Venezuela in “Misery” – Lies and Deceit by the Media Open Letter to the New York Times

May 19, 2019

Note by The Saker: I normally don’t post open letters, but in this case I made an exception since this latter is also an analysis and because of the importance of this issue.

by Peter Koenig for The Saker Blog

To the Editor in CHIEF

Venezuela in “Misery” – Lies and Deceit by the Media Open Letter to the New York Times

NYT – 18 May 2019
Venezuela’s Collapse Is the Worst Outside of War in Decades, Economists Say
Subtitle:
Butchers have stopped selling meat cuts in favor of offal, fat shavings and cow hooves, the only animal protein many of their customers can afford.

This introduction is accompanied by a picture of a man in rags, pushing a shopping cart through a garbage dump site. You, NYT, say it is in Maracaibo, Venezuela, the man looking for recyclables. The photo could be from anywhere, the same with a picture further down in the text – depicting a young woman nursing a baby in the dark – you say in a typical Venezuelan blackout.

This is a flagrant misrepresentation of what’s going on in Venezuela.

The New York Times is known for selecting photos from places of misery, could be slums from anywhere in the world, and placing them where it is most convenient to propagate a lie story – a story meant to demean a country in the public opinion, a country that the empire wants to subdue by bashing and insulting it – so the public – the braindead western public, notably in the US and Europe, will tolerate or even scream for a “humanitarian invasion” from the friendly US of A.

Why don’t you NYT’s shameful liars tell the full truth?

Who is responsible for the collapse, the lack of food, medicine, blackouts – actually for all of the collapses that you described in your manipulating master piece of deceit and propaganda? – And many more ‘collapses’ that you don’t even mention?

The NYT article compares Venezuela with “Zimbabwe’s collapse under Robert Mugabe, the fall of the Soviet Union, and Cuba’s disastrous unraveling in the 1990s”. The Times is completing its baseless preposterous accusation by saying, “the crumbling of Venezuela’s economy has now outpaced them all. Venezuela’s fall is the single largest economic collapse outside of war in at least 45 years, economists say.”

The economist your article quotes is none less than the former chief economist of the IMF, Harvard professor, Kenneth Rogoff, one of the most neoliberal, bordering on neofascist, economists you could have chosen. But that figures. Impressing with name calling. No matter how biased they are; no matter that they too defend the US hardline – invade Venezuela to safe the people.

Whom do you think you impress with such names? The ignorant, of course, and – yes – there are plenty of them in the great and unique US of A; and your key objective and that of most MSM is to keep them ignorant, so the exceptional nation can continue sowing misery around the globe for the benefit of a few – killing millions and millions of innocent people, for power, the theft of resources and world hegemony.

Aren’t you – the Editor in Chief – ashamed for putting up a totally false scenario? – One of lies and half-truths, all with the objective of further brainwashing the western public – into becoming warmongers, like your criminal government, and like your criminal paper. Yes, the NYT is a criminal paper, for doing what it does: Lying after lying to sway public opinion towards war, towards killing – mass-killing, mass-murder, that’s what your government has been doing for the last 70 years – all under false flags and lies, pretending fighting terrorists, yet, fomenting terrorism, while building up the base for world hegemony – and insane profits for the American war industrial complex – the oligarchs of death.

Did you know – you must! – that the US economy could not survive PEACE; that this sadistic and satanic economy depends on war, permanent war? That the war machine manufacturing complex and its associated industries and services account for more than 50% of the US GDP? And do you realize – you should! – that the US’s economic output is one of destruction – of killing, of annihilation – instead of building and developing human knowledge and wellbeing, the intrinsic thrive of human society – evolving in conscience, integrity and conscientiousness towards living well for all?

How is that for an exceptional nation? – Indeed, an exceptional nation, a nation in disrespect of all international laws and conventions – just breaching the Vienna Convention to which the US is party – by violating the diplomatic code, invading the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington and a few years ago, by seizing Russian diplomatic properties in Washington and New York. Wonderful precedents for other unaligned and disobedient countries to prepare for – but also for other countries – if and when they wake up and take their courage into their mind and fist – to do the same to US Embassies on their soil. What would Washington do? Does Washington even consider such a possibility? I guess not. But it’s the easiest thing to do – retaliate.

It would just take a number of countries acting in solidarity, simultaneously – and Bingo! – the emperor will be standing there with his pants down.

Your paper didn’t mention this little diplomatic episode that happened a few days ago in the context of lawlessness, of breaching the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations which entered into effect in April 1964, one of the few sacrosanct UN Conventions on diplomacy of which the US is a signatory.
—-

Back to the Venezuelan “misery” you, Mr. Editor in Chief, and the NYT are so eager to report on. Why don’t you say that the United States of America – the self-proclaimed exceptional nation, with war criminals leading it – is responsible for far most of the suffering of Venezuela, through its totally illegal (who cares in Washington about legality) sanctions, blockage of food and medical imports, theft and confiscation of some US$ 130 billion in Venezuelan assets and reserve funds in US banks and around the world, economic blackmail and strangulation that has, according to economists Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington D.C. and Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University, caused the death of some 40,000 Venezuelans.

This racist, misogynist and neofascist government, centered in and around the Swamp of Washington, is responsible for most of the suffering in the world today, by planting wars and conflicts – eternal war on terror; the same terrorists, trained, funded and armed by the very Washington, the CIA, the Pentagon, NATO and the spineless European puppets – for power, domination and theft of resources.

Does the NYT ever report on this? – Why can’t you, the NYT and YOU, the Editor in Chief, for once be honest and stand up for true journalism? – Because you would lose your job? Right, that’s it, isn’t it? – So, why don’t you pull out your card of ethics that you subscribed to in the school of journalism – from deep-deep down in your soul – look at it, internalize it – and think how much more you will be gaining in esteem around the world, if you bring the truth to the people, rather than keep lying – and brainwashing the world into war, misery and death? – Try it. You may be surprised.

Don’t you think, Dear Editor in Chief, sooner or later this lie-propaganda, this abject non-journalism will haunt you eventually all the way into the grave?

People will wake up, the empire will fall, it’s just a matter of time. What will you do then?

Switch sides? – You truly think, you really honestly think, people will believe you? – And I mean you and your paper, the once-upon-a-time highly reputed New York Times? That the people are so dumb to forever buy your lies, your untruths? – It’s now or never that you should switch sides. You may feel the brunt for a while from those who pretend running the world, but deep down in your soul you still have a spark of ethic left. Pull it out. Bring it to light. It will reward your life forever.
—-

Largely thanks to you, the NYT and your think-alike AngloZionist mass-media colleagues and partners in crime – which encourage people to call for wars, for invasions, conflicts and regime change, all based on your deceit, misinformation and false flags – as a disgraceful result of these lies millions and millions of people have been killed around the globe. Estimates put the figure at between 20 and 25 million since the end of WWII – all by the US, NATO, and their proxies and vassalic European minions.

By repeatedly spreading lies and deception, you are creating a false truth, indoctrinating people into consensus for wars and more wars, for invading and killing more innocent people, for the benefit of a few kleptomaniac oligarchs, stealing natural resources and, especially, of the corrupt war machine. Goebbels, Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, had it right, when he said: Give me control of the media and I convert the people into a herd of pigs. Most of the western populace is already a herd of pigs.

Venezuelans are no herd of pigs. They, and Cubans, Nicaraguans, Bolivians, Iranians, Syrians, Russians, Chinese – and many other sanctioned, blackmailed and suffocated people, have been resisting and will continue to resist, no matter what it takes to bring the empire to its knees. Let’s face it, the latest amok race around the globe dishing out sanctions and more sanctions – from Venezuela, to Iran, to China, to North Korea, to Syria, to Iraq – by the ultra-dangerous, sadistic warrior-jokers, Bolton, Pompeo, Abrams, Pence – and not to forget, the Goldie-Lock of incompetence in the White House – with a fleet of the largest warplane carriers encircling the seas of Iran and the Gulf of Hormuz – these people and the scenarios they create, are a true reflection of hopelessness befalling a fading empire.

You, the New York Times, could help bringing this abject war on terror, the merciless killing of millions to an end, accelerate the downfall of the empire, by spreading the truth – the truth that you, Editor in Chief, as well as many of your colleague journalists know – by stepping out of your MSM-box, making a 180-degree U-turn, siding with the people, the 99.99% who crave PEACE. – You would earn and receive an enormous THANK-YOU.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

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The AngloZionist Empire: a Hyperpower with Microbrains and No Cred Left

MAY 17, 2019

THE SAKER 

Last week saw what was supposed to be a hyperpower point fingers for its embarrassing defeat not only at Venezuela, which successfully defeated Uncle Shmuel’s coup plans, but also at a list of other countries including Cuba, Russia, China and Iran. It’s is rather pathetic and, frankly, bordering on the comically ridiculous.

Uncle Shmuel clearly did not appreciate being the laughingstock of the planet.

Eviction Notice of the USSS
Eviction Notice of the USSS

And as Uncle Shmuel always does, he decided to flex some muscle and show the world “who is boss” by…

… blockading the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC.

But even that was too much for the MAGA Admin, so they also denied doing so (how lame is that!?)

Which did not prevent US activists of entering the embassy (legally, they were invited in and confirm it all).

Now the US Secret Service wants to evict the people inside the building.

So much for the CIA’s beloved “plausible deniability” which now has morphed into “comical deniability”.

If you think that all this sounds incredibly amateurish and stupid – you are 100% correct.

In the wonderful words of Sergei Lavrov, the US diplomats have “lost the taste for diplomacy“.

But that was not all.

In an act of incredible courage the US, which was told (by the Israelis, of course!), that the Iranians were about to attack “somewhere”, Uncle Shmuel sent two aircraft carrier strike groups to the Middle-East. In a “daring” operation, the brilliant USAF pilots B-52 bombers over the Persian Gulf to “send a message” to the “Mollahs”: don’t f*ck with us or else…

The “Mollahs” apparently were unimpressed as they simply declared that “the US carriers were not a threat, only a target“.

The AngloZionists apparently have also executed a false flag operation to get a pretext to strike Iran, but so far this seems to have gotten rather little traction in the region (so far – this might change).

Lavrov reacting to the latest US threats
Lavrov reacting to the latest US threats

Now let’s leave this “Kindergarten level of operations” and try to make some sense from this nonsense.

First, while the American can pour scorn on the Iranians, call them ragheads, terrorists, Mollahs, sand-niggers or confuse them with Iraqis or even think that Iranian are Arabs (as, apparently, are the Turks, at least by the US common standard of ignorance), the truth is that the Iranians are world-class and most sophisticated players, especially their superb analytical community. They fully understand that a B-52 anywhere near the Iranian airspace is a sitting duck and that if the Americans were planning to strike Iran, they would pull their aircraft carrier far away from any possible Iranian strikes. As for the B-52, they have long range cruise missiles and they don’t need to get near Iran to deliver they payloads.

In fact, I think that the proper way to really make the Iranians believe that Uncle Shmuel means business would be to flush any and all US ships out of the Persian Gulf, to position the B-52s in Diego Garcia and to place the carriers as far away as possible to still be able to support a missile/bomb attack on Iranian targets. And you can bet that the Iranians keep very close tabs on exactly what CENTCOM aircraft are deployed and where. To attack Iran the US would need to achieve a specific concentration of forces and support elements which are all trackable by the Iranians. My guess is that the Iranians already have a full list of all CENTCOM officers down to the colonel level (and possibly even lower for airmen) and that they already know exactly which individual USAF/USN aircraft are ready to strike. One could be excused to think that this is difficult to do, but in reality is is not. I have personally seen it done.

Second, the Americans know that the Iranians know that (well, maybe not Mr MAGA, but folks at the DIA, ONI, NSA, etc. do know that). So all this sabre-rattling is designed to show that Mr MAGA has tons of hair on his chest, it’s all for internal US consumption. As for the Iranians, they have already heard any and all imaginable US threats, they have been attacked many times by both the US and Israel (directly or by proxy), and they have been preparing for a US attack ever since the glorious days of Operation Eagle Claw: they are as ready as they can be, you can take that to the bank. Finally, the terrorist attack by the USN on a civilian Iranian airliner certainly convinced the Iranians that the leaders of the AngloZionist Empire lack even basic decency, nevermind honor. Nevermind the use of chemical warfare by Iraq against Iran with chemicals helpfully provided by various US and EU companies (with the full blessing of their governments). No – the Iranians truly have no illusions whatsoever about what the Shaytân-e Bozorg is capable of in his rage.

Third, “attacking embassies” is a glaring admission of terminal weakness. That was true for the seizure of Russian consular buildings, and this is true for the Venezuelan embassy. In the real (supra-Kindergarten) world when country A has a beef with country B, it does not vent its frustration against its embassy. Such actions are not only an admission of weakness, but also a sign of a fundamental lack of civilization.

This issue is crucial to the understanding of the United States. The US is an extremely developed country, but not a civilized one. Oscar Wilde (and George Clemanceau) had it right: “America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between“. There are signs of that everywhere in the US: from the feudal labor laws, to the lack of universal healthcare, to absolutely ridiculous mandatory criminal sentences (the Soviet Penal Code under Stalin was MUCH more reasonable and civilized than the current US laws!), to the death penalty, to the socially accepted torture in GITMO and elsewhere, to racial tensions, the disgusting “food” constituting the typical “SAD” diet, to the completely barbaric “war on drugs”, to the world record of incarcerations, to an immense epidemic of sexual assaults and rapes (1/5 of all women in the US!), homosexuality accepted as a “normal and positive variation of human sexuality“, 98 percent of men reported internet porn use in the last six months, … – you can continue that list ad nauseam. Please don’t misunderstand me – there are as many kind, intelligent, decent, honorable, educated, compassionate people in the US as anywhere else. This is not about the people living in the US: it is about the kind of society these people are living in. In fact, I would argue the truism that US Americans are the first victims of the lack of civilization of their own society! Finally, a lack of civilization is not always a bad thing, and sometimes it can make a society much more dynamic, more flexible, more innovative too. But yeah, mostly it sucks…

By the way, the US is hardly unique in having had degenerate imbeciles in power. Does anybody remember what Chernenko looked like when he became the Secretary General of the CPSU? What about folks like Jean-Bédel Bokassa or Mikheil Saakashvili (this latter case is especially distressing since it happened in a country with a truly ancient and extremely rich culture!). And while we can dislike folks like George Bush Senior or James Baker – these were superbly educated and extremely intelligent people. Compare them to such psychopathic ignoramuses like Pompeo, Bolton or Trump himself!

So this latest US “attack” on the Venezuela is truly a most telling symptom of the wholesale collapse of US power and of the moral and intellectual bankruptcy and lack of civilization of the Neocon ruling elites.

The big question is obvious: will they attack Venezuela or Iran next?

In the very first article I ever wrote for my blog, as far back as 2007, I predicted that the US would attack Iran. I still believe that the Israelis will never cease to try to get the US to do their dirty work for them (and let the goyimpay the price!). What I am not sure about is whether the Israelis truly will have the power to push the US into such a suicidal war (remember, if Iran cannot “win” against the US, neither can the US “win” against Iran – thus Iran will win simply by surviving and not caving in – which they will and they won’t). The good news is that US power has been in sharp (and accelerating!) decline at least since Clinton and his gang. I would even add that the last two idiots (Obama and Trump) did more damage to the US power than all their predecessors combined. The bad news is that the collective IQ of US leaders has been falling even faster than US power. We can hope that the first will hit zero long before the second, but there is no guarantee.

Truly, nobody knows if the US will or will not attack Iran and/or Venezuela next. The Neocons sure want that, but whether they will make it happen this time around or not depends on so many variables that even the folks in the White House and the Pentagon probably don’t really know what will happen next.

What is certain is that the US reputation worldwide is basically roadkill. The fact that most folks inside the US are never told about that does not make it less real. The Obama-Trump tag team has truly inflicted irreparable damage on the reputation of the US (in both cases because they were hopelessly infected and corrupted by the Neocons). The current US leaders appear to understand that, at least to some degree, this is why they are mostly lashing out at “easy” targets like free speech (on the Internet and elsewhere), Assange, the Venezuelan Embassy, etc. The real danger comes from either one of two factors:

  1. The Neocons will feel humiliated by the fact that all their threats are only met with indifference, disgust or laughter
  2. The Neocons will feel buoyed by the fact that nothing terrible happened (so far) when they attacked a defenseless target

Either way, in both cases the outcome is the same: each “click!” brings us closer to the inevitable “bang!”.

By the way, I think I should also mention here that the current state of advanced paranoia in which the likes of Pompeo point their fingers left and right are also signs of terminal weakness: these are not so much ways to credibly explain the constant and systematic failures of the Israelis and the Americans to get anything actually done as they are a way to distract away from the real reasons for the current extreme weakness of the AngloZionists.

2006: The people of Lebanon celebrate the victory which turned the tide of AngloZionist imperialism
2006: The people of Lebanon celebrate the victory which turned the tide of AngloZionist imperialism

I concluded my last article by speaking of the terrified Venezuelans who refused to be afraid. I will conclude this one by pointing at the first instance when a (comparatively) small adversary completely refused to be frightened even while it was the object of a truly terrifying attack: Hezbollah in 2006. Even though they were outnumbered, outgunned and surrounded by the Israelis, the members of the Resistance in Lebanon simply refused to be afraid and, having lost the fear too which so many Arabs did succumb to before 2006, they proceeded to give the Israelis (fully backed by the US) the worst and most humiliating thrashing in their country’s (admittedly short) history.

I urge you to read al-Sayyid Hassan’s famous “Divine Victory” speech (you can still find the English language transcript here and here) – it is one of the most important speeches of the 20th century! – and pay attention to these words (emphasis added):

We feel that we won; Lebanon won; Palestine won; the Arab nation won, and every oppressed, aggrieved person in this world also won. Our victory is not the victory of a party. I repeat what I said in Bint Jubayl on 25 May 2000: It is not the victory of a party or a community; rather it is a victory for true Lebanon, the true Lebanese people, and every free person in the world. Don’t distort this big historic victory. Do not contain it in party, sectarian, communal, or regional cans. This victory is too big to be comprehended by us. The next weeks, months, and years will confirm this.

And, indeed, the next weeks, months and years have very much confirmed that!

Any US attack on Iran will have pretty similar results, but on a much, much bigger scale.

And the Iranians know that. As do many in the Pentagon (the CIA and the White House are probably beyond hopeless by now).

Conclusion: good news and bad news

The good news first: Pompeo and Lavrov had what seems to be a meaningful dialog. That is very, very good, even if totally insufficient. They have also announced that they want to create study groups to improve the (currently dismal) relations between the two countries. That is even better news (if that really happens). Listening to Pompeo and Lavrov, I got a feeling that the Americans are slowly coming to the realization that they have an overwhelming need to re-establish a meaningful dialog with the other nuclear superpower. Good. But there is also bad news.

Finally some meaningful discussions between the two nuclear superpowers!
Finally some meaningful discussions between the two nuclear superpowers!

The rumor that the strategic geniuses surrounding Trump are now considering sending 120,000 troops to the Middle-East is really very bad news. If this just stays a rumor, then it will be the usual hot air out of DC, along the lines of Trump’s “very powerful armada” sent to scare the DPRK (it failed). The difference here is simple: sending carriers to the Middle-East is pure PR. But sending carriers AND 120,000 troops completely changes that and now this threat, if executed, will become very real. No, I don’t think that the US will attempt to invade Iran, but 120,000 is pretty close to what would be needed to try to re-open the Strait of Hormuz (assuming the Iranians close it) while protecting all the (pretty much defenseless) CENTCOM facilities and forces in the region. Under this scenario, the trip of Pompeo to Russia might have a much more ominous reason: to explain to the Russians what the US is up to and to provide security guarantees that this entire operation is not aimed at Russian forces. IF the US really plans to attack Iran, then it would make perfect sense for Pompeo to talk to Lavrov and open channels of communications between the two militaries to agree on “deconfliction” procedures. Regardless of whether the Russians accept such deconfliction measures or not (my guess is that they definitely would), such a trip is a “must” when deploying large forces so near to Russian military forces.

So far Trump has denied this report – but we all know that he suffers from the “John Kerry syndrome”: he wants better relations with Russia only until the Neocons tell him not to. Then he makes a 180 and declares the polar opposite of what he just said.

Still, there are now rumors that Trump is getting fed up with Bolton (who, truth be told, totally FUBARed the Venezuelan situation!).

As for the Iraqis, they have already told the US to forget using Iraqi territory for any attack. This reminds me of how the Brazilians told the US that Brazil would not allow its territory to be used for any attacks. This is becoming a pattern. Good.

Frankly, while an AngloZionist attack on Iran is always and by definition possible, I can’t imagine the folks at the Pentagon having the stomach for that. In a recent article Eric Margolis outlined what the rationale for such an attack might be (check out his full article here). Notice this sentence: “The Pentagon’s original plan to punish Iran called for some 2,300 air strikes on Day 1 alone“. Can they really do that? Yes, absolutely. But imagine the consequences! Margolis speaks of “punishing” Iran. 2,300 air strikes in one day is not something I would call a “punishment”. That is a full scale attack on Iran which, in turns, means that the Iranians will have exactly *ZERO* reasons to hold back in any way. If the AngloZionists attack Iran with 2,300 air strikes on Day 1, then you can be sure that on Day 2 all hell will break loose all over the Middle-East and the AngloZionists will have absolutely *NO* means of stopping it.

This will be a real bloodbath and nobody will have any idea as to how to stop it.

And you can be darn sure that the Iranians will show much more staying power than the imperialists, if only because they will be fighting in defense of their country, their faith, their liberty, their friends and their families. To expect the Iranians to cave in or surrender in any way would be the most stupid notion anybody could entertain.

Could they really be THAT stupid in Washington DC?

I don’t know.

But what I do know is this: any such attack will be extremely costly and very, very dangerous. Obviously, the Neocons don’t give a rats ass about costs, financial or human. They just want war, war, war and more war (remember McCain’s “bomb, bomb, bomb – bomb, bomb Iran“?). But the Neocons are only a tiny fraction of the US ruling elites (even if the most powerful one) and my hope is that the sane elements will prevail (which, indeed, they have so far).

As for right now, we are still okay. But if the US actually beings sending large forces to the Middle-East, then all bets are off.

What Putin and Pompeo did not talk about

May 15, 2019

by Pepe Escobar : Posted with permission

What Putin and Pompeo did not talk aboutRussia is uneasy over the destabilizatihttp://by Pepe Escobar : Posted with permissionon of Tehran, and on other hotspots the powers’ positions are clear.

Even veiled by thick layers of diplomatic fog, the overlapping meetings in Sochi between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov still offer tantalizing geopolitical nuggets.

Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov did his best to smooth the utterly intractable, admitting there was “no breakthrough yet” during the talks but at least the US “demonstrated a constructive approach.”

Putin told Pompeo that after his 90-minute phone call with Trump, initiated by the White House, and described by Ushakov as “very good,” the Russian president “got the impression that the [US] president was inclined to re-establish Russian-American relations and contacts to resolve together the issues that are of mutual interest to us.”

That would imply a Russiagate closure. Putin told Pompeo, in no uncertain terms, that Moscow never interfered in the US elections, and that the Mueller report proved that there was no connection between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign.

This adds to the fact Russiagate has been consistently debunked by the best independent American investigators such as the VIPS group.   

‘Interesting’ talk on Iran

Let’s briefly review what became public of the discussions on multiple (hot and cold) conflict fronts – Venezuela, North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran.

Venezuela – Ushakov reiterated the Kremlin’s position: “Any steps that may provoke a civil war in the country are inadmissible.” The future of President Maduro was apparently not part of the discussion.

That brings to mind the recent Arctic Council summit. Both Lavrov and Pompeo were there. Here’s a significant exchange:

Lavrov: I believe you don’t represent the South American region, do you?

Pompeo: We represent the entire hemisphere.

Lavrov: Oh, the hemisphere. Then what’s the US doing in the Eastern Hemisphere, in Ukraine, for instance?

There was no response from Pompeo.

North Korea – Even acknowledging that the Trump administration is “generally ready to continue working [with Pyongyang] despite the stalemate at the last meeting, Ushakov again reiterated the Kremlin’s position: Pyongyang will not give in to “any type of pressure,” and North Korea wants “a respectful approach” and international security guarantees.

Afghanistan – Ushakov noted Moscow is very much aware that the Taliban are getting stronger. So the only way out is to find a “balance of power.” There was a crucial trilateral in Moscow on April 25 featuring Russia, China and the US, where they all called on the Taliban to start talking with Kabul as soon as possible.

Iran – Ushakov said the JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal, was “briefly discussed.”.He would only say the discussion was “interesting.”

Talk about a larger than life euphemism. Moscow is extremely uneasy over the possibility of a destabilization of Iran that allows a free transit of jihadis from the Caspian to the Caucasus.

Which brings us to the heart of the matter. Diplomatic sources – from Russia and Iran – confirm, off the record, there have been secret talks among the three pillars of Eurasian integration – Russia, China and Iran – about Chinese and Russian guarantees in the event the Trump administration’s drive to strangle Tehran to death takes an ominous turn.

This is being discussed at the highest levels in Moscow and Beijing. The bottom line: Russia-China won’t allow Iran to be destroyed.

But it’s quite understandable that Ushakov wouldn’t let that information slip through a mere press briefing.

Wang Yi and other deals

On multiple fronts, what was not disclosed by Ushakov is way more fascinating than what’s now on the record. There’s absolutely no way Russian hypersonic weapons were not also discussed, as well as China’s intermediate-range missiles capable of reaching any US military base encircling or containing China.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, third right, meets Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, center left, in Sochi on 14 May 2019. Photo: AFP / Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service / Anadolu

The real deal was, in fact, not Putin-Pompeo or Pompeo-Lavrov in Sochi. It was actually Lavrov-Wang Yi (the Chinese Foreign Minister), the day before in Moscow.

A US investment banker doing business in Russia told me: “Note how Pompeo ran like mad to Sochi. We are frightened and overstretched.”

Diplomats later remarked: “Pompeo looked solemn afterwards. Lavrov sounded very diplomatic and calm.” It’s no secret in Moscow’s top diplomatic circles that the Chinese Politburo overruled President Xi Jinping’s effort to find an accommodation to Trump’s tariff offensive. The tension was visible in Pompeo’s demeanor.

In terms of substance, it’s remarkable how Lavrov and Wang Yi talked about, literally, everything: Syria, Iran, Venezuela, the Caspian, the Caucasus, New Silk Roads (BRI), Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), missiles, nuclear proliferation.

Or as Lavrov diplomatically put it: “In general, Russia-China cooperation is one of the key factors in maintaining the international security and stability, establishing a multipolar world order. . . . Our states cooperate closely in various multilateral organizations, including the UN, G20, SCO, BRICS and RIC [Russia, India, China trilateral forum], we are working on aligning the integration potential of the EAEU and the Belt and Road Initiative, with potentially establishing [a] larger Eurasian partnership.”

The strategic partnership is in sync on Venezuela, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan – they want a solution brokered by the SCO. And on North Korea, the message could not have been more forceful.

After talking to Wang Yi, Lavrov stressed that contacts between Washington and North Korea “proceeded in conformity with the road map that we had drafted together with China, from confidence restoration measures to further direct contacts.”

This is a frank admission that Pyongyang gets top advice from the Russia-China strategic partnership. And there’s more: “We hope that at a certain point a comprehensive agreement will be achieved on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and on the creation of a system of peace and security in general in Northeast Asia, including concrete firm guarantees of North Korea’s security.”

Translation: Russia and China won’t back down on guaranteeing North Korea’s security. Lavrov said: “Such guarantees will be not easy to provide, but this is an absolutely mandatory part of a future agreement. Russia and China are prepared to work on such guarantees.”

Reset, maybe?

The indomitable Maria Zakharova, Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, may have summed it all up. A US-Russia reset may even, eventually, happen. Certainly, it won’t be of the Hillary Clinton kind, especially when current CIA director Gina Haspel is shifting most of the agency’s resources towards Iran and Russia.

Top Russian military analyst Andrei Martyanov was way more scathingRussia won’t break with China, because the US “doesn’t have any more a geopolitical currency to ‘buy’ Russia – she is out of [the] price range for the US.”

That left Ushakov with his brave face, confirming there may be a Trump-Putin meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka next month.

“We can organize a meeting ‘on the go’ with President Trump. Alternatively, we can sit down for a more comprehensive discussion.”

Under the current geopolitical incandescence, that’s the best rational minds can hope for.

 

بويتن وترامب: عندما ينضج التفاوض

مايو 11, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– الأكيد من النص المعلن في البيت الأبيض حول المحادثة الهاتفية المطوّلة بين الرئيسين الأميركي دونالد ترامب والروسي فلاديمير بوتين حول نتائج تحقيقات المدعي العام الأميركي في الاتهامات الموجّهة للرئيس ترامب بالإفادة من تدخل روسي استخباري في الانتخابات، أن الرئيس ترامب كان يريد للتحقيقات أن تنتهي بتبرئته لتطلق يديه في الذهاب لأي تفاوض ممكن أو لازم مع موسكو، وأن بعض المواقف التصعيدية السابقة بوجه روسيا كان إثباتاً لهذه البراءة أكثر مما هو تعبير عن مقتضيات المصلحة السياسية الأميركية، وأنه وقد تخفف من أثقال الاتهامات فقد صار بمستطاعه استعادة الموضوعية التي يجب أن يتصرف من خلالها الرئيس الأميركي مع الرئيس الروسي.

– هذا التوقيت ليس أحادي الحضور في الحديث عن نضج التفاوض بين موسكو وواشنطن، فيما تتزاحم محطات التلاقي بين أركان إدارتي موسكو وواشنطن. فالمحادثة الهاتفية الاستثنائية في مدتها التي بلغت ساعة ونصفاً واتسمت بالتفاهم الكبير، كما قال الرئيس ترامب مغرداً، تلاها لقاء بين وزيري الخارجية الأميركي مايك بومبيو والروسي سيرغي لافروف على هامش اجتماعات مجلس القطب الشمالي امتد ساعة خرج بعدها الوزيران يتحدثان عن إيجابيات كثيرة وفرصاً كبيرة للتفاهم، تمهيداً للقاء سيجمعهما في سوتشي بعد أيام، وقد استبقه بومبيو بالإعلان عن وصوله إلى موسكو قبل يومين من موعد سوتشي للقاءات تمهيدية سيتوّجها ويتوّج زيارته بلقاء الرئيس بوتين، ليتم اللقاء التاريخي بين بوتين وترامب في اليابان على هامش قمة العشرين الشهر المقبل.

– في الطريق إلى لقاء الرئيسين بوتين وترامب، إعلان أميركي للمرة الأولى عن «تفهم العملية المحدودة لروسيا في إدلب»، وحديث علني لبومبيو عن ملفات للحوار تمتد من سورية إلى أوكرانيا وإيران وفنزويلا وكوريا الشمالية. وبالتدقيق سيتبين أنه في كل منها حاولت واشنطن لسنوات التفرّد ووصلت لطريق مسدود، بدءاً من أوكرانيا التي فقدت رأس الرهان على استخدامها منصة تصعيد بوجه روسيا مع الفشل الانتخابي للرئيس السابق المدعوم من واشنطن كرأس حربة بوجه روسيا، وروسيا تدعو لتطبيق تفاهمات مينسك. وفي فنزويلا فشل مزدوج للانقلاب النيابي فالانقلاب العسكري، وروسيا حاضرة للتعاون التفاوضي. وفي سورية تحتاج واشنطن لتغطية قرار انسحابها بتسليم روسيا إدارة الملف وضمان مستقبل الأكراد من ضمن تفاهمها مع الدولة السورية وتركيا بعدما صار نصر الدولة السورية الشامل تحصيل حاصل ومسألة وقت. وفي كوريا الشمالية انتهى الرهان الأميركي على مفاوضات ثنائية من وراء ظهر روسيا إلى مهزلة، وتساقطت الوعود الأميركية بقرب التوصل لتفاهم الواحد تلو الآخر، بينما أنتج لقاء الرئيس بوتين مع زعيم كوريا الشمالية كيم جونغ أون ما يمنح روسيا صفة الوسيط القادر.

– يشكل الملف الإيراني العقدة الأهم، خصوصاً بعدما سقطت النظرية الأميركية بالقدرة على الحصول على تطمينات التفاهم النووي وحرمان إيران من مكتسباته، فالردّ الإيراني عملياً يقول إن إيران حصلت من التفاهم على سقوط لا رجعة فيه لعقوبات أممية، ولم تعد بحاجة للتفاهم وهي تستطيع تحميل أميركا وأوروبا مسؤولية إفشاله، وقادرة على التعايش مع عقوباتهم وقد فعلت من قبل لسنوات ما قبل العام 2015 موّلت خلالها اقتصادها وقوى المقاومة ومستلزمات صمود سورية بوجه الحرب الأميركية، وجاءت الحشود العسكرية الأميركية تحرشاً بديلاً بإيران يعترف ضمناً بفشل العقوبات في جلبها للتفاوض، وتشكل إشارات ترامب لتمايزه عن مستشاره للأمن القومي جون بولتون وإعلان رغبته بحوار مباشر بلا شروط مع إيران، كما الدعوات الأوروبية لتفاوض مباشر أميركي إيراني، مقدّمات لا يمكن لغير روسيا تحويلها إلى مناسبة لتفاوض تقبل به إيران من موقع يحفظ صورتها ومصالحها، وترامب أكثر مَن يدرك أن حديثه عن صفقة القرن حول القضية الفلسطينية بلا أفق، وأنه يفيد في ابتزاز أموال الخليج، لكنه لا ينفع في زرع الخوف في إيران وقوى المقاومة.

– ترامب المهتم بالتمهيد لترشحه لولاية ثانية من موقع النجاح، لا يملك ذلك بالتصعيد الذي يذهب إلى المجهول ولا يجلب له إلا صورة المتهوّر العاجز، بينما صورة القوي والقادر على صناعة التفاهمات هي ما يحتاجه في العام الذي يسبق بدء الموسم الانتخابي، ويعنيه كثيراً أن يذهب للانتخابات وهو يقول إنه نجح في التأسيس لمفاوضات جادة حول ملفات كوريا وفنزويلا وأوكرانيا والسلاح النووي وسورية وإيران بمقدار نجاحه في رسم صورة القوة الأميركية، وشرط هذا هو التشارك مع موسكو الذي رفضت واشنطن الإقرار به كحاجة وضرورة لعقود طويلة منذ سقوط جدار برلين، وشكلت الدعوة له أحد عناوين الحملة الانتخابية للرئيس الذي يُقال أنه يفي بوعوده الانتخابية ولو عطلته رياح الداخل الأميركي والرهانات الخاطئة وأوهام القوة إلى حين.

How the West’s War in Libya Has Spurred Terrorism in 14 Countries

The Saker

May 09, 2019

[this analysis was written for the Unz Review]

Introduction

It is sometimes helpful not to look at any one specific issue in detail, but rather make a survey of ongoing processes instead. The resulting picture is neither better nor worse, it is simply different. This is what I want to do today: to take a bird’s eye view of our suffering planet.

Putin trolls the Empire

It is all really simple: if the Ukrainians will give passports to Russian citizens, and we in Russia will be handing out passports to the Ukrainians, then sooner or later will will reach the expected result: everybody will have the same citizenship. This is something which we have to welcome.

Vladimir Putin

It appears that the Kremlin is very slowly changing its approach to the Ukrainian issue and is now relying more on unilateral actions. The first two measures taken by the Russians are maybe not “too little too late”, but certainly “just the bare minimum and at that, rather late”. Still, I can only salute the Kremlin’s newly found determination. Specifically, the Kremlin has banned the export of energy products to the Ukraine (special exemptions can still be granted on a case by case basis) and the Russians have decided to distribute Russian passports to the people of Novorussia. Good.

Zelenskii’s reaction to this decision came as the first clear sign that the poor man has no idea what he is doing and no plan as to how to deal with the Russians. He decided to crack a joke, (which he is reportedly good at), and declare that the Ukrainian passport was much better than the Russian one and that the Ukraine will start delivering Ukrainian passports to Russian citizens. Putin immediately replied with one of his typical comebacks declaring that he supports Zelenskii and that he looks forward to the day when Russians and Ukrainians will have the same citizenship again. Zelenskii had nothing to say to that 🙂

Zelenskii finally finds something common to Russia and the Ukraine

I have been thinking long about this “a lot in common” between Ukraine and Russia. The reality is that today, after the annexation of the Crimea and the aggression in the Donbas, of the “common” things we have only one thing left – this is the state border. And control of every inch on the Ukrainian side, must be returned by Russia. Only then will we be able to continue the search for [things in] “common”

Vladimir Zelenskii

Well, almost. He did eventually make a Facebook post in which he declared that all that Russia and the Ukraine had in common was a border. This instantly made him the object of jokes and memes, since all Russians or Ukrainians know that Russia and the Ukraine have many old bonds which even 5 years of a vicious civil war and 5 years of hysterically anti-Russian propaganda could not sever. They range from having close relatives in the other country, to numerous trade and commercial transactions, to a common language. The closest thing to a real Ukrainian language would be the Surzhik which is roughly 50/50 in terms of vocabulary and whose pronunciation is closer to the south Russian one than to the Zapadenskii regional dialect spoken in the western Ukraine and which is used (and currently imposed) by the Ukronazi junta in Kiev.

The malignant manatee threatens the planet with fire and brimstone

We have Pompeo, a malignant manatee looking to start wars in which he will not risk his flabby amorphous ass also parading his Christianity. Bolton, a mean sonofabitch who belongs in a strait jacket, at least doesn’t pose as someone having a soul. And the Golden Tufted Cockatoo, too weak to control those around him, preening and tweeting. God save us.

Fred Reed

The term “malignant manatee” is not from me, the brilliant Fred Reed came up with this one, but I can only fully endorse it because it fits. Perfectly. And our malignant manatee sure is on a roll! Just this week he managed to threaten VenezuelaIran, and even Russia and China together. I think that it is high time to declare that Pompeo is a bona fide nutcase, a dangerous, arrogant and ignorant psychopath whose crazy statements represent a direct threat to the entire planet. Not to say that his pal Bolton is any less crazy. Now combine these two rabid thugs with the spineless “Golden Tufted Cockatoo” (to use Fred Reed’s equally hilarious but accurate characterization) and you see that the planet is in big, big trouble.

Turns out that Putin is a crypto-Zionist and an Israeli puppet.

Here I won’t even bother with any quotes. The alternative Internet/blogosphere has, again, been hit by a wave of articles declaring that Putin is Netanyahu’s puppet and a crypto-Zionist. I have debunked that nonsense in the past (see here and here) and I won’t repeat it all here. Besides, what this surge in “Putin the Zionist” propaganda is, is not so much the result of a gradual realization about the true agenda or Putin himself as much as it is, yet again, a desperate scramble for clicks. I already discussed that recently too (see here). I will just reiterate my conclusion here: clickbaiters are never experts and experts are never clickbaiters.

Frankly, to all those who email me and ask “Is it really true? Putin is an Israeli puppet? He helps Netanyahu in Syria, does he not?!” I would suggest simply looking at what the Israelis and Zionists write about Putin (for starters, you can click herehere or here). Even better, ask the defenders of Putin the crytpo-Zionist to explain the hysterically anti-Putin campaign the US legacy Ziomedia has been engaged in for the past years! But don’t hold your breath for an answer – since Russia has comprehensively foiled all Israel’s many plans for Syria, it takes a remarkable determination not to see that Putin is hated by Neocons and Zionists alike, and for good cause, I would add.

Oh, and Putin is a crypto-Muslim too!

Yes, besides being a crypto-Zionist, Putin is also a crypto-Muslim. This latest nonsense usually comes from Alt-Right circles who can forgive Putin his friendliness to Israel, but not to Islam. These are the folks who believe that Putin is not a real defender of the “White Race”. They are opposed by those who believe that Putin and the Moscow Patriarchate will somehow jump-start the “Christian West”. We are talking about some hardcore “single-issue” folks here whose main disagreement is whether Jews or Muslims are to be hated (and feared!) most.

[Having had to deal with both groups myself – I have been accused of being a Jew, a Jew lover and a Muslim and a Muslim lover many times! – I know that reasoning with these folks is a total waste of time. Their paranoid hatred is completely incompatible with any fact-based and logical discussion. Besides, by arguing with them you threaten their income and livelihood – which due to their lack of expertise depends entirely on their ability to generate clickbait revenue. If you do engage with them, they will call you a Jew-lover or an Islam-lover and that’s it. Not worth your time IMHO].

The quasi-comical truth is that the Alt-Righters don’t get Russia *at all*. They keep transposing their narrow horizons on a nation with which they have absolutely nothing in common, not even religiously or racially (even if they think otherwise). Hence their love-hate relationship with Putin: on one hand, they would love to have a champion like Putin (Ann Coulter or Milo Yiannopoulos do not qualify), but on the other, they hate Putin for not endorsing their racist and fascist agenda. Truth be told: Russia has no use for these intellectual midgets.

Russia is “selling out” to the Taliban?

Well, since we are making a (tongue-in-cheek) “inventory” of all of Putin’s (and even Russia’s) sins, let’s include cozying up to the Taliban (who even agreed to put on Saint George’s Ribbons!) and… … and what exactly is happening here?

How about trying to bring peace back to Afghanistan? You know – the same thing Russia is doing in Venezuela, in Syria and elsewhere. This implies talking to the other side, and even striking smiling poses when asked by the press.

Needless to say, the thugs running the AngloZionst Empire have accused Russia or aiding and even arming the Taliban. And why not? This is no more ridiculous than saying that Saddam and Iran are helping al-Qaeda, or than saying that Russia “hacked” DNC computers, or told Maduro not to run for his life. Hey! We are living in “Skripal times” and the rules of evidence have changed to “highly likely” – so why not claim that Russia is also selling out to the Taliban (maybe even on Netanyahu’s orders?).

In the meantime, Russian soldiers are busy ducking missiles…

Yep, apparently unaware that their Commander-in-Chief is a puppet of both Israel and the worldwide Islamic Ummah, Russian servicemen are ducking missiles in Syria. The latest attack saw them shoot 36 missiles (and one targeting drone) out of the sky. This is good news, of course, but this just goes to show that these (US and Israel backed) Islamists shooting these missiles have not been informed that the Russian military in Syria is here to help Netanyahu and Trump. Somebody should probably tell them 😉

Conclusion: just one more crazy and terrifying week, with many more to come

I tried to be a little tongue-in-cheek here, but the reality is that what is taking place before our eyes is both absolutely insane and most terrifying. Why? Because the world is now ruled by a most dangerous gang of ignorant thugs who are very rapidly losing their grip on our planet and who is simply neither intellectually equipped to understand, nor deal with this very complex and rapidly changing situation.

What we are seeing is a full-spectrum collapse of the unipolar world and its gradual, but also inexorable, replacement with a multi-polar world in which things like “speaking with your adversaries or even enemies” becomes the norm rather than the exception. Even more importantly, this is a world in which US threats always fall on deaf ears simply because nobody takes the US seriously anymore. While the US military probably has the capability to re-invade Grenada or “bring democracy” to the inhabitants of the North Sentinel Island – no adults in the room will be impressed (least of all the Iranians!).

It is this quiet indifference which enrages the likes of Pompeo, Bolton or Trump – for all their narcissistic chest-thumping – they are, and will forever remain, the ultimate losers – folks who simply couldn’t get *anything* done. Even more terrifying is their sense of total impunity. If Obama was “democracy with a human face” then Trump is “democracy with a simian face” – not much better.

When I think that a “Golden Tufted Cockatoo” (to use Fred Reeds wonderful image) has the authority to press the nuclear button I feel terrified. I also realize that the survival of the human species will depend on Putin and Xi and their ability to gradually disarm or neutralize the US threat without triggering a nuclear war.

These are truly terrifying times. If you are not terrified, then you are delusional.

But if being terrified is a natural and absolutely normal reaction, we need to overcome it and fearlessly resist. Like Maduro does, surrounded by his men.

This refusal to be afraid, even while being terrified, is how we will eventually defeat the Empire!

Venezuela is, by far, the weakest link in the chain of resistance to the Empire. But look at these faces! All I can say is this: may the courage of the kids protecting not only Maduro, but also the sovereignty of their country, be an inspiration to us all, no matter how terrified we are.

UPDATE: turns out that it was not Russia or Cuba which are responsible for the failed coup. According to Neocon US Senator from Florida, Venezuela regime change crusader Marco Rubio, it’s the Chinese! I wonder whom the US leaders are going to blame next? Any guesses?

Pandering to Israel Means War with Iran

Global Research, May 09, 2019

The United States is moving dangerously forward in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to provoke a war with Iran, apparently based on threat intelligence provided by Israel. The claims made by National Security Advisor John Bolton and by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that there is solid evidence of Iran’s intention to attack US forces in the Persian Gulf region is almost certainly a fabrication, possibly deliberately contrived by Bolton and company in collaboration with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It will be used to justify sending bombers and additional naval air resources to confront any possible moves by Tehran to maintain its oil exports, which were blocked by Washington last week. If the US Navy tries to board ships carrying Iranian oil it will undoubtedly, and justifiably, provoke a violent response from Iran, which is precisely what Bolton, Pompeo and Netanyahu are seeking.

It would be difficult to find in the history books another example of a war fought for no reason whatsoever. As ignorant as President Donald Trump and his triumvirate or psychotics Bolton, Pompeo and Elliott Abrams are, even they surely know that Iran poses no threat to the United States. If they believe at all that a war is necessary, they no doubt base their judgment on the perception that the United States must maintain its number one position in the world by occasionally attacking and defeating someone to serve as an example of what might happen if one defies Washington. Understanding that, the Iranians would be wise to avoid confrontation until the sages in the White House move on to some easier target, which at the moment would appear to be Venezuela.

The influence of Israel over US foreign policy is undeniable, with Washington now declaring that it will “review ties” with other nations that are considered to be unfriendly to the Jewish state. For observers who might also believe that Israel and its allies in the US are the driving force behind America’s belligerency in the Middle East, there are possibly some other games that are in play, all involving Benjamin Netanyahu and his band of merry cutthroats. It is becoming increasingly apparent that foreign politicians have realized that the easiest way to gain Washington’s favor is to do something that will please Israel. In practical terms, the door to Capitol Hill and the White House is opened through the good offices of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Israel is desperate to confirm its legitimacy in international fora, where it has few friends in spite of an intensive lobbying campaign. It seeks to have countries that do not have an embassy in Israel to take steps to establish one, and it also wants more nations that do already have an embassy in Tel Aviv to move to Jerusalem, building on the White House’s decision taken last year to do just that. Not surprisingly, nations and political leaders who are on the make and want American support have drawn the correct conclusions and pander to Israel as a first step.

One only has to cite the example of Venezuela. Juan Guaido, the candidate favored by Washington for regime change, has undoubtedly a lot of things on his plate but he has proven willing to make some time to say what Benjamin Netanyahu wants to hear, as reported by the Israeli media. The Times of Israel describes how

“Venezuela’s self-proclaimed leader Juan Guaido is working to re-establish diplomatic relations with Israel and isn’t ruling out placing his country’s embassy in Jerusalem, according to an interview with an Israeli newspaper published Tuesday.”

One would think that Guaido would consider his interview sufficient, but he has also taken the pandering process one step farther, reportedly displaying huge video images of the flags of both Israel and the United States at his rallies.

This deference to Israel’s interests produced an almost immediate positive result with Netanyahu recognizing him as the legitimate Venezuelan head of state, followed by an echo chamber of effusive congratulations from US (sic) Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, who praised the Jewish state for “standing with the people of Venezuela and the forces of freedom and democracy.” Donald Trump’s esteemed special envoy for international negotiations, Jason Greenblatt, also joined in, praising the Israeli government for its “courageous stand in solidarity with the Venezuelan people.”

A similar bonding took place regarding Brazil, where hard right conservative leader Jair Bolsonaro was recently elected president. Netanyahu attended the Bolsonaro inauguration last December and the two men benefit from strong support from Christian Evangelicals. Bolsonaro repaid the favor by promising that Israel would be his first foreign trip. In the event he went to Washington first, but the state visit to Israel took place in April, just before that country’s elections, in a bid to demonstrate international support for Netanyahu.

Brazilian Jews constitute a wealthy and powerful community which reacted positively to Bolsonaro’s pledges to fight corruption and high crime rates while also repairing a struggling economy. They also appreciated his stance on Israel. He committed to moving the Brazilian embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, though he has backpedaled a bit on that pledge. And he also promised to shut the Palestinian embassy in the capital Brasilia. He famously asked and answered his own question,

“Is Palestine a country? Palestine is not a country, so there should be no embassy here. You do not negotiate with terrorists.”

Bolsonaro’s pro-Israel anti-Venezuela credentials also endeared him to Donald Trump on a visit to Washington in mid-March which was described by the media as a “love fest.” The Brazilian leader’s visits to Israel and the US as well as Guaido’s promises to Israel reveal that the foreign policies of Tel Aviv and Washington have become inextricably intertwined, with supplicant nations and politicians wisely seeking to do homage to both regimes to gain favor. It is a development that would shock the Founding Fathers, most particularly George Washington, who warned against entangling alliances, and it means that American interests will be seen through an Israeli prism, a reality that has already produced very bad results.

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Philip M. Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served nineteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was the CIA Chief of Base for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and was one of the first Americans to enter Afghanistan in December 2001. Phil is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a Washington-based advocacy group that seeks to encourage and promote a U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East that is consistent with American values and interests.

بوتين – ترامب: تراضٍ وتغاضٍ… وربط نزاع

 

مايو 6, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– لا يمكن لعاقل ومتابع أن يتقبّل فكرة أن الحوار الهاتفي المعلن عنه بصيغة لافتة للأنظار، من موسكو وواشنطن وببيانات رسمية للبيت البيض والكرملين، والذي تمّ بين الرئيسين الأميركي دونالد ترامب والروسي فلاديمير بوتين، واستمر لساعة ونصف كان بلا معنى، وأن لا نتائج ترتبت عليه، رغم قول الرئيس ترامب إنه كان جيداً جداً وإن «هناك إمكانيات ضخمة لعلاقات جيدة ممتازة مع روسيا، رغم ما تقرأونه وترونه في إعلام الأخبار الكاذبة»، ولا يمكن تجاهل أهمية هذه المحادثة بعدما لحق بها من بيانات توضيحية عن الكرملين والبيت الأبيض تضمنت ما تناولته، وتخللتها إشارة أميركية لتحقيقات الاتهامات الموجهة لروسيا بالتدخل في الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية، وصولاً لتوبيخ ترامب لإحدى الصحافيات في البيت البيض لدى سؤالها عن إمكانية تدخل روسي في الانتخابات المقبلة.

– ما توحي به توضيحات الأبيت الأبيض هو أن بروداً أصاب العلاقة بين موسكو وواشنطن، وبين الرئيسين ترامب وبوتين بقرار أميركي، خلال مرحلة تحقيقات المدعي العام روبرت مولر منعاً لأي استغلال وأن نهاية التحقيق حررت ترامب من القيود، وأعادت الفرص لفعل ما يجب فعله وفقاً لسياسات المصالح ومقتضيات الأوضاع الدولية، والحديث عن فنزويلا وكوريا الشمالية، حيث روسيا شريك لا غنى عنه، بعد الفشل الأميركي في محاولات الاستفراد، والحضور الروسي القوي في الملفين، صار مصلحة أميركية، والحديث عن أوكرانيا صار كذلك بعد فشل المرشح المدعوم من الغرب في الانتخابات الرئاسية، والحاجة للتعاون الدولي في إحاطة الرئيس المنتخب الذي قد يؤدي ضعف الخبرة لديه إلى مفاجآت لا يرغب بها أحد.

– الواضح هنا أن الرهان الأميركي على قدرة مواصلة سياسات التفرد والانفراد يسقط لصالح حتمية الشراكات، وأن العقوبات على إيران كما الانقلاب في فنزويلا كما التهديد لكوريا، تواجه محدودية القدرة على صناعة التغيير المنشود في التوازنات على الساحة الدولية، والواضح أيضاً أن الضغط على روسيا لجلبها للتعاون بشروط أميركية من خلال البوابة الأوكرانية يفقد أوراقه، ومثله من البوابة السورية، خصوصاً مع التشابك في العلاقات التركية بكل من روسيا وإيران، وحسم تركيا لتمردها على العقوبات الأميركية في ملفي النفط والغاز مع إيران وملف السلاح مع روسيا. وبالمقابل يظهر التموضع الأميركي في الملف الليبي بصورة تُرضي روسيا، بعد سنوات نظرت خلالها موسكو لما تسمّيه بالخديعة الأميركية كمصدر لانفراط عقد التعاون الدولي.

– ما نحن أمامه يؤكد وجود حالات تراضٍ وتفاهمات، ربما تكون ليبيا أبرزها، وحالات تغاضٍ يرتضي بها الأميركي التقدم الروسي دون أن يمنحه صك الشرعنة، ربما تكون سورية أبرزها، وبالتوازي حالات ربط نزاع تطال تمهيداً للطريق نحو التسويات على البارد في فنزويلا وكوريا الشمالية وأوكرانيا، وفي السياق يبدو لافتاً نمط العقوبات على إيران بين سقفين، حد أعلى يمنع بلوغه حيث تقدم إيران على إغلاق مضيق هرمز والعودة للتخصيب المرتفع لليورانيوم، وحد أدنى يمنع بلوغه، حيث تتمكّن إيران من تحقيق فوائض مالية تغذي بها قوى المقاومة وتعزّز ترسانتها العسكرية فتمتلك زمام المبادرة في صراعات المنطقة. فحماية أنظمة الخليج تستدعي عدم التصعيد الأميركي للعقوبات، وحماية أمن «إسرائيل» تستدعي عدم التهاون في العقوبات.

– صفقة القرن التي يعد صهر الرئيس ترامب ومستشاره جارد كوشنر بإطلاقها بعد شهر رمضان لها ساحة اختبار أخرى، وما يجري في غزة يتكفل بكشف فرصها واحتمالات الفشل في ترويض المعادلة الفلسطينية لتقبلها، وبالتالي الذهاب إلى ضم الملف الفلسطيني الإسرائيلي، وربما العربي الإسرائيلي، إلى حزمة تفاهمات أميركية روسية جديدة في اتصال لاحق!

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