: October 18, 2010

(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here)

Transcript:

Reporter:

The 13-year (UN) arms embargo on Iran has (finally) ended. Another (major) page in the (story) of international sanctions (on Iran) has been turned. In 2023, the restrictions imposed on Iran’s missile program will be lifted. Thereafter, the (UN) Security Council will  close the Iranian nuclear file two years later. This timeline (for the nuclear file) was set by the (UN) Security Council, just after the signing of the (Iran) nuclear deal. 

This would have been a normal (step) had the US administration not withdrawn from the (Iran) nuclear deal more than two years ago. It would have gone unnoticed had the US not done everything possible to reinstate the (UN) sanctions against Iran through various legal and illegal means that got to the point of issuing threats (against other states).

Abbas Aslani, the Director-General of the World and Foreign Policy Department at Tasnim News Agency:

The termination of the arms embargo reveals that the US has failed (to weaken) Iran, and has itself become (internationally) isolated. If the (arms) embargo was not lifted, the nuclear deal would have fell through. This (progress) shows that no great power can unilaterally impose its own will on the world.

Reporter:

Tehran has hailed this (new development) as a victory in the battle of wills (with the United States). This is a political and economic victory that will allow Iran to import and export weapons. 

Mohammad Mehdi Malaki, Researcher in Iranian and International Affairs:

Lifting the (arms) embargo is a legal and diplomatic achievement. It is a triumph against US pressure and an indication that the international community no longer sees Iran as a security threat.

Reporter:

Many believe that this triumph serves as another indication that the US is facing (international) isolation and is slowly losing its international influence. It will open the way for Iran to further cooperate with Europe in order to preserve the (Iran) nuclear deal. 

All eyes will remain fixed on the US election results which will determine how the US will deal with the new reality. (The US) will either rejoin the nuclear deal, or will (impose) more sanctions (on Iran).

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Naqqash: I predict US civil war after 2020 Presidential Election

Mail-in ballots: US elites’ ‘plausible deniability’ ploy to retain power

Sunday, 25 October 2020 7:09 AM  [ Last Update: Sunday, 25 October 2020 7:09 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Mail-in ballots are processed and counted for the upcoming presidential election in Denver, Colorado, US, October 22, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

By Ramin Mazaheri

Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

The US obsession with mail-in voting is incomprehensible to the rest of the world, but the true reason behind this nonsense is never openly admitted: Mail-in balloting has been a way to ensure that the elites of both parties can contest the election if they lose, thus giving them a way to deny ultimate responsibility for their loss via presenting a way to question the integrity of the election.

Of course this phony debate should be incomprehensible – there have already been dozens of major elections worldwide in 2020 already. The data available to the US is clear: safe in-person voting is easily assurable despite the minor challenges. There has been no correlation between elections and a post-Covid spike, and some elections have even been able to increase voter turnout despite the pandemic.

Therefore, the hysteria which swept the United States in March is not at all logically supportable in October: the need for mail-in ballots, much like the alleged mortality rate of Covid-19, was wildly overstated back then.

Yet the horse is out of the barn: nearly 40% of the US electorate (going by 2016 totals) has already voted early, and this will have a catastrophic effect on the United States because it seemingly guarantees that they will have a disputed election.

To be concise: nobody should expect a declared victor on the night of November 3rd because of the difficulty in counting all these slow-arriving and even late-arriving mail-in ballots, which are already tainted with dispute anyway. Furthermore, we should expect perhaps 1 million ballots to be thrown out for errors, which will obviously create further disputes – mail-in ballots will be an update of the “hanging chads” from 2000’s disputed election.

This is on top of the reality that the US general election is merely a statistical fun fact, anyway, as they vote for their president indirectly via an electoral college: look at five of the eight key “swing” states and polls show the lead of either Donald Trump or Joe Biden is 3 points or less, which is within the margin for error. Furthermore, US pollsters have also likely not solved the “hidden/shy” Trump voter issue, making polls perhaps as unreliable as 2016’s polls obviously were.

Given the certainty of this already equally-divided electorate, increasing the logistical challenges posed by mail-in voting, which will only increase the number of spoiled ballots, made no sense.

But that’s true only if we analyse it from a perspective which gives primacy to the average American citizen – it made perfect sense if we look at mail-in balloting from the point of view of the very elite of Washington’s most-privileged politicians.

What mail-in voting does is give the party elite “plausible deniability” – if Trump loses he will say the election was rigged because of mail-in balloting, and if Democrats lose they will wildly allege that mail-in balloting has drastically reshaped how this election must be counted. This way, no matter who loses the party elite do not have to relinquish power as a result of being genuinely voted out due to their terrible policies, results and platform.

Democrats, for example, will have to make exactly as many changes at the top and concessions to the rising Bernie Sanders faction as they did after 2016’s loss: zero. The Clintonista faction, Nancy Pelosi and their coastal media sycophants all now have a way to achieve the only thing they want – to cling to their privileges.

The accuracy of this analysis is proven by the Russophobia campaign they concocted to deflect blame for Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016. If they would waste three years of America’s time on a phony “Russian meddling” campaign – which concluded with a “Mueller Report” that indicted zero Americans on charges of collusion or election conspiracy – how less preposterous and how less energy-consuming is making constant exhortations to vote by mail?

How much easier is it to instruct lower-rank party officials to keep sending Americans unsolicited government letters encouraging them to vote by mail, or which even chide citizens for not having voted by mail yet? I do not lie when I write that at the very point of submitting this article for publication I got an email from a food home delivery service – a totally apolitical entity, seemingly – asking me, “Want to vote early?” and offering to help me do so. That is how widespread and deep this unnecessary, destructive mail-in balloting campaign has gone in today’s US culture.

Republicans insist that voting by mail is more susceptible to fraud, and while this is true on the surface, the reality is that proven voter fraud is exceptionally small in the US. Republicans oppose mail-in balloting probably, I would guess, because they would secretly like to keep as many of the aristocratic vote restrictions America is founded upon as possible. However, they are far more cognisant of the problems posed by mail-in balloting than Democrats.

The reality is that Donald Trump is by far the loudest Republican objecting to mail-in ballots precisely because he, too, needs a reason to contest the election and deflect blame for a possible loss.

Trump, even though his “outsider populism” – which proved to be fascist (pro-corporate) in nature rather than a genuine and patriotic populism – has been swallowed up by the Republican Party “Washington Swamp” extremely effectively, that actually on this issue reverted back to the early-2016 assertion that his interests are actually quite in opposition to those of one-half of the duopoly which is quite clearly proscribed by the US Constitution – the Republican Party. This open opposition is a huge reason he won the 2016 election – that he is a political outsider who will drain the Swamp – and if Trump does lose a large reason will be that he too-tardily remembered this cause for his original victory: seemingly not until the 2nd and final presidential debate two days ago.

Studies prove that mail-in balloting does not lean Democrat or Republican (at least prior to 2020), so Trump has joined with the covert cause of the Democratic elite to fabricate mail-in balloting into an issue where there was none. Again, it is not a true issue after so many other countries have held successful elections in 2020.

The mail-in balloting controversy makes sense for all the wrong reasons: because the US system prefers to focus attention to issues which are of no consequences to their lower classes, who are also hurt by rabid American capitalism-imperialism; because Americans have a short attention span, and also one guided by sensationalism since the 1960s; but mainly because the very elite factions in power in Washington do not want to give up power if they lose as a justified consequence for their terrible records as public servants.

Even though 2020 has forced us to accept as “normal” so many things which are not normal, we must remind ourselves that a disputed election is not some minor occurrence. And yet there is an acceptance of this inevitability here, mainly because – appallingly – there is very little public discussion permitted of just how bad a disputed election is on any society. (Again, this is precisely because the US elite – uncertain of the outcome – actually wants a disputed election.)

A disputed election necessarily has enormous financial and economic ramifications due to the instability it provokes; it has equally important political ramifications – we cannot understate how many Americans were permanently alienated from the system via the handling of the 2000 disputed election, and how at the same time it also deeply polarised those who remained politically engaged; and it also has huge, long-term cultural and social impacts due to the way it provokes so much rawness on such a personally-sensitive topic.

A disputed election is akin to a bloodless, short-term civil war.

A civil war is easily defined as when brothers fight brothers – a disputed election will make late November’s Thanksgiving national holiday a decidedly unpeaceful affair in many households… and for reasons of no profit to anyone but the US elite, sadly.

Lastly, when we grasp why the US elite desired and orchestrated a disputed election we understand how they have to try and cover their tracks, somewhat. This reality explains the ridiculous, pathetic, preposterous assertion stunningly made on the very eve of the 2nd presidential debate: that Iranian operatives are secretly posing as far-right “Proud Boys” to intimidate Democrats in four states into changing their party affiliation, a scam as obvious as it was insignificant. It’s really a shame Iranian diplomats and journalists have to spend a half-second discussing such absurdities – adults have better things to do – but the reality is that Washington’s elite wants to blame other countries for shaking domestic confidence regarding the integrity of the vote when this confidence has been shaken entirely because of domestic flaws and issues. Of course, concocting the mail-in ballot faux-dispute is merely one of the many integrity-questioning events. Iran is very, very powerful no? They were discussed just 20 minutes into a history-deciding debate even though the US is in the middle of an unprecedented social and economic catastrophe, but this what the moderator/journalist Kristen Welker (widely touted as the “winner” of the final debate) foolishly and irresponsibly chose to focus upon, or was ordered to focus upon. What a shame that such propaganda genuinely does lay sinister groundwork for deadly war (like with Iran), or cold war (like with Russia since 2016), and is not a laughing matter. Welker and all the other US journalists who discussed this laughable and (as always) unproven propaganda at length should consider how dangerous their behavior truly is.

Mail-in balloting has unnecessarily guaranteed election chaos in a year which continues to be economically and socially devastating to the United States, which just started an 8th month of uneven, ineffective and economically unsupportable Great Lockdowns. It’s an utter debacle which the US political and media elite pushed into place – we should understand fully these real reasons why, none of which are hinted at in their mainstream or government media.


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