With Regard to War, Trump Doesn’t Talk the Talk or Walk the Walk

With Regard to War, Trump Doesn’t Talk the Talk or Walk the Walk

WAYNE MADSEN | 18.11.2018 |

With Regard to War, Trump Doesn’t Talk the Talk or Walk the Walk

Last week, Donald Trump disgraced himself before his French hosts, US and Allied military veterans, and the entire world by remaining inside the residence of the US ambassador to France and snubbing a memorial service for US dead in World War I.

Donald Trump, who is undoubtedly the least intelligent man to ever occupy the White House, failed to understand the importance of the 100th centenary observations in France held to mark the armistice that concluded World War I. At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the guns along the Western front in France fell silent. The war was entirely preventable but had been spurred on by nationalist fervor whipped up by kings, emperors, prime ministers, and foreign ministers who sent armies into battle to fight for the “honor” of their nations.

It was unbridled nationalism that led to World War I and it was nationalist feelings bent on revenge for being vanquished in World War I that ultimately led to World War II. Left unchecked, similar nationalist feelings being fanned today may lead to World War III.

The irony of World War I was that the monarchs of warring parties Britain, Russia, and Germany were all related. King George V of the United Kingdom was the first cousin of German Kaiser Wilhelm. King George and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia were also first cousins. And the Tsar and Kaiser were third cousins. Nevertheless, the nationalistic passions between Germany and its ally, the Austro-Hungarian Empire of the Habsburgs; Serbia and its protectors Russia and France; and the Ottoman Empire, allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary; and the United Kingdom, later allied with the United States led to the first modern world war.

In 1914, the ground was set for a conflagration. All that was needed to set off the tinderbox was a flame. That match was struck in 1914 when Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the heir to the Habsburg throne, and his wife, Duchess Sophie of Hohenberg, were assassinated in Sarajevo, in Austrian-ruled Bosnia, by a Serbian nationalist named Gavrilo Princip. Austria-Hungary not only blamed Serbia and a Serb terrorist group, the Black Hand, for carrying out the assassination but also implicated the Russian military attaché’s office in Belgrade, Serbia. Accusations that Serbia and Russia were behind the assassinations of the Archduke and Duchess were unfounded. Nevertheless, this “conspiracy theory” of 1914 eventually led to the direct deaths of almost 20 million people around the world. Add the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which is believed to have been spread by troops returning home from the war fronts, and the indirect war dead count climbs to an additional 100 million.

Compare the Sarajevo conspiracy theory of 1914 to several that exist today, including accusations that Russia perpetrated biological warfare attacks on individuals in England and that Russian forces shot down Malaysian Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine, and we see the same irresponsible allegations about state-sponsored acts of violence that triggered World War I. In 1914, warfare led to the use of chemical and, quite possibly, biological weapons. World War II, the cause of which is nested in World War I’s aftermath, led to the use of nuclear weapons. It is unthinkable what a World War III might lead to.

Since Russia was Serbia’s patron, the Austro-Hungarians believed Serbia’s protector, Russia, and even Romania were behind the assassination plot. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Since Russia and France were pledged to defend Serbia, they declared war on Austria-Hungary, prompting Germany to honor its alliance with the Habsburgs and declare war on Serbia, Russia, and France. Eventually, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Greece, and Britain entered the war in an alliance with Russia and France. The Ottoman Empire backed the Central Powers of Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Bulgaria. The United States entered the war in 1917 on the side of Britain and France.

For all the warring parties, “the other” meant their “nefarious” enemies. Extreme nationalism took an ugly turn. For the Austrians and Germans, “the other” was the “barbaric” Slavs. For the British, French, Russians, Italians, and, eventually, the Americans, “the other” was the “beastly” Germanic “Huns.” For the Ottoman Turks, “the other” was the nomadic, “uncivilized,” and “cruel” Arabs. The Greeks and Serbs, “the other” was the Ottomans Muslim “hordes” ready to re-occupy the Balkans and eradicate Christianity. And, so it went, until over 18 million military and civilian personnel were killed. World War I was the result of blaming “the other” for whatever atrocity could be conjured up by the propaganda machinery of the era. It was a case of extreme nationalism running rampant. At the end of the conflict, the royal houses of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire fell, but the nationalistic blame game continued.

Aspirant peoples, with nationalism as their trumpet, rose from the battlefields of World War I to demand independence. Some of these nations, including Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia), were recognized at Versailles. Others, like Kurdistan, the Emirate of Darfur, the Dervish State of Somaliland, Tuareg Confederation, Zayan Confederation of the Berbers, the Emirate of Jabal Shammar (moderate rivals of the Saudis), Balochistan, and Vietnam, were not granted independence, a decision that would lead to war outbreaks later in the 20th century.

At the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, statesmen, including US President Woodrow Wilson, gathered to draw new borders, grant aspirant nations their independence, and establish an international body – the League of Nations – to serve as a place for dialogue to prevent war. However, the Treaty of Versailles also, inadvertently, laid the ground for World War II. Wilson could never convince the isolationist “America Firsters” in the Republican Party to commit the United States to membership of the League of Nations. America’s absence from the League denied the organization the universality it desired. Today, President Donald Trump is ripping up treaty after treaty, withdrawing from various United Nations agencies and agreements, and sending troops to the US southern border to meet a bogus threat that Central American asylum seekers are planning an “invasion” of the United States. Trump, who fancies himself as an American “nationalist,” has seen “the other” in women and children escaping political violence and economic stagnation in countries where dictators and death squads are propped up by the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency.

Brutal reparations demanded from Germany by the victorious Allies at Versailles, as well as German disarmament, gave rise to someone who would blame “the other” for Germany’s miseries, which were accentuated by the economic depression of the 1920s.

For Adolf Hitler, a wounded veteran of the “war to end all wars,” “the other” was the “Jews,” aided and abetted by Bolsheviks and “international bankers.” Hitler blamed them all for Germany’s surrender in World War I and its subsequent economic collapse. The world failed to learn the lessons of World War I.

At a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris to mark the 1918 armistice, French President Emmanuel Macron told the collected world leaders, including an uncomfortable Trump, that “patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.” Macron hosted a November 11-13 Paris Peace Forum for 84 world leaders in Paris for the World War I centenary. They included Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Moroccan King Mohammed VI, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The forum’s itinerary, including a keynote speech by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, touched on topics ranging from climate change and rising nationalism to abusive corporations and human rights.

In addition to skipping a ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery outside of Paris, where the remains of thousands of American soldiers who died at the Battle of Belleau Wood are buried, Trump boycotted the Paris Peace Forum.

Trump, like the doomed monarchs of early 20th century Europe, the fascist dictators who rose to power in the interbellum period, and the tyrants of today, blames “the other” for everything he can imagine.

Trump wanted nothing to do with the Paris Peace Forum. His former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is finalizing plans, along with Belgian, French, German, Austrian, Brazilian, British, white South African and Rhodesian, Hungarian, Serbian, Canadian, Australian, and fascisti Italian far-right wingers, to establish a Fascist International, called “The Movement,” in Brussels early next year. It is among these far-right wing politicians where Trump will feel most at home. One hundred years after the end of World War I, we should all have progressed to a point where we no longer pay heed to the Trumps, Bannons, and others who find always find blame in “the other.”

Decoding the hypersonic Putin on a day of remembrance

Image result for end of World War I, Putin and Trump
November 14, 2018Decoding the hypersonic Putin on a day of remembrance

Sitting alongside French President Macron during the 100th anniversary to commemorate the end of World War I, Putin and Trump stole the show in Paris

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with The Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

The Elysee Palace protocol was implacable. Nobody in Paris would be allowed to steal the spotlight away from the host, President Emmanuel Macron, during the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day marking the end of World War I.

After all, Macron was investing all his political capital as he visited multiple World War I battlefields while warning against the rise of nationalism and a surge in right-wing populism across the West. He was careful to always place the emphasis on praising “patriotism.”

A battle of ideas now rages across Europe, epitomized by the clash between the globalist Macron and populism icon Matteo Salvini, the Italian interior minister. Salvini abhors the Brussels system. Macron is stepping up his defense of a “sovereign Europe.”

And much to the horror of the US establishment, Macron proposes a real “European army” capable of autonomous self-defense side by side with a “real security dialogue with Russia.”

Yet all these “strategic autonomy” ideals collapse when you must share the stage, live, with the undisputed stars of the global show: President Donald  Trump and President Vladimir Putin.

So the optics in Paris were not exactly of a Yalta 2.0 conference. There were no holds barred to keep Trump and Putin apart. Seating arrangements featured, from left to right, Trump, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Macron, his wife Brigitte and Putin. Neither Trump nor Putin, for different reasons, took part in a “walking in the rain” stunt evoking peace.

And yet they connected. Sir Peter Cosgrove, the governor general of Australia, confirmed that Trump and Putin, at a working lunch, had a “lively and friendly” conversation for at least half an hour.

No one better than Putin himself to reveal, even indirectly, what they really talked about. Three themes are absolutely key.

On the Macron-proposed, non-NATO European army: “Europe is … a powerful economic union and it is only natural that they want to be independent and … sovereign in the field of defense and security.”

On the consequences of such an army: It would be “a positive process” that would “strengthen the multipolar world.” On top of it, Russia’s position “is aligned with that of France.”

On relations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Washington: “It is not us who are going to withdraw from the INF Treaty. It is the Americans who plan to do that.” Putin added that Moscow has not scheduled military drills near NATO borders as an attempt to appease an already tense situation. Yet Russia has “no issue with” NATO drills and expects at least a measure of dialogue in the near future.

Enter the Avangard

Vast sectors of the US Deep State are in denial, but Putin may have been able to impress on Trump the necessity of serious dialogue due to an absolutely key vector: the Avangard.

The Avangard is a Russian hypersonic glide vehicle capable of flying over Mach 20 –  24,700km/h, or 4 miles per second – and one of the game-changing Russian weapons Putin announced at his ground-breaking March 1 speech.

The Avangard has been in the production assembly line since the summer of 2018, and is due to become operational in the southern Urals by the end of next year or early 2019.

In the near future, the Avangard may be launched by the formidable  Sarmat RS-28 intercontinental ballistic missile and reach Washington in a mere 15 minutes, flying in a cloud of plasma “like a meteorite” – even if the launch is from Russian territory. Serial production of Sarmat ICBMs starts in 2021.

The Avangard simply cannot be intercepted by any existing system on the planet – and the US knows it. Here is General John Hyten, head of US Strategic Command:  “We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us.”

Iran as the new Serbia?

I wish I had been in Paris – my home in Europe – to follow these concentric World War I–related plots live. But it was no less fascinating to follow them from Islamabad, where I am now, back from the northern part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The British Empire used 1.5 million to 2 million Indian colonial subjects to fight, and die, for empire in that war. Quite a few were Punjabis, from what is now Pakistan.

As for the future, Trump is certainly aware of Russia’s hypersonic breakthroughs. Trump and Putin also talked about Syria, and might have touched on Iran, although no one at the working lunch leaked anything about it.

Assuming the dialogue continues at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires at the end of November, Putin might be able to impress on Trump that just as Serbia catalyzed a chain of events that led great powers to sleepwalk into World War I, the same could happen with Iran leading to the terrifying prospect of World War III.

Team Trump’s obsession on strangling Iran into economic submission is a no-go, even for the Macron-Merkel-led European Union. On top of it, the Russia-China strategic partnership simply won’t allow any funny – reckless – games to be played against a crucial node of Eurasia integration.

Putin won’t even need to go hypersonic to make his case to Trump.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

The text below is a full version of the anlysis entitled “Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict“, which was originally released by SouthFront on October 10, 2018:

Introduction

In the Department of Defense authored summary of the National Defense Strategy of the United States for 2018, Secretary James Mattis quite succinctly sets out the challenges and goals of the U.S. military in the immediate future. Importantly, he acknowledges that the U.S. had become far too focused on counter-insurgency over the past two decades, but he seems to miss the causation of this mission in the first place. U.S. foreign policy, and its reliance on military intervention to solve all perceived problems, regime change and imperialist adventurism, resulted in the need to occupy nations, or destroy them. This leads to the growth of insurgencies, and the strengthening of long simmering religious radicalism and anti-western sentiment in the Middle East and Central Asia. The U.S. military willfully threw itself headlong into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The United States engaged in unnecessary wars, and when these wars were easily won on the immediate battlefield, the unplanned for occupations lead to guerilla insurgencies that were not so easy for a conventional military to confront. The U.S. Army was not prepared for guerilla warfare in urban areas, nor for the brutal and immoral tactics that their new enemies were willing to engage in. They obviously had not reflected upon the Soviet experience in Afghanistan, nor the nature of their new enemies. As casualties mounted due to roadside IEDs, snipers, and suicide bombers hidden amongst civilians, the U.S. military and the defense industry were forced to find ways to protect soldiers and make vehicle less vulnerable to these types of attacks. This resulted in vehicles of every description being armored and new IED resistant vehicles being designed and fielded in large numbers. This in turn, equated to a vast amount of time, effort and money. It also focused both the U.S. military services and the defense industry away from fighting conventional wars against peer adversaries.

After a decade of fighting an insurgency in Afghanistan and almost as long in Iraq, the U.S. leadership decided to destroy the sovereign nation of Libya, and foment a war in Syria immediately afterward. There is no doubt with the knowledge of historic events today, that the CIA and State Department facilitated a foreign invasion of Syria of Islamist radicals. They funded and armed these groups, provided clandestine training, and facilitated the logistical movement of fighters and weapons into a sovereign nation to cause its disintegration. In these two examples they decided not to occupy these countries, but to destroy all semblance of ordered society and replace it with brutally violent chaos. The U.S. political and military leadership seems to have learned that their past adventurism resulted in costly occupations, yet instead of refraining from using the military option as a tool to alter geopolitical realities they did not like, they merely opted to abandon the responsibility of occupation and reconstruction all together.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

Benghazi, Libya. An example of democratic progress and stability in North Africa courtesy of U.S. led “humanitarian intervention”.

While Secretary Mattis describes the “near peer” nations China and Russia as “revisionist powers”, it was not these nations that made the irresponsible and reckless decisions that have weakened the U.S. military establishment, nor aim to revise the ill-conceived and executed catastrophes of their American “peers”. They have reached a state of military and technological parity with, and in many cases a position of superiority vis a vis the United States, because they exercised better judgement over the past two decades, invested their time, talent and treasure in developing powerful conventional and nuclear forces, and refrained from using their national defense assets to punish their perceived adversaries in such a way that more damage was caused to themselves. In many ways, the poor example of the United States and its ill-conceived military expeditions, influenced both Russia and China to advance along different paths. Now, without recognizing and acknowledging the failures of leadership and decision making that have lead the U.S. military to a weakened state, the United States has declared that it is now in a period of strategic competition with the two other strongest kids on the block.

In order to understand how Secretary Mattis has come to such a declaration, we have to look at the U.S. military decisions, actions, mistakes, and failures of leadership at the highest levels that have brought us to this point. A brief analysis of the resultant metamorphosis of the United States military from a robust and balanced conventional fighting force, backed up by a viable nuclear deterrent into a force obsessed with occupation and counterinsurgency must be conducted. This must be followed by a study of how the U.S. military has decided to invest its extensive funding, the weapons systems it has pursued, and how it envisions that it is best suited to protect the national security interests of the state. Finally, a comparison must be conducted of the capabilities of its declared strategic adversaries. A conclusion can then be made regarding the ability of the United States military to successfully engage and defeat these adversaries in a future conflict.

Imperial Expansion, Regime Change and Occupation

When the Soviet Union dissolved in December of 1991, a global power vacuum was immediately created. Regardless of the many assurances given to the Gorbachev government (which were finally revealed in the December 2017 National Security Archive releases of official NATO correspondence) that NATO would not expand and that the former Soviet federated states would be included in the established European economic and security apparatus, the United States immediately embarked on a policy of NATO expansion and economic exploitation of post-Soviet territories.

Just scant months earlier, the United States deployed military forces to Saudi Arabia as the backbone of an international coalition to confront and reverse the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. This resulted in Operation Desert Shield, the greatest deployment of combined military forces on the part of the U.S. military since the Vietnam War. By January of 1991, not even a month since the U.S.S.R. ceased to be, Operation Desert Shield transitioned to Operation Desert Storm, with the invasion of Iraq and Kuwait. The conventional military power utilized by the U.S. was greatly effective, and most combat systems worked extremely well on the battlefield. Air superiority was soon absolute, as the Iraqi Air Force largely left the skies uncontested. The great success of Operation Desert Storm largely gave the military planners of the Pentagon a false sense of superiority, which as we shall see, led to a number of wrong assumptions and poor decisions being made regarding the future development and transformation of the U.S. military.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

M1A2 Abrams tank platoon advancing during Operation Desert Storm. The armored combat vehicles of the U.S. Army proved very effective against a far inferior opponent in this conflict, yet they proved capable and reliable. Logistical requirements; however, did prove to be a challenge.

The first post-Cold War military “humanitarian intervention” conducted by the U.S. was the Yugoslavian civil conflict interdiction of 1995. Predicated upon escalating ethnic atrocities, the NATO intervention was actually designed to make the fracturing of the former Yugoslavian Republic permanent, and to establish a number of pro-NATO, or pro-U.S.-Atlantic establishment nations on the Balkan periphery of Russia. Slovenia became a NATO member state in 2004, followed by Croatia in 2009, and then Montenegro in 2017. At the same time that a civil war was raging in the former Republic of Yugoslavia, the U.S. and its Gulf State allies fomented and aided Islamic insurgencies in the Caucasus Republics of the newly comprised Russian Federation in an attempt to further weaken and encircle it. At the conclusion of U.S. intervention in the Balkans, which included the deployment of U.S. ground forces as part of multiple NATO-led operations including Operation Joint Endeavor, Operation Joint Guard and Joint Forge in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the Kosovo Force (KFOR), the United States would de facto create the statelet of Kosovo. As many as 43,000 NATO troops were serving as part of these operations at any given time between 1995 and 2002.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

U.S. Camp Bondsteel in the U.S. sponsored protectorate of Kosovo located in southwestern Serbia. The intervention in Kosovo had nothing to do with humanitarian concerns as usual, but in establishing a permanent military foothold in the Balkans.

As I have described and explained in an earlier analysis entitled “U.S. Army Armored Vehicle Developments in the 21st Century; The Future Combat System gives way to Mobile Protected Firepower”, although the U.S. military leadership was pleased with the performance of its legacy armored vehicles and weapons systems in both Operation Desert Storm and its Operation Joint Endeavor, it was not satisfied with the amount of time required to deploy large combined Arms units via available sealift and airlift capacity. The complex logistics involved in mobilizing and moving heavy armored units does not lend well to rapid deployments, especially over significant distances. Even pre-deployment of heavy armored equipment, either in host countries or loaded in sealift vessels kept on stand-by at forward deployed bases (such as Diego Garcia) or berthed at major seaports of the continental United States, present a whole host of logistical challenges.

The desire to streamline U.S. military logistics, and to create a fighting force that was more rapidly deployable, flexible and yet maintained the highest levels of lethality, and that leveraged advanced information technologies and communications systems led to the genesis of the Future Combat System (FCS). Embracing the FCS concept, the Army set very high deployment goals, which would prove to be unattainable. General Eric Shinseki, then Chief of Staff of the Army, stated that the Army would strive to attain the ability to deploy a combat brigade anywhere in the world within 96 hours, a full division within 120 hours, and no less than five divisions in 30 days. Then Secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld was a vocal supporter of the FCS concept. The U.S. Army would eventually pursue the FCS program, the largest defense acquisition program in U.S. military history with a price tag of approximately $200 billion USD. The program was eventually cancelled in 2009, yet its influence in transforming the U.S. Army have proven substantial, and have had a negative influence on the Army’s ability to fight near peer adversaries in today’s warfighting environment.

The United States military would become a force for invasion and occupation during the Neo-Con era spanning from 2000 to the present. BY 2003, the U.S. was once again invading Iraqi territory, this time during Operation Iraqi Freedom. By this time the U.S. Army had partially realized some aspects of FCS, mainly in the area of rapidly deploying combat ready forces of the Brigade size. Operation Iraqi Freedom was envisioned as a rapid invasion utilizing highly mobile, self-contained, combined-arms combat teams supported by overwhelming airpower. The Iraqi military was far weaker in 2003 than it had been in 1991. It was a shadow of its former self and had been repeatedly targeted over the intervening decade, especially its air-defense and command and control networks. A combined ground force of approximately 148,000 men was deployed and ready for offensive operations in approximately a month and a half. Ground operations of the invasion lasted from March 20th until May 1st, 2003. The initial victory was impressive, but it soon became quite obvious that there was no realistic and pragmatic plan to occupy the country and render aid to a stable and capable new government.

What followed was a time of crisis for the U.S. military. When the U.S. soldiers were not greeted as liberators, and a number of organized and ruthless anti-occupation insurgencies formed, some motivated my patriotism, some my tribal and religious factions, and still others by terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, the soldiers tasked with the occupation of Iraq were woefully unprepared for the task asked of them. U.S. troops deployed to a nation whose minimal civil infrastructure they had just destroyed, were tasked with reconstruction and nation building in a country producing a growing anti-occupation insurgency on many different levels. Convoys and patrols were increasingly the targets of ambushes by insurgents operating along key roadways and within urban centers. Light vehicles and military transports were targeted and destroyed in significant numbers, and the crews had no protection from weapons ranging from small arms and RPGs to extremely powerful improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The Bush administration at the time, who had claimed that the U.S. troops would be widely embraced as liberators, began to scramble for ways to reduce the mounting U.S. casualties. The answer was to add armored protection to all existing vehicles, whether they be HMMWVs, or the LMTVs and HEMMTs of the logistics units. Adding armor to logistical support vehicles not meant to see front line combat greatly reduced their fuel efficiency (of great importance in the logistics arm) and was only accomplished at great cost. The U.S. Army only had one armored security vehicle in active service at this time, the M1117, albeit in small numbers. The decision was made to armor the ubiquitous HMMWV and to give it the tasks of armored patrol, internal security and crowd control vehicle. The HMMWV was designed and used quite effectively as a light utility vehicle and had always performed well in such a role; however, it was never intended for the roles it was called upon to perform after 2003.

An Obsession with MRAPs

A number of different armor packages were developed for the HMMWV, mainly to increase the likelihood of crew survivability. The armored Hummer was merely a stopgap until purpose-built armored vehicles could be developed and fielded in greater numbers. Although effective against high caliber small arms, shrapnel and mines, the M1117 was fielded in very limited numbers in 2003 with military police units, mostly in security duties on U.S. military installations. Large orders of the vehicle were placed after the 2003 Iraq invasion, and the number grew from approximately 50 to over 1,800 units in active service.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

M1117 at the head of a column of HMMWVs and an LMTV halted along a road in Iraq sometime after the 2003 invasion.

The U.S. military enlisted the help of both the U.S. and international defense industry to produce an armored vehicle that could better serve the needs of an army now faced with occupying not only one rebellious nation, but two. Between 2003 and 2007, the U.S. military would suffer increasing casualties in both the Iraq and Afghanistan theatres of occupation. In the case of Afghanistan, casualties would continue to increase until 2010 before decreasing over consecutive years. Most of these casualties were the result of ambushes with IEDs. Such attacks increased six fold from 2003 to 2007.

The DOD would award billions of dollars in contracts for Mine Resistant Ambushed Protected vehicles (MRAP) between 2003 and the present. The total acquisition cost of the various MRAPs ordered and put into service conservatively exceeds $45 billion USD. The U.S. military has no less than seven different types of MRAPs in service as of today, more than any other nation by far. As the U.S. has reduced its active footprint in both Afghanistan and Iraq, it has sold many of these vehicles to local security forces, and even U.S. domestic police forces, as they are of little use on a contested battlefield where the U.S. military would be fighting a conventional conflict with a powerful adversary. The following list details the main types of MRAPS in use by the U.S. military and costs associated:

M-ATV

The genesis of the MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) was the desire to gain both the IED level protection of an MRAP and the mobility of a lighter all-terrain vehicle. It was realized early on that the armored M1114 HMMWV variant sacrificed much of its off road performance with the addition of heavy armor plate, yet failed to provide adequate protection. A purpose-built light MRAP was called for. Oshkosh Corporation was awarded the initial $1 billion USD contract to supply the new M-ATV to the U.S. Army, USMC, Air Force and Special Operations Command (which employs special operations elements of all the military services) in mid-2009. The initial contract order grew four fold within a few years, and total M-ATVs produced to date has approached 10,000 units of different variants. The acquisition cost not corrected for inflation likely exceeds $4 billion USD, and additional contracts have been awarded to update and refit all units retained in U.S. service. Many units have since been handed over to allied governments in the Middle East and Europe at far reduced prices. NATO recipients include both Poland and Croatia.  Both the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia have made use of the M-ATV in the conflict in Yemen, and have lost a significant number in combat.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

Comparative size of the armored HMMWV and the M-ATV. The ubiquitous “Hummer” was never meant to be an armored car, and hundreds were destroyed by IEDs in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cougar

The Cougar is a much more robust vehicle than the M-ATV, resembling a heavily armored truck. It comes in a 4 x 4 and larger 6 x 6 version, with several variants based on these two platforms, depending on the intended role. The Cougar was developed by Force Protection, Inc. in 2004. The company was later acquired by General Dynamics in 2011. The Cougar was rushed into service after a very simple and rudimentary testing program in 2004, as the U.S. military wanted thousands of MRAPs for service in Iraq as soon as possible. The Cougar can trace its lineage to earlier South African designed and fielded vehicles, and was also adopted into British and Canadian service as well.

The Cougar was produced in great numbers between 2004 and 2010 for the U.S. military, with further orders filled by the British military, who have fielded the Cougar in at least 4 different variants. A number of Cougars have also be gifted to other NATO countries with contingents serving in Afghanistan. The U.S. military spent approximately $2.5-3.0 billion USD to acquire its Cougars, and additional funds have been spent to upgrade the roughly 20% of the surviving fleet selected to remain in service.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

British Army variants of the 4×4 and 6×6 Cougar (Mastiff and Ridgeback) in a convoy protecting military transports in Afghanistan.

Caiman

Probably the most cost effective MRAP to be developed to meet the requirements of the MRAP Vehicle Program is the Armor Holdings (since acquired by BAE Systems) Caiman. The Caiman initially shared 85% of its construction components with the Stewart & Stevenson/Oshkosh family of military tactical vehicles (FMTV). This family of light to medium trucks have been produced since the early 1980s, with over 74,000 units of varying configuration put into service. This commonality of construction reduced manufacturing, maintenance and inventory carrying costs. The total cost of the Caiman contract (including a later contract to upgrade and improve vehicles to the Multi-Terrain Vehicle standard) amounted to over $1.15 billion USD. The United States sold 1,150 Caiman MRAPs that had been put in surplus status to the U.A.E. to aid in their operations in Yemen.

MaxxPro

Manufactured by Navistar Defense, a subsidiary of the Navistar International Corporation, the MaxxPro MRAP is based on a commercial truck chassis and makes use of a bolt-on armor construction as much as possible. This reduces manufacturing cost when compared to welded construction, and allows for easier repair in the field. Approximately 9,000 MaxxPro MRAPs were built for the U.S. Army, Marine Corps and Air Force. At an average per unit cost of $515,000 USD, the Maxxpro cost the United States military over $4.6 billion USD, not counting a number of upgrade contracts. Of the 9,000 units constructed and delivered, the U.S. military services announced in 2013 the intension of keeping only a third of these units in service beyond 2014.

Buffalo MPRC

The largest MRAP in the U.S. inventory, the Buffalo was designed as an IED and mine clearance vehicle. Manufactured by Force Protection Inc., it is based on the Casspir MRAP that has been in service with the South African Army for decades. The Buffalo in a 6×6 armored vehicle with a maximum service weight of 25,000 kgs. (56,000 lbs.). After building the first 200 units, the Buffalo was upgraded to the A2 standard in 2009, after which an additional 450 units were produced. Over 750 total Buffalos have been produced in total, with 650 of these in service with the U.S. military at a cost of over $1 billion USD.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

Force Protection Buffalo IED and Mine Clearance MRAP removing an explosive devise by use of its articulated, hydraulically-operated claw.

The Buffalo’s origins are clearly a response to the dangers posed by a prolonged military occupation in an environment of active guerilla warfare. It was based on a proven design, and has been extremely effective in its intended role. The traditional vehicle for mine clearance or IED disposal would normally be an MBT fitted with mine clearance apparatus. The Buffalo is cheaper to manufacture, maintain and operate than an MBT, and is slightly more flexible in a multitude of environments. It also can accommodate 12 soldiers in addition to a normal crew of two.

Nyala RG-31/33

Manufactured by Land Systems OMC (BAE Land Systems) of South Africa and FNSS of Turkey, the RG-31/33 NyalaMRAP is produced in a 4×4 (RG-31) and 6×6 (RG-33) version to meet the requirements of the Mine Resistant Ambushed Protected Vehicle Program. Although used by the U.S. military in the highest numbers (almost 2,000 vehicles), ten other nations use this MRAP to some degree. The USMC ordered 1,385 of the Mark 5E variant, and operate more RG-31s than any other military service. The total cost of RG-31/33 acquisition is easily in excess of $2.7 billion USD.

JLTV

The most ambitious of all of the MRAP programs, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) is meant to replace the HMMWV in use by all of the U.S. military branches. Although the design of the new vehicle is meant to allow it to exceed at a number of military tasks, it is at its core a mine resistant, ambush protected vehicle. The JLTV is suited to take over the tasks of light armored reconnaissance, armored security, special operations, utility and convoy protection. The JLTV is meant to be flexible enough to perform all of these tasks and its very design allows for the upgrading or downgrading of armor and weapons systems tailored to the task required.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated in 2015 that the total acquisition cost of the JLTV across all services would likely be $53.5 billion USD, with a total of 5,500 units for the UMC and 49,099 for the U.S. Army requested. In 2016, the Department of Defense claimed that the total cost of the program would be reduced due to revised unit costs and corrected “cost estimate methodologies”; however, past experience has proven that the Pentagon is usually quite bad when it comes to managing finances. The procurement timetable proposed has the first JLTVs being delivered beginning in 2018, and not being completed until 2040 for the U.S. Army. The 5,500 units requested by the USMC should be delivered between 2018 and 2022.

The JLTV program clearly embodies the U.S. military’s fixation on its experiences in both Iraq and Afghanistan with occupation and the resultant insurgencies motivated by inevitable anti-U.S. and anti-Western sentiments. Invaders are never seen as liberators, but always as subjugators and occupiers. Occupiers are never safe, as the frontline is everywhere. The U.S. military reacted to protect itself by armoring everything. Light utility vehicles and logistics transport of all categories were armored for protection. Only a nation that plans to invade and occupy other countries, and that will find itself always in a hostile environment will require so many MRAPs and armored transports. No other major military in the world has decided to follow this new U.S. model. Perhaps that is due to the fact that the main duty of their armed forces is to fight defensively in defending their own territory. Armies of national defense have no need to prepare themselves to fight a hostile native population.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

A side-by-side comparison of an unarmored HMMWV and an armored JLTV. The new vehicle is twice as heavy as the standard HMMWV.

The JLTV is an armored, all-terrain monster that can carry a payload between 1,600 and 2,300 kgs. (3,500 – 5,100 lbs.), weapons as large as the SHORAD (Short Range Air Defense variant of the Hellfire missile) or the 30mm M230LF automatic cannon, and provide crew survivability in most IED attacks. The DOD has decided to replace both MRAPs and the HMMWV family of utility vehicles with the new JLTV platform. The JLTV is equipped with a 6.6 liter diesel V8 which can generate at least 300 horse power. The vehicle weighs in at between 14,000 and 15,639lbs. depending on the variant. By comparison, the unarmored HMMWV weighed in at 7,700 lbs. fully loaded and made use of a diesel V8 (some models used a turbo diesel) generating a maximum 190 hp. Even considering greater efficiencies achieved through modern internal combustion engine technology, a vehicle that weighs twice as much and requires greater horsepower will lead to higher fuel consumption and require higher levels of maintenance.

Counter Insurgency

Not only did the U.S. military experience with occupation and counterinsurgency shape the armored vehicle procurement projects and design priorities of future armored vehicle acquisitions, but it also resulted in an over-focusing of resources toward a traditionally elite, limited and specialized subset of conventional fighting forces; special operations. All effective modern national defense forces operate a small cadre of special operations units. These units are made up of highly motivated, highly trained and highly skilled soldiers who can perform any number of military tasks, but are specifically focused on asymmetrical, hybrid and very specialized warfare subsets. They complement and enhance conventional fighting forces, and often act as significant force multipliers in any conflict.

Prior to the U.S. wars of occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States operated a robust special operations force comprising of units from all services. The considerable investment in these highly selective forces, the high standards demanded, and the extremely difficult training requirements have always kept these forces small; however this has changed a great deal over the past 17 years. The need for soldiers with a skill set specific to counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan lead to increased focus and demand on special operations. From 2001 to the present, the special operations forces under the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) have expanded from 42,800 to approximately 63,500 today. Special operations specific funding has grown four fold in the same time period, from $3.1 billion USD to $12.3 billion USD. According to SOCOM, an average of 8,300 special operators are deployed in missions in as many as 149 nations across the globe on a weekly basis, and 70 nations on any given day.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

U.S. Special Operations Command has access to uniquely qualified units from across all branches of the U.S. military.

There is little doubt that the Pentagon’s over-focus on counterinsurgency (the State Department is guilty here as well) has lead to U.S. military adventurism involving it in the internal conflicts of 75% of the countries of the world. Does this clandestine military involvement in the civil or regional strife of most of the planet really have anything to do with U.S. national security? Does it make the U.S. any safer, or is it only creating more enemies? SOCOM has even deployed assets to clandestinely train amongst the civilian population of the United States itself, a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.

This disproportional over-emphasis on special operations has resulted in an atrophying of more traditional martial structures and establishments. While the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have stayed at the forefront of modern armor and artillery development, and have advanced the related tactics, the United States has fallen far behind. Even the Peoples Liberation Army has made great strides in these conventional warfare realms in comparison to the United States. The United States surely has the economic resources, and the technical capability to close the gap, but the focus of the military needs to be realigned toward conventional warfighting.

Secretary Mattis has obviously recognized the need to focus higher procurement towards conventional forces, as well as fund R&D efforts into better field artillery, rocket artillery, armored fighting vehicles such as the AMPV, and a new main battle tank (MBT). In identifying near peer adversaries as the greatest national security threat, Secretary Mattis realizes that the U.S. must waste no time in closing the technological and quality gap that now exists between the conventional fighting forces of the United States and Russia and China respectively.

A Navy in Disarray

While the ground forces of the United States have suffered from two decades of occupation and counterinsurgency, which has morphed them from a balanced, combined arms conventional fighting force, into a force obsessed with IEDs, insurgents and guerilla warfare, the U.S. Navy seems to have lost any idea of its national security role. After two decades of enjoying uncontested control of the seas and the ability to use aircraft carrier-borne airstrikes to pummel inferior adversaries, none of which possessed a viable navy or air force, nor a modern air defense network or shore-based anti-naval capability, the U.S. Navy has seemed determined to sail further into the realm of irrelevancy in any future conflict. Unless it intends to engage in battle against significantly weaker opponents, the U.S. Navy will not possess an advantage over its two most powerful possible adversaries, Russia and China.

The United States Navy has not engaged in a major naval engagement with a major adversary since the closing days of World War Two. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union largely kept one another at bay, with very close competition leading to significant advancements in naval warfare. They did not engage in any verified hostile actions. Although the U.S. Navy engaged in combat with Libyan military forces in 1986 in the Gulf of Sidra, as well as sunk a small force of Iraqi Navy vessels of small displacement at the “Battle of Bubiyan” (not really much of a battle at all and UK Navy helicopters did most of the fighting), these engagements were largely one-sided and no one could ever say that the outcomes were a surprise. Regardless, the U.S. Navy apparently has decided that it is an indomitable force that can go wherever it pleases and no one can stand in its way. Such hubris and arrogance are one of the reasons why it is in such poor shape today. The other reason must surely be attributed to a military industrial complex that has sold the service on an expensive pipe dream of wonder weapons that have failed to live up to their hype. All to the tune of huge profits. The following are the most egregious examples:

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)

Based on a flawed concept from the start, of a small surface combatant that could make use of modularity to tailor it to specific tasks as opposed to a traditional multi-purpose design, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) was largely doomed for a number of reasons. Two different designs were awarded contracts, the trimaran Independence Class designed by General Dynamics, and the mono-hull Freedom Class designed by Lockheed Martin. The decision to produce two different designs to meet the needs of a single class should have been seen as problematic. Here the Navy accepted the responsibility and costs associated with maintaining two different platforms, with separate maintenance needs and schedules, not to mention two separate training programs for LCS crews.

The concept of the LCS was also divergent in many respects, and quite frankly, too much was expected of a ship that was smaller in size than a conventional frigate. The U.S. Navy expected the vessels to marry significant striking power, with modularity tailored to just about every form of modern naval warfare, and new networking and information technologies that would reduce the required crew to a minimum. What resulted was what those serving in the force would begrudgingly coin the “Little Crappy Ship”. The aluminum and composite (Independence Class) and lightweight steel (Freedom Class) hulls of the ships provide little armored protection, offensive striking power is far from adequate for either surface warfare or fire support for forces deployed inland, the platform has yet to meet anti-submarine requirements, and the reduced crew size has been determined to be unmanageable.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

This image of the construction of USS Independence LCS-2, clearly illustrates the aluminum structure of the hull. Aluminum offers little armored protection, burns vigorously at high temperature, and led to increased corrosion of steal propulsion components in areas where the dissimilar metals were in close proximity below the waterline.

As a result of its overwhelming failure to meet the expectations of the U.S. Navy or Congressional oversight, the total fleet size of LCS vessels has been reduced from the original 50 planned down to 32. Project cost overruns, a number of high profile system failures, and the smaller fleet size have resulted in a total cost of $12.4 billion USD for the first 26 vessels. The U.S. Congress capped the per-unit cost at $480 million per ship, bringing the theoretical total cost to $15.5 billion USD. All for a ship that has a minimal chance of surviving most modern naval combat scenarios. There is little wonder why the U.S. Navy has decided to start building a multi-purpose frigate, dubbed the FFG(X), to pick up where the LCS has failed.

 DDG 1000 Zumwalt Class

If the LCS was not a huge and unequivocal disappointment, then the much vaunted stealth destroyer, the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class was a total embarrassment and unmitigated failure.  Envisioned as a high-tech game changer, the DDG-1000 was supposed to make use of powerful new technologies, overwhelming firepower, and massive power generation, all wrapped in stealth that would render it invisible. Although designed as a multi-mission surface combatant, added emphasis was put on naval surface fire support (NSFS) while operating in littoral waters. Due to a number of factors, mostly the exorbitant cost of the program, the Navy is now trying to find a role for the Zumwaltclass vessels.

Originally, the Navy intended to build 32 of these stealth destroyers, yet the exorbitant initial cost plus huge cost overruns led the Navy and the U.S. Congress to reduce the fleet to 24, then 16, then 7, and finally to only 3 vessels. Correspondingly, the cost per vessel increased tremendously, as did the cost of all class-specific systems including weapons systems, power generation and propulsion systems. Cost per vessel stands at over $7.5 billion USD.

The 155mm Mark 51 advanced gun system (AGS) deck guns designed specifically for the DDG 1000s were made to fire guided rounds over a range in excess of 80 nautical miles, with a circular error probable (CEP) of just 50 meters (160ft.). Each DDG 1000 is equipped with two AGS on the forward deck. These guns were designed to strike shore targets accurately from coastal waters in support of allied ground forces and amphibious landing forces. Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems developed the Long Range Land Attack Projectile (LRLAP) for use in the AGS, but due to the now 3 vessel fleet, the per unit cost of each LRLAP had risen to over $800,000 USD. The Navy had already procured 90 rounds before the decision was made to cease purchasing the rounds due to the prohibitive costs.

The DDG-1000 utilizes the same MT-30 Rolls Royce gas turbine engines as the Freedom Class LCS vessels; however, in the case of the destroyers the gas turbine is linked to a massive electrical grid that not only powers the electric motors that propel the vessel, but just about every other system onboard, including the weapons systems. The arrangement is proving problematic, as the first two vessels in class have both experienced main engine failures and damages. The USS Michael Monsoor DDG-1001 suffered damage to the turbine blades of one of its main engines during sea trials in February of this year. The MT-30 engine will have to be replaced at the cost of $20 million USD. The USS Zumwalt DDG-1000 famously broke down during its transit from Maine to San Diego and had to be towed from the Panama Canal to its new home port.

The U.S. Navy is now struggling to find a new niche for the DDG-1000s. Now that its NSFS mission is a non-starter, it is being adapted as a platform to strike inland targets with land-attack cruise missiles (LACM) and engage other surface ships with an anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) that has yet to be accepted into the service. The DDG-1000s lack a strong anti-air warfare (AAW) capability, and would thus be tied to other fleet components such as the Arleigh Burke Class DDG-51s and Ticonderoga Class CGs which have strong AAW capabilities. In an attempt to utilize the USS Zumwalt, the Navy has added legacy weapons systems, radars and communications antennas to the stealthy superstructure, undoubtedly negating its minimal radar signature. It remains to be seen what munitions will be provided for the two AGS turrets, as no munitions other than the cost prohibitive LRLAP exist.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

The latest revision of the DDG-1000 Zumwalt Class lead vessel’s once smooth and unblemished superstructure is now marred by various external sensory and communications arrays. Two rear deck guns for close-in defense have also been added.

CVN-78 Gerald R. Ford Class

As if the U.S. Navy was not content with wasting $38 billion USD on the failed LCS and DDG-1000 programs, an even more grandiose undertaking was envisioned for the service that would revolutionize the all too important and largely obsolete “super carrier”. It is a widely accepted fact that the U.S. Navy has been obsessed with the aircraft carrier since World War II and the pivotal naval battles between the U.S. Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy. This obsession is alive and well to this day, seemingly immune to the realities of modern missile technology, especially in regard to guidance, speed, range, and the advent of armed and semi-autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) of increasing lethality.

The U.S. Navy embarked on a program to replace the existing Nimitz Class nuclear-powered aircraft carriers currently comprising the central component of the aircraft carrier strike groups (ASG), of which the service operates 10 (with the additional CVN-65 Enterprise in reserve), in 2005 with the advanced construction of CVN-78. In 2008 the U.S. Navy signed a contract with Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding worth approximately $5.1 billion USD to build the first in a series of four such carriers. The goal is to build each carrier in four year periods under the current funding schedule. The Gerald R. Ford Class was supposed to take advantage of a number of new technologies and experience significantly improved efficiencies in aircraft carrier operations over the preceding Nimitz Class.

While the initial cost estimate for CVN-78 was around $10 billion USD (U.S. Congress had caped it at $10.5 billion USD in 2007), the total cost for the vessel has exceeded $13 billion USD as of May of this year when it was revealed that the Advanced Weapons Elevator and a main thrust bearing had suffered damage in sea trials and required repair. The CVN-78 is by far the most expensive warship ever constructed. In a controversial move, it was decided to try and incorporate a number of new, unproven systems in the new design. In retrospect, this decision was bound to result in cost overruns and a more problematic breaking-in period. New systems integrated into the Gerald R. Fordinclude an electro-magnetic launching system (EMALS), advanced aircraft arresting system, advanced weapons elevator system, dual band radar (DBR), and a more powerful nuclear reactor.

There was much discussion in the Navy regarding the wisdom of introducing so many new technologies in a single platform. Many senior officers argued that there were bound to be serious delays in working through both the foreseeable and unforeseeable problems associated with rendering so many new technologies operational. This opinion turned out to be of merit, as the Gerald R. Ford immediately experienced problems with just about all of its new systems. The vessel has experienced two main propulsion malfunctions over the past year, the advanced arresting gear has proven unreliable, and the EMALS (as well as other “critical systems”) has displayed “poor or unknown reliability” according to the Navy Operational and Test Evaluation Force. In early testing, the EMALS was unable to launch F-18 strike aircraft at weights even close to a full combat load. All of these problems or shortcomings were revealed during sea trials and the vessel returned to shipyard in Newport News, Virginian on July 15th, 2018 to undergo extensive repairs and improvements.

In should have been of little surprise to most naval architects, engineers, and naval line officers who have held vessel commands, that the above mentioned problems were inevitable. The big question is why the leadership of the Navy decided upon such a platform at all. What is the point of investing so much money and effort into such a large and advanced vessel, regardless of the unproven nature of many of the critical systems, when aircraft carriers have become so vulnerable to modern anti-ship missiles? Of even greater significance, why invest so much in a new carrier and not invest in increasing the range and striking power of the carrier air wing? An aircraft carrier is worthless without a powerful and flexible air wing element.

Carrier Air Wing Vulnerabilities

As much as President Trump and various administration officials and Senators tout the power of the U.S. military, often citing an increasing defense budget as an indicator of strength, efficiency and effectiveness, there is little doubt that U.S. naval aviation has atrophied over decades of misuse, neglect and poor decision making at the highest levels. U.S. naval aviation is arguably in its worse state since the opening days of the Pacific Theatre of operations during the Second World War. Not only is it in disrepair, but it is ill-equipped for a fight against a peer adversary.

Let us address the first issue, the ever shrinking air wing with its shrinking range. In the last decade of Cold War naval competition between The U.S. and the U.S.S.R., the Nimitz Class aircraft carriers deployed with nine, or even ten squadrons of fixed-wing aircraft. Today, that has been reduced to six. Of greater importance, the only aircraft utilized for combat operations is the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet with all of its inherent shortcomings, most importantly its limited operational range of 370 nautical miles (full strike combat weapons load and fuel). The aircraft it replaced, the A-7 Corsair II and A-4 Skyhawk in the Navy and the F-4 Phantom in the USMC, all had much longer operational ranges and all but the A-4 had greater weapons payload capacity. The F/A-18 is a jack of all trades and a master of none. In an attempt to lower costs (although few combat aircraft has ever operated at lower cost than the A-4 Skyhawk) by using one airframes for all roles, the U.S. Navy has put all of its eggs in one basket, and that basket is not up to the task. This is not to say that the F/A-18 Hornet and F-/A-18E/F Super Hornet are poor aircraft. The plane merely cannot do all of the things asked of it as well as many other aircraft. What has resulted, is an aircraft carrier air wing that is less capable in all respects, and cannot compete and excel in a future conflict with a peer adversary.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

This image clearly illustrates the ordinance payload capacity of the A-4 Skyhawk. It could carry 9,900lbs. of munitions on 5 external hardpoints. It had an effective combat radius from an aircraft carrier of over 700 miles, and a maximum range of 2,000 miles.

Although the improved F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is significantly larger than its predecessor, and gains about 100 nautical miles in range due to larger internal fuel capacity, it still lacks the required range needed to protect its carrier. Not surprisingly, even though there was a better option, the Navy decided to use F/A-18s for aerial refueling duties as well. The S-3 Viking had been kept in service as a carrier borne aerial tanker, having given up its original role as an ASW aircraft, and was superior to the F/A-18 in this respect. Although most S-3s in service still have approximately 12,000 hours of service life left on their airframes, the Navy pushed ahead with their retirement in 2009. With a much greater range than the F/A-18 and a fuel capacity of 16,000 lbs., the S-3 was a better and far cheaper solution. The fact that it was a far cheaper option was probably its downfall. Profit drives the U.S. military industrial complex, not efficiency or performance.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

The only fixed wing aircraft that operate from U.S. Navy aircraft carriers today are the F/A-18 Hornet, F/A-18E Super Hornet and E-2C and E2-D Hawkeye AEW&C aircraft.

The second issue, which is perhaps more damning, is the fact that the F/A-18 squadrons that the Navy relies on to conduct almost all carrier air wing duties including attack/strike missions, air superiority, fleet defense, buddy refueling, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and surveillance, are in an alarming state of disrepair. The Navy announced in February of 2017, that two thirds, or 62% of all F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets were unserviceable due to maintenance issues. Twenty-seven percent of these aircraft were undergoing major maintenance depot work, not minor or preventive maintenance. Of the 542 total F/A-18 and E/F-18 Hornets, only 170 were mission capable. Fast forward one year and a new and increased defense budget, and the Navy is still a long way from solving the shortfall in available replacement parts just to meet normal maintenance requirements. The decision was also made to take 140 of the oldest single seat Hornets (A/C variants) in the Navy and either cannibalize them for parts or transfer them to USMC squadrons that are experiencing similar maintenance issues. In the case of the USMC, they have been waiting so long for new F-35Bs that their legacy F-18s are falling into disrepair.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

Maintenance crews performing repairs on an F/A-18 aboard a carrier. The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps must address the maintenance crisis plaguing the services, yet the problem cannot be remedied at this level. Only a reduction in the tempo of deployments, flight operations or the provision of added funding will alleviate the issue which will be determined by the White House and Congress.

Has anyone asked the question, “What good is an advanced, gigantic aircraft carrier with an air wing that is limited in range and capability?” If the U.S. Navy does manage to get the first three Gerald R. Ford Class carriers in service, how many F/A-18E Super Hornets will be mission capable to fly from them? Will the F-35C and F35B Joint Strike Fighters meant to complete the complement of strike and fighter aircraft going to finally be available for deployment? Seeing that the F-35 does not close the “missile gap” that threatens U.S. aircraft carriers in general, is the Navy soliciting the defense industry to produce a carrier-borne aircraft, whether manned or unmanned, to correct this obvious weakness? Russian and Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles and hypersonic cruise missiles can strike U.S. CSGs long before their aircraft can get within range of striking the territories of either of these near peer adversaries. This “missile gap” will not be rectified anytime soon.

The One-Size-Fits-All Fighter Aircraft

After a short review of the Navy’s decision to settle on a single airframe to fill all of the roles of the carrier air wing, it should come of little surprise that the Pentagon would come to a similar decision on a much broader scale. A cursory study of combat aviation history has proven that there is no one-size- fits-all solution to the many combat functions performed by military aviation. It appears that the decision to introduce a multi-role fighter making use of many new technologies and heavily reliant on stealth to be effective in modern aerial warfare for the U.S. Air Force, Navy and USMC was more about making huge profits for the defense industry and providing jobs to American workers than it was about providing the U.S. military with a superior tool.

The story of the development of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is a cautionary tale of a weapons development program that was ill conceived and soon spiraled out of control.  Perhaps the most controversial and scandalous of any such program, the JSF is the costliest weapons program in world history. Newly revised estimates from the Pentagon put the cost of development and procurement of the 2,056 fighters that the DOD wants at $406.1 billion USD. The total cost to procure these aircraft and maintain them over the 20 year life span of the aircraft exceeds $1.5 trillion USD.

While the F-35A first flew in 2006, the only U.S. military branch to declare the F-35 operation and to use it in combat is the USMC. The F-35 was developed from the outset for export to allied nations, and Israel has used the F-35 for strikes against targets in Syria. It is important to note that Israel has relied heavily on its decades old squadrons of F-15 and F-16 multi-role aircraft to bear the brunt of most combat missions. Approximately 300 units of all versions have been produced so far for both the U.S. military and foreign militaries, yet only Israel and the USMC have declared the aircraft combat ready. A major issue facing the program is the fact that aircraft manufacturing began years before the plane was deemed fit for operational deployment, largely because so many deficiencies have been identified and have had to be rectified. This was the result of concurrency, a procurement process that allowed for production of the aircraft prior to final approval of the design. It was agreed that all deficiencies identified would eventually be addressed and rectified in airframes already manufactured at a later date in order to bring them up to the latest standard.

Not only has the F-35 not attained wide operational status seventeen years after its first flight, but it has pulled an exorbitant amount of funding from existing, combat proven aircraft. What could have been done to maintain and improve existing squadrons of F-15 Eagles, F-16 Fighting Falcons, A-10 Thunderbolt IIs, and F/A-18 Hornets currently in varying states of disrepair and serviceability? The idea of replacing all of these front line aircraft with the F-35 is laughable. What kind of imperial hubris and institutional tunnel vision could have led to such an ill-advised decision?  The answer is the institutionalized corruption and waste of the U.S. military industrial complex. It continues to leave the United States less protected, and sends American soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen into combat with increasingly less capable weapons.

Atrophy and Exhaustion

The U.S. military has been engaged in counterinsurgency warfare in Afghanistan for over seventeen years. The disastrous invasion of Iraq, the destruction of Libya, and counterinsurgency operations in a host of nations including, but not limited to Yemen, Somalia, Niger and Nigeria, have all taken a toll on the U.S. military. Not only has a great deal of military hardware been destroyed, but a great deal of equipment has been worn out and essentially must be retired from service. More importantly, the constant deployments have undermined the personnel needs of all services, with thousands of men having been killed or physically and psychologically maimed for life. Tens of thousands of the most skilled commissioned and non-commissioned officers have left the services, many of them having served multiple combat deployments.

The fact that 62% of U.S. Navy’s F-18s are not mission capable is not an anomaly. In 2017, approximately 72% of all U.S. Air Force aircraft were not flight worthy. Many of the airframes are quite old, yet well within their engineered service life, but most are in need of maintenance. Both the Navy and Air Force claim that there is not enough money in their respective budgets to procure the needed spare parts to keep these aircraft flying. One would wonder that if this is the case, why tens of billions of dollars are being poured into new aircraft when existing fleets are being left in disrepair. The decisions being made in the upper echelon of the DOD are quite perplexing for the thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen struggling to keep weapons and vehicles ready for action.

The U.S. Army finds itself looking for buyers of surplus MRAPs, vehicles of little utility in a major conventional war with a peer adversary, while at the same time lacking spare parts and munitions for armored vehicles and artillery systems. While the Army has made some progress in procuring the first of the 49,099 JLTVs it wants, it is far behind in all other armored vehicle procurement and development programs. BAE has delivered the first batch of 29 AMPVs to the U.S. Army for extensive testing before the decision can be made to start low rate initial production (LRIP). Once the LRIP begins, it is estimated that BAE will be able to produce approximately 262 units annually, unless the company’s main manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania is expanded. The initial contract is worth $1.6 billion USD. The Army wants at least 3,000 AMPVs of six different main variants to replace the thousands of M113 armored vehicles still in service. The M113 first saw service in 1962 and a replacement for the venerable vehicle has been required for decades.

Defense Secretary James Mattis made it crystal clear in his National Defense Strategy that the U.S. must rebuild its conventional warfare capabilities. The U.S. Army’s proposed 2019 budget lays bare the new priorities of a service facing a major transition in priorities. Procurement of tracked combat vehicles, as well as artillery rounds, rockets and missiles account for much of this latest budget request. Procurement is up by 18.4% over the previous year, with procurement of weapons and tracked vehicles up 84% over the previous year. Although upgrading of the M109 Paladin self-propelled howitzer to the M109A7 level is down by 56% compared to 2018, procurement of 155mm artillery rounds is up a whopping 800%.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

The percentage of total procurement directed toward weapons and tracked combat vehicles in the 2019 proposed budget denotes that the U.S. Army recognizes its weakness in conventional warfighting capability.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

This chart clearly shows the desire on the part of the U.S. Army to upgrade and rearm conventional capabilities. 155mm artillery rounds and Army Tactical Missile System upgrades to the M207 MLRS are at the top of the list, followed by MBT upgrades and acquisition of new AMPV vehicles.

As the U.S. Army attempts to rebuild its aged and depleted armored brigade combat teams and conventional and rocket artillery, the U.S. Navy and Air Force are facing their own challenges. The Navy finds itself in a position that is far from enviable, but was very easy to predict. Having dumped $38 billion USD into two failed new classes of warships and a further $13 billion into a new aircraft carrier that will likely not become operational until 2022, the service is currently in the process of realigning its priorities. The service is struggling to procure the new VirginiaClass SSN and Columbia Class SSBNs that are required to ensure the viability of the nation’s nuclear deterrent triad well into the foreseeable future. These defensive weapons programs, which are integral to U.S. national security, could have benefitted greatly from the $50 billion wasted on the LCS, DDG-1000 and Gerald R. Ford programs. Russia and China have spent the same time wasted by the U.S. Navy on updating and modernizing their own submarine forces, chiefly their ballistic missile submarines.

Institutional Corruption

If one had to identify the main reason behind the utter failure of the U.S. political establishment and military leadership, both civilian and in uniform, to identify and prioritize weapons programs and procurement that was truly in line with the national defense needs of the country, it would be the institutional corruption of the U.S. military industrial complex. This is not a fault of one party, but is the inevitable outcome of a thoroughly corrupted system that both generates and wastes great wealth at the expense of the many for the benefit of the few.

Massive defense budgets do not lead to powerful military forces nor sound national defense strategy. The United States is the most glaring example of how a nation’s treasure can be wasted, its citizens robbed for generations, and its political processes undermined by an industry bent on maximizing profitability by encouraging and exacerbating conflict. At this point it is questionable that the United States’ could remain economically viable without war, so much of its GDP is connected in some way to the pursuit of conflict.

There is no doubt that the War Department was renamed the Department of Defense in an Orwellian sleight of hand in 1947, just a few years after end of World War II. The military industrial complex grew into a monolith during the war, and the only way to justify the expansion of the complex, was by finding a new enemy to justify the new reality of a massive standing military, something that the U.S. Constitution expressly forbids. This unlawful state of affairs has persisted and expanded into a rotten, bloated edifice of waste. Wasted effort, wasted wealth and the wasted lives of millions of people spanning every corner of the planet. Tens of thousands of brave men and women in uniform, and millions of civilians of so many nations, have been tossed into the blades of this immoral meat grinder for generations.

President Donald Trump was very proud to announce the largest U.S. military budget in the nation’s history last year. The United States spent (or more accurately, borrowed from generations yet to come) no less than $874.4 billion USD. The declared base budget for 2017 was $523.2 billion USD, yet there are also the Overseas Contingency Operations and Support budgets that have to be considered in determining the total cost. The total DOD annual costs have doubled from 2003 to the present. Yet, what has the DOD really accomplished with so much money and effort? Very little of benefit to the U.S. tax payer for sure, and paradoxically the exorbitant waste of the past fifteen years have left every branch of the U.S. military weaker.

The U.S. Congress has the duty and responsibility of reigning in the military adventurism of the executive branch. They have the sole authority to declare war, but more importantly, the sole authority to approve the budget requests of the military. It is laughable to think that the U.S. Congress will do anything to reign in military spending. The Congress and the Senate are as equally guilty as the Executive in promoting and benefitting from the military industrial complex. Envisioned as a bulwark against executive power, the U.S. Congress has become an integral component of that complex. No Senator or Representative would dare to go against the industry that employs so many constituents within their state, or pass up on the benefits afforded them through the legalized insider-trading exclusive to them, or the lucrative jobs that await them in the defense industry and the many think tanks that promote continued prosecution of war.

Possible Reforms

It would be quite simple for the U.S. Department of Defense to rectify the current endemic problems that have rendered it weaker and less prepared for a major conventional conflict with a peer adversary. The greater challenge is transforming the relationship between the federal and state governments back to the constitutionally intended one, and to dissolve the powers of the now allied executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government. This would undermine the ability of the military industrial complex to coerce the nation into working against the interests of the states and the citizenry. The military industrial complex and the Deep State that serves it can only exist when power is greatly concentrated in a federal system.

For the sake of argument, if the political will could be found to work against the military industrial complex in the interests of true national defense and fiscal responsibility, the following steps could be taken immediately to rectify the many problems facing the military services of the United States:

The U.S. Army

Abandon the obsession with counterinsurgency and occupation and realign the focus of the Army on the defense of the homeland and a handful of historical allies. Rebuild the Army as a lean and well-equipped conventional fighting force. The most highly trained and experienced cadres of special operations forces should be retained, with other members dispersed to more conventional infantry, airborne and reconnaissance units. Most of these men would be moved to reserve status. Personnel should be cut by at least 25%, the majority retained moved to reserve status, and many overseas bases and operations ceased. The focus should be on defense of the nation’s own territories, while also safeguarding the economic interests and maritime trade lanes that are the lifeblood of any nation.

All legacy systems that have proven capable and efficient on the modern battlefield should be refurbished and upgraded to the most modern standard. The M2 Bradley modernization program should be continued, and the AMPV program given increased priority so that the thousands of M113 vehicles can finally end their 56 year tour of duty. MRAP inventories should be reduced to the very minimum and all surplus units sold off to recoup some of the expense incurred in their procurement and the money directed into offsetting procurement costs of new AMPVs and JLTVs.

The JLTV platform is a modular, easily upgradable light tactical vehicle that can be tailored to fit the mission. Although most units should be the basic utility variant, many will need to be acquired to fill the roles of light armored reconnaissance, armored security, convoy security, and light special operations vehicles. An air-droppable airborne armored fighting vehicle should be developed based on the JLTV. The U.S. airborne forces have lacked any real armored fighting vehicle that can accompany them in parachute operations since the M551 was retired in 1996. An up-armored JLTV equipped with a 30mm autocannon would serve as a good stopgap until a purpose built tracked vehicle could be designed. The venerable and ubiquitous HMMWV should maintain its utility role in all non-combat formations, as well as the basis for the Avenger light anti-aircraft missile system for years to come.

Of greatest importance is the rejuvenation of the armored and mechanized units of the U.S. Army. The M1126 Stryker family of wheeled armored vehicles cannot bear the weight of a conventional conflict with either Russia or China. The M1A2SepV3 MBT upgrade, including the addition of the Trophy APS should be afforded adequate funding, yet the greatest need of the Army is the replacement of the M113 in combat units.  The U.S. Army’s proposed 3,000 unit procurement of AMPVs is a good start.

The artillery arm of the U.S. Army must gain the attention it has lacked since the dissolving of the Soviet Union and the success of Operation Desert Storm. U.S. military planners and the leadership of the DOD must realize the continued importance of both conventional and rocket artillery on the modern battlefield. The U.S. Army only operates two self-propelled artillery systems, the M109 Paladin and M270 MLRS. This is not necessarily a bad thing as long as both systems are maintained, upgraded and fielded in sufficient number. The M109A7 upgrade program must gain greater funding in the immediate future.

The U.S. Navy

The LCS and DDG-1000 programs are a national disgrace and should be declared as such. The two existing DDG-1000s should be used as test beds for future engineering and weapons systems. The third vessel should be cancelled immediately. As for the LCS, the existing fleet should be used for littoral patrol duties, and all units currently under construction or planned should be cancelled. Enough money has been wasted on these horribly conceived and even more horribly manifested examples of the monumental corruption and waste so integral to the U.S. defense industry.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

Freedom Class LCS (background) and Independence Class LCS (foreground). Arguably two of the most monumental failures of warship design in modern history. A cautionary tale of waste and ineptitude.

The FFG(X) program to design a modern yet conventional multi-purpose frigate for the U.S. Navy should be fully embraced. The new frigate should adhere to the traditional naval warfare duties of a frigate and should be designed to sufficiently fulfill a balance of AAW, ASW, and surface warfare missions.  In conjunction, priority should be given to procurement of the new DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Flight III. The Arleigh Burke has been the backbone of the U.S. Navy since it entered service. It is a well-designed, balanced, flexible and powerful naval combatant of significant displacement. It puts the LCS and the Zumwalt to shame in every respect, and has existed as a symbol of U.S. Navy power and presence across the length and breadth of the globe since 1991.

It is almost unconscionable that with the richest and most accomplished history of aircraft carrier aviation under its belt, that the U.S. Navy could not come up with a better design for the next generation of CVNs than the Gerald R. Ford Class. Perhaps the namesake of the lead vessel in the class was well chosen, as President Ford was far from a memorable performer; however, the wisdom of the entire program from its very inception must be questioned. The U.S. Navy must outgrow the “super carrier” fixation. There is a future for aircraft carriers, yet on a far different pattern than what the U.S. Navy has operated for the past 50 years.

The greatest area of concern for the U.S. Navy is the weakness of the carrier air wing, a weakness that will not be fundamentally corrected by the introduction of the F-35 in U.S. Navy and USMC service aboard U.S. carriers. A new, longer range fleet defense aircraft akin to a modern F-14 Tomcat must be developed. In addition, a new attack aircraft must be developed with a range that exceeds that of the F-18 Super Hornet by a factor of 100%. It is hard to believe that the F-4 Skyhawk had an operational combat radius exceeding 700 miles (2,000 mile maximum range), twice that of a Super Hornet. Additionally, the S-3 Viking must be re-tasked as a carrier borne aerial tanker, and the many airframes now mothballed, yet with thousands of hours of use left, need to be repurposed to this task. The current carrier air wing as it stands, even with the introduction of the F-35, is of little utility against a peer adversary such as Russia or China.

Why the U.S. Military is Woefully Unprepared for a Major Conventional Conflict

S-3 Viking in use as a carrier borne aerial refueling tanker. Even without significant modification, this stout little aircraft can carry 16,000 lbs. of fuel. The US Navy has 108 of these aircraft sitting in storage at a military aircraft storage facility in Arizona.

The United States must acquire both an SSN and SSBN to replace the Los Angeles and Ohio Class vessels that are approaching the end of their service lives. There is no greater defensive role for the U.S. Navy in ensuring the security of the nation than the continued operation of its attack and ballistic missile submarine forces. Both Russia and China understand this, and have greatly modernized their own submarine forces. Much of the success they have achieved in pushing the envelope of submarine design was due to their intense competition with a U.S. Navy submarine force that was always at the cutting edge of sub-surface warfare.

Conclusion

The United States stands at a crossroads in many respects, and the nation’s military equally so. All empires experience a period of over-expansion, military, economic and political over-reach and imbalance. The United States has followed in the wake of the many imperialist endeavors before it, with apparently little lessons having been learned. Imperialism is the inevitable result of power devoid of wisdom and humility. A nation borne out of a revolution against empire and absolutism has itself devolved into a much more dangerous and immoral avatar of its former oppressor. This must change.

While Defense Secretary Mattis clearly acknowledged the need to transform the U.S. military and realign it in a direction more focused on fighting and winning a conventional conflict with the near peer adversaries he identified as Russia and China, one can only hope that he realizes how the U.S. military that he served in for decades, got to the deplorable state that it now finds itself in. The greatest enemy that the U.S. military has fought for the past seventy years is undoubtedly the military industrial complex that it is an integral component of. The Soviet Union, North Korea, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, and Syria were never as much of a threat to the U.S. Armed Services as the corrupt military industrial complex and the Deep State that serves as its guardian.

The United States military is in the weakest state of material strength and readiness since the conclusion of the Cold War. The conventional ground forces of the Army have been transformed into a force bent on occupation and counterinsurgency. Its heavy armored formations are in a state of disrepair and material inferiority vis-a-vis its most capable theoretical adversaries. The cornerstone of American power projection and intimidation, the aircraft carrier strike groups, are a sad shadow of their former self. The carrier air wing, the entire reason that an aircraft carrier exists in the first place, has devolved into a tool of increasingly limited utility, with an ever diminishing reach.

The corrupt military industrial system that permeates every facet of American economic, political and even cultural life has sucked the very lifeblood from the nation, eroded its morality, bankrupt its economic future, and stolen a generation of its most patriotic and selfless sons and daughters. While James Mattis acknowledges the challenges facing the national security of the United States, he clearly misattributes the blame and misidentifies the very real adversary. Russia and China are not existential threats to the continued welfare of the American state. James Mattis need only look in the mirror to see the real threat, for he has come to represent the cabal of special interests that enslaves the nation and constitution he has pledged to serve, and holds the remainder of the world equally hostage.

There is very little chance that the reforms mentioned in this analysis will be adopted, or that the United States will move in a direction that brings it back to its inception as a constitutional republic. The interests of the military industrial complex in promoting conflict, and maximizing financial profit will continue to steer the United States military, and the nation as a whole, on an unsustainable and self-destructive path. There is little doubt that if the Deep State pushes the nation to war against Russia or China, and likely an alliance of the two, that the United States military has ever been in a weaker position. Such a conflict would be of no benefit to any of the nations concerned, yet many potential flash points exist that could lead to a conflict, including the South China Sea, Syria or Ukraine. As the United States plays catch-up after decades of military adventurism, China and Russia have spent that same time patiently and judiciously gathering their strength. The scenario of a one-sided victory in favor of the United States is pure fantasy, existing only in the daydreams of the emperor who wears no clothes.

The Path to World War III

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The minimal U.S. press coverage accorded to last Monday’s shooting down of a Russian intelligence plane off the coast of Syria is, of course, a reflection both of lack of interest and of Israel’s involvement in the incident. If one had read the New York Times or the Washington Post on the morning after the shoot-down or watched the morning network news it would have been easy to miss the story altogether. The corporate media’s desire to sustain established foreign policy narratives while also protecting Israel at all costs is as much a feature of American television news as are the once every five minutes commercials from big pharma urging the public to take medications for diseases that no one has ever heard of.

Israel is, of course, claiming innocence, that it was the Syrians who shot down the Russian aircraft while the Israeli jets were legitimately targeting a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” Seeking to undo some of the damage caused, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express his condolences. He also sent his air force chief to Russia on Thursday to provide a detailed report on what had occurred from the Israeli perspective.

But that story, however it will be spun, is inevitably only part of the tale. The narrative of what occurred is by now well established. The Russian aircraft was returning to base after a mission over the Mediterranean off the Syrian coast monitoring the activities of a French warship and at least one British RAF plane. As a large and relatively slow propeller driven aircraft on a routine intelligence gathering mission, the Ilyushin 20 had no reason to conceal its presence. It was apparently preparing to land at its airbase at Khmeimim in Syria when the incident took place. It may or may not have had its transponder on, which would signal to the Syrian air defenses that it was a “friendly.”

Syrian air defenses were on high alert because Israel had attacked targets near Damascus on the previous day. On that occasion a Boeing 747 on the ground that Israel claimed was transporting weapons was the target. One should note in passing that Israeli claims about what it is targeting in Syria are never independently verifiable.

The Israelis for their part were using four F-16 fighter bombers to stage a surprise night attack on several sites near Latakia, close to the airbase being used by the Russians. They came in from the Mediterranean Sea and clearly were using the Russian plane to mask their approach as the Ilyushin 20 would have presented a much larger radar profile for the air defenses. The radar systems on the F-16s would also have clearly seen the Russian plane.

The Israelis might have been expecting that the Syrians would not fire at all at the incoming planes knowing that one of them at least was being flown by their Russian allies. If that was the expectation, it proved wrong and it was indeed a Syrian S-200 ground to air missile directed by its guidance system to the larger target that brought down the plane and killed its fourteen crew members. The Israelis completed their bombing run and flew back home. There were also reports that the French frigate offshore fired several missiles during the exchange, but they have not been confirmed while the British plane was also reportedly circling out of range though within the general area.

There was also a back story. The Israelis and Russian military had established a hotline, similar to the one that is used with the U.S. command in Syria, precisely intended to avoid incidents like the Ilyushin shoot-down that might escalate into a more major conflict. Israel reportedly used the line but only one minute before the incident took place, leaving no time for the Russian plane to take evasive action.

The Russian Ministry of Defense was irate. It saw the exploitation of the intelligence plane by the Israelis as a deliberate high-risk initiative. It warned “We consider these provocative actions by Israel as hostile. Fifteen Russian military service members have died because of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military. This is absolutely contrary to the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership. We reserve the right for an adequate response.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin was more conciliatory, saying the incident was a “chain of tragic circumstances.” He contrasted it with the Turkish shoot-down of a Russian warplane in 2015, which was planned and deliberate, noting that Israel had not actually attacked the Ilyushin. Though the Putin comments clearly recognize that his country’s relationship with Israel is delicate to say the least, that does not mean that he will do nothing.

Many Israelis are emigres from Russia and there are close ties between the two countries, but their views on Syria diverge considerably. As much as Putin might like to strike back at Israel in a hard, substantive way, he will likely only upgrade and strengthen the air defenses around Russian troop concentrations and warn that another “surprise” attack will be resisted. Unfortunately, he knows that he is substantially outgunned locally by the U.S., France, Britain and Israel, not to mention Turkey, and a violent response that would escalate the conflict is not in his interest. He has similarly, in cooperation with his Syrian allies, delayed a major attempt to retake terrorist controlled Idlib province, as he works out a formula with Ankara to prevent heavy handed Turkish intervention.

But there is another dimension to the story that the international media has largely chosen to ignore. And that is that Israel is now carrying out almost daily air attacks on Syria, over 200 in the past 18 months, a country with which it is not at war and which has not attacked it or threatened it in any way. It justifies the attacks by claiming that they are directed against Iran or Hezbollah, not at Syria itself. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that any peace settlement in Syria include the complete removal of Iranians, a demand that has also been repeated by the United States, which is also calling for the end to the Bashar al-Assad government and its replacement by something more “democratic.”

Aggressive war directed at a non-threatening country is the ultimate war crime as defined by the Nuremberg Tribunals that followed after the Second World War, yet the United States and its poodles Britain and France have not so much as squeaked when Israel kills civilians and soldiers in its surprise attacks against targets that it alone frequently claims to be linked to the Iranians. Washington would not be in much of a position to cast the first stone anyway, as it is in Syria illegally, bombs targets regularly, to include two major cruise missile strikes, and, on at least one occasion, set a trap that reportedly succeeded in killing a large number of Russian mercenaries fighting on the Syrian government side.

And then there is the other dimension of Israeli interference with its neighbors, the secret wars in which it supports the terrorist groups operating in Syria as well as in Iran. The Netanyahu government has armed the terrorists operating in Syria and even treated them in Israeli hospitals when they get wounded. On one occasion when ISIS accidentally fired into Israeli-held territory on the Golan Heights it subsequently apologized. So, if you ask who is supporting terrorism the answer first and foremost should be Israel, but Israel pays no price for doing so because of the protection afforded by Washington, which, by the way, is also protecting terrorists.

There is, of course, an alternative explanation for the Israeli action. Netanyahu might have considered it all a win-win either way, with the Russian plane masking and enabling the Israeli attack without consequence for Israel or, perversely, producing an incident inviting retaliation from Moscow, which would likely lead to a shooting war with the United States after it inevitably steps in to support Israel’s government. In either case, the chaos in Syria that Israel desires would continue and even worsen but there would also be the potential danger of a possible expansion of the war as a consequence, making it regional or even broader.

It’s the same old story. Israel does risky things like attacking its neighbors because it knows it will pay no price due to Washington’s support. The downing of the Russian plane through Israeli contrivance created a situation that could easily have escalated into a war involving Moscow and Washington. What Israel is really thinking when it seeks to create anarchy all around its borders is anyone’s guess, but it is, to be sure, in no one’s interest to allow the process to continue. It is past time for Donald Trump to fulfill his campaign promise to pull the plug on American engagement in Syria and terminate the seemingly endless cycle of wars in the Middle East.

By Philip Giraldi
Source

Israel’s Failed Attempt to Start WWIII Is the Beginning of the End in Syria

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There is one thing that Israel fears more than anything else in Syria. The loss of its ability to fly its F-16’s with impunity and hit whatever targets it wants claiming defensive measures to stop Iran, their existential enemy.

Israel finally admitted to carrying out over 200 such missions over the past 18 months, only a few of which ever made any kind of international media, recently.

And with the sneak attack on Latakia which involved using a Russian IL-20 ELINT war plane as radar cover Israel has now not only raised the stakes to an unacceptable level, it has also ensured that this may be the last such aerial assault it will ever be able to carry out.

The setup is pretty clear. Israel and France coordinated an attack on multiple targets within Syria without US involvement but with absolute US knowledge of the operation to provoke Russia into going off half-cocked by attacking the inconsequential French frigate which assisted Israel’s air attack.

Any denunciation of sinister intent by Israeli Defense Forces is hollow because if they had not intended to provoke a wider conflict they would have given Russia more than one minute to clear their planes from the area.

That would constitute an attack on a NATO member state and require a response from NATO, thereby getting the exact escalation needed to continue the war in Syria indefinitely and touch off WWIII.

This neatly bypasses any objections to a wider conflict by President Trump who would have to respond militarily to a Russian attack on a NATO ally. It also would reassert NATO’s necessity in the public dialogue, further marginalizing Trump’s attacks on it and any perceived drive of his for peace.

That this took place within the 60 days window of the mid-term elections should also not be discounted.

This attack took place just hours after Presidents Erdogan and Putin negotiated a ‘peaceful’ settlement for Idlib province by declaring a De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) 15-20 kilometers wide which everyone, including Erdogan’s pets Jabhat al-Nusra would have to abide by.

Peace was breaking out in Syria and Israel and the war-hawks in D.C. weren’t standing for that.

By conducting this attack like this Israel and the NATO crowd figured it would be a win/win for them.

If Russia strikes back at France, then NATO invokes Article 5 and they get their wider war.

If Russia doesn’t strike back Putin loses face within Russia, his popularity drops 5 points and John Bolton begins salivating at the prospect of regime change in Russia. Yes, they are that insane.

It was a neat piece of geopolitical maneuvering, almost judo-like. Russia and Syria looked to be on the verge of victory, extending themselves in a major conflict that would result in months of bad press. We were expecting a possible false-flag chemical weapons attack, cries of humanitarian crisis and all the rest of the tired virtue-signaling we can expect by US ‘diplomatic’ officials that has been all too common even under Trump.

What we got was the opposite, a carefully-crafted assault on Russian military forces wherein Russia’s vaunted air-defense systems would be blamed for its own people’s deaths and a mistaken counter-attack that justifies the “Putin is a Vile War-Monger” narrative to justify a US invasion of Syria which has been held in amber since 2013 and Putin’s skillful defusing that situation via diplomatic means.

For once, this almost looked like a well-thought out plan. Not the usual ham-fisted crudities we’ve been treated to over the last few years. But, here’s the rub.

It didn’t work.

By naming names and immediately not responding militarily during the ‘fog of war’ Russia and Putin again prove to be more skilled at this than their adversaries.

Because none of what I just outlined will come to pass. And France, Israel and the US will be the ones to lose face here. And with Israel betraying Putin’s forbearance after April’s air strikes on Damascus, he will have no choice but to upgrade Syria’s air defense systems from S-200’s to S-300’s and possibly S-400’s.

This is Israel’s worst nightmare. A situation where any aerial assault on targets within Syria would be suicide missions, puncturing the myth of the Israeli air force’s superiority and shifting the delicate balance of power in Syria decidedly against them.

This is why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu worked Putin so hard over the last two years. But, this incident wipes that slate clean. This was a cynical betrayal of Putin’s trust and patience. And Israel will now pay the price for their miscalculation.

Giving Syria S-300’s does not avenge the fifteen dead Russian soldiers. Putin will have to respond to that in a more concrete way to appease the hardliners in his government and at home. His patience and seeming passivity are being pushed to their limit politically. This is, after all, a side benefit to all of this for the neoconservative and globalist hawks in D.C., Europe and Tel Aviv.

But, the real loss here for Israel will be Russia instituting a no-fly zone over western Syria. Any less response from Putin will be seized upon by and the situation will escalate from here. So, Putin has to deploy S-300’s here. And once that happens, the real solution to Syria begins in earnest.

Because at that point it will be the US’s move to flat-out invade without provocation, now that a solution is in place in Syria between Russia and a NATO member, Turkey.

The only good news in all of this is that US forces were not involved. This still tells me that Trump and Mattis are still in charge of their chain of command and that other forces are conspiring to drag them into a conflict no one in their right minds wants.

By Tom Luongo
Source

Washington’s Choice: WWIII or Saving Face in Syria

Authored by Tom Luongo via The Strategic Culture Foundation

Comment:
Amidst a plethora of op-eds that point toward the probability of a major upcoming conflict in Syria vis-à-vis Idlib and go on to suggest such a scenario would carry the potential of turning into an escalated war between the West and Russia, Tom Luongo presents a drastically different opinion.

 

Sometimes when I step back from the overwhelming flow of geopolitical insanity I’m reminded of the old adage that coming close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. To which, I always add, “And nuclear war.”

I’ve been watching the build up to the operation to liberate Idlib in Syria which includes the endless neocon and Israeli moral preening warning Assad against using chemical weapons with a sense of detachment.  And I keep thinking to myself, “Do they really think we’re that stupid?”

Three times the chemical weapons canard has been used to justify further aggression against Syria and three times a full-blown U.S. invasion has been averted. First, by Vladimir Putin’s deft diplomacy, and General Dunford’s refusal to implement a ‘no-fly zone’ in 2013, and then during the Trump years with ineffectual air strikes on Syrian airbases.

How much of that ineffectuality of those airstrikes were designed by Defence Secretary James Mattis to avoid a wider conflagration and how much was Russian EW/missile defence is anyone’s guess.

The truth most likely lies somewhere in the middle.

That is why everyone who is worrying about the U.S.’s blustering over Syria’s Idlib campaign needs to take a big step back and think the scenario through.

Because the neoconservatives and Israel are forcing the situation to its crisis point, thinking they can manipulate the headlines and the levers of power to still eke out a victory in Syria that will allow them to continue on their quest to destroy Russia first and conquer the rest of Asia after that.

And they are willing to blackmail us with the threat of WWIII over 50,000 head-chopping mercenaries to get their cookie. 

However, when you factor in the men actually in charge of the U.S. military chain of command, Trump and Mattis, and you realize the lengths to which Mattis’ field commanders have gone to avoid direct confrontation with Russian forces, you come to the conclusion that the men who will actually fight this war the neoconservative provocateurs and laptop bombardiers are clamouring for won’t actually pull the trigger.

The reasons for this are manifest:

First, the potential for the conflict to go nuclear is too high for rational men to take that chance.  Mattis and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu are hard-bitten, no-nonsense men.  Neither underestimates the other’s resolve to defend their men and national interests.

So, once the shooting starts expect it to get ugly quick.  Therefore it is unlikely to get to that point.

Second, there is no profit in that kind of escalation for the people who profit from war. 

The banks and the military weapons makers thrive in low-intensity, frozen conflicts which keep sales flowing and governments indebted to pay for them.
In an age of nuclear weapons, proxy wars fought by mercenaries with drones are far more profitable than any large-scale invasions.  I hate to say this but from a discounted cash flow perspective Lockheed-Martin wants predictability to cover their quarterly dividends to shareholders more than they want to bring about the supposed Zionist plan for Greater Israel.

Sorry to burst everyone’s conspiracy theories.

Third and most importantly, the U.S. cannot afford a non-nuclear confrontation with Russia that punctures the illusion of U.S. military superiority.  Too much of the world’s confidence in the dollar itself rests in the U.S.’s ability to project power and defend its interests militarily.

This confidence is a mixture of that military capability and the U.S.’s traditional position of a country with an excellent legal framework within which to do business.  It is fashionable among geopolitical critics, myself included, to get caught up in the rhetoric and projection of a sclerotic and weakening United States, but legally it is still one of the best places on earth to do business.

But, as Martin Armstrong pointed out recently, Trump’s domestic opposition has openly declared sedition against him this week in the New York Times.  Former Secretary of State, John Kerry, is doing the talk show circuit calling for a constitutional crisis over Trump allegedly being unfit for office.  And George Soros is paying protesters to disrupt the confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

If allowed to run its course to impeachment in the event of the Republicans losing control of the House in November, this would be a death blow to the U.S.’s reputation as a nation of laws rather than a nation of men.  The U.S. dollar would not recover from such a blow to its credibility, especially in light of Trump’s nearly-unhinged use of sanctions and threats of tariffs, weaponizing the dollar indiscriminately.

And this is why Vladimir Putin openly showed his hand to the world in March. Strategically, he let everyone know that any confrontation between Russia and the U.S. would result in the U.S losing its status as the world’s pre-eminent military power.

This is why the neocons and the U.S./U.K. Deep State have been so adamant in accelerating its provocations against Russia.  They have to present us with the Faustian bargain of WWIII before Russia has these weapon systems fully deployed.

It’s also why Trump and Mattis are allowing them to have their head.  It feeds Trump’s “Art of the Deal” strategy for negotiations while also allowing him the opportunity to save face after Idlib is liberated regardless of whether another chemical weapons attack is staged.

I think we won’t see one here.

The way out of Syria for the U.S. with its face-saved is to thunder and bluster, threaten fire and brimstone just like Trump did with Kim Jong-un and use that to explain why Assad showed restraint and didn’t use chemical weapons this time.

I can even see Trump tweeting something about three strikes and he would be out.

Once Idlib is liberated Mattis will happily begin pulling vulnerable troops out of al-Tanf and Afghanistan.  That’s why I believe he went there to the surprise of the CIA house-organ Washington Post last week.

And then the neocon and Israeli muddying of the waters will move to the Geneva talks, but we’ll cross that Rubicon when it approaches.

Reply to Paul Craig Roberts’ crucial question

The Saker

September 07, 2018

[This article was written for the Unz Review]

In a recent article, Paul Craig Roberts directly asked me a very important question. Here is the relevant part of this article (but please make sure to read the full article to understand where Paul Craig Roberts is coming from and why he is raising this absolutely crucial issue):

Andrei Martyanov, whose book I recently reviewed on my website, recently defended Putin, as The Saker and I have done in the past, from claims that Putin is too passive in the face of assaults. https://russia-insider.com/en/russia-playing-long-game-no-room-instant-gratification-strategies-super-patriots/ri24561 As I have made the same points, I can only applaud Martyanov and The Saker. Where we might differ is in recognizing that endlessly accepting insults and provocations encourages their increase until the only alternative is surrender or war.

So, the questions for Andrei Martyanov, The Saker, and for Putin and the Russian government is: How long does turning your other cheek work? Do you turn your other cheek so long as to allow your opponent to neutralize your advantage in a confrontation? Do you turn your other cheek so long that you lose the support of the patriotic population for your failure to defend the country’s honor? Do you turn your other cheek so long that you are eventually forced into war or submission? Do you turn your other cheek so long that the result is nuclear war?

I think that Martyanov and The Saker agree that my question is a valid one

First let me immediately state that I do find this question valid, crucial even, and that is a question which I have been struggling with for several years now and that still keeps me up at night. I think that this question ought to be raised more often, especially by those who care for peace and oppose imperialism in all its forms and I am grateful to Paul Craig Roberts for raising it.

Second, considering the overall nastiness of so much of the pro-Russian blogosphere and so-called “alternative media”, I want to go on record by saying that I have the utmost respect for Paul Craig Roberts, especially for his remarkable courage and intellectual honesty. At times I might not agree with everything Paul Craig Roberts writes, but I never forget that he is most definitely a real American patriot and a true friend of Russia. I consider him a precious ally in my own struggles.

Having clarified this, let me turn to Paul Craig Roberts’ question.

First, I will begin by questioning the very premise of this question and ask whether it is true that Russia has a policy of “turning the other cheek”?

In my opinion, that is a mistaken assumption. For one thing, Russia does not have “a” foreign policy, but several very different policies towards different countries and situations. I won’t list them all here, but I will mention two which are most often mentioned in this context: Syria and the Ukraine.

These are dramatically different conflicts with profoundly different characteristics:

Syria The Ukraine
Risk of direct superpower confrontation between Russia and the USA Yes No (only indirect)
Risk of a local incident escalating into a full scale and nuclear war High Very low
Proximity to the Russian border No Yes
Overwhelming force advantage US/CENTCOM/NATO Russian military
Presence of a large Russian population No Yes
(Russian) Popular mandate for the use of force if needed Supportive but cautious (not a blank check) Strong (in case of Russian counter-attack to save Novorussia)
Risk of political blowback if Russia is forced to escalate or intervene Limited (the EU has more or less accepted that Russia is in Syria, and even the US and Israel have) Very high (in the EU)
Russian intervention justifiable under international law Yes, self-evidently Yes, but not self-evidently
Major economic and social consequences (for Russia) from the conflict’s outcome No Yes
Is Russia pressed for time to resolve this conflict? No No

As you see, out of 10 characteristics the conflicts in the Ukraine and Syria have only one in common: that Russia is under no time pressure to resolve them. In fact, I would argue that time is very strongly playing to the advantage of Russia in both conflicts (note that I did not say that the local populations in the Ukraine and Syria are in the same position as Russia – for them every passing day is a nightmare).

The two most important comparative characteristics are the risk of the conflict escalating into a full scale and direct superpower confrontation which, by itself, could easily escalate into a nuclear war. This is most unlikely in the Ukraine and very possible in Syria.

Why?

Just look at the current stand-offs taking place in the two countries: in the Ukraine the Novorussians are warning of a concentration of Ukronazi armor near Mariupol; in Syria the Russian Navy and Aerospace Forces are poised to sink USN ships if given the order. See the difference in magnitude and quality?!

For these reasons I believe that we need to look at the Russian stance in these two conflicts separately.

Syria

I have written a lot about the Russian stance in Syria and I will therefore only provide a short bullet-point type summary

  • The conflict in Syria places in very close proximity Russian and US forces. Furthermore, the Russian military task force in and near Syria is very small and cannot resist against a determined US/CENTCOM/NATO attack. If attacked, the Russians will rapidly have to use their long-range cruise missiles which are based (or in port) in Russia. What will the US do if that happens?
  • There is no reason whatsoever to believe that the US side will react rationally (or even proportionally) if US bases or ships are destroyed in a Russian counter-attack: the political pressure to “teach the Russians a lesson”, to show that the US “has the greatest military in history” and all the rest of the typical US flag-waving nonsense will force Trump to show that he is the MAGA-President. The current US elites are not only “non-agreement capable”, but they are also ignorant, stupid, arrogant, and they also have an immense sense of self-righteousness, a messianic ideology and a religious belief in total impunity. To assume that the US is a “rational actor” would be highly illogical and, in the case of a possible nuclear war, completely irresponsible.
  • Vladimir Putin was elected by the Russian people to protect and preserve their interests, not the interests of the people of the Ukraine or Syria. First and foremost, his main obligation is to protect the people of Russia and that, in turn, means that he must do everything possible to avoid a superpower confrontation from which the people of Russia would immensely suffer.

I personally fully support the Russian decision to intervene in Syria, but I have been very worried about the dangers inherent to such an operation from day 1. So far, I believe that the Russians have done a superb job: they have saved the Syrian people from the Takfiri nightmare, they have made it possible for the Syrian government to survive and liberate most of the Syrian people, and they have comprehensively defeated the plans A, B, C, D, etc. of already two (rather nasty, if incompetent) US Administrations. So far, the Russian intervention in Syria is a stunning success. This is also why the US Americans are so desperate for anything which would look like a “victory” for the “greatest nation on earth”, “land of the free, home of the brave” bla, bla, bla… And yet, for this Russian operation to become a real success Russia must do all she can to simultaneously increase the potential costs of intervention for the AngloZionists while denying them any political rewards of a US/Israeli attack. I would not call this “turning the other cheek” but rather I would refer to it as “absorbing blow after blow (especially when the “blows” are ineffective to the point of being almost totally symbolic ones!) until your opponents run out of steam while changing the reality on the ground“. Compare the situation in Syria 2 years ago and today, and tell me: who is winning this one?

The only possible conclusion is that, at least so far, the Russian policy towards Syria has been an immense success.

Now let’s look at the conflict in the Ukraine

The Ukraine

Here, I must confess, I am much more dubious. First, while I understand that this was a tough call, I have to admit that I still wonder whether it was the right thing to do to recognize the Ukronazi junta that came to power in Kiev. Why did the Kremlin agree to deal with them when they so clearly came to power as a result of a violent neo-Nazi coup, executed by a small number of hardcore extremists, and in direct violation of an international agreement signed just the day before? If in the EU it is legal to ban swastikas or even “revisionist books” (and jail people for writing them!), how is it that a bona fide Nazi regime which came to power by violence is instantly recognized? Well, we know that the AngloZionist Empire is the pinnacle of hypocrisy, but the recognition of this gang of corrupt and hate-filled thugs by Russia raises a lot of very disturbing questions. Finally, how hard was it for the Russians to see that the only possible outcome from a Nazi coup in Kiev was a civil war? After all, if I, using only open sources could predict the civil war in the Ukraine as early as on November 30th 2013, then surely the immense and highly competent Russian intelligence community had come to the same conclusions many months and even years before I did! So why did the Kremlin recognize a regime which would immediately start a bloody civil war? Again, disturbing questions.

Still, I won’t second-guess the Kremlin since the President and his aides had much more information upon which to take their decision than I do, even now in hindsight. I am much more bothered by the lack of Russian economic sanctions against the Ukraine, especially in the face of an almost never-ending stream of atrocities, provocations and hostile acts. It does appear that following the Ukronazi acts of piracy in the Sea of Azov, the Russians have finally decided that enough is enough and that the Ukros need to pay a high price (in economic terms) for their acts of piracy. But that is very little very late. What will it take to really get Russia serious? A bloody Ukronazi terrorist attack in Russia maybe?

Now, following the murder of Alexandr Zakharchenko, an increasing number of Russian politicians and public figures are calling for the recognition of the DNR and LNR by Russia. Frankly, I can only agree with this. Enough is enough, especially since there is nobody to negotiate with in Kiev, and there won’t be for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, the junta in power needs to pay for its constant provocations and I believe that Russia should slap some severe economic sanctions on the Ukronazi leaders and on the Ukraine itself. Just look at these two facts and tell me if you also see a problem here:

  1. The Russian FSB (whose investigators are in Donetsk) has declared that the Ukrainian SBU is behind the murder of Alexandr Zakharchenko
  2. Russia is the biggest economic investor in the Ukraine

Does that make sense to you?!

As for the Minsk Agreements, which were stillborn anyway, the Ukronazis have proven in words and in deeds that they have no intention whatsoever to implement them. I understand that the decision-makers in the Kremlin also realize that and that their goal is not to wait and hope for the Ukros to begin implementing these Agreements, but to use these Agreements as a “hook” to keep slowly weakening the regime in Kiev. Likewise, I do see the advantage of not recognizing the LNR/DNR: just like the USA created an anti-Russia in the Ukraine, so did the Russians create an anti-Ukraine in the Donbass. However, I think that this strategy has now outlived its usefulness and that the protection of the people of the Donbass should be considered more important than the weakening of the Nazi regime in Kiev. And yet, the spokesman for Vladimir Putin has just declared (yet again) that:

After the perpetration of this terrorist attack it is very difficult to discuss anything with the Ukrainian side, but this does not mean that Russia is withdrawing from the Minsk process,”

Does that make sense to you?!

If/when the Russian military openly intervenes in the Donbass (like it did in Crimea) there is absolutely nothing the Ukros, NATO, the EU or the US will be able to do about it. This is not Syria and here the Russians have a huge, overwhelming, military advantage.

[Sidebar: this is why in military terms, all this “surrounding” of Russia by US/NATO military bases is nonsensical. As are the Baltic/Polish requests to host US/NATO bases on their territory. Modern superpower conflicts won’t really have frontlines and rears but are mostly fought throughout the depth of the theater of war. By placing US/NATO bases so close to Russia the Empire only makes the list of Russian weapons systems which can strike them longer and longer, resulting on more firepower and more redundancy for the Russian attack. This entire “encirclement” business is typical Neocon ideological nonsense. My favorite one? When the USN sails ships into the Black Sea where the survival time of any ship is measured in minutes once the Russians decide to sink it. Ditto for the Persian Gulf which is a terrible place to send USN ships, by the way. Should the Empire order a strike on Iran, it would probably begin by flushing all the USN ships out of the Persian Gulf (unless the Pentagon wants a tripwire force or a repeat of the “Liberty” false flag operation as pretext for attack)]

Not only will the Ukroarmy cease to function as a fighting force in 24-36 hours (most men will survive, by the way, but as combat subunits and units the Ukroarmy will cease to exist), but NATO will be in no position whatsoever to intervene. There is no risk of escalation in the Donbass, especially not a nuclear one. However, unlike Syria, any overt Russian intervention in the Donbass will have immense political consequences in Europe: all the tiny timid baby-steps that were taken by EU leaders to have some kind of independent foreign policy (I think of North Stream 2 for example) will be immediately crushed by a huge chorus of Russophobic hysteria coming out of AngloZionist puppet regimes in eastern Europe.

Truth be told, so far the Russian policy of sending equipment (the Voentorg) and specialists (the North Wind) has been very successful. The Russians managed to defeat the Ukronazis without direct intervention (with some minor exceptions like a few special ops, a few artillery strikes and some help to create a de facto air exclusion zone over the Donbass). The problem is that with Poroshenko being so unpopular and the Ukraine becoming a failed state (which it has been for a while already), the junta could well decide to attack again with (at least on paper) a re-organized, re-trained, re-equipped and much beefed up military force. And if they lose to the Novorussians – which they mostly likely will – then they can blame all their own self-inflicted disasters on Russian military intervention.

Finally, as I have written in the past, the big problem is that the AngloZionists risk very little in telling their Ukronazi proxies to attack Novorussia. Oh sure, a lot of Ukrainians will die, but the AngloZionists don’t care, and if the Ukroarmy is capable enough to force a Russian military intervention, then the Empire wins politically. The only bad scenario for the Empire would be for the LNR/DNR forces to be able to defeat the Urkos for a third time, again without any overt Russian intervention, which is a distinct possibility.

From a Russian point of view, I understand that an open intervention in the Donbass would be very costly in political and economic terms. However, I do believe that it is not an ‘all or nothing’ situation. Russia does not have to choose between doing nothing and sending her tanks into Kiev. Russia does have the option of tightening the screws on Kiev without going overboard. At the very least, Russia could implement painful economic sanctions. The Kremlin could also tell the regime in Kiev that there are red lines (including terrorist attacks in Novorussia, Crimea, or elsewhere in Russia), which should not be crossed and that Russia will not stand by for any Ukronazi provocation.

In conclusion of this section, I will say that the Russian policy towards the Ukraine has been a mixed bag with some real successes mixed in with some probably less than ideal responses. I believe that the Kremlin ought to consider political and economic means to retaliate against the Ukronazi policies while staying clear of any overt military operation for as long as possible (i.e., that is unless the Urkonazis threaten to over-run Novorussia).

Having compared and contrasted these two conflicts, let’s now look at the bigger picture. After all, Paul Craig Roberts is speaking about the future of our entire planet with his question: “Can War Be Avoided and the Planet Saved?”. And he is absolutely correct: what is at stake here is not just the outcome of a local or regional conflict, but the future of our entire planet.

The bigger picture: the existential war between Russia and the Empire

The USA and Russia have been at war for several years now. Yes, this war is roughly 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic. But this can change very rapidly. The main reasons for this war are not just the usual mix of grand power rivalries, economic and financial struggles, the desire to control raw materials or strategic geographical locations. These are all present this time too, but the deeper reason for this war is that Russia and the USA represent two mutually exclusive civilizational models. Very succinctly, Russia wants a multi-polar world in which each country is free to develop as its people see fit and in which international law regulates relations between nations. The Empire stands, well, for itself, of course. Meaning that it wants a single world hegemony ruled by the AngloZionists. Furthermore, Russia stands for traditional moral and spiritual values whereas the Empire stands for greed, globalism and the destruction of all traditions and moral values. It is pretty self-evident that these two systems cannot coexist. They present existential threats to each other. Russia will either become sovereign or enslaved. The Empire will either control the planet or crumble. Tertium non datur.

The Russians fully understand that, as do the leaders of the transnational AngloZionist Empire. You think that I am exaggerating?  Well, see for yourself what Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had to say on this topic: (emphasis added)

We are witnessing historic changes across the entire threat landscape … The balance of power that has characterized the international system for decades has been corroding. America’s unipolar moment is at risk. Power vacuums are springing up across the globe and are quickly filled by hostile nation-states, terrorists and transnational criminals. They all share a common goal: They want to disrupt our way of life — and many are inciting chaos, instability and violence

Except for the totally hypocritical comment at the end about “chaos, instability and violence” (which are, by far, the biggest US exports), she is spot on.  Hence the current tensions.

There is the very real possibility that this war will suddenly become 100% kinetic. The Russians also understand that, and this is why they have been preparing for WWIII for several years now. As I have already stated many times, the US armed forces are in no condition to fight a conventional war against Russia, and the recent Russian advances in military technology have pretty much rendered the US Navy and Air Force more or less useless. The US nuclear triad, however, is still fully functional and is more than sufficient to destroy Russia.

Russia has therefore also dramatically increased her strategic deterrence capabilities and in effect rendered all the US ABM efforts useless. Following the old motto si vis pacem, para bellum, Russia has now developed an entire family of new weapons systems designed to deter the US from any attack (see Andrei Martyanov’s analysis hereand my own here). Putin’s plan is quite evident: he hopes that Russia will be able to convince the leaders of the United States that an attack on Russia would be suicidal. Now all Russia can do is try to do everything in her power to avoid such a conflict.

Paul Craig Roberts presents us with a very bleak picture when he says that:

The people in the West with whom he is dealing are idiots who do not appreciate his statesmanship. Consequently, each time Putin turns the other cheek, so to speak, the insults and the provocations ratchet upward (…) The reason I think Putin needs to do a better job of standing up to Washington is that I think, based on history, that appeasement encourages more provocations, and it comes to a point when you have to surrender or fight.

Sadly, I can only totally agree with Paul Craig Roberts, and I explained that in my article Each “Click” Brings Us Closer To The Bang!” which I concluded with the following words:

I can’t ignore the fact that each “click” brings us one step closer to the “bang.” And that suggests to me that the only real solution to this perilous situation is to find a way to remove the finger pressing on the trigger or, better, take away the gun from the nutcase threatening us all with it.

This is, I think, the core of the Russian policy towards the United States: trying to find a way to get the AngloZionst finger off the US nuclear trigger. This is a difficult and complicated task which can only be tackled very carefully, one step at a time. And yes, this strategy does imply that, at times, they seem to meekly “turn the other cheek” when in reality they are trying not to give the nutcase a reason to open up.

Think of it this way: what is the biggest mistake the USA is currently making? The US leaders do not realize (or, worse, do not care) that US actions are pushing Russia into a corner from which she cannot retreat. They are thus forcing Russia to stand her ground including, if needed, by military force. What would be the point of the Russians doing precisely the same thing, pushing the Neocons into a corner from which they would perceive that they cannot retreat? Please keep in mind that understanding what is unacceptable to your enemy (to reach the “breaking point” in negotiations theory) does not at all imply that you agree with your enemy’s values or point of view. We don’t have to find the AngloZionist messianic ideology and worldview as anything but repugnant and delusional to understand the fact that if openly and directly challenged the AngloZionists will strike out, most likely in a completely irresponsible and even suicidal manner. Thus the only possible strategy is to slowly weaken the Empire without ever giving its leaders the unambiguous signal that what Russia is really seeking is their complete demise. And, again, if that means giving them the illusion that Russia is “turning the other cheek”, then that is the price to pay to buy more time and further weaken the Empire.

That strategy, however, cannot be sustained forever, if only because appeasement does invite further abuse. Each time Russia successfully avoids WWIII the imbeciles in Washington DC interpret this as a further sign that “Russia is weak, and we are strong, we are the best, we are invincible!” and plan a further escalation of tensions and hostilities.

This is why I think that each conflict needs to be looked at on a case by case basis. In Syria, appearing to be “turning the other cheek” to avoid WWIII makes sense. In the Ukraine where such a risk does not exist, this strategy needs to be fundamentally reassessed. In Syria, Russian and US forces are in direct proximity, facing each other; in the Ukraine, however, the Ukronazi forces are a proxy for NATO, and thus they act like a buffer which reduces the risks of rapid uncontrolled escalation. Russia can use that to her advantage.

I also want to add this: should Russia decide to push-back in a more energetic manner, she will not do that across the board, but only in specific instances and specific conflicts. A stronger push-back in Syria will not automatically signal a stronger push-back in the Ukraine, and vice-versa. Russian military strategy places great importance on the concentration of forces on the main axis of attack, not across the entire battle area and so do Russian politicians. This entire notion of “being tough on” (crime, drugs, terror, etc.) is very US American. Russians don’t think this way at all. They will study the full disposition of the enemy and pick the one spot where a (counter-)attack makes most sense. So don’t expect Putin to suddenly stop “turning the other cheek” and “get tough with the Americans”. It simply won’t happen this way. In some spots the Russians will appear to give in, while in others they will increase the pressure. That is how all wars are won.

The internal factor: the 5th columnists

As I have mentioned many times in the past, Vladimir Putin also has to contend with a pro-Western and pro-Zionist 5th column inside the Kremlin and, more generally, inside the state apparatus. I call this 5th column the Atlantic Integrationists (as opposed to the Eurasian Sovereignists), but we could also call them the Washington Consensus/IMF/WTO/WB/etc/ or follow the example of Gary Littlejohn and call them “supporters of international financial institutions” (except that rather calling them “supporters” I would refer to them as “agents”). But whatever term we choose to use, it is crucial to always keep in mind that this 5th column remains the biggest threat Putin and Russia are facing and Putin has to keep that in mind in every decision that he makes. So far, these 5thcolumnists have focused mostly on what is dear to their hearts – money issues and internal politics – and left the military and security services to deal with what is dear to their hearts: the protection of Russian sovereignty and foreign policy. But you can be sure that if Putin ever makes a mistake (or even if he doesn’t, but only appears to make one) they will pounce on him and do everything they can to either outright oust him or, at least, force him and his supporters to agree to their treacherous agenda: to return to the nightmare of the 1990s: a total sellout of Russia to the AngloZionists.

Conclusion: simple perceptions vs a complex reality

So is Russia acting like a bully (like the US/EU say), or adequately responding when needed (as most Putin supporters believe) or does she meekly turn the other cheek (as Paul Craig Roberts concludes)? I would say that none of these characterizations are correct and that the reality is just far more complex.

For one thing, the examples of South Ossetia and Crimea show that Putin is willing, when needed, to take forceful military action. But in other cases, he prefers to delay any confrontation. In the case of Syria, this makes sense. In the case of the Ukraine, less so. Furthermore, Russia is still only a partially sovereign country and the power of the 5th columnists still strongly influences Russian decision making, especially in non-time-critical cases (South Ossetia and Crimea being perfect examples of a time-critical situation). This is why Russian actions often appear as contradictory zig-zags (even when they are not). Russians also still have a rather weak public relations capability (for examples, see herehere and here)

This perception problem is made worse by the regrettable fact that much of the English language Russia-focused blogosphere has been roughly split:

  • On the one hand, mindless cheerleading combined with emphatic denials that there are any problems at all.
  • On the other hand, defeatist “all is lost” or “Putin sold out” kind of commentary only serving to confuse the matter further.

They are all equally wrong. Worse, they both damage Russia in general and Putin in particular (sadly, most of them have sold out to their financial sponsors and are more interested in pleasing this or that oligarch than about being truthful).

Russian policies should be viewed dialectically: as evolving processes which often contain the seeds of their own contradiction, but which still end up being tremendously successful at the end, at least so far. Rather than hoping for perfection or infallibility from Putin, we should offer him our conditional and critical support. In fact, I would even say that Putin and the Eurasian Sovereignists can greatly benefit from critical support as this gives them a justification to take corrective action (for example, Putin has already amended, albeit minimally, the proposed pension reform project as a direct result of a massive public outcry). You could also put it this way: each time the Russian public opinion is outraged by Ukronazi actions or the perception that Russia is meekly turning the other cheek brings closer the day when Russia will finally recognize the two Novorussian republics. Right now what I hear a lot in the Russian media (including state media) are expressions of immense frustration, disgust and anger and calls for the Kremlin take a much harder line on the Ukros in Kiev. Popular anger is a powerful weapon which Putin can use against his enemies, both internal and external.

So let us follow Paul Craig Roberts’ example and continue to ask the hard questions and remain critical of Russian policies.

The Saker


Links to responding documents in this discussion thread:

Russia As a Cat – Andrei Martyanov replies to Dr Paul Craig Roberts

What Should Putin Do? – Dr Roberts replies to Andrei Martyanov

I Agree with The Saker as Far as he Goes – Dr Roberts replies to The Saker

 

 

 

The Essential Saker II
The Essential Saker II: Civilizational Choices and Geopolitics / The Russian challenge to the hegemony of the AngloZionist Empire
The Essential Saker

عرض القيصر لترامب: سورية أولاً… أو الطوفان؟

يوليو 23, 2018

محمد صادق الحسيني

هلسنكي ليست لندن أو باريس بعد الحرب العالمية الأولى،

كما أنها ليست يالطا بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية…!

وبوتين وترامب ليسا سايكس وبيكو بعد الحرب الأولى، ولا ستالين وروزفلت بعد الثانية حتى يتقاسما فيها الغنائم.

فما حصل هناك هو تقاسم المنتصرين الغنائم وقطاف النصر في ما بينهم، في حين أنّ ما حصل في هلسنكي هو اجتماع المنتصرين بالوكالة مع المهزوم بالأصالة…

انتبهوا جيداً يا مَن تذهبون بعيداً ضحية تشويش الإعلام الصهيوني العالمي. فالحرب الكونية على سورية تقارب من نهاياتها بربح أكيد لمحورنا الحرب استراتيجياً وحليفنا الروسي تباعاً، وخسارة عدوّنا الإسرائيلي الحرب استراتيجياً وسيده الأميركي تباعاً…!

فهل من المعقول أن يقاسم المنتصر أرباحه مع المهزوم او يقدّم جوائز ترضية له!؟

قطعاً لا…

جلّ ما حصل قبل هلسنكي وأثناءها وبعدها هو سكوت القيصر الروسي على بعض مزاعم ترامب وربيبته «إسرائيل» على ما يزعمونه من تفاهمات عامة روسية غربية بينها إسرائيلية بغرض تنفيس احتقاناتهم بانتظار استكمال محور المقاومة حزمة الانتصارات المتبقية…!

تابعوا تصريحات سفراء القيصر في كلّ من دمشق وطهران وبغداد عقب تصريح سفيره في تل أبيب، حيث نسفوا كلّ ما قاله الأخير عن مثل هذه التفاهمات…!

ومع ذلك… ولأنّ الزعيم فلاديمير بوتين وهو رئيس الـ «كي جي بي» السوفياتي في ألمانيا الشرقية سابقاً، أيّ المسؤول الأول عن جبهة الحرب المتقدّمة لحلف وارسو بوجه حلف الاطلنطي، يعرف تماماً كيف يروّض الفيل الأميركي الطموح والجامح من أجل إعادة بعض الدور وبعض ماء الوجه لأميركا المكسورة والمهشّمة الصورة على صخور الجبال السورية…!

فكان أن اقترح على ترامب رشوة تسعفه في التغلب على خصومه الداخليين من بقايا الدولة العميقة عندما اقترح عليه تقاسم سوق النفط والغاز الأوروبي بأموال خليجية سعودية بالأساس لتمويل 11 مصنع تسييل الغاز الأميركي ليتمكن من بيع ذهبه الأسود والأزرق في السوق الأوروبية، إضافة إلى السكوت على صفقة القرن بانتظار قيام محور المقاومة بزعزعتها ميدانياً .

ومن لديه شكّ في ذلك، فليستمع الى الرئيس محمود عباس ويسأله عما دار بينه وبين بوتين، وما أسرّ اليه في خلوتهما في رحلته الأخيرة لموسكو؟

في هذه الأثناء قدّم القيصر الرشوة كذلك للفرنسيين من خلال التوسط لهم لدى دمشق بأن يقدّم الروسي نفسه جسراً جوياً لمساعدتهم الإنسانية، ومعهم أوروبا، في مقدمة للعودة التدريجية الى سورية. وبالتتابع إغراء الأردن والسعودية وملحقاتها بخطة تسهيل عودة اللاجئين السوريين، فيما ترك الباب مفتوحاً لمن يريد الالتحاق بالفريق المنتصر او ركوب زورق الغالبين…!

إنّ فلاديمير بوتين لا يستطيع حتى لو أراد أن يتقاسم النصر مع ترامب أن يفعل ذلك، لأنه لا يزال في حالة حرب معه في إدلب، إذ لا يزال نحو 25 ألف إرهابي من جمهوريات بلاده ينشطون هناك تحت إشراف ثعلب الناتو أردوغان. وما أدراك ما أردوغان؟

هذا غير حاجته الملحّة والماسّة لحليفه الإيراني ومعه لكلّ أعضاء جبهة المقاومة التي لم تنته بعد من تحقيق كافة أهدافها الاستراتيجية والتي من أهمّها إخراج أميركا من غرب آسيا والبحر المتوسط بشكل أخصّ…!

الحرب العالمية الثالثة لم تصل الى نهاياتها بعدُ إذن، ويوم تصل الى نهاياتها، فإنّ الصفقة عندها فقط ستعقد فعلاً، ولكن بين أعضاء حلف المنتصرين، ونحن في محور المقاومة سنكون على رأس القائمة، ويومها فقط نعقد صفقة مع موسكو نعيد فيها كتابة التاريخ ونغيّر أقدار الجغرافيا السياسية والطبيعية.

أما اجتماعات مَن يمثلنا في النصر مع رمز المهزومين العالمي، فسيكون هذه المرة لإبلاغه بشروط الإذعان بالهزيمة ويومها كما في هلسنكي لن يكون للمهزوم سوى خيار قبول شروط المنتصرين…

ومع ذلك… ولأنّ فلاديمير بوتين يعرف تماماً نوع الوجع الذي يلمّ بالرئيس ترامب، وأنه يريد العودة من ساحة الهزيمة إلى الداخل الأميركي منتصراً على رأسمالية المضاربات المالية بالنفط والسلاح، وهذا يتطلّب منح ترامب فرصة جمع المزيد من المال من حلفائه وأذنابه الذين حمتهم أميركا لعقود، ليضخه الى أسواق الداخل الأميركي لتنشيط المصانع وما يسمّونه بالرأسمالية المنتجة، وهو ما لخصه ترامب بشعاره الانتخابي الشهير أميركا أولاً…!

هنا يدخل القيصر على خط الصراع الداخلي الأميركي كما دخل مبكراً على بورصة الانتخابات الأميركية، بقوة فيقدّم لترامب حبل النجاة والهروب بجلده من سورية وحتى العراق، بل وكلّ منطقة آسيا الغربية، وصولاً حتى إلى الشرق الأدنى كوريا ، وذلك تحت شعار:

إذا أردت تحقيق حلمك، أميركا أولاً، فعليك يا سيد ترامب أن تفعل بخطة سورية أولاً، أيّ غادر سورية بأسرع ما يمكن، لأنه سبيل خلاصك وتحرّرك من المستنقع الذي تركته لك الدولة العميقة أو ورثته منها، والذي من دون مغادرته لن تستطيع الانتصار عليهم في الداخل، بل إنك ستغرق في طوفان الخارج الذي يدبّره لك من باتوا ينتظرونك على خوضه على أحرّ من الجمر…!

أما التابع «الإسرائيلي» وصاحب شركة الأسطول الأميركي على اليابسة الفلسطينية، فلن يجني من الرشوة الروسية لترامب إلا بعض عظامها. وهي سكوت الروسي المؤقت على صفقة القرن، في الوقت الذي خذله في أهمّ مطالبه الملحة ألا وهي إخراج إيران وحزب الله من سورية، أو من الجنوب السوري كحدّ أدنى، الأمر الذي ليس فقط لم يحصل، بل إنّ المستشار الإيراني والآخر من حزب الله صارا «ينوظران» عليه من على بعد أمتار من الجولان المحتلّ وصار الجنوب جنوبين…!

وفي هذا السياق علمت مصادرنا بأنّ أحد جنرالات الأركان «الإسرائيليين» قام بإطلاع نظير أوروبي له على جوهر ما دار في المكالمات الهاتفية بين بوتين ونتن ياهو، وكذلك بين ليبرمان وشويغو يوم 20/7/2018 والتي تناولت الوضع في سورية.

حيث أكد الإسرائيلي للأوروبي على ما يلي:

ـ فشل المحادثات الهاتفية في التوصل إلى أيّ نتيجة بخصوص الوجود الإيراني وحزب الله في سورية.

ـ أصبحت العلاقه «الإسرائيلية» الروسية تنحصر في نقطتين فقط. وهما: آلية التنسيق العسكري بين الجيشين بخصوص سورية.

عدم تدخل الروس في ايّ عمليات يقوم بها الجيش الإسرائيلي ضدّ أهداف إيرانية في سورية حسب قول الجنرال الإسرائيلي طبعاً .

وتابع قائلاً لنظيره الأوروبي: خيبة أملنا كبيرة جداً من روسيا، حيث لم يلتزموا بوعودهم لنا بأن لا يسمحوا لإيران وحزب الله بالوصول الى حدود الجولان!

في طهران العام 1943 اجتمع كلٌّ من ستالين وروزفلت وتشرشل في إطار ما عُرف في ما بعد بقمة النصر، ايّ انتصار الحلفاء على دول المحور النازي الفاشي . وهو ما تأكد في ما بعد بنهاية النازية والفاشية واستسلامهما للحلفاء متبلوراً في قمة يالطا الشهيرة…!

بانتظار أن تمرّ قمة طهران الثلاثية المرتقبة بخير والتي يفترض أن تضع رقبة العثماني الجديد على مقصلة التفاهم الإيراني الروسي، تذهب العيون شاخصة الى قمة يحدّدها الميدان السوري بعد تحرير كامل الرقة وإدلب حتى تنضج قمة المنتصرين في دمشق، والتي يفترض أن تجمع بين القيصر والإمام أو مَنْ يمثله والرئيس العربي الوحيد المتبقي من أيام زمن الكبار العرب، عندها فقط يمكن الحديث عن صفقة او تفاهم للمنتصرين حول نوع الجغرافيا السياسية التي تنتظر العالم برسم الخط العربي الإسلامي.

الى حين ذلك الزمن اليقين تبقى اليد على الزناد والعيون الى القدس مشدودة.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

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DID THE WEST JUST LOSE WORLD WAR III BY FORFEIT?

South Front

22.04.2018

Did the West Just Lose World War III by Forfeit?

Written by James George Jatras; Originally appeared at strategic-culture.org

In the fall of the year 1480, at a point not far from Moscow, two armies faced each other on the opposite banks of the Ugra River.

On the one side were the forces of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, whose ruler, Grand Prince Ivan III (known as “the Great” and the “gatherer of the Russian lands”), had recently rejected further payment of tribute to the Great Horde.

On the other were the forces of Grand Khan Ahmed bin Küchük, who had come to lay waste to Moscow and instruct the impudent Prince Ivan to mend his ways.

For weeks the two assembled hosts glared at one another, each wary of crossing the water and becoming vulnerable to attack by the other. In the end, as though heeding the same inaudible signal, both withdrew and hastily returned home.

Thus ended more than two centuries of the Tatar-Mongol yoke upon the land of the Rus’.

Was this event, which came to be known as “the great standing on the Ugra River,” a model of what happened in Syria last week?

Almost immediately upon reports of the staged chemical attack in Douma on April 7, speculation began as to the likely response from the west – which in reality meant from the United States, in turn meaning from President Donald J. Trump. Would Trump, who had repeatedly spoken harshly of his predecessors’ destructive and pointless misadventures in the Middle East, and who just days earlier had signaled his determination to withdraw the several thousand Americans (illegally) stationed in Syria, see through the obvious deception?

Or, whether or not he really believed the patently untrue accusations of Syrian (and Russian) culpability, would Trump take punitive action against Syria? And if so, would it be a demonstrative pinprick of the sort inflicted almost exactly a year earlier in punishment for an obvious false flag chemical attack in Idlib? Or would we see something more “robust” (a word much beloved of laptop bombardiers in Washington) aimed at teaching a lesson to both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his ally, Prince Ivan III’s obstreperous heir Russian President Vladimir Putin?

The answer soon came on Twitter.

Assad was an “animal.” Putin, Russia, and Iran were “responsible” for “many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack” – “Big price to pay.”

Around the world, people mentally braced for the worst. Would a global conflagration start in Syria with an American attack on Russian forces? A grim trepidation reminiscent of the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis gripped the hearts of those old enough to remember those thirteen days when the fate of all life on our planet was in doubt.

Certainly there were enough voices in the US establishment egging Trump on. Besides, at home he still had the relentless pressure of the Mueller investigation, intensified by the FBI’s April 9 raid on his lawyer Michael Cohen. Trump’s only respite from the incessant hammering was his strike on Syria last year.

During the first Cold War both American and Soviet forces took great care to avoid direct conflict, rightly afraid it could lead to uncontrolled escalation. But now, in this second Cold War, western commentators were positively giddy at the thought of killing Russians in Syria…

…or rather killing more Russians, citing the slaughter of a disputed number of contractors (or “mercenaries” as western media and officials consistently called them, implying they deserved to have been exterminated). That’ll teach ‘em not to tangle with us! It was unclear whether the warning from Russian Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov that

Russia would respond against an attack by striking both incoming weapons as well as the platforms that launched would be taken seriously.

After a slight softening of tone by both Trump and Defense Secretary General James “Mad Dog” Mattis on April 12, during which a team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was approaching Douma to conduct an on-site examination, there emerged a slim ray of hope that Trump would step back from acting on the transparently false provocation. (The slimness of any such hope was illustrated by the fact seemingly the most restrained of Trump’s advisers was somebody nicknamed “Mad Dog.”)

When on the evening of Friday the Thirteenth (Washington time) news came that the US had initiated military action, together with France and (the country Russia had accused of staging the Douma fraud) the United Kingdom, many feared the worst. The hasty timing was clearly aimed at preempting the arrival of the OPCW inspectors.

Of greater concern was the extent of the assault?

If Russians were killed, Gerasimov was serious.

As it turned out, the worst didn’t come. World War III didn’t happen. Or hasn’t – yet.

In fact nothing much happened at all. According to the official US reports, something over a hundred missiles were launched at three targets. All missiles reached their targets – “Mission Accomplished!The other side, however, claimed to have shot down roughly 75 percent of the incoming Tomahawks.

In the end, the damage was even less than from the follow-up to Idlib last year. No one was reported killed, neither Syrian nor Russian nor Iranian. Western governments claimed to have struck a serious blow at Syria’s chemical weapons capability. Syrians and Russians scoffed that the missiles had hit empty buildings and that Syria had no CW to hit since 2014, as certified by the OPCW.

In the aftermath of the missile show, media carried unverified reports that Trump had wanted a stronger campaign but deferred to Mattis’s caution, no doubt reflecting the views of professional military men who didn’t want to find out whether Gerasimov was bluffing. Mattis also reportedly wanted Congress to vote on any action before it was taken but was overruled by Trump.

There was even some speculation that the whole thing was a charade worked out in cooperation with the Russians. Even if true (and it’s unlikely) the mere fact that Trump would have to engage in such a ruse speaks volumes about the weakness of his position.

“Whatever Trump says, America is not coming out of Syria,” writes Patrick Buchanan. “We are going deeper in. Trump’s commitment to extricate us from these bankrupting and blood-soaked Middle East wars and to seek a new rapprochement with Russia is ‘inoperative’.”

That’s clear from the comments of US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. She states that America won’t disengage until three objectives have been met: that

ISIS has been defeated (a pretext, since ISIS is on the ropes and remains alive only because of hostile actions taken by the US and others against Syria); Damascus is finally deterred from using chemical weapons (a falsehood, since they don’t have any); and Iran’s regional influence is blocked (which means we’re staying in effect permanently in preparation for a larger war against Iran and perhaps eventually Russia).

The last point is unfortunately true, as plans are underway to beef up a Sunni anti-Iran bulwark in eastern Syria to cut off Tehran’s so-called “land bridge” the Mediterranean. Most Americans in Syria are to be replaced with a so-called Arab force – the “Arab NATO” touted last year in connection with Trump’s maiden foreign trip as president. (As though the one NATO we already have weren’t bad enough!)

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has suggested troops from his country would participate. Aside from whether Riyadh can spare them from their ongoing task of wrecking Yemen, Saudi personnel are likely to become a prime target for Syrians itching to get a crack at their chief tormenters over the past seven years.

So was anything really settled on April 13? On this occasion the West chose not to “cross the river,” much as Khan Ahmed’s force declined to do in 1480. For their part, the Russians in Syria, like their ancestors on the Ugra, were on defense and had no need to risk offensive action.

Unfortunately, unlike the “the great standing on the Ugra River,” which resolved the question of Russian independence and sovereignty in that era, nothing has been resolved now. The question remains: will the US peacefully relinquish its position as the sole arbiter of authority, legality, and morality in a unipolar world in favor of a multipolar order where Russia’s and China’s legitimate interests and spheres of influence are respected? Or will we continue to risk plunging mankind into a global conflict?

Syria remains a key arena where one path or the other will be taken to finally wrap up what US Army Major Danny Sjursen calls “Operation Flailing Empire.” The irony is that peacefully “losing” our pointless and dangerous attempt to rule the world would only be to Americans’ benefit. That’s what Trump promised in 2016. He hasn’t delivered and it’s increasingly doubtful he can.

In the end, the threat of World War III hasn’t vanished. It has just been postponed.

 

RUSSIAN NAVY LAUNCHES LIVE-FIRE EXERCISES OFF SYRIAN COAST AMID EXPECTED US STRIKES

South Front

11.04.2018

Russian Navy Launches Live-Fire Exercises Off Syrian Coast Amid Expected US Strikes

Russian navy ships fire off missiles at a parade. Stringer/REUTERS

Russia has scheduled a missile-firing exercise in the eastern Mediterranean as US President Donald Trump have threatened Syia and Russian forces deployed in the country with “smart” missiles.

The Russian military exercises, including missile-firing, will be held from April 11 to April 26 around Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean.

A similar warning was earlier issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which had recommended all aircraft to supervise over their flights in the eastern Mediterranean region within the next 72 hours. The warning appeared due to possible airstrikes on Syria involving cruise missiles or air-to-surface missiles.

Meanwhile, the US Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol plane, known as a “submarine killer”, was observed by the flying to south of Cyprus, having likely departed from Naval Air Station Sigonella in Italy, and headed eastward toward Syria.

Strategic Sentinel

@StratSentinel

U.S Navy P8 Poseidon south of travelling eastwards towards .

According to the satellite images, eleven Russian battleships have already left the port of Tartus for the exercise.
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

imagesatintl@imagesatint
 ISI reveals: Disappearance of most of the Forces from Port, .
Those missing naval vessels have now been deployed at sea due to possible near-future . Only one class submarine remained.
 The Russian military exercises off Syria’s coast is another signal showing the developing escalation scennario in the region. Some media activists already described the exercises as an answer to President Trump’s threats.
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What happened to the West I was born in?!

What happened to the West I was born in?!

March 26, 2018

Frankly, I am awed, amazed and even embarrassed.  I was born in Switzerland, lived most of my life there, I also visited most of Europe, and I lived in the USA for over 20 years.  Yet in my worst nightmares I could not have imagined the West sinking as low as it does now.  I mean, yes, I know about the false flags, the corruption, the colonial wars, the NATO lies, the abject subservience of East Europeans, etc.  I wrote about all that many times.  But imperfect as they were, and that is putting it mildly, I remember Helmut Schmidt, Maggie Thatcher, Reagan, Mitterrand, even Chirac!  And I remember what the Canard Enchaîné used to be, or even the BBC.  During the Cold War the West was hardly a knight in white shining armor, but still – rule of law did matter, as did at least some degree of critical thinking.

I am now deeply embarrassed for the West.  And very, very afraid.

All I see today is a submissive herd lead by true, bona fide, psychopaths (in a clinical sense of the word)

And that is not the worst thing.

The worst thing is the deafening silence, the way everybody just looks away, pretends like “ain’t my business” or, worse, actually takes all this grotesque spectacle seriously.  What the fuck is wrong with you people?!  Have you all been turned into zombies?!  WAKE UP!!!!!!!

Let me carefully measure my words here and tell you the blunt truth.

Since the Neocon coup against Trump the West is now on exactly the same course as Nazi Germany was in, roughly, the mid 1930s.

Oh sure, the ideology is different, the designated scapegoat also.  But the mindset is *exactly* the same.

Same causes produce the same effects.  But this time around, there are weapons on both sides which make the Dresden Holocaust looks like a minor spark.

So now we have this touching display of “western solidarity” not with UK or the British people, but with the City of London.  Now ain’t that touching?!

Let me ask you this: what has been the central feature of Britain’s policies towards Europe, oh, let’s say since the Middle-Ages?

That’s right: starting wars in Europe.

And this time around you think it’s different?

Does: “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior” somehow not apply to the UK?!

Let me also tell you this: when Napoleon and Hitler attacked Russia she was undergoing deep crises and was objectively weak (really! research it for yourself!).  In both cases Russian society was deeply torn by internal contradictions and the time for attack as ideal.

Not today.

So I ask this simple question: do you really want to go to war against a fully united nuclear Russia?

You think that this is hyperbole?

Think again.

The truth is that the situation today is infinitely worse than the Cuban missile crisis. First, during the Cuban missile crisis there were rational people on both side.  Today there is NOT ONE SINGLE RATIONAL PERSON LEFT IN A POSITION OF POWER IN THE USA.  Not ONE!  Second, during the Cuban missile crisis all the new was reporting on was the crisis, the entire planet felt like we were standing at the edge of the abyss.

Today nobody seems to be aware that we are about to go to war, possibly a thermonuclear war, where casualties will be counted in the hundreds of millions.

All because of what?

Because the people of the West have accepted, or don’t even know, that they are ruled by an ugly gang of ignorant, arrogant psychopaths.

At the very least this situation shows this:

Representative democracy does not work.

The rule of law only applies to the weak and poor.

Western values have now been reduced to a sad joke.

Capitalism needs war and a world hegemony to survive.

The AngloZionist Empire is about to collapse, the only open question is how and at what cost.

Right now they are expelling Russian diplomats en masse and they are feeling very strong and manly. Polish and Ukrainian politicians are undergoing a truly historical surge in courage and self-confidence! (hiding, as they do, behind Anglo firepower)

The truth is that this is only the tip of a much bigger iceberg.  In reality, crucial expert-level consultations, which are so vitally important between nuclear superpowers, have all but stopped a long time ago.  We are down to top level telephone calls.  That kind of stuff happens when two sides are about to go to war.  For many months now Russia and NATO have made preparations for war in Europe.  And Russia is ready.  NATO sure ain’t!  Oh, they have the numbers and they think they are strong.  The truth is that these NATO midgets have no idea of what is about to hit them, when the Russians go to war these NATO statelets won’t even understand what is happening to them.  Very rapidly the real action will be left to the USA and Russia.  Thus any conflict will go nuclear very fast.  And, for the first time in history, the USA will be hit very, very hard, not only in Europe, the Middle-East or Asia, but also on the continental US.

I was born in a Russian military family and I studied Russian and Soviet military affairs all my life. I can absolutely promise you this, please don’t doubt it for one second:

Russia will not back down and, if cornered, she will wipe out your entire civilization. The Russians really don’t want war, they fear it (as they should!) and they will do everything to avoid it.  But if attacked then expect a response of absolutely devastating violence.  Don’t take it from me, take it from Putin who clearly said so himself and who, at least on that issue, is supported by about 95% of the population.  From the Eastern Crusades to the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, enough is enough, and the Russians will not take one more western attack, especially not one backed by nuclear firepower.  Again, please ponder Putin’s words very, very carefully:

“what need would we have a world if there is no Russia?

All that for what?  The USA and Russia have NO objective reasons to do anything but to collaborate (the Russians are absolutely baffled the fact the leaders of the USA seem to be completely oblivious to this simple fact).  Okay, the City of London does have a lot of reasons to want Russia gone and silent. As Gavin Williamson, the little soy-boy in charge of UK “defense”, so elegantly put it, Russia should “go away and shut up”.  Right.  Let me tell you – it ain’t happening!  Britannia will be turned into a heap of radioactive ashes long before Russian goes away or shuts up.  That is simply a fact.

What baffles me is this: do American leaders really want to lose their country in behalf of a small nasty clique of arrogant British pompous asses who think that they still are an Empire?  Did you even take a look at Boris Johnson, Theresa May and Gavin Williamson?  Are you really ready to die in defense of the interest of these degenerates?!

I don’t get it and nobody in Russia does.

Yeah, I know, all they did is expel some diplomats.  And the Russians will do the same.  So what?  But that’s missing the point!

LOOK NOT WHERE WE ARE BUT WHERE WE ARE HEADING!!

You can get 200,000 antigun (sigh, rolleyes) protesters in DC but NOBODY AT ALL ABOUT NUCLEAR WAR?!

What is wrong with you people?!

What happened to the West where I was born in in 1963?

My God, is this really the end of it all?

Am I the only one who sees this slow-motion train-wreck taking us all over the precipice?

If you can, please give a reason to still hope.

Right now I don’t see many.

The Saker

PS: yes, I know. The rules of the blog prohibit CAPS as this is considered shouting.  Okay, but this time around I AM TRYING TO SHOUT!  So, for this one time only, feel free to use caps if you want.  The world badly needs some shouting right now, even virtual shouting.

McMaster Threatens Russia in Speech at Holocaust Museum; is there a ‘Jewish Agenda’ at Work?

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Departing US National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster believes the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. is holy ground. He said so in a recent speech there.

“We are gathered together this afternoon on holy ground,” he proclaimed.

Yesterday it was reported that McMaster has been ousted from his position in the Trump administration. While there were subtle nuances in views on such things as Russia and the JCPOA agreement with Iran, the “personal chemistry” between Trump and McMaster probably had at least as much, if not more, to do with the latter’s departure than anything else. And the general’s speech at the Holocaust Museum, I would contend–a speech given on the 7th anniversary of the outbreak of the war in Syria–offers us some interesting insights into why the anti-Russia hysteria emanating from Washington has ramped up to such dangerous levels.

You can go here to access a Politico report on the speech, and here to see a video of it uploaded by the US State Department. As you will observe, McMaster devoted much of the talk to fulminating against Russia. The program also abounded with the usual rhetoric against Syria and Iran.

“Unfortunately today in Syria we are confronted with some of the worst atrocities known to man,” McMaster declared, and he went on to adjure that “the Russian government has bombed civilian areas and provided political cover for Assad’s crimes.”

Some of the worst atrocities known to man? McMaster ludicrously seems to be suggesting that President Assad, whose ouster has been openly called for by both US and Israeli officials, may be “worse than Hitler,” as it were. It is a sign that desperation to remove him is reaching new levels.

Significantly, the talk was given on March 15, which as I say was the 7th anniversary of the outbreak of the war in Syria–and at several points during the program McMaster made reference to a “Syria exhibit” there at the museum.

“The Syria exhibit here at the Holocaust Museum details these horrifying crimes through photographs, film, first person accounts, and other documentary evidence. It is estimated that nearly 500,000 people have perished since the war began,” he said.

Throughout, the following image was projected onto a large screen upon the stage from which the general gave his talk:

Question: Why would the Holocaust Museum, an entity presumably devoted to remembering an event in history, insert itself into the contemporary politics of regime change in the Middle East? Does it not suggest that the agenda of overthrowing the Assad government may be quintessentially a “Jewish agenda”?

In that regard, another point to consider is this: Russia is the chief reason why, after seven long years, the efforts to overthrow Assad have gone up in smoke. Imagine. All the money, resources, time and effort spent recruiting, arming, and training terrorist proxies, and nothing to show for it other than heaps of dead bodies and whole areas reduced to rubble. Despite all that, Assad remains leader of Syria.

Imagine the pent up fury this has triggered in certain circles in Washington…and probably elsewhere. Do you really doubt that pitting the US in a war against Russia is an option that has not been considered? So should we consider the bringing about of such a war a part of the aforementioned “Jewish agenda”?

Many political analysts would say what’s being played out now, vis-à-vis the escalating tensions between the US and Russia,  is a “neocon agenda.” Or, alternately, that the “Deep State” or the “Military Industrial Complex” are behind it all. But McMaster’s speech at the Holocaust Museum on the anniversary of the start of the war strikes me as an oddity, a red flag almost. If you were Sherlock Holmes trying to solve the puzzle of a murder mystery it’s certainly a piece of evidence you wouldn’t overlook.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (as it is officially called) is located adjacent to the National Mall in Washington, some ten blocks from the White House. According to Wikipedia, it has approximately 400 employees and is run by a governing board called the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, a body whose membership  includes 55 individuals appointed by the president of the United States. The Council also includes five members of the US Senate and five members of the House of Representatives. Congressional members include Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ted Deutch, and Marco Rubio of Florida; Lee Zeldin of New York; Brad Schneider of Illinois; Orrin Hatch of Utah; and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

The current chairman is Howard M. Lorber, chairman and CEO of Vector Group Ltd., a holding company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He is chairman also of Nathan’s Famous, a fast food chain. While in college, Lorber was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, an experience which, according to Wikipedia, “had a large impact on his Jewish identity, and as such he endowed a position within the organization called the Lorber Director of Jewish Programming.” Alpha Epsilon Pi, by the way, is a fraternity that is “based upon Jewish principles.” Supposedly it is open to all who espouse its “purpose and values,” however, some have questioned whether this is indeed the case since the fraternity is said to have “expelled non-Jewish members from some of its chapters.”

Lorber reportedly has known Trump for more than 30 years.

The day McMaster gave his speech at the museum was also the day the US, UK, France, and Germany issued a joint statement on the Salisbury nerve agent poisoning, a statement in which the NATO members judged it “highly likely” that Russia was behind the attack. In fact, McMaster even made mention of the statement in his speech that same day.

“This morning the United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom condemned the abhorrent nerve agent attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal that took place in Salisbury, United Kingdom on March 4,” he said. “The statement made clear that we believe that Russia was responsible for this attack, and we call on the Russian government to answer all questions related to this incident and to provide full information to the OPCW.”

Other commenters, from George Galloway to Paul Craig Roberts, have covered extensively why it would have been absurd for Russia to carry out such an attack, so I’m not going to waste space on it here. What I’d like to do instead is posit the theory of an historical continuum.

What we are seeing now, with all the venomous rancor being directed against Russia, is not solely the result of Russia’s entry into the Syrian war in 2015; it in fact has relatively little to do with that; it also has little or nothing to do with Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, nor does it trace its roots back to the outset of the Syrian war in 2011.

It did not begin with Assad’s becoming president of Syria in the year 2000, nor with Putin’s assuming the leadership of Russia in 1999.

What we are seeing is not a “new cold war,” a throwback to the 1950s and 60s; nor did it even commence with the Holocaust in the 1940s and 30s. No. What we are seeing now began much earlier. Much earlier. It is a continuum that stretches back for 2000 years–all the way back to the crucifixion of Christ.

dictionary definition of “continuum” is: “a continuous extent, succession, or whole, no part of which can be distinguished from neighboring parts except by arbitrary division”…and…“a continuous series or whole, no part of which is perceptibly different from the adjacent parts.”

In other words, a continuum, particularly an historical continuum, could be thought of as a play of many acts. In this case, the play started in the time of Christ–and it has yet to reach its conclusion. I say this because anger at Christ and Christianity seems to be embedded in the collective Jewish psyche. Jews for centuries have blamed Christians for their problems. Certainly a lot has changed since the Second Vatican Council and the onset of the era of “interfaith dialog” (an era which has coincided with the rise of Christian Zionism), and the ill-will between Christians and Jews today is nowhere near what it used to be. Now, rather than Christians, it is the Muslim world which Jews, or Israeli Jews at any rate, find themselves at war against, yet the old resentments are still there– bubbling underneath though surfacing from time to time in such forms as negative portrayals of Christians in Hollywood films and TV shows.

Alleged “Christian anti-Semitism” is something that many Jews harbor seething resentments over. And this is why I say a continuum is in effect…and why such a continuum should be taken into consideration when forming an analysis of current events.

The key events in this continuum are:

→ The crucifixion of Christ in 30 A.D.;

→ Destruction of the Jewish temple exactly 40 years later;

→ Third Jewish revolt crushed by the Romans in 136 A.D.;

→ Rome renames Judea “Syria Palestina”; some Jews remain; others disperse to other regions;

→ The compilation, starting in early 3rd century, of the Talmud (in which Jesus is reviled);

→ The compilation, in the 7th century, of the Quran (in which Jesus is revered);

→ Conversion to Judaism by the Khazars in the 8th century;

→ Khazar Kingdom defeated by joint Russian-Byzantine force in the 10th century; Khazarian Jews disperse to Eastern Europe;

→ 11th-20th centuries: Jews expelled from roughly 100 countries or regions;

→ 1933-45: Hitler comes to power; Jews placed in camps; World War II is fought

→ 1948: Israel established; more than 700,000 Palestinians dispersed from their villages and homes;

→ 1951: AIPAC is founded and Jewish power begins to grow in America

Russia is the most powerful Christian nation on earth. Yes, its power and influence are viewed as threatening to US global hegemony, but the irrational threats and accusations being made against it, the heightening of tensions to almost unprecedented levels, can be fully understood only within the context of the above continuum.

Likewise the threats against Assad and Syria.

Bashar Assad is a secular leader who has protected Christians. If terrorism is truly the concern of US officials, why single out Assad as the enemy? Why not Saudi Arabia instead? Assad is actually fighting the very terrorists Washington professes such concern over. Assad has ensured that Christians in Syria, at least in areas controlled by the government, remain free to practice their religion. Their churches and monasteries are protected. In fact, Assad arguably has done more to unify Christians and Muslims than any other national leader, certainly in the Middle East–and this may be the real reason he is hated so much. Here is a video which I posted on December 30, 2015. It shows Assad and his wife, Asma, visiting a Church in Damascus during Christmas that year:

The church is the Notre Dame de Damas Church, an ancient cathedral located just two kilometers from the militant-held area of East Ghouta. The people you see in this video are probably some of those who have suffered most from terrorist shells fired from East Ghouta. The more the Syrian Army has closed in on these terrorists, establishing humanitarian corridors for trapped civilians, the louder have become the howls of protest from the mainstream media and US officials. And yes, a case in point–McMaster’s speech on the 15th.

“The war has now raged for seven years. The Assad regime has killed indiscriminately, tortured, starved, raped, and used chemical weapons on his own people. It has attacked hospitals and schools, and countless Syrians have been arrested, abducted, or simply disappeared,” he claimed.

This wasn’t the only reference to the Syrian “regime” reputedly killing its “own people.” In fact throughout his talk, McMaster repeatedly referred to “Assad’s use of chemical weapons,” as if it were a proven, undisputed fact. And almost laughably–despite America’s documented support for terrorists in Syria, including the Nour al-Din al-Zenki movement, which in 2016 filmed themselves beheading a 12-year-old Palestinian boy–he touted the US as a “civilized nation.”

“All civilized nations must hold Iran and Russia accountable for their role in enabling atrocities and perpetuating human suffering in Syria,” he insisted…and he issued a demand:

If Iran and Russia do not stop enabling the regime’s atrocities and adhere to Security Council resolutions, all nations must respond more forcefully than simply issuing strong statements. It is time to impose serious political and economic consequences on Moscow and Tehran.

I suppose we should breathe a sigh of relief that McMaster didn’t call for an all-out military invasion of Russia–and that so far no other US official has issued such a call either. But that being said, it’s hard to imagine what further “political and economic consequences” could be imposed that would not lead to war.

Is it just a coincidence that Vladimir Putin, president of the most powerful Christian nation on earth, and Bashar Assad, a head-of-state who has worked toward Muslim-Christian unity, would be held up by US leaders and mainstream media as objects of vilification and demonization? Did that simply happen by chance? Or is there a continuum in effect? A continuum that has resulted in a Jewish agenda that is now leading us toward global confrontation?

The lies tirelessly generated by mainstream media on Syria are discussed in an article published a couple of days ago by independent journalist Eva Bartlett.

“As per their norm, corporate media’s reports on Eastern Ghouta rely on the usual suspect sources,” Bartlett says.

One of the “usual suspect sources” heavily relied upon for a good while now has been the infamous White Helmets. This proved to be the case in McMaster’s speech as well–in fact, from his podium the general recognized and applauded two members of the so-called humanitarian organization present at the time–present in the halls of the Holocaust Museum in Washington. “Let’s give them a round of applause,” he urged. The audience obliged.

Bartlett also discusses an article by Sharmine Narwani that was published a few days prior to her own, an article in which Narwani discusses her experience of visiting, and seeing with her own eyes, a chemical weapons laboratory discovered by the Syrian Arab Army in a recently-liberated portion of East Ghouta. Narwani’s article, which includes photos taken inside the lab, can be viewed here.

But yet McMaster and other US officials go on asserting that it is Assad, rather than terrorist saboteurs, resorting gawkishly to chemical attacks–and they state their opinion on this matter almost uniformly, as if singing in a chorus.

McMaster, in his position as National Security Advisor, participated regularly in meetings of the National Security Council. He presumably had access to CIA intelligence on the situation in Syria. If the CIA is even remotely competent then would it not know, or at least have a fairly good idea, who is manufacturing and using chemical weapons in Syria? If the answer to that question is no, then it inevitably begs a second question, somewhat more trenchant and sardonic than the first: do CIA agents, tasked with gathering, processing and analyzing national security information, derive their intelligence assessments from reading the mainstream media?

Of course the other alternative is that the US national interest has now been replaced by some other agenda.

Bartlett’s article, well worth reading in its entirety, is headlined, ‘They know that we know they are liars, they keep lying’: West’s war propaganda on Ghouta crescendos.

In it, she also cites a group of Trappist nuns in Syria–and even provides a couple of quotes from one of them. Here is what she writes:

“We, the people who actually live in Syria, we are really exhausted, nauseated by this global indignation that issues blanket condemnations of those who defend their lives and their land.

“The attacks on civilians in Damascus, began from the Ghouta area into the government-controlled part, and not vice versa… Why this blindness on the part of the West?”

You can well understand why the nuns would feel nauseated. So thorough has been the distortion of reality that soldiers of the Syrian Army, the very young men who have given their lives to protect the nuns and other innocent Syrians, have been portrayed as the evildoers. Bartlett herself then goes on to comment:

It is a painful rhetorical question that many of us have asked over the years, well-aware of the answer: because it doesn’t serve the regime-change agenda, one so diligently put forth by the corporate media.

As the war propaganda continues, I quote the nuns, who said: “Deliver us Lord from the war… and deliver us from bad journalism.”

I’ll close here with a quote from Jesus–it is the 9th beatitude, from the 5th chapter of Matthew, a quote which Russians and Syrians generally, and most especially Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad in particular, would do well to keep in mind:

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

I’ll also offer a quote from John, from his first epistle, a passage in which this beloved disciple of Jesus discusses the crucial importance of love. What he is outlining here is the most fundamental of all Christian concepts:

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

It is vital that we continue to live in love rather than succumb to the hatred of other nations and peoples–hatreds that are being deliberately fomented. It is also important that we understand the continuum, to recognize that it is still in effect, and that most likely there are further acts in the play that are yet to come. These do not have to include World War III, however. It is not mandated that the play end tragically. For the choice of how it ends is our own–and the possibility of choosing love, rather than fear and hate, lies with all of us.

Putin’s stunning revelations about new Russian weapons systems

Putin’s stunning revelations about new Russian weapons systems

If you have no read it yet, please check out Putin’s full address to the Federal Assembly.  What stunned me, and many other, are the new weapon systems Putin has announced.

First, he confirmed that the Sarmat ICBM would replace the old but already formiable SS-18 “Satan”.  Then he turned to new weapon systems:

  1. A nuclear powered cruise missile with basically unlimited range
  2. A nuclear powered unmanned submersible with intercontinental range, very high speed, silent propulsion and capable of moving a great depths
  3. A Mach 10 hypersonic missile with a 2’000 kilometer range (named: Kinzhal)
  4. A new strategic missile capable of Mach 20 velocities (named: Avangard)

All of these systems can be armed with conventional or nuclear warheads.  Just think of the implications!  Not only does that mean that the entire ABM effort of the USA is now void and useless, but also that from now US aircraft carrier battle groups can only be used against small, defenseless, nations !

Right now I simply don’t have the time to write a full analysis of the stunning, truly tectonic, implications of this announcement, so I will turn to my naval warfare expert friend Andrei Martyanov and repost his initial reaction to just one of these systems:

It Is Official And It Is Over.

While the whole Western media are shaking (incompetence will do this to one) in their boots from Vladimir Putin’s address, where he demonstrated, among many things, new RS-28 Sarmat ballistic missile, behind that revolutionary weapon system, one was almost completely ignored by media. Again, “education” based on catch phrases (such a “nuclear weapon) will do this to one. By far most shocking (albeit inevitable) revelation was deployment of a new hyper-sonic missile Kinzhal (Dagger) to regular service with front line Air Force units in Southern Military District. Mig-31 carries this weapon, I am positive any SU-35 or SU-30SM or SU-34 will be able to do it too. Here is a video and CGI simulation.
The missile is… well, for the lack of better word, is stunning–it is M=10+ highly maneuverable missile with the range of 2000 kilometers. The naval warfare as we know it is over. Without any overly-dramatic emphasis–we are officially in new era. No, I repeat, NO, modern or perspective air-defense system deployed today by any NATO fleet can intercept even a single missile with such characteristics. The salvo of 5-6 of such missiles is a guaranteed destruction of any Carrier Battle Group.
The mode of use of such weapon, especially since we know now that it is deployed (for now) in Southern Military District is very simple–the most likely missile drop spot by MiG-31s will be international waters of the Black Sea, thus closing off whole Eastern Mediterranean to any surface ship or group of ships. It also creates a massive no-go zone in the Pacific, where MiG-31s from Yelizovo will be able to patrol vast distances over the ocean. It is, though, remarkable that the current platform for Kinzhal is MiG-31–arguably the best interceptor in the history. Obviously, MiG-31’s ability to reach very high supersonic speeds (in excess of M=3) is a key factor in the launch. But no matter what are the procedures for the launch of this terrifying weapon, the conclusions are simple:
1. It moves aircraft carriers into the niche of pure power projection against weak and defenseless adversaries;
2. It makes classic CBGs as main strike force against peer completely obsolete and useless, it also makes any surface combat ship defenseless regardless its air-defense capabilities.
3. Sea Control and Sea Denial change their nature and merge. Those who have such weapon, or weapons, simply own vast spaces of the sea limited by the ranges of Kinzhal and its carriers.
I don’t want to sound dramatic and I knew that there were and are always surprises in Soviet/Russian weapons but today’s revelations from the highest podium in Russia about Kinzhal were shocking. The balance of power just shifted dramatically, with it the naval warfare as we knew it is no more. It is OVER!

I can only add that I fully concur with him.  It is indeed set, match and game over for the Empire: there is no more military option against Russia.

The Saker

PS: here are a few videos illustrating these systems:

 

Globally Top-Respected Experts on Middle East Warn Syrian War May Produce WW III

February 23, 2018

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker blog

Globally Top-Respected Experts on Middle East Warn Syrian War May Produce WW III

Abdel Bari Atwan, the retired editor-in-chief (1989-2013) of the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi and author of widely respected books on the Middle East, headlined on February 18th, “A superpower confrontation could be triggered by accident in Syria” and he opened:

Qatar’s plans to build a gas pipeline to the Mediterranean were a major cause of the outbreak of the Syrian civil war. Seven years on, Syria’s oil and gas reserves east of the Euphrates, and especially around Deir az-Zour, have the potential to trigger World War III.

Four military aircraft were downed over Syria in the course of one week: an Israel F-16 shot down by a Russian-made Syrian missile; a Russian jet hit by an American-made shoulder-fired MANPADS; an Iranian pilotless drone intercepted by Israeli missiles; and a Turkish helicopter brought down in the countryside of Afrin by US-backed Kurdish fighters.

Warplanes from at least six countries crowd Syria’s airspace, including those of the American and Russian superpowers, while numerous proxy wars rage on the ground below involving Arab, regional and international parties.

Atwan goes on to note the reason why the war has ratcheted up after Donald Trump became America’s President:

The US has made clear that it has no intention of withdrawing its 2,000 military personnel from Syria even after the expiry of the original pretext for deploying them, namely to fight the Islamic State (IS) group. Administration officials have repeatedly affirmed that these forces will remain indefinitely in order to counter Iranian influence in the country.

Trump has abandoned former U.S. President Barack Obama’s excuse for invading Syria, and replaced it by what is now clearly an American hot war against Iran, which indisputably has become the U.S. President’s target — no longer (even if only as an excuse) ISIS or “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Iran never attacked the U.S. However, Iran did overthrow the U.S.-installed Shah in 1979 and capture the U.S. Embassy, which had ruled Iran (and allowed or disallowed what the Shah did) ever since America’s 1953 coup there overthrew Iran’s democratically elected progressive secular Government and installed instead the Shah’s brutal dictatorship. But the aggression was by the U.S. Government, not by Iran’s Government.

And, after 1979, Iran never committed aggression against the United States; so, the U.S. is entirely in the wrong, now, to be planning (or instructing Israel) how to destroy Iran.

This U.S. President clearly wants an invasion of Iran, which Israel is now preparing to launch.

Iran is an ally of Russia. On February 19th, Russia’s Tass news agency headlined “Moscow calls on US not to play with fire in Syria” and reported the Russian Foreign Minister’s statement:

“I once again call on our American colleagues not to play with fire and measure their steps proceeding not from immediate needs of today’s political environment, but rather from long-term interests of the Syrian people and of all peoples of this region.”

Here is a description of what will likely be entailed if Israel launches a military attack against Iran; it was published on February 22nd, by Russian geostrategic expert Peter Korzun, under the headline “Israel and Iran: Inching Toward Conflict”:

If Iran itself is attacked, its sites related to its nuclear program will top the list of the prime targets for Israel’s F-35, F-15, F-16, and Kfir fighters, drones, and intermediate-range Jericho missiles. There are different routes they could take, but all of them would require flying through the airspaces of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, or Turkey. None of these Muslim countries will openly allow Israel to use their airspace, but anti-Iran sentiments are strong in the Sunni-dominated Arab states. Some of them might be willing to look the other way. A clandestine agreement to tacitly allow Israeli aircraft to cross their air space is entirely possible. Anger could be vented publicly once the mission has been completed.

Iraq is not focused on monitoring its airspace – it has many other problems to deal with and Israel could take advantage of that. The route through Iraq looks like it might be the best option.

The distance that would need to be covered would be between 1,500 km (930 miles) and 1,800 km (1,120 miles). The aircraft will also have to make a return trip, so in-flight refueling will be a necessity. Israel is only believed to own between eight and ten large tanker aircraft (such as Boeing 707s). That will hardly be enough. The Israeli military is not particularly adept at aerial refuelling. If the aircraft have to fly undetected, the F-35s will have to forgo their externally mounted weapons in order to preserve their stealth capabilities. Then their payload will be reduced to only two JDAM-guided bombs in the internal bay. Pretty underwhelming.

Then Iran’s radars will have to be spoofed, and its air defenses, especially the Russian-made S-300, will have to be knocked out. It won’t be easy.

Israel has a few dozen laser-guided bunker buster bombs (the GBU-28). The Jericho III is an Israeli three-stage solid propellant missile with a payload of more than a ton and capable of carrying multiple low-yield independently targeted reentry warheads. All the targets in Iran fall within its range of up to 6,500 km (4,038 miles). These missile strikes are capable of destroying every command and control site, as well as all major nuclear facilities.

The Heron-2 and Eitan drones can hover in the air for more than 20 consecutive hours to provide guidance and intelligence and to jam Iranian communications and confuse its radar.

Israel would wage electronic warfare against Iran’s military and civilian infrastructure, such as its electric grids and Internet, creating interference with Iran’s emergency frequencies.

After the war has begun, Israel will come under rocket and missile attack from Iran’s proxies: Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah has up to 150,000 rockets that can reach anywhere in Israel. It is true however, that Israel possesses a sophisticated, multilayer, air-defense shield. A first-class intelligence and early-warning system will mitigate the fallout, but substantial damage will be unavoidable.

Israeli troops will have to deploy in the Strip and move across the Lebanese border. But the Shia group will have to fight on two fronts: in Syria to prop up the Assad government, and in Lebanon against Israel. Syria is likely to find itself involved in combat operations. Israel will go to any length to keep Iran and Hezbollah away from its border.

Iran may try to block the Strait of Hormuz. But even if it does not, global oil prices would go up. Iran or its proxies might attack US forces in the Middle East, primarily in Syria and Iraq. Should that happen, Iraq would likely become a battleground between US forces and Iranian proxies, with American reinforcements rushing in. Iran could punish the Americans for their support of Israel in Afghanistan.

An attack against Russia’s ally would be an attack that will significantly weaken Russia. Will Russia come to the defense of its ally, the victim of this uncalled-for invasion by America’s proxy, Israel? Will Russia retaliate by destroying Israel — and maybe destroying also its sponsor?

Most scenarios for a world-ending nuclear war entail “errors,” or else a traditional non-nuclear conflict (perhaps in Syria, or in Ukraine — or it could be in Iran, or in North Korea) producing victory for one side (it could be either the U.S. versus Russia, in Syria, Ukraine, or Iran; or else the U.S. versus China, in North Korea), unless the other side (it could be either Russia versus the U.S., or else China versus the U.S.) blitz-launches almost its entire nuclear arsenal against the other side and against the other side’s strategically key allies. (For example, if Israel invades Iran, then perhaps Russia will launch a blitz-nuclear invasion of both Israel and the United States.) The first-to-strike in an all-out war between the nuclear superpowers will have the best chance of winning (i.e., in military parlance “winning” means simply inflicting more damage on the other side than it inflicts upon the “winner” — regardless of how damaged both sides — and the rest of the world — are). If the U.S. or its allies invade more than they’ve already done (practically all allies of Russia), then a blitz from Russia and/or China would be reasonable, because then obviously the U.S. aims to become conqueror of the entire world — the only super-power. Once one side has lost the traditional conflict in Syria and/or Ukraine, or elsewhere, the other side will either unleash its nuclear stockpile against the other (except for whatever anti-missiles it holds in reserve against any of the enemy’s missiles that haven’t yet been destroyed in that blitz-attack), or else it will surrender to the other. There will be a ‘winner’, but the entire world will be the loser. This is what America’s ‘democracy’ has brought us to.

Billionaires (including owners of controlling interests in weapons-manufacturers whose main or only customers are the U.S. Government and its allied governments — the ‘democratic’ decision-makers who had won political power because of donations from those billionaires) are planning to survive nuclear war. There seem to be two main ways:

Google this line:

billionaires moving to “new zealand”

Others are buying bunkers deep underground in countries where they already reside — such as here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here — to protect themselves from the nuclear blasts, though nothing can protect anyone (not even, ultimately in New Zealand) from the resulting nuclear winter, and global famine and die-off.

More about what’s behind this can be seen in an excellent article by Edward Curtin, which has been published at a number of terrific news-sites — especially Greanville PostCounter CurrentsGlobal Research, and Off-Guardian(all four of which sites are prime ones to visit regularly, if a person wants to understand today’s world) — and it is aptly titled “The Coming Wars to End All Wars”.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

VIDEO: The Privatization of Nuclear War, Towards a World War III Scenario: Michel Chossudovsky

GRTV Report Produced by James Corbett, Featuring Michel Chossuodvsky

Global Research, November 09, 2017

First published in June 2015.

With tensions growing in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, a new generation of nuclear weapons technology is making nuclear warfare a very real prospect. And with very little fanfare, the US is embarking on the privatization of nuclear war under a first-strike doctrine.

“On August 6, 2003, on Hiroshima Day, commemorating when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima (August 6 1945), a secret meeting was held behind closed doors at Strategic Command Headquarters at the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. Senior executives from the nuclear industry and the military industrial complex were in attendance. This mingling of defense contractors, scientists and policy-makers was not intended to commemorate Hiroshima. The meeting was intended to set the stage for the development of a new generation of “smaller”, “safer” and “more usable” nuclear weapons, to be used in the “in-theater nuclear wars” of the 21st Century. 

“Nuclear war has become a multibillion dollar undertaking, which fills the pockets of US defense contractors. What is at stake is the outright “privatization of nuclear war”. 

 

original

US-NATO weapons of mass destruction are portrayed as instruments of peace. Mini-nukes are said to be “harmless to the surrounding civilian population”. Pre-emptive nuclear war is portrayed as a “humanitarian undertaking”. 

US nuclear doctrine is intimately related to “America’s War on Terrorism” and the alleged threat of Al Qaeda, which in a bitter irony is con- sidered as an upcoming nuclear power.

Click image to order Michel Chossudovsky’s book

Under the Obama administration, Islamic terrorists are said to be preparing to attack US cities. Proliferation is tacitly equated with “nuclear terrorism”. Obama’s nuclear doctrine puts particular emphasis on “nuclear terrorism” and on the alleged plans by Al Qaeda to develop and use nuclear weapons. 

“While one can conceptualize the loss of life and destruction resulting from present-day wars including Iraq and Afghanistan, it is impossible to fully comprehend the devastation which might result from a Third World War, using “new technologies” and advanced weapons, until it occurs and becomes a reality. The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of world peace. “Making the world safer” is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.”  

(Excerpts from Michel Chossudovsky, Towards a World War III Scenario, The Dangers of Nuclear War, Global Research Montreal, 2011.

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Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War

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The original source of this article is Global Research

They Won’t Tell the Truth About Syria Who is Behind the Push for WW3 2017

Nikki Haley: Warmonger Extraordinaire!

South Front

Written by Antonius Aquinas; Originally appeared at antoniusaquinas.com

It must now be a prerequisite of those who become an American ambassador to the UN to possess certain characteristics and traits, the most important of which are rabid warmonger, child killer, and outright liar.

Remember it was Madeleine Albright when asked about the US blockading Iraq which prevented medicine and medical equipment from entering the country that resulted in the estimated death of a half a million children who coldly responded: “I think that is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.”  Then there is Colin “Weapons of Mass Destruction” Powell who told a bald-face lie about Iraq’s nuclear capabilities which paved the way for the US destruction of the country.

Nikki Haley: Warmonger Extraordinaire!

In her brief tenure as UN ambassador, Nikki Haley is fulfilling these requirements quite nicely.  Her latest crazed outburst came on the heels of the bizarre White House press release about another supposed Syrian government gas attack which warned President Assad that he would “pay a heavy price” if carried out.*

While the State and Defense Departments were apparently caught off guard by the White House action, Ambassador Haley was not (probably given advanced notice) and issued an even more provocative tweet:

Any further attacks done to the people

of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but

also on Russia & Iran who support him

killing his own people.**

Not only has Haley appointed herself judge, jury and executioner of the Assad regime, but her wild accusation includes reprisals to the neocons’ ultimate targets of Russia and Iran.  Her ridiculous statement has now given Syria’s enemies the green light to conduct another gas attack which will be blamed on Assad and his allies, Russia and Iran.  Nice work, Nikki!

From a diplomatic perspective, the entire affair was bungled and amateurish, confirming once again that the Trump Administration is out of its league in conducting foreign policy.

That Haley was even chosen to become part of the Trump Administration has been odd from the beginning, but as things have unfolded quite telling.  Haley was a vociferous critic of the future president.  She, and the likes of another war-monger and Russophobe, Lindsey Graham, were consistently attacking candidate Trump for being “soft” on Russia and his immigration stance especially his wildly popular border wall proposal.  To Haley and Graham, Donald Trump was out of step with the Republican Party’s values such as diversity as represented by Haley who, herself, is of Indian heritage.

Yet, despite all of the vitriol heaped at candidate Trump, the newly elected president, in a surprising and ominous move, decided to make the South Carolina governor, UN ambassador.  This, and a number of other selections to foreign policy posts, signaled that President Trump would abandon his promises and vote-garnering campaign talk of peaceful coexistence with Russia, a reduction of US presence in the Middle East, and in other hot spots across the globe.

While Haley has been an ardent warmonger from the start, President Trump did not have to select her for the post.  There were other more competent and surely less belligerent candidates available.  More than likely, the choice was probably a nod to his “advisor” daughter Ivanka, to curry favor among feminists.

While President Trump’s pick of Haley was an implicit betrayal of a large segment of his base, his foreign policy actions since becoming chief executive have been an explicit rejection of putting America first which he spoke of at his inaugural.  From escalating tensions with puny North Korea, dropping the mother-of-all-bombs on Afghanistan for no apparent reason, to making multi-billion dollar armament deals with the despots of Saudi Arabia among other troubling endeavors, Trump’s foreign policy is little different than his infamous predecessors.

While it looks like President Trump may have won the war, at least temporary, over the press and the anti-Trump Congressional forces about the fake Russian election involvement, he and his bellicose UN ambassador are now using the same underhanded methods to instigate a conflict to depose President Assad.  While the alternative media rightly showed how the mainstream press and politicos made up and manipulated stories to undermine President Trump, it should now be intellectually honest and call out the president and his UN ambassador for what they are doing in Syria.  In doing so, it may prevent the outbreak of WWIII.

“It Is The Presstitutes, Not Russia, Who Interfered In The US Presidential Election”

Written by Paul Craig Roberts; Originally appeared at Paulcraigroberts.org

Unlike Oliver Stone, who knew how to interview Vladimir Putin, Megyn Kelly did not. Thus, she made a fool of herself, which is par for her course.

"It Is The Presstitutes, Not Russia, Who Interfered In The US Presidential Election"

Now the entire Western media has joined Megyn in foolishness, or so it appears from a RT report. James O’Keefe has senior CNN producer John Bonifield on video telling O’Keefe that CNN’s anti-Russia reporting is purely for ratings:

“It’s mostly bullshit right now. Like, we don’t have any big giant proof.”

CNN’s Bonifield is reported to go on to say that “our CIA is doing shit all the time, we’re out there trying to manipulate governments.”

And, of course, the American people, the European peoples, and the US and European governments are being conditioned by the “Russia did it” storyline to distrust Russia and to accept whatever dangerous and irresponsible policy toward Russia that Washington comes up with next.

Is the anti-Russian propaganda driven by ratings as Bonifield is reported to claim, or are ratings the neoconservatives and military/security complex’s cover for media disinformation that increases tensions between the superpowers and prepares the ground for nuclear war?

RT acknowledges that the entire story could be just another piece of false news, which is all that the Western media is known for.

Nevertheless, what we do know is that the fake news reporting pertains to Russia’s alleged interference in the US presidential election. Allegedly, Trump was elected by Putin’s interference in the election. This claim is absurd, but if you are Megyn Kelly you lack the IQ to see that. Instead, presstitutes turn a nonsense story into a real story despite the absence of any evidence.

Who actually interfered in the US presidential election, Putin or the presstitutes themselves? The answer is clear and obvious. It was the presstitutes, who were out to get Trump from day one of the presidential campaign. It is CIA director John Brennan, who did everything in his power to brand Trump some sort of Russian agent. It is FBI director Comey who did likewise by continuing to “investigate” what he knew was a non-event. We now have a former FBI director playing the role of special prosecutor investigating Trump for “obstruction of justice” when there is no evidence of a crime to be obstructed! What we are witnessing is the ongoing interference in the presidential election, an interference that not only makes a mockery of democracy but also of the rule of law.

The presstitutes not only interfered in the presidential election; they are now interfering with democracy itself. They are seeking to overturn the people’s choice by discrediting the President of the United States and those who elected him. The Democratic Party is a part of this attack on American democracy. It is the DNC that insists that a Putin/Trump conspiracy stole the presidency from Hillary. The Democrats’ position is that it is too risky to permit the American people—the “deplorables”— to vote. The Democratic Party’s line is that if you let Americans vote, they will elect a Putin stooge and America will be ruled by Russia.

Many wonder why Trump doesn’t use the power of the office of the presidency to indict the hit squad that is out to get him. There is no doubt that a jury of deplorables would indict Brennan, Comey, Megyn Kelly and the rest. On the other hand, perhaps Trump’s view is that the Republican Party cannot afford to go down with him, and, therefore, as he is politically protected by the Republican majority, the best strategy is to let the Democrats and the presstitutes destroy themselves in the eyes of flyover America.

What our survival as Americans depends on is the Russians’ view of this conflict between a US President who intended to reduce the tensions between the nuclear powers and those determined to increase the tensions. The Russian high command has already announced its conclusion that Washington is preparing a surprise nuclear attack on Russia. It is not possible to imagine a more dangerous conclusion. So far, no one in Washington or any Western government has made an effort to reassure Russia that no such attack is being prepared. Instead, the calls are for more punishment of Russia and more tension.

This most extraordinary of failures demonstrates the complete separation of the West from reality.

It is difficult to imagine a more extreme danger than for the insouciant West to convince Russia that the West is incapable of rational behavior.

Trump Has Now Committed Himself to Reversing Obama’s Syria-Policy

Trump Has Now Committed Himself to Reversing Obama’s Syria-Policy

ERIC ZUESSE | 26.06.2017 | WORLD

Trump Has Now Committed Himself to Reversing Obama’s Syria-Policy

Right after the U.S. government shot down a Syrian government plane in Syria, the Russian government broke off the coordination of its operations along with the U.S. and America’s allied forces in Syria (otherwise known as «deconfliction of forces» there), and warned that:

«In areas where Russian aviation is conducting combat missions in the Syrian skies, any flying objects, including jets and unmanned aerial vehicles of the international coalition discovered west of the Euphrates River, will be followed by Russian air and ground defenses as air targets» — meaning ordered out, or else immediately shot down.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Marine Corps General Joseph F. Dunford, spoke at the National Press Club in Washington later that day. Only a video from the National Press Club is, as of yet, available of this important event (the first post-warning top U.S. government official public statement about it), no transcript yet; but here is what Dunford said (and the time he said it in the video), which struck this reporter as being important in his comments, at this historic moment when the likelihood of a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia — World War III — was higher than it has been ever since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis between U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and U.S.S.R. Premier Nikita Khrushchev:

9:00- «prosecute the defeat-ISIS campaign in Syria, which is the reason why we are in Syria»

He said that to «defeat ISIS» is «the reason», not «a reason», we’re there. Very important word-choice. Profoundly meaningful in this context.

His stating that «the reason why we are in Syria» is to «prosecute the defeat-ISIS campaign in Syria», means that we are not in Syria in order to overthrow and replace Syria’s government — that we are not there in order to conquer Syria. That’s not «the reason», nor even «a reason», we’re there. People who have been following the Syria-war matter closely over the past few years will find this a shocking assertion from the U.S. government, because it is such a stark contrast to U.S. President Barack Obama’s constant demands that «Assad must go». And, it is being made not by Trump’s U.N. Ambassador, nor by any other mere mouthpiece, but instead by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, who would not be saying it unless he had just previously communicated directly with the President after that extremely grave Russian warning. Trump, it now seems, knows that this is serious, and by allowing his CJCS to go public with this, he is overriding here the many neocons whom he has appointed to lead the Defense Department. Dunford represents the President, not merely the military of which the President is the Commander-In-Chief. (Dunford’s role, as CJCS, is purely advisory, both to the President and to the Secretary of Defense, but he is «the principal military advisor to the President, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense».) That clause in a sentence — and especially its «the» instead of an «a» — means more than most officials’ entire speeches do.

12:25- «Even as we support their [the anti-Assad Arabs’ and the Kurdish] efforts to seize Raqqa, there is an ongoing effort, led by the State Department [Trump’s least neocon people] to put together a governance body so that as soon as Raqqa is seized, there is effective local governance, that governance will leverage Arab leaders who are from Raqqa and it will also establish a local security force made up of local personnel».

Those «Arab leaders who are from Raqqa» will be raging for revenge against ISIS and any other fundamentalist-Sunni group that had grabbed Raqqa away from the protection of those residents by Syria’s government and subjected them to such hell for so long; and, so, when they «establish a local security force made up of local personnel», that «security force» will certainly not be favorable toward either the jihadists — all of whom are fundamentalist Sunnis — nor toward any Kurds who want to break up Syria, such as the formation of a Kurdish republic would necessarily entail.

He was then asked about a forthcoming September Kurdish referendum on establishing a Kurdistan, which would mean breaking up one or more of three nations: Syria, Turkey, and Iraq. His answer focused only on Iraq, but no Kurdistan which is in only one of those three nations would be acceptable to Kurds, and so his answer needs to be understood in that light:

13:05: «Our stated objective at this point is a stable secure and sovereign Iraq and we are supporting Iraqi security forces in defeating ISIS inside of Iraq, and I think that the issue of a Kurdish referendum is one that will have to be worked out between President Barzani and Prime Minister Abadi and the Iraqi people».

This means that Trump respects the sovereignty of each individual nation. He is asserting this in specifically the case of Iraq. But its meaning reverberates clearly also in Damascus, and in Istanbul, just as well as it does in Baghdad. It means: no Kurdistan.

The CIA, and Israel, and DC’s think-tanks such as the Brookings Institution, are all neoconservatives who favor breaking up Syria, and as part of that, establishing an independent Kurdistan across all three countries.

Trump’s Pentagon, under the neocon James Mattis, had blatantly violated Syria’s sovereignty on Syrian soil. But now, in Dunford’s totally unhedged statements, immediately after the U.S. government had perpetrated that blatant violation, Trump’s own Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was, effectively, committing the man whom he directly advises on military-strategic matters, this President, against the neoconservatives whom this same President had brought in to run his Pentagon. On strategic matters, the Joint Chiefs Chairman stands even closer to the Commander-in-Chief than does the Secretary of Defense or, sometimes, even, than does the National Security Advisor (the neocon H.R. McMaster, who has thus-far been loudly silent on this matter).

A 3PM update on June 19th, the day of Russia’s warning — an update by this reporter to my news earlier that day which was headlined «Russia Announces No-Fly Zone in Syria — War Against U.S. There» — provided the earliest-published indications that Trump had turned away from the neocons whom he himself had appointed; and, here is that update, to provide broader context for Dunford’s remarks:

UPDATE: 3PM in NYC:

Al Masdar News, the go-to site for the latest news regarding the Syrian war, headlines, as of 3PM Eastern time, «Pentagon changes disposition of US-led coalition aircraft in Syria», and reports, from several reliable sources, such as Joseph Dunford, the head of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, indicate a U.S. climb-down, and a desire to cooperate with Russia in Syria. If this is not a lie (as so much from the U.S. government has turned out to be), then the U.S. will stop protecting its jihadists in Syria; and, consequently, the war in Syria will end on terms which are suitable to Syria, Russia, and Iran, but which have not heretofore been acceptable to the U.S.-Saudi (and other fundamentalist Sunni) coalition.

The signs, at least as of 3PM, are that Trump will quit the war against the Syrian government, regardless of how much this might disappoint the Sauds (and the Israelis). Looking at the way the Western press are reporting on the matter, they’re going to allow him to withdraw as quietly as possible. So, as soon as Russia made clear that it’s willing to go all the way to defeat the U.S.-Saudi-Sunni-fundamentalist invasion, the West, apparently, will simply quit. All the jihadists in Syria will soon be scrambling to escape from there. Without U.S. protection, they can’t win. But will Russia, Iran, and Syria, simply kill them all, right there? If not, then those jihadists will end up going back ‘home’, wherever that might happen to be, and far more dangerous in those countries than they had been there before.

However, some in the U.S. press are still continuing on with beating the war-drums against Syria. An example is the hyper-neoconservative newspaper the Washington Post,owned by Jeff Bezos, the chief owner and founder of Amazon — that’s the company which supplies cloud computing services to the Pentagon. The WP has subsequently been beating the drums for WW III.

In an editorial on June 19th«What happens after the Islamic State is defeated in Iraq and Syria?» Bezos’s hired editorial writers condemned «the drive by Iran and Russia, along with their Syrian and Iraqi Shiite clients, to dominate the space that will be left when the Islamic State is driven from its capital of Raqqa in eastern Syria», as if Raqqa weren’t sovereign Syrian national government territory, but instead was just a spot of land that the U.S. has some kind of legal authority over — an authority to dictate to the sovereign Syrian government about that spot of land.

To back that editorial up by ‘news’, his hired team of ‘reporters’ headlined on June 21st«U.S. on collision course with Syria and Iran once de facto Islamic State capital falls», again as if Raqqa were U.S. instead of Syrian territory and Iran isn’t defending Syria and U.S. attacking it; and they went on to report (from unnamed «senior White House officials» who are obviously selected neocons in the Trump Administration): «Officials said Syrian government claims on the area would also undermine progress toward a political settlement in the long-separate rebel war against Assad, intended to stabilize the country by limiting his control and eventually driving him from power». Here were ‘reporters’, for Bezos’s ‘news’paper, enabling unnamed U.S. officials to propagandize to the ’news’paper’s dupes or subscribers, that the Syrian government had only «claims on the area», instead of sovereignty over the area and over the entirety of Syria.

Basically, what has happened is that the neoconservatives are still being allowed to allege through all their media, that the U.S. government has sovereignty over the entire world, even after Russia has finally told the U.S. regime: no further in Syria — if you dare, it will be war between Russia and the United States: WW III.

Trump speaks out of both sides of his mouth but Washington promotes only the neocon side; and, now that Russia has issued a warning that the Washington Post’editorial called «bluffing», and that CNBC’s ‘reporter’ called ‘bluster’, the world will see whether Trump is as stupid as America’s unfortunately now permanent neoconservative government thinks he is. If Trump’s Chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff — who is neither an unnamed ‘senior White House official’ nor yet demonstrably a person who would lie for Trump — is to be believed, then Trump isn’t quite so stupid as that. The question right now is: Is the American public so stupid as to believe ‘news’media and ‘reporters’ such as that?

Qatar: Center Stage in a World at War?

Doha, Qatar

[Ed note – An interesting analysis on the dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and its potential for engulfing the rest of the Middle East and exploding into World War III, has been posted by blogger Green Crow. The piece is written by “James” and reposted from his Winter Patriot blog. Qatar, in his analysis, sees US influence in the Middle East waning and is pivoting toward Iran, Syria, and Russia, and he notes that both Iran and Russia have sent food shipments to Qatar in order to break the blockade imposed by the Saudis. Turkey is now openly siding with the Qataris as well–and this also makes perfect sense. US support for the Kurds in Syria–with the US seemingly now moving in the direction of setting up a de facto Kurdish state–would of course have to be a major, MAJOR “red line” for Turkey. This of course puts two NATO allies, the US and Turkey, at odds with each other. Bottom line: there is a major shift in alliances occurring.

James, the writer, mentions a Cross Talk program which aired June 14 in which Sharmine Narwani was guest and gave some valuable perspectives on the situation. You can find that program here, but there is also a more recent Cross Talk Program, here, that features Alexander Mercouris, that also discusses the further evolving situation. The program, which aired June 23, is entitled “Rushing to War?” Basically, what it comes down to is that the ISIS proxies seem to be headed toward collapse. So what happens with the proxies are finally defeated with the major powers gathered in Syria left alone staring each other in the face? Does that make a major war more likely? This is the question explored on the show. ]

By Greencrow

There have been some very good analyses of the Qatar crisis on the Alternative Internet in the past few days. My instincts tell me that this crisis might just be the one that puts the globalist neocon ziofascist push towards WWIII, which has been stalled due to some genius “checkmating” by Russia, over the top.  In my opinion, Saudi Arabia and its allies are, just like the ISIS terrorists, acting as USrael’s proxy in the Middle East…just on a grander scale.  In the guest column below, James fromWinter Patriot Blog has a very comprehensive and well presented assessment of what is going on in Qatar. I have added bolding and emphasis, and will have more thoughts in comments to follow…

Continued here

Qatar Is Centre Stage In A World At War – UPDATED

Update at the foot of this article.

A few weeks ago, the Saudis exploded in their rhetoric against Qatar. They were apoplectic. What on earth could have caused this sudden flood of vitriol? Obviously, it was not the fact that Qatar was funding terrorists in Syria as this had been an open secret for years. Plus, it was also an open secret that the Saudi’s themselves are funding terrorism and even supplying many of the terrorists. The Qataris must have been threatening in a major way either or both of the two things the Saudis hold dear – their money and their political power. The former is increasingly dependent on the latter. Sharmine Narwani appeared on RT’s Crosstalk to talk about the Saudi/Qatar conflict. She was definitely the smartest one in the room but no one was really listening to her. In answer to Peter Lavelle’s first question, she revealed that the terror groups supported by the Qatar/Turkish alliance had gone very quiet in the last month and this had allowed the Syrian govt forces to concentrate on ISIS which is directly backed by the Saudis and the UAE. Consequently, ISIS is in disarray.

Clearly, to this writer at least, a deal had been done between Qatar, Turkey and Syria. Russia would have to be on-board, too. This has massive implications for the whole world. Narwani also thought that the Saudis were not above attacking Qatar and it might be imminent. One reason, as Sharmine Narwani states, may be the fact that Qatari backed terrorists in Syria have been fighting directly with Saudi backed jihadis. This benefits Turkey as well as Syria.

View the Crosstalk segment:

Turkey is pissed that the US is obviously trying to set up a Kurdish state in the north of Syria and barring Turkish military involvement. This evolving Kurdish state-let will inevitably threaten Turkish sovereignty. But what about Qatar?

QATAR

Qatar must be able to see which way the wind is blowing in the Syrian conflict and realise that they are not going to get their gas pipeline through Syrian territory after all. The LNG market, from which they get the bulk of their revenue from, is now oversupplied (from the US and Australian sources amongst others) and forcing prices downward. Qatar’s income is declining and it needs to pipe its gas to a major market to stay competitive. Piped gas is much cheaper to deliver and distribute than LNG. The only option is to talk to the Iranians. It also makes major business sense to do so.

Qatar and Iran share the largest gas field in the world and it is largely undeveloped. It makes sense to develop this field together and market the gas together as well. With Iran as a partner, the way is then open for Qatar to negotiate with the Russians and the Syrians concerning pipeline routes. The way is also open to ensure the future cash flow of the Qatari government and its royal household. Russian technology and Chinese finance will make it all happen. I would estimate that the gas sales will be denominated in Yuan and Rubles.

UNITED STATES

The Americans will get (are getting) their knickers in a bunch but they are rapidly losing influence in the Middle East, as Sharmine said. She was trying to elucidate that the Middle East countries are looking to rearrange their alliances and strategies to take this into account when she was cut off by Peter Lavelle.  The US is losing the battle to maintain the US dollar as the undisputed world currency and this deal will hasten its demise. The world wide supremacy of the US dollar is what their empire is based on. No dollar supremacy equals no US political supremacy and this will severely curtail their effective military supremacy.

The bankers that control the US, UK and Israel maintain their power by controlling energy supplies and indebting everybody to keep them relatively poor. Every other nation on earth will benefit from breaking this lock on power and enjoy growing industrialisation, trade and prosperity. This is being brought into stark contrast in the Middle East starting with Qatar. Qatar can stay with the US and slowly strangle itself economically or it can take a risk and make a break for economic freedom and prosperity.

SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia has ambitions of leading the Islamic world. It has used its gigantic income from oil sales to invest in religious indoctrination around the world and to bribe countries near and far. It has bought its way onto, if you can believe it, the UN Commission on the Status of Women and now heads the UN Human Rights Council. This is what money can do; but you need lots of money and a continuing supply of it. As the wealthiest oil exporter in the Middle East, it has dominated the Gulf Co-operation Council which, of course, includes Qatar.

Saudi Arabia’s income stream is declining and is needing to leverage what political power it has to gain more and to cover naked grabs of resources such as those in Yemen. But it needs the GCC to act as this lever. Qatar is undoing the Saudis dominance of the GCC. The Saudis future is at stake and with the Saudi royal house doubling down with the appointment of Mohammed bin Salman as Crown Prince, we can expect more military adventurism, i.e. wars, to hasten this decline and perhaps eventual demise.

TURKEY

There is the risk of an armed attack from the Saudis but Qatar has allies. Turkey is sending troops to Qatar. This is no small matter. Turkey has the largest military in the Middle East. Turkey is also making it clear that it has a major interest in the success of whatever deal Qatar is striking with Syria Iran and Russia. Iran and Russia have immediately sent food shipments to Qatar after the announcement of the blockade by Saudi Arabia and the UAE and Bahrain. It would seem from the co-ordinated response that the blockade was anticipated. Presumably, more is anticipated by this ad hoc alliance assisting Qatar.

With the original Qatar/Saudi pipeline dead in the water, Turkey would be amenable to a Qatar/Iran/Syrian pipeline going through Turkey. I’m sure their only demand would be that it not go through any Kurdish territory. Given that none of the other partners want the US/Israeli controlled and unreliable Kurds involved, that won’t be a problem. So the pipeline would have to go through the Aleppo corridor.

It would also need to go through south/eastern Syria where the US is now fighting at the risk of starting WW3 with the Russians. Now we see what the stakes are for the US and they are very high. If the gas pipeline goes through Turkey it will inevitably hook up with the Turkstream gas pipeline that will be Russian built and owned. Turkstream with travel through south eastern Europe; through the impoverished (thanks to the US and Germany) nations there. Turkey will become the gas hub between the suppliers in the Middle East, Russia and the Caucasus and on to the customers in Europe. Turkey has manoeuvred for a long time to be in this position. Much income and political influence to be gained and none of it dependent on the US!

EUROPE

Turkstream will be a lifeline to Serbia and Hungary. A branch line could easily extend to Greece and on to Italy. Europe’s prosperity will be massively enhanced with a secure, plentiful and cheap energy supplied from Iran, Qatar and Russia. German/EU and US dominance over southern and eastern Europe will evaporate as will US power. The Islamic mass migration may well stop, as well.

RUSSIA

In the immediate term, Russia will get what it has been aiming for and that is a ‘Gas OPEC’. Russia together with Iran and Qatar control the bulk of the world’s gas reserves and will set the price thereafter. Europe (Germany) will have to kick the US to the kerb and come to its senses regarding Russia and cease with the sanctions and resume normal bilateral trade arrangements. Peace and prosperity for Russia.

In the longer term, Russia will be able to see the back of the US in the Middle East and all the wars it brings with it and Russia will be left as the dominant power on its southern flank.

IRAN

Iran is being fast-tracked to join the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) which is a de-facto military alliance between Russia and China and now Pakistan and India. The window of opportunity to attack Iran is finally closing, if it has not already closed. Thus Iran will have the US and its bankers finally off its back and will be able to resume full trade with the rest of the world. No more sanctions and it can resume its path to peace and prosperity through selling oil and gas wherever it wants and relieve its population of the constant stress of the threat of imminent war.

PAKISTAN and CHINA

There are other players involved, too; China and Pakistan. There have been long term negotiations between Iran, Pakistan and China to pipe gas through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. No doubt, the Chinese would welcome Qatar as a partner in this project as it would also allow its influence to further spread into the other Gulf countries with their New Silk Road to follow.
Wherever the pipeline goes, so will roads and other infrastructure. The new infrastructure, together with the ready supply of energy, will assure development along the route and surrounding territory. This would be a massive boon for the Balochistan area and would quell the political unrest (sponsored by the CIA) that has cost both Pakistan and Iran, not to mention the Balochs. Exactly the same applies to the North-West Territories in the north of Pakistan.

No doubt the Pakistanis would like to be rid of the US which has bases on its territory and from which it launches aerial attacks against Pakistani territory at will. The list of benefits to multiple countries goes on and on but it won’t be smooth sailing. The US has been in decline for some years now but that hasn’t stopped it launching more wars and spreading terrorism and mayhem across the globe. This will continue. It is the nature of psychopathy to never give up; to always continue to do harm.

To get itself out of trouble over the centuries, the banking establishment, centered in London and New York, has started costly wars. They are now trying to do the same again in Syria and maybe soon in Qatar. We shall see soon enough.
Meanwhile I commend to you Pepe Escobar’s article at Sputnik where he talks about the implications of the SCO as well as the pipelines and the Qatari deal-

The West Can’t Smell What Eurasia is Cooking
https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201706161054701807-west-cannot-smell-…

Pepe is the ‘go-to’ man regarding pipelines. He was the first writer that I know of to seize their importance and ‘follow the pipelines’. He coined the term “Pipelineistan” and has written books about it.

UPDATE

Adam Garrie of The Duran has written an article outlining 13 demands that the Saudis have of Qatar. The list is not confirmed but “widely accepted” including by RT. Associated Press claims to have seen the document but AP is closely aligned with the Globalists, the Neocons and israel, but I repeat myself. So AP gives the list of demands credibility but because the Saudi govt has not confirmed it, it can shield itself from diplomatic criticism and back away from the “13 demands” at a later date if necessary.

Garrie notes that the demands are childish and he is right. This is what you get when you step on the toes big-time of psychopaths. They have the emotional maturity of 10 year olds. He also rightly notes that the demands cannot be complied with because they are extremely demeaning. This is intentional. Israel and the US routinely do the same when they want to start a war and this is precisely what Saudi Arabia is saying and wanting. ‘Either you stop with the alliance with Iran, Syria, Turkey and Russia or we will invade you. Israel and the US have to be onboard with this. And why wouldn’t they be? Their psychopathic dreams and political futures are equally at stake here as outlined above.”

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

So, there are a couple of deductions I would like to add to James’s excellent analysis.  He may have already made some of these points but I would like to emphasize the following in point form:

– Saudi Arabia and its allies are acting as proxies for USrael and the European Banksters that run their perpetual war for Profit global scam.

– They have definitely made the terms issued to Qatar “non negotiable“…to ensure a WWIII in the very short term…which will avoid their looming bankruptcy and (perhaps worse) geopolitical irrelevancy!

– Ultimately, just like everything else that has gone on in the Middle East for the past 15 years or more…this is aimed at Russia/China/Iran….but particularly Russia/Putin.  It will take every ounce of his chessmaster skills to outmaneuver the perps this time.  They’ve doubled down for “one final roll of the dice”…and Qatar is it.  Stay tuned.

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