Venezuela Wins, While Trudeau’s Foreign Policy Continues to Fail Canadians

By Arnold August

Global Research, December 13, 2020

“Venezuelan voters turn their backs on Chavismo after 17 years.”  This was the international corporate media headline of choice five years ago after Chavismo lost the National Assembly elections.

During the following five years, and since 2019 using the imposed National Assembly president figurehead of the then-elected Juan Guaidó, the US and its allies (including the European Union and the Lima group led by Canada and Colombia), carried out a ferocious hybrid war. The goal was to overthrow the Maduro government by any means necessary and convert Venezuela into a satellite of the US and the West.  

However, according to the latest report of the National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela, released December 8, the ruling Chavistas of the PSUV/GPP gained 91 per cent of seats in the National Assembly, or 253 of the 277 seats contested. Other parties: 11 seats for Democratic Action (AD), three for Avanzada Progresista (AP), three for El Cambio, two for Primero Venezuela, one for Copei and one for the Communist Party (PCV). The Chavistas won 69.43 per cent of the votes cast. Participation or voter turn-out was 30.50 per cent.

The hard-core extremist Trump-Guaidó forces could not win as they had five years ago, because they boycotted the National Assembly elections completely. The reason for this is painfully obvious: they knew their support for US sanctions and military intervention has left them completely discredited. The US-led game plan to disrupt the elections thus backfired, and the fact that the elections were held at all has strengthened Chavismo.

The participation rate on December 6 was 30.50 per cent. On the surface this may seem to represent a defeat, or even a refutation of the Chavismo. Yet the concerted effort by the US and its allies to provoke a major abstention rate of at least 80% did not go as planned. Franco-Argentinian Marco Teruggi, one of the most respected and consistent journalists on Venezuela, has provided a balanced assessment:

“[….] There was neither an 80% abstention, nor was the abstention the result of a call from Guaidó and Pompeo, but rather the result of a series of variables, such as, for example, the situation of prolonged economic difficulties in the framework of an economic blockade that, during 2020, took on even greater dimensions within the ‘maximum pressure’ deployed from the United States. The economic variable, with its consequent impact on discontent and exhaustion, was not the only explanation for the participation rate. Another reason can be found in a complex political conflict that generated an erosion among the population, where some sectors no longer feel represented in any of the existing political options.”

In dealing extensively with the low participation rate, Argentinian political analyst Atilio Boron also offers a balanced view. He confirms and elaborates on many points raised by Marco Teruggi. Firstly, he considers that “the plans of the subversive right and imperialism have been defeated, in a pyrrhic battle.” That being said, on the issue of the turn-out, he writes:

“Among the factors that had a negative impact on him not going to the polls en masse are undoubtedly the effects of the pandemic. This situation discourages leaving home, getting on public transport, queuing to vote, being in close proximity with strangers, and so on. Such deterrents cannot be underestimated. This, of course, does not remove the need to review the popular mobilization devices that were always so important in Chavismo and that give the impression of being in need of an urgent overhaul.”

According to Leonardo Flores of Code Pink, “migration is another factor that artificially reduced turnout. Only citizens who currently reside in the country can vote in legislative elections, but most who left in recent years still appear on voter rolls as living in Venezuela.”

In addition, December 6 reports from the ground by The Grayzone indicate that Guaidó was “running a COVID-19 scare campaign through messaging apps & spending all day telling Venezuelans to stay in their homes. Yet, 6.251 million Venezuelans went to the polls, irrespective for whom they voted.  They are the heroes of this chapter in Venezuelan history.

Nevertheless, on December 10, President Nicolás Maduro declared in summing up the elections and he results that “There are many things to learn, modify, study and fathom”

A Reconfiguration in Venezuelan Politics 

The election has also led to a reconfiguration in Venezuelan politics. The US have shot themselves in the foot. There are no longer any pro-US-Guaidó forces in the National Assembly. One of the American electoral observers in Venezuela, Margaret Flowers of People’s Dispatch, reports.

“We just met with candidates from the ‘Democratic Alliance [Alianza Democratica],’ the opposition parties in Venezuela who have been in negotiations with the Maduro government and who are participating in the National Assembly election this year despite US pressure to boycott them. They believe in peace, democracy and that Venezuelans can solve their problems by using the legal institutions.

Third Iranian Tanker Docks at Venezuelan Port, Maduro Promises Fuel Supply

Third Iranian Tanker Docks at Venezuelan Port, Maduro Promises Fuel Supply

By Staff, Agencies

The final tanker in a flotilla of three Iranian fuel tankers docked at eastern Venezuela’s Guaraguao port on Sunday, Refinitiv Eikon data and a person familiar with the matter reported, as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro promised to normalize fuel supply in the gasoline-starved country.

The three tankers, which began arriving last week, brought some 820,000 barrels of fuel to the South American country, where severe shortages of gasoline — as well as unreliable power, water and cooking gas supplies — have led to a wave of protests in the neglected interior in recent weeks.

The shortages come as state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela’s once-formidable 1.3 million barrel per day [bpd] refining network has all but collapsed, although two refineries have for the past week been producing around 50,000 bpd of gasoline.

Maduro last week announced a new rationing plan, set to begin on Monday, in which authorities would distribute fuel according to motorists’ license plate numbers.

“Tomorrow, October 5, the plan to normalize and restart the gasoline distribution situation begins,” Maduro said in a Sunday state television address. “We have in the last week managed to produce the gasoline and other products Venezuela needs, in addition to the good quantity of gasoline that has arrived from abroad.”

The Faxon entered Venezuelan waters on Saturday and docked at the Guaraguao fuel port, which is connected to the Puerto La Cruz refinery, on Sunday afternoon, according to the person familiar with the matter. The other tankers are docked at refineries in the west and central regions of Venezuela.

Iran and Venezuela intensified economic cooperation this year as the United States ramped up sanctions on both countries’ oil industries.

US Attempts to Seize Four Iranian Tankers Headed to Venezuela

Source

US Attempts to Seize Four Iranian Tankers Headed to Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

US federal prosecutors are seeking to seize four tankers sailing towards Venezuela with gasoline supplied by Iran.

It is the latest attempt to disrupt ever-closer trade ties between the two heavily-sanctioned anti-US allies.

The Trump administration has been stepping up pressure on ship owners to abide by sanctions against US adversaries like Iran, Venezuela and North Korea, Al-Jazeera reported.

In May, Maduro celebrated the arrival of five Iranian tankers delivering much-needed fuel supplies to alleviate shortages that have led to days-long gas lines even in the capital, Caracas, which is normally spared such hardships.

The flotilla’s arrival angered the Trump administration, which struck back by sanctioning the five Iranian captains of the vessels.

The four tankers named in the complaint filed on Wednesday – the Bella, Bering, Pandi and Luna – are currently transporting 1.1 million barrels of gasoline to Venezuela, the report added.

Related News

Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh says the Iranian gasoline delivered to fuel-starved Venezuela last month was sold to Caracas at market price.

Source

June 26, 2020

GASOLINE

Zangeneh made the comments on Friday in reaction to allegations that Iran has provided Venezuela with gasoline free of charge.

“This is not true. Iran’s gasoline was sold to Venezuela at market price,” he said.

He said Tehran had received sufficient guarantees for the return of its revenues, and part of the money has already been received.

Regarding the continuation of energy trade with Venezuela, the petroleum minister said, “We should wait and see how negotiations between the two countries will proceed.”

Last month, five Iranian oil tankers set off for the Caribbean and delivered about 1.5 million barrels of gasoline to Venezuela which is under US sanctions and virtual economic siege.

In case of an agreement between Tehran and Caracas, Iran is to follow its trailblazing shipment of fuel to Venezuela with regular gasoline sales despite US threats to punish any facilitation of the cargoes.

Bloomberg said this month the US government has decided to avoid a military confrontation and instead prepared sanctions on as many as 50 oil and fuel tankers as part of an effort to cut off trade between Iran and Venezuela.

“The sanctions would be imposed through the Treasury Department and are intended to avoid a US military confrontation with the countries,” the leading financial news provider said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

However, both Venezuela and Iran have shown they are more than willing to cooperate in defiance of the US threats. According to the Washington Post, Venezuela and Iran have “just proved” that the Trump administration’s sanctions are failing.

“By showing that they were able to trade to mutual benefit”, Iran and Venezuela “not only successfully circumvented US sanctions; they also scored public relations points in the process,” the paper wrote last month.

Source: Iranian Agencies

Protesting, corona-conscience, a good dole: the US is doing things it can’t & it’s chaos

June 03, 2020

Protesting, corona-conscience, a good dole: the US is doing things it can’t & it’s chaos

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

The US has recently been trying to become a modern, humane society – and this is one of the many great hard-won and predictable consequences from electing a corporate fascist like Trump – but the results are chaos.

The US cannot protest

Look at these tiny, piddling protests, rarely over 1,000 people. Millions of Iranians can march in silence, unity and respect; China has 3-500 protests a day; today at least 20,000 people in Paris protested against police brutality but no US city has even come close to that figure. Why is that?

Answer: There are no unions, no political parties, no NGOs, no churches who dare to join these protests to flesh it out and give it structure, leadership, a soul, determination, solidarity, history, etc.

Indeed, what on earth is the point of listening to US clergy, who limit their political activism to putting down Trump? They won’t get involved, they won’t get dirty, they won’t put themselves at risk – at best they might go pick up the rubble the day after. Similarly, France’s clergy is only on the streets when it’s about nonsense like gay marriage.

Unions and political parties showing up en masse with banners and flags to question the political status quo, which they game expertly and support to the hilt? In the US you probably have to go back to 1913 to find that.

The US and the West (especially Emmanuel Macron) talk so much about civil society and NGOs, precisely because they are almost always explicitly apolitical, and in America would never join any protest which had the remotest chance of violence. Are you really banking on the Shriners or the YMCA, LOL?

The US cannot protest because it just devolves to violence

What’s crystal clear is that the US police cannot handle what is going on, and that is really the most significant long-term development here. When a society cannot provide safety, it is not much of a society at all. (May I note here that Cuban journalists said I was the first non-Cuban journalist they ever personally saw who reported about the total physical security Cubans enjoy at all times.)

US cops are not used to anybody resisting, and because they don’t have overwhelming numerical superiority they are just standing around agape; people see this and that is why they are brazenly looting in broad daylight. When cops do actually try to earn their good pay, their early retirement, their incredible guaranteed pensions, their drooling adulation from the Mainstream Media – it is against peaceful protesters and not apolitical looters.

Contrarily, France has a dedicated squad of riot police who are terribly brutal, but in the US their police are not trained to handle protests at all because: why waste time – the US cannot protest. Again, US cops are showing just how cowardly they are, and this has huge long-term cultural implications in a country which has so many guns and soon even more willingness to use them.

The US is sending in piddling amounts of National Guard like it’s 1968 – you know, back when the army was actually drawn from all sections of society – and assuming that will solve everything. A big LOL to those who think a dentist or teacher with zero combat experience is going to go hand-to-hand with looters. The US doesn’t have an army since 9/11 – it has mercenaries and 18-year olds. Incredibly, calling out the National Guard is the “ace in the hole” US governors are relying on. Again, a big LOL to this hugely, hugely outdated Boomer notion.

The cops are scared, the Marines can’t be used, the National Guard may or may not show up: this is why the only defense against looters is now in neighbourhood committees.

Ohhhhhhhhhhh… so now the Basij isn’t looking so terrible, huh? Huh?

Or a Cuban Committee for the Defense of the Revolution. Or a Chinese Communist Party. Or ANYTHING which was a pre-existing grassroots organisation of concerned citizens who have the organisation to quickly defend their neighbourhood and stores from people who are not protesters but looters.

The difference between the Basij and these thrown together US neighbourhood watch gangs is that in Iran an Azeri neighbourhood is not laying in wait for an unknown Assyrian, Kurd or Turkman to cross to their side of the street – there is unity and 20th-century politics. In the US tonight Whites and Latinos are likely pouncing on an African-American first and asking questions later – that is the extent of American political knowledge and ideology: identity politics, racial politics and “you and me against the world, babyeeee!”

Just like in France during every protest, of course: all the resources are being sent to defend the downtown and the rich areas – this is why those areas are so very, very rarely touched.

Americans are being reminded that politics is on the ground and defending your rights, community and nation – the Basij say: “You really would be wise to not invade Iran, you know.…”

The US cannot give good unemployment

Half the county is making better income by being unemployed than they ever did at their abusive job with wages which have been depressed for four decades. The US 1% made an enormous tactical error during the corona hysteria by giving nearly $1,000 per week in unemployment benefits because this admitted the fact that the money IS there – my God is it there, America is such a rich country – but it is being hoarded by the 1%.

Huge, huge anger is only going to build as this realisation grows firmer, and it will firm even if the US MSM continues to totally ignore this issue.

But you have people who – thank God! – are finally getting a living income without working like a dog, and thus they have the time and latitude to get political: they can afford to protest. People in France can afford to protest; and thus they realise they can’t afford to NOT protest. See how it’s a vicious cycle (from a 1%er’s view)?

So count on people – especially the student/youth class, whom nostalgic Boomer Westerners so foolishly assume will do all the heavy lifting to carry their society to the promised land – to take these decent wages as a license to protest until at least August 1.

After that, when the dole goes back to $400 and the 40 million lost jobs don’t come back by half but bills remain the same – expect more protests!

The US cannot grow a conscience

The first article I wrote about corona was: Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience?

It’s like when some people meditate for the first time: they finally take an honest look inward and they are overwhelmed with guilt and shame over what jerks they were for so long. The US is a system which is proudly, brazenly, defiantly, dog-eat-dog, yet the Great Lockdown was based around an idea of humanely protecting the vulnerable. Moral awakening can be a very violent process, internally – the US 1% shouldn’t have given their debt-slaves this time to reflect.

The US is such a hyper-militarised culture that demanding an hyper-policed Great Lockdown despite having none of the collective unity, grassroots structures and pre-existing mechanisms of redistribution which socialist-inspired countries like Iran, China and others have (to repeat an idea I have boringly used at least 40 times in the past few months), naturally created enormous pent-up aggression. The US system is based around aggression, competition and instability – lock that up and deny an outlet – the dog will bite, because he has been chained for so long.

What was the US 1% thinking? That if everyone was ordered to stay at home to protect Grandma, that other classes wouldn’t get uppity and start to think that maybe they deserved some protection too? Spell it out with me: h-y-s-t-e-r-i-a. But like electing Trump: sometimes you gotta go backwards to go forward.

The US cannot end these rebellions anytime soon, much less permanently solve them

The West, despite their arrogance, is not strong enough to do whatever China does, and politics is not science but morality – the US cannot all of a sudden go from 1865 to 1949 (or in Iran’s case, 1979). This dog will chase its tail until at least the November election, and the rest of the world can truly be glad that the dog is not biting them for the time being.

It is not about race nor police brutality – but this old idea is so familiar and comfortable, which is why the MSM pushes it so hard: this is something entirely new. How can anybody look at the US and think that 2020 isn’t going to be a year of total chaos for them?

Which is why it’s so funny to hear the solution proffered by so many “woke” Americans during these rebellions: get out and vote.

Hahahahahahahaha, if you think telling “Joe Biden will save us” is a good answer to a protester, to a looter, to the half of the nation which is totally politically apathetic, to the quarter of the nation which is now unemployed, to the other quarter which is fed up with lousy wages, zero stability, skyrocketed costs to health care, tuition, rent, etc., then you are part of the reason why people are letting the US burn – because you foolishly believe in the Western liberal democratic aristocratic/bourgeois system.

The US system has no answer for what is going on, and this list was far from extensive.

Trump is not Huey Long but a hardcore corporate fascist, and he was so necessary to vote into office because he pulled the sheet off the American system.

How’s it look where you are?

*********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20,

2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26,

2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 2020

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona – May 13, 2020

France’s nurses march – are they now deplorable Michiganders to fake-leftists? – May 15, 2020

Why haven’t we called it ‘QE 5’ yet? And why we must call it ‘QE 2.1’ instead – May 16, 2020

‘Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty public servant!’ That’s Orwell? – May 17, 2021

The Great Lockdown: The political apex of US single Moms & Western matriarchy? May 21, 2021

I was wrong on corona – by not pushing for a US Cultural Revolution immediately – May 25, 2021

August 1: when the unemployment runs out and a new era of US labor battles begin – May 28, 2021


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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 the books Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

Did Trump just cancel a potential double-war?

Source

Did Trump just cancel a potential double-war?
Just as Hezbollah destroyed the myth of Israeli impunity, Iran destroyed the myth of US impunity.

At this time of writing, it is too early to declare the danger over, but at least three out of five Iranian tankers have made it safely to Venezuela (confirmation from TeleSur and PressTV). Furthermore, while we should never say “never”, it appears exceedingly unlikely that the US would let three tankers pass only to then try to impede the arrival of the other two. So it ain’t over until its over, but as of right now things look way better than last week.

Besides, this is mostly a symbolic issue. While these 5 tankers will make a difference, it won’t be a huge one, especially considering the devastating consequences which the US sanctions, sabotage and subversion have inflicted on Venezuela.

Still, symbols are important, if only because they create a precedent. In fact, I would argue that the latest climbdown by Trump is no different than all his other climbdowns: Trump has had a very consistent record of threatening fire and brimstone before quietly deflating walking away. And since he did that many times now, we have to wonder whether this strategy is effective or not?

One could argue that this strategy could be described by saying that you put the maximum pressure on the other side in the hope that the bluff will entice the adversary to fold. This could be a semi-credible argument where it not for a very simple but crucial problem: so far the other guys have never folded. In other words, Trump’s bluff has been called over and over again, and each time Trump had to quietly deflate.

Some will say that this only proves that Trump is truly a peace-loving President who, unlike his predecessors, does not want to go to war. But then, what about the cruise missile strikes on Syria? What about the murder of Soleimani?

Truth be told, the kindest thing we can say about this strategy (assuming that it is a strategy to begin with, not the evidence of a total lack of one) is that it is tantamount to yelling “fire!” in a crowded movie theater: the fact that Trump did not set any movie theater ablaze hardly justifies his yelling “fire” in such a dangerous environment. The perfect example of this kind of irresponsible behavior is the murder of General Soleimani which truly brought the US and Iran a millimeter away from a real, full-scale war.

Furthermore, while I salute Trump’s climbing down following the Iranian strikes, I also believe that in doing so he hurt the international image of the US. Why? Think about this: this is the first time ever (if I am not mistaken) that the US was the object of a major military strike coming from another state-actor and did not retaliate. In the past and until this Spring, the US always held the view that if anybody dares to mess with it this would result in very serious consequences. Thus the US upheld a world order in which some where a lot more equal than others. Specifically, “others” had to meekly accept US strikes and shut up whereas Uncle Shmuel could strike left and right and expect no retaliation.

By “accepting” the Iranian counter-strike, Trump did essentially place an “equal” sign between Iran and the US. He probably never understood that, but in the region this was understood by all.

Just as Hezbollah destroyed the myth of Israeli impunity, Iran destroyed the myth of US impunity.

Still, I will always prefer the politician who does not start a war (for whatever reason) to one who would. I also have no doubt whatsoever that Hillary would have started one, or even several, wars. But the fact that Hillary would have been even worse than Trump is hardly a reason to start fawning about Trump’s brilliant “5D chess” genius or peace-loving policies…

Trump reminds of a guy pointing a gun a people in the street only to later say “but it was a toy gun, I never meant to really shoot anybody”. This is definitely better than shooting people with a real gun, but this is hardly a sign of maturity or intelligence.

The other problem with this “strategy” (let’s assume for argument’s sake that this is a strategy of some kind): each time the “indispensable nation” and “sole hyperpower” has to climb down, it increasingly looks like a paper tiger. Not looking like such a paper tiger is probably the mean reason behind Michael Ledeen’s famous wordsEvery ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business“. In a strictly evil and imperialistic sense, Ledeen’s strategy makes a lot more sense than what Trump has been doing.

As Marx famously said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce“. The outcome of what some now call the “Battle of Macuto Bay” is a perfect example of this: if the Bay of Pigs was the “root case” then the disaster in Grenada was the tragedy and the Battle of Macuto Bay the real farce.

Humor can be a devastating weapon and anybody who has studied the late Soviet Union (in the late Brezhnev years and after) knows how the Russian people ridiculed the Soviet leaders with literally thousands of jokes.

A real imperialist would much rather be hated than ridiculed, and while Trump himself probably does not realize that he is the laughingstock of the planet, his aides and deep state bosses most definitely do and that is very, very dangerous.

Why?

Because the pressure to, once again, “ pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall” increases with each climbdown (see my article “Each “Click” Brings Us One Step Closer to the “Bang!” for a fuller discussion of this).

Besides, finding an even smaller and weaker country than Venezuela will be hard (maybe the Island of Saba? or Grenada again? who knows?). And potentially very dangerous.

The other problem is predictability. Any international system requires that its most powerful actors be predictable. In contrast, when a major international actors acts in what appears to be unpredictable, irrational or irresponsible manner, this puts the entire stability of the system at risk.

This, by the way, is also why it is so disastrous that the US has withdrawn from so many international organizations or treaties: the participation in international organizations and treaties indicate that the US is willing to play by the same rules as everybody else. The fact that the US is ditching so many of its former international obligations only shows that the US has gone rogue and is from now on totally unpredictable.

Finally, there are also lessons for Moscow here, the main one being that when confronted with a determined adversary, the Empire tries to bluff, but eventually folds. True, Moscow has to be much more careful than Tehran simply because the consequences of a US-Russian war would be dramatically worse than even a major conflict in the Middle-East. Yet it is also true that over the past years the Russian armed forces did have the time to prepare for such a conflict and that now Russia is ready for pretty much anything the US could try to throw at her, at least in purely military terms.

In contrast to the military posture of Russia, the political environment in Russia has changed for the worse: there is now a potentially very dangerous “hardline” opposition to Putin which I have christened the “6th column”, as opposed to the liberal and pro-western 5th column. What these two “columns” have in common is that they both will categorically oppose pretty much anything and everything Putin does. The 6th column, in particular, has a seething hatred for Putin which is even more rabid than what the liberal 5th column usually express. Check out this excellent video by Ruslan Ostashko, who prefers the term “emo-Marxists” and who very accurately describes these folks. Whether we think of them as 6th-columnists or emo-Marxists does not matter, what matters is that these folks are eager to act like a soundboard for any and all anti-Putin rumors and fakes. While Putin certainly has his flaws, and while the economic policies of the Medvedev, and now Mishustin, government are a far cry from what most Russians would want, it is also true that these two “columns” are objectively doing the bidding of the Empire, which could present a real problem if the current pandemic-induced economic crisis in Russia is not tackled more effectively by the government.

I have always said that Iran, while being much weaker than Russia, has consistently shown much more courage in its dealings with the Empire than Russia. Furthermore, Iran’s policies are primarily dictated by moral and spiritual considerations (like in the case of Iran’s principled stance on occupied Palestine) while Russian policies are much more “pragmatic” (which is really a euphemism for self-serving). But then, Iran is an Islamic Republic whereas Russia still has to develop some kind of unifying and original worldview.

Conclusion:

For all his innumerable negative character traits and other flaws, it remains true that Trump has not launched a major war (so far). Yes, he has brought the world to the brink several times, but so far he has not plunged the world into a major conflict. How much of the credit for this truly should go personally to him is very debatable (maybe cooler heads in the military prevailed, I think of folks like General Mattis who, reportedly, was the one who stopped the US from seriously attacking Syria and settled for a symbolic strike). Some Russian analysts (Andrei Sidorov) even believe that the US is in no condition to fight any war, no matter how small. Furthermore, most (all?) Russian analysts also believe that the US is fully committed to a full-spectrum information and economic war to try to economically strangle both Russia and China. I think that it would be fair to say that nobody in Russia believes that the relationship with Trump’s US can, or will, improve. The tone in China is also changing, especially since the US has now launched a major anti-China strategic PSYOP. In other words, the US is merrily continuing down its current road which leads it to a simultaneous confrontation with not one, or even two, countries, but with a list of countries which seems to grow every day. So while it is true that in this case Trump appears to have canceled two wars, we should not assume that he won’t soon start one, if only to deflect the blame for his total mismanagement of the COVID19 crisis. Should that happen, we can only hope that all the “resistance countries” and movement will provide as much support as possible to whomever the Empire attacks next.

Breaking: Angry Venezuela ambassador slams US Iran threat

POMPEO DEMANDS COUNTRIES BLOCK AIRSPACE TO IRAN’S ‘TERRORIST AIRLINE’ AFTER VENEZUELA DELIVERIES

Pompeo Demands Countries Block Airspace To Iran's 'Terrorist Airline' After Venezuela Deliveries
Last year Mahan Air officially announced direct flights to Venezuela. Image via AFP

Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

The US is going on the offensive once again against Venezuela, this time attempting to break up growing Iranian cooperation and assistance to Caracas. The two so-called ‘rogue states’ recently targeted for US-imposed regime change are helping each other fight coronavirus as well as Washington-led sanctions. Specifically Tehran has ramped up cargo deliveries related getting Venezuela’s derelict oil refineries fully operational.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in new statements has called on international allies to block airspace specifically for Iran’s Mahan Air, currently under US sanctions, and which has in recent days delivered cargoes of “unknown support” to the Venezuelan governmentaccording to Pompeo’s words.

Mahan Air is considered to have close ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and its deliveries to Caracas are expected to continue.

“This is the same terrorist airline that Iran used to move weapons and fighters around the Middle East,” Pompeo asserted in his Wednesday remarks.

Pompeo demanded the flights “must stop” and called on all countries to halt sanctioned aircraft from flying through their airspace, and to further refuse access to their airports.

Mahan Air first came under sanctions in 2011 as Washington alleged it provided financial and non-financial support to the IRGC.

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