The Probe into the Israeli Vaccine Policy and its Outcome is beyond Damning.

 BY GILAD ATZMON

CP SIDE EFFECTS.jpg

Report by Gilad Atzmon

In Israel yesterday, an independent legal body that calls itself the Civilian Probe (CP)* published its finding regarding the catastrophic impact of the Pfizer vaccine on the nation.

In their report, which they submitted to the Attorney General and the Health Minister, the committee listed a chain of critical legal and ethical failures that point at a possible attempt to mislead not just Israelis but also the entire world. Since the beginning of January I have been reporting on an undeniable correlation between vaccinations, cases and deaths (here , here, here and here ). The CP confirms my suspicions but their study also presents alarming medical findings regarding the scale of lethal side effects.  

In the document the CP points at a government attempt to conceal its dealing with Pfizer. The document states that “the Pfizer-Israel agreement is suffocated with redacted segments, consequently, it is not possible to analyze it legally and/or fully grasp Its implications as far as public health is concerned… This concealment casts a heavy shadow over anyone who took part in the (Israeli/Pfizer) negotiations…”

The CP then continues arguing that “in order to generate demand (amongst the people) for the vaccine, the government and the Ministry of Health have launched an unprecedented aggressive campaign, aiming to make Israelis rush to ‘get vaccinated.’ During that campaign all the basic rules of medical caution and ethics were disregarded, and with them also key guidelines formed after WWII regarding participation in medical trials (the Nuremberg Code). Instead of transparent and clear explanations, the public was misled by repeated official statements that the (Pfizer vaccine) has been ‘approved by the FDA’ after passing ‘rigorous tests.’”

The CP is accusing the state of Israel of intentionally reckless conduct… “Monitoring systems that enable the detection of side effects are a basic and critical condition for granting a permission for mass use of any new medicine, certainly when a mass operation of treatment that is defined as experimental is given to millions, and especially when this treatment is given to an entire country…”.

But Israel failed to set such a monitoring system.

“On the one hand, the state did not inform the citizens that Pfizer’s vaccine is in experimental stages that have not yet been completed, and that at this stage they are actually taking part in the experiment. On the other hand, the state did not maintain transparent and open control and monitoring systems for the public. As a result, there is a serious concern that this critical and negligent omission stems from: (a) the fear that such disclosure could interfere with the fulfilment of the objectives that may be implied by the Israel-Pfizer agreement or (b) the fear of diminishing demand for the exceptional number of vaccines that were purchased by Israel in advance, and / or (c) the fear of revealing unflattering results of the ‘experiment’ being carried out in Israel.” 

The CP is brave to admit that the lack of a monitoring system isn’t just a potential crime against the Israeli people, it may also be a crime against the rest of the world (i.e., humanity):


“In the absence of a transparent monitoring system that reports on side effects, not only have the Israeli government and the Ministry of Health failed citizens by providing them with misleading information, the Israeli government have failed both Pfizer and the rest of the world awaiting the results of the (so called) ‘real world experiment’ (that is taking place in Israel).”

To remove any doubt, the CP alerts the Israeli Attorney General to the possible criminal act implied by Israel’s vaccine policy.

“This is an alleged deception, suspiciously criminal, which should be thoroughly examined before the Attorney General allows the Israeli government to continue the alleged campaign of deception of Israel’s citizens and the (rest of the) world.”

The CP extended their study well beyond the legal realm, as it also attempts to fill the wide hole created by the State’s lack of a monitoring system.

“What do we learn from the facts on the ground?” the CP report asks. “An examination of mortality data published by the government shows that there is a correlation between number of vaccinations and the number of deaths. The excess mortality is noticeable among people up to 70 and also among adults over the age of 70, and remains even after offsetting the deaths attributed to Corona. In the population over the age of 70 – in January 2021 an excess mortality of 19.5% was observed compared to October 2020 – the month when the corona data were highest, and 22.4% compared to January 2020. In the younger population – an excess mortality of 7% was observed in January 2021 compared to the month October 2020 – the month in which the corona death numbers were the highest, and 7% compared to January 2020. It should be noted that this trend continues in the following month as well.”

As mentioned above I have been writing about the devastating correlation between vaccines and deaths since early January. In Britain and the USA, we detect identical correlation between mass vaccination and death. However, far more problematic is the realm of side effects, something which governments, the WHO, the corrupted pharmaceutical industry, and of course social media giants attempt to suppress in the most Orwellian manner. The Israeli CP seems to have produced the first robust report on Pfizer’s vaccine side effects. They published a table of their findings, which they summarize here:

“As one can detect looking at the table – there are close to 200 deaths, and this – only by examining about 800 reports of cases of serious side effects. As mentioned, the CP is still working on analyzing side effects and we have hundreds of additional reports that are subject to analysis. Our study so far indicates that about 25% of deaths are from people under the age of 60. About 15% of them are under 50 years old. 7 of the deceased are at young ages – below age 30. Also, the study identified 27 cases of heart problems in people under the age of 60, of which 24 cases are among young people aged 17-30.  Regarding the issues to do with female medical complications (including labor-complication, delayed menstruation or irregular menstruation, etc.) – it should be noted that the committee has about 200 additional reports that have not yet been included in the final list of our findings.”

For many years, I doubted whether there was a force in the middle east that could face, let alone defeat, Israel. I am pretty convinced now that with Netanyahu at the helm and Pfizer taking care of the nation’s wellbeing, Israel doesn’t really need enemies. However, every world citizen who is concerned about the future of humanity should be alarmed by the CP’s findings and particularly by the desperate and relentless attempts to suppress free academic, scientific and ethical discussion about Covid, the so-called ‘vaccines’ or anything else.

*To read the CP report click here

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Expert that worked for Bill Gates Warns of Coming Covid Vaccine Disaster

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There are four parts to the video below. CDC Spin on New Mask Data; Celebrity Catches Fauci Lying!; Expert Geert Vanden Bossche Warns of Coming Covid Vaccine Disaster; Hell in the Holy Land

Geert Vanden Bossche, DMV, PhD, independent virologist and vaccine expert, formerly employed at GAVI and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

His letter to WHO is below the video. Bill Gates will not be impressed.https://www.bitchute.com/embed/BGtSE3OfO2wv/?feature=oembed#?secret=rVVIO8Hqvu

Halt All Covid-19 Mass Vaccination Immediately (Open Letter to the WHO) — Vaccine Research Expert

Mar 7, 2021

Geert Vanden Bossche March 3 Tweet EXTREMELY Concerned

Geert Vanden Bossche, PhD

Geert Vanden Bossche, PhD, DVM, is a vaccine research expert. He has a long list of companies and organizations he’s worked with on vaccine discovery and preclinical research, including GSK, Novartis, Solvay Biologicals, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr Vanden Bossche also coordinated the Ebola vaccine program at GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization).

He is board-certified in Virology and Microbiology, the author of over 30 publications, and inventor of a patent application for universal vaccines. He currently works as an independent vaccine research consultant. March 6, 2021

“One could only think of very few other strategies to achieve the same level of efficiency in turning a relatively harmless virus into a bioweapon of mass destruction.”

Geert Vanden Bossch

Vaccine Research Expert

We’re Risking Creating a Global, “Uncontrollable Monster”

Dr Bossche believes that vaccinologists, clinicians, and scientists are only focusing on short-term results at the individual level and not the consequences at the global population level, which he believes will soon become evident. Evident in the form of  having transformed “a quite harmless virus into an uncontrollable monster”.

His concern rests on ‘immune escape’. For those needing an quick introduction to the topic, read Jemma Moran’s article Mutant variations and the danger of lockdowns.

For those needing a sweeping overview of our immunology, watch Ivor Cummins interview Creon Levit, Ep81 The Amazing Immunology of our Viral Issue – Incredible Science at Work! Many physicians would also benefit from watching this (note: the average physician receives exceptionally little training in immunology and virology). Those wishing to dig deeper into immunology in general, read for example, Roitt’s Essential Immunology, Thirteenth Edition.

Bossche states that the multiple emerging, “much more infectious” viral variants, are already examples of “immune escape” from our ‘innate immunity’, and were most-likely created by the government interventions themselves; the so-called Non-Pharmacological Interventions (NPIs) – i.e. lockdowns and cloth facial coverings. Unofficially, but also more aptly known as the Non-Scientific Interventions.

He believes that:

  • Ongoing mass vaccination deployments are “highly-likely to further enhance ‘adaptive’ immune escape as none of the current vaccines will prevent replication/transmission of viral variants”
  • As such, “The more we use these vaccines for immunizing people in the midst of a pandemic, the more infectious the virus will become”.
  • And “With increasing infectiousness comes an increased likelihood of viral resistance to the vaccines”.

He claims his beliefs are basic principles taught in a student’s first vaccinology class – “One shouldn’t use a prophylactic vaccine in populations exposed to high infectious pressure (which is now certainly the case as multiple highly infectious variants are currently circulating”).

He states that to “fully escape”, the highly mutable virus, “only needs to add another few mutations in its receptor-binding domain”.

People Stand to Lose their Natural ‘Innate’ Immunity as a Consequence of the Meddling

His real worry though, or as he puts it, “beyond worried”, is that the humankind may severely damage it’s own, natural ‘innate’ immunity, because of the mass deployment of vaccination programs at this critical juncture. Our ‘innate’ immunity would be lost (a rich, variant-nonspecific, form of natural immunity).

It would also mean that vaccine-mediated protection would be lost.

Geert Vanden Bossche Beyond Worried Keynote

Screenshot of Bossche Keynote – Vaccine Summit (Ohio), March 2nd

All whilst new, more dangerous variants would be getting actively breed by mankind. In effect, “turning a relatively harmless virus into a bioweapon of mass destruction”.

Further Pre-Notes

  • Vanden Bossche – Vaccine Summit Ohio, March 2nd), keynote slides PDF, ‘Why should current Covid-19 vaccines not be used for mass vaccination during a pandemic?’
  • Vanden Bossche – ‘We must halt all ongoing Covid-19 mass vaccination campaigns as a temporary health benefit to the most vulnerable groups does not justify a public health disaster of international concern’, summary of the manuscript PDF, February 26th. Note “In our naïve and simplistic attempt to prevent the pandemic from running its natural course, we are in fact providing the beast with an even much better opportunity to escape host immunity than natural infection does.”

Below is his open letter to the WHO, issued March 6th, 2021. I’ve only added more paragraph breaks and blue highlights, to help others be able to process faster.

PDF version is available.

Open Letter to the WHO: Immediately Halt All Covid-19 Mass Vaccinations

Geert Vanden Bossche, DMV, PhD, independent virologist and vaccine expert, formerly employed at GAVI and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

To all authorities, scientists and experts around the world, to whom this concerns: the entre world population.

I am all but an antivaxxer. As a scientist I do not usually appeal to any platform of this kind to make a stand on vaccine-related topics. As a dedicated virologist and vaccine expert I only make an exception when health authorities allow vaccines to be administered in ways that threaten public health, most certainly when scientific evidence is being ignored.

The present extremely critical situation forces me to spread this emergency call. As the unprecedented extent of human intervention in the Covid-19pandemic is now at risk of resulting in a global catastrophe without equal, this call cannot sound loudly and strongly enough.

As stated, I am not against vaccination. On the contrary, I can assure you that each of the current vaccines have been designed, developed and manufactured by brilliant and competent scientists. However, this type of prophylactic vaccines are completely inappropriate, and even highly dangerous, when used in mass vaccination campaigns during a viral pandemic.

Vaccinologists, scientists and clinicians are blinded by the positive short-term effects in individual patents, but don’t seem to bother about the disastrous consequences for global health. Unless I am scientifically proven wrong, it is difficult to understand how current human interventions will prevent circulating variants from turning into a wild monster.

Racing against the clock, I am completing my scientific manuscript, the publication of which is, unfortunately, likely to come too late given the ever increasing threat from rapidly spreading, highly infectious variants. This is why I decided to already post a summary of my findings as well as my keynote speech at the recent Vaccine Summit in Ohio on LinkedIn.

Last Monday, I provided international health organizations, including the WHO, with my analysis of the current pandemic as based on scientifically informed insights in the immune biology of Covid-19. Given the level of emergency, I urged them to consider my concerns and to initiate a debate on the detrimental consequences of further ‘viral immune escape’.

For those who are no experts in this field, I am attaching below a more accessible and comprehensible version of the science behind this insidious phenomenon.

While there is no time to spare, I have not received any feedback thus far. Experts and politicians have remained silent while obviously still eager to talk about relaxing infection prevention rules and ‘springtime freedom’. My statements are based on nothing else but science. They shall only be contradicted by science.

While one can barely make any incorrect scientific statements without being criticized by peers, it seems like the elite of scientists who are currently advising our world leaders prefer to stay silent. Sufficient scientific evidence has been brought to the table.

Unfortunately, it remains untouched by those who have the power to act. How long can one ignore the problem when there is at present massive evidence that viral immune escape is now threatening humanity? We can hardly say we didn’t know – or were not warned.

In this agonizing letter I put all of my reputation and credibility at stake. I expect from you, guardians of mankind, at least the same. It is of utmost urgency. Do open the debate. By all means: turn the tide!

Why mass vaccination amidst a pandemic creates an irrepressible monster

THE key question is: why does nobody seem to bother about viral immune escape? Let me try to explain this by means of a more easily understood phenomenon: Antimicrobial resistance. One can easily extrapolate this scourge to resistance to our self-made ‘antiviral antibiotics’. Indeed, antibodies (Abs) produced by our own immune system can be considered self-made antiviral antibiotics, regardless of whether they are part of our innate immune system (so-called ‘natural’ Abs’) or elicited in response to specific pathogens (resulting in so-called ‘acquired’ Abs).

Natural Abs are not germ-specific whereas acquired Abs are specifically directed at the invading pathogen. At birth, our innate immune system is ‘unexperienced’ but well-established. It protects us from a multitude of pathogens, thereby preventing these pathogens from causing disease.

As the innate immune system cannot remember the pathogens it encountered (innate immunity has no so-called ‘immunological memory’), we can only continue to rely on it provided we keep it ‘trained’ well enough.

Training is achieved by regular exposure to a myriad of environmental agents, including pathogens. However, as we age, we will increasingly face situations where our innate immunity (often called ‘the first line of immune defense’) is not strong enough to halt the pathogen at the portal of entry (mostly mucosal barriers like respiratory or intestinal epithelia).

When this happens, the immune system has to rely on more specialized effectors of our immune system (i.e., antigen-specific Abs and T cells) to fight the pathogen. So, as we grow up, we increasingly mount pathogen-specific immunity, including highly specific Abs. As those have stronger affinity for the pathogen (e.g., virus) and can reach high concentrations, they can quite easily outcompete our natural Abs for binding to the pathogen/virus.

It is precisely this type of highly specific, high affinity Abs that current Covid-19 vaccines are inducing. Of course, the noble purpose of these Abs is to protect us against Covid-19. So, why then should there be a major concern using these vaccines to fight Covid-19?

Well, similar to the rules applying to classical antimicrobial antibiotics, it is paramount that our self-made ‘antiviral antibiotics’ are made available in sufficient concentration and are tailored at the specific features of our enemy.

This is why in case of bacterial disease it is critical to not only chose the right type of antibiotic (based on the results from an antibiogram) but to also take the antibiotic for long enough (according to the prescription).

Failure to comply with these requirements is at risk of granting microbes a chance to survive and hence, may cause the disease to fare up. A very similar mechanism may also apply to viruses, especially to viruses that can easily and rapidly mutate (which is, for example, the case with Coronaviruses); when the pressure exerted by the army’s (read: population’s) immune defense starts to threaten viral replication and transmission, the virus will take on another coat so that it can no longer be easily recognized and, therefore, attacked by the host immune system. The virus is now able to escape immunity (so-called: ‘immune escape’).

However, the virus can only rely on this strategy provided it still has room enough to replicate. Viruses, in contrast to the majority of bacteria, must rely on living host cells to replicate. This is why the occurrence of ‘escape mutants’ isn’t too worrisome as long as the likelihood for these variants to rapidly find another host is quite remote. However, that’s not particularly the case during a viral pandemic!

During a pandemic, the virus is spreading all over the globe with many subjects shedding and transmitting the virus (even including asymptomatic ‘carriers’). The higher the viral load, the higher the likelihood for the virus to bump into subjects who haven’t been infected yet or who were infected but didn’t develop symptoms. Unless they are sufficiently protected by their innate immune defense (through natural Abs), they will catch Covid-19 disease as they cannot rely on other, i.e., acquired Abs.

It has been extensively reported, indeed, that the increase in S (spike)-specific Abs in asymptomatically infected people is rather limited and only short-lived. Furthermore, these Abs have not achieved full maturity.

The combination of viral infection on a background of suboptimal Ab maturity and concentration enables the virus to select mutations allowing it to escape the immune pressure. The selection of those mutations preferably occurs in the S protein as this is the viral protein that is responsible for viral infectiousness.

As the selected mutations endow the virus with increased infectious capacity, it now becomes much easier for the virus to cause severe disease in infected subjects. The more people develop symptomatic disease, the better the virus can secure its propagation and perpetuation (people who get severe disease will shed more virus and for a longer period of time than asymptomatically infected subjects do).

Unfortunately, enough, the short-lived rise in S-specific Abs does, however, surface to bypass people’s innate/natural Ab. Those are put out of business as their affinity for S is lower than the affinity of S-specific Abs. This is to say that with an increasing rate of infection in the population, the number of subjects who get infected while experiencing a momentary increase in S-specific Abs will steadily increase.

Consequently, the number of subjects who get infected while experiencing a momentary decrease in their innate immunity will increase. As a result, a steadily increasing number of subjects will become more susceptible to getting severe disease instead of showing only mild symptoms (i.e., limited to the upper respiratory tract) or no symptoms at all.

During a pandemic, especially youngsters will be affected by this evolution as their natural Abs are not yet largely suppressed by a panoply of ‘acquired’, antigen-specific Abs. Natural Abs, and natural immunity in general, play a critical role in protecting us from pathogens as they constitute our first line of immune defense. In contrast to acquired immunity, innate immune responses protect against a large spectrum of pathogens (so don’t compromise or sacrifice your innate immune defense!).

Because natural Abs and innate immune cells recognize a diversified spectrum of foreign (i.e., non-self) agents (only some of which have pathogenic potential), it’s important, indeed, to keep it sufficiently exposed to environmental challenges.

By keeping the innate immune system (which, unfortunately, has no memory!) TRAINED, we can much more easily resist germs which have real pathogenic potential. It has, for example, been reported and scientifically proven that exposure to other, quite harmless Coronaviruses causing a ‘common cold ’ can provide protection, although short-lived, against Covid-19 and its loyal henchmen (i.e., the more infectious variants).

Suppression of innate immunity, especially in the younger age groups, can, therefore, become very problematic. There can be no doubt that lack of exposure due to stringent containment measures implemented as of the beginning of the pandemic has not been beneficial to keeping people’s innate immune system well trained.

As if this was not already heavily compromising innate immune defense in this population segment, there comes yet another force into play that will dramatically enhance morbidity and mortality rates in the younger age groups: MASS VACCINATION of the ELDERLY.

The more extensively the later age group will be vaccinated and hence, protected, the more the virus is forced to continue causing disease in younger age groups.

This is only going to be possible provided it escapes to the S-specific Abs that are momentarily raised in previously asymptomatically infected subjects. If the virus manages to do so, it can benefit from the (momentarily) suppressed innate immunity, thereby causing disease in an increasing number of these subjects and ensuring its own propagation.

Selecting targeted mutations in the S protein is, therefore, the way to go in order for the virus to enhance its infectiousness in candidates that are prone to getting the disease because of a transient weakness of their innate immune defense.

But in the meantime, we’re also facing a huge problem in vaccinated people as they’re now more and more confronted with infectious variants displaying a type of S protein that is increasingly different from the S edition comprised with the vaccine (the later edition originates from the original, much less infectious strain at the beginning of the pandemic).

The more variants become infectious (i.e., as a result of blocking access of the virus to the vaccinated segment of the population), the less vaccinal Abs will protect. Already now, lack of protection is leading to viral shedding and transmission in vaccine recipients who are exposed to these more infectious strains (which, by the way, increasingly dominate the field).

This is how we are currently turning vaccines into asymptomatic carriers shedding infectious variants.

At some point, in a likely very near future, it’s going to become more profitable (in term of ‘return on selection investment’) for the virus to just add another few mutations (maybe just one or two) to the S protein of viral variants (already endowed with multiple mutations enhancing infectiousness) in an attempt to further strengthen its binding to the receptor (ACE-2) expressed on the surface of permissive epithelial cells.

This will now allow the new variant to outcompete vaccinal Abs for binding to the ACE receptor. This is to say that at this stage, it would only take very few additional targeted mutations within the viral receptor-binding domain to fully resist S-specific ant-Covid-19 Abs, regardless whether the later are elicited by the vaccine or by natural infection.

At that stage, the virus will, indeed, have managed to gain access to a huge reservoir of subjects who have now become highly susceptible to disease as their S-specific Abs have now become useless in terms of protection but still manage to provide for long-lived suppression of their innate immunity (i.e., natural infection, and especially vaccination, elicit relatively long-lived specific Ab titers). The susceptible reservoir comprises both, vaccinated people and those who’re left with sufficient S-specific Abs due to previous Covid-19 disease).So, MISSION

ACCOMPLISHED for Covid-19 but a DISASTROUS SITUATION for all vaccinated subjects and Covid-19 seropositive people as they’ve now lost both, their acquired and innate immune defense against Covid-19 (while highly infectious strains are circulating!).

That’s ‘one small step for the virus, one giant catastrophe for mankind’, which is to say that we’ll have whipped up the virus in the younger population up to a level that it now takes little effort for Covid-19 to transform into a highly infectious virus that completely ignores both the innate arm of our immune system as well as the adaptive/acquired one (regardless of whether the acquired Abs resulted from vaccination or natural infection).

The effort for the virus is now becoming even more negligible given that many vaccine recipients are now exposed to highly infectious viral variants while having received only a single shot of the vaccine.

Hence, they are endowed with Abs that have not yet acquired optimal functionality. There is no need to explain that this is just going to further enhance immune escape. Basically, we’ll very soon be confronted with a super-infectious virus that completely resists our most precious defense mechanism: The human immune system.

From all of the above, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to imagine how the consequences of the extensive and erroneous human intervention in this pandemic are not going to wipe out large parts of our human population.

One could only think of very few other strategies to achieve the same level of efficiency in turning a relatively harmless virus into a bioweapon of mass destruction.

It’s certainly also worth mentioning that mutations in the S protein (i.e., exactly the same protein that is subject to selection of escape mutations) are known to enable Coronaviruses to cross species barriers.

This is to say that the risk that vaccine-mediated immune escape could allow the virus to jump to other animal species, especially industrial livestock (e.g., pig and poultry farms), is not negligible. These species are already known to host several different Coronaviruses and are usually housed in farms with high stocking density.

Similar to the situation with influenza virus, these species could than serve as an additional reservoir for SARS-COVID-2 virus.

As pathogens have co-evolved with the host immune system, natural pandemics of acute self-limiting viral infections have been shaped such as to take a toll on human lives that is not higher than strictly required.

Due to human intervention, the course of this pandemic has been thoroughly disturbed as of the very beginning. Widespread and stringent infection prevention measures combined with mass vaccination campaigns using inadequate vaccines will undoubtedly lead to a situation where the pandemic is getting increasingly ‘out of control’.

Paradoxically, the only intervention that could offer a perspective to end this pandemic (other than to let it run its disastrous course) is …VACCINATION. Of course, the type of vaccines to be used would be completely different of conventional vaccines in that they’re not inducing the usual suspects, i.e., B and T cells, but NK cells.

There is, indeed, compelling scientific evidence that these cells play a key role in facilitating complete elimination of Covid-19 at an early stage of infection in asymptomatically infected subjects.

NK cells are part of the cellular arm of our innate immune system and, alike natural Abs, they are capable of recognizing and attacking a broad and diversified spectrum of pathogenic agents.

There is a sound scientific rationale to assume that it is possible to ‘prime’ NK cells in ways for them to recognize and kill Coronaviruses at large (include all their variants) at an early stage of infection. NK cells have increasingly been described to be endowed with the capacity to acquire immunological memory.

By educating these cells in ways that enable them to durably recognize and target Coronavirus-infected cells, our immune system could be perfectly armed for a targeted attack to the universe of Coronaviruses prior to exposure.

As NK cell-based immune defense provides sterilizing immunity and allows for broad-spectrum and fast protection, it is reasonable to assume that harnessing our innate immune cells is going to be the only type of human intervention left to halt the dangerous spread of highly infectious Covid-19 variants.

If we, human beings, are committed to perpetuating our species, we have no choice left but to eradicate these highly infectious viral variants. This will, indeed, require large vaccination campaigns. However, NK cell-based vaccines will primarily enable our natural immunity to be better prepared (memory!) and to induce herd immunity (which is exactly the opposite of what current Covid-19 vaccines do as those increasingly turn vaccine recipients into asymptomatic carriers who are shedding virus).

So, there is not one second left for gears to be switched and to replace the current killer vaccines by life-saving vaccines.

I am appealing to the WHO and all stakeholders involved, no matter their conviction, to immediately declare such action as THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY OF INTERNATIONAL CONCERN.

https://dryburgh.com/geert-vanden-bossche-open-letter-to-who-halt-all-covid-19-mass-vaccination/

The entire Video of Mass Vaccination will Breed Dangerous Variants & Destroy Our Immunity — Geert Vanden Bossche, PhD https://dryburgh.com/geert-vanden-bossche-mass-vaccination-danger/

The Covid Vaccines kill and maim people, the numbers grow everyday. They are dangerous.

Canadian Doctors Speak Out and Child being taken from a Parent

Universities, Government and Media prepare for psychological war against you

JAB Kids with Covid Vaccines as fast as we can Say SAGE On BBC

FM Sergey Lavrov gave an extensive interview to the RBK Media Holding – Communication between Brussels and Moscow has completely fallen apart

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FM Sergey Lavrov gave an extensive interview to the RBK Media Holding – Communication between Brussels and Moscow has completely fallen apart

February 20, 2021

A good sub-title for this interview could be “Lavrov Unplugged”.

A quote from the transcript (which incidentally was available faster than any other transcript from the The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation ):

“… when it became clear that Russia did not want to live in the house of “a self-appointed boss,” all these complications began to emerge.

….

All this started when this signal was not perceived (to be more precise, Russia was seen again as a “hoodlum” in the world arena and they were again going to teach it “good manners”). In any event, the West began its ideological preparations, for its current actions, at that time.”

Video in Russian without subtitles or English voiceover as yet.

Question: There is a feeling that the West is very annoyed by the appearance of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. At first, they were very aggressive and wouldn’t let it go. When I talked with Minister of Trade and Industry Dmitry Manturov, he called it “the vaccine war.” Now the opinion has changed. Is this about the quality of the vaccine or is politics involved in this?

Sergey Lavrov: I think it is possible to use the logic of the Russian proverb that can be translated into English as “love it so but mother says no.” Western experts know that the Sputnik V vaccine is definitely one of the best, if not the very best. Otherwise, there would not be such a stream of requests for it, which is growing geometrically.

On the other hand, they realise that the spread of Sputnik V and other Russian vaccines that will soon enter the international market, will enhance our authority and status in the world. They do not want this to happen. But they have come to realise that their first response was simply outrageous in the context of the facts and medical science. When President Vladimir Putin announced the development of the vaccine in August 2020, the offensive was completely undiplomatic. Their response just betrayed their irritation, you are perfectly right.

And now many countries (the Czech Republic and others) are saying they can’t wait for the certification of the vaccine by the European Medicines Agency. In Hungary, they believe they are ready to start vaccination and supplies are now underway. The number of requests from Europe is steadily on the rise. Just the other day, Prince Albert II of Monaco sent a request for the vaccine for the entire population of his principality.

After independent agencies published their scientific evaluations, the West had to admit that the vaccine was good. Yet, attempts to discredit it continue.

Just yesterday I read a somewhat ambiguous statement by President of France Emmanuel Macron. He put us and the Chinese into the category of those who are trying to gain advantages in the world arena at the expense of their medical achievements. The day before yesterday, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen spoke with an emphatically negative connotation about the supplies of the Russian vaccines to foreign countries.

We must follow the correct position of principle, first voiced by President of Russia Vladimir Putin, notably, that we were the first to develop the vaccine, and we will continue to increase its production. This is not easy, we do not have enough capacities, and this is why we are negotiating with India, South Korea and other countries. At the same time, he said we are open to the broadest possible cooperation.

There is one more important point. When this issue was discussed at the UN the other day, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the countries that have this vaccine or have the money to buy it, not to forget about the poor. In the meantime, attempts are being made to accuse us of trying to gain geopolitical favour by supplying it abroad. This is an obvious discrepancy. It is clear that the West is poorly prepared for this discussion.

Question: So, it’s about the same as when President Putin said at the Davos Forum that the world cannot continue creating an economy that will only benefit the “golden billion,” and we are actually accused of supplying the vaccine for the benefit of the “golden billion.” Still, are they talking about the vaccine like this just because it was made in Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t see any other reason, because no one even tried to conduct a medical or a scientific test. They just said right away that it was impossible just because it’s impossible, meaning that “no one can do this that quickly.” It was only in October 2020, when the West said they would be able to report on their achievements. President Putin announced in August that the Russian-made vaccine was ready for rollout.

Unfortunately, I often see that the response to everything we do, say or offer is, at best, questioned right off the bat. Usually, they say that “the Russians are playing their geopolitical games again.”

Question: EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, who was here recently and met with you, said that Russia is distancing itself from the West. At the same time, Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said we are open to cooperation with Europe. You said we are ready to break up, but we are not breaking off our relations. What really stands in the way of normal relations between the EU and Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: A biased attitude, by and large. I worked with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, a good colleague of mine, when he was Spanish Foreign Minister. Now many, in an attempt to give a controversial dimension to the High Representative’s visit to Russia, forget how it all began. In May 2019, Mr Borrell said: “Our old enemy, Russia, says again ‘here I am,’ and it is again a threat.” We then asked his protocol service to confirm what he said. We were told that it was a figure of speech and that he was misunderstood. However, this attitude shows.

We are seen as a stranger. In my interview with Vladimir Solovyov, replying to his question as to whether we are ready to break off with the EU, I gave an affirmative answer because there are no relations to talk about. As former US President Barack Obama once said (although he said it about the Russian economy), relations have been “torn to shreds.”

Indeed, the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement [between the EU and Russia] entered into force in 1997. It contained a number of declarative goals for moving towards common economic, humanitarian and cultural spaces. For many years, we used a mechanism of summits, which were held every six months in Russia and in the EU alternately. In fact, our entire Government held annual meetings with the European Commission to discuss the participants’ responsibilities in the context of over 20 sector-specific dialogues. We were building four common spaces and roadmaps for each of them. These were 100 percent substantive and specific projects. It was all destroyed, just like the Partnership and Cooperation Council, within which the Russian Foreign Minister and the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy reviewed the entire range of relations. This disappeared long before the Ukraine crisis.

Many in our country are just waiting for a chance to pounce on the Russian Government’s foreign policy. We are being asked how we can say that we are ready to break off with the EU when it is our largest trade and economic partner. If we take the EU as a collective partner, it is our largest partner in terms of gross trade. For example, in 2013 (before the Ukraine events) Russia became a WTO member. From that moment, our trade relations were built on the principles advocated by that organisation rather than the EU’s principles. As a single trade bloc, the EU also participated in the WTO. We traded with member countries based on WTO guidelines. If you think the EU is a valuable trade and economic partner, here are some statistics for you: in 2013, the United States was the EU’s biggest trading partner with about $480 billion, followed by China with $428 billion and Russia with $417 billion. That is, these numbers are of the same order of magnitude. Where do we stand now? In 2019, EU’s trade with the United States stood at $750 billion, with China $650 billion, and with Russia at about $280 billion. In 2020, it was $218 billion, if counting with Great Britain, and $191 billion without it.

The reason? It’s the sanctions imposed by our “valued” and largest economic partner for reasons that have never relied on any facts whatsoever. At least, no facts have ever been presented to us. We understand Crimea. We understand Donbass as well. It’s just that the EU admitted its inability, or perhaps, unwillingness, to prevent the anti-constitutional coup with an open Russophobic slant and chose to turn things upside down. Brussels shifted the blame to us and imposed sanctions on Russia rather than the putschists, who, by and large, spat on the guarantees of the European Union, which signed the corresponding agreements, totally ignoring, as I said, the fact that the actions of the government, which they supported, were openly and violently anti-Russian.

Question: Without the events in Ukraine, would our relations with the West have sunk to where they are now?

Sergey Lavrov: It is difficult for me to talk about this. After all, later there were other events linked with the accusations of “the poisoning in Salisbury.” No facts were presented. We were not allowed to meet with our citizens. No evidence was offered. Everything was similar to what is happening now with the alleged poisoning of Alexey Navalny.

Question: It seems the West is looking for a pretext to spoil our relations.

Sergey Lavrov: They are looking but there are many pretexts: it’s always possible to use something as an excuse to put the relationship on the required track. But it’s not that they want to spoil relations. I don’t think this is their main goal. They want to bolster their self-esteem. Now they are starting to act like the US, revealing the mentality of an exclusive group of states. I quoted German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. When asked why they continue discussing sanctions against Russia and what goals they had achieved by imposing sanctions, he replied that he didn’t believe sanctions should be used for any purpose. What matters is that they don’t leave any action by the Russian Federation unpunished.

The concealment of facts that could somehow confirm accusations against us started long before the crisis in Ukraine. We can recall 2007 – the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in the hospital. There was a coroner’s inquest. Later this trial was declared “public.” In George Orwell’s logic, in Britain this means a “secret trial” during which no inquisitorial procedures of the secret services may be presented. You know, these are system-wide problems.

I listed what we used to have in our relations with the European Union. Nothing is left now, not even sporadic contacts on some international issues. As regards the Iran nuclear programme, we are taking part in the work of the collective group of countries, which are trying to somehow put this programme back on track. This is not part of our relations with the EU proper. In the Middle East, we have a Quartet of mediators consisting of Russia, the US, the EU and the UN. In other words, this is multilateral cooperation rather than our relations with just the EU.

With regard to who is taking steps to prevent our relations from further decline, at least a little, we were thinking about that when Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, was getting ready to visit Moscow. He suggested cooperating in healthcare and vaccines. We have already discussed this here. As a Brussels institution, the EU will hardly be allowed to contact Russian agencies or companies independently regarding the vaccines. We would sooner cooperate directly with the producers of AstraZeneca, as this is already taking place.

On the eve of Mr Borrell’s visit, we invited his experts to make a joint statement on the Middle East by the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Our positions are nearly identical on the matter and we thought it would be appropriate to urge the Quartet to resume its activities and call for direct Palestinian-Israeli talks, respect for the relevant UN resolutions, and so on.

We gave them a page and a half text that was easy to approve after the first reading. Several days prior to his arrival, we were told that “it did not work out.” I will reveal a secret because this is a blatant example. I asked Mr Borrell at the negotiating table: “What about this statement? Why didn’t it work out?” He started turning his head all around. It was clear from his reaction, and he confirmed this later, that nobody had even told him about it. These are the people that deal with what some of our liberals call “relations with the EU.”

Question: Concluding this theme, I’d like to say that as a man born in the USSR, I understand that during the Soviet-Western confrontation we had different ideologies, economies and so on. Later, I thought that everything was the same on both sides. They were for democracy and we were for democracy; they had a market economy and we had a market economy. So what are the differences? Why do we fail to find a common language to this day? I thought we found it in the 1990s? Why did we find it then?

Sergey Lavrov: We found it at that time because nobody in the Russian Federation disputed the answer to the question of who was ruling the show. President of Russia Vladimir Putin has talked about this many times. We decided that was it – the end of history. Francis Fukuyama announced that from now on liberal thought would rule the world. Now there are attempts to push this liberal thought to the fore again in a bid to gain international influence. But when it became clear that Russia did not want to live in the house of “a self-appointed boss,” all these complications began to emerge.

Initially, having become President, Vladimir Putin and his team tried to convey this message through diplomatic signals that educated and smart people would be bound to understand. But nobody listened. Then the explanations had to be made politely but openly in the Munich speech. All this started when this signal was not perceived (to be more precise, Russia was seen again as a “hoodlum” in the world arena and they were again going to teach it “good manners”). In any event, the West began its ideological preparations, for its current actions, at that time.

Question: Regarding the sanctions. Bloomberg posted a news item today that new sanctions against Russia are planned concerning the Nord Stream 2, however, they are not going to be tough but rather “soft.” On the other hand, they report that the Americans want to thwart the Nord Stream project but without irritating Germany. Where are we in this situation?

Sergey Lavrov: We are a country that completely complies with the contractual obligations undertaken by our companies that are part of the project, along with the EU companies that joined it. The current situation is largely due to a decision taken by what we call the European Union, a decision that proves beyond doubt what sort of alliance it is. A few years ago, when the Poles, and others sharing their attitude, attempted to impede the Nord Stream project, the Legal Service of the European Commission was asked for legal advice, official opinion. The service presented a document which stated in no uncertain terms that the investment project had been launched long before amendments were made to the EU’s gas directive, the Third Energy Package. That’s it. Period. This issue should be closed for any person who has respect for the law. But no, the European Commission took this opinion and launched its own quasi-legal procedure which resulted in the conclusion that the project had indeed been launched much earlier, yet it fell under this third energy package and the gas directive. That’s what kind of a partner we have in this “relationship.”

This is about how we can “pounce” on them and express readiness to break relations with them when they are our main economic partner – that’s what kind of a partner they are. Meanwhile, now Germany alone is fighting for the project.

And in fact, Joe Biden’s administration will not cancel anything which was done by Donald Trump except for leaving the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Democrats are returning there now.

The NATO defence ministers meeting has just ended. But there was no let-up in US demands to pay 2 percent of a country’s GDP for defence needs, i.e. for purchasing US weaponry. There was no backing off the demands on Europe regarding Nord Stream 2 – to stop participating in some matters that undermine European security. They see it better from across the ocean, right? This is about who is the boss. Europe also wants to run the house but it was taken down a peg. The situation around Nord Stream 2 is straightforward.

For now they are saying publicly that bargaining is underway and possible agreements between Washington and Berlin are being discussed, including that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline may be allowed to be completed and even start operating. However, if at the same time gas transiting via Ukraine is going to be falling, then Nord Stream 2 must be shut off. I cannot decide for Germany, however, it is obvious to me that this proposal is humiliating. As Russian President Vladimir Putin said at his meeting with parliamentary party leaders, this is yet further evidence that they want Russia to pay for their Ukraine geopolitical venture.

Question: Do we have to pay for this geopolitical project?  Why do they think we have to pay for it?

Sergey Lavrov: Because they don’t feel like lashing out on it. They need the Ukrainian regime for the sole purpose of constantly irritating Russia and finding new reasons to support their Russophobic policy. They want to weaken anything around us – Belarus, Central Asia, and now also the South Caucasus, as they got nervous after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s successful mediation mission between Armenia and Azerbaijan: why was this done without them? They are now trying to infiltrate this region and step up their activities there. All of that has nothing to do with the Cold War-era ideology of a showdown between the two systems you talked about a few minutes ago. It has to do with the fact that our Western partners are unwilling, unprepared and unable to speak on an equal footing, whether with Russia, China, or whoever. They need to create a system where they will be the boss regardless. This is why they are taking an increasing dislike to the United Nations since they cannot have total control of it.

Question: Do you see the EU as a monolith, or as something more loose, with certain processes unfolding inside and some countries, no matter what, starting to talk about their willingness to be friends with Russia? In the case of the sanctions, the key figures behind them are, strange as it may seem, the Baltic States, which do not play a prominent role in the EU but, for some reason, everyone is listening to them.

Sergy Lavrov: It sounds inappropriate to refer to the EU as a monolith a mere couple of months after Brexit. This “monolith” is not the same as before. If you mean a monolith in a figurative sense, my answer is no. Quite a few countries are maintaining relations with Russia. The visit of Josep Borrell was the first trip by an EU official of this level to Russia in three years. In the same three years, about two dozen ministers from European Union member countries have visited Russia. We are having a great dialogue, without wasting too much time on confrontation and moralising. Indeed, all of them do have their assignments – a couple of sheets of paper from which they read a script approved by the “party committee” in Brussels.

Question: Do you mean they bring a notebook with instructions with them?

Sergey Lavrov: Certainly. They do not dare to veer off course. This, for example, goes for Alexey Navalny, or the Skripals as in the previous case, or human rights. Now scientist Yury Dmitriyev from Karelia is in the spotlight. They flatly refuse to accept evidence of his involvement in crimes, like pedophilia. They read from their notebook and I would adduce my arguments to the contrary and describe our vision of this or that situation and wonder why we cannot obtain evidence on the Navalny case or the Skripal case. In response they simply read again from their notebook. Apart from this discipline induced by the bloc member states’ solidarity, we discuss things normally. Yes, the EU sets the terms on which [its member countries] participate in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), while we are trading with these countries in the WTO on the terms that were agreed on for Russia to join this organisation. But the EU has nothing to do with this cooperation in trade and investment activity, except for its attempts to restrict trade and economic ties with the sanctions.

You mentioned the Baltic States. Indeed, they run the show in this respect to a great extent. I have talked to your colleagues about this on more than one occasion. When in 2004 there were hectic activities to drag them into the EU, Russia and Brussels maintained a very frank dialogue. The President of the European Commission at the time was Romano Prodi. In 2005, the objective was set to move to visa-free travel.

Question: Nobody has any memories of this today.

Sergey Lavrov: We remember this when we reply to those who ask how we dare say that we are ready to break relations with the EU. You mentioned the Baltic States. We had long been negotiating an updated version of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Russia and the EU, which the EU terminated in 2014. It was expected to go a bit beyond the boundaries of the WTO rules and allow us to negotiate additional trade preferences. At one time there was an objective to establish a free trade zone, but this has long since fallen into oblivion. However, there were plans to update the agreement in order to liberalise trade even more, in addition to the WTO rules. In 2014, they ceased to exist – another example of breaking down our relations.

A visa-free travel agreement was also finalised back in 2013. We had met all of the EU requirements: we agreed that only people with biometric passports would be eligible for visa-free travel and that those who violated EU entry rules or any other EU rules while in an EU country during a visa-free period would be subject to readmission. We signed the relevant agreement. Everything they asked for, and that suited us, was done. Later, when it was time to sign the agreement and then ratify it, the EU said: “Let’s wait.” It did not take us long to learn why they had said this, all the more so as they did not try to conceal their motives. This Brussels team decided that it was politically incorrect to approve a visa-free travel agreement with Russia prior to offering it to Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova.

Question: In other words, Russia was made dependent on other countries?

Sergey Lavrov: It sure was, at the Baltic States’ initiative. This is also important for understanding the nature of our relations. This is an attitude from people who decided that they were European, which is not at all the case. Russia sees Europe in all its diversity. If the “party committee” in Brussels does not like it, we cannot force them to.

Question: Europe stretches at least to the Urals.

Sergey Lavrov: Correct. In 2009, when Jose Manuel Barroso was President of the European Commission, we held a Russia-EU summit in Khabarovsk. Our European colleagues arrived later in the day. We went out for a walk along the embankment. We were showing them around the city and Mr Barroso said: “It’s amazing. It took us 13 hours to get here from Brussels, and it’s still Europe.” This is the key message behind the slogan “Europe from the Atlantic to the Pacific.”

Question: I’m going to ask you about one other country, Belarus. There will be a presidential summit on February 22. President Lukashenko will come to Russia. Recently, Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei gave an interview to the RBC media holding and mentioned Belarus’ multi-directional foreign policy. Do you think we have managed to work well with Minsk on integration? What should we expect from these talks?

Sergey Lavrov: The term “multi-directional” should not be used as a profanity. Most normal states want it. Russia, too, has used a multi-directional approach as the basis of its foreign policy since 2002. In our understanding, a multi-directional approach is possible only if based of equality, respect and a balance of interests, as well as mutual benefit. This is the only way it can work.

First, they threaten us with sanctions, and then the same people are saying that we “had it coming” and impose unilateral restrictions on us, and then say that we are “bad” because “we are looking to the East.” Everything has been turned upside down.

Russia is a Eurasian country. We have close contacts with Europe, which have been cultivated for centuries, before anyone even thought of a European Union, and the Europeans fought and competed against each other. By the way, we often helped them achieve peace and fair outcomes in wars.

Question: We even saved the monarchies?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, and they are aware of it. The republic in the United States, too, to a certain extent.

However, our European neighbours have severed almost all of our ties and left only sporadic contacts on international crises that are of interest to the EU in order to keep a profile on the international arena. In many ways, the EU is driven by a desire to be seen as an important operator in Syrian and other matters. If we are not welcome here, we will simply continue to work with our other neighbours who are not prone to whims like that.

Objectively, our trade with the EU is almost half of what it was in 2013. Our trade with China has doubled over the same period.

Question: Back to Minsk. What can we expect from talks between President Putin and President Lukashenko on February 22?

Sergey Lavrov: There are some who want to interpret Minsk’s words about the multi-directional nature of its foreign policy as proof of its “unreliability” as a partner and ally. I do not think so.

In the Council of Europe, of which Belarus is not a member yet, we advocate the CoE establishing relations with Minsk. We supported the accession of Minsk to a number of Council of Europe conventions. We have always been in favour of Belarus enjoying normal relations with its western neighbours. I’m not sure what the CoE will do next. Russophobia has swept over most of the EU countries, and the most “violent” ones are in charge of the agenda.

I read the remarks by President Lukashenko (not all his interviews, but they were cited) to the effect that he sees no obstacles to deepening integration. Progress will depend on how President Vladimir Putin and President Lukashenko agree on things.

There are two more days to go before the talks. I don’t think we should be speculating on the outcome of the summit. We will know everything soon.

Question: Recently, US President Joseph Biden said the United States will no longer be “rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions” (ostensibly, Donald Trump did this). How can we build our relations now? Are there subjects we can discuss with Washington? Are they ready to talk with us?

Sergey Lavrov: These comments on who is rolling over or will be rolling over in the face of someone’s actions illustrate a very deep split in US society. It reached a level of personal enmity that is aggressive and contrary to American political culture. The politicians did not particularly mince their words during previous presidential campaigns or prior to elections to Congress, but I don’t remember anything comparable to what is being said now.

Our liberal media promote a tough pro-Western line. In looking for objects of criticism in Russia, they are infringing on the threshold of decency and getting personal. They are very crude, and behave not like journalists but like inveterate propagandists, accusing others of propaganda.

The fact that the New Start Treaty was extended in time is a very positive step. This shouldn’t be overrated, but it shouldn’t be underrated, either. In his election speeches Joseph Biden mentioned his willingness to extend it, but these were election speeches after all. His promise could be interpreted differently later, but he extended this important document for five years without any conditions, like we suggested. If this had not happened, there would not have been a single instrument of international law, not only in Russian-US relations but in the entire range of multilateral ties, that contained any restrictions in the sphere of disarmament, arms control and nuclear weapons non-proliferation.

It is very important that just a few days prior to February 5, 2021, the date the treaty was extended for five years, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and US President Joseph Biden reaffirmed their intention to promote talks on strategic stability in these new conditions, in their first telephone conversation after the US presidential election. The situation has changed substantially since 2010: We and the Americans have acquired new weapons some of which are covered by the treaty. We announced this last year. We said that they must be taken into account. Some other weapons are not covered by the treaty – they are basically very different because of their physical characteristics.

Question: Are you talking about hypersonic weapons?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, the United States also has such weapons. Hypersonic weapons are partly covered by the New START Treaty, if these are ballistic missiles.

The New START Treaty already covers some weapons systems, so we now have to include these weapons systems in the Treaty for the next five years and see how all this will be verified. But it does not cover some weapons.

The United States has developed a new system called the Prompt Global Strike (PGS). By the way, this system implies a non-nuclear strike. We have suggested negotiating all issues without exception that have an impact on strategic stability and the legitimate interests of the contracting parties.

Question: Did they agree to this? Are they ready?

Sergey Lavrov: In October 2020, we submitted draft joint understandings to the Trump administration. This rough outline shows how we can sit down and start negotiating the agenda. We have received no reply from them. Instead of addressing this matter, Marshall Billingslea, the Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control, mostly made vocal statements that the United States was all for it but that the Russians did not want to do this.

When I spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, I reminded him that Russia had submitted its proposals to the Trump administration, which dealt with this matter and many other issues, including cybersecurity and concerns over interference in each other’s domestic affairs. We would like to get back to them, and to hear the Biden administration’s opinions in this regard. We realise that they now need some time to settle down in the White House and the Department of State. I hope that this will not take too long.

There are still some questions on disarmament, for example, the lineup of participants in the disarmament process. The US position on China, approved by Donald Trump, remains unchanged; the same concerns a number of other matters.

Regarding multilateral talks, first of all, this should not annul Russian-US agreements because we have several times more nuclear weapons than other nuclear countries. Second, if we make this a multilateral process, then all prospective participants, primarily the five nuclear powers, should reach a voluntary agreement. We will never try to persuade China. We respect the position of Beijing, which either wants to catch up with us or proposes that we first reduce our arsenals to China’s levels and then start on the talks. All circumstances considered, if this is a multilateral process, then we will get nowhere without the United Kingdom and France. The Trump administration insisted that China should take part and at the same time said about its allies that they were the good guys, literally. This sounds funny. Apart from the complicated and lengthy disarmament process, we do not have so many promising spheres where we can cooperate constructively.

Question: Does this mean that their vision of the issue is entirely different or that they are reluctant to negotiate?

Sergey Lavrov: They think that they are the boss, and this mentality is still here and it determines the perception of their enemies. So far, they have not designated China as an enemy, but they have called us an enemy a couple of times. Democrats have an additional motivation for expanding this policy. Their position is that, supposedly unlike with Donald Trump, they will be “no Russian tail wagging the dog.”

Question: Don’t you think that Democrats have come to power with the intention of taking revenge against Russia, and that they will implement Donald Trump’s anti-Russia plans that he failed to accomplish in four years.

Sergey Lavrov: They made such statements during the election campaign. Joe Biden and his supporters said openly that the Trump administration had gone soft, that it was constantly making advances and working for the Russian intelligence. Donald Trump said that he was conducting the toughest policy with regard to Russia. He said that he liked Vladimir Putin, but he introduced more sanctions than all of his predecessors taken together.

We are also witnessing a cowboy-style showdown there. But this is normal for US politics, especially today. Disagreements between liberals who considered liberalism an irreversible trend have become aggravated to the greatest possible extent. Donald Trump, who did not like liberal principles and approaches, suddenly took over. He tried to think more about the basic interests of the American founders, the people who moved there (and it has always been a nation of immigrants), and who accepted its laws. So, the big question is whether people should remain loyal to the country that has accepted them, or do they want to erode its principles?

Question: Should they try to fit in?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, and they want to be the boss. Everything boils down to this once again.

Question: Karabakh, the subject of that. Fortunately, the war is over and a peace agreement has been inked. We covered extensively the role Russia and Azerbaijan played. I have a question to do with Turkey. I was in Azerbaijan during the war and heard many people say that the Azerbaijanis are supportive of the Great Turan idea (a state that covered the territory from Turkey to Central Asia). Is Moscow concerned by Turkey becoming a stronger state?

Sergey Lavrov: This opinion is entertained by a portion of the society. I’m not going to give a percentage of how many people support this idea. I’m not sure many of those who informed you about this really know what “Great Turan” is all about.

The relations between Turkic-speaking peoples have become an integral part of cooperation between Turkey and the corresponding countries, including Azerbaijan and a number of Central Asian states.

There is the Cooperation Council of the Turkic-Speaking States, in which we participate as observers. A number of our republics are interested in contacts with it and are promoting their specific projects.

There is TURKSOY  ̵  the International Organisation of Turkic Culture. There’s also the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking Countries. All of them have been functioning for a long time now. They draft their own plans and hold functions. Their cooperation is mainly based on cultural, linguistic and educational traditions.

Speaking about the Great Turan as a supranational entity in a historical sense, I don’t think that this is what Turkey is after. I don’t see how former Soviet and now independent countries can be supportive of this idea in any form. On the contrary, their foreign policies and practices focus on strengthening their national states.

Turkey has its interests which include its fellow tribesmen who speak the same language. We also want the Russian World to communicate. We have created an extensive network of organisations of our compatriots living abroad; we are opening Russian World centres at universities in different countries with purely linguistic, educational and scientific goals.

The Centre for the Russian Language and Culture created by the Russkiy Mir Foundation was recently closed in Krakow. This is an obvious step for Poland, as well as for the Baltic States, which are fighting everything that is Russian. Ukraine followed in their footsteps and shut down several media outlets and imposed a language ban. We are well aware of all this. We will keep raising this matter at the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the corresponding UN agencies. One cannot pretend that this comes with the “growth” and the “coming of age” of the Ukrainian nation, which, as they say, is an “ill-fated” one. The Ukrainians claim that they are the descendants of Alexander the Great. In that case, they should be responsible for the orders they introduce. The EU, and Germany and France as the Normandy format participants, avoid performing their duties when it comes to “educating” Ukraine in terms of making it comply with the Minsk agreements, and this has become a chronic behaviour pattern which does not reflect well on Germany or France.

Question: It was announced that Ukraine was recognised an unfriendly state. How will this affect relations between us?

Sergey Lavrov: This is just a descriptive attribute. What’s friendly about it? Russian schools are being closed, customers and shop assistants are not allowed to speak their native language, and the Nazis are burning Russian flags.

Question: This is reminiscent of the Baltic States 20 to 30 years ago.

Sergey Lavrov: Back when the Baltic States were about to be admitted to the EU, we asked the Brussels bureaucrats, the Eurogrands, whether they were sure they were doing the right thing. The problems that are at odds with the membership criteria persist, including non-observance of the rights of the Russian-speaking minorities in Latvia and Estonia. We were told that the Baltic States are phobic of Russia (war, the so-called occupation, etc.), the EU will bring it into its fold, it will calm down and ethnic minorities will be happy and contented. Things turned out the other way round. The Russians were not granted any rights, and statelessness is still there.

Question: Let’s go back to Turkey: Ankara’s stronger position, its active role in the Nagorno-Karabakh war, President Erdogan’s visit to Northern Cyprus (which a Turkish leader has not done for quite a while). What does Moscow think about it?

Sergey Lavrov: As far as Turkey and Northern Cyprus are concerned, we see it as Ankara’s relations with its “fellow countrymen.” I have not heard about Turkey refusing to honour the UN obligations accepted by the conflicting parties. These obligations include seeking a mutually acceptable solution and creating a bicommunal bizonal federation. There is a discussion of whether the federation will be strong or weak. But there is no disagreement about the fact that it must be one state. Although not so very long ago, it was the common opinion that the entire project would fail and they would have to create two states. We understand that Ankara is interested in Cypriot Turks living in equality and their rights being observed. We support the idea that the same motives with which Turkey explains its actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, including with respect to hydrocarbons, should determine its dialogue with Greece and Turkey.

On February 17, 2021, I spoke with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias who told me that on January 25, 2021, he had had a probing conversation with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. They did not iron out all issues. But it is good news that a dialogue was established. They agreed to continue it. On February 18, 2021, I spoke with Mevlut Cavusoglu. We continued sharing opinions following the telephone conversations between President Putin and President Erdogan on Syria, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh and our bilateral relations. New power units of a nuclear power station are under construction; the TurkStream project is ongoing. There is much common ground between our countries when it comes to energy.

In October 2019, the first Russia-Africa Summit in history was held in Sochi. A record number of heads of state and heads of government attended. In the course of the preparations for the summit, we reviewed the development of our relations with African countries and the current state of affairs, including from the perspective of expanding our presence on the continent which political scientists consider to be the most promising in the long term. We reviewed other countries’ presence in Africa. Since 2002, the number of Turkish embassies in Africa has increased from 12 to 42. Turkey’s trade with the region is estimated at around 20 billion dollars a year and Russia’s trade is around 15 billion dollars. This is to say that Turkey has an eye for potential.

Question: Perhaps Turkey is disappointed with the EU because nobody accepted it?

Sergey Lavrov: I believe it could partially be the case. In its contacts with the EU, Ankara continues to insist that the EU promised it accession. Turkey is spreading its wings and gaining weight despite the existing economic problems at home. Turkey mainly goes on by accumulating its national debt but this model is widely common around the world.

Question: 2020 is the year of the pandemic. During such times, countries should join forces and help each other. Do you think that this was the case? Or did the world fail to put aside disagreements and rally together even when it came to the COVID-19 infection?

Sergey Lavrov: Now this conversation is back to square one. There are no ideologies anymore. But this ideology-based, politicised perception of the Russian vaccine was not a very good signal. The Sputnik V vaccine was announced in August 2020, many months after the G20 summit (March 2020) where Vladimir Putin strongly advocated cooperation in vaccine production. Even then, we were ready to create joint scientific teams. But Western countries and their companies, unwilling to help competitors, did not respond to that proposal. So much for unification in this purely medical field.

There is also the humanitarian sphere. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet made calls during the pandemic to suspend all unilateral sanctions in fields directly affecting food, the supply of medicine and medical equipment, in order to alleviate the suffering of the population in countries that were under unilateral sanctions (regardless of their reasons). There was no reaction from the initiators of those sanctions (primarily the US and the EU). Also, there was no response to President Vladimir Putin’s proposal, at the G20 summit, to create ‘green corridors’ for the period of the pandemic, to move goods under the most relaxed rules – without tax, duties, tariffs, delays, or special customs inspections.

We are all in the same boat, and it’s not so big. Some forecasts say this situation will continue for a long time, and the coronavirus will be a seasonal infection, and it is not at all the same as the flu or other diseases, so we will have to use precautions permanently, use PPE. This realisation should somehow prod countries to more open cooperation, especially those that up until recently had some doubts.

True, there have been some good shifts. One of them is the United States’ return to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Some hotheads in Washington believe that, now that they have returned, they will make others do their bidding. There are fewer than 50 Chinese people in the WHO Secretariat, 25 Russians, over 200 Americans, and more than 2,000 NATO representatives. The past US administration said China was manipulating the WHO. That is not true. Otherwise, we are admitting the complete helplessness of 2,000 NATO members who should be the majority in the WHO Secretariat.

Nevertheless, there are some positive results though. This problem has been recently considered at the UN General Assembly and the Security Council. It is important now to focus on equitable collaboration within the WHO. Besides the attempts at carrying out “soft coups” and establishing their own rules in the organisation, hardly based on consensus, an idea has been suggested to move the main decision-making on global health policies outside the universal organisation. We have been pointing out this tendency for some time now – the one to replace international law with a rules-based world order. As it turns out in reality, those rules boil down to working out all decisions in a circle of those who agree with you rather than in a group with universal representation where you have to argue your case and search for balances and compromises. And then you just present the decision as ‘the ultimate truth’ and demand that everyone respect it.

This underlies the Franco-German initiative for a new multilateralism and some limited partnerships in the West. For example, Paris has launched an International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons. Under this non-universal, non-UN partnership, the EU creates the so-called ‘horizontal’ regime of sanctions to be imposed on anyone that France-initiated partnership points at. A similar sanctions regime is being created for cybersecurity. Instead of any open-ended discussion, the French are promoting some partnership to defend freedom in cyberspace. This is another example of rules on which ‘order’ will be based.

There are attempts to start similar groups outside the WHO. But people’s health is not a field where one can play geopolitics. Unless there is a conspiracy behind this to reduce the population of the Earth. Many are now starting to develop such theories and concepts.

Joe Biden Adopts a Trump Approach to Iran

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

An Analysis () by Lawrence Davidson

9 February 2021

Part I—Joe Biden, the Good Stuff

All right! Let’s hear it for Joe Biden! Our new president is leading us in the direction of domestic sanity, and there are even hints of progressive potential in his evolving agenda. Under his leadership, we might soon master the Covid-19 plague and dig ourselves out of our near-depression economic straits. This is terrific!

Some good news when it comes to foreign policy as well. You’ll remember that in Trump’s determination to “make “American great again” (MAGA), the former president decided that international organizations and cooperation were impediments to national greatness. Thus, he systematically withdrew from a number of alignments and also scorned international law. This approach appears to have been part of a MAGA scheme to subvert international order. Its nihilistic undertones were highlighted by the creepy leaders who seemed to warm Trump’s heart. He found men such as the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, along with a long list of dictators ranging from Rodrigo Duterte in Philippines to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi inEgypt, to be really congenial. There was also Trump’s warm admiration for the Russian leader Vladimir Putin. 

President Biden has saved us from this sort of delinquency. He is now operating under new and saner marching orders: “diplomacy is back” and multilateralism is in. The U.S. has recommitted to the international effort to slow down global warming and has rejoined the World Health Organization. Biden has ended all participation in the immoral Yemen civil war and, so it is reported, told the Russians to keep their invasive cyber-fingers to themselves. 

At this point you might have the urge to celebrate what appears to be a full 180-degree turn from Donald Trump’s demented worldview. But hold on, that is not quite the case. Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, it appears that a residual lawlessness can be found in at least one the Biden’s foreign policies. We can recognize it in the game he is playing with Iran. 

Part II—Scuttling the JCPOA

Recall that in 2015 then-President Obama invested a lot of political capital, not to mention putting forth a remarkable display of good sense, in helping to negotiate a multilateral agreement with Iran. This is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and it was multilateral because it included not just the U.S. and Iran but also the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China as well as Germany (collectively referred to as the P5+1). Basically, the agreement stated that, under a regime of international monitoring, Iran would forgo any development of nuclear weapons and convert its nuclear facilities to peacetime pursuits. In exchange, the P5+1 would lift all nuclear-related economic sanctions, freeing up tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue and the release of frozen assets. It was a rare display of effective diplomacy and it worked—until Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, unilaterally scuttled the deal. 

Trump withdrew from the agreement in early May 2018. By January 2020 he had increased the number of Iran-related sanctions to over one thousand. In 2019, Trump was suggesting that if Iran wanted to enter into new negotiations with the U.S., he would consider lifting some of the sanctions. Iran refused to begin the negotiating process over again with Trump. On 15 January 2021, five days before leaving office, Trump added new sanctions. Why did he display such maliciousness? Besides a bizarre hatred for anything Obama had achieved, and the disdain for international cooperation which supposedly stood in the way of his MAGA fantasies, there are other factors. Trump is a truly amoral schemer (we might think of him as a modern-day lawless Borgia). And so he almost naturally fell in with amoral regimes with active domestic lobbies in the U.S. (such as Saudi Arabia and Israel), as well as a “pay to play” approach for the votes and donations of Americans who have a grudge against or fear of Iran. Here we can name not only the Zionists, but also the wealthy Iranians who took refuge in the U.S. after Iran’s 1979 revolution. Many of these are Iranian monarchists who want to see regime change in Iran through the return of a shah (king).

Under the circumstances, the Iranian government reaction has been understandable: they see themselves as the aggrieved party. They had negotiated the JCPOA in good faith. They had met the conditions of the agreement to the satisfaction of international monitors. The other side had failed to respond as promised. Not only had the U.S. broke the agreement without cause, but it had then blackmailed its European allies into breaking their commitments under the agreement. This was done by the Trump administration declaring that any party that broke Washington’s sanctions against Iran would themselves be sanctioned.

After a year or so, Iran, noting that it was the only party paying attention to the deal and that the sanctions still applied, began to slowly back away from the nuclear agreement’s provisions. However, it was not until January 2020 that the Iranians announced they would no longer limit their number of centrifuges and thus their capacity to enrich uranium. Even then it was not the obscene number of American sanctions or the gross failure of the Europeans to abide by their promises that finally “broke the camel’s back.” It was Trump’s ordering of the murder of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on 3 January 2020—essentially an act of war, and certainly one in violation of international law.

Part III—Joe Biden, the Bad Stuff

Now Trump is gone and we have Joe Biden, who, by the way, has not done the right thing and affirmed that his administration would rejoin the Iran nuclear deal. Instead he declared that “I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations” (my emphasis). Later he said that the subsequent negotiations would involve the Islamic Republic’s “violations of human rights and Iran’s role in the regional conflicts.” On its face, this is not an invitation to return to a stabilizing status quo ante, or even a supposed “credible path back to diplomacy.” It is a take-it-or-leave-it demand. This position is remarkably similar to that of Trump posturing for new negotiations back in 2019. And since, as of 7 February 2021, Biden has refused to lift sanctions on Iran—has refused to cease driving that country into poverty—these are no longer Trump’s sanctions. Biden now owns this horror show. Here are some of Biden’s fatal steps.

It was about nine days into the new administration that Biden’s officials began to reference foreign policy and Iran. First appeared Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, who told the U.S. Institute of Peace that “a critical early priority has to be to deal with what is an escalating nuclear crisis as they [Iran] move closer and closer to having enough fissile material for a weapon.” One wonders if Sullivan got his start in advertising, because his description is a purposeful mischaracterization of the situation. The descriptor “escalating nuclear crisis” is a woeful exaggeration. If there is any “crisis” at all, it is because Washington has failed to meet its commitments under the 2015 agreement. The Iranians have repeatedly made it clear that they have no interest in nuclear weapons. And, one can imagine the only thing that could change their mind is an existential outside threat. To date, the only ones that pose such threats are allies of the U.S.: Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Then stepped up Tony Blinken, Biden’s new secretary of state, to continue the new administration’s maneuvers. To wit, Blinken stated “Tehran must resume complying with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal before Washington would do so.” This sort of statement is a rather childish, you-go-first challenge. Blinken then explained that if Iran returns to the deal, Washington would seek to build what Blinken called a “longer and stronger agreement” that would deal with other “deeply problematic” issues. He did not name these, but Biden for his part has drawn attention to Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and its support for proxy forces in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

It took the Iranians no time at all to recognize this gambit for what it is, an effort to enlarge restrictions on Iranian military capacity beyond the scope of the original 2015 agreement. Almost immediately, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, responded that the U.S. position was not practical and will not happen and then added in an op-ed in Foreign Affairs,“once a party leaves an agreement, then that party has no authority demanding others’ compliance to that agreement.”

The Iranians did come back with a more doable proposal to deal with the “who goes first” dilemma. Teheran proposed a timed, mutual U.S. and Iranian return to the original agreement. In an interview with CNN, the Iranian foreign minister said “both countries should synchronize their JCPOA-related moves under the supervision of the European Union”—in other words, achieve the goal with a step-by-step coordinated process. The Biden administration said no to Zarif’s offer, and sane minds, noting the rejection, could hear eerie Trump-like snickering in the surrounding ether. 

Part IV—Conclusion

We have already asked why Trump decided to act in such a malicious manner toward Iran. Now we can ask why Joe Biden has decided to mimic his predecessor and continue a callous, hard-line approach to that same country. As it turns out, the answer is not all that different. Biden is subject to the same lobby pressure from groups to which he has a demonstrated sympathy. Among these are some of the well known suspects mentioned above, but first and foremost are Israel and its Zionist supporters (a rundown of these can be found in a full-page ad in the 5 February 2021 New York Times). 

We can also add one other grouping to this list—various civil rights organizations who would use the moment to pressure Teheran to increase the level of civil liberties allowed in the country. However, as Behrooz Ghamari Tabriz, writing in  Counterpunch notes, “It is a hard sell for those who are genuinely concerned with the question of human rights to ask the American government to be the agent of that change. So long as our government supports the region’s most oppressive regimes, it is hard to imagine that it has any moral authority or political capital to spend on issues of human rights in Iran.”

It is hard to know what exactly is going on inside Joe Biden’s head on this issue. We can assume that it is nothing really analytical. His administration’s actions have, so far, run counter to the other precedents he is laying down in the areas of international cooperation and leadership. They also go against logic. One can imagine no better way to move the Iranians toward nuclear weapons capability than the policies now being pursued. Until Biden acts, in terms of Iran, in the interests of achievable nuclear restraint and stability, that is in the real interests of the country he leads, rather than this or that interest group, he will carry around the residual chains of Donald Trump’s miserable legacy. 

WHO: Very Unlikely Lab Leak Caused COVID Outbreak, Animal Source Still Unidentified

WHO: Very Unlikely Lab Leak Caused COVID Outbreak, Animal Source Still Unidentified

By Staff, Agencies

The original animal carrier of COVID-19 has not yet been identified, WHO said during a press conference in China’s Wuhan on Tuesday.

According to Liang Wannian, a Chinese expert from Tsinghua University, bats and pangolins have been ruled out as the animal reservoir for COVID-19.

“Coronaviruses most highly related to SARS-CoV-2 are to be found in bats and pangolins, suggesting they could be the reservoir of the virus that causes COVID-19, on the basis of high similarity and sequences between the standard viruses and SARS-CoV-2. However, the viruses identified so far from neither of these species are sufficiently similar to SARS-CoV-2 to serve as direct progenitor of the SARS-CoV-2,” Liang said at a press conference of the World Health Organization’s expert team.

However, Peter Ben Embarek, a WHO expert specializing in food safety, said the investigation to identify the origins of the coronavirus points to a natural reservoir in bats, although it’s unlikely that they were in Wuhan. 

There is no evidence of COVID-19 circulation in any animal species in China in late 2019, Embarek added.

“It has not been possible to pinpoint any animal species as a potential reservoir for this disease, and they indicate that currently and also back in 2019 it does not look like there was circulation of the virus in any animal species in the country,” the expert said.

He also said that the COVID-19 outbreak was most likely caused by introduction through intermediary host species, while a laboratory leak is extremely unlikely to have triggered the outbreak.

“We identified four main hypotheses or groups of hypotheses on how the virus could have been introduced in the human population: direct zoonotic spillover; introduction through intermediary host species; food chain, frozen food products, surface transmission; and finally a laboratory-related incident…Our initial findings suggest that introduction through an intermediary host species is the most likely passway and one that will require more studies and more specific targeted research … The findings suggest that a laboratory incident hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus into the human population,” Ben Embarek said .

According to Liang, there is no evidence of COVID-19 was circulating in Wuhan before December 2019, and that the death rate did not rise in Wuhan and other cities in the Hubei province from July- December 2019.

“During the period of July to December 2019, we have conducted a review of the surveillance data on … mortality in Wuhan city and the rest of the Hubei province. It produced little evidence of substantial unexpected fluctuations in mortality that might suggest the occurrence of the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2. There is no indication of the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 in the population in the period before December 2019. There is not enough evidence to determine whether SARS-CoV-2 had spread in Wuhan before December 2019,” Liang said.

The expert added, however, that the virus that causes COVID-19 may have been circulating in other regions before it was identified in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019.

COVID-19 was discovered outside China’s Huanan seafood market back in December 2019, Liang said.

“While some of the early cases had an association with the Huanan seafood market, others were associated with other markets, and other cases had no markets association at all. It is likely that the Huanan seafood market acted as a focus for transmission of the virus, but there are also transmissions appearing to have the occurrence elsewhere in Wuhan at the same time. This is our basic judgment, it is not possible on the basis of the current information to determine how SARS-CoV-2 was introduced into the Huanan market,” the expert concluded.

On 31 December 2019, WHO China reported an outbreak of the previously unknown virus in Wuhan. Evidence suggested that the outbreak was associated with exposure in a local seafood market. On 12 January, China shared the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus with the WHO. Despite the fact that China imposed a strict lockdown in Wuhan and other regions of the country, the COVID-19 infection spread, eventually being called a pandemic by WHO on 11 March.

Joe Biden-Administration may focus only on internal issues

Joe Biden-Administration may focus only on internal issues

January 26, 2021

by Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

Congratulations! Joe Biden has been taken oath as the 46th U.S. president, terminating one of the most intense political transitions in modern American history. Due to various internal threats, heavy deployment of troops has turned Capital Washington into a military Garrison. The security measured taken never witnessed in the past. Donald Trump – who has not formally acknowledged the presidency to Mr. Joe Biden – ridiculed the inaugural ceremony, in a departure from longstanding precedent, Vice-President Mr. Pence handed over the Presidency to Mr. Joe Bidden. Mr. Trump has become the first president not to attend his successor’s inauguration since 1869. He left the White House early on Wednesday and flew to the nearby Andrews Air Force base.

President Joe Biden, 78, was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in 1942. At the young age of only 29, in 1972, he became one of the youngest persons ever elected to the U.S. Senate. He went on to serve as a six-term senator from Delaware. A well-versed, mature politician, having served under several US-administrations, having gained an in-depth understanding of state affairs, received greetings from all around the world and messages of good wishes. He is a ray of hope for many Americans and hopes for the rest of the world.

Trump-era was full of controversies, chaos, and unrest, especially during the last couple of months, he has created an enormous mess. The hate, turmoil, and internal drive he has left behind him, are an inheritance to President Joe Biden.

Many questions are arising in the minds of many Americans as well as around the globe. Like: Who is the real threat to the U.S. national security? It has been propagated often that the U.S. is facing external threats, especially from China and Russia. These are a phenomenon of the cold war era and vanished long ago. However, the chaotic Capitol riots on January 6 have set an alarming message to the world as a new food for thought. The internal clashes and civil unrest of the U.S. Capitol’s type have switched external military aggression as the primary source of threats to human lives and state stability. It directly affects the collapse of the internal system and the erosion of “democracy” and the typical capitalistic system. Failure of state rit and helplessness of state institutions means a destruction.

President Biden has frequently stressed the term “unity” in his opening address, precisely what’s needed in present China-US relations. Because over the past four years, a small number of anti-China politicians in the United States have misled and lied too much out of their political interests and prompted too much hatred and division, and the people of both countries have all been hurt because of it. Many people of vision from China, the United States, and the international community hope China-US-Russia relations will get back to the right path at an early date. All sides can work together to meet the significant persistent challenges facing the world today. The same is valid in the case of Russia-US relations. President Biden said in his opening address; democracy allows disagreement, and “Disagreement must not lead to disunion”. It is hoped this should also be revealed in his foreign policy. Countries with different political & social systems, cultural backgrounds, and ideologies should and are fully capable of coexisting in harmony, engaging in dialogue and collaboration, and collectively work for world peace, stability and prosperity. President Biden also mentioned that the United States “has too much to heal, much to restore.”

The world welcomes the United States’ return to the Paris Agreement and looking onward to its positive contributions to fighting climate change. The Paris Agreement is an outcome of multilateralism, which united together countries worldwide, reinforces the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and is an essential legal instrument to guide post-2020 international collaboration on climate change.

U.S. withdrawal from WHO, it is well-known that WHO is a specialized organization in international health and plays a vital leading and coordinating role in international anti-epidemic collaboration. In particular, against the grim situation of the raging COVID-19 Pandemic, the International community welcome the United States’ return to WHO and wishing to strengthen cooperation with the United States and other countries.

The Capitol riots have exploded unprecedented U.S. political and social anarchy like a spark falling into an oil container. Especially while the U.S. claimed global superpower and claimed its leadership role for the whole world, such mishaps were never expected. It has irreversibly, irrecoverably, and unforgettable damaged the reputation and image of the U.S. internationally. Although the chaos dragged the country into its darkest moment was controlled temporarily, it might take decades to restore completely. The FBI is cautioning that it has received information of “armed protests” in all other states in the days to come. It is expected that the departed President Trump may not sit idly, but continue to create more hurdles for President Joe Biden, and ultimately bleeding America. The hate and divide, which he has made in American society, is not easy to mend.

The Capitol invasion, the anti-racism protests that brushed the U.S., and the rapid-growing and uncontrolled epidemic are sufficient to prove that the U.S. is decaying speedily and badly sick. The ailing economy has also impacted adversely and aggregated in the radicalization of the situation. The U.S., punctured with deep flaws, is now being plagued by ongoing internal crises. It’s rational to say the country’s internal division has touched the level where it’s hard to mend. The political and social divergence has produced hatred, high risks of violence, and unrest. Civil war could be ignited at any moment. A country is mostly known for its gun culture, the legislation over guns and ammunition is another factor to endanger the risk of the civil war-like situation.

Americans are known for planting sabotage, subversion, and conspiracies around the world. But due to the Pandemic, they could not travel abroad, and finally, they have to stage it on their soil. It is time for a typical American to feel the pain of such crimes committed in other countries. It is hoped that such things will not be repeated in any part of the world, and human rights must be respected irrespective of race, religion, or ethnicity.

Will American society be restored or continue to be torn apart? Will the U.S. see more turmoil or keep its stability? If the U.S. still can’t sort out the real threat to its national security and flops to diagnose that the biggest enemy of the U.S. is itself, the scenarios of the country will be even miserable. In fact, Americans are the victim of superiority complex and feel shame to acknowledge their weaknesses or flaws. They are reluctant to learn from others and have closed all options to improve their thinking or political system.

Why has the U.S. been stuck in such grave internal crises? One of the reasons is that, for a long time, Washington has spared little interest in addressing domestic problems but has been more excited about shaping ideological adversaries, engaging in geopolitical competition, and provoking major power confrontations. The 2017 U.S. National Security Strategy declared “inter-state strategic competition” as a significant national security concern. Over some time, the domestic problems kept on compiling, and finally, the volcano has to burst one day.

The U.S. sets itself as a “firm” protector of national security and interests by creating a hype about the “China threat” or “Russia threat.” For example, U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe in December 2020 branded China as “national security threat No.1,” blaming China for posing the greatest threat to America, as well as to democracy and freedom around the globe. U.S. president-elect Joe Biden termed Russia as Washington’s most severe global threat during his election campaign.

The U.S., since the Cold War, has been the single superpower in the world. No matter how hard it tries to expose alleged foreign foes, no external forces can cause such a big country to flop.

But can shaping alleged foreign adversaries bring American unity? Should the U.S. have dedicated more resources and energy to resolving its domestic flaws, getting liberated from ideological prejudice and a sense of supremacy over its political system, and converging more on major power collaboration rather than rivalry, it may have encountered a different domestic situation.

The only element that can cripple the country is its internal crunches. The domestic dilemma the U.S. is facing demonstrations the country’s biggest enemy is itself. The question is: Who dares to speak this out in the U.S.? It is hoped the scholars, intellectuals, politicians, and visionary individuals and professionals may think neutrally and realize their faults and formulate policies to rectify things in the best interest of humankind worldwide.


Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

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New U.S. Foreign Policy Problems (2) International files إشكاليات السياسة الخارجية الأميركية الجديدة (2) الملفات الدولية

**Part 2 English Machine translation**Please scroll down for the Arabic version **

Part 1 Here

Click here to see the Video (deleted by You Tube)

Ziad hafiz.

Part 2:  International Files

 What external files will there be a conflict between the  interests of the interventionists and the interests of the forces that want to focus on the internal files?  The contours of foreign policy began to be clarified  after the Senate hearings of Blinken (State Department)  and Heinz (Director of National Intelligence DNI). The  bottom line is that there is little change in substance  about  Obama and Trump’s policies  except  in style and approach. We’ll show here some files, not all of them,  because of the limited space available.

At the international  level, relations with Russia and China are number one. The first signs issued by a number of figures of the President-elect’s transition team do not suggest any future solution in relations with  Russia. Let’s no forget that most of the employees in the new administration were in the Obama  administration,  which  was  anti-Russian.  The Ukrainian crisis was triggered by the Obama administration and then the Vice President, the president-elect today, which had major interventions in Ukrainian affairs,  not to mention the suspicions of corruption that accompanied it. On the other hand, let’s not forget that the entire Democratic Party, the deep state and the dominant corporate media have spent the past four years  demonising President Trump and accusing him of working for Russia. The latter is also accused of  interfering  in the 2016 election in favour of Donald Trump. Taking into account some statements by intelligence leaders supporting Biden that the Russians are lying because lying is an essential part of Russian  DNA, we see that the climate within the new administration is a tough one for Russia. This pessimism is reinforced by the fact that prospective officials  in the new administration n the second  row of foreign affairs, defence and  national security are neoconservatives such as Victoria Newland and liberal  interventionists such as Kathleen Hicks, Wendy Sherman and John Weiner as deputy national security  adviser.  All of them have close ties with the military security complex, research centres and  major    universities, as we explained in an earlier article.  What has attracted the attention of observers  is that  to  date there has been no contact between the transitional administration and the Russian leadership, although  this  is  a tradition that has spanned over the  past decades.

Multifaceted U.S. Retreat

But the fact of the matter is that U.S. competitiveness has declined in politics and the economy, and perhaps most importantly in military matters, as we have also explained in previous articles. Confronting Russia is  by  raising the human rights issue in Russia, by deploying a missile belt in neighbouring countries and by  overthrowing neighbouring regimes that are in agreement with Russia. By the way,  despite the Democratic  Party accusing U.S. President Donald Trump of working for Russia it was the U.S. president who imposed the most sanctions on Russia that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had initiated. The main strategic point of contention is the Russian gas file and its role in supplying it to the European Union, while the dispute over  Ukraine comes in the context of attempts at Atlantic expansion in Eastern Europe.  The security issue    being  waved is to cover up the main target.  There is no evidence that Russia is seeking to destabilization’s  European  security and stability, on the contrary it is seeking the best relations  and cooperation  with the EUROPEAN Union.

That’s what  Germany  understood,  but it  bowed to U.S. pressure, as former German Foreign Minister  Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in justifying his government’s acquiescence to U.S.  dictates when he made  it clear  that Germany was economically affected  by those sanctions, but that the policy had a strong errand  on the  economy. But over the past months, Germany has been able to reduce the arrogance of the United  States with regard to its economic interests with Russia and China. Germany has agreed to extend the Russian Laurel  Pipeline (“Tor  Stream 2” in its Baltic Economic Zone (every  day a kilometre of the pipeline is extended).    This was also the case with the Czech Republic to extend the “Yugal” land line, which is an extension  of “North stream  2” on the  German-Czech Saxon border. This reflects the extent of the U.S. retreat at the  European  ally and cuts the road to the pressures that the new administration could  put on it.

On The Other  Hand, on December 30, 2020, China and the European Union signed an agreement that would open the door to mutual investment, despite opposition from the United States and despite traditional human rights pretexts that were being raised against China to prevent any rapprochement with it. This is another  sign  that Western Europe has felt American weakness and is starting to think about the priority of its interests. The EU would not have taken the move without the approval of Germany and France.

Among the outstanding files between the United States and Russia are  Ukraine, particularly eastern Ukraine (Dombesk), the annexation of Crimea, the file of the Caucasus states in Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh, and the proliferation of Atlantic weapons in the Baltic states and Poland. Recently, the United States tried to  create unrest in Belarus but failed to do so. Russia’s rapprochement with Russia is intensifying and we do not rule out the accession of Belarus to the Russian Federation, which is a resounding blow to the American administration.  Today, Belarus is mandated to confront Poland and the Baltic states on Russia’s  behalf.  In addition  to the Syrian file and the nuclear file with Iran and of course the treaties in the matter of medium-range ballistic missiles. In the context of the treaty file that the United States has emerged on the subject of  ballistic missiles, Russia is no longer committed to it.

The state of denial is in the  mind of  the ruling elites. 

“We  don’t know what the United  States  can  offer  in  all  these  files other than to back down  from its escalatory positions, which will perpetuate the decline of its influence,”he said. But  in the  current  mood  in the transitional administration, it is not ready  for  any  concession.  Since the denial of that retreat is in control of the ruling elites in the  next administration on the basis of “American exceptionalism” and”its manifest value” and in the absence of any theoretical or concrete evidence to acknowledge that retreat, what we can expect is the continued high and hostile tone in addressing Russia without translating into  confrontation on the ground.   The sanctions regime on Russia continues and began under Obama,  and the next  administration cannot lift it for free to market it in the domestic scene.   There is no creativity in thinking about the American side and the Russian side does not consider itself obliged to make concessions,  especially since there is no confidence in the commitments of the  United States. That’s why  we’re seeing  growing  indifference on the Russian side to what could come from the Biden administration as long as  the  horizon of open armed confrontation is blocked. Russia has been able to adapt to sanctions  and even turned it into a self-sufficiency opportunity freeing it from American blackmail.  Sanctions have only succeeded in increasing the isolation of the United States in the world, especially with its European allies. The elites in  Russia see as we see that the new administration will be focused on the internal files because of their seriousness  and complexity and  therefore do not consider that  they can interact permanently in  external files.

But that doesn’t mean that communicating with Russia is out of the way. If it is necessity or inventions, it is  also the mother of understandings. In  this context, the Russian President announced in a letter to the   president-elect that he hopes for friendly relations on the basis of club and mutual respect, a sign that a return  to the method of transcendence is no longer acceptable. On the other hand, the response of the secretary of  state, Anthony Blinken, was that at the height of the nuclear rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union and under the existential nuclear threat of thousands of nuclear ballistic missiles  directed against each of  the two countries, areas of cooperation in many hot files were possible. Therefore,  “opportunities for cooperation”  can be looked forward to controlling the rhythm of  tensions so as not to lead  to  confrontations  from which no one will emerge  unscathed.  Does this mean that the climate for settlements will exist?  Not necessarily, the most realistic case is that there are no major settlements, no major confrontations and everything is possible under that  roof. In  summary, it can be said that the ceiling of the  possible “understanding” with Russia does not go beyond the limits of  linking  the conflict until new balances of power are established and this will not happen in the foreseeable future, i.e. in the  mandate of the new administration.

One might ask why not settle? The simple answer is that Russia sees no justification for settling matters with a party that has always proved that it does not respect treaties. The Russian also believes that the American is in a state of structural weakness that may not survive it and therefore make concessions to a country whose fate is unknown may not be justified. On the other hand, the U.S. side believes that if the balance of power is not in its favour at the current stage, it should only adjust it to its advantage and therefore there is no need to give up anything substantial that might constitute the  board of settlement. The ruling elites of the United  States believe that it is destined to lead the world and that  its exceptionalism will enable it to do so. There is no willingness to acknowledge that the United States has entered the stage of strategic decline, even a likely internal collapse, and therefore the narrative prevailing among those elites will be  that the United States has valued the world regardless of the difficulties it is encountering at this stage.

Why not  face… I don’t think

The other question is why not face? The answer here is that both sides are well aware that confrontation  ultimately means the end of the globe in limited minutes!  The next war will not  be as long as it did in the two world  wars, not even in  regional wars.  It will be related to the duration of ballistic missiles reaching their targets and here we are talking about minutes, not hours! But what is the alternative to confrontation  and compromise?

The alternative is limited tensions in space and time determined by changing objective and regional  circumstances.  But this imposes careful cooperation to prevent slippage, which could lead to an all-out  confrontation that no one wants. On the other hand, multiplayer on the one hand and the absence of  any  force  capable of adjusting  the rhythm alone makes it very difficult. Hence we understand the role and value of the axis where each component has no ability to control whatever its own abilities. But the axis gives  added value to those capabilities and therefore the axis will be the rhythm officer and not the pole. Here the role of  regional gatherings or hubs is highlighted.  We are in a multi-axis world, not a multipolar world.

If we want to sum up the international landscape between the competing pivots, we see that the U.S. axis in    strategic decline may reach a collapse, but it does the work of its tactical  and show-off nature that does not  change anything in the  balance of power on the ground. On the other hand, the  other Axis of Russia and the Chinese with it the axis of resistance in the event of a strategic rise interspersed with acts of a tactical  and defensive character fortify the balances of power that created it. The anti-American axis does not believe  that a tactical confrontation is necessary at this stage because of the strategic decline of the U.S. axis.  The  time factor works in favour of the anti-dominance axis. Therefore, we do not rule out a very fragile stabilisation  phase of tensions between brief periods of calm. In our view, the balances of  power that change in favour of the anti-Western axis also include cultural and intellectual structures. It also includes political  systems where Western neoliberalism has reached an impasse and that all decisions taken by the ruling  elites in the United States and in the West in general  are an escape  from the structural internal  entitlements  facing all  states. Until a political and economic system takes into account the radical  transformations  that  have taken place in societies, especially economic and social gaps, the general  landscape will be the internal  tension in the western countries, which influence their foreign policies. These remarks apply to all  contentious files between the United  States and its competitors.

 On the Chinese issue, there appear to be two conflicting currents within the democratic party leadership.   On the  one hand, there is the  legacy of former President Barack Obama, who was the author of the theory of east-shifting to counter the rising threat posed by China. This trend to the East uses a political narrative  of  protecting human rights that are violated by the Chinese government. The U. S. needs a “moral” justification for interfering in China’s domestic affairs, whether in the Tibet, Hong Kong or Uighur Muslim stooum.   ut after the January 6 spectacle of the ruling elites dealing with angry crowds and the condemnation of these  demonstrations by elites, some leaders have come to demand that public freedoms be undermined, and it is difficult to put forward such rhetoric condemning freedoms in countries that want to submit to American  will.

The actual goal of U.S. policy is to undermine China’s competitiveness,  especially in the field of technology and artificial intelligence, by imposing sanctions on it (here new arguments will be sought for it!) And curbed  its military rise to prevent the expansion of its influence in East and South Asia. In the context of the conflict we mentioned between the group of interventionists and the “realists” the issue of dealing with  Chinese  t-communication companies, Huawei, which has been the target of sanctions in the Trump administration. If  the Biden administration wants to ease the conflict with China, it will settle the Huawei file at least  in its legal dimension. But is this in line with the interests of U.S. companies affected by Chinese competition that    have mostly supported Biden’s presidential bid? Here we see the extent of the contradiction within the  administration. This is where  Obama’s policy meets Trump’s policy f  confronting china’s rising  influence    and hitting the OneWay/One Belt project. But the capabilities of the United States, no matter how limited the governing  team may be, are too limited and cannot change the equations imposed by the transformations.

On the other hand, there is the BidenGroup, which has made confusing and suspicious deals with Chinese companies.  A large number of  Democratic party leaders are involved in suspicious deals with Chinese  government institutions such as former California State Attorney Barbara Boxer, who became the agent of a   Chinese state-owned eavesdropping  company, the current senator’s husband, Diane Feinstein, who has close ties to Chinese companies, or Representative Eric Swal of California, who is accused of having sexual  relations with a Chinese intelligence officer.  The president will be among the hammer of the Obama team,  which  wants to surround China, curb its rise, and the sanders of the special interests of the Biden family  and a number of senior Democratic officials in their dealings with China. The Republicans will undoubtedly raise the scandals championed by Hunter Biden, the president’s son, and James Biden, the president’s brother. They are the subject of investigations by the Federal Bureau of  Investigation (FBI), which refused to disclose  before the election, and William Barr, the outgoing Justice Secretary in the Trump administration, could have undermined Biden’s chances of winning the last election, reinforcing  the theory that the deep state of all its components wanted to get rid of Donald Trump and succeeded in disrupting  his mandate and success  in the  election.

One of Obama’s attempts to blockade China is the Trans Pacific Partnership/TPP,  which aimed to create a large  economic space similar to the European Common Market  before it became the European Union,    without China’s participation.  This project is similar to a European project that excludes Russia! Here is the grave  geopolitical error because it runs counter to the constant geography and changing history, how can an Asian  grouping be conceived without China and how can Russia be excluded from Europe? But Trump’s first  decision when he entered the White House was to destroy the Trans-Pacific Partnership project. In the fall  of 2020, China was able to conclude an economic agreement with Southeast Asian countries that effectively  eliminates  any  possibility of economic blockade of China.  The title of this new economic gathering is the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) signed on November 12,  2020 at a summit  of  regional  heads of  state such as China, Japan, South Korea, India and other ASEAN countries. 

China’s  most important economic influence…

The Rand Corporation, a Pentagon think  tank, considers  China’s economic influence more important than  U.S. influence in the Pacific and Asia. Asean countries also prioritise economic considerations and interests at the expense of security considerations. China’s economic influence weakens U.S. military influence, according to the RAND Corporation study, especially since countries in that region do not believe that U.S. military  influence is equivalent to China’s economic influence. There is also a conviction in those countries, according to the study, that the USA commitment to the region is questionable. Based on those considerations in the study, the Biden administration’s policy will be very complicated, especially since  the enthusiasm of the countries in the region to align  with them will be weak.

On the other hand, in recent days, the Trump administration has poisoned the atmosphere  between the United States and China by lifting all restrictions on Taiwan. It is clear that the move will anger China and strain relations with the new U.S. administration. The question is how the Biden administration can reinstate the restrictions lifted by the Trump administration, which means that there is no continuity in the outside  decision and weakens confidence in any U.S. pledge. The decisions of any administration become subject to veto by the administration that follows, and this is the result of  falling signs.  We therefore believe  that the Biden administration’s attempts will not go beyond the point of linking the conflict to conflicts of  interest  between the interveners and the realists, while  weighing  in favour of the interventionists  and the weakness of the realists because of the suspicions of corruption surrounding the president-elect and his family. 

 Some of the”positive” steps of the new administration will be to return  to the climate  agreement and the World  Health Organisation and to demand a return to the ballistic agreement. There is little cost here, but  a material for media propaganda to improve the image of the United States. Blinken’s remarks that he should”consult” with allies are a step toward restoring consideration to “diplomacy” that  his predecessor Mike Pompeo did not believe in. But what is the value of diplomacy if it is not  accompanied by  actions that take into account the interests of the various  parties?  The United States has not  yet acknowledged  this,  and it is continuing  its efforts to achieve its goals of domination and domination, but with far  fewer  possibilities. 

*Researcher  and political  economist And the former Secretary General of the  Arab  National Congress

Part 3 Here

إشكاليات السياسة الخارجية الأميركية الجديدة (2) الملفات الدولية

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الجزء الثاني: الملفّات الدولية

فما هي الملفات الخارجية التي ستشهد صراعاً بين مصالح المتدخلّين ومصالح القوى التي تريد التركيز على الملفّات الداخلية؟ ملامح السياسة الخارجية بدأت تتوضح بعد جلست الاستماع في مجلس الشيوخ لكلّ من بلينكن (وزارة الخارجية) وهاينز (مديرة الاستخبارات الوطنية DNI). الخلاصة الأساسية هي لا تغيير يُذكر في الجوهر عن سياسات أوباما وترامب الاّ في الأسلوب وطريقة التعاطي. سنعرض هنا بعض الملفّات وليست جميعها لضيق المساحة المتاحة.

فعلى الصعيد الدولي تأتي في المرتبة الأولى العلاقات مع كلّ من روسيا والصين. الإشارات الأولى التي صدرت عن عدد من رموز الفريق الانتقالي للرئيس المنتخب لا توحي بأيّ حلحلة مرتقبة في العلاقات مع روسيا. فلا ننسى أنّ معظم العاملين في الإدارة الجديدة كانوا في إدارة أوباما التي كانت معادية لروسيا. فالأزمة الأوكرانية فجّرتها إدارة أوباما ونائب الرئيس آنذاك، الرئيس المنتخب اليوم، والتي كانت له تدخّلات كبيرة في الشأن الأوكراني ناهيك عن شبهات الفساد التي رافقتها. من جهة أخرى لا ننسى أنّ مجمل الحزب الديمقراطي والدولة العميقة والإعلام الشركاتي المهيمن أمضى السنوات الأربع الماضية على شيطنة الرئيس ترامب واتهامه بالعمالة لروسيا. كما أنّ الأخيرة متهمة بالتدخل في انتخابات 2016 لصالح دونالد ترامب. وإذا أخذنا بعين الاعتبار بعض التصريحات لقيادات استخبارية داعمة لبايدن بأنّ الروس يكذبون لأنّ الكذب جزء أساسي من الحمض النووي الروسي نرى أنّ المناخ المرتقب داخل الإدارة الجديدة مناخ متشدّد تجاه روسيا. وما يعزّز ذلك التشاؤم هو أنّ المسؤولين المرتقبين في الإدارة الجديدة في الصف الثاني في الخارجية والدفاع والأمن القومي هم من المحافظين الجدد كفيكتوريا نيولند ومن المتدخّلين الليبراليين كـ كاثلين هيكس ووندي شرمان وجون فاينر كنائب مستشار الأمن القومي. وجميعهم لديهم ارتباطات وثيقة مع المجمع العسكري الأمني ومراكز الأبحاث ومن الجامعات الكبرى كما شرحناه في مقال سابق. وما لفت انتباه المراقبين أنه حتى الساعة لم يتمّ أيّ اتصال بين الإدارة الانتقالية والقيادة الروسية علماً أنّ هذا تقليد امتدّ طيلة العقود الماضية.

تراجع أميركي متعدّد الجوانب

لكن حقيقة الأمر هي أنّ القدرة التنافسية الأميركية تراجعت في السياسة والاقتصاد، وربما أهمّ من كلّ ذلك في الشأن العسكري كما شرحناه أيضاً في مقالات سابقة. فمواجهة روسيا تكون عبر إثارة ملف حقوق الانسان في روسيا وعبر نشر حزام صاروخي في الدول المجاورة وعبر إسقاط أنظمة مجاورة تتفاهم مع روسيا. بالمناسبة ورغم اتهام الحزب الديمقراطي الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب بالعمالة لروسيا فإنّ الرئيس الأميركي هو الذي فرض أكثر العقوبات على روسيا والتي كان قد بدأها سلفه باراك أوباما. ونقطة الخلاف الرئيسية الاستراتيجية هي ملف الغاز الروسي ودوره في تزويده للاتحاد الأوروبي بينما الخلاف على أوكرانيا يأتي في سياق محاولات توسع الأطلسي في أوروبا الشرقية. قضية الأمن التي يتمّ التلويح بها هي للتغطية على الهدف الرئيسي. ليس هناك أيّ دليل بأنّ روسيا تسعى لزعزعة الأمن والاستقرار الأوروبي بل العكس تسعى إلى أفضل العلاقات والتعاون مع الاتحاد الأوروبي.

هذا ما فهمته ألمانيا لكنها رضخت للضغوط الأميركية كما صرّح وزير خارجية ألمانيا السابق فرانك والتر ستنماير في تبرير رضوخ حكومته للإملاءات الأميركية عندما قال بوضوح إنّ ألمانيا متضررة اقتصادياً من تلك العقوبات غير أنّ السياسة لها القوّامة على الاقتصاد. لكن خلال الأشهر الماضية استطاعت ألمانيا أن تحدّ من غطرسة الولايات المتحدة فيما يتعلّق بمصالحها الاقتصادية مع روسيا والصين. فقد وافقت ألمانيا على تمديد أنبوب الغار الروسي (“تور ستريم 2) في المنطقة الاقتصادية التابعة لها في بحر البلطيق (كلّ يوم يتمّ مدّ كيلومترا من الأنبوب). كذلك الأمر حصل مع الجمهورية التشيكية لتمديد الخط البرّي “يوغال” الذي هو امتداد لـ “نور ستريم 2) على الحدود السكسونية الألمانية التشيكية. هذا يعكس مدى التراجع الأميركي عند الحليف الأوروبي ويقطع الطريق على الضغوط التي يمكن أن تصدرها الإدارة الجديدة.

من جهة أخرى تمّ التوقيع في 30 كانون الأول 2020 بين الصين والاتحاد الأوروبي على اتفاق يفتح باب الاستثمارات المتبادلة وذلك رغم معارضة الولايات المتحدة ورغم الذرائع التقليدية حول حقوق الإنسان التي كانت تُرفع بوجه الصين لمنع أيّ تقارب معها. هذه إشارة أخرى أنّ أوروبا الغربية شعرت بالضعف الأميركي وبدأت تفكّر بأولوية مصالحها. ولم يكن الاتحاد الأوروبي ليقدم على تلك الخطوة لولا الموافقة لكلّ من ألمانيا وفرنسا.

من ضمن الملفّات العالقة بين الولايات المتحدة وروسيا ملف أوكرانيا وخاصة شرق أوكرانيا (الدومبسك) وضمّ شبه جزيرة القرم، وملف دول القوقاز في جورجيا وناغورنو كراباخ، وانتشار السلاح الأطلسي في دول البلطيق وبولندا. ومؤخراً حاولت الولايات المتحدة خلق القلاقل في بيلاروسيا إلاّ أنها فشلت في ذلك. فالتقارب الروسي البلاروسي يشتدّ ولا نستبعد انضمام بلاروسيا على الاتحاد الروسي ما يشكّل صفعة مدوية للإدارة الأميركية. وبلاروسيا اليوم موكّلة في مواجهة كلّ من بولندا ودول البلطيق نيابة عن روسيا. ويُضاف إليها ملف سورية والملفّ النووي مع إيران وطبعاً المعاهدات في الشأن الصواريخ الباليستية المتوسطة المدى. في سياق ملف المعاهدة التي خرجت عنها الولايات المتحدة في موضوع الصواريخ الباليستية لم تعد روسيا متمسّكة بها.

حالة الإنكار متحكّمة في عقل النخب الحاكمة

لا ندري ماذا يمكن أن تقدّم الولايات المتحدة في كلّ هذه الملفّات غير التراجع عن مواقفها التصعيدية الذي سيكرّس تراجع نفوذها. لكن ليس في المزاج الحالي في الإدارة الانتقالية جهوزية لأيّ بادرة لتقديم أيّ تنازل. وبما أنّ حالة الإنكار لذلك التراجع متحكّمة في عقل النخب الحاكمة في الإدارة المقبلة على قاعدة “الاستثنائية الأميركية” و”قدرها المتجلّي” وبغياب أيّ دليل نظري أو ملموس للإقرار بذلك التراجع، فما يمكن أن نتوقّعه هو استمرار النبرة العالية والمعادية في مخاطبة روسيا دون أن تترجم بمواجهة على الأرض. فنظام العقوبات على روسيا مستمرّ وهو بدأ في عهد أوباما ولا تستطيع الإدارة المقبلة رفعها دون مقابل ملموس لتسويقه في المشهد الداخلي. فليس هناك ابداع في التفكير في الجانب الأميركي والجانب الروسي لا يعتبر نفسه ملزما بتقديم تنازلات خاصة أن لا ثقة بتعهدّات الولايات المتحدة. لذلك نشهد تزايد عدم الاكتراث في الجانب الروسي لما يمكن أن يصدر عن إدارة بايدن طالما أنّ أفق المواجهة المفتوحة المسلّحة مسدود. فروسيا استطاعت التكيّف مع العقوبات بل حوّلتها إلى فرص اكتفاء ذاتي حرّرها من الابتزاز الأميركي. فالعقوبات نجحت فقط في زيادة عزلة الولايات المتحدة في العالم وخاصة عند حلفائها الأوروبيين. والنخب في روسيا ترى كما نرى نحن أنّ الإدارة الجديدة ستكون منصبّة على الملفّات الداخلية لخطورتها وتعقيداتها وبالتالي لا تعتبر أنّ باستطاعتها التفاعل الدائم في الملفّات الخارجية.

لكن هذا لا يعني أنّ التواصل مع روسيا خارج الاحتمالات. فإذا كانت الضرورة امّ الاختراعات فهي أيضاً أمّ التفاهمات. في هذا السياق أعلن الرئيس الروسي في رسالة للرئيس المنتخب أنه يأمل بعلاقات ودية على قاعدة الندّية والاحترام المتبادل، وهذه إشارة إلى أنّ العودة الى أسلوب التعالي لم يعد مقبولاً. من جهة أخرى كان ردّ وزير الخارجية المسمّى أنطوني بلينكن أنّ في ذروة التنافس النووي بين الولايات المتحدة والاتحاد السوفياتي وفي ظلّ الخطر النووي الوجودي المتمثّل بآلاف الصواريخ الباليستية النووية الموجهة ضدّ كلّ من البلدين كانت مجالات التعاون في العديد من الملفات الساخنة ممكنة. وبالتالي يمكن التطلّع إلى “فرص تعاون” لضبط إيقاع التوترات كي لا تؤدّي إلى مواجهات لن يخرج أحد سالماً منها. هل هذا يعني أنّ مناخ التسويات سيكون قائماً؟ ليس بالضرورة، فالحالة الأكثر واقعية هي أن لا تسويات كبرى ولا مواجهات كبرى وكلّ شيء ممكن تحت ذلك السقفين. في الخلاصة يمكن القول إنّ سقف “التفاهم” الممكن مع روسيا لا يتجاوز حدود ربط النزاع إلى ان تتبلور موازين قوّة جديدة وهذا لن يحصل في المدى المنظور أيّ في ولاية الإدارة الجديدة.

قد يسأل المرء لماذا لا تسوية؟ الإجابة البسيطة هي أنّ روسيا لا ترى أيّ مبرّر لتسوية الأمور مع طرف برهن دائماً أنه لا يحترم المعاهدات فما بال التسويات! كما يرى الروسي أنّ الأميركي في حالة ضعف بنيوي قد لا ينجو منها وبالتالي تقديم تنازلات لدولة مصيرها مجهول قد لا يكون مبرّرا. في المقابل، يرى الطرف الأميركي إذا كانت موازين القوّة ليست لصالحه في المرحلة الحالية فما عليه إلاّ أن يعدّلها لمصلحته وبالتالي لا داعي للتنازل عن أيّ شيء جوهري قد يشكّل متن التسوية. وتعتقد النخب الحاكمة في الولايات المتحدة أنّ قدرها هو أن تقود العالم وأن استثنائيتها ستمكّنها من ذلك. ليس هناك استعداد للإقرار بأنّ الولايات المتحدة دخلت مرحلة التراجع الاستراتيجي بل حتى الانهيار الداخلي المرجّح وبالتالي ستكون السردية السائدة عند تلك النخب بأنّ الولايات المتحدة قدر على العالم بغضّ النظر عن الصعوبات التي تلاقيها في المرحلة الحالية.

لماذا لا مواجهة…؟

والسؤال الآخر لماذا لا مواجهة؟ الإجابة هنا أنّ الطرفين يدركان جيّداً أنّ المواجهة تعني في آخر المطاف نهاية المعمورة في دقائق محدودة! لن تكون الحرب المقبلة ممتدّة على مدى سنوات كما حصل في الحربين العالميتين ولا حتى في الحروب الإقليمية. ستكون مرتبطة بمدة وصول الصواريخ الباليستية إلى أهدافها وهنا نتكلّم عن دقائق وليس ساعات! لكن ما هو البديل عن المواجهة وعن التسوية؟

البديل هو توتّرات محدودة في المكان والزمان تحدّده الظروف الموضوعية والإقليمية المتغيّرة. لكن هذا يفرض تعاوناً دقيقاً لمنع الانزلاق الذي قد يؤدّي إلى مواجهة شاملة لا يريدها أحد. في المقابل، تعدّد اللاعبين من جهة وعدم وجود أيّ قوّة قادرة بمفردها على ضبط الإيقاع تجعل ذلك الأمر في غاية الصعوبة. من هنا نفهم دور وقيمة المحور حيث كلّ مكوّن له لا قدرة على التحكّم مهما كانت قدراته الذاتية. لكن المحور يعطي قيمة مضافة لتلك القدرات وبالتالي المحور هو الذي سيكون ضابط الإيقاع وليس القطب. هنا يبرز دور التجمّعات أو المحاور الإقليمية. أصبحنا في عالم متعدّد المحاور وليس في عالم متعدد القطبية.

إذا أردنا تلخيص المشهد الدولي بين المحورية المتنافسين نرى أنّ المحور الأميركي في تراجع استراتيجي قد يصل إلى الأفول والانهيار ولكنه يقوم بأعمال طابعها هجومي تكتيكي واستعراضي لا يغيّر أيّ شيء في موازين القوّة على الأرض. في المقابل فإنّ المحور الآخر الروسي الصيني ومعه محور المقاومة في حال صعود استراتيجي تتخلله أعمال طابعها تكتيكي دفاعي تحصّن موازين القوّة التي أوجدتها. والمحور المقاوم للهيمنة الأميركية لا يعتقد أنّ مواجهة تكتيكية ضرورية في المرحلة الراهنة بسبب التراجع الاستراتيجي للمحور الأميركي. عامل الوقت يعمل لصالح المحور المقاوم للهيمنة. لذلك لا نستبعد مرحلة استقرار هشّ للغاية تسوده التوترات بين فترات وجيزة من الهدوء. في رأينا، موازين القوّة التي تتغيّر لصالح المحور المناهض للهيمنة الغربية تشمل أيضاً البنى الثقافية والفكرية. وتشمل أيضاً المنظومات السياسية حيث النيوليبرالية الغربية وصلت إلى طريق مسدود وأنّ كلّ القرارات التي تتخذها النخب الحاكمة في الولايات المتحدة وفي الغرب عموما هي هروب إلى الأمام من الاستحقاقات الداخلية البنيوية التي تواجه كلّ الدول. إلى أن يتبلور نظام سياسي اقتصادي يأخذ بعين الاعتبار التحوّلات الجذرية التي حصلت في المجتمعات وخاصة الفجوات الاقتصادية والاجتماعية فإنّ سمة المشهد العام سيكون التوتر الداخلي في دول الغرب العامل المؤثر على سياساتها الخارجية. هذه الملاحظات تنطبق على كافة الملفات الخلافية بين الولايات المتحدة ومنافسيها.

وفي ما يتعلّق بالملفّ الصيني فهناك تياران متصارعان على ما يبدو داخل قيادات الحزب الديمقراطي. فمن جهة، هناك إرث الرئيس السابق باراك أوباما الذي كان صاحب نظرية التحوّل إلى الشرق لمواجهة الخطر الصاعد الذي تمثّله الصين. وهذا التوجّه إلى الشرق يستعمل سردية سياسية هي حماية حقوق الانسان التي تنتهكها الحكومة الصينية. فالولايات المتحدة بحاجة إلى مبرّر “أخلاقي” للتدخل في الشأن الداخلي في الصين سواء في قضية التيبت أو هونغ كونغ أو المسلمين الأويغور! لكن بعد المشهد الذي قدّمته النخب الحاكمة في 6 كانون الثاني/ يناير في التعامل مع الجماهير الغاضبة وتنديد النخب بهذه المظاهرات وصلت عند بعض القيادات إلى المطالبة بتقويض الحرّيات العامة يصعب عندئذ طرح ذلك الخطاب المندّد للحرّيات في الدول التي تريد الخضوع للمشيئة الأميركية.

الهدف الفعلي لسياسة الولايات المتحدة هو تقويض القدرات التنافسية للصين خاصة في الميدان التكنولوجي والذكاء الاصطناعي وذلك عبر فرض العقوبات عليها (وهنا سيتمّ التفتيش عن حجج جديدة لذلك!) وكبح صعودها العسكري لمنع تمدّد نفوذها في شرق وجنوب آسيا. وفي سياق الصراع الذي ذكرناه بين جماعة المتدخلين وجماعة “الواقعيين” مسألة التعامل مع شركات التواصل الصينية كهواوي التي كانت هدفاً للعقوبات في إدارة ترامب. فإذا أرادت إدارة بايدن التخفيف من حدّة الصراع مع الصين فستقوم بتسوية لملف هواوي على الأقلّ في بعده القانوني. لكن هل هذا يستقيم مع مصالح الشركات الأميركية المتضرّرة من التنافس الصيني وهي التي دعمت إلى أقصى الحدود وصول بايدن إلى الرئاسة؟ هنا نرى مدى التناقض الموجود داخل الإدارة. هنا تلتقي سياسة أوباما مع سياسة ترامب في ضرورة مواجهة النفوذ الصيني الصاعد وضرب مشروع الطريق الواحد/ الحزام الواحد. لكن قدرات الولايات المتحدة مهما كان الفريق الحاكم محدودة للغاية ولا تستطيع تغيير المعادلات التي فرضتها التحوّلات.

ومن جهة أخرى هناك “جماعة بايدن” التي عقدت صفقات مثيرة للالتباس والشبهات مع شركات صينية. ويشاركه في ذلك عدد كبير من قيادات الحزب الديمقراطي في صفقات مشبوهة مع مؤسّسات صينية حكومية كالشيخة السابقة لولاية كاليفورنيا بربرا بوكسر التي أصبحت وكيلة شركة صينية حكومية مختصة بالتنصّت، أو زوج الشيخ الحالية دايان فاينشتين الذي له علاقات وثيقة مع الشركات الصينية، أو النائب أريك سوالوال من كاليفورنيا المتهم بعلاقات جنسية مع ضابطة من الاستخبارات الصينية! فالرئيس سيكون بين مطرقة فريق أوباما الذي يريد محاصرة الصين وكبح صعودها وسندان المصالح الخاصة العائدة لعائلة بايدن ولعدد من كبار المسؤولين في الحزب الديمقراطي في تعاملهم مع الصين. الحزب الجمهوري سيثير دون أيّ شكّ الفضائح التي بطلها هنتر بايدن نجل الرئيس وجيمس بايدن شقيق الرئيس. فهما موضوع تحقيقات يقوم بها المكتب الاتحادي للتحقيقات (أف بي أي) التي رفض الكشف عنها قبل الانتخابات وليم بار وزير العدل المستقيل في إدارة ترامب والتي كان بإمكانها تقويض فرص فوز بايدن في الانتخابات الأخيرة، ما يعزّز نظرية أنّ الدولة العميقة بكافة مكوّناتها أرادت التخلّص من دونالد ترامب وقد نجحت في تعطيل ولايته ونجاحه في الانتخابات.

من محاولات محاصرة الصين التي أطلقها أوباما مشروع الشراكة في المحيط الهادئ ((Trans Pacific Partnership/TPP التي كانت تهدف إلى إيجاد فضاء اقتصادي كبير شبيه بالسوق الأوروبية المشتركة قبل أن تصبح الاتحاد الأوروبي، وذلك دون مشاركة الصين. يتماثل هذا المشروع مع مشروع أوروبي يقصي روسيا! وهنا الخطأ الجيوسياسي الفادح لأنه يتنافى مع الجغرافيا الثابتة والتاريخ المتغيّر، فكيف يمكن تصوّر تجمع آسيوي دون الصين وكيف يمكن أقصاء روسيا من أوروبا؟ لكن أول قرارات ترامب عند دخوله البيت الأبيض كان وأد مشروع الشراكة في المحيط الهادئ. والصين استطاعت أن تعقد في خريف 2020 اتفاقاً اقتصادياً مع دول جنوب شرق آسيا يلغي فعلياً أيّ إمكانية محاصرة الصين اقتصادياً. عنوان هذا التجمّع الاقتصادي الجديد هو اتفاق الشراكة الاقتصادية الإقليمية الشاملة (RCEP) الذي وقّع في 12 تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر 2020 في اجتماع قمة لرؤساء دول المنطقة كالصين واليابان وكوريا الجنوبية والهند وسائر دول جمعية دول الجنوب الشرقي الاسيوي (ASEAN).

نفوذ الصين الاقتصادي أهمّ…

وتعتبر مؤسسة راند كوربوريشن، وهي مؤسسة أبحاث تابعة للبنتاغون، أنّ نفوذ الصين الاقتصادي أهمّ من النفوذ الأميركي في منطقة المحيط الهادئ وآسيا. كما أنّ دول جمعية جنوب شرق آسيا تعطي الأولوية للاعتبارات والمصالح الاقتصادية على حساب الاعتبارات الأمنية. والنفوذ الاقتصادي الصيني يضعف النفوذ العسكري الأميركي وفقاً لدراسة مؤسسة راند خاصة أنّ دول تلك المنطقة لا تعتقد أنّ النفوذ العسكري الأميركي يوازي النفوذ الاقتصادي الصيني. وهناك أيضاً قناعة عند تلك الدول وفقاً للدراسة المذكورة أنّ التزام الولايات المتحدة تجاه المنطقة مشكوك بأمره. بناء على تلك الاعتبارات التي جاءت في الدراسة المذكورة ستكون سياسة إدارة بايدن معقّدة للغاية خاصة أنّ حماس دول المنطقة للاصطفاف معها سيكون ضعيفاً.

من جهة أخرى أقدمت إدارة ترامب في أيامها الأخيرة على تسميم الأجواء بين الولايات المتحدة والصين عبر رفع جميع القيود على تايوان. من الواضح أنّ ذلك الإجراء سيغضب الصين ويوتر العلاقات مع الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة. والسؤال كيف يمكن لإدارة بايدن إعادة القيود التي رفعتها إدارة ترامب ما يعني أنّ ليس هناك من استمرارية في القرار الخارجي فيضعف الثقة بأي تعهّد أميركي. فقرارات أيّ أدارة تصبح معرّضة للنقض من قبل إدارة تليها وهذا من إرهاصات السقوط. لذلك نعتقد أنّ محاولات إدارة بايدن لن تتجاوز مرحلة ربط النزاع لتضارب المصالح بين المتدخلّين والواقعيين مع ترجيح الكفّة لصالح المتدخلين وضعف الواقعيين بسبب شبهات الفساد التي تحيط بالرئيس المنتخب وعائلته.

بعض الخطوات “الإيجابية” للإدارة الجديدة ستكون في العودة إلى اتفاق المناخ ومنظمة الصحة العالمية والمطالبة بالعودة إلى الاتفاق الباليستي. لا كلفة هنا تذكر بل مادة للدعاية الإعلامية لتحسين صورة الولايات المتحدة. كما أنّ تصريحات بلينكن بضرورة “التشاور” مع الحلفاء خطوة نحو إعادة الاعتبار إلى “الدبلوماسية” التي لم يكن يؤمن بها سلفه مايك بومبيو. لكن ما قيمة الدبلوماسية إن لم ترفقها أفعال تأخذ بعين الاعتبار مصالح مختلف الفرقاء؟ لم تصل الولايات المتحدة حتى الساعة إلى الإقرار بذلك فهي مستمرّة في جهودها لتحقيق أهدافها في السيطرة والهيمنة لكن بإمكانيات أقلّ بكثير ما يؤهّلها بذلك.

*باحث وكاتب اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي

فيديوات ذات صلة

Part 3 Here

مقالات ذات صلة

Switzerland and the Covid-19 Pandemic in the Second Wave

Switzerland and the Covid-19 Pandemic in the Second Wave

December 18, 2020

by Paul Schmutz Schaller for The Saker Blog

General situation

The SMI (Swiss Stock Market) index is presently about the same as one year ago. This means that the Swiss brokers did loose nothing in the year 2020. The feelings of the broad population however are completely different, most would say that 2020 was really a bad year. Moreover, the SMI sharply dropped twice in 2020, in the end of March and in the end of October. This corresponds to the first and the second wave of the pandemic in Switzerland. However, the SMI fall was much bigger in March while in reality, the second Corona-19 wave is much stronger. Rarely, the big discrepancy between the reality of the most rich and most mighty social class and the reality of the overwhelming majority of the population is so obvious and so easy to see.

The first wave of the pandemic was in March/April while the second started in October. Before the end of the year, about 5% of the Swiss population will be tested positive. 90% of them stem from the second wave. Statistically speaking, around 1.5% of the positive tested persons die because of the new coronavirus; the general excess mortality is almost at this level. Most of the persons who died due to Covid-19 were more than 70 years old. With respect to the data of the WHO (World Health Organization), Switzerland is one of the worst affected countries in the second wave; in very few countries, 5% of the population (or more) have been tested positive.

In spring (with respect to Switzerland), some estimations predicted that over 50% of the population will be infected and that 1% of the population will die. We are still very fare from these numbers. However, if there will be a third wave in the next months, then it is not excluded that these numbers were quite realistic. So, this is a very serious disease.

The worldwide course of the Covid-19 pandemic depends on the regions. The course in Switzerland with a first wave in spring and a much stronger wave in fall is typical for European countries (and also for Canada). On the other hand, South-East Asia and India for example had the most cases in August/September and, until now, there is no second wave. China has more or less no new cases since February. South Africa had a first wave in June/July and now, in December, a second wave seems to begin, but less strong than the first one (all indications from WHO).

Despite the fact that, in Switzerland, the second wave is much stronger than the first one, the authorities took less strong measures. While schools were closed between March 16 and summer, there remained open in fall. Most of small business were closed in spring, but not in fall. Domestic mobility remained high in fall. On the other hand, the wearing of masks is now quite general and is required. One cannot oversee that the reaction of the government and of the Swiss stock market were quite similar. This is juste an objective fact which I will neither comment nor judge.

Social distancing is still strong and so is the financial support for affected (small) business. The newest prognoses see a decrease of the GDP (gross domestic product) in 2020 of 3.3% and an increase of 3.0% in 2021. The unemployment rate was 2.3% in 2019 and is expected to be 3.2% in 2020 and 3.3% in 2021. However, the prognoses are very insecure, due essentially to the fact that the impact of vaccines in 2021 is not clear.

Switzerland is among the countries in Western Europe with the weakest restrictions (however without downplaying the pandemic). This is not so surprising since traditionally, the state is not so strong and the weight of the private sector is high. On the other hand, the Swiss prefer to be be good pupils in Western Europe and they will not risk too much confrontation. Nevertheless, Switzerland has not given in to the pressure coming from Germany and France to close ski resorts.

The vaccine question

Until now, Switzerland has received four demands for a Covid-19 vaccine registration, all coming from Western countries. It is very unlikely that Russian or Chinese vaccine producers will ask for admission in Switzerland; they have enough possible clients elsewhere. Of course, theoretically, Swiss companies could produce Russian or Chinese vaccines in collaboration with the developers, but this also is not to expect. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the vaccine question has been highly politicized in Switzerland and in other Western countries. Only Western developed and produced vaccines are advocated by the authorities and by the media (of course, US vaccines made in Taiwan would also be accepted). Vaccines developed and produced in Russia or China are ridiculed. Moreover, the fact is hidden that other countries such as India, Iran, South Korea, Vietnam, or Cuba are developing their own vaccines. This politicization of the vaccine question is the reason why I have decided to not getting vaccinated (even if I am 69 years old).

It is obvious that the leading class in Switzerland would like to vaccinate the whole population. This would be the easiest and cheapest way in order to bring Covid-19 under control. Their propaganda machine has already started. Of course, they benefit from the fact that getting vaccinated is a reasonable choice for a large part of the population.

Nevertheless, skepticism against Covid-19 vaccines is high in Switzerland, among the highest in the world if we can trust international surveys. This skepticism has some healthy reasons. The confidence that the big companies act for the good of the population has clearly decreased. There is pretty much of mistrust. Moreover, the confidence in sciences and technology has become weaker. Many have lost confidence that every new problem can be solved just by more technology; they rather think that the society as a whole has to get more sane.

This skepticism is violently attacked by the ruling class. The latter classify the skeptical people as anti-scientific, misinformed, conspiracists. I will not deny that such people exist. But these attacks of the ruling class are completely hypocritical. In fact, there are heir attacks against Russian or Chinese vaccines which are utterly anti-scientific and altogether a misinformation.

Having worked as a mathematician for decades, I know quite well the scientific milieu in Switzerland. While I think that my scientific spirit was always and is still high, I lost very much the respect for the Western scientific world. Most Western scientists are not very much interested in the search for truth, they are much more interested in their workplace and in their career. And the degree of independent thinking is rather low. Therefore, when this kind of people attack the population of not thinking enough, then this rather means that the thinking of the population is not servile enough.

I cannot judge by myself the scientific milieu in China or Russia or Iran. But as a whole, these societies are healthier than the Swiss society and because of that, I am confident that their scientific level and spirit is better than in Switzerland.

No bright future in sight

The crisis around the Covid-19 pandemic is a particular one. It is not, as a usual crisis, an escalation of existing conflicts. It is a problem which came from the outside. So, it s a kind of examination for each society.

Sweden’s king said yesterday that the country has failed in protecting the people from Covid-19. This has been interpreted by European media as a criticism of Sweden’s particular strategy in this pandemic. But I think that this interpretation is not justified. Much more probable is that Sweden’s king did not make a political statement, but deplored the too many deaths due to the pandemic in Sweden. In other words, he showed humility. Switzerland has no king. However, the number of deaths has a comparable size than in Sweden. But nobody in Switzerland has the courage and the humility to say that Switzerland has failed in protecting the people.

In spring, unity in Switzerland was quite big and the country managed to pass this first wave more or less without real problems. But now, the situation is quite different. The usual domestic conflicts came to the surface. The government is much more navigating than in spring. Consequently, people are more unsettled.

In my eyes, the main problem is ideological. Switzerland has no project, no aim. There is no collective engagement. There is no clear idea how Switzerland could build a more healthy society. Nearly all efforts have the objective to defend the status of Switzerland as a rich and stable country belonging to the West. This has even got stronger during this crisis. The media concentrate on Switzerland and neighboring countries. The situation with respect to the pandemic in countries in Asia, Africa, or Latin America is just ignored. Or is used for attacks against these countries. An exception is South Korea which was emphasized by Swiss media as a „better“ alternative to the „dictatorial“ China.

It is probable that, during the year 2021, Switzerland will be able to control the new coronavirus, mainly due to vaccines. Then the holiday trips abroad will restart in full force. But I would bet that the enthusiasm is somewhat gone. Even with this pandemic overcome, I cannot see a bright future for Switzerland.

PS: Even if it is not part of the theme, I cannot resist to comment the recent decision of the US authorities to label Switzerland and Vietnam as „currency manipulators“. Certainly, the US authorities have powerful computers for their sophisticated calculations. For the common mortals however, the question is quite simple. „Currency manipulation“ would mean that a country artificially devalue the currency in order to increase exports. In this regard, one observes that one year ago, one US dollar was exchanged for 0.98 Swiss franc. Now, one US dollar is worth 0.88 Swiss franc, hence a devaluation of about 10%. Hence, if one of USA/Switzerland is a „currency manipulator“, then it is clearly the USA.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the 28th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, Moscow, December 10, 2020

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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the 28th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, Moscow, December 10, 2020
File Photo

11 December 202000:22

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at the 28th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, Moscow, December 10, 2020

Colleagues, friends,

Fyodor Lukyanov spoke about the role of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy. Who would have thought at the time when the Council was created, and I was invited to join in as a co-founder, that the Council would live to this day. The experience gained over the decades of its functioning is instrumental in our work and makes it possible to bounce ideas off the expert community, which is deeply versed in international matters and is keenly interested in them. This is important.

This year was truly challenging and pivotal. Humanity was unprepared for the differences and mixed trends that had been piling up on the agenda over years and exacerbated confusion in international affairs. The habitual way of life of hundreds of millions of people and states, as well as ordinary citizens, has been upended, many sectors of the economy found themselves on the verge of collapse, business activity has significantly decreased, global cooperation chains were disrupted and the unemployment rates went up. Closed borders abruptly reduced the chances for maintaining multifaceted contacts between the countries and the people.

The scale and inertia of the events that we are witnessing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic make it impossible to say when life will get back to normal. I hope Mr Lukyanov was right when he confidently stated, albeit with reservations, that we will be able to meet in person in the spring. So far, humanity and its best representatives in the person of healthcare professionals are just trying to understand where we are and when this might end. Many people are saying that this will never end, and we will have to live with it just like the annual flu, but with much more severe consequences. One of the key lessons of the pandemic is that no one can secure themselves against these cross-border threats.

The pandemic affected literally everyone. Clearly, this kind of global cataclysm can only be overcome by uniting and rising above fleeting differences. President Putin has repeatedly stated this firm position adopted by Russia. Unfortunately, a number of countries, primarily the United States and its allies, are trying to take advantage of this situation in their geopolitical interests and ignore the needs that are common to humanity.

The term “common to humanity” does not at all mean an average, consensus-based or accommodating understanding of how the inter-civilisational diversity should be respected. This manifests itself in way too many areas of modern international life, including the interpretation of multilateralism energetically promoted and propagated by our Western colleagues. This is also happening in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, despite the fact that people in America and Europe are suffering from COVID-19 as badly as people in other countries.

The need for conducting a mutually respectful dialogue and rejecting artificially created confrontational schemes is nowhere to be seen. Just think of the indiscriminate accusations against China regarding the spread of the disease. There was an attempt to blame the PRC for everything that happened. This undermined the efforts to achieve unity, including of the research capacities, in order to come up with effective responses. In addition to healthcare aspects, we must take a closer look at the international bodies in charge of the health and well-being of the people. The WHO-related developments are quite telling in his regard. Ideas are being put forward to create some non-governmental institutions mandated to determine the international community’s policy. This is a clear attempt to sideline the World Health Organisation. These developments are reminiscent of neo-colonial approaches and habits and show the attempts to restrain the formation of new global centres and to punish those who pursue an independent foreign policy. This can also be seen in the “vaccine race.” We are well aware of attempts to oppose the new concept of the so-called rules-based international order to everything that has been created after establishing the UN and forming a large block of universal international legal instruments.

Russia believes it is imperative to look for ways to unite countries and governments, to look for a constructive agenda relying on the principles of collegiality and equality, which should contribute to de-escalating international tensions and ensuring the predictability of global processes. Later, we will discuss the initiatives that Russia has been promoting to this end. A CSTO summit and a Collective Security Council meeting took place on December 2. Among other decisions, the participants adopted a statement by the heads of state on forming a just and sustainable international order. Among other initiatives, this document proposes setting up a meeting of authorised representatives of the CSTO, the CIS, the SCO, the OSCE, NATO and the EU and seeing if these organisations can sit down and form a common agenda, jointly identify problems and, ideally, outline ways to overcome them. This is not something radically revolutionary. In 1999, the Platform for Co-operative Security was adopted at the OSCE Summit in Istanbul. It proclaimed the unification of the efforts of the OSCE and other sub-regional organisations in the Euro-Atlantic space. Some time ago, before the pandemic, we told our Western partners that it would be nice to take advantage of that consensus and try to build bridges between these organisations, instead of watching them build up confrontational potential, but our Western colleagues chose to step aside. Cooperative security and engagement of the bodies created in the post-Soviet space were important in the 1990s (in this case, in 1999), when the West still hoped that we would follow the path charted by the winners of the Cold War. Now, we have officially submitted a proposal on behalf of the CSTO heads of state. Let’s see how the West will respond to it.

Our goal is clear. We seek stability, fair opportunities for all states, including, of course, Russia. Gunboat diplomacy or democratic or any other sort of messianism is hardly an option if we want to accomplish this. I mentioned the rules which the West wants to base the international order on. There’s an “effective multilateralism” initiative which is openly opposed to multilateralism within the UN. There’s a tendency to interpret it as the need to return to Euro-Atlantic solidarity without exemptions. We are seeing this. I believe that more positive and sustainable results can be achieved through joining efforts based on the observance of the norms and principles of the UN Charter. We are upholding this consistently. President Putin’s initiative to hold a summit of the UN Security Council’s permanent members is part of our policy. It is imperative that they realise their responsibility under the UN Charter and act upon this responsibility. We must do our best to defuse this tension acting together. Heads of all UN Security Council permanent member states gave their consent. The coronavirus pandemic thwarted our efforts to agree on specific dates. However, we are working on it and agreeing on the concept and the potential outcomes of this summit.

We realise that the UN is not a static structure. It needs reform, including the reform of the UN Security Council. Our position is absolutely clear and consistent. It is necessary to increase the representation of the developing countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa if we want to make this body more representative. Only this approach will add value to reforming the UN Security Council. Everything else is up for discussion, but it is unlikely that an increase in Western representation on the Security Council will add diversity of opinions to this central body, which is in charge of peace and security on the planet. In any case, it is necessary to strive for the broadest possible agreement between the member states, so everything will depend on compromises. We are ready to discuss these compromises based on a balance of interests. In principle, this is the key to what needs to be accomplished if we want to ensure stability and harmony in the world inasmuch as this harmony is possible.

We believe that respect for the cultural and civilisational specifics of the modern world and refusal to impose one development model and values on everyone is an absolutely necessary step if we want to calm down the current situation. We see that this approach is shared by the overwhelming majority of participants in international communication. We disagree with the Western attempts to portray Russia as a country in isolation or a geopolitical loner. The viewpoint of our Western colleagues whereby everyone who disagrees with them is a lonely state probably has the right to exist.

However, we can see how the positions that we share are promoted within BRICS, the SCO, the CSTO and the CIS. The EAEU is actively working to align its plans with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. There is the G20. It has been in existence for quite a while, but was brought to the highest level and its meetings were made regular after the 2008 crisis. At first they met twice a year, then once a year. The G20 is the recognition of the fact that the G7 (and even the G8 in its old format) is not capable of resolving all international problems. The G20 includes the G7, the BRICS countries and a number of other like-minded states. The recognition that the G20 is necessary in order to develop generally acceptable approaches based on the balance of interests is a highly symptomatic trend.

Reviewing peace problems should not be driven by ideology, but rather be approached on the basis of equality. President Putin’s initiative to form a Greater Eurasian Partnership is going in the same vein. The partnership is supposed to unite continental efforts with the participation of the EAEU, the SCO and ASEAN and be open to all countries of our vast continent, including the EU states in the long run. This is a long process, but it is crucial to set this goal.

Russia’s proposals regarding strategic stability, arms control and European security are indicative of our constant readiness to achieve mutual understanding. You are aware of our position on renewing the Strategic Offensive Arms Treaty (START), a moratorium on deploying ground-based intermediate and shorter-range missiles and de-escalating tensions along the Russia-NATO contact line. We came up with a proposal to agree on an arrangement that the exercises on both sides are conducted at a distance from the contact line, and also agree on the minimum distances that may not be violated by military aircraft and warships of Russia or NATO.

Conceptually, we came up with a proposal a long time ago (and failed to see any reciprocity on the part of the United States) to confirm, in the statement made by our countries, and perhaps in the Russia-NATO format, the unacceptability of nuclear war. Many of you have probably seen the recent remarks by US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea, where he almost ridiculed our proposal and called on any future US Administration to never agree with the statement on the unacceptability of nuclear war.

We believe that implementing these initiatives or, at least, a professional straight-to-the-point and substantive discussion of the subject, possibly along with other steps, would help improve the overall atmosphere in Russia-West relations.  Dialogue itself on these matters would improve it. But so far these ideas have been hanging in the air.

Leaving behind almost everything that has been achieved so far, including our proposals, Mr Billingslea puts forward confrontational ideas, including sanctions against all buyers of military products from Russia and China. This is a fairly telling philosophy, which, unfortunately, has not met any serious opposition in Washington so far.

If we take a close look at what we have heard from the North Atlantic camp so far, we can come to a conclusion that it has consciously opted for not just a policy of containment, but confrontation. Perhaps this approach underlies its unwillingness to admit that the world must change. We are now witnessing two opposite trends in Europe. French President Emmanuel Macron is strongly promoting the EU’s strategic autonomy. The trend embodied by Germany is based on the assumption that defending Europe without the United States is impossible. We have already asked about whom they want to defend it from, but haven’t received a clear answer yet. Given this, multipolarity, which Yevgeny Primakov foresaw many years ago, has shown its objective nature. In an effort to stop it, they are doing whatever it takes in order to minimise the number of potential poles that have the strength and courage to uphold national interests.

One of Washington’s primary goals is to make the EU lose its strategic independence and return to the fold of Euro-Atlantic unity, where everyone is aware of who pays the piper and calls the tune.

Despite the above, we are open to an equal dialogue. Most importantly, our counterparts must be willing to engage. We will keep the communication channels open until they are. Our proposals and initiatives remain on the negotiating table. They have been reiterated many times. It is enough for our partners to know that they remain valid. However, in order to move ahead, we need our Western colleagues to respond to them.

Keeping open the channels for a dialogue on all matters, we will continue to work on the newly available opportunities in the economy, culture, science and people-to-people contacts. We do not fence ourselves off from this. Those who want to impose their agenda on us and ignore our status of a subject in international affairs must understand that we are not going to either make excuses or seek approval for our actions. Threats, sanctions or attempts to come up with other punishments are absolutely pointless and counterproductive. It is strange that the West has not realised this so far.

We do not need interaction with the West any more than the West needs Russia and what it has to offer. If our Western colleagues prefer to stick to certain rules and concepts that they themselves invented when they talk with each other, this is up to them. They can build a dialogue with other participants in international life, including Russia, solely on the basis of a generally accepted code of conduct. You can call it the rules enshrined in the UN Charter, namely, respect for the sovereign equality of states, the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

We are pursuing our own foreign policy, which has taken shape over the past two decades. It is aimed at ensuring the country’s security and creating the most favourable external environment for achieving our internal development goals. We are aware that the goal of the West is to prevent us from creating this particular external environment that is beneficial for our internal development. Everything that is being done to contain Russia is clearly done to this end. Attempts to destroy external opportunities that can be used to promote Russia’s growth continue unabated, but, in any case, there’s more to the world than the West. In the 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we wanted to become part of something, but we now realise that there isn’t much we can become part of. At least, the West is not building anything of its own. Indeed, President Macron has come up with a proposal to conduct an analytical and philosophical dialogue about whether modern capitalism can meet the needs of the people and resolve related problems.

If we take Western development models, we have no place to fit in. The coronavirus, as if everything else wasn’t enough, showed it very convincingly. We need to build something ourselves. This is a fairly ambitious and complex goal, but it calls for immediate action.

Coronavirus Lessons That Vietnam Could Teach Americans and the World

December 5, 2020

Vietnam May Have the Most Effective Response to Covid-19 | The Nation
American writer and investigative historian

Eric Zuesse

All of the data here can easily be found at the world’s best website for tracking each day’s national and international coronavirus (or covid) cases and deaths: www.worldometers.info/coronavirus.


——

After America hit a world-record high of 204,163 new covid-19 cases on November 20th, that number declined down to 145,576 new daily cases a week later, on November 26th, which was, of course, very welcomed news. Meanwhile, Vietnam, with a population of 97,693,204 as compared to America’s 331,790,984, had only 1 new case on November 20th, and 10 new cases on November 26th. Proportionally, that 10 daily new cases would have been equivalent to 34 daily new cases in the U.S. But, instead, U.S. had 145,576 daily new cases on that date: That’s 4,282 time higher than the proportionally adjusted 34 new cases that a Vietnam with 331,790,984 population would have had. And, yet, America is so haughty as not even to be discussing whether or how it could learn from Vietnam’s experience.

The next day, on November 27th, U.S. had 164,103 new cases, and Vietnam had 8. Pn November 28th, U.S. was down to 143,373, and Vietnam was down to 2.

America is in its second wave, which started rising from a low on September 7th of 25,906, to that high of 204,163 on November 20th. Meanwhile. Vietnam rose from a low of 0 new daily cases on both October 3rd and 4th, to a high of 26 new daily cases on November 11th, and then down to 12 new daily cases on November 18th, and not higher than that number since. Vietnam’s highest-ever number of new daily cases was on July 30th: 50. That was the peak of Vietnam’s second wave, and the 26 new cases on November 11th was the peak of their third wave, which seems now to be subsiding.

How does Vietnam manage to be thousands of times as effective at controlling this disease than America is? Does Vietnam crush its economy by being so uncompromising to reduce the illnesses and deaths from this disease to as low as they can go, and keeping them there? The exact opposite is true. Here are highlights from an article which appeared in the October 20th issue of Britain’s Guardian about Vietnam’s coronavirus experience, written by Tran Le Thuy, the director of the Centre for Media and Development Initiatives in Hanoi, titled “Vietnam is fighting Covid without pitting economic growth against public health”:

Beyond contact-tracing, why has Vietnam been so good at dealing with the pandemic?
The central reason is perhaps the way the government has depoliticised the pandemic, treating it purely as a health crisis, allowing for effective governance. There was no political motive for government officials to hide information, as they don’t face being reprimanded if there are positive cases in their authority area that are not due to their mistakes. I haven’t heard about any religious opposition to the government’s strategy either. With the head of the Hanoi centre for disease control being arrested for suspected corruption in relation to the purchase of testing kits, and small traders getting fines for price-gouging face-masks, the government has also been clear that public health cannot be entangled with commercial interests. …
In January, when Wuhan announced the first death, Vietnam tightened its border and airport control of Chinese visitors. This wasn’t an easy decision, given that cross-border trade with China accounts for a significant part of the Vietnamese economy. … It took precautionary measures above and beyond World Health Organization recommendations. … Preparations for a pandemic were implemented a week before the outbreak was officially a public health emergency of international concern, and more than a month before WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic.
The government also decided to embrace freedom of information on Covid-related matters. … The motto for the first phase was that if we stay alive, the question of wealth and the economy can come later. …
But now the government has shifted its anti-Covid strategy towards the economy. … Lockdown and isolation are more selective. …
For now it looks like Vietnam has seen off the threat of a second wave. … Given that Vietnam is one of the few countries in the world currently experiencing positive GDP growth, the supposed trade-off between the economy and public health, which countries around the world are negotiating, looks to be something of a false choice.

Vietnam’s experience is just an extreme example of correct decisions in the face of a crisis — an epidemic. So, it has been extremely successful. Similarly, America is an example of incorrect decisions in the face of an epidemic; and, so, America has been extremely unsuccessful.

On November 22nd, I wrote at greater length about “Which Coronavirus Policies Succeed, And Which Fail: N.Y. Times Analysis Confirms Mine”, which discussed not only the comparisons of the 200+ nations but of the 50 U.S. states; and the experiences and results in Vietnam and in the U.S. are in line with those of the world’s other countries. Bad polices everywhere produce bad results; good policies everywhere produce good results.

On November 24th, Statista headlined “Has Europe Broken the Second Wave?” and reported that, “A couple of weeks after several European countries went on (at least partial) lockdown once again in the face of surging COVID-19 cases, the tightening of restrictions appears to be paying off.” This was shown there in a graph, which displayed especially that whereas the EU was now declining markedly in those numbers, the U.S. was continuing to soar and was now clearly heading to surpass the EU’s daily coronavirus-intensity, yet again, as it hadn’t been doing ever since September. That same article was republished on November 28th at the popular American Zero Hedge news site, with reader-comments, which were overwhelmingly hostile to this information, such as this string there:

Crazed Smoker
Cardiovascular diseases kill 10x as many people, 16 million/year, than this dud fomented into a mass hysteria.
marketvviz
And ironically since it almost exclusively kills off the elderly and the already sick (comorbidities) it could actually be a long term net benefit to the economy if people ignored it and didn’t freak out or shut down.
JimmyJones
2nd wave broken, it appears the lockdowns worked? Are freaking kidding me, you know what happened, they ran out of Karen’s running to get a test that gives over 50% false positives.

Another interesting comparison is between Vietnam and the world’s most coronavirus-ravaged country, tiny Andorra, a statelet sandwiched between France and Spain. Andorra has been doing everything possible to downplay the severity of its infestation, partly because around half of that country’s economy is tourism. As of November 29th, Andorra had 85,403 cases per million. That is more than twice America’s 41,024, and is 6,100 times Vietnam’s 14. Whereas Andorra has a coronavirus death-rate of 983 per million (nearly one person per thousand), America’s is 821, and Vietnam’s is 0.4. (America’s is nearly as high as Andorra’s because Andorra has a superior healthcare system, and has cured 98.7% of its cases, whereas America has cured 96.7%. Vietnam has cured 97.0%.)

The international, and even the state-by-state, data, have lessons to teach, all of which lessons turn out to be remarkably consistent with one-another, but lots of people, in some countries (such as in the United States), are simply refusing to learn them. Perhaps those lessons don’t happen to fit those persons’ ideology.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin address to G20 member countries

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President of Russia Vladimir Putin address to G20 member countries

Vladimir Putin addressed the meeting of the heads of delegations of the G20 member countries, invited states and international organisations.

The summit chaired by Saudi Arabia is held via videoconference on November 21–22.

The forum’s agenda includes issues of tackling the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, providing universal access to vaccines, strengthening healthcare systems, global economic recovery and employment, as well as cooperation in the digital economy, fighting climate change, environmental protection and countering corruption.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Colleagues,

The scope of problems humanity has faced in 2020 are truly unprecedented. The coronavirus pandemic, global lockdown and frozen economic activity have launched a systemic economic crisis the world probably has not known since the Great Depression.

The growth of national economies has been severely undermined. The pandemic claimed dozens, hundreds of thousands of lives while millions of people have lost their jobs and incomes.

The main risk, obviously, even despite some positive signals, the main risk remains: mass long-term unemployment, a so-called “stagnant” unemployment with the subsequent growth of poverty and social insecurity. The role of the G20 is to stop this from happening.

Russia highly values Saudi Arabia’s efforts during its G20 Presidency. In the present situation, the forums’ agenda was re-focussed towards global economic recovery and the protection of people’s health and wellbeing.

Drawing on the experience of fighting the 2008–2009 global financial crisis, the G20 launched a number of multilateral initiatives to curb pandemic-related economic risks and to restore business activity including via key global management institutions, namely the United Nations Organisation, the World Health Organisation, IMF, the World Bank and others.

Our countries have designed a package of incentives for the world economy totalling $12 trillion. The US President has spoken now about the US efforts – indeed, it is a very big contribution to the recovery of the American economy, which also means the recovery of the world economy.

We all together facilitated the emergency mobilisation of $21 billion for essential medical needs and gave a start to international cooperation in developing, producing and distributing vaccines.

Like other nations, Russia took unparalleled anti-crisis steps as it gave top priority to the key and fundamental value – people’s lives and health.

To ensure the sustainability of the national economy and maintain social stability, Russia’s Government together with the Bank of Russia are implementing a comprehensive plan of assistance to the population, small and medium-sized businesses and industries in the risk zone. Support was provided to the banking sector and regional budgets, businesses were issued loans while government investments were increased. The current volume of anti-crisis budget support totalled 4.5 percent of the GDP.

The timely adoption of these targeted measures allowed Russia, as well as the majority of developed countries, to mitigate the economic decline, to enhance the healthcare system and get through the hard times without irreparable losses. Both our accumulated reserves and attracting loan resources in the domestic market helped to finance the above measures.

Yet we are aware that the developing economies and some emerging market economies objectively lack such resources. Their fiscal revenues have plunged while the need to allocate considerable funds for fighting the pandemic is growing practically daily. National currency devaluation carries a big risk, and respectively, the cost of servicing on the state debt, primarily for low income countries, which have two thirds of their loans in US dollars.

The IMF and the World Bank rendered significant assistance to developing countries. Following their proposal, G20 made a decision in April to install a temporary moratorium on developing nations’ debt payments. That is certainly a much-needed initiative, but it only covers the poorest countries. It does not include their debt to private creditors and concerns less than four percent of the developing countries’ overall costs of servicing state debt in the current year.

I believe additional measures are needed to prevent the deterioration of the situation and the growth of economic and social inequality.

Urgent issues that have accumulated in international trade also need to be addressed. Thus, it is necessary to try to contain protectionism, to abandon the practice of unilateral sanctions and to resume delivery chains. We spoke about this just yesterday at another international platform, APEC.

Adjustment of multilateral universal trade rules to e-commerce (much needs to be done in this area) and other new economic realities are also on the agenda.

On the whole, the G20 should continue searching for new approaches to reforming the World Trade Organisation to meet present-day challenges. This task defies a solution without a stable and effective multilateral trade system, but at present, there is no alternative to the World Trade Organisation.

Russia supports the draft key decision of the current summit aimed at making effective and safe vaccines accessible for everyone. Undoubtedly, immunisation drugs are and must be universal public domain. Our country, Russia, is ready to provide the countries in need with the vaccines developed by our researchers. This is the world’s first registered vaccine Sputnik V, based on human adenoviral vectors platform. The second Russian vaccine, EpiVacCorona from a Novosibirsk research centre, is also ready. The third Russian vaccine is coming.

The scale of the pandemic compels us to engage all the resources and research available. Our common goal is to form portfolios of vaccines and ensure reliable protection for the planet’s population. It means that there will be enough work for everyone, colleagues, and I think it is a case when competition may be inevitable but we must proceed primarily from humanitarian considerations and make it a priority.

Let me stress – this crisis must become an opportunity to alter the trajectory of global development, preserve the favourable environment and climate, ensure equal conditions for all nations and peoples, build up effective tools of multilateral cooperation and key international institutions while drawing upon the UN Charter and universally accepted norms and principles of international law. We see this approach to solving global issues as the key task and responsibility of the G20 as the main forum of the world’s leading economies.

Colleagues, I would like to once again thank the hosts of today’s event, Saudi Arabia. Thank you for your attention.

Trump’s COVID Infection Curable – Not by Toxic Experimental Drugs

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, October 04, 2020

There’s nothing unusual about Trump falling ill from exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid disease — notably because of his close contact to numerous people daily.

Millions of Americans and countless others worldwide contract seasonal flu/influenza.

It happens annually with no fear-mongering mass hysteria, no mandated or voluntary house arrest, no mass shutdowns of businesses — no economic collapse that’s happening in the US and elsewhere.

According to Trump’s physician Dr. Sean Conley, he experienced a mild cough, nasal congestion, fatigue, and a low-grade fever that came down, adding:

He’s “cautiously optimistic” about his condition, saying as well that he’s “not yet out of the woods.”

According to medical experts, Covid disease can worsen days after contracting it.

Initial mild symptoms can become more serious.

According to reports by Trump’s doctors, he’s being treated with two experimental drugs — remdesivir and a neutralizing antibody cocktail.

If true, he’s playing Russian roulette with his health, notably because a proved effective Covid disease treatment exists.

When used as directed, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) combined with either azithromycin or doxycycline and zinc is highly effective in treating Covid-infected individuals when administered within around 10 days of being diagnosed with the disease.

Everyone infected with Covid disease should be treated with this protocol.

No one should use potentially toxic experimental drugs. No responsible medical providers should prescribe them.

If reports are accurate, both drugs administered to Trump received emergency FDA authorization for his use.

Neither one cures Covid disease.

Earlier, Thailand Medical News (TMN) said “Americans are getting their lives placed (at) risk (because) the US FDA…rapidly approved remdesivir as a drug to treat COVID-19 despite conflicting study results, and the fact that the drug does not clearly demonstrate any specific efficacy against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus,” adding:

Use of the drug in trials “show(ed) hepatoxicity effects coupled with even slight indications of nephrotoxicity and even cardiotoxicity, and there are insufficient studies to demonstrate its safety on humans.”Big Pharma Controlled FDA Approves Inadequately Tested Drug for COVID-19

Claims by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases that use of the drug shortens hospitalizations for Covid-infected individuals are dubious at best.

The conclusion was based on use of the drug by small numbers of patients with the disease, far too few to be meaningful.

According to the WHO, remdesivir used in the study failed to improve patients’ health or reduce pathogens in their blood.

The FDA endorsed “an unproven but toxic drug,” TMN stressed — defying medical ethics and patient safety.

If widely marketed following its use by Trump, it’ll be a potentially large-scale experiment that may be harmful to countless numbers of Covid-infected patients.

The same may be true for Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ experimental neutralizing antibody cocktail administered to Trump — if reports are accurate.

These drugs may potentially be more harmful by administering them in combination.

Big Pharma-controlled FDA has a history of approving inadequately tested drugs.

In her book titled “The Truth About the Drug Companies,” former New England Journal of Medicine editor Dr. Marcia Angell said the following:

Big Pharma is “primarily a marketing machine to sell drugs of dubious benefits, using its wealth and power to co-opt every institution that might stand in its way, including the US Congress, the (FDA), academic medical centers, and the medical profession itself.”

Maximizing profits is prioritized over human health.

Despite US federal law requiring that FDA approved drugs must be “safe and effective,” Public Citizen’s Health Research Group revealed otherwise, explaining:

Meds that “don’t work” get approved. Virtually all drugs have labels that warn of potential hazardous to human health side effects.

Enough drugs in combination with each other increase the risk more greatly.

An estimated 100,000 American die annually from the toxic side effects of prescription drugs.

On October 3, TMN warned that remdesivir “causes kidney problems,” adding:

“An urgent immediate safety review of…remdesivir (was) called by the European Medicines Agency after numerous COVID-19 patients taking the drug developed serious kidney problems.”

The EU regulator said the drug appears to cause “acute kidney disease.”

Medical authorities in some EU countries are halting remdesivir’s use until more safety studies are conducted.

So far, no longterm safety studies on the drug were conducted in the US or elsewhere.

According to TMN, profiteers in the US called “Scientists to Stop COVID-19” were behind remdesivir’s rapid approval.

Last week, Trump’s physician Dr. Sean Conley said he received a single dose of Regeneron’s antibody cocktail (REGN-COV2 – perhaps more at Walter Reed) along with remdesivir.

If Trump is being treated with these drugs in lieu of the HCQ combination explained above, he may or may not recover fully from Covid infection.

He’ll be vulnerable to other serious health issues that at his age (74) and obesity (around 240 lbs.) may be life-threatening over the short or longer-term.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

75th session of the UN General Assembly : President of Russia Vladimir Putin

75th session of the UN General Assembly : President of Russia Vladimir Putin

http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/64074

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

This year, the international community celebrates two, without exaggeration, historic anniversaries: the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and establishment of the United Nations.

The importance of these two forever interlinked events cannot be overemphasized. In 1945, Nazism was defeated, the ideology of aggression and hatred was crushed, and the experience and spirit of alliance, as well as the awareness of the huge price that had been paid for peace and our common Victory, helped construct the post-war world order. It was built on the ultimate foundation of the UN Charter that remains the main source of international law to this day.

I am convinced that this anniversary makes it incumbent upon all of us to recall the timeless principles of inter-State communication enshrined in the UN Charter and formulated by the founding fathers of our universal Organization in the clearest and most unambiguous terms. These principles include the equality of sovereign States, non-interference with their domestic affairs, the right of peoples to determine their own future, non-use of force or the threat of force, and political settlement of disputes.

Looking back at the past decades, one can say that despite all difficulties of the Cold War period, major geopolitical shifts and all the intricacies of today’s global politics, the UN has been ably fulfilling its mission of protecting peace, promoting sustainable development of the peoples and continents and providing assistance in mitigating local crises.

This enormous potential and expertise of the UN is relevant and serves as a solid basis for moving ahead. After all, just like any other international organization or regional entity, the UN should not grow stiff, but evolve in accordance with the dynamics of the 21st century and consistently adapt to the realia of the modern world that is indeed becoming more complicated, multipolar and multidimensional.

The current changes certainly have an effect on the principal UN body, the Security Council, as well as on the debate concerning the approaches to its reform. Our logic is that the Security Council should be more inclusive of the interests of all countries, as well as the diversity of their positions, base its work on the principle of the broadest possible consensus among States and, at the same time, continue to serve as the cornerstone of global governance, which cannot be achieved unless the permanent members of the Security Council retain their veto power.

Such a right pertaining to the five nuclear powers, the victors of the Second World War, remains indicative of the actual military and political balance to this day. Most importantly, it is an essential and unique instrument that helps prevent unilateral actions that may result in a direct military confrontation between major States, and provides an opportunity to seek compromise or at least avoid solutions that would be completely unacceptable to others and act within the framework of international law, rather than a vague, gray area of arbitrariness and illegitimacy.

As diplomatic practice shows, this instrument actually works, unlike the infamous pre-war League of Nations with its endless discussions, declarations without mechanisms for real action and with States and peoples in need not having the right to assistance and protection.

Forgetting the lessons of history is short-sighted and extremely irresponsible, just like the politicized attempts to arbitrarily interpret the causes, course and outcomes of the Second World War and twist the decisions of the conferences of the Allies and the Nuremberg Tribunal that are based on speculation instead of facts.

It is not just vile and offending the memory of the fighters against Nazism. It is a direct and devastating blow to the very foundation of the post-war world order, which is particularly dangerous in view of the global stability facing serious challenges, the arms control system breaking down, regional conflicts continuing unabated, and threats posed by terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking intensifying.

We are also experiencing a whole new challenge of the coronavirus pandemic. This disease has directly affected millions of people and claimed the most important thing: the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Quarantines, border closures, numerous serious troubles to citizens of almost all States constitute the present-day realia. It has been especially difficult for elderly people who, due to the necessary restrictions, have not been able to hug their loved ones, children and grandchildren for weeks or even months.

Experts are yet to fully assess the scale of the social and economic shock caused by the pandemic and all its long-term consequences. However, it is already evident that it will take a really, really long time to restore the global economy. Furthermore, even the proven anti-crisis measures will not always work. We will need new innovative solutions.

The only way to elaborate such solutions is to work together, which is the most important task for both the UN and G20 States, as well as other leading inter-State organizations and integration associations that are also going through tough times due to the pandemic impact and need fundamentally new horizons and scope of development.

This very idea of a qualitative integrative growth, the ”integration of integrations“, is the one behind Russia’s initiative to form a Greater Eurasian Partnership involving all Asian and European countries without exception. It is purely pragmatic and increasingly relevant.

Besides, I would like to draw attention once again to Russia’s proposal to create so-called ”green corridors“ free from trade wars and sanctions, primarily for essential goods, food, medicine and personal protective equipment needed to fight the pandemic.

In general, freeing the world trade from barriers, bans, restrictions and illegitimate sanctions would be of great help in revitalizing global growth and reducing unemployment. According to experts, total or partial reduction in global employment in the second quarter of this year equals to the loss of 400 million jobs, and we have to do our utmost to prevent this unemployment from growing long-term and ensure that people return to work and can support their families instead of finding themselves imprisoned by poverty with no prospects in life.

This is indeed a most acute global social problem, so the politics has a mission now to pave the way for trade, joint projects and fair competition, rather than tie the hands of business and discourage business initiative.

The pandemic has also pinpointed a series of ethical, technological and humanitarian matters. For instance, advanced digital technologies helped quickly reorganize education, trade and services, as well as set up distant learning and online courses for people of different ages. Artificial intelligence has assisted doctors in making more accurate and timely diagnoses and finding the best treatment.

However, just like any other innovation, digital technologies tend to spread uncontrollably and, just like conventional weapons, can fall into the hands of various radicals and extremists not only in the regional conflict zones, but also in quite prosperous countries, thus engendering enormous risks.

In this regard, matters related to cybersecurity and the use of advanced digital technology also deserve a most serious deliberation within the UN. It is important to hear and appreciate the concerns of people over the protection of their rights, such as the right to privacy, property and security, in the new era.

We must learn to use new technologies for the benefit of humankind, seek for a right balance between encouraging the development of artificial intelligence and justifiable restrictions to limit it, and work together towards a consensus in the field of regulation that would avert potential threats in terms of both military and technological security, as well as traditions, law, and morals of human communication.

I would like to point out that during the pandemic, doctors, volunteers and citizens of various countries have been showing us examples of mutual assistance and support, and such solidarity defies borders. Many countries have also been helping each other selflessly and open-heartedly. However, there have been cases showing the deficit of humanity and, if you will, kindness in the relations at the official inter-State level.

We believe that the UN prestige could strengthen and enhance the role of the humanitarian or human component in multilateral and bilateral relations, namely in people-to-people and youth exchanges, cultural ties, social and educational programs, as well as cooperation in sports, science, technology, environment and health protection.

As to healthcare, just like in economy, we now need to remove, as many as possible, obstacles to partner relations. Our country has been actively contributing to global and regional counter-COVID-19 efforts, providing assistance to most affected states both bilaterally and within multilateral formats.

In doing so, we first of all take into account the central coordinating role of the World Health Organization, which is part of the UN system. We believe it essential to qualitatively strengthen the WHO capability. This work has already begun, and Russia is genuinely motivated to engage in it.

Building on the scientific, industrial and clinical experience of its doctors Russia has promptly developed a range of test systems and medicines to detect and treat the coronavirus, as well as registered the world’s first vaccine, “Sputnik-V.”

I would like to reiterate that we are completely open to partner relations and willing to cooperate. In this context, we are proposing to hold an online high-level conference shortly for countries interested in cooperation in the development of anti-coronavirus vaccines.

We are ready to share experience and continue cooperating with all States and international entities, including in supplying the Russian vaccine which has proved reliable, safe, and effective, to other countries. Russia is sure that all capacities of the global pharmaceutical industry need to be employed so as to provide a free access to vaccination for the population of all states in the foreseeable future.

A dangerous virus can affect anyone. The coronavirus has struck the staff of the United Nations, its headquarters and regional structures just like everyone else. Russia is ready to provide the UN with all the necessary qualified assistance; in particular, we are offering to provide our vaccine, free of charge, for the voluntary vaccination of the staff of the UN and its offices. We have received requests from our UN colleagues in this respect, and we will respond to those.

There are other critical items on today’s agenda. The issues of both environmental protection and climate change should remain the focus of joint efforts.

The specialized multilateral UN conventions, treaties and protocols have proved fully relevant. We are calling on all states to comply with them in good faith, particularly in working to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Dear colleagues! I would like to underline again, that Russia will make every effort to contribute to peaceful political and diplomatic resolution of regional crises and conflicts, as well as to ensuring strategic stability.

For all the disputes and differences, at times misunderstanding and even distrust on the part of some colleagues, we will consistently advance constructive, uniting initiatives, first of all in arms control and strengthening the treaty regimes existing in this area. This includes the prohibition of chemical, biological and toxin weapons.

The issue of primary importance that should and must be promptly dealt with is, of course, the extension of the Russia-US Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which will expire shortly, i.e. in February 2021. We are engaged in negotiations with our US partners on the matter.

We also expect that mutual restraint would be exercised with regard to deploying new missile systems. I would like to add that as early as last year, Russia declared a moratorium on deploying ground-launched medium and short-range missiles in Europe and other regions as long as the United States of America refrains from such actions. Unfortunately, we have not received any reaction to our proposal from either our US partners or their allies.

I believe that such reciprocal steps on specific issues would provide a sound basis for launching a serious, profound dialogue on the entire range of factors affecting strategic stability. It would aim at achieving comprehensive arrangements, shaping a solid foundation for the international security architecture that would build on prior experience in this field and in line with both the existing and future politico-military and technological realia.

In particular, Russia is putting forward an initiative to sign a binding agreement between all the leading space powers that would provide for the prohibition of the placement of weapons in outer space, threat or use of force against outer space objects.

We are well aware of the fact that security issues as well as other problems discussed by this jubilee UN General Assembly call for consolidated efforts on the basis of values that unite us, our shared memory of the lessons of history, and the spirit of alliance which guided the anti-Hitler coalition participants who found it possible to raise above differences and ideological preferences for the sake of Victory and peace for all nations on the Earth.

In the current challenging environment, it is important for all countries to show political will, wisdom and foresight. The permanent members of the UN Security Council – those powers that, for 75 years now, have been bearing particular responsibility for international peace and security, the preservation of the foundations of international law – should take the lead here.

Fully realizing this responsibility, Russia has suggested convening a G5 summit. It would aim at reaffirming the key principles of behavior in international affairs, elaborating ways to effectively address today’s most burning issues. It is encouraging that our partners have supported the initiative. We expect to hold such summit – in person – as soon as epidemiological situation makes it possible.

I would like to reiterate that in an interrelated, interdependent world, amid the whirlpool of international developments, we need to work together drawing on the principles and norms of international law enshrined in the UN Charter. This is the only way for us to carry out the paramount mission of our Organization and provide a decent life for the present and future generations.

I wish all the peoples of our planet peace and well-being.

Thank you.

The Question Concerning Covid-19 and Technology

 BY GILAD ATZMON

covid and Technology.jpg

By Gilad Atzmon

 At a time of health crisis one would expect to see an open global scholarly, multi disciplinary debate among scientists, scholars from different fields, politicians and finance experts. Not only does such a discourse not exist, what we have seen instead is a crude attempt to eradicate any such exchange. It isn’t our governments that interfere with this crucial discourse:  it isn’t Trump or the FBI that deleted seven million FB posts that didn’t agree with the World Health Organisation’s narrative. It wasn’t the Tories or Boris Johnson who erased thousands of salient videos from Youtube. It has been the work of the giant technology companies operating in concert to silence dissenting views.

 By now we are used to the idea that telling the truth about Israel and its lobby provokes severe authoritarian reactions, and it took us just a few days into the current Covid-19 pandemic to grasp that dissent from the official Corona virus narrative elicits similar drastic responses. One may want to question what Covid-19 and Israel have in common.

The outcome has been devastating. Six months into the ‘crisis,’ we still know very little about the virus we are told threatens us all.

 Not only may many people have died ‘with Covid-19,’ science itself has been murdered by a deadly virus.  What we have seen in the last six months is a complete eradication of the Western scientific and cultural ethos. 3000 years of Western tradition have been replaced by money driven culture that fakes images of scientific thought.

 Instead of asking what is it that endangers some segments of the population, our health institutions and corporations are concerned with one simple question:

         How do we translate Covid-19 into a cash machine?

 Instead of scientists debating the most crucial issues to do with a well-advertised global health hazard, start-ups are competing amongst themselves in a desperate vaccine contest, we see Wall Street rising by hundreds of billions exploiting the confusion. We witness Amazon extending its global monopoly while smaller retailers are falling like flies, and during this time, technology companies have shown us their true nature and purpose. The truth can’t be denied, Google is not a search engine, it is an Orwellian indoctrination apparatus, big brother 2020. FB, and Twitter are not social networks, they are actually anti-social filters. They gate-keep that which you are not allowed to say or think, but surely start to grasp.  

 Bizarrely enough, none of this is new. The warnings about this authoritarian shift were predicted by many including yours truly. Orwell saw it coming as early as 1948 or perhaps in 1936 while fighting in Catalonia.  But the context of this draconian twist was probably defined best decades ago by the great philosophers, Otto Weininger and Martin Heidegger.

In the early twentieth century, the Austrian philosopher Otto Weininger realised that medical science was about to lose its holistic understanding of the human body as an organism and had begun to see a collection of organs instead. Weininger saw that medical science was destined to morph into  “a matter of drugs, a mere administration of chemicals.” Weininger, Jewish by origin, was one of the most critical voices of Jewish culture and ideology. In his book, ‘Sex and Character,’ he unleashed an unprecedented attack on Jewish culture and its impact on medical science and scientific thought in general. I do not have any doubt that his words may offend some people however, it is clear that the non-organic, anti-holistic approach to medicine extends way beyond the limited realm of ‘Jewish doctors.’

 Weininger wrote the following in 1903:

 “The present turn of medical science is largely due to the influence of the Jews, who in such numbers have embraced the medical profession. From the earliest times, until the dominance of the Jews, medicine was closely allied with religion. But now they would make it a matter of drugs, a mere administration of chemicals. But it can never be that the organic will be explained by the inorganic. Fechner and Preyer were right when they said that death came from life, not life from death… We should return from this Judaistic science to the nobler conceptions of Copernicus and Galileo, Kepler and Euler, Newton and Linnceus, Lamarck and Faraday, Sprengel and Cuvier. The freethinkers of to-day, soulless and not believing in the soul, are incapable of filling the places of these great men and of reverently realising the presence of intrinsic secrets in nature.” (Sex and Character, Otto Weininger pg 315)

 Weininger didn’t pull his punches in his criticism of his fellow Jews. He wanted science to be emancipated from an emerging materialist paradigm that was hostile to his understanding of the meaning of being in the world. Otto Weininger, who was one of the most influential thinkers during the first half of the 20th century, is unknown to most contemporary thinkers. His genius, however controversial, has been largely eradicated by those who control our public discourse.

Heidegger’s lecture,  ‘The Question Concerning Technology’ (1954) was published five decades after Otto Weininger’s ‘Sex and Character’ saw daylight. In between the two literary events, the world experienced two world wars, a communist revolution, mass genocide campaigns that were technologically and industrially inspired and driven, the car was born as was aviation and the computer, the atomic bomb and a cold war. 

 Heidegger saw technology primarily as a mode of revelation. Through technology, things unveil themselves to us to the extent that we learn about the world around us, but also about our role, meaning, limitations and destiny in the world. Technology, as such, has made the world in which we live and provides a window into the meaning of Being.

 But modern technology, according to Heidegger, introduced a change in the duality between man and the universe. Rather than revealing and unveiling the world to us, technology has mutated into a mode of exploitation that sustains the world in being somehow inaccessible to us.

 Heidegger observed that because of technology, “all distances in time and space are shrinking…yet the hasty setting aside of all distances brings no nearness; for nearness does not consist in a small amount of distance.”

 Despite rapid advances in technology, we do not experience this ‘nearness,’ let alone understand it.  Instead of a gradual understanding as items manifest themselves to us as technological, we see them and treat them as what Heidegger calls a ‘standing reserve:’ supplies and exhibits in a showroom or a warehouse. The world is becoming a collection of technological items, gadgets, pieces of inventory to be ordered, conscripted, consumed, digested, uploaded, streamed, assembled and disassembled. Everything approaches us merely as a source of energy or as something we must organize or purchase. We treat even human capabilities and illnesses as though they were only the means for technological procedures and instruments for production.

 This is what Covid-19 is and this is exactly where we are with the ostensible health threat. Even before we could realise what covid-19 is, it was reduced into a technological asset, an Heideggerian ‘standing reserve’. Whether it is the mask debate, future vaccinations or ventilators, Covid 19 morphed into a ‘cash machine’ as much as a health risk.

 If Covid-19 and the technology involved is a mode of revelation, it reveals little about the health crisis, but tells a lot about us and what we are not willing to admit about ourselves. We are now, in fact, removed from the Western Athenian ethos that subscribes to pluralism, openness and, most important, a relentless and OPEN search for truth in wisdom. We seem pretty happily occupied by the so-called Jerusalem way of thinking. We are delighted to be fearful and accept being terrorised by repeated apocalyptic scenarios. We seem to follow anyone who strips us of our elementary rights.  We accept suppression of free thinking, until further notice, we prefer to follow laws, regulations and ‘mitzvoth.’* In such a world, Heidegger and Weininger are public enemies. Orwell and his prophecy are not going to be part of our Western education curriculum for much longer.

 Covid19 has revealed to us that we are not as free as we may have believed, and the only question left open is whether we, the people, can rise again, and when? 

—-

 *By ‘mitzvoth’ (plural) I refer to orders, rules, commandments that do not necessarily follow any scientific or rational reasoning. In Judaism mitzvah (singular) refers to a commandment ordered by God to be performed as a religious duty. As such, the purpose of any given Mitzvah cannot be challenged as it is grounded on a decree made by a higher order.

Is the UN Preparing for the “Second Covid Lockdown”? Oppressive Measures Worldwide, Obedience and Acceptance…

By Peter Koeing

Source

Globalized fearmongering. It fits an agenda, a huge sinister agenda

Driven by WHO, the Geneva UN Medical Directors (UNMD) group has just issued a CONSENSUS STATEMENT for UN staff in Geneva that is essentially warning UN staff of stricter measures to be taken, such as mask wearing in the office when 2-meter distances could not be respected, as well as increased working from home again, when as recently as in June these conditions were relaxed. Working from home means separating colleagues from each other, connecting them by Zoom, but NO HUMAN CONTACT. That’s the name of the game.

The UNMD refers to the Canton of Geneva’s new regulations, based on Switzerland’s claim of a steady increase in Covid-19 “infections”. Since the beginning of July new “cases” have surpassed 100 a day and reached even way beyond 200 at the end of July and above 250 in mid-August. The testing positive has allegedly steadily increased and often by close to 10% per day. Now, surprisingly – they say – 40% of the “cases” concern people between 20 and 40 years of age. But who checks? – Is it a mandate by WHO to diversify the statistics, so as to better justify universal vaccination and another total lockdown?

We know by now that nothing of this, masks, “cases / infections”, quarantine, lockdown, vaccination, or any other repressive measure have anything to do with covid. They are means and instruments for the New World Order (NWO) to “train” the population for total obedience and control by the invisible super power, or deep dark state. WHO plays a key role in this nefarious plans, as it still is regarded by most people and governments as an authority, as far as world health is concerned which sadly, it has ceased to be decades ago.

The Canton of Geneva, where, incidentally, WHO and the UN are located, is the “worst” Canton of Switzerland, counting for about a third of all “infections”. So, say the Swiss authorities. A spokesperson of the Swiss Ministry of Health remarked, “if Geneva were a separate country, anybody coming from Geneva to the rest of Switzerland would have to go into quarantine.”

How scary!

That’s the level of fearmongering going on – justifying obliging face masks in public places and shops and closed areas. Never mind that there is a strong protest of small shop keepers and retail corporations, since they are losing rapidly customers. People do not want to shop with masks. They also find it useless. So, they migrate to online shopping, much of it abroad. Retail losses are estimated at least at 30%. There is already talk of forcing a masquerade also in the streets. Likewise, new emphasis is put on ‘social distancing’. People are to be trained and reminded at every corner to stay away from each other. A masquerade with people walking – in lockstep – or standing two meters apart.

If a Martian would see the human race, no backbone, no self-esteem, just following orders for what most serious scientists consider human history’s worst hoax – he or she, the Martian, would think “the human race has gone mad, let them lockstepping themselves into oblivion. Let’s the hell get out of this lovely blue but crazy planet.”

And the population zombies along because the authorities order them to do so, under threat of fines – against all common sense. But zombies have been deprived of any common sense to resist in masses. Such restrictions and more are now in place until at least 1 October 2020. That’s about the beginning of the 2020 / 2021 flu season which will be conveniently mixed up with covid-19 – and justifies another lockdown – not to forget – with mass vaccination, for covid and flu. Quarantine, livelihood destruction – an economic skyfall into more poverty, more misery, more deprivation, more famine – more death. Not covid- death, but socioeconomic death. That’s exactly what the eugenics fanatics are dreaming of. A decimation of the world population.

WHO is part and parcel of the party, recommending these steps, if and when they are told to do so. By the invisible monsters, of course. The UN is going along. Or, is it the UN who has forced these increasing covid figures in Geneva, so they may prepare first their staff, then the population in general – worldwide – for a new lockdown in October-November? – All is possible.

We are in for the long haul; the UN paper suggests. And so do authorities (sic-sic), not only in Switzerland, but all around the world. Look at the tyrannical oppressive measures of Melbourne, the Department of Victoria in Australia; similar in New Zealand; South Africa; Thailand has hermetically closed all her borders – Germany is preparing for a new lockdown, though they say the contrary (not withstanding a strong popular resistance), so is France – and the US, State by sorry State, as they are battling racial unrest, Woke protests, Black Lives Matter (BLM) movements, and anti-police riots. All organized and paid for by the Soroses, Rockefellers, Fords, Gates and more oligarchic “philanthropic” humanitarian foundations. The mainstream cannot even keep up anymore with covering the US city chaos.

All this talk, predictions, projections, threats, contradictions, anarchy in the cities – is fabricated on purpose not only to confuse, but also to repress and depress people. Hopelessness is an effective weapon. It’s a weaponized narrative.

The “Consensus Statement of the Geneva UN Medical Directors network” starts by saying – “The recent surge in new cases” – without ever describing what NEW CASES entail.

New infections? Newly tested positive, but no symptoms? Sick people? Hospitalized people? People who died? – In fact, the death rate has not gone up whatsoever. Nobody has died from these “new cases” or “new infections”. But nobody reports on this important fact.

It sounds dramatic: a case, an infection — but nobody dares ask the so-called pathetic and corrupted authorities such crucial questions. Nobody asks for an explanation what these “increased figures” really mean? – Are they increased as a function of increased testing? How is testing performed? Does anybody ever ask how the infamous and controversial polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are performed and analyzed, and the results reported into the annals of statistics, so as to produce ever more “virus-cases”?

The website “Virology Down Under” reports a comment of Professor Martin Haditsch, writing in ProMed-mail:

As to my knowledge “infection” is defined as the proof of an infectious agent AND the proof of multiplication of this agent inside the body (OR associated inflammatory response that can be linked to this agent). Therefore, my question is: where was the specimen taken from the “asymptomatic” nurses? PCR, as we all know, just detects nucleic acids. So, if multiplication cannot be proven and no local or systemic inflammatory response is given, how was “contamination” (no matter whether due to inactivated parts of MERS-CoV or even complete virus particles) ruled out? This is not a semantic question only but should impact the reported number of “cases”.

Does the surge in “new cases” coincide with a surge of new tests?

Who makes the tests?

Is there an independent entity that controls the tests, monitors the tests, as to who is tested and when and with what frequency tests are carried out – and the results reported? For example, are people who are tested several times, also reported several times?

The UNMD CONSENSUS STATEMENT is nothing but a support to the globalized fearmongering. It fits an agenda, a huge sinister agenda. The compulsory mask wearing is the most detested measure imposed by the deep dark state – the invisible masters that are pressuring us into a NWO scheme. They know it. They love it. They are psychopaths. And mask-wearing is dangerous, dangerous for one’s health and well-being.

In most places in Europe, the new school year just began. Students in many places are forced to wear masks, where “social distancing” in class rooms cannot be respected. Many students have been interviewed throughout Europe – and probably on other Continents too. Their response is almost unanimous – masks are uncomfortable, concentration is faltering after about two hours, we are exhausted in the evening and often have headaches. No wonder, breathing your own CO2 instead of oxygen cannot be very healthy.

The forced mask-wearing is an important agenda in the Great Transformation or the Great Reset, predicted by both the IMF and the WEF (World Economic Forum), to be officially “rolled out” in Davos, Switzerland in January 2021. It is an agenda of re-education by rituals. The mask wearing is a ritual on behavioral acceptance. It’s a ritual of initiation towards obedience. The faster and easier you accept the mask, the faster you are accepted – accepted in society. Most people want to be accepted. It makes them comfortable, no matter how much this acceptance is uncomfortable and based on lies.

Watch the first 4 min. of this video.

Then there are the few who will resist, who don’t care about acceptance. They fiercely resist. The system of tyranny makes sure they are socially discriminated and excluded from “society” they are social no-goes. They are looked at as if they were monsters, spreaders of disease, discriminated against, excluded. It is the old “divide to conquer”. Your friend for years has suddenly become your enemy. Families, groups, clubs, entire societies are divided and made to despise each other – division along the ‘ritual line’.

Amazing how it works for masks. Wait until you see how it works for vaccination – another ritual being prepared, as we are oblivious to what’s awaiting us in the next 5 to 10 years. Think Agenda ID2020 and Agenda 2030 – under the UN disguise of Sustainable Development Goals.

We are not doomed yet. But we have to act fast and decisively and in unison – in solidarity. Let’s reinvent solidarity.

Belarus: Why Is Lukshenko Being Color Revolutioned Just Now?

By F. William Engdahl

Global Research, August 21, 2020

The globalist Powers That Be have clearly decided to topple the long-standing sole-ruler of Belarus, President Aleksander Lukashenko. The question is why at just this time? There is a case to be made that one reason is he is being destroyed for his unforgivable coronavirus defiance. In any case Belarus is being hit with a full force West-led Color Revolution. The protests over the August 9 election show every sign of the usual Color Revolution destabilization protests, manufactured by the usual Western NGOs, as well as private contractors using social media to steer the protests.

Under Lukashenko’s regime, the country defied WHO and the global coronavirus lockdown demands. He refused to order lockdown of his citizens or the economy. As of August 13 the country had recorded a total of 617 covid19 related deaths. Belarus stood together with Sweden and the US State of South Dakota as one of the very few places in the world to successfully disprove the bizarre and dangerous WHO demands for a global lockdown to control the pandemic. Belarus ordered no lockdown so most industry continued. Schools remained open other than a 3 week closing during Easter. There were no mask requirements, though volunteer groups distributed masks to some and in June the EU sent a shipment of PPE including masks to Health officials for distribution. Football and the May 9 Victory parade went as normal. And now the country stands as an example the WHO and friends do not want.

One very important point is that the Health Ministry ignored the very flawed WHO recommendations on loosely classifying deaths as Covid19 when only a “suspicion” is there. The basis for the Belarus pathologists to state the cause of death from coronavirus is the presence of a patho-morphological picture with laboratory confirmation of Covid-19.i

This all did not sit well with the globalist Powers That Be. The manifestly corrupt WHO, whose main private donor is the Gates Foundation, criticized Lukashenko’s government for lack of quarantine and in June, when announcing it would grant Belarus a $940 million loan, the IMF said it was conditional on the country imposing quarantine, isolation and closed borders, demands Lukashenko rejected as “nonsense.” He noted in a widely-quoted statement, “the IMF continues to demand from us quarantine measures, isolation, a curfew. This is nonsense. We will not dance to anyone’s tune.”

Color Revolution Begins

Clearly NATO and the Western globalist circles have been working on toppling Lukashenko well before the covid19 events. That coronavirus defiance may only have helped galvanize events. The West and its “democracy” NGOs have long had Lukashenko in their targets. During the Bush Administration in 2008 US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denounced Lukashenko as Europe’s “last dictator.” After that, Russia created the Eurasian Economic Union along with Kazakhstan and Belarus as members. Until now Lukashenko has refused Putin’s proposal to merge with Russia in one large Union State. That may soon change.

The protests broke out in Belarus after elections on August 9 gave Lukashenko some 80% of the vote against his last-minute opposition candidate, the ‘western’ candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Those protests are being run using the same model that the CIA and its various “democracy” NGOs, led by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) developed in Serbia, Ukraine, Russia and numerous other states whose leaders refused to bow to the globalist dictates. A co-founder of the NED, Allen Weinstein, declared in the Washington Post in 1991, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” The NED gets its financing from the US government, but poses around the world as a “private” democracy-promoting NGO, where it was instrumental in most every Washington-backed regime change destabilizations since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

In 2019, the NED listed on its website some 34 NED project grants in Belarus. All of them were directed to nurture and train an anti-Lukashenko series of opposition groups and domestic NGOs. The grants went for such projects as, “NGO Strengthening: To increase local and regional civic engagement… to identify local problems and develop advocacy strategies.” Another was to “expand an online depository of publications not readily accessible in the country, including works on politics, civil society, history, human rights, and independent culture.” Then another NED grant went, “To defend and support independent journalists and media.” And another, “NGO Strengthening: To foster youth civic engagement.” Another large NED grant went to, “training democratic parties and movements in effective advocacy campaigns.”ii Behind the innocent-sounding NED projects is a pattern of creating a specially-trained opposition on the lines of the CIA’s NED model.

Belarus Kicks Off Large-scale Military Drills Near Poland, Lithuania

The Murky Nexta

A key role in coordinating the “spontaneous” protests was played by a Warsaw-based texting and video channel called “Nexta,” based on the Telegram messaging app. Nexta, which is Belarusian for “somebody,” is nominally headed by a 22-year old Belarus exile based in Poland named Stepan Putila. With the Belarus Internet shut by the government since days, Nexta, operating from Poland, has posted numerous citizen videos of protest and police crackdown and claims now to have 2 million followers. It quickly became the heart of the Color Revolution once Belarus shut its Internet access.

Stepan Putila is also known under the moniker Stepan Svetlov. Putila previously worked for the Warsaw-based Belsat channel which broadcasts propaganda into Belarus and is funded by the Polish Foreign Ministry and USAID. The co-founder and Editor in Chief at Nexta since March, 2020 is a Belarus exile named Roman Protasevich who used to work for the US Government’s propaganda media, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Protasevich also worked for the Polish-based Euroradio which is partly funded by USAID. He was active in the CIA’s 2013-14 Maidan Square demonstrations in Kiev and according to his Facebook likes is close to Ukrainian neo-nazi Pahonia Detachment. In April 2018, Protasevich ends up at the US State Department in Washington, a notable contact. On his Facebook then he noted, “The most important week in my life begins.” The same day he posted a picture of himself inside the US State Department, stating “Never had so many important and interesting encounters in my life.”iii After he left Washington he went to work for the USAID-funded radio in Belarus Euroradio.fm on August 31, 2018. Two years later Protasevich is coordinating the anti-Lukashenko events from Warsaw via Nexta. Coincidence?

Nexta which uses the London-registered Telegram, and is in NATO-member Poland, outside the country, so far has eluded shutdown. Nexta has been sending out, via social media, such information as plans for protests, at what time and where to gather for a rally, when to start a strike, where police are assembled and so on. Nexta has also circulated texts of protesters’ demands, updates about arrests, locations of arrests by riot police, and contacts for lawyers and human rights defenders as well as maps showing where police are located and addresses for protesters to hide in.

It has also advised subscribers how to bypass internet blocking by using proxies and other means. As Maxim Edwards, a pro-opposition British journalist at Global Voices, describes Nexta, “It is clear that the channel does not merely report on the protests, but has played a substantial role in organising them.”iv

No doubt such coordination from abroad would not be possible unless Nexta had some very sophisticated assistance from certain intelligence services. Nexta claims it depends on “donations” and ads for funding, but claims to get no “grants” from governments or foundations. Whether true or not, it is an answer that gives little clarity. Is USAID one of their “donors” or the Open Society Foundations? The relevant point is that Nexta uses cyber technology that Belarus is not able to shut down. In 2018 the Russian governments unsuccessfully tried to ban Telegram for refusing to reveal their source codes.

Global Stakes

The opposition political candidates to Lukashenko is also surprisingly clever in tactics, suggesting they are being guided by professionals. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya the alleged “political novice” who stepped in when her husband was arrested and forbidden to run, claims she won the election based on exit pollers. On August 14 Tikhanovskaya announced that she was forming a “coordination council” to secure a peaceful transfer of power. It echoed the earlier call by another opposition candidate, Valery Tsepkalo, a former Belarus Ambassador to Washington who, like Tikhanovskaya’s husband Sergei Tikhanovsky, was barred from running for president. Tsepkalo called it a “national salvation front.”

Though Belarus is a small country of less than 10 million, the stakes of this destabilization effort of the West are enormous. In 2014 the Obama CIA head John Brennan led a US-backed coup d’etat in Ukraine to prevent Ukraine joining Russia’s economic union. That coup has not given Ukraine anything positive. Instead it has resulted in rule but by other corrupt oligarchs, but friendly with Washington, especially under Obama.

The NED tried in 2018 to destabilize Armenia, another part of the Russian Eurasian Economic Union. Were they now to break off Belarus, the military and political consequences for Russia could be severe. Whether or not the Lukashenko defiance of the WHO coronavirus dictates had a role in the timing of the ongoing Minsk Color Revolution attempt, clearly some powers that be in the West, including the EU and Washington would love to collapse Belarus as they did in Ukraine six years ago. If they succeed we can be sure they will be emboldened to try Russia after.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on the author’s blog site, williamengdahl.com.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. 

Notes

Natalya Grigoryeva, How Belarus Ignored the WHO and Beat Coronavirus, FRN, June 21, 2020, https://fort-russ.com/2020/06/covid-19-psychosis-defeated-how-belarus-ignored-the-who-and-beat-coronavirus/

NED, Belarus 2019, https://www.ned.org/region/central-and-eastern-europe/belarus-2019/

Anonymous, Roman Protasevich, August 17, 2020, https://www.foiaresearch.net/person/roman-protasevich

Maxim Edwards, How one Telegram channel became central to Belarus protests, August 19, 2020, https://radioeonline.com/2020/08/19/how-one-telegram-channel-became-central-to-belarus-protests/

Featured image:  Protest rally against Lukashenko, 16 August. Minsk, Belarus License: The Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license Under Some Conditions https://bit.ly/325WwSw


seeds_2.jpg

Seeds of Destruction: Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation

Author Name: F. William EngdahlISBN Number: 978-0-937147-2-2Year: 2007Pages: 341 pages with complete index

List Price: $25.95

Special Price: $18.00

This skilfully researched book focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread. “Control the food and you control the people.”

This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO. Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms.

The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © F. William Engdahl, Global Research, 2020

Is the US a Global Leader Anymore?

Is the US a Global Leader Anymore?

August 13, 2020

by Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

Currently, the biggest challenge faced by the world is Pandemic. Outbreak early this year has engulfed the whole world. Indeed, the COVID-19 is not too fatal, yet due to its highly contagious nature, it has impacted society adversely. It is a new virus, a lot of studies are going on, especially on its cure and vaccines. Yet, nothing is commercially available; all such R&D is at the laboratory level. Either it is stage one or two or any other advanced stage, yet it might take some time to make the vaccine available at a commercial scale for everybody to be benefitted.

The number of CVID-19 cases has exceeded 20 million, with a death toll of around 750,000. The economic impact is even more visible. And some of the countries are already slipped into recession, while few are almost near to collapse. Social distance has made everyday life more difficult, people are losing jobs, businesses are suffering, and some of the markets have been closed.

At this challenging moment, the whole world was looking toward the US as a global leader to rescue them. Developing countries and underdeveloped countries were more miserable and was expecting much more from the US. Even the developed nations and well-advanced countries were also expecting some kind of assistance or help from the US.

Unfortunatetely, the US was the worst-hit country in the world, with the highest number of Coronavirus cases and the death toll. It was the time when the US can prove its global leadership role. NATO allies, other friendly countries were in award position, when the US showed cold shoulders.

It is entirely right; every country should look after its own interest and must say his own country first. But for a leader, one has to take everyone else along with and protect everyone.

Acknowledging the US’s global leadership, just after World War II (WWII), by launching the Marshal Program aimed to rebuild war-torn Europe was a successful model. As a result, the US gained a leadership role. But during the last couple of decades, the US policies witnessed a deviation from Global responsibilities.

The US was leaving International organizations and treaties, one after another, ignoring its global obligations and escaping from global responsibilities gradually.

  • In 1982, to maintain its maritime hegemony, the United States refused to sign the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), of which it is still not a party. It has created an imbalance of power in the global maritime and vulnerability.
  • In 1984, the United States formally withdrew from UNESCO, dissatisfied with the gradual erosion of its social control by developing countries. After returning to the Organization in 2003, it once again withdrew in 2017 on the so-called ground of saving funds and urging reform. UNESCO suffered a considerable loss in its routine functions. It has impacted the capabilities of the Organization adversely due to a shortage of funds.
  • In 1985, the United States refused to recognize the compulsory jurisdiction of the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) after Nicaragua complained that US armed intervention violated its sovereignty. A message that the US was not sincere about global justice. As a matter of fact, the US was extensively involved in war-crimes and international terrorism and scared of convictions.
  • In 1995, the United States withdrew from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and refused to pay arrears by claiming domestic budgetary constraints, damaging the global industrialization program. Yet increased its defense budget.
  • The United States has refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol since 2001, saying it was not in its national interest to meet relevant environmental obligations. By withdrawing, the US denied its responsibility in protecting the global environment. It should be noted that damaging the environment is a severe collective crime with humanity.
  • In 2001, the United States withdrew from the United Nations World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance after failing to prevent discussion of Israeli military action against Palestinians. Today, what is happening in the US is also the result of these policies.
  • In 2001, to strengthen its military advantage, the United States formally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1972. However, it gave supremacy to the US but created an arms race world-wide, forcing other nations to compete in the US.
  • In 2002, the United States withdrew from the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, citing unfavorable terms for American soldiers, diplomats, and politicians. It was a message that the US did not feel globally obliged not to commit war crimes, espionage, the aggression of sovereign states, etc.
  • In 2017, the United States announced its formal withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) because it believed that multilateral trade agreements were not in its best interests and hindered its “America First” policy. Although the US is the largest economy of the world, it yet believes in unfair practices.
  • In 2017, the US government announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, aimed to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, believing that it could hinder economic development. An irrational approach and wrong decision again.
  • In 2017, the United States withdrew from negotiations of the United Nations Global impact on Migration and cast votes against the UNGCM at the UN General Assembly.
  • In 2018, even though the IAEA confirmed Iran’s fulfillment of its JCPOA commitment and that the United States had no clear evidence to show Iran conducted nuclear tests in breach of the deal, the United States withdrew from the JCPOA, a deal that has been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council and re-imposed unilateral sanctions against Iran. This decision has damaged the US image adversely. Contaraily imposed irrational sanctions on Iran, making the lives of Iranian more miserable.
  • In 2018, the US announced its withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council, claiming it failed to protect human rights adequately. The current violence in the US may also be the outcome of this decision.
  • In 2018, the United States withdrew from the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes relating to the jurisdiction of the ICJ in order to avoid a Palestinian complaint filed legitimately to the ICJ. It has caused a strong wave of anti-American sentiments in the Arab world.
  • In 2019, the United States withdrew from the INF Treaty to develop short- and medium-range missiles without restraint. Again a wrong decision at wrong timings, pushing the world toward developing more lethal weapons.
  • In 2020, under the pretext of alleged Russian violations of the Open Skies Treaty, the United States announced steps to exit the Treaty.
  • In 2020, the US government, looking for scapegoats for its botched response to COVID-19, announced its withdrawal from the World Health Organization. It should be noted that the United States still owes more than $200 million in assessed contributions. Will the US pay this sum before going out? Exactly, when WHO needs to be strengthened, the US decision harmed the Organization’s capabilities.

Notably, the Trump-Administration has focused only on “America First,” leaving the rest of the world ignored. The Pandemic has exposed Trump-administration’s policies further. Europe was suffering from COVID-19 and expecting that the US may come up with some kind of help and rescue. But, unfortunately, this was not in the minds of the Trump-Administration.

If the United States tries to escape from its global responsibilities, it may no longer enjoy the status of global leadership. The gap created by the US may be filled-in by some other powers. Enjoy authority, but with responsibilities!

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.

Exempting Big Pharma from COVID-19 Vaccines Liability

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, August 03, 2020

House and Senate leaders are discussing whether to include this exemption for COVID-19 vaccines under development in new legislation likely to be passed and signed into law in the coming days.

Most likely, tort liability protection for Big Pharma will be approved.

All vaccines contain harmful to human health toxins — including mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, and phenoxyethanol (antifreeze).

Vaccines can be more hazardous than diseases they’re designed to protect against, most people unaware of the risks, establishment media concealing them.

Toxins in vaccines weaken the human immune system, making vaxxed individuals vulnerable to potentially life-threatening illnesses — young children and the elderly most at risk.

In developing vaccines, most clinical trials fail. Years of development precede the production and marketing of new ones.

Despite years of research, no successful coronavirus vaccines were ever developed.

Yet a race is on by drug and biotech companies to develop, produce, and mass-vax millions of people in the coming months against COVID-19.

Last week, Thailand Medical News reported that to date,

“more than 13,782 scientific studies have been published with regards to the COVID-19 disease and the SAR-CoV-2” virus that causes it.

“There are more than 2,472 clinical trials either planned or in progress with regards to COVID-19 disease in terms of repurposed drugs, new pharmaceuticals, supplements, herbal and traditional medicine, antibodies, vaccines, medical devices etc.”

“There are about 126 completed clinical trials to date.”

“There are more than 372 existing drugs being studied for repurposing to treat various aspects of the COVID-19 disease along with 17 new pharmaceutical preparations, 64 phytochemicals from plants and herbs and 38 proteomes.”

“There are more than 148 vaccine candidates in development stages.”

“There are at least…127,000 scientific researchers from around the world from various specialties and fields working on various aspects to find solutions for the COVID-19 disease.”

Rushed development of vaccines amounts to playing Russian roulette with human health.

Instead of protecting the public from health hazards, US ruling authorities, in cahoots with Big Pharma, are promoting use of potentially dangerous vaccines ahead — in lieu of proved effective, widely available, inexpensive hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) when used with either azithromycin or doxycycline and zinc. More on this below.

In 2005, the US Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREPA) became the law of the land.

It “authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to issue a declaration that provides immunity from liability (except for willful misconduct) for claims of loss caused, arising out of, relating to, or resulting from administration or use of countermeasures to diseases, threats and conditions determined by the Secretary to constitute a present, or credible risk of a future public health emergency to entities and individuals.”

It granted Big Pharma tort liability protection for avian influenza vaccines, including from vaccine safety laws enacted by states — at the discretion of HHS.

In 2011, the US Supreme Court in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth ruled in favor of protecting Big Pharma from state tort liability lawsuits that seek damages for injuries or death attributed to use of a vaccine.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Scalia argued that the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act preempts all vaccine design defect claims against vaccine manufacturers brought by plaintiffs seeking compensation for injury or death.The Great COVID-19 Vaccines to the Rescue Hoax. “Making A Billion Dollars” vs. “Harmful Side Effects”

The majority 6 – 2 ruling held that “a vaccine side effect could always have been avoidable by use of a different vaccine not containing the harmful element.”

Ignored was that ALL vaccines contain harmful to human health substances.

Perhaps one day vaccines will be largely or entirely safe to use as directed, clearly not so now, why Big Phama should be held liable for injury or death from use of their vaccines and other drugs that cause physical harm when used as directed.

The same goes for all products and services sold by companies to consumers or other firms.

COVID-19 vaccine developers want liability protection from products they’ll market in the months ahead.

Note: The highly touted Moderna COVID-19 vaccine induced adverse reactions in over half of clinical trial participants, some cases severe — what’s been unreported by major media.

Other COVID-19 vaccines in development may face similar issues, notably because they’re being rushed to market in the coming months. Consumers beware.

Last week, James Todaro MD quoted former New England Journal of Medicine editor-in-chief Marcia Angel, saying the following:

“Now primarily a marketing machine to sell drugs of dubious benefit, (the pharmaceutical) industry uses its wealth and power to co-opt every institution that might stand in its way, including the US Congress, the Food and Drug Administration, academic medical centers, and the medical profession itself.”

Dr. Todaro stressed the following:

“In the history of medicine, no single drug has been so singularly attacked by the media, World Health Organization, government officials and institutional health experts as hydroxychloroquine (HCQ),” adding:

“Approved as a ‘safe and cost-effective’ essential medicine by the WHO, CDC and regulatory authorities across Europe, hydroxychloroquine has been prescribed to millions of patients over the past 65 years.”

“Despite decades of known safety, hydroxychloroquine was labelled ‘dangerous’ and a ‘poisonous substance’ after showing promise as a therapeutic for COVID-19.”

Full-court press negative publicity by the NYT, WaPo, CNN, and other establishment media demeans HCQ, ignoring its effectiveness in treating COVID-19 when properly administered during the disease’s early stage.

Epidemiologist Harvey Risch MD stressed that HCQ was shown to be “highly effective (when) given (to patients) very early in the course of treating” COVID-19 — especially when given in combination with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline and the nutritional supplement zinc.”

Why is this information being suppressed? Why isn’t the public fully informed?

It’s because of the hugely profitable market potential Big Pharma hopes to cash in on by convincing millions of people to be mass-vaxxed against COVID-19.

Most people are unaware of possible harmful to health side effects they could experience early or much later, including major illnesses.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s Children’s Health Defense.org website (CHD) explained that

“severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS – 2003 was) was a dress rehearsal…for Covid-19 in 2020,” adding:

Research showed that Chloroquine (CQ) and HCQ are prophylactically and therapeutically effective in treating the coronavirus.

“In early April, a survey of US physicians found that two-thirds (65%) would prescribe CQ or HCQ ‘to treat or prevent COVID-19 in a family member,’ and roughly the same percentage (67%) would take it themselves.”

“In May, the White House doctor confirmed HCQ’s excellent benefit-to-risk ratio.”

“For the biopharma companies poised to profit from new drugs and Covid-19 vaccines…it is not an attractive option to keep older drugs that have outlived their patent” protection.”

Instead of advocating for HCQ’s widespread use, the Big Pharma controlled FDA revoked authorization for its use in treating COVID-19.

The nation’s top-ranked Mayo Clinic medical facility falsely claims no effective COVID-19 medications or cures exist.

CHD explained that nations using HCQ have “only one-tenth the mortality rate in countries where there is interference with this medication, such as the United States.”

As the saying goes, follow the money. A potential bonanza of revenues and profits awaits drug and biotech companies whose COVID-19 vaccines are approved for sale by the FDA in the months ahead.

CQ has been around since 1934, HCQ since the mid-1940s, the latter drug approved by the FDA in 1955 to treat autoimmune-inflammatory conditions.

HCQ especially was shown to be effective prophylactically and therapeutically in treating COVID-19 as explained above.

The CHD reported that through late July,

“65 studies around the world indicated that 100% of the studies that assessed HCQ for Covid-19 pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) or early use showed ‘high effectiveness,’ as did 61% of the studies examining HCQ use in later stages of illness.”

When properly used, HCQ can prevent or cure COVID-19 most often.

The alternative is going along with mass-vaxxing, risking potentially hazardous to human health side effects that may include contracting coronavirus disease and/or something more serious.

Note: If HCQ was widely promoted and used by the public, no lockdowns, social distancing, face masks, or other self-protective actions would be needed.

Economic and social life could resume normally without fear of contracting COVID-19.

Responsible government would promote the above, prioritizing public health, safety and welfare.

Not the US, acting in cahoots with Big Pharma’s aim to cash in big from hazardous to human health vaccines when available.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Featured image is from Natural NewsThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

LancetGate: “Scientific Corona Lies” and Big Pharma Corruption. Hydroxychloroquine versus Gilead’s Remdesivir

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, July 13, 2020

global Research 5 July 2020

Minor updates and additions on July 6, 2020

Introduction

There is an ongoing battle to suppress Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), a cheap and effective drug for the treatment of Covid-19. The campaign against HCQ is carried out through slanderous political statements, media smears, not to mention an authoritative peer reviewed “evaluation”  published on May 22nd by The Lancet, which was based on fake figures and test trials.

The study was allegedly based on data analysis of 96,032 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 between Dec 20, 2019, and April 14, 2020 from 671 hospitals Worldwide. The database had been fabricated. The objective was to kill the Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) cure on behalf of Big Pharma.

While The Lancet article was retracted, the media casually blamed “a tiny US based company” named Surgisphere whose employees included “a sci-fi writer and adult content model” for spreading “flawed data” (Guardian). This Chicago based outfit was accused of having misled both the WHO and national governments, inciting them to ban HCQ. None of those trial tests actually took place.

While the blame was placed on Surgisphere, the unspoken truth (which neither the scientific community nor the media have acknowledged) is that the study was coordinated by Harvard professor Mandeep Mehra under the auspices of Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) which is a partner of the Harvard Medical School.

When the scam was revealed, Dr. Mandeep Mehra who holds the Harvey Distinguished Chair of Medicine at  Brigham and Women’s Hospital apologized:

I have always performed my research in accordance with the highest ethical and professional guidelines. However, we can never forget the responsibility we have as researchers to scrupulously ensure that we rely on data sources that adhere to our high standards.

It is now clear to me that in my hope to contribute this research during a time of great need, I did not do enough to ensure that the data source was appropriate for this use. For that, and for all the disruptions – both directly and indirectly – I am truly sorry. (emphasis added)

Mandeep R. Mehra, MD, MSC  (official statement on BWH website)

But that “truly sorry” note was just the tip of the iceberg. Why?

Studies on Gilead Science’s Remdesivir and Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) Were Conducted Simultaneously by Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)

While The Lancet report (May 22, 2020) coordinated by Dr. Mandeep Mehra was intended “to kill” the legitimacy of HCQ as a cure of Covid-19, another important (related) study was being carried out (concurrently) at BWH pertaining to Remdesivir on behalf of Gilead Sciences Inc. Dr. Francisco Marty, a specialist inInfectious Disease and Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School was entrusted with coordination of the clinical trial tests of the antiviral medication Remdesivir under Brigham’s contract with Gilead Sciences Inc:

Brigham and Women’s Hospital began enrolling patients in two clinical trials for Gilead’s antiviral medication remdesivir. The Brigham is one of multiple clinical trial sites for a Gilead-initiated study of the drug in 600 participants with moderate coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and a Gilead-initiated study of 400 participants with severe COVID-19.

… If the results are promising, this could lead to FDA approval, and if they aren’t, it gives us critical information in the fight against COVID-19 and allows us to move on to other therapies.”

While Dr. Mandeep Mehra was not directly involved in the Gilead Remdesevir BWH study under the supervision of his colleague Dr. Francisco Marty, he nonetheless had contacts with Gilead Sciences Inc: “He participated in a conference sponsored by Gilead in early April 2020 as part of the Covid-19 debate” (France Soir, May 23, 2020)

What was the intent of his (failed) study? To undermine the legitimacy of Hydroxychloroquine?

According to France Soir, in a report published after The Lancet Retraction:

The often evasive answers produced by Dr Mandeep R. Mehra, … professor at Harvard Medical School, did not produce confidence, fueling doubt instead about the integrity of this retrospective study and its results. (France Soir, June 5, 2020)

Was Dr. Mandeep Mehra in conflict of interest? (That is a matter for BWH and the Harvard Medical School to decide upon).

Who are the Main Actors? 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, advisor to Donald Trump, portrayed as “America’s top infectious disease expert” has played a key role in smearing the HCQ cure which had been approved years earlier by the CDC as well as providing legitimacy to Gilead’s Remdesivir.

Dr. Fauci has been the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since the Reagan administration. He is known to act as a mouthpiece for Big Pharma.

Dr. Fauci launched Remdesivir in late June (see details below). According to Fauci, Remdesevir is the “corona wonder drug” developed by Gilead Science Inc. It’s a $1.6 billion dollar bonanza.

Gilead Sciences Inc: History

Gilead Sciences Inc is a Multibillion dollar bio-pharmaceutical company which is now involved in developing and marketing Remdesivir. Gilead has a long history. It has the backing of major investment conglomerates including the Vanguard Group and Capital Research & Management Co, among others. It has developed ties with the US Government.

In 1999 Gilead Sciences Inc, developed Tamiflu (used as a treatment of seasonal influenza and bird flu). At the  time, Gilead Sciences Inc was headed by Donald Rumsfeld (1997-2001), who later joined the George W. Bush administration as Secretary of Defense (2001-2006). Rumsfeld was responsible for coordinating the illegal and criminal wars on Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003).

Rumsfeld maintained his links to Gilead Sciences Inc throughout his tenure as Secretary of Defense (2001-2006). According to CNN Money (2005): “The prospect of a bird flu outbreak … was very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [who still owned Gilead stocks] and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences”.

Anthony Fauci has been in charge of the NIAID since 1984, using his position as “a go between” the US government and Big Pharma. During Rumsfeld’s tenure as Secretary of Defense, the budget allocated to bio-terrorism increased substantially, involving contracts with Big Pharma including Gilead Sciences Inc. Anthony Fauci considered that the money allocated to bio-terrorism in early 2002 would: 

“accelerate our understanding of the biology and pathogenesis of microbes that can be used in attacks, and the biology of the microbes’ hosts — human beings and their immune systems. One result should be more effective vaccines with less toxicity.” (WPo report)

In 2008, Dr. Anthony Fauci was granted the Presidential Medal of Freedom by president George W. Bush “for his determined and aggressive efforts to help others live longer and healthier lives.”

The 2020 Gilead Sciences Inc Remdesivir Project

We will be focussing on key documents (and events)

Chronology 

February 21: Initial Release pertaining to NIH-NIAID Remdesivir placebo test trial

April 10: The Gilead Sciences Inc study published in the NEJM on the “Compassionate Use of Remdesivir”

April 29: NIH Release: Study on Remdesivir (Report published on May 22 in NEJM)

May 22, The BWH-Harvard Study on Hydroxychloroquine coordinated by Dr. Mandeep Mehra published in The Lancet

May 22Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Preliminary Report  National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, New England Journal of Medicine, (NEJM) 

June 5: The (fake) Lancet Report (May 22) on HCQ is Retracted.

June 29, Fauci announcement. The $1.6 Billion Remdevisir HHS Agreement with Gilead Sciences Inc

April 10: The Gilead Sciences Inc. study published in the NEJM on the “Compassionate Use of Remdesivir”

A Gilead sponsored report was published in New England Journal of Medicine in an article entitled  “Compassionate Use of Remdesivir for Patients with Severe Covid-19” . It was co-authored by an impressive list of 56 distinguished medical doctors and scientists, many of whom were recipients of consulting fees from Gilead Sciences Inc.

Gilead Sciences Inc. funded the study which included several staff members as co-authors.

The testing included a total of 61 patients [who] received at least one dose of remdesivir on or before March 7, 2020; 8 of these patients were excluded because of missing postbaseline information (7 patients) and an erroneous remdesivir start date (1 patient) … Of the 53 remaining patients included in this analysis, 40 (75%) received the full 10-day course of remdesivir, 10 (19%) received 5 to 9 days of treatment, and 3 (6%) fewer than 5 days of treatment.

The NEJM article states that “Gilead Sciences Inc began accepting requests from clinicians for compassionate use of remdesivir on January 25, 2020”. From whom, From Where? According to the WHO (January 30, 2020) there were 82 cases in 18 countries outside China of which 5 were in the US, 5 in France and 3 in Canada.

Several prominent physicians and scientists have cast  doubt on the Compassionate Use of Remdesivir study conducted by Gilead, focussing on the small size of the trial. Ironically, the number of patients in the test  is less that the number of co-authors: “53 patients” versus “56 co-authors”

Below we provide excerpts of scientific statements on the Gilead NEJM project (Science Media Centre emphasis added) published immediately following the release of the NEJM article:

‘Compassionate use’ is better described as using an unlicensed therapy to treat a patient because there are no other treatments available. Research based on this kind of use should be treated with extreme caution because there is no control group or randomisation, which are some of the hallmarks of good practice in clinical trials. Prof Duncan Richard, Clinical Therapeutics, University of Oxford.

“It is critical not to over-interpret this study. Most importantly, it is impossible to know the outcome for this relatively small group of patients had they not received remdesivir. Dr Stephen Griffin, Associate Professor, School of Medicine, University of Leeds.

“The research is interesting but doesn’t prove anything at this point: the data are from a small and uncontrolled study.  Simon Maxwell, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology and Prescribing, University of Edinburgh.

“The data from this paper are almost uninterpretable. It is very surprising, perhaps even unethical, that the New England Journal of Medicine has published it. It would be more appropriate to publish the data on the website of the pharmaceutical company that has sponsored and written up the study. At least Gilead have been clear that this has not been done in the way that a high quality scientific paper would be written.  Prof Stephen Evans, Professor of Pharmacoepidemiology, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

“It’s very hard to draw useful conclusions from uncontrolled studies like this particularly with a new disease where we really don’t know what to expect and with wide variations in outcomes between places and over time. One really has to question the ethics of failing to do randomisation – this study really represents more than anything else, a missed opportunity.” Prof Adam Finn, Professor of Paediatrics, University of Bristol.

To review the complete document of Science Media Centre pertaining to expert assessments click here

April 29: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Study on Remdevisir. 

On April 29th following the publication of the Gilead Sciences Inc Study in the NEJM on April 10, a press release of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Remdevisir was released.  The full document was published on May 22, by the NEJM under the title:

 Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Preliminary Report (NEJM) 

The study had been initiated on February 21, 2020. The title of the April 29 Press Release was:

“Peer-reviewed data shows remdesivir for COVID-19 improves time to recovery”

It’s a government sponsored report which includes preliminary data from a randomized trial involving 1063 hospitalized patients. The results of the trial labelled Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT) are preliminary, conducted under the helm of Dr. Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID):

An independent data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) overseeing the trial met on April 27 to review data and shared their interim analysis with the study team. Based upon their review of the data, they noted that remdesivir was better than placebo from the perspective of the primary endpoint, time to recovery, a metric often used in influenza trials. Recovery in this study was defined as being well enough for hospital discharge or returning to normal activity level.

Preliminary results indicate that patients who received remdesivir had a 31% faster time to recovery than those who received placebo (p<0.001). Specifically, the median time to recovery was 11 days for patients treated with remdesivir compared with 15 days for those who received placebo. Results also suggested a survival benefit, with a mortality rate of 8.0% for the group receiving remdesivir versus 11.6% for the placebo group (p=0.059).  (emphasis added)

In the NIH’s earlier February 21, 2020 report (released at the outset of the study), the methodology was described as follows:

… A randomized, controlled clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the investigational antiviral remdesivir in hospitalized adults diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) …

Numbers. Where? When? 

The February 21 report confirmed that the first trial participant was “an American who was repatriated after being quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship” that docked in Yokohama (Japanese Territorial Waters). “Thirteen people repatriated by the U.S. State Department from the Diamond Princess cruise ship” were selected as patients for the placebo trial test. Ironically, at the outset of the study, 58.7% of the “confirmed cases” Worldwide (542 cases out of 924) (outside China),  were on the Diamond Cruise Princess from which the initial trial placebo patients were selected.

Where and When: The trial test in the 68 selected sites? That came at a later date because on February 19th (WHO data), the US had recorded only 15 positive cases (see Table Below).

“A total of 68 sites ultimately joined the study—47 in the United States and 21 in countries in Europe and Asia.” (emphasis added)

In the final May 22 NEJM report entitled Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Preliminary Report

There were 60 trial sites and 13 subsites in the United States (45 sites), Denmark (8), the United Kingdom (5), Greece (4), Germany (3), Korea (2), Mexico (2), Spain (2), Japan (1), and Singapore (1). Eligible patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive either remdesivir or placebo. Randomization was stratified by study site and disease severity at enrollment

The Washington Post applauded Anthony Fauci’s announcement (April 29):

“The preliminary results, disclosed at the White House by Anthony S. Fauci, …  fall short of the magic bullet or cure… But with no approved treatments for Covid-19,[Lie] Fauci said, it will become the standard of care for hospitalized patients …The data shows that remdisivir has a clear-cut, significant, positive effect in diminishing the time to recovery,” Fauci said.

The government’s first rigorous clinical trial of the experimental drug remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment delivered mixed results to the medical community Wednesday — but rallied stock markets and raised hopes that an early weapon to help some patients was at hand.

The preliminary results, disclosed at the White House by Anthony Fauci, chief of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which led the placebo-controlled trial found that the drug accelerated the recovery of hospitalized patients but had only a marginal benefit in the rate of death.

… Fauci’s remarks boosted speculation that the Food and Drug Administration would seek emergency use authorization that would permit doctors to prescribe the drug.

In addition to clinical trials, remdesivir has been given to more than 1,000 patients under compassionate use. [also refers to the Gilead study published on April 10 in the NEJM]

The study, involving [more than] 1,000 patients at 68 sites in the United States and around the world (??), offers the first evidence (??) from a large (??), randomized (??) clinical study of remdesivir’s effectiveness against COVID-19.

The NIH placebo test study provided “preliminary results”. While the placebo trial test was “randomized”, the overall selection of patients at the 68 sites was not fully randomized. See the full report.

May 22: The Fake Lancet Report on Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)

It is worth noting that the full report of the NIH-NIAID) entitled Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Preliminary Report was released on May 22, 2020 in the NEJM, on the same day as the controversial Lancet report on Hydroxychloroquine.

Immediately folllowing its publication, the media went into high gear, smearing the HCQ cure, while applauding the NIH-NIASD report released on the same day.

Remdesivir, the only drug cleared to treat Covid-19, sped the recovery time of patients with the disease, … “It’s a very safe and effective drug,” said Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. “We now have a definite first efficacious drug for Covid-19, which is a major step forward and will be built upon with other drugs, [and drug] combinations.”

When the Lancet HCQ article by  Bingham-Harvard was retracted on June 5, it was too late, it received minimal media coverage. Despite the Retraction, the HCQ cure “had been killed”.

June 29: Fauci Greenlight. The $1.6 Billion Remdesivir Contract with Gilead Sciences Inc

Dr. Anthony Fauci granted the “Greenlight” to Gilead Sciences Inc. on June 29, 2020.

The semi-official US government NIH-NIAID sponsored report (May 22) entitled Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Preliminary Report (NEJM) was used to justify a major agreement with Gilead Sciences Inc.

The Report was largely funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

On June 29, based on the findings of the NIH-NIAID Report published in the NEJM, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on behalf of the Trump Adminstration an agreement to secure large supplies of the remdesivir drug from Gilead Sciences Inc. for the treatment of Covid-19 in America’s private hospitals and clinics.

The earlier Gilead study based on scanty test results published in the NEJM (April 10), of 53 cases (and 56 co-authors) was not highlighted. The results of this study had been  questioned by several prominent physicians and scientists.

Who will be able to afford Remdisivir? 500,000 doses of Remdesivir are envisaged at $3,200 per patient, namely $1.6 billion (see the study by Elizabeth Woodworth)

The Drug was also approved for marketing in the European Union. under the brandname Veklury.

If this contract is implemented as planned, it represents for Gilead Science Inc. and the recipient US private hospitals and clinics a colossal amount of money.

[error in above title according to HHS: $3200]

According to The Trump Administration’s HHS Secretary Alex Azar (June 29, 2020):

“To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it. [at $3200] The Trump Administration is doing everything in our power to learn more about life-saving therapeutics for COVID-19 and secure access to these options for the American people.”

Remdesivir for Covid-19: $1.6 Billion for a “Modestly Beneficial” Drug?

Remdesivir versus Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)

Careful timing:

The Lancet study (published on May 22) was intended to undermine the legitimacy of Hydroxychloroquine as an effective cure to Covid-19, with a view to sustaining the $1.6 billion agreement between the HHS and Gilead Sciences Inc. on June 29th. The legitmacy of this agreement rested on the May 22 NIH-NIAID study in the NEJM which was considered “preliminary”. 

What Dr. Fauci failed to acknowledge is that Chloroquine had been “studied” and tested fifteen years ago by the CDC as a drug to be used against coronavirus infections.  And that Hydroxychloroquine has been used recently in the treatment of Covid-19 in several countries.

According to the Virology Journal (2005) Chloroquine is a potent inhibitor of SARS coronavirus infection and spread”. It was used in the SARS-1 outbreak in 2002. It had the endorsement of the CDC. 

HCQ is not only effective, it is “inexpensive” when compared to Remdesivir, at an estimated “$3120 for a US Patient with private insurance”.

Below are excerpts of an interview of Harvard’s Professor Mehra (who undertook the May 22 Lancet study) with France Soir published immediately following the publication of the Lancet report (prior to its Retraction).

Dr. Mandeep Mehra: In our study, it is fairly obvious that the lack of benefit and the risk of toxicity observed for hydroxychloroquine are fairly reliable. [referring to the May 22 Lancet study]

France Soir: Do you have the data for Remdesivir?

MM: Yes, we have the data, but the number of patients is too small for us to be able to conclude in one way or another.

FS: As you know, in France, there is a pros and cons battle over hydroxychloroquine which has turned into a public health issue even involving the financial lobbying of pharmaceutical companies. Why not measure the effect of one against the other to put an end to all speculation?  …

MM: In fact, there is no rational basis for testing Remdesivir versus hydroxychloroquine. On the one hand, Remdesivir has shown that there is no risk of mortality and that there is a reduction in recovery time. On the other hand, for hydroxychloroquine it is the opposite: it has never been shown any advantage and most studies are small or inconclusive In addition, our study shows that there are harmful effects.

It would therefore be difficult and probably unethical to compare a drug with demonstrated harmfulness to a drug with at least a glimmer of hope.

FS: You said that there is no basis for testing or comparing Remdesivir with hydroxychloroquine, do you think you have done everything to conclude that hydroxychloroquine is dangerous?

MM: Exactly. …

All we are saying is that once you have been infected (5 to 7 days after) to the point of having to be hospitalized with a severe viral load, the use of hydroxychloroquine and its derivative is not effective.

The damage from the virus is already there and the situation is beyond repair. With this treatment [HCQ] it can generate more complications

FS Mandeep Mehra declared that he had no conflict of interest with the laboratories and that this study was financed from the endowment funds of the professor’s chair.

He participated in a conference sponsored by Gilead in early April 2020 as part of the Covid-19 debate.

France Soir, translated by the author, emphasis added, May 23, 2020)

In Annex, see the followup article by France Soir published after the scam surrounding the data base of Dr. Mehra’s Lancet report was revealed.

Concluding Remarks

 Lies and Corruption to the nth Degree involving Dr. Anthony Fauci, “The Boston Connection” and Gilead Sciences Inc.

The Gilead Sciences Inc. Remdesivir study (50+ authors) was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (April 10, 2020).

It was followed by the NIH-NIAID Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Preliminary Report on May 22, 2020 in the NEJM.  And on that same day, May 22, the “fake report” on Hydroxychloroquine by BWH-Harvard Dr. Mehra was published by The Lancet.

Harvard Medical School and the BWH bear responsibility for having hosted and financed the fake Lancet report on HCQ coordinated by Dr. Mandeep Mehra.

Is there conflict of interest? BWH was simultaneously involved in a study on Remdesivir in contract with Gilead Sciences, Inc.

While the Lancet report coordinated by Harvard’s Dr. Mehra was retracted, it nonetheless served the interests of Gilead Sciences Inc.

It is important that an independent scientific and medical assessment be undertaken, respectively of the Gilead Sciences Inc New England Journal of Medicine (NEMJ) peer reviewed study (April 10, 2020) as well as the NIH-NIAID study also published in the NEJM (May 22, 2020). 


ANNEX

Retraction by France Soir

The fraud concerning the Lancet Report was revealed in early June. France Soir in a subsequent article (June 5, 2020) points to the Boston Connection: La connexion de Boston, namely the insiduous relationship between Gilead Sciences Inc and Professor Mehra, Harvard Medical School as well as the two related Boston based hospitals involved.

(excerpts here, to access the complete text click here translation from French by France Soir, emphasis in the original article)

The often evasive answers produced by Dr Mandeep R. Mehra, a physician specializing in cardiovascular surgery and professor at Harvard Medical School, did not produce confidence, fueling doubt instead about the integrity of this retrospective study and its results.

… However, the reported information that Dr. Mehra had attended a conference sponsored by Gilead – producer of remdesivir, a drug in direct competition with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) – early in April called for further investigation

It is important to keep in mind that Dr. Mandeep Mehra has a practice at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston.

That study relied on the shared medical records of 8,910 patients in 169 hospitals around the world, also by Surgisphere.

Funding for the study was “Supported by the William Harvey Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The development and maintenance of the collaborative surgical outcomes database was funded by Surgisphere.”

The study published on May 22 sought to evaluate the efficacy or otherwise of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, alone or in combination with a macrolide antibiotic.  …

It is therefore noteworthy that within 3 weeks, 2 large observational retrospective studies on large populations – 96,032 and 8,910 patients – spread around the world were published in two different journals by Dr. Mehra, Dr. Desai and other co-authors using the database of Surgisphere, Dr. Desai’s company.

These two practising physicians and surgeons seem to have an exceptional working capacity associated with the gift of ubiquity.

The date of May 22 is also noteworthy because on the very same day, the date of the publication in The Lancet of the highly accusatory study against HCQ,  another study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine concerning the results of a clinical trial of…remdesivir.

In the conclusion of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, “remdesivir was superior to placebo in shortening the time to recovery in adults hospitalized with Covid-19 and evidence of lower respiratory tract infection.”

Concretely: on the same day, May 22nd, one study demeaned HCQ  in one journal while another claimed evidence of attenuation on some patients through remdesivir in another journal.

It should be noted that one of the main co-authors, Elizabeth “Libby”* Hohmann, represents one of the participating hospitals, the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, also affiliated with Harvard Medical School, as is the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where Dr. Mandeep Mehra practices.

Coincidence, probably.

Upon further investigation, we discovered that the first 3 major clinical trials on Gilead’s remdesivir were conducted by these two hospitals:

“While COVID-19 continues to circle the globe with scientists following on its trail, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) are leading the search for effective treatment.

“Both hospitals are conducting clinical trials of remdesivir.”

MGH has joined what the National Institute of Health (NIH) describe as the first clinical trial in the United States of an experimental treatment for COVID-19, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of NIH. MGH is currently the only hospital in New England to participate in this trial, according to a list of sites shared by the hospital.

” It’s a gigantic undertaking, with patients registered in some 50 sites across the country, getting better.

“The NIH trial, which can be adapted to evaluate other treatments, aims to determine whether the drug relieves the respiratory problems and other symptoms of COVID-19, helping patients leave hospital earlier.**

As a reminder, the NIAID/NIH is led by Antony Fauci, a staunch opponent of HCQ.

Coincidence, probably.

At the Brigham, two additional trials initiated by Gilead, the drug developer, will determine whether it alleviates symptoms in patients with moderate to severe illness over five- and ten-days courses. These trials will also be randomized, but not placebo controlled, and will include 1,000 patients at sites worldwide. Those patients, noted Francisco Marty, MD, Brigham physician and study co-investigator, will likely be recruited at an unsettlingly rapid clip.”

As a result, the first major clinical trials on remdesivir launched on March 20, whose results are highly important for Gilead, are being led by the MGH and BWH in Boston, precisely where Dr. Mehra, the main author of the May 22nd HCQ trial, is practising.

Small world! Coincidence, again, probably.

Dr. Marty at BWH expected to have results two months later. Indeed, in recent days, several US media outlets have reported Gilead’s announcements of positive results from the remdesivir clinical trials in Boston.:

“Encouraging results from a new study published Wednesday on remdesivir for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.**

Brigham and Dr. Francisco Marty worked on this study, and he says the results show that there is no major difference between treating a patient with a five-day versus a 10-day regimen.

…”Gilead Announces Results of Phase 3 Remdesivir Trial in Patients with Moderate COVID-19 

– One study shows that the 5-day treatment of remdesivir resulted in significantly greater clinical improvement compared to treatment with the standard of care alone

– The data come on top of the body of evidence from previous studies demonstrating the benefits of remdesivir in hospitalized patients with IDVOC-19

“We now have three randomized controlled trials demonstrating that remdesivir improved clinical outcomes by several different measures,” Gilead plans to submit the complete data for publication in a peer-reviewed journal in the coming weeks.

These results announced by Gilead a few days after the May 22 publication of the study in the Lancet demolishing HCQ, a study whose main author is Dr. Mehra, are probably again a coincidence.

So many coincidences adds up to coincidences? Really ?

The original source of this article is global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, global Research, 2020

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions during the online session “Russia and the post-COVID World”

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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions during the online session “Russia and the post-COVID World”

10 July 2020 15:55

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to questions during the online session “Russia and the post-COVID World,” held as part of the Primakov Readings international forum, Moscow, July 10, 2020

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude for inviting me to once again speak at the Primakov Readings. This is a young, but also one of the most respected platforms for discussing international matters. Unfortunately, we cannot meet in person due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, thanks to modern technology we could keep it on schedule. I am glad that my colleagues were able to take part in the preceding sessions of these readings. Judging by their feedback, this was a useful experience.

I will not delve into the question of how the coronavirus has affected every aspect of our lives, and what it will bring in the future. We already feel its effect on the economy and in personal contacts, from official visits and talks, to humanitarian, cultural and education exchanges. There seems to be a consensus that it will take quite some time for things to get back to normal. How long it will take and what the new norm will be is anybody’s guess. That said, all tend to agree that things will change.

By the way, I cannot fail to mention that our foreign service has had to face serious challenges. There were confirmed cases both at the Foreign Ministry head offices and our representative offices in the regions, as well as in our affiliated institutions. Thank goodness, we did not face a massive outbreak or severe cases. There were also people in our missions abroad affected by the pandemic. When borders closed, all our foreign missions without exception were mobilised to assist Russian nationals stranded abroad. Along with other agencies represented in the Emergency Response Centre, primarily the Transport Ministry, the Federal Air Agency, the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare and the Communications Ministry, we complied repatriation lists. This was a lot of work, fraught with many mistakes, mostly unintentional rather than deliberate, that had to be rectified. At the same time we had to make arrangements to pay support allowances to those stranded abroad without funds. We have already done a great deal on this front, although there are still people asking to be repatriated, and some have come forward only recently. It seems that looking at the developments in the countries where they are staying and considering the uncertainty as to when all this will come to an end, they finally opted to return home.

Speaking of other ways in which the pandemic influenced our work and the way we perform our professional duties, the virus has aggravated other pre-existing challenges and threats. They have not gone away, including international terrorism. As you know, some speculate that terrorists are thinking about somehow using the strain of this virus, or maybe even creating new strains to achieve their malicious ends. Drug trafficking, cybercrime, environmental issues, climate and, of course, the many conflicts around the world – all these problems are still with us. And all this overlaps with the specific nature of the Trump administration and its deliberate policy of undermining all legal and contractual frameworks without exception on arms control and international cooperation, for example, regarding UNESCO, the WHO, the UN Human Rights Council, etc.

Of course, we keep a close eye on all these developments and analyse them. We still believe that sustainable solutions to various crises, conflicts and problems in the interests of all countries, and taking into consideration each and everyone’s concerns can only result from collective efforts based on the principles enshrined in the UN Charter, by respecting UN Security Council prerogatives, mobilising consensus-based associations, including the G20, as well as BRICS, the SCO and associations on the post-Soviet space. Unfortunately, not everyone has been ready to work together during the pandemic, to engage in collective efforts and approaches. We are witnessing attempts to push through narrow-minded agendas, and use this crisis to continue strangling unwanted regimes. The call from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to suspend unilateral sanctions, at least during the pandemic, that impede the distribution of medial and other humanitarian goods, and other essential items to the corresponding countries, was completely ignored. The same goes for attempts to assign blame for the infection in the midst of the pandemic, when what we need is to think about how we can help medical workers, doctors and virologists. You know very well what I am referring to.

Like 75 years ago, when Victory over a common enemy was won only by working together and rising above the ideological differences of the time, we now also need to realise that we will resolve these issues only if we cooperate. I’m sure we’ll talk about the future of the WHO later. We are in favour of resolving any issues based on the UN Charter, which is a collective security platform.

Our Western colleagues – I’ve already mentioned this many times – are trying to actively introduce the concept of a “rules-based order” into diplomatic, political and practical usage. This is not international law. This is something else (we can also talk about this in more detail during the discussion). Clearly, this is an attempt to regain the dominance that the historical West has enjoyed for almost 500 years now. This attempt takes the form of convening a “group of interests” and various partnerships, where convenient countries are invited that either share the attempts to adopt unilateral approaches to international affairs, or will yield to pressure and join these initiatives. Not everyone is invited. Those who have their own outlook on things and are ready to defend it are left out. Later, when a concept, say, on chemical weapons, is fabricated, or an attempt is made to create a club of the select few who will decide on who is to blame for violating cybersecurity, they will start selling it as universally applicable norms. We are witnessing this now as it’s happening. These are very serious problems.

I would like to conclude my opening remarks. Our main goal, as before, is to protect our national interests and create the most favourable external conditions for the country’s development. You may have noticed that we come up with ideas that unite. Convening a summit of the UN Security Council permanent members is our top priority. This effort is ongoing. We are now focusing on the substantive part of the event, because, of course, it will play the decisive part.

The current hardships in international relations increase the importance of these discussions and, in general, the contribution of the expert community, and academic and political circles, into the efforts to analyse the situation and make reasonable realistic forecasts. I’d be remiss not to mention the case study concept that Yevgeny Primakov introduced into our foreign policy and political science. We appreciate the fact that the participants and organisers of the Primakov Readings always help us draw from a rich well of ideas, from which we then pick the ones that we submit to the President to determine our policies in specific circumstances.

Question: Five years ago, an IMEMO strategic forecast assumed that a new bipolarity might emerge as one of the four scenarios for the future world order.   At that time, this hypothesis was based on the relative dynamics of the synergetic power of China and the United States.  The COVID-19 pandemic has provided plenty of evidence of this theory. Of course, a different – asymmetrical – bipolarity is emerging, where the strategic parity is between Russia and the US, and the economic parity is between China and the United States, which is distinct from what was the case in the 20th century.

Do you think that the US-PRC conflict has passed the point of no return? It is obvious that any exacerbation of this confrontation is not in Russia’s interests. Will Russia be able to act as a swing power in order to maintain stability of the world system, including based on your unique experience of multilateral diplomacy?

Sergey Lavrov: I remember the forecast you have mentioned. I would like to say that, certainly, a lot has changed over these past five years, primarily in terms of confirming that the confrontation, rivalry, antagonism, and the struggle for leadership between the United States and China have, of course, been mounting. Before I pass directly to an analysis of this bipolar process, I would like to note that the real situation in the world as a whole is much more complicated. After all, the world is growing more polycentric than it was previously. There are numerous players apart from the US and China, without whom it is very difficult to promote one’s interests, if some or other capital suddenly decides to do this single-handedly.  I think we will yet discuss some other possible options in this sense. Let me mention the fact that Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics   Sergey Karaganov has commented on this subject in an article for Russia in Global Affairs, a journal published by Fyodor Lukyanov.

It is quite clear that we should take into consideration, in our practical work, the entire diversity and totality of political, economic, military, historical, and ideological factors that are manifesting themselves in the multipolar world, a world that Yevgeny Primakov predicted. We are assessing the US-Chinese controversy against this backdrop and through this prism.  That it is not existing in a vacuum is, as a minimum, confirmed by the fact that each of the sides is seeking to recruit as many supporters of their approaches as possible to the WHO or any other subject that in some way or other is associated with Washington and Beijing as defining contradictions in their approaches.

The Americans are certainly perceiving the growth of the PRC’s total state power as a threat to their claims to retaining the world leadership against all odds. Back in 2017, the US National Security Strategy listed China, along with Russia, among the main threats. It was for the first time that China was put before Russia as a threat to the United States.

Russia and China were directly accused of seeking to challenge the American influence, values and prosperity.  It is quite clear that the US is waging a struggle by absolutely unsavoury methods, as is obvious and clear to everyone. They are putting forward unilateral demands that take into account solely the US interests. If demands are turned down, they say the refusal is unacceptable and introduce sanctions.

If a discussion is suggested, the discussion rapidly degenerates into delivering an ultimatum and ends up in selfsame sanctions – trade wars, tariffs, and lots more.

A highly indicative fact is how the Americans and the Chinese managed to come to terms on phase one of the trade talks in January and what the fate of this agreement is now. The US authorities are accusing Beijing of drawing off jobs and glutting the market, while showing reluctance to buy US products. According to the Americans, China is implementing the Belt and Road project intended to steamroll all world economy mechanisms, production chains, and so on.  China allegedly was concealing information on COVID-19 and is engaging in cyber espionage. Notice how zealously the Americans are forcing their allies and others to give up any collaboration with Huawei and other Chinese digital giants and companies. China’s hi-tech companies are being squeezed out of the world markets.  China is being charged with expansionism in the South China Sea, problems on the actual control line with India, human rights violations, and [misbehaviour with regard to] Tibet, the Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. All of this is taking place simultaneously. A powerful wave of fault-finding, a perfect storm is being raised. I hope, of course, that common sense will prevail and the situation will not pass the point of no return mentioned by Mr Dynkin.

We hope that there are people in the United States, who are figuring out how to reassure the world of the dollar system’s reliability in the post-election period. The US Secretary of the Treasury is speaking about this all but openly. He is warning that they should be wary of overstepping the red line, after which people will just start fleeing from America, saying that the dollar is no good anymore because it is being brazenly abused.

There is, of course, hope that the Chinese possess a political, diplomatic and foreign policy culture that always seeks to avoid various imbroglios.  But there are also some very alarming signs that, despite these rays of hope, which must be nurtured and cherished, US and Chinese officials start getting personal, occasionally in a very harsh form. This bespeaks a high degree of tension on both sides. And, of course, this is really alarming.

I do hope that our Chinese and US partners have some diplomatic methods, ways of classical diplomacy tucked up their sleeve. People should not insult each other in public or accuse each other of all sins, as the Americans are doing on every street corner. A better option is to sit down [to the negotiating table] and recognise that your opposite number is a great power and that every state, be it a great power or otherwise, has interests that must be respected.  The world certainly should seek to function based on a search for a balance of these interests.

Now let me pass to the second question – that this aggravation is not in Russia’s interests. I think that it is totally at variance with our interests, the interests of the European Union, and those of other countries as well. If you take the EU, China-EU trade is absolutely comparable with trade between China and the US. I think it is also necessary to pay attention to the EU’s increasingly publicised aspirations as regards a strategic autonomy not only in the military-political and security sphere but also in trade and the economy. Incidentally, the EU also wants to start repatriating its industries and localise as many trade and distributive chains as possible on its territory. In this regard, it is entering direct competition with the Americans.

The EU is unlikely to support the United States on every count in its desire to bleed the Chinese economy white by “pumping over” all development-friendly processes to its territory. There will be a lot of wrinkles, tension and clashes of interests.

Today, unlike in 2014, when the EU, under atrocious US pressure, introduced sanctions against Russia, it is showing signs of sound pragmatism towards our country. Specifically, they have publicly announced that they will revise the notorious “five principles” that Federica Mogherini formulated several years ago to guide relations with Russia.  They also say that it is necessary to overhaul their entire approach so that it should be more consistent with EU interests.

Incidentally, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell gave a talk recently on EU and China and on EU and Russia. Asked, why not impose sanctions on China for Hong Kong and human rights, he said that sanctions were not a method to be used in relations with China. We inquired whether sanctions were, in his opinion, a method that could be used in relations with Russia?  Our European friends will be thinking about this. It is a tough question.

I think that the European Union and Russia have a stake in cooperating, but not to the detriment of anyone else.  Basically, we do not ally with others to organise some actions against a third party.  We prefer pragmatism and shared benefit. I think Brussels will be doing something to overcome the myopia of the recent period.  The survey of EU policy vis-à-vis Russia will give more heed to an analysis of the real benefits inherent in promoting relations with Russia and the EAEU.

I do not see any benefits that Russia could derive from a trade war between Washington and Beijing. We will not benefit from relations with the EU and India either. Relations with India are traditionally friendly and other than time-serving. I do not envisage any changes in this area. We have proclaimed a “specially privileged strategic partnership” with India. I do not see any reasons why our Indian friends should sacrifice the gains that exist in the context of our partnership and prospects that it opens.

Question: You have mentioned Russian-US relations. Of course, international security and strategic stability depend on them. The situation is rather alarming now because of a deep crisis in the arms control regime. It is possible that the last key treaty in this sphere will expire in six months. There are many reasons for this, both geopolitical and technological. I believe we have to admit that public opinion is not pressuring the political elites to maintain arms control as much as during the Cold War, when large-scale demonstrations were held, as we well remember. The highest priority threats for the public now are the pandemic, climate change and terrorism. The fear of a nuclear war has receded into the background. What can be done to change this, or will it take a new Cuban crisis for the public to become aware of the nuclear conflict threat and to start expressing its opinion?

Jointly with our academic community we are now holding many videoconferences with American experts. You have said that there are rational people in the United States. It can be said that these conferences offer an opportunity to coordinate a number of new proposals, which could be used to formulate our initiatives. Of course, we update the Foreign Ministry and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov about our activities. But it seems that today we need to think about some radical action, possibly in connection with the proposed summit of the five nuclear states, in order to create conditions that will help prevent the dismantling of the arms control regime and launch the creation of a new system of international security and strategic stability suited to the conditions of the 21st century.

Sergey Lavrov: I fully agree with you. Nuclear risks have increased dramatically, and the situation in the sphere of international security and strategic stability is visibly deteriorating. The reasons for this are obvious to everyone.  The United States wants to regain global domination and attain victory in what it describes as great-power rivalry. It has replaced the term “strategic stability” with “strategic rivalry.” It wants to win, whatever the price, as the saying goes. It is dismantling the arms control architecture so as to have the freedom to choose any instrument, including military force, to put pressure on its geopolitical opponents, and it wants to be able to use these instruments anywhere around the world. This is especially alarming in light of the changes in the doctrines of the US military-political authorities. These changes have allowed the limited use of nuclear weapons. It is notable that, like in the case of other strategic stability topics, the Americans have once again alleged that it is the Russian doctrine that permits the limited use of nuclear weapons and escalation for the sake of de-escalation and victory. They have recently issued comments on our doctrines, claiming that there are some secret parts where all of this is stipulated. This is not true. Meanwhile, we can see that the United States has adopted a number of practical programmes to support their doctrines with military and technical capabilities. This concerns the creation of low-yield nuclear warheads. American experts and officials are openly discussing this.

In this context, we are especially alarmed by the Americans’ failure to reaffirm – for two years now – the fundamental principle that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and that therefore it must never be unleashed. Early in the autumn of 2018, we submitted to the American side our written proposal that has been formulated as the confirmation of what People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs Maxim Litvinov and US President Franklin Roosevelt had coordinated and the notes they exchanged. We have reminded them about this proposal several times. They have replied that they are analysing it. Of course, we will raise the issue of the inadmissibility of fighting a nuclear war and winning it at the upcoming summit meeting of the five nuclear powers. It is important for our arguments to be no weaker than the arguments in the relevant Soviet-US documents. The slackening of these formulations has shown that the Americans would like to dilute the fact that there is no alternative to this principle and it cannot be repealed.

You have said that civil society is not paying sufficient attention to these threats, and I fully agree with you on this count. It is vital to attract public attention to this problem, to tell the people about the risks in understandable terms, because technicalities are often difficult to understand, and the form in which the analysis of this situation is presented to people is very important. Of course, we should count not only on official establishments but also on civil society and its politically active part – the NGOs and the academic and expert community.

I have said that I agree with you on this count, but I would also like to caution against going too far with raising public awareness of nuclear risks, so as not to play into the hands of those who want to prohibit all nuclear weapons and not to raise other concerns. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons openly contradicts the Non-Proliferation Treaty, creating confusion and problems. The necessary balance can be found with the help of top quality professionals, and I believe that we have more of them than any other country.

As for public sentiments, they do not always determine the reality. During the election campaign of US President Donald Trump, public sentiments were largely in tune with his declared plans and his calls for normalising Russian-US relations. Since then, the public has calmed down, and nobody is staging any riots over this matter.

Of course, it is vital to continue to interact directly with the nuclear powers and their authorities. We would like reasonable approaches to take priority.

You have mentioned that political consultations are underway between you, your colleagues and American experts. We appreciate this. Your contribution and assessments, as well as the information we receive following such consultations are taken into account and have a significant influence on the essence of our approaches, including in situations when we submit several alternatives to the leadership; this helps us analyse the possible scenarios and all their pros and cons.

The United States, as well as Britain and France, which are playing along with it, would like to limit the summit’s agenda to arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. China sees this as an attempt to press through the idea of expanding the number of negotiating parties at the talks on nuclear weapons by one means or another. China has put forth its position on the idea of multilateral talks clearly and more than once. We respect this position. By the way, the Americans are clever at twisting things. They use only the parts of our statements and those of the Chinese that suit their position. The Chinese have said recently that they will join the arms control talks as soon as the Americans reduce their capability to the level of China’s arsenal. A day later, Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea announced that the United States welcomed China’s readiness to join the multilateral talks and invited Beijing to Vienna. The next round of Russian-US consultations at the level of experts will be held in late July, following on from the late June meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea, when the Americans made a show with Chinese flags. The Americans have once again stated publicly that they would like to invite the Chinese to Vienna but it would be better if Russia met with China before that so as to tell Beijing what Washington expects from it. I think everyone can see that this is impolite and undiplomatic. When we say that we proceed from the assumption that China is free to take whatever stand it deems necessary, it shows our respect for China’s position. I would like to add that the Americans have not put on paper anything of what they said about the need for transitioning to a multilateral format. Let them at least document what they have in mind. But they seem to be categorically averse to this.

We are ready to take part in multilateral talks, but it should be a voluntary and independent decision of everyone. Only voluntary participation can be effective.

None of the reservations are being taken into account. They say that Russia supports their call for multilateral talks. What do we hear when we add that multilateral talks must also include Britain and France? Special Envoy Billingslea didn’t blink when he said the other day in reply to a question about the possible involvement of Britain and France that they are sovereign states who are free to decide whether to join the talks or not, and that the United States will not make the decision for them. Why has it actually made the decision for China then?

Knowing the US negotiating party, I am not optimistic about the New START, for example, but it’s good that we have started talking. Sergey Ryabkov and Marshall Billingslea have agreed to set up three working groups within the framework of the process they are supervising. They will hold a meeting of the working group on space, nuclear and weapons transparency plus nuclear doctrines in Vienna between July 27 and 30. We’ll see what comes of it. We never refuse to talk, and we will try to make negotiations result-oriented.

Question: Extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is one of the critical items on the agenda of Russia-US relations, primarily in the sphere of arms control. If Russia fails to reach an agreement with Washington to renew this treaty before February 2021, what will it do next? If there’s a pause in the dialogue with Washington in the sphere of arms control, and if the treaty is not renewed, what will the arms control system become and will the multilateral formats that we are talking about now be possible in the future?

Sergey Lavrov: It appears that the United States has already decided not to renew this treaty. The fact that it insists that there’s no alternative to taking the deal to the trilateral format suggests that everything has been already decided. In addition to this, they want the latest Russian weapons to be part of the deal which, by and large, is nothing short of trying to force an open door. We told the Americans earlier on that when Avangard and Sarmat become fully deployed, they will be subject to the restrictions established by the treaty for as long as it remains valid. The other systems are new. They do not fit into the three categories covered by START-3, but we are ready to start talking about including the weapons that are not classical from the START-3 perspective in the discussion, of course, within the context of a principled discussion of all, without exceptions, variables that affect strategic stability that way or another. This includes missile defence, where we are now able to see that the once existing allegations that it was designed solely to stop the missile threat coming from Iran and North Korea, were lies. No one is even trying to bring this up anymore. Everything is being done solely in terms of containing Russia and China. Other factors include high-precision non-nuclear weapons known as a programme of instant global strike, openly promoted plans by the Americans and the French to launch weapons into space, the developments related to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and a number of other factors too. We are ready to discuss new weapons, but to do so not in order to humour someone or to respond to someone’s initiatives, but to really reduce the threat to global stability and security.

To this end, we need to look at all the things that create these threats, pushing us to create antidotes, as was the case with our hypersonic weapons, which were developed in response to the global deployment of the US missile defence system.

Speaking specifically about the START-3 Treaty, we need an extension as much as the Americans do. They see some kind of a game in our calls to extend it for five more years without any preconditions. Russia, they say, has modernised its entire nuclear arsenal, but we are just beginning the modernisation, so they want to “tie our hands.” This is absolutely not so. We need to extend the START-3 Treaty as much as the Americans. If they refuse to do so, we will not insist. We know and we firmly believe that we will be able to ensure our security in the long run, even in the absence of this treaty. I think it is premature to discuss our actions if this treaty expires without any further action, but we are indeed ready for any turn of events. If the renewal is turned down, our options may be different, but I can assure you that overall we will continue the dialogue with the United States on strategic issues and new weapons control tools based on the facts that underlie strategic stability, as I just mentioned.

With regard to the multilateral talks, we already said back in 2010, when we were signing START-3, that the signing of this treaty puts an end to the possibility for further bilateral reductions and that, talking about future reductions, I emphasise this term, we will need to take into account the arsenals of other nuclear powers and start looking for other forms of discussions, if we’re talking about reductions. If we are talking about control, I think the bilateral Russian-American track has far more to offer. Losing all forms of control and transparency would probably be an unreasonable and irresponsible thing to do in the face of our nations and other nations as well. I believe the fact that there’s a transparency group (this is a broad term that includes measures of trust and verification) among the Russian-American working groups which will be meeting in Vienna soon, is a good sign.

Question: The Eurasian countries regard Russia as a mainstay that can connect the EU and Asian countries. How do you see Russia’s role in this space?

Sergey Lavrov: The situation on the Eurasian continent is fully affected by almost all global factors. This is where a number of the most important world centres are located, including China, Russia, India and the European Union if we are talking about the continent as a whole. For various reasons, each of these actors is motivated to pursue a foreign policy independent from the United States. This includes the EU.

Calls for strategic autonomy extend to the development area as such. We in Eurasia feel the influence of forces that would like to put together interest-based blocs and try to introduce elements of confrontation into various processes. We increasingly see centripetal tendencies. I am referring to ASEAN in the east and the EU in the west of our continent.

Located in the centre is the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Eurasian Economic Union. We would like to promote unifying, not divisive approaches in this space  and intensify trans-regional collaboration based on equality, mutual benefit, and most importantly, we would like to realise the obvious comparative advantages of cooperation on the continent via integration entities created in the West, East, and Centre, with respect for each of these unions and the search for natural forms of collaboration. This is the goal of what we call the Greater Eurasian Partnership that President Vladimir Putin suggested establishing at the Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi a few years ago. We think this is an absolutely realistic action plan.

Let me note parenthetically that there are opposing approaches. They are mostly promoted by the United States through so-called Indo-Pacific concepts aimed at undermining the central systematic role of ASEAN in the Asia-Pacific region. I am referring to an attempt to put together a group of countries that would openly – this is not even hidden – contain China’s development.

I would favour identifying points of contact among all integration processes. Of course, there is China’s Belt and Road concept. The EAEU has an agreement with China that includes identifying points of contact and the harmonisation of any project that will be implemented as part of Eurasian integration and China’s project. Of course, there is a clash of economic interests in a number of cases, but the sides’ willingness to be guided by international legal principles, respect for each other, and mutual benefit makes it possible to agree on these economic interests based on the search for balance. It is in this way that our relations with our EAEU partners, China within the SCO, and ASEAN, are built. We invite the European Union, as has been repeatedly stated, to consider how it can become part of the development of our common geopolitical and primarily geo-economic space with benefits for itself and for others.

Question: The Middle East and North Africa remain a troubled region. New divides continue to crop up there; the potential for conflict remains and the old conflicts that everyone knows about persist. The humanitarian situation is aggravated due to the West’s unfair sanctions against a certain part of the region. Various asymmetries are growing deeper. What are Russia’s strategic interests in the region today? What do we want to achieve there, given the post-COVID nature of the era we are now entering?

Sergey Lavrov: We have very good relations in this region, possibly the best in the history of relations between this country, in its various capacities, and the region. I mean relations with all sides: the Arab countries, regardless of the conflict potential within the Arab world, and Israel. We will proceed from the need to promote positive contact with all these countries and seek to understand their problems and needs, and take this into account in our relations not only with a specific country but also with the countries that this particular partner has problems with.

In the beginning, I was asked whether Russia was ready to perform as a balancing influence in relations between the United States and China. If they ask us to, if they are interested, we would not decline this. We have established contacts with both sides and our historical development record enables us to see that we have potential.

If there is interest in mediation services that we can offer in this region or elsewhere, we are always ready to try to help, but of course, we will not push ourselves on anyone. Our own interest is primarily in precluding new military crises and in settling old crises so that the Middle East and North Africa become a zone of peace and stability. Unlike certain major countries outside the region, we have no strategic interest in maintaining controlled chaos. We have no such interest whatsoever.

We are not interested in engineering head-on clashes between countries in the region so as to create a pretext and a motive for continuing, and sometimes expanding, our military presence there. We are interested in promoting mutually beneficial trade, economic, investment and other ties with these states. In this respect, we would not like any other country in the region to have the same fate as Libya, which was robbed of its statehood and now no one knows how to “sew it together.” This is why we will be actively involved in efforts to reestablish an international legal approach to avoid any further toothpowder-filled test tubes passed off as VX and lies about weapons of mass destruction in other countries in the region as is now happening in Syria. Some have already started talking about “undiscovered” chemical weapons in Libya. All of these are inventions. How they are concocted is no secret.

We would like to derive economic benefits from our relations with the countries in the region. For this, we primarily have much in common in our approaches to problems in the contemporary world: international law, the UN Charter, and inter-civilisational dialogue, something that is also important, considering the Muslim population in the Russian Federation. Russia’s Muslim republics maintain good ties with the Gulf countries and other countries in the Arab world. We would like to support and develop all this. We will not gain anything from the chaos that continues in the region. As soon as the situation stabilises, the Russian Federation’s reliability as a partner in economic cooperation, military-technical cooperation, and the political area will always ensure us important advantages.

Question: My question is related to the recent changes in Russia. The new wording of the Constitution, which has come into effect, includes a provision according to which any actions (with the exception of delimitation, demarcation and re-demarcation of the state border of the Russian Federation with adjacent states) aimed at alienating part of the Russian territory, as well as calls for such actions, shall be prohibited. This provision is understandable. This brings me to my question: Does this mean that our years-long talks with Japan on the so-called territorial dispute have become anti-constitutional because they contradict our Fundamental Law? As far as I recall, the terms “delimitation” and “demarcation” have never been applied to the Kuril Islands, or have they?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, you are spot on. Our relations with Japan are based on a number of agreements. The Russian Federation as the successor state of the Soviet Union has reaffirmed its commitment to all of the agreements signed by the Soviet Union. President Vladimir Putin has confirmed this more than once. This includes the 1956 Declaration under which we are ready to discuss and are discussing with our Japanese colleagues the necessity of signing a peace treaty, but not a treaty that would have been signed the next day after the last shot, that is, immediately after the termination of the war, as some of our Japanese colleagues would like. The state of war between the Soviet Union and Japan was terminated by the 1956 Declaration, which provides for the end of the state of war and for the restoration of diplomatic relations. What else do we need? In other words, a peace treaty we are negotiating should be modern and comprehensive, and it should not reflect the situation of 60-70 years ago but the current state of affairs, when we believe that we should develop full-scale ties with Japan. This document must be essential and inclusive, that is, it should include issues of peace, friendship, neighbourliness, partnership and cooperation, and it should cover all spheres of our relations, including economic ties, which are improving but not in all economic sectors. It should be remembered that our Japanese neighbours have imposed sanctions on Russia, although they are not as all-embracing as the US restrictions, but anyway.

A peace treaty should also cover security topics, because Japan has a close military alliance with the United States, which has essentially declared Russia to be an enemy. Of course, a comprehensive peace treaty should also include our views on foreign policy interaction, where, to put it simply, we disagree on all disputable matters, as well as humanitarian and cultural ties and many other factors. We have offered a concept of such a treaty. Our Japanese colleagues have not responded to this concept so far.

It is clear that the outcome of WWII is the fundamental issue that should determine our relations. Japanese officials have stated more than once that they recognise the results of WWII excluding the decision concerning the South Kuril Islands, or the “Northern Territories,” as they say. This position contradicts the law. Japan’s position must be based on the fact that the country ratified the UN Charter, which essentially means that the actions taken by the winner countries with regard to the enemy countries are beyond discussion.

Of course, our Japanese neighbours keep saying that they would sign a peace treaty as soon as the territorial dispute is settled. This is not what we have agreed to do. We have agreed to focus on signing a peace treaty as stipulated in the 1956 Declaration.

Question: Russia often criticises the US for promoting non-inclusive associations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans to isolate “uncomfortable” states. I am primarily referring to the so-called Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad. Obviously, the very existence of such formats turns the region from a zone of cooperation into a zone of confrontation. We are certainly not interested in that. However, for all its minuses, the Quad concept is obviously finding understanding from Russia’s strategic partners, for instance, India. The Quad Plus project, where the US plans to invite Vietnam, our strategic partner as well, is also under discussion. Apparently, there is a need to enhance security in the region. Can Russia offer an alternative to such formats to prevent our two strategic partners from being in a position where they have to deter a third one?

Sergey Lavrov: I talked about the appearance of concepts and strategies on forming what US diplomats call “a free and open Indo-Pacific” several years ago. When some initiative calls itself free and open, I always have the impression that this includes a tinge of PR because how can it be called open if every state the region without exception is not invited to join?

When the term “Indo-Pacific strategies” appeared we inquired if they did not deal with the Asia-Pacific Region the contours of which are clear: the APEC, and the mechanisms that were established around ASEAN (the ASEAN regional security forum, the meeting of the ASEAN defence ministers and the partner countries, which is very important and, of course, the East Asia Summit (EAS), a forum that will be a decade old this year). We asked why the established term, Asia-Pacific Region, was replaced with this “Indo-Pacific strategies.” Does this mean that these strategies will embrace more countries, including all Indian Ocean coastal states? We received a negative answer. But what does “Indo” mean then? Will the Persian Gulf, which is part of the Indian Ocean, take part in the new format? We got a negative answer again. The Gulf has too many problems to be involved in these initiatives.

As for the ideas pursued by this Quad, as I have said, they are not really hiding them. These ideas come down to attempts to deter China. Our specially privileged partner India is fully aware of this. Pursuing its multi-vector policy, India is certainly interested in developing relations with the US (and who isn’t?), Japan and Australia. We are also interested in this. But India does not want to benefit from this cooperation at the price of further aggravating its relations with China. They had sad incidents on the Line of Actual Control but we welcome their immediate contacts between militaries, which are ongoing. They reached agreements on de-escalating tensions. Their politicians and diplomats also met. We can see that neither India nor China want their relations to get worse. Therefore, before talking seriously about Indo-Pacific strategies as a future for our large region, it is necessary to explain the choice of wording. If this was done to please India because of the Indian Ocean, just say so.

There are things that have already been established. I mentioned a diverse network of institutions and mechanisms around ASEAN. ASEAN brings together a group of countries that promote unifying approaches in the context of their civilisations and cultures. Everything is aimed at searching for consensus based on a balance of interests. For decades, the members have been absolutely content with developing relations in this venue with its regional security forum, defence minister meetings and East Asia Summits. There is even an expression: “ASEAN-way.” They always emphasise that they want to handle matters in “the ASEAN-way.” This means never to seek confrontation or launch projects that will create problems for other members. Regrettably, Indo-Pacific strategies may pursue different goals, at least under their initial concept.

In the beginning of our conversation, I mentioned the tough claims made by the US against China. They sound like an ultimatum. This is a mechanism for exerting and intensifying pressure. We do not see anything positive in this. Any problems must be resolved peacefully, through talks. Let me repeat that ASEAN is an ideal venue where every participant can discuss its problems with another member without polemics or tension. We are actively forming bridges with ASEAN (I mentioned the EAEU and the SCO). Their secretariats have already signed related memorandums. We will continue promoting ASEAN’s core role in the South Pacific Region.

We will only welcome Indo-Pacific strategies if they become more understandable, if we are convinced that they lean towards joining the ASEAN-led processes rather than try to undermine its role and redirect the dialogue against China or someone else. However, we are not seeing this so far.

Question: A week ago, experts were polled on US allegations that Russian military intelligence, the GRU, had offered rewards to the Taliban for killing US troops in Afghanistan. All of the analysts agree that the allegation could be rooted in domestic, primarily political reasons. Your subordinate, Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov, has pointed out that one of the factions in the United States is against the planned troop withdrawal from Afghanistan because US security services have become deeply involved in the drug trade over the past few years. We have not asked you about this situation yet. What do you think about this uproar?

Sergey Lavrov: We have already responded to the hype in the United States over Russia’s alleged connection with the Taliban, who were allegedly financed to fight US troops and even offer bounties for the murder of American military personnel. I can only tell you once again that all this is a dirty speculation. No facts have been provided to prove anything. Moreover, responsible officials in the US administration, including the Secretary of Defence, have said that they know nothing about this.

These allegations fit in very well with the political fighting during an election year in the United States, as if they were invented – and it appears that this is so – for this purpose. The objective is to disgrace the US administration and to discredit everything it has been doing, especially with regard to Russia. I would like to repeat that there are no facts to prove these allegations. But there were facts in the late 1970s and 80s, when the US administration did not make a secret of helping the Mujahedeen, of supplying them with Stingers and other weapons, which they used against Soviet soldiers.

As I have said, we would like both Russia and the United States to draw lessons from the experience they have accumulated in that long-suffering country and to help launch an intra-Afghan dialogue together with the other countries that could help allay tensions there, primarily China, Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan’s other neighbours. We have been working actively towards this end.

As for the United States, we have been acting within the framework of this political process under the agreements being advocated by the United States in its dialogue with the Taliban and the Afghan Government. We are using our channels to make these agreements possible. There is a mechanism for consultations between Russia, the United States and China, which Pakistan sometimes joins and to which Iran has been invited. However, Iran has not acted on the invitation because of its problems with the United States and the actions Washington has been taking against Iran around the world. These consultations are a mechanism for cooperation that is being used to define the spheres where signals could be sent to the sides. This is being done within the framework of the logic of the so-called Moscow format, which brings together all of Afghanistan’s neighbours without exception, as well as the United States, Russia and China. This is more than adequate.

Now, regarding Afghanistan’s drugs and the possible involvement of the US military in the drug business. We have received numerous reports, including through the media, according to which NATO aircraft are being used to smuggle Afghan opiates to other countries, including to Europe. The governors of the concerned Afghan provinces have stated more than once that unmarked helicopters are flying in the area. It should be noted that the sky over Afghanistan is controlled by the NATO coalition. Other reports have mentioned other forms of smuggling opiates.

Of course, we cannot verify such information to the dot, but it has been reported so regularly that we cannot ignore it. If combat aircraft were used in Afghanistan (as I mentioned, it could only be NATO aircraft), the flights could only be made by military or intelligence personnel. These circumstances should be investigated, first of all in the United States. The Americans have agencies that are in charge of monitoring compliance with American laws. Second, investigations should also be held in the country where military personnel are deployed, that is, Afghanistan. This is exactly what Zamir Kabulov said. By the way, established facts show that over the 20 years of the deployment of the US and other coalition members in Afghanistan the volume of drugs smuggled into other countries, including in Europe and our neighbours, as well as into Russia, has increased several times over. Neither the United States nor the other members of the NATO coalition are seriously fighting this drug business. By the way, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko noted in a recent report that there are opium poppy plantations right next to NATO bases. This is an established fact. And this is possibly not right from the viewpoint of the US stand on the drug business.

We have regularly tried to attract the UN Security Council’s attention to this issue when we listened to reports on NATO coalition operations in Afghanistan, and we also did this via bilateral channels when we urged our partners to combat the drug industry. They replied that the mandate of the NATO mission in Afghanistan did not include drugs, that it only stipulated counterterrorist activities. But it is a well-known fact that the drug business is used to finance terrorism and is the largest source of funds for terrorist organisations. You can reach your own conclusions. As I have pointed out, we take this problem very seriously.

QuestionA few hours after this meeting of the Primakov Readings is over, an extraordinary UN General Assembly session on combating the pandemic will begin at 10 am New York time. This session was convened by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). How important is this session? Who will represent Russia? Do you think the UN is late in responding to the pandemic? What do you think about the Non-Aligned Movement’s principles in these conditions?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course, we are aware that a special session of the UN General Assembly on the subject of COVID-19 will be convened upon the initiative of the Non-Aligned Movement chaired by Azerbaijan this year. It will take place a little later. Today, on July 10, the procedural registration of the rules to be used for convening the session begins, since amid the coronavirus infection, all remotely held events are subject to coordination in terms of their organisational and procedural aspects. Only this matter will be discussed today. The date for convening the special session itself has not yet been determined.

I don’t think we have any reason to believe that the UN is slow or late in responding to the coronavirus infection challenges. The UN General Assembly met twice some time ago at an early stage of this situation. Two resolutions were adopted which were dedicated to the international community’s goals in fighting the coronavirus infection. Most recently, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on COVID-19. We were unable to do this for a long time because the Americans strongly opposed mentioning the role of the World Health Organisation in the document. Eventually, we found words that allowed us to mention this role and to ensure consensus approval.

Let us remember that the World Health Assembly, by the way, with the participation of the Americans, held a special session in May. The WHA adopted a resolution supported by the US in which the WHO’s role was objectively reflected. It was agreed at that session that as soon as the pandemic and all major programmes are completed, an international assessment of the lessons we learned from the WHO’s work in this area would be made, but without pointing a finger at anyone. It is an objective scientific evaluation of independent professionals.

Of course, the Non-Aligned Movement is our close partner. We are a guest country that is regularly invited to NAM summits and ministerial meetings in this capacity. This body was created in a wholly different historical context at the height of the Cold War, when the developing countries that formed this movement wanted to emphasise the principle of neutrality with respect for the two military blocs. Nevertheless, the Non-Aligned Movement remains a significant factor in international politics even after the Cold War. I think this is good, since the attempts to cobble up certain blocks again (we have already discussed this today) continue. It is important that this neutrality, non-commitment and focus on advancing the principles of international law be preserved at the core of NAM activities.

By the way, another NAM summit was held in Baku in October 2019. We attended it as a guest. Important joint statements were agreed upon. We confirmed our support for strengthening multipolarity in the international arena and respect for the UN Charter principles. NAM statements in support of Palestine and Bolivia were adopted as well. Back then, these were important topics. We are interested in seeing our status in NAM help us actively work on issues of common interest.

Question: Did Dmitry Kozak give an ultimatum at the talks on the Minsk agreements, telling Kiev to draft amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine on the special status of Donbass as soon as possible? If so, why has this demand become so tough only now that these agreements are already five years old?

Sergey Lavrov: There were no demands or ultimatums. Working as Normandy format advisors, the assistants of the four leaders that are part of our Contact Group, we are trying to ensure, in cooperation with the OSCE, the direct dialogue that Kiev is required to conduct with Donetsk and Lugansk. Conceptually, we are striving for only one goal – we are asking our Ukrainian partners to reaffirm their full commitment to the Minsk agreements as they were drafted, signed and approved by the UN Security Council. When we are told that Kiev is committed to the Minsk agreements but that it is necessary to first establish control of the Ukrainian Army and border guards over the entire border, this has nothing to do with the Minsk agreements. This is a deliberate attempt to mislead the public. When we are told, at the top level, that the Minsk agreements must be preserved to continue the sanctions against Russia, we would like to know if Ukraine is primarily interested in these agreements because of the sanctions, why it signed them and whether it is still committed to what is written in them rather than this absolutely artificial and inadequate link with sanctions. The majority of EU members consider this link incoherent. This is an approach of principle. I talked with the foreign ministers of France and Germany. Mr Kozak spoke with his counterparts as well. We would like our French and German partners to continue to express their views about this as participants in the Normandy format. Every day, we hear Kiev’s official statements that simply discard the agreements that were reaffirmed by the UN Security Council after the talks in Minsk.

For all this, we continue to hold pragmatic conversation with a view to coordinating specific steps on promoting all aspects of the Minsk agreements: security, socio-economic, humanitarian and political issues. At the recent, fairly productive meeting of the leaders’ assistants of the Normandy format states, the participants reached a number of agreements on yet another detainee exchange, and the Contact Group’s security arrangements, including reconciliation of the texts of the orders that must be adopted by the parties to the conflict (Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk) and describe in detail the actions to be banned by these orders. These issues were agreed upon. The third negotiated item on the political agenda is the presentation by Ukraine of its vision of the document that will contain amendments to the Constitution to reflect the special status of Donbass fully in line with the Minsk agreements.

Understandings were reached in these three areas and were supposed to be formalised in the decisions of the Contact Group that ended its session the other day. In Minsk, the Ukrainian delegation disavowed everything that was agreed upon in Berlin. We noted this, and Deputy Chief of the Presidential Executive Office Dmitry Kozak sent a related message to his colleagues. So, this is no surprise at all. We have always insisted that the Minsk agreements must be carried out in full and with the due succession of actions. It’s not that we are losing patience, but patience helps when there is a clear understanding of what comes next. President Vladimir Zelensky came to power under a slogan of quick peace in Donbass. However, at this point, we have no idea what the attitude of his administration is to the actions that must be taken under the Minsk agreements.

Question: Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton writes in his memoirs that US President Donald Trump was unhappy about the sanctions over Salisbury and Syria. Did you hear about this? Is the agreement with the US on the exchange of top level visits still valid? Is Russia’s participation in the extended G7 format being considered?

Sergey Lavrov: I haven’t read John Bolton’s memoirs but I’m familiar with some parts of his book. Clearly, Mr Bolton has his own view of Russia-US relations, the US mission in the world, and America’s vision of the world order and what it should be. Apparently, every author wants his or her book to sell well (and in America practically every person writes a book after serving in the government for one or two years). To achieve this, it is necessary to make it interesting, and “hot issues” are helpful in this respect. I’ll leave all this on the conscience of Mr Bolton: both his presentation of this material and the spicy and sensitive details. I’ll also leave on his conscience his obvious embellishment of US actions in different situations.

Nobody has signed any agreements on exchanging top level visits because such an agreement implies a certain date for a visit, and the name of the city and geographical location. But nobody is discounting the possibility of such meetings, either. We are willing to work with the Americans at all levels and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has good relations with US President Donald Trump. From time to time, I talk with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. Our deputies also maintain a dialogue. So, if the Americans are interested, we do not see any obstacles. We don’t want our relations to be seen as some appendage to the election campaign and the tough actions taken by the sides as regards each other on the eve of the US election.

As for the G7, I think we have already said everything we wanted to say on this issue. Russia was a full member of the G8. The G8 did not meet in 2014 and not due to any action on our part. Our partners — Europe, North America and Japan — decided not to hold this event in full. This is their choice. President Vladimir Putin said in one of his comments that as before we will be happy to host the entire G8 in the Russian Federation. If our colleagues do not want this, love cannot be forced.

As for the G7, the list of countries invited to attend, as mentioned by US President Donald Trump, shows that the G7 can no longer accomplish much on its own. But even the countries that were mentioned will not make any radical change because the list is incomplete. We are convinced that the serious issues of the world and global finances can hardly be resolved effectively. Apparently, these reasons — the need to involve the main players in world financial, economic and commodity markets — have prompted the resumption and upgrade of activities in the G20. This is an inclusive mechanism that relies on consensus and the principles of equality. We believe the G20 format must obviously be preserved, encouraged and actively used if we want to talk about the underlying causes of current economic problems rather than their use in foreign policy disputes or any other sort of rhetoric.

Question: In Russia, they always say that they are ready to work with any president that is elected by the American people. Can you predict potential development of bilateral relations if former US Vice President Joe Biden wins? Do you think some analysts are correct in believing that he could revise some of President Donald Trump’s decisions, which do not benefit Russia, such as withdrawal from the INF Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty?

Sergey Lavrov: We do not comment on election campaigns. This is done by the media in all countries. The election campaign in the US is creating much interest in the entire world. This is understandable, but officially we proceed from the correct assumption that the choice of the head of state is up to the American people. This is a domestic US affair.

As for how this or that outcome might affect Russia-US relations, if we reason in a perfectly abstract way, we can quote some analysts that have commented on how this will influence disarmament talks. There is an opinion that is probably buttressed by some facts, that the Democrats are less prone than the Republicans to destroy the agreements on strategic stability and disarmament that had been reached over the past few decades. But we have not forgotten that a major anti-Russia campaign was launched during the Democratic administration of Barrack Obama. Many elements of this campaign, including sanctions, are now an element of bipartisan consensus. I don’t want to guess. This situation is unpredictable. Let me repeat, let the American people make their decision.

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights that is in charge, among other things, of monitoring elections, has conducted such monitoring remotely and distributed a report that was recently presented at the OSCE Permanent Council. The report contains many critical remarks about the correlation of election processes to American laws. I will not go into details. You can read this report yourself. But the report mentions, in particular, that for a variety of reasons at least 2 million US citizens are deprived of the right of the vote to which they are entitled by law. Interestingly, the report notes such a congenital defect in US election legislation, notably, a two-stage election process.

At first, people elect the Electoral College that later on chooses the president. The report also noted that the creation of the electoral districts is unfair to different ethnic groups. This is an indicative observation on behalf of the OSCE. We have spoken about this for a long time. I also recall that when Condoleezza Rice was US Secretary of State, she complained about our elections. I replied that if she had specific grievances, we had international and domestic observers and many other mechanisms and the entire process would be analysed. I reminded her that in the US a nominee can win a popular vote but a different candidate can be elected president because of different shares of votes in the electoral districts and the Electoral College. This is what happened in 2000 when the Florida votes were recounted for such a long time. Eventually, this process was stopped by the Supreme Court. George Bush Jr became US President and Alexander Gore accepted his defeat. Ms Rice told me then that they know this is a problem but this is their problem and they will settle it themselves. They probably will respond to the OSCE report in the same way.

As for the prospects and the projection of this or other decision on treaties, including the Open Skies Treaty, in line with the current schedule and its own announced decision on withdrawal, the US is supposed to end its participation in the treaty on November 22 or two and a half weeks after the election. No matter who becomes president, the new administration will assume its duties on January 20. Therefore, this decision will not likely be revised if the treaty expires. If the new administration, Democratic or Republican, decides to return to the treaty, the talks will have to be started from scratch. Therefore, at the extraordinary conference of the signatories of the Open Skies Treaty that was held online on July 6 of this year, we urged all remaining parties to the treaty to try and preserve it. We are prepared to continue with it but will take our final decision on whether we should remain part of it after analysing all consequences of the US decision on withdrawing from it, that is unlikely to be revised. It is final and irreversible as we are seeing, in my opinion. This is also confirmed by what happened with the INF Treaty. The decision was announced. This was followed by attempts at persuading them to keep it but to no avail.

But let me return to what I said in replying to one of the questions. We are ready for a situation where nothing will be left of arms control due to the US’s persistent line to throw all of these agreements out. But we are also prepared not to start from scratch but continue our contacts with the Americans on all strategic stability issues. I am confident that all members of the international community will support this approach. That said, we will keep the door open for multilateral talks as well. Let me repeat that these talks must rely on common understanding, voluntary participation and a balanced lineup of participants.

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