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|All U.S. schoolchildren should be taught, as part of their basic civics education,
by conscientious elementary, middle school and high school teachers, that they live in an
imperialist country. The term itself ought to be popularized. This
is what politicians like Obama actually refer to, elliptically, when they call the U.S. “exceptional.
Gary Leupp, The U.S. Versus ISIS
Looks like the USA successfully managed to recreate Imperial Rome on a new level, neoliberalism level. See Empires Then and Now - PaulCraig
The idea financial imperialism is simple. Instead of old-fashion military occupation of the country, take over the countries in crisis, if necessary remove their democratically elected governments from power by claiming that election are falsified and/or official are corrupted, and/or the government is authoritarian (unlike the puppets they want to install). They use the installed puppets to mandate austerity, burden the country with debt and facilitate condition under which most of which will be stolen and repatriated to the West.
But neoliberals take this old idea to a new level -- the crisis can be manufactured. The scheme looks like the following (see IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement discussion of Greece for more information):
After installation of a puppet government, it is relatively easy to use Fifth column based government to protect foreign financial interests. Now you can recoup the costs and enjoy the profits. Much cheaper and more humane then bombing the country and killing a couple of hundred thousand people to achieve the same goals (Iraq variant) or by arming and training jihadists (using Saudi and Gulf monarchies money) and tribal elements to depose the government (Libya and Syria variants) who kill as much, if nor more.
A classic recent examples were Yeltsin's government in Russia, Yushchenko regime in Ukraine, Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk duo in Ukraine and sequence of neoliberal governments in Greece.
In other words neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization (Neoliberalism A Critical Reader Alfredo Saad-Filho, Deborah Johnston, p. 2)
In the conventional (or mainstream) discourse, imperialism is either absent or, more recently, proudly presented as the ‘AmericanBurden': to civilize the world and bring to all the benediction of the Holy Trinity, the green-faced Lord Dollar and its deputies and occasional rivals. Holy Euro and Saint Yen. New converts win a refurbished international airport, one brand-new branch of McDonald’s, two luxury hotels, 3,000 NGOs and one US military base.
This offer cannot be refused - or else.2 In turn, globalisation is generally presented as an inescapable, inexorable and benevolent process leading to greater competition, welfare improvements and the spread of democracy around the world. In reality, however, the so-called process of globalisation - to the extent that it actually exists (see Saad-Rlho 2003) - is merely the international face of neoliberalism: a world-wide strategy of accumulation and social discipline that doubles up as tin imperialist project, spearheaded by the alliance between the US ruling class and locally dominant capitalist coalitions.
This ambitious power project centered on neoliberalism at home and imperial globalism abroad is implemented by diverse social and economic political alliances in each country, but the interests of local finance and the US ruling class, itself dominated by finance, are normally hegemonic.
...the United States, the United Kingdom and east and south-east Asia respectively, neoliberalism is a particular organisation of capitalism, which has evolved to protect capital(ism) and to reduce the power of labour. This is achieved by means of social, economic and political transformations imposed by internal forces as well as external pressure. The internal forces include the coalition between financial interests, leading industrialists, traders and exporters, media barons, big landowners, local political chieftains, the top echelons of the civil service and the military, and their intellectual and political proxies. These groups are closely connected with ‘global’ ideologies emanating from the centre, and they tend to adapt swiftly to the demands beamed from the metropolis. Their efforts have led to a significant worldwide shift in powerrelations away from the majority. Corporate power has increased, while finance hits acquired unrivalled influence, and the political spectrum has shifted towards the right. Left parties and mass organisations have imploded, while trade unions have been muzzled or disabled by unemployment. Forms of external pressure have included the diffusion of Western culture and ideology, foreign support for state and civil society institutions peddling neolibcral values, the shameless use of foreign aid, debt relief and balance of payments support to promote the neoliberal programme, and diplomatic pressure, political unrest and military intervention when necessary.
...the ruling economic and political forces in the European Union have instrumentalised the process of integration to ensure the hegemony of neoliberalism. This account is complemented by the segmentation of Eastern Europe into countries that are being drawn into a Western European-style neoliberalism and others that are following Russia’s business oligarchy model.
In sum, neoliberalism is everywhere both the outcome and the arena of social conflicts. It sets the political and economic agenda, limits the possible outcomes, biases expectations, and imposes urgent tasks on those challenging its assumptions, methods and consequences.
In the meantime, neoliberal theory has not remained static. In order to deal with the most powerful criticisms leveled against neoliberalism, that it has increased poverty and social dislocation around the world, neoliberal theory has attempted to present the ogre in a more favorable light. In spite of the substantial resources invested in this ideologically inspired make-over, these amendments have remained unconvincing, not least because the heart of the neoliberal project has remained unchanged. This is discussed in Chapter 15 for poverty and distribution, while Chapter 21 unpicks the agenda of the ‘Third Way', viewed by many as ‘neoliberalism with a human face’.
Neoliberalism offered a finance-friendly solution to the problems of capital accumulation at the end of a relatively long cycle of prosperity. Chapters 1. 22 and 30 show that neoliberalism imposed discipline upon a restless working class through contractionary fiscal and monetary policies and wide-ranging initiatives to curtail social rights, under the guise of anti-inflation and productivity-enhancing measures. Neoliberalism also rationalised the transfer of state capacity to allocate resources inter-temporally (the balance between investment and consumption) and inter-sectorally (the distribution of investment, employment and output) towards an increasingly internationally integrated (and US-led) financial sector. In doing so, neoliberalism facilitated a gigantic transfer of resources to the local rich and the United States, as is shown by Chapters 11 and 15.
The “elephant in the room” is peak oil (plato oil to be more correct) and the plato of food production. Without "cheap oil" extraction growing, it is more difficult to sustain both population growth and rising standard of living simultaneously. It became the situation of iether/or.
So the future it does not look pretty. As soon as "cheap oil" escape the current plato, Western financial system gets into trouble: private banks based fractional reserve banking requires economy expansion for survival. Essentially they add positive feedback loop to the economy, greatly increasing the instability. That connection was discovered by Hyman Minsky. Minsky explored a form of instability that is embedded in neoliberal/financialized economies resulting from the use of fiat currency and fractional reserve banking. he argued that such an economy automatically generates bubbles, bursting of which result in periodic deep economic crisis. Which are not an exception, but a feature of neoliberal capitalism (aka "supercapitalism", or "casino capitalism).
When Minsky crisis hits some, less important, banks will implode and strategically important need to be saved by government at a great expense for taxpayers. The western elite is well aware of this possibility and will steal, loot and pillage as fast as they can to prolong the agony... Neoliberal expansion and conversion of other countries into debt slaves thus serves as a substitute for economic growth.
What actually is devalued in austerity programs imposed on indebted nations via currency depreciation is the price of local labor (along with standard of living of the most population). So austerity programs caused a huge drop in the standard of living of population. For example after EuroMaydan color revolution the standard of living in Ukraine dropped to the level of the most poor countries of Africa (less then $2 a day for the majority of population).
This is a pretty instructive example. It qlso cur domestic consumption of fuels and minerals, consumer goods, and food. As wages are sticky and it is difficult to reduced them directly (via high unemployment, leading to falling wages). But the currency depreciation can do the same trick even more effectively. For example since February 22 coup d'état, grivna, the Ukrainian currency depreciated from 8 to 28 grivna to dollar, or approximately 350%.
This is how war of creditors against debtor countries turns into a class war. But to impose such neoliberal reforms, foreign pressure is necessary to bypass domestic, democratically elected Parliaments. Not every country’s voters can be expected to be as passive in acting against their own interests as those of Latvia and Ireland. The financial capital objective is to bypass parliament by demanding a “consensus” (facilitated by a huge foreign debt) to put foreign creditors first, above the national economy. This is the essence of the status of debt slave country. Civil war it a perfect tool to accelerate this process.
Buying natural monopolies in transportation, communications, and the land from the public domain for pennies on the dollar now can be called "rescue package", not the road to debt peonage and a financial neo-feudalism that is a grim reality of "debt slave" countries, where populations are indentured laborers of international capital. Let me state it very simply : "the borrower [debtor] is SERVANT to the lender" ( Wikipedia ):
An indentured servant or indentured laborer is an employee (indenturee) within a system of unfree labor who is bound by a signed or forced contract (indenture) to work for a particular employer for a fixed time. The contract often lets the employer sell the labor of an indenturee to a third party. Indenturees usually enter into an indenture for a specific payment or other benefit, or to meet a legal obligation, such as debt bondage.
The whole point of creating debt is to gain control of and rule over such countries. Prof. Hudson's article Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011) illustrates this point admirably.
At the same time then comes to bailing out bankers who overplayed with derivatives, all rules are ignored – in order to serve the “higher justice” of saving banks and their high-finance counterparties from taking a loss. This is quite a contrast compared to IMF policy toward labor and “taxpayers.” The class war is back in business – with a vengeance, and bankers are the winners this time around.
Classic, textbook example of neocolonialism was rape of Russia in 1991-1999. See Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia
One of the most interesting analysis of this new phenomena was provided by Henry C K Liu in his series of articles SUPER CAPITALISM, SUPER IMPERIALISM
Robert B Reich, former US Secretary of Labor and resident neo-liberal in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1997, wrote in the September 14, 2007 edition of The Wall Street Journal an opinion piece, "CEOs Deserve Their Pay", as part of an orchestrated campaign to promote his new book: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Afred A Knopf).
Reich is a former Harvard professor and the former Maurice B Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He is currently a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California (Berkley) and a regular liberal gadfly in the unabashed supply-side Larry Kudlow TV show that celebrates the merits of capitalism.
Reich's Supercapitalism brings to mind Michael Hudson's Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972-2003). While Reich, a liberal turned neo-liberal, sees "supercapitalism" as the natural evolution of insatiable shareholder appetite for gain, a polite euphemism for greed, that cannot or should not be reined in by regulation, Hudson, a Marxist heterodox economist, sees "super imperialism" as the structural outcome of post-World War II superpower geopolitics, with state interests overwhelming free market forces, making regulation irrelevant. While Hudson is critical of "super imperialism" and thinks that it should be resisted by the weaker trading partners of the US, Reich gives the impression of being ambivalent about the inevitability, if not the benignity, of "supercapitalism".
The structural link between capitalism and imperialism was first observed by John Atkinson Hobson (1858-1940), an English economist, who wrote in 1902 an insightful analysis of the economic basis of imperialism. Hobson provided a humanist critique of neoclassical economics, rejecting exclusively materialistic definitions of value. With Albert Frederick Mummery (1855-1895), the great British mountaineer who was killed in 1895 by an avalanche while reconnoitering Nanga Parbat, an 8,000-meter Himalayan peak, Hobson wrote The Physiology of Industry (1889), which argued that an industrial economy requires government intervention to maintain stability, and developed the theory of over-saving that was given a glowing tribute by John Maynard Keynes three decades later.
The need for governmental intervention to stabilize an expanding national industrial economy was the rationale for political imperialism. On the other side of the coin, protectionism was a governmental counter-intervention on the part of weak trading partners for resisting imperialist expansion of the dominant power. Historically, the processes of globalization have always been the result of active state policy and action, as opposed to the mere passive surrender of state sovereignty to market forces. Market forces cannot operate in a vacuum. They are governed by man-made rules. Globalized markets require the acceptance by local authorities of established rules of the dominant economy. Currency monopoly of course is the most fundamental trade restraint by one single dominant government.
Adam Smith published Wealth of Nations in 1776, the year of US independence. By the time the constitution was framed 11 years later, the US founding fathers were deeply influenced by Smith's ideas, which constituted a reasoned abhorrence of trade monopoly and government policy in restricting trade. What Smith abhorred most was a policy known as mercantilism, which was practiced by all the major powers of the time. It is necessary to bear in mind that Smith's notion of the limitation of government action was exclusively related to mercantilist issues of trade restraint. Smith never advocated government tolerance of trade restraint, whether by big business monopolies or by other governments in the name of open markets.
A central aim of mercantilism was to ensure that a nation's exports remained higher in value than its imports, the surplus in that era being paid only in specie money (gold-backed as opposed to fiat money). This trade surplus in gold permitted the surplus country, such as England, to invest in more factories at home to manufacture more for export, thus bringing home more gold. The importing regions, such as the American colonies, not only found the gold reserves backing their currency depleted, causing free-fall devaluation (not unlike that faced today by many emerging-economy currencies), but also wanting in surplus capital for building factories to produce for domestic consumption and export. So despite plentiful iron ore in America, only pig iron was exported to England in return for English finished iron goods. The situation was similar to today's oil producing countries where despite plentiful crude oil, refined petrochemical products such as gasoline and heating oil have to be imported.
In 1795, when the newly independent Americans began finally to wake up to their disadvantaged trade relationship and began to raise European (mostly French and Dutch) capital to start a manufacturing industry, England decreed the Iron Act, forbidding the manufacture of iron goods in its American colonies, which caused great dissatisfaction among the prospering colonials.
Smith favored an opposite government policy toward promoting domestic economic production and free foreign trade for the weaker traders, a policy that came to be known as "laissez faire" (because the English, having nothing to do with such heretical ideas, refuse to give it an English name). Laissez faire, notwithstanding its literal meaning of "leave alone", meant nothing of the sort. It meant an activist government policy to counteract mercantilism. Neo-liberal free-market economists are just bad historians, among their other defective characteristics, when they propagandize "laissez faire" as no government interference in trade affairs.
Friedrich List, in his National System of Political Economy (1841), asserts that political economy as espoused in England, far from being a valid science universally, was merely British national opinion, suited only to English historical conditions. List's institutional school of economics asserts that the doctrine of free trade was devised to keep England rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners and it must be fought with protective tariffs and other protective devices of economic nationalism by the weaker countries.
Henry Clay's "American system" was a national system of political economy. US neo-imperialism in the post WWII period disingenuously promotes neo-liberal free-trade against governmental protectionism to keep the US rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners. Before the October Revolution of 1917, many national liberation movements in European colonies and semi-colonies around the world were influenced by List's economic nationalism. The 1911 Nationalist Revolution in China, led by Sun Yat-sen, was heavily influenced by Lincoln's political ideas - government of the people, by the people and for the people - and the economic nationalism of List, until after the October Revolution when Sun realized that the Soviet model was the correct path to national revival.
Hobson's magnum opus, Imperialism, (1902), argues that imperialistic expansion is driven not by state hubris, known in US history as "manifest destiny", but by an innate quest for new markets and investment opportunities overseas for excess capital formed by over-saving at home for the benefit of the home state. Over-saving during the industrial age came from Richardo's theory of the iron law of wages, according to which wages were kept perpetually at subsistence levels as a result of uneven market power between capital and labor. Today, job outsourcing that returns as low-price imports contributes to the iron law of wages in the US domestic economy. (See my article Organization of Labor Exporting Countries [OLEC]).
Hobson's analysis of the phenology (study of life cycles) of capitalism was drawn upon by Lenin to formulate a theory of imperialism as an advanced stage of capitalism:
"Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capitalism is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed." (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, 1916, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Chapter 7).
Lenin was also influenced by Rosa Luxemberg, who three year earlier had written her major work, The Accumulation of Capital: A Contribution to an Economic Explanation of Imperialism (Die Akkumulation des Kapitals: Ein Beitrag zur ökonomischen Erklärung des Imperialismus), 1913). Luxemberg, together with Karl Liebknecht a founding leader of the Spartacist League (Spartakusbund), a radical Marxist revolutionary movement that later renamed itself the Communist Party of Germany (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, or KPD), was murdered on January 15, 1919 by members of the Freikorps, rightwing militarists who were the forerunners of the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA) led by Ernst Rohm.
The congenital association between capitalism and imperialism requires practically all truly anti-imperialist movements the world over to be also anti-capitalist. To this day, most nationalist capitalists in emerging economies are unwitting neo-compradors for super imperialism. Neo-liberalism, in its attempts to break down all national boundaries to facilitate global trade denominated in fiat dollars, is the ideology of super imperialism.
Hudson, the American heterodox economist, historian of ancient economies and post-WW II international balance-of-payments specialist, advanced in his 1972 book the notion of 20th century super imperialism. Hudson updated Hobson's idea of 19th century imperialism of state industrial policy seeking new markets to invest home-grown excess capital. To Hudson, super imperialism is a state financial strategy to export debt denominated in the state's fiat currency as capital to the new financial colonies to finance the global expansion of a superpower empire.
No necessity, or even intention, was entertained by the superpower of ever having to pay off these paper debts after the US dollar was taken off gold in 1971.
Super imperialism transformed into monetary imperialism after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis with the creation of the petrodollar and two decades later emerged as dollar hegemony through financial globalization after 1993. As described in my 2002 AToL article, Dollar hegemony has to go, a geopolitical phenomenon emerged after the 1973 oil crisis in which the US dollar, a fiat currency since 1971, continues to serve as the primary reserve currency for international trade because oil continues to be denominated in fiat dollars as a result of superpower geopolitics, leading to dollar hegemony in 1993 with the globalization of deregulated financial markets.
Three causal developments allowed dollar hegemony to emerge over a span of two decades after 1973 and finally take hold in 1993. US fiscal deficits from overseas spending since the 1950s caused a massive drain in US gold holdings, forcing the US in 1971 to abandon the 1945 Bretton Woods regime of fixed exchange rate based on a gold-backed dollar. Under that international financial architecture, cross-border flow of funds was not considered necessary or desirable for promoting international trade or domestic development. The collapse of the 1945 Bretton Woods regime in 1971 was the initial development toward dollar hegemony.
The second development was the denomination of oil in dollars after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis. The emergence of petrodollars was the price the US, still only one of two contending superpowers in 1973, extracted from defenseless oil-producing nations for allowing them to nationalize the Western-owned oil industry on their soil. As long as oil transactions are denominated in fiat dollars, the US essentially controls all the oil in the world financially regardless of specific ownership, reducing all oil producing nations to the status of commodity agents of dollar hegemony.
The third development was the global deregulation of financial markets after the Cold War, making cross-border flow of funds routine, and a general relaxation of capital and foreign exchange control by most governments involved in international trade. This neo-liberal trade regime brought into existence a foreign exchange market in which free-floating exchange rates made computerized speculative attacks on weak currencies a regular occurrence. These three developments permitted the emergence of dollar hegemony after 1994 and helped the US win the Cold War with financial power derived from fiat money.
Dollar hegemony advanced super imperialism one stage further from the financial to the monetary front. Industrial imperialism sought to achieve a trade surplus by exporting manufactured good to the colonies for gold to fund investment for more productive plants at home. Super imperialism sought to extract real wealth from the colonies by paying for it with fiat dollars to sustain a balance of payments out of an imbalance in the exchange of commodities. Monetary imperialism under dollar hegemony exports debt denominated in fiat dollars through a permissive trade deficit with the new colonies, only to re-import the debt back to the US as capital account surplus to finance the US debt bubble.
The circular recycling of dollar-denominated debt was made operative by the dollar, a fiat currency that only the US can print at will, continuing as the world's prime reserve currency for international trade and finance, backed by US geopolitical superpower. Dollars are accepted universally because oil is denominated in dollars and everyone needs oil and thus needs dollars to buy oil. Any nation that seeks to denominate key commodities, such as oil, in currencies other than the dollar will soon find itself invaded by the sole superpower. Thus the war on Iraq is not about oil, as former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan suggested recently. It is about keeping oil denominated in dollars to protect dollar hegemony. The difference is subtle but of essential importance.
Since 1993, central banks of all trading nations around the world, with the exception of the US Federal Reserve, have been forced to hold more dollar reserves than they otherwise need to ward off the potential of sudden speculative attacks on their currencies in unregulated global financial markets. Thus "dollar hegemony" prevents the exporting nations, such as the Asian Tigers, from spending domestically the dollars they earn from the US trade deficit and forces them to fund the US capital account surplus, shipping real wealth to the US in exchange for the privilege of financing further growth of the US debt economy.
Not only do these exporting nations have to compete by keeping their domestic wages down and by prostituting their environment, the dollars that they earn cannot be spent at home without causing a monetary crisis in their own currencies because the dollars they earn have to be exchanged into local currencies before they can be spent domestically, causing an excessive rise in their domestic money supply which in turn causes domestic inflation-pushed bubbles. While the trade-surplus nations are forced to lend their export earnings back to the US, these same nations are starved for capital, as global capital denominated in dollars will only invest in their export sectors to earn more dollars. The domestic sector with local currency earnings remains of little interest to global capital denominated in dollars. As a result, domestic development stagnates for lack of capital.
Dollar hegemony permits the US to transform itself from a competitor in world markets to earn hard money, to a fiat-money-making monopoly with fiat dollars that only it can print at will. Every other trading nation has to exchange low-wage goods for dollars that the US alone can print freely and that can be spent only in the dollar economy without monetary penalty.
Japan is a classic victim of monetary imperialism. In 1990, as a result of Japanese export prowess, the Industrial Bank of Japan was the largest bank in the world, with a market capitalization of $57 billion. The top nine of the 10 largest banks then were all Japanese, trailed by Canadian Alliance in 10th place. No US bank made the top-10 list. By 2001, the effects of dollar hegemony have pushed Citigroup into first place with a market capitalization of $260 billion. Seven of the top 10 largest financial institutions in the world in 2001 were US-based, with descending ranking in market capitalization: Citigroup ($260 billion), AIG ($209 billion), HSBC (British-$110 billion), Berkshire Hathaway ($100 billion), Bank of America ($99 billion), Fanny Mae ($80 billion), Wells Fargo ($74 billion), JP Morgan Chase ($72 billion), RBS (British-$70 billion) and UBS (Swiss-$67 billion). No Japanese bank survived on the list.
China is a neoclassic case of dollar hegemony victimization even though its domestic financial markets are still not open and the yuan is still not freely convertible. With over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves earned at a previously lower fixed exchange rate of 8.2 to a dollar set in 1985, now growing at the rate of $1 billion a day at a narrow-range floating exchange rate of around 7.5 since July 2005, China cannot spend much of it dollar holdings on domestic development without domestic inflation caused by excessive expansion of its yuan money supply. The Chinese economy is overheating because the bulk of its surplus revenue is in dollars from exports that cannot be spent inside China without monetary penalty. Chinese wages are too low to absorb sudden expansion of yuan money supply to develop the domestic economy. And with over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, equal to its annual GDP, China cannot even divest from the dollar without having the market effect of a falling dollar moving against its remaining holdings.
The People's Bank of China announced on July 20, 2005 that effective immediately the yuan exchange rate would go up by 2.1% to 8.11 yuan to the US dollar and that China would drop the dollar peg to its currency. In its place, China would move to a "managed float" of the yuan, pegging the currency's exchange value to an undisclosed basket of currencies linked to its global trade. In an effort to limit the amount of volatility, China would not allow the currency to fluctuate by more than 0.3% in any one trading day. Linking the yuan to a basket of currencies means China's currency is relatively free from market forces acting on the dollar, shifting to market forces acting on a basket of currencies of China's key trading partners. The basket is composed of the euro, yen and other Asian currencies as well as the dollar. Though the precise composition of the basket was not disclosed, it can nevertheless be deduced by China's trade volume with key trading partners and by mathematical calculation from the set-daily exchange rate.
Thus China is trapped in a trade regime operating on an international monetary architecture in which it must continue to export real wealth in the form of underpaid labor and polluted environment in exchange for dollars that it must reinvest in the US. Ironically, the recent rise of anti-trade sentiment in US domestic politics offers China a convenient, opportune escape from dollar hegemony to reduce its dependence on export to concentrate on domestic development. Chinese domestic special interest groups in the export sector would otherwise oppose any policy to slow the growth in export if not for the rise of US protectionism which causes shot-term pain for China but long-term benefit in China's need to restructure its economy toward domestic development. Further trade surplus denominated in dollar is of no advantage to China.
Even as the domestic US economy declined after the onset of globalization in the early 1990s, US dominance in global finance has continued to this day on account of dollar hegemony. It should not be surprising that the nation that can print at will the world's reserve currency for international trade should come up on top in deregulated global financial markets. The so-called emerging markets around the world are the new colonies of monetary imperialism in a global neo-liberal trading regime operating under dollar hegemony geopolitically dominated by the US as the world's sole remaining superpower.
In Supercapitalism, Reich identifies corporate social responsibility as a diversion from economic efficiency and an un-capitalistic illusion. Of course the late Milton Friedman had asserted that the only social responsibility of corporations is to maximize profit, rather than to generate economic well-being and balanced growth through fair profits. There is ample evidence to suggest that a single-minded quest for maximizing global corporate profit can lead to domestic economic decline in even the world's sole remaining superpower. The US public is encouraged to blame such decline on the misbehaving trading partners of the US rather than US trade policy that permits US transnational corporation to exploit workers in all trading nations, including those in the US. It is a policy that devalues work by over-rewarding financial manipulation.
Yet to Reich, the US corporate income tax is regressive and inequitable and should be abolished so that after-tax corporate profit can be even further enhanced. This pro-profit position is at odds with even rising US Republican sentiment against transnational corporations and their global trade strategies. Reich also thinks the concept of corporate criminal liability is based on an "anthropomorphic fallacy" that ends up hurting innocent people. Reich sees as inevitable an evolutionary path towards an allegedly perfect new world of a super-energetic capitalism responding to the dictate of all-powerful consumer preference through market democracy.
Reich argues that corporations cannot be expected to be more "socially responsible" than their shareholders or even their consumers, and he implies that consumer preference and behavior are the proper and effective police forces that supersede the need for market regulation. He sees corporations, while viewed by law as "legal persons", as merely value-neutral institutional respondents of consumer preferences in global markets. Reich claims that corporate policies, strategies and behavior in market capitalism are effectively governed by consumer preferences and need no regulation by government. This is essentially the ideology of neo-liberalism.
Yet US transnational corporations derive profit from global operations serving global consumers to maximize return on global capital. These transnational corporations will seek to shift production to where labor is cheapest and environmental standards are lowest and to market their products where prices are highest and consumer purchasing power the strongest. Often, these corporations find it more profitable to sell products they themselves do not make, controlling only design and marketing, leaving the dirty side of manufacturing to others with underdeveloped market power. This means if the US wants a trade surplus under the current terms of trade, it must lower it wages. The decoupling of consumers from producers weakens the conventional effects of market pressure on corporate social responsibility. Transnational corporations have no home community loyalty. Consumers generally do not care about sweat shop conditions overseas while overseas workers do not care about product safety on goods they produce but cannot afford to buy. Products may be made in China, but they are not made by China, but by US transnational corporations which are responsible for the quality and safety of their products.
Further, it is well recognized that corporations routinely and effectively manipulate consumer preference and market acceptance often through if not false, at least misleading advertising, not for the benefit of consumers, but to maximize return on faceless capital raised from global capital markets. The subliminal emphasis by the corporate culture on addictive acquisition of material things, coupled with a structural deprivation of adequate income to satisfy the manipulated desires, has made consumers less satisfied than in previous times of less material abundance. Corporations have been allowed to imbed consumption-urging messages into every aspect of modern life. The result is a disposable culture with packaged waste, an obesity crisis for all age groups, skyrocketing consumer debt, the privatization of public utilities that demand the same fee for basic services from rich and poor alike, causing a sharp disparity in affordability. It is a phenomenon described by Karl Marx as "Fetishism of Commodities".
Marx wrote in Das Kapital:
The relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labor is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labor. This is the reason why the products of labor become commodities, social things whose qualities are at the same time perceptible and imperceptible by the senses … The existence of the things qua commodities, and the value relation between the products of labor which stamps them as commodities, have absolutely no connection with their physical properties and with the material relations arising therefrom. It is a definite social relation between men that assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things. In order, therefore, to find an analogy, we must have recourse to the mist-enveloped regions of the religious world. In that world, the productions of the human brain appear as independent beings endowed with life, and entering into relation both with one another and the human race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men's hands. This I call the Fetishism which attaches itself to the products of labor, as soon as they are produced as commodities, and which is therefore inseparable from the production of commodities. This Fetishism of Commodities has its origin … in the peculiar social character of the labor that produces them.Marx asserts that "the mystical character of commodities does not originate in their use-value" (Section 1, p 71). Market value is derived from social relations, not from use-value which is a material phenomenon. Thus Marx critiques the Marginal Utility Theory by pointing out that market value is affected by social relationships. For example, the marginal utility of door locks is a function of the burglary rate in a neighborhood which in turn is a function of the unemployment rate. Unregulated free markets are a regime of uninhibited price gouging by monopolies and cartels.
Thus the nature of money cannot be adequately explained even in terms of the material-technical properties of gold, but only in terms of the factors behind man's desire and need for gold. Similarly, it is not possible to fully understand the price of capital from the technical nature of the means of production, but only from the social institution of private ownership and the terms of exchange imposed by uneven market power. Market capitalism is a social institution based on the fetishism of commodities.
While Reich is on target in warning about the danger to democracy posed by the corporate state, and in claiming that only people can be citizens, and only citizens should participate in democratic decision making, he misses the point that transnational corporations have transcended national boundaries. Yet in each community that these transnational corporations operate, they have the congenital incentive, the financial means and the legal mandate to manipulate the fetishism of commodities even in distant lands.
Moreover, representative democracy as practiced in the US is increasingly manipulated by corporate lobbying funded from high-profit-driven corporate financial resources derived from foreign sources controlled by management. Corporate governance is notoriously abusive of minority shareholder rights on the part of management. Notwithstanding Reich's rationalization of excessive CEO compensation, CEOs as a class are the most vocal proponents of corporate statehood. Modern corporations are securely insulated from any serious threats from consumer revolt. Inter-corporate competition presents only superficial and trivial choices for consumers. Motorists have never been offered any real choice on gasoline by oil companies or alternatives on the gasoline-guzzling internal combustion engine by car-makers.
Reich asserts in his Wall Street Journal piece that modern CEOs in finance capitalism nowadays deserve their high pay because they have to be superstars, unlike their bureaucrat-like predecessors during industrial capitalism. Notwithstanding that one would expect a former labor secretary to argue that workers deserve higher pay, the challenge to corporate leadership in market capitalism has always been and will always remain management's ruthless pursuit of market leadership power, a euphemism for monopoly, by skirting the rule of law and regulations, framing legislative regimes through political lobbying, pushing down wages and worker benefits, increasing productivity by downsizing in an expanding market and manipulating consumer attitude through advertising. At the end of the day, the bottom line for corporate profit is a factor of lowering wage and benefit levels.
Reich seems to have forgotten that the captains of industry of 19th century free-wheeling capitalism were all superstars who evoked public admiration by manipulating the awed public into accepting the Horatio Alger myth of success through hard work, honesty and fairness. The derogatory term "robber barons" was first coined by protest pamphlets circulated by victimized Kansas farmers against ruthless railroad tycoons during the Great Depression.
The manipulation of the public will by moneyed interests is the most problematic vulnerability of US economic and political democracy. In an era when class warfare has taken on new sophistication, the accusation of resorting to class warfare argument is widely used to silence legitimate socio-economic protests. The US media is essentially owned by the moneyed interests. The decline of unionism in the US has been largely the result of anti-labor propaganda campaigns funded by corporations and government policies influenced by corporate lobbyists. The infiltration of organized crime was exploited to fan public anti-union sentiments while widespread corporate white collar crimes were dismissed as mere anomalies. (See Capitalism's bad apples: It's the barrel that's rotten)
As promoted by his permissive opinion piece, a more apt title for Reich's new book would be Superman Capitalism, in praise of the super-heroic qualities of successful corporate CEOs who deserve superstar pay. This view goes beyond even fascist superman ideology. The compensation of corporate CEOs in Nazi Germany never reached such obscene levels as those in US corporate land today.
Reich argues that CEOs deserve their super-high compensation, which has increased 600% in two decades, because corporate profits have also risen 600% in the same period. The former secretary of labor did not point out that wages rose only 30% in the same period. The profit/wage disparity is a growing cancer in the US-dominated global economy, causing over-production resulting from stagnant demand caused by inadequate wages. A true spokesman for labor would point out that enlightened modern management recognizes that the performance of a corporation is the sum total of effective team work between management and labor.
System analysis has long shown that collective effort on the part of the entire work force is indispensable to success in any complex organism. Further, a healthy consumer market depends on a balance between corporate earnings and worker earnings. Reich's point would be valid if US wages had risen by the same multiple as CEO pay and corporate profit, but he apparently thought that it would be poor etiquette to raise embarrassing issues as a guest writer in an innately anti-labor journal of Wall Street. Even then, unless real growth also rose 600% in two decades, the rise in corporate earning may be just an inflation bubble.
To be fair, Reich did address the income gap issue eight months earlier in another article, "An Introduction to Economic Populism" in the Jan-Feb, 2007 issue of The American Prospect, a magazine that bills itself as devoted to "liberal ideas". In that article, Reich relates a "philosophical" discussion he had with fellow neo-liberal cabinet member Robert Rubin, then treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, on two "simple questions".
The first question was: Suppose a proposed policy will increase the incomes of some people without decreasing the incomes of any others. Of course Reich must know that it is a question of welfare economics long ago answered by the "pareto optimum", which asserts that resources are optimally distributed when an individual cannot move into a better position without putting someone else into a worse position. In an unjust society, the pareto optimum will perpetuate injustice in the name of optimum resource allocation. "Should it be implemented? Bob and I agreed it should," writes Reich. Not exactly an earth-shaking liberal position. Rather, it is a classic neo-liberal posture.
And the second question: But suppose the people whose incomes will rise are already wealthier than everyone else. Although no one will lose ground, inequality will widen. Should it still be implemented? "I won't tell you where he and I came out on that second question," writes Reich without explaining why. He allows that "we agreed that people who don't share in such gains feel relatively poorer. Widening inequality also further tips the balance of political power in favor of the wealthy."
Of course, clear thinking would have left the second question mute because it would have invalidated the first question, as the real income of those whose nominal income has not fallen has indeed fallen relative to those whose nominal income has risen. In a macro monetary sense, it is not possible to raise the nominal income of some without lowering the real income of others. All incomes must rise together proportionally or inequality in after-inflation real income will increase.
But for the sake of argument, let's go along with Reich's parable on welfare economics and financial equality. That conversation occurred a decade ago. Reich says in his January 2007 article that "inequality is far more worrisome now", as if it had not been or that the policies he and his colleagues in the Clinton administration, as evidenced by their answer to their own first question, did not cause the now "more worrisome" inequality. "The incomes of the bottom 90% of Americans have increased about 2% in real terms since then, while that of the top 1% has increased over 50%," Reich wrote in the matter of fact tone of an innocent bystander.
It is surprising that a former labor secretary would err even on the record on worker income. The US Internal Revenue Service reports that while incomes have been rising since 2002, the average income in 2005 was $55,238, nearly 1% less than in 2000 after adjusting for inflation. Hourly wage costs (including mandatory welfare contributions and benefits) grew more slowly than hourly productivity from 1993 to late 1997, the years of Reich's tenure as labor secretary. Corporate profit rose until 1997 before declining, meaning what should have gone to workers from productivity improvements went instead to corporate profits. And corporate profit declined after 1997 because of the Asian financial crisis, which reduced offshore income for all transnational companies, while domestic purchasing power remained weak because of sub-par worker income growth.
The break in trends in wages occurred when the unemployment rate sank to 5%, below the 6% threshold of NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) as job creation was robust from 1993 onwards. The "reserve army of labor" in the war against inflation disappeared after the 1997 Asian crisis when the Federal Reserve injected liquidity into the US banking system to launch the debt bubble. According to NAIRU, when more than 94% of the labor force is employed, the war on wage-pushed inflation will be on the defensive. Yet while US inflation was held down by low-price imports from low-wage economies, US domestic wages fell behind productivity growth from 1993 onward. US wages could have risen without inflationary effects but did not because of the threat of further outsourcing of US jobs overseas. This caused corporate profit to rise at the expense of labor income during the low-inflation debt bubble years.
Income inequality in the US today has reached extremes not seen since the 1920s, but the trend started three decades earlier. More than $1 trillion a year in relative income is now being shifted annually from roughly 90,000,000 middle and working class families to the wealthiest households and corporations via corporate profits earned from low-wage workers overseas. This is why nearly 60% of Republicans polled support more taxes on the rich.
The policies and practices responsible for today's widening income gap date back to the 1977-1981 period of the Carter administration which is justly known as the administration of deregulation. Carter's deregulation was done in the name of populism but the results were largely anti-populist. Starting with Carter, policies and practices by both corporations and government underwent a fundamental shift to restructure the US economy with an overhaul of job markets. This was achieved through widespread de-unionization, breakup of industry-wide collective bargaining which enabled management to exploit a new international division of labor at the expense of domestic workers.
The frontal assault on worker collective bargaining power was accompanied by a realigning of the progressive federal tax structure to cut taxes on the rich, a brutal neo-liberal global free-trade offensive by transnational corporations and anti-labor government trade policies. The cost shifting of health care and pension plans from corporations to workers was condoned by government policy. A wave of government-assisted compression of wages and overtime pay narrowed the wage gap between the lowest and highest paid workers (which will occur when lower-paid workers receive a relatively larger wage increase than the higher-paid workers with all workers receiving lower pay increases than managers). There was a recurring diversion of inflation-driven social security fund surpluses to the US fiscal budget to offset recurring inflation-adjusted federal deficits. This was accompanied by wholesale anti-trust deregulation and privatization of public sectors; and most egregious of all, financial market deregulation.
Carter deregulated the US oil industry four years after the 1973 oil crisis in the name of national security. His Democratic challenger, Senator Ted Kennedy, advocated outright nationalization. The Carter administration also deregulated the airlines, favoring profitable hub traffic at the expense of traffic to smaller cities. Air fares fell but service fell further. Delays became routine, frequently tripling door-to-door travel time. What consumers save in airfare, they pay dearly in time lost in delay and in in-flight discomfort. The Carter administration also deregulated trucking, which caused the Teamsters Union to support Ronald Reagan in exchange for a promise to delay trucking deregulation.
Railroads were also deregulated by Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 which eased regulations on rates, line abandonment, and mergers to allow the industry to compete with truck and barge transportation that had caused a financial and physical deterioration of the national rail network railroads. Four years later, Congress followed up with the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 which provided the railroads with greater pricing freedom, streamlined merger timetables, expedited the line abandonment process, and allowed confidential contracts with shippers. Although railroads, like other modes of transportation, must purchase and maintain their own rolling stock and locomotives, they must also, unlike competing modes, construct and maintain their own roadbed, tracks, terminals, and related facilities. Highway construction and maintenance are paid for by gasoline taxes. In the regulated environment, recovering these fixed costs hindered profitability for the rail industry.
After deregulation, the railroads sought to enhance their financial situation and improve their operational efficiency with a mix of strategies to reduce cost and maximize profit, rather than providing needed service to passengers around the nation. These strategies included network rationalization by shedding unprofitable capacity, raising equipment and operational efficiencies by new work rules that reduced safety margins and union power, using differential pricing to favor big shippers, and pursuing consolidation, reducing the number of rail companies from 65 to 5 today. The consequence was a significant increase of market power for the merged rail companies, decreasing transportation options for consumers and increasing rates for remote, less dense areas.
In the agricultural sector, rail network rationalization has forced shippers to truck their bulk commodity products greater distances to mainline elevators, resulting in greater pressure on and damage to rural road systems. For inter-modal shippers, profit-based network rationalization has meant reduced access - physically and economically - to Container on Flat Car (COFC) and Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC) facilities and services. Rail deregulation, as is true with most transportation and communication deregulation, produces sector sub-optimization with dubious benefits for the national economy by distorting distributional balance, causing congestion and inefficient use of land, network and lines.
Carter's Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) approach to radio and television regulation began in the mid-1970s as a search for relatively minor "regulatory underbrush" that could be cleared away for more efficient and cost-effective administration of the important rules that would remain. Congress largely went along with this updating trend, and initiated a few deregulatory moves of its own to make regulation more effective and responsive to contemporary conditions.
The Reagan administration under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Mark Fowler in 1981 shifted deregulation to a fundamental and ideologically-driven reappraisal of regulations away from long-held principles central to national broadcasting policy appropriate for a democratic society. The result was removal of many longstanding rules to permit an overall reduction in FCC oversight of station ownership concentration and network operations. Congress grew increasingly wary of the pace of deregulation, however, and began to slow the pace of FCC deregulation by the late 1980s.
Specific deregulatory moves included (a) extending television licenses to five years from three in 1981; (b) expanding the number of television stations any single entity could own from seven in 1981 to 12 in 1985, with further changes in 1995; (c) abolishing guidelines for minimal amounts of non-entertainment programming in 1985; (d) elimination of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987; (e) dropping, in 1985, FCC license guidelines for how much advertising could be carried; (f) leaving technical standards increasingly in the hands of licensees rather than FCC mandates; and (g) deregulation of television's competition, especially cable which went through several regulatory changes in the decade after 1983.
The 1996 Telecommunications Act eliminated the 40-station ownership cap on radio stations. Since then, the radio industry has experienced unprecedented consolidation. In June 2003, the FCC voted to overhaul limits on media ownership. Despite having held only one hearing on the complex issue of media consolidation over a 20-month review period, the FCC, in a party-line vote, voted 3-2 to overhaul limits on media concentration. The rule would (1) increase the aggregate television ownership cap to enable one company to own stations reaching 45% of our nation's homes (from 35%), (2) lift the ban on newspaper-television cross-ownership, and (3) allow a single company to own three television stations in large media markets and two in medium ones. In the largest markets, the rule would allow a single company to own up to three television stations, eight radio stations, the cable television system, cable television stations, and a daily newspaper. A wide range of public-interest groups filed an appeal with the Third Circuit, which stayed the effective date of the new rules.
According to a BIA Financial Network report released in July 2006, a total of 88 television stations had been sold in the first six months of 2006, generating a transaction value of $15.7 billion. In 2005, the same period saw the sale of just 21 stations at a value of $244 million, with total year transactions of $2.86 billion.
Congress passed a law in 2004 that forbids any network to own a group of stations that reaches more than 39% of the national television audience. That is lower than the 45% limit set in 2003, but more than the original cap of 35% set in 1996 under the Clinton administration - leading public interest groups to argue that the proposed limits lead to a stifling of local voices.
Newspaper-television cross-ownership remains a contentious issue. Currently prohibited, it refers to the "common ownership of a full-service broadcast station and a daily newspaper when the broadcast station's area of coverage (or "contour") encompasses the newspaper's city of publication".
Capping of local radio and television ownership is another issue. While the original rule prohibited it, currently a company can own at least one television and one radio station in a market. In larger markets, "a single entity may own additional radio stations depending on the number of other independently owned media outlets in the market".
Most broadcasters and newspaper publishers are lobbying to ease or end restrictions on cross-ownership; they say it has to be the future of the news business. It allows newsgathering costs to be spread across platforms, and delivers multiple revenue streams in turn. Their argument is also tied to a rapidly changing media consumption market, and to the diversity of opinions available to the consumer with the rise of the Internet and other digital platforms.
The arguments against relaxing media ownership regulations are put forth by consumer unions and other interest groups on the ground that consolidation in any form inevitably leads to a lack of diversity of opinion. Cross-ownership limits the choices for consumers, inhibits localism and gives excessive media power to one entity.
Professional and workers' guilds of the communication industry (the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of TV and Radio Artists among others) would like the FCC to keep in mind the independent voice, and want a quarter of all prime-time programming to come from independent producers. The Children's Media Policy Coalition suggested that the FCC limit local broadcasters to a single license per market, so that there is enough original programming for children. Other interest groups like the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters are worried about what impact the rules might have on station ownership by minorities.
Deregulatory proponents see station licensees not as "public trustees" of the public airwaves requiring the provision of a wide variety of services to many different listening groups. Instead, broadcasting has been increasingly seen as just another business operating in a commercial marketplace which did not need its management decisions questioned by government overseers, even though they are granted permission to use public airways. Opponents argue that deregulation violates a key mandate of the Communications Act of 1934 which requires licensees to operate in the public interest. Deregulation allows broadcasters to seek profits with little public service programming.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first major overhaul of US telecommunications law in nearly 62 years, amending the Communications Act of 1934, and leading to media consolidation. It was approved by Congress on January 3, 1996 and signed into law on February 8, 1996 by President Clinton, a Democrat whom some have labeled as the best president the Republicans ever had. The act claimed to foster competition, but instead it continued the historic industry consolidation begun by Reagan, whose actions reduced the number of major media companies from around 50 in 1983 to 10 in 1996 and 6 in 2005.
The Carter administration increased the power of the Federal Reserve through the Depository Institutions and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA) of 1980 which was a necessary first step in ending the New Deal restrictions placed upon financial institutions, such as Regulation Q put in place by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and other restrictions on banks and financial institutions. The populist Regulation Q imposed limits and ceilings on bank and savings-and-loan (S&L) interest rates to provide funds for low-risk home mortgages. But with financial market deregulation, Regulation Q created incentives for US banks to do business outside the reach of US law, launching finance globalization. London came to dominate this offshore dollar business.
The populist Regulation Q, which regulated for several decades limits and ceilings on bank and S&L interest to serve the home mortgage sector, was phased out completely in March 1986. Banks were allowed to pay interest on checking account - the NOW accounts - to lure depositors back from the money markets. The traditional interest-rate advantage of the S&Ls was removed, to provide a "level playing field", forcing them to take the same risks as commercial banks to survive. Congress also lifted restrictions on S&Ls' commercial lending, which promptly got the whole industry into trouble that would soon required an unprecedented government bailout of depositors, with tax money. But the developers who made billions from easy credit were allowed to keep their profits. State usury laws were unilaterally suspended by an act of Congress in a flagrant intrusion on state rights. Carter, the well-intentioned populist, left a legacy of anti-populist policies. To this day, Greenspan continues to argue disingenuously that subprime mortgages helped the poor toward home ownership, instead of generating obscene profit for the debt securitization industry.
During the Reagan administration, corporate lobbying and electoral strategies allowed the corporate elite to wrest control of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, from conservative populists. In the late 1980s, supply-side economics was promoted to allow corporate interests to dominate US politics at the expense of labor by arguing that the only way labor can prosper is to let capital achieve high returns, notwithstanding the contradiction that high returns on capital must come from low wages.
New legislation and laws, executive orders, federal government rule-making, federal agency decisions, and think-tank propaganda, etc, subsequently followed the new political landscape, assisting the implementation of new corporate policies and practices emerging from corporate headquarters rather than from the shop floor. Economists and analysts who challenged this voodoo theory were largely shut out of the media. Workers by the million were persuaded to abandon their institutional collective defender to fend for themselves individually in the name of freedom. It was a freedom to see their job security eroded and wages and benefits fall with no recourse.
1. Das Kapital, Volume One, Part I: Commodities and Money, Chapter One: Commodities, Section I.
Next: PART 2: Global war on labor
Henry C K Liu is chairman of a New York-based private investment group. His website is at http://www.henryckliu.com.
Copyright 2007, Henry C K Liu
Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance [Paperback]
William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)Hudson is a Wall Street economist who used to work at the Chase Manhattan Bank.
In Part One, he describes the rise of the American empire.
Part Two describes its institutions: the US-controlled World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, which all benefit the USA. The US has the sole veto power in all three.
Part Three describes what Herman Kahn called `the greatest rip-off ever achieved', the way the US's ruling class levies us all to pay for its aggressive wars, just as the Roman Empire levied tribute to pay for its constant wars. Similarly Britain, Germany and Japan all pay for the US's military bases in their countries.
In 1945, as in 1918, Britain led Europe's capitulation to the USA's debt demands. The British ruling class chose dependency on the US ruling class. The USA insisted that Britain ended the sterling bloc, accepted IMF controls, did not impose exchange controls, and did not devalue. As Hudson writes, "The Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelled the end of Britain as a Great Power."
The 1945-51 Labour government's huge spending on unnecessary imperial, counter-revolutionary wars robbed our industry of investment. This excessive military spending meant that we had constantly to borrow from the IMF, increasing our dependence on the USA. Now Britain is the USA's Trojan horse in Europe, against Britain's interests.
Hudson immodestly claims that his analysis supersedes Lenin. He says that the US national government's interests, not the private interests of the capitalist class, drive the system. He claims that the US government subordinates `the interests of its national bourgeoisie to the autonomous interests of the national government'. But is the US government really independent of the capitalist class? How `autonomous' are these interests?...
Joshua Malle (Seattle, WA USA)
Difficult and rewarding, Hudson is the real deal,
May 24, 2006
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This review is from: Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominanc (Paperback)Super-Imperialism is better viewed as a radical alternative to common undergraduate textbooks such as Joan Edelman Spero's, "The Politics of International Economic Relations" than as an update to the theories of Lenin or Hobson. (His background and prose style are similar to Spero's and his book covers similar ground.)
It has three sections, each which could have been a separate book.
- Chapters 1-6 are a history of U.S. international economic relations from World War I through Bretton Woods.
- Chapters 7-10 are a critique of the "The Institutions of the American Empire" (GATT, the World Bank, the IMF and U.S. foreign aid mechanisms). If you have ever wondered what all of the huge protests of the World Bank and IMF were all about these chapters are for you.
- Chapters 11-15 are about the U.S. economic transition in the late 1960s and early 1970s from running consistent balance of payments surpluses to running consistent deficits. (We used to export more than we imported; Now we import more than we export.) At the same time the U.S. stopped backing dollars with gold, which forced other countries to lend the surplus dollars created by our trade deficit back to the U.S. government (i.e. to buy treasury notes), thereby also subsidizing our chronic budget deficits. This is the "super-imperialism" of the book's title. This situation was still new and strange when the first edition was published in 1972, and the book's reputation rests on the light Hudson was able to shed on it.
The 2003 Edition has a new introduction and two new chapters at the end. The rest of the book has occasional new material, but does not appear to have been extensively re-written.
It's a difficult and rewarding book. The difficulty lies partly in the subject matter itself, partly in Hudson's convoluted prose and partly in the numerous typographical errors that mar the 2003 Pluto Press edition.
The book is rewarding because it's honest. Readers educated in the U.S. will initially regard Hudson's account with some skepticism. We can't help it; We've been systematically miseducated by pro-U.S. polemics presented in an "objective" tone.
In contrast Hudson is a strident critic of the U.S. management of the global economy. But so is any reasonably objective person who is apprized of the facts. I much prefer an author who honestly tells you the real story as he understands it to one who conceals the awful truth behind an ostensibly impartial facade. But a "revisionist" has to work twice as hard to make his case, and that is why the book contains the detailed explication of what reviewer Myers calls the "intricacies of events and negotiations that gave rise to the present order."
I think an open-minded reader will be won over by Hudson's thoughtful use of contemporaneous sources (e.g. government publications and articles in the business press) and also biographical sources to illuminate how key decision makers understood the alternatives, and their motives for pursuing the policies that they did when forging the post-war economic order. As he places these choices in context it quickly becomes evident that the motives on the U.S. side have been consistently aggressive and that U.S. policy makers have all along viewed multilateral economic institutions as instruments of national policy--to the world's detriment.
Hudson also has a keen sense of the painfully narrow horizon of human foresight. The historical sections sometimes read like a conspiracy theory in which the conspirators are not very smart. E.g., Franklin Roosevelt's stubborn insistence that World War I debts be repaid prolonged the Great Depression; When J. M. Keynes was negotiating Bretton Woods for the newly elected Labour government, he got them a terrible deal; The U.S. transition to "super-imperialism" which is the main story of the book (chapters 11 through 14) was originally an unintended consequence of the huge budget and trade deficits caused by the Vietnam War.
If you are interested in "globalization" this book is an important piece of the puzzle, but it really only covers up through 1973, and it spends more time on the relationship between the U.S. and Europe than on "North-South" relations. Having said that, Ch. 8 "The Imperialism of U.S. Foreign Aid" is very good, esp. how foreign aid benefits the U.S. balance of payments and the harmful effects of U.S. agricultural exports. China is hardly mentioned.
If you are an economics student and you sense that they aren't telling you the whole story, or just a thoughtful citizen who wants to sharpen your conceptual tools for understanding and resisting the strategies of U.S. imperialism, this book is for you.
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Salty Saltillo (from the road, USA)
An awkward argument with moments of brilliance,See all my reviews
November 3, 2004
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Hudson's historical argument in this book is both brilliant and sometimes a bit rough.
Hudson has always had a great talent for interpreting and sketching out for weaker minds like us what the US government's abandonment of the gold-standard really means. When Hudson came forward with his thesis in the mid 1970's, his thesis was outrageous among orthodox economists: to suggest that the US should be worried about the long-term consequences of running balance of payments deficits year after year, decade after decade was crazy leftist nonsense in the 1970s. As long as people continue to need the US markets more than the US needs any other one country's markets (and people still have faith in the good credit of the US government) there is no reason US could not run balance of payment deficits forever, according to the conventional wisdom.
What amazes me is that now, after having done exactly what Hudson warned the US government not to do in the 1970s, many otherwise relatively orthodox economists are beginning to worry about this. Hudson may be on the more "sky-is-falling" end of things, but his analysis was right on the nail in 1972 and is still there today: worst case scenario - massive recession and massive devaluation of the dollar (by massive I mean, unprecedented). Former US Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin was quoted in March 16, 2006 WSJ as saying that "The probabilities are extremely high that if we don't address these imbalances, then at some point, and it could be years down the road, we'll pay a very big price." We are in a limbo world where no one really knows how this problem is going to play out, but Hudson should be credited for being one of the first, and longest-running, advocates for addressing this problem. Too bad it has taken so many decades for people to recognize what he has been telling us all along about balance of payments deficits.
The rest of the argument Hudson makes in this book is a bit tough to follow, though. Essentially, Hudson attempts to show how the US has, during this century but especially since WWII, systematically sought to manipulate all of the great economic institution-building opportunities following WWII to advance the interests of the US over other countries. Coming off the gold standard and running up a balance of payments deficit was just one of many ways in which this occurred. The US largely succeeded. The GATT (now WTO), World Bank, IMF, all bear American "fingerprints".
I agree that the mega-institutions of the contemporary world economic and political machine are largely the unilateral creation of the US, imposed on the other great nations at a time when the other nations were particularly vulnerable to US force of will and not particular inclined to be heterodox visionaries. I also agree that the US in general has probably used as much leverage as it could in negotiating all of the defining institutions in which it had any hand in constructing.
And yet, how could it have been any different? National governments pursue their self-interest and the interest of their citizens, often at the expense of other national governments and their citizens. The nation-state system is set up to work that way. But is the problem really one of US bad behavior, as Hudson suggests? Isn't the problem really structural? In the nation-state world, wherein the world is divided up into pseudo-autonomous political monopolies, each individually endowed with particular strengths and weaknesses, and all pitted against each other in a laissez-faire system where the only things that keep nation-states from raping and killing each other to oblivion are, good faith and the fact that the balance of power among the nation-states is enough to keep each monopoly contained in its behavior towards the other monopolies, what sort of behavior could we have expected from the US, a nation-state that, at a series of pivotal moments in 20th century history, found itself with "golden opportunities" to take advantage of other nations' weaknesses and advance its own power? Would the French, or the Brits, or the Japanese, or the Italians, or the Germans, or the Russians have behaved any different if they found themselves holding all the cards in 1945 instead of the US?
My point is, the facts Hudson lays out are correct -- there clearly is a problem in the way in which our current world order has been put together and the US is at the middle of that problem. The conclusions Hudson draws from those facts do not go deep enough in understanding what those facts mean, however.
It isn't that the Americans behave or behaved "bad" by the standard of good behavior implicit in the nation-state system, it is that the nation-state system itself to a certain extent reflects 19th century laissez-faire values of autonomy and individuality that pit nation-states against each other in a world where each is out to improve its lot through trade and, when possible and tolerable, violence.
The system itself breaks down when one player becomes too powerful. To blame the US for the systemic problem of massive power imbalances between nation states is simply pushing any hope for correction in the wrong direction.
FT.com / Columnists / Samuel Brittan - The wrong kind of Third Way: When a book entitled Supercapitalism: the Battle for Democracy in an Age of Big Business (Icon Books) landed on my desk I took it for just another of the many anti-capitalist diatribes so beloved by publishers. Its author was Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labour who parted company from the Clinton administration on the grounds that it was not interventionist enough. But I was glad I persevered. For it turned out to be one of the most interesting books on political economy to appear for a long time.
During the postwar decades up to the early 1970s, the Bretton Woods system of semi-fixed exchange rates worked, after a fashion; and countries seemed able to combine full employment with low inflation and historically rapid growth and diminishing income differences. Reich calls them a "not quite golden age". It was "not quite" because of the treatment of women and minorities and the prevailing conformist and authoritarian atmosphere.
It has been succeeded by what Reich calls supercapitalism, in which the cult of the bottom line has replaced the cosy oligopolies of postwar decades, once-dominant companies shrink or disappear, new ones spring up overnight and the financial sector is (or was until recently) in the driving seat. He rightly dismisses many of the popular scapegoats – or heroes – of the process. The changeover began well before Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher could influence anything. Free-market economists have been preaching essentially the same message since the 18th century. It is extremely unlikely that there has been a radical change in the psychology or morality of business operators. His own candidate is the technologies that have empowered consumers and investors to get ever better deals.
Unfortunately, many of these same consumers have lost in their capacity as citizens. He cites the failure of the political process even to attempt to correct the increasing skewness of US income distribution. In later pronouncements he has attributed the subprime loan disaster in part to the failure of supercapitalism to raise the incomes of the mass of wage earners who have been impelled to resort to borrowing as a substitute. Moreover, Congress has performed abysmally in correcting market failures in environmental and other areas. He has a non-partisan explanation: the staggering increase in business lobbying expenditures affecting Democrats as well as Republicans, as a result of which the political process, far from correcting the distortions of unbridled capitalism, has made them worse.
But for me the novel point of the book is his utter dismissal of the prevailing idea of appealing to the "social responsibility" of business to improve matters. This is a notion that particularly appeals to soft centre politicians such as David Cameron's Conservatives in Britain as a new kind of Third Way. Reich argues that it is the job of the democratic political process by laws, taxes and other interventions to harmonise the pursuit of money-making with the public good. "The job of the businessman is to make profits." He is completely unabashed by the charge that he sounds like Milton Friedman and indeed quotes the late Chicago professor approvingly several times. He argues that the so-called stakeholders who insist on being consulted before legislation is drafted are increasingly companies whose interests might be affected. One result is the "corruption of knowledge". We should beware of claims that a company is doing something for the public good. Corporate executives may donate some of their shareholders' money to a genuinely good cause or forbear from polluting the atmosphere to forestall a greater legal or fiscal burden. But in that case such actions are likely to be limited and temporary, "extending only insofar as the conditions that made such voluntary action pay off continue".
Similarly we should beware of a politician who blames a company for doing something that is legal. Such words are all too often a cover "for taking no action to change the rules of the game". Above all, "corporations are not people. They are legal fictions, nothing more than bundles of contractual agreements ... A company cannot know right from wrong ... Only people know right from wrong and only people act." One example of the "anthropomorphic fallacy" is when companies are held criminally liable for the misdeeds of their executives. Not only are the genuinely guilty let off too lightly but many innocent people get hurt. For instance, "the vast majority of Andersen employees had nothing to do with Enron but lost their jobs nonetheless".
I have two reservations. One is that I cannot share Reich's confidence that a revived and effective "democracy" would be a cure-all. You only have to see where democratic pressures are driving US energy policy. Second, there is a danger that the Friedman-Reich position could inadvertently give sustenance to the "I was only doing my job" defence for evil actions. You do not have to hold shares in a company selling arms to Saudi Arabia, or work for it. But do not deceive yourself that such individual gestures can be a substitute for a change in policy.
The Balance of Capitalism and Democracy,
September 17, 2007
By Izaak VanGaalen (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)
This review is from: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Hardcover)According to Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, there was a time when capitalism and democracy where almost perfectly balanced. This was the period of 1945 to 1975, which he calls the "Not Quite Golden Age." During this period there was a three-way social contract among big business, big labor, and big government. Each made sure that they as well as the other two received a fair share of the pie. Unions recieved their wages and benefits, business their profits, and regulatory agencies had their power. It was also a time when the gap between the rich and the poor was the narrowest in our history. It was not quite the golden age because women and minorities were still second class citizens, but at least there was hope.
Fast forward to 2007, capitalism is thriving and democracy is sputtering. Why has capitlism become supercapitalism and democracy become enfeebled? Reich explains that it was a combination of things: deregulation, globe spanning computer networks, better transportation, etc. The changes were mainly a result of technological breakthroughs; unlike many leftists, he is not conspiratorial thinker. The winner of this great transformation was the consumer/investor and the loser was the citizen/wage earner. The consumer has more choices than ever before and at reasonable prices. The investor has unprecedented opportunities to make profits. The citzen, however, is not doing well. The average citizen does not have much voice - other than voting - in the body politic. And on the wage earner has been stagnating for many years. The most salient illustration of this trend is Walmart. Walmart delivers the goods at low prices, but the trade-off is low wages for their employees. We justify this dilemma, as Reich nicely puts it, because "The awkward truth is that most of us are of two minds."
As a left-leaning author, Reich makes some startling pronouncements. One, stop treating corporations as human beings. They are neither moral or immoral, they are merely "bundles of contracts." I couldn't agree more. Stop expecting corporations to be socially responsible, see them for what they are: profit-seeking organizations. Any socially responsible action is a ruse to bolster the bottom line anyway. Don't even encourage them to be socially responsible because it will wrongly lead us to believe that they are solving problems when they are not. Corporations play by the rules that they are given and it is up to citizens and their elected representatives to change the rules.
This is no easy task in the age of supercapitalism. There are currently 38,000 registered lobbyists in Washington DC in a virtual arms race of spending with each other to buy favors from our so-called representatives. The only way citizens can compete with this is not by hiring more lobbyists but advocating through new media outlets such as the internet and cable tv. This, according to Reich, is currently to most effective way to make government more responsive.
The question that remains, after reading this book, is will consumers be willing to sacrifice their low prices to achieve their goals as citizens. If the answer is yes, we can possibly rebalance the equation between democracy and capitalism; if not, we are left to the not so tender mercies of supercapitalism.
Robert Reich makes a compelling argument that supercapitalism has robbed democracy of much of its power. Supercapitalism by the definition presented in the book is simple--the consumer is king and prices ALWAYS go down. What Reich looks at is the cost of low prices to companies, society, the individual and its impact on the workings of democracy. So how is democracy compromised? Reich also points out that the rise of different lobbying groups, the cost of politics and globalization as contributing to this process. This isn't a surprise. It has just become more pronounced with time.
It's not due to some large conspiracy or any hidden political agenda as much as it is driven by consumption. Ultimately Reich argues that it robs the common citizen of any control over democracy. It's not surprising that this is a highly charged issue because the economics of what benefits society (or "the common good" as Reich calls it)often gets tangled up in the web of politics. Reich also points out that the cost of supercompetitiveness, constantly falling prices is a loss to the economic and social health of America. Reich points out that everyone wants to get the lowest price possible but he also suggests that we must balance that with our desire to have decent wages and benefits. He also points out that the move towards regulation was initiated by government and that corporations went along because it kept out competition and guaranteed a top and bottom for prices allowing companies to get a profit without fear of cutting prices so low that it would put them out of business.
I should point out that this is an oversimplification of Reich's points but it does capture some of the concepts. He also makes some suggestions that would help keep the free market afloat without undermining democracy and allowing consumers to still benefit from competitive pricing. Since this is economics we are discussing politics is mixed in and might color whether or not you agree with his points.
Reich's style is breezy for a book that looks at economics, democracy and the erosion of wages, benefits. Reich comes across as fair balanced and thoughtful even as he sells his take on what is undermining American society. Ultimately it's a worthwhile book to read simply because it opens up dialogue on the social cost of constantly lowering prices and how it impacts those who live next door to us
Every middle class American should read this book. Many observations about income disparities have been written up lately but Reich pulls the important points together in a powerful and accessible way.
Reich's main thesis is that the current transition the US economy is under is misunderstood. Many of the policy elite (Geithner, Volcker) have repeated the familiar claim that Americans are living beyond their means. Personally I don't discount that completely but Reich's insight goes much deeper and rings truer:
"The problem was not that American spent beyond their means but that their means had not kept up with what the larger economy could and should have been able to provide them."
"We cannot have a sustained recovery until we address it. ... Until this transformation is made, our economy will continue to experience phantom recoveries and speculative bubbles, each more distressing than the one before."
Anyone looking at the unemployment data since WWII has to wonder why the unemployment component of the last three recessions is so prolonged. Instead of a sharp trend up, there are long slopes of delayed returns to peak employment. (Google "calculated risk blog" and look at Dec. 2010 articles.) I believe Reich has demonstrated the main culprit this. To be clear, he is not describing the detailed mechanics of what triggered the Great Recession. (Nouriel Roubini has a good book that I would recommend for more on the financial fraud, leverage and credit risks involved - Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance. ) But Reich is taking a long term view and exposes a dysfunctional trait of the US economy that no one can afford to ignore. It is this weakness that will delay the current recovery and continue to create greater risks in the future.
Reich draws the parallels between the Great Depression and the Great Recession, particularly the imbalance of wealth concentrated in fewer hands and middle class workers with less income to convert into consumer demand. One of the fascinating devices he found to do this was the writings of Marriner Eccles (Fed chair between '34 to '48):
"As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption, mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth - not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced - to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation's economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped."
Reich also shares a couple of powerful and disturbing graphs that show how the middle class has been squeezed and also how since the late 70s, hourly wages have not only not kept up with the rise in productivity but have remained essentially flat.
Another driving theme Reich presents is the "basic bargain" and he evokes Henry Ford, the man that took mass production to new heights and paid his workers well:
"[Henry] Ford understood the basic economic bargain that lay at the heart of a modern, highly productive economy. Workers are also consumers. Their earnings are continuously recycled to buy the goods and services other workers produce. But if earnings are inadequate and this basic bargain is broken, an economy produces more goods and services than its people are capable of purchasing."
I was concerned early in the book that Reich would leave out some of the important complexities of the topic but he covered related finances, politics and even consumer/voter psychology in a succinct yet informative way. His summary of changes to the labor market in the last 30+ years was very good.
His ideas for correcting this were interesting if perhaps difficult to implement politically. My take away however was that this is a strong indicator of how bad he thinks the situation really is. Many Americans may be yearning to return to "normal". Reich is the first to thoroughly convince me that it is not going to happen.
This is a very quick read of 144 pages and is well worth the time.
As Michael Hudson aptly noted in Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011)
Finance is a form of warfare. Like military conquest, its aim is to gain control of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute. This involves dictating laws to its subjects, and concentrating social as well as economic planning in centralized hands. This is what now is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight.
This attack is being mounted not by nation states as such, but by a cosmopolitan financial class. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.
Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance and protect finance capital and "the miracle of compound interest" that keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow, until they eat into the economic substance and do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.
Simon Johnson, former IMF Chief Economist, is coming out in May's 2009 edition of The Atlantic with a fascinating, highly provocative piece, on the collusion between the US' "financial oligarchy" and the US government and how its persistence will contribute to prolonging the economic crisis. Here is the summary (hat tip to Global Conditions):
One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you (…)
The reason, of course, is that the IMF specializes in telling its clients what they don't want to hear.(…)
No, the real concern of the fund's senior staff, and the biggest obstacle to recovery, is almost invariably the politics of countries in crisis. (…)
Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason-the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit-and, most of the time, genteel-oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders (…)
Many IMF programs "go off track" (a euphemism) precisely because the government can't stay tough on erstwhile cronies, and the consequences are massive inflation or other disasters. A program "goes back on track" once the government prevails or powerful oligarchs sort out among themselves who will govern-and thus win or lose-under the IMF-supported plan. (…)
In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (…).
(…) elite business interests-financiers, in the case of the U.S.-played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.
Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better-in a "buck stops somewhere else" sort of way-on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for "safety and soundness" were fast asleep at the wheel.
But these various policies-lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership-had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector's profits-such as Brooksley Born's now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998-were ignored or swept aside.
The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
(…) the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital-a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. (…)
One channel of influence was, of course, the flow of individuals between Wall Street and Washington. Robert Rubin, once the co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, served in Washington as Treasury secretary under Clinton, and later became chairman of Citigroup's executive committee. Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs during the long boom, became Treasury secretary under George W.Bush. John Snow, Paulson's predecessor, left to become chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, a large private-equity firm that also counts Dan Quayle among its executives. Alan Greenspan, after leaving the Federal Reserve, became a consultant to Pimco, perhaps the biggest player in international bond markets.
A whole generation of policy makers has been mesmerized by Wall Street, always and utterly convinced that whatever the banks said was true (…).
By now, the princes of the financial world have of course been stripped naked as leaders and strategists-at least in the eyes of most Americans. But as the months have rolled by, financial elites have continued to assume that their position as the economy's favored children is safe, despite the wreckage they have caused (…)
Throughout the crisis, the government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here. In September 2008, Henry Paulson asked Congress for $700 billion to buy toxic assets from banks, with no strings attached and no judicial review of his purchase decisions. Many observers suspected that the purpose was to overpay for those assets and thereby take the problem off the banks' hands-indeed, that is the only way that buying toxic assets would have helped anything. Perhaps because there was no way to make such a blatant subsidy politically acceptable, that plan was shelved.
Instead, the money was used to recapitalize banks, buying shares in them on terms that were grossly favorable to the banks themselves. As the crisis has deepened and financial institutions have needed more help, the government has gotten more and more creative in figuring out ways to provide banks with subsidies that are too complex for the general public to understand (…)
The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary (…)
In some ways, of course, the government has already taken control of the banking system. It has essentially guaranteed the liabilities of the biggest banks, and it is their only plausible source of capital today.
Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical-since we'll want to sell the banks quickly-they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.
This may seem like a crude and arbitrary step, but it is the best way to limit the power of individual institutions in a sector that is essential to the economy as a whole. Of course, some people will complain about the "efficiency costs" of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail-a financial weapon of mass self-destruction-explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.
To ensure systematic bank breakup, and to prevent the eventual reemergence of dangerous behemoths, we also need to overhaul our antitrust legislation (…)
Caps on executive compensation, while redolent of populism, might help restore the political balance of power and deter the emergence of a new oligarchy. (…)
(…) Over time, though, the largest part may involve more transparency and competition, which would bring financial-industry fees down. To those who say this would drive financial activities to other countries, we can now safely say: fine".
The nature of financial oligarchy is such that the government's capacity to take control of an entire financial system, and to clean, slice it up and re-privatize it impartially is almost non-existent. Instead we have growing, potentially corrupt, collusion between financial elites and government officials which is hall mark of corporatism in this more modern form on neoliberalism.
In 1998 Mark Curtis wrote The Great Deception: Anglo-American Power and World Order, a work whose stated goal was to shed light on various myths of Anglo-American power in the post-Cold War era.
Curtis attempts to demonstrate how the United Kingdom remained a key partner of the United States' effort to enforce their hegemony in the world. He analyzes what he refers to as a special relationship between the two countries and concludes that quite serious consequences exist for both states.
Trade for Life: Making Trade Work for Poor People is a work published in 2001. It is a strong critique of the function of international organizations, especially the World Trade Organization (WTO). Curtis analyzes the decisions taken by the WTO in developing states and concludes that these decisions were seldom without bias against the poor countries; he claims that certain of these decisions, notably certain structural adjustments, caused their intended benefactors more harm than good. Further, Curtis regrets that some rules are lacking when their need is called for, noting the relative lack of regulation checking the growth of power of multinational companies. A partner of Christian Aid in Zimbabwe has said that "the manner in which the WTO functions, is like placing an adult against a child in a boxing ring, like Manchester United against a local Zimbabwean team.
The WTO judges all countries on the same level, while they are not the same. The WTO must help create a situation where countries are more equal." This is a quotation that Mark Curtis recycles throughout his book.
Curtis concludes by saying that market forces can be used in a different, more egalitarian, manner than the one currently employed by the WTO. He believes that it could benefit developing nations if this goal was pursued.
His book was edited by ChristianAid while Mark Curtis was "Policy and Politics" Director and is freely available.
In 2003 Mark Curtis published Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World. This book has been his most successful to date. It offers a new academic approach to the role of the United Kingdom in the post 1945 world until the current the War on Terrorism. It further criticizes the foreign policy of Tony Blair. Curtis, defending the idea that Britain is a rogue state, describes various relations the United Kingdom undertook with repressive regimes and how he thinks these actions made the world less just.
Moreover, the book analyzes various recent actions of the British Army in the world, describing not only what he characterizes as the immorality of the War in Iraq, but also of the War in Afghanistan, and the Kosovo War. Curtis denounces equally strongly Britain's alliances with states he categorizes as repressive, such as Israel, Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, he details and criticizes the non-intervention of Britain in the Rwandan Genocide.
Curtis draws most of his research from recently declassified documents by the British secret service. He notably claims to demonstrate the role and complicity of the British in the massacre of millions of Indonesians in 1965, the toppling of the governments of Iran and British Guyana, and what he describes as repressive colonial policies in the former colonies of Kenya, Oman, and Malaysia.
In 2004, Mark Curtis published Unpeople: Britain's Secret Human Rights Abuses. This book followed a similar line of thought begun in Web of Deceit. Unpeople is based on various declassified documents from the British secret service.
Among the declassified secret service reports, Curtis asserts that the United Kingdom had given aid to Saddam Hussein in 1963 in order that he rised to power in Iraq; he further posits that the Western Powers, notably the UK, performed various arms deals with the Iraqi government while the Iraqi government was involved in the brutal aggression against the Kurdish community. Curtis asserts that these documents further indict the British government in their role played in the Vietnam War, the coup d'État against Idi Amin in 1971, the coup d'État against Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, and coups in Indonesia and Guyana.
Mark Curtis estimates that approximately ten million deaths throughout the world since 1945 have been caused by the United Kingdom's foreign policy.
From Amazon review of Blowback The Costs and Consequences of American Empire Chalmers Johnson
But Johnson is relying on the idea that "America" is a unitary entity, so that the hollowing out of industry hurts "America", not specific social groups within the country. In reality, US foreign policymakers work to advance the interests not of "America", but of those same business elites that have benefited from turning Asia into the world's sweatshop and undermining the unions that built their strength on American industry. American economic imperialism is not a failed conspiracy against the people of Asia, but an alliance between American elites and their Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese counterparts - against the potential power of the working majority in all those countries.
But it's more complex than that, too, since the US seeks to prevent the emergence of an independent military challenge (especially China, but also Japan) to its Asia hegemony while seeking to expand the power of American commercial interests in the region, even as it tries to keep Asian elites happy enough with the status quo to prevent their rebellion against it.
In other words, the US system in Asia is more complicated than Johnson conveys, and defending America's mythical "national interests" will never address its fundamental injustices.
While Johnson seems to have abundant sympathy for the people of Asia, his nationalist framework prevents his from proposing the only real challenge to American hegemony: a popular anti-imperialist movement that crosses the barriers of nation-states.
Imperialism 101 by Micjael Parenti
Imperialism 101 By Michael Parenti
By Michael Parenti
24 June, 2011
Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become "commonwealths," and colonies become "territories" or "dominions" (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, "commonwealths" too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of "national defense," "national security," and maintaining "stability" in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.
Across the Entire Globe
By "imperialism" I mean the process whereby the dominant politico-economic interests of one nation expropriate for their own enrichment the land, labor, raw materials, and markets of another people.The earliest victims of Western European imperialism were other Europeans. Some 800 years ago, Ireland became the first colony of what later became known as the British empire. A part of Ireland still remains under British occupation. Other early Caucasian victims included the Eastern Europeans. The people Charlemagne worked to death in his mines in the early part of the ninth century were Slavs. So frequent and prolonged was the enslavement of Eastern Europeans that "Slav" became synonymous with servitude. Indeed, the word "slave" derives from "Slav." Eastern Europe was an early source of capital accumulation, having become wholly dependent upon Western manufactures by the seventeenth century.
A particularly pernicious example of intra-European imperialism was the Nazi aggression during World War II, which gave the German business cartels and the Nazi state an opportunity to plunder the resources and exploit the labor of occupied Europe, including the slave labor of concentration camps.
The preponderant thrust of the European, North American, and Japanese imperial powers has been directed against Africa, Asia, and Latin America. By the nineteenth century, they saw the Third World as not only a source of raw materials and slaves but a market for manufactured goods. By the twentieth century, the industrial nations were exporting not only goods but capital, in the form of machinery, technology, investments, and loans. To say that we have entered the stage of capital export and investment is not to imply that the plunder of natural resources has ceased. If anything, the despoliation has accelerated.
Of the various notions about imperialism circulating today in the United States, the dominant view is that it does not exist. Imperialism is not recognized as a legitimate concept, certainly not in regard to the United States. One may speak of "Soviet imperialism" or "nineteenth-century British imperialism" but not of U.S. imperialism. A graduate student in political science at most universities in this country would not be granted the opportunity to research U.S. imperialism, on the grounds that such an undertaking would not be scholarly. While many people throughout the world charge the United States with being an imperialist power, in this country persons who talk of U.S. imperialism are usually judged to be mouthing ideological blather.
The Dynamic of Capital Expansion
Imperialism is older than capitalism. The Persian, Macedonian, Roman, and Mongol empires all existed centuries before the Rothschilds and Rockefellers. Emperors and conquistadors were interested mostly in plunder and tribute, gold and glory. Capitalist imperialism differs from these earlier forms in the way it systematically accumulates capital through the organized exploitation of labor and the penetration of overseas markets. Capitalist imperialism invests in other countries, transforming and dominating their economies, cultures, and political life, integrating their financial and productive structures into an international system of capital accumulation.A central imperative of capitalism is expansion. Investors will not put their money into business ventures unless they can extract more than they invest. Increased earnings come only with a growth in the enterprise. The capitalist ceaselessly searches for ways of making more money in order to make still more money. One must always invest to realize profits, gathering as much strength as possible in the face of competing forces and unpredictable markets.
Given its expansionist nature, capitalism has little inclination to stay home. Almost 150 years ago, Marx and Engels described a bourgeoisie that "chases over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere. . . . It creates a world after its own image." The expansionists destroy whole societies. Self-sufficient peoples are forcibly transformed into disfranchised wage workers. Indigenous communities and folk cultures are replaced by mass-market, mass-media, consumer societies. Cooperative lands are supplanted by agribusiness factory farms, villages by desolate shanty towns, autonomous regions by centralized autocracies.
Consider one of a thousand such instances. A few years ago the Los Angeles Times carried a special report on the rainforests of Borneo in the South Pacific. By their own testimony, the people there lived contented lives. They hunted, fished, and raised food in their jungle orchards and groves. But their entire way of life was ruthlessly wiped out by a few giant companies that destroyed the rainforest in order to harvest the hardwood for quick profits. Their lands were turned into ecological disaster areas and they themselves were transformed into disfranchised shantytown dwellers, forced to work for subsistence wages-when fortunate enough to find employment.
North American and European corporations have acquired control of more than three-fourths of the known mineral resources of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. But the pursuit of natural resources is not the only reason for capitalist overseas expansion. There is the additional need to cut production costs and maximize profits by investing in countries with cheaper labor markets. U.S. corporate foreign investment grew 84 percent from 1985 to 1990, the most dramatic increase being in cheap-labor countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Spain, and Singapore.
Because of low wages, low taxes, nonexistent work benefits, weak labor unions, and nonexistent occupational and environmental protections, U.S. corporate profit rates in the Third World are 50 percent greater than in developed countries. Citibank, one of the largest U.S. firms, earns about 75 percent of its profits from overseas operations. While profit margins at home sometimes have had a sluggish growth, earnings abroad have continued to rise dramatically, fostering the development of what has become known as the multinational or transnational corporation. Today some four hundred transnational companies control about 80 percent of the capital assets of the global free market and are extending their grasp into the ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe.
Transnationals have developed a global production line. General Motors has factories that produce cars, trucks and a wide range of auto components in Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Spain, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea and a dozen other countries. Such "multiple sourcing" enables GM to ride out strikes in one country by stepping up production in another, playing workers of various nations against each other in order to discourage wage and benefit demands and undermine labor union strategies.
Not Necessary, Just Compelling
Some writers question whether imperialism is a necessary condition for capitalism, pointing out that most Western capital is invested in Western nations, not in the Third World. If corporations lost all their Third World investments, they argue, many of them could still survive on their European and North American markets. In response, one should note that capitalism might be able to survive without imperialism-but it shows no inclination to do so. It manifests no desire to discard its enormously profitable Third World enterprises. Imperialism may not be a necessary condition for investor survival but it seems to be an inherent tendency and a natural outgrowth of advanced capitalism. Imperial relations may not be the only way to pursue profits, but they are the most lucrative way.Whether imperialism is necessary for capitalism is really not the question. Many things that are not absolutely necessary are still highly desirable, therefore strongly preferred and vigorously pursued. Overseas investors find the Third World's cheap labor, vital natural resources, and various other highly profitable conditions to be compellingly attractive. Superprofits may not be necessary for capitalism's survival but survival is not all that capitalists are interested in. Superprofits are strongly preferred to more modest earnings. That there may be no necessity between capitalism and imperialism does not mean there is no compelling linkage.
The same is true of other social dynamics. For instance, wealth does not necessarily have to lead to luxurious living. A higher portion of an owning class's riches could be used for investment rather personal consumption. The very wealthy could survive on more modest sums but that is not how most of them prefer to live. Throughout history, wealthy classes generally have shown a preference for getting the best of everything. After all, the whole purpose of getting rich off other people's labor is to live well, avoiding all forms of thankless toil and drudgery, enjoying superior opportunities for lavish life-styles, medical care, education, travel, recreation, security, leisure, and opportunities for power and prestige. While none of these things are really "necessary," they are fervently clung to by those who possess them-as witnessed by the violent measures endorsed by advantaged classes whenever they feel the threat of an equalizing or leveling democratic force.
Myths of Underdevelopment
The impoverished lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America are known to us as the "Third World," to distinguish them from the "First World" of industrialized Europe and North America and the now largely defunct "Second World" of communist states. Third World poverty, called "underdevelopment," is treated by most Western observers as an original historic condition. We are asked to believe that it always existed, that poor countries are poor because their lands have always been infertile or their people unproductive. In fact, the lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have long produced great treasures of foods, minerals and other natural resources. That is why the Europeans went through all the trouble to steal and plunder them. One does not go to poor places for self-enrichment. The Third World is rich. Only its people are poor-and it is because of the pillage they have endured.
The process of expropriating the natural resources of the Third World began centuries ago and continues to this day. First, the colonizers extracted gold, silver, furs, silks, and spices, then flax, hemp, timber, molasses, sugar, rum, rubber, tobacco, calico, cocoa, coffee, cotton, copper, coal, palm oil, tin, iron, ivory, ebony, and later on, oil, zinc, manganese, mercury, platinum, cobalt, bauxite, aluminum, and uranium. Not to be overlooked is that most hellish of all expropriations: the abduction of millions of human beings into slave labor.
Through the centuries of colonization, many self-serving imperialist theories have been spun. I was taught in school that people in tropical lands are slothful and do not work as hard as we denizens of the temperate zone. In fact, the inhabitants of warm climates have performed remarkably productive feats, building magnificent civilizations well before Europe emerged from the Dark Ages. And today they often work long, hard hours for meager sums. Yet the early stereotype of the "lazy native" is still with us. In every capitalist society, the poor-both domestic and overseas-regularly are blamed for their own condition.
We hear that Third World peoples are culturally retarded in their attitudes, customs, and technical abilities. It is a convenient notion embraced by those who want to depict Western investments as a rescue operation designed to help backward peoples help themselves. This myth of "cultural backwardness" goes back to ancient times, when conquerors used it to justify enslaving indigenous peoples. It was used by European colonizers over the last five centuries for the same purpose.
What cultural supremacy could by claimed by the Europeans of yore? From the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries Europe was "ahead" in a variety of things, such as the number of hangings, murders, and other violent crimes; instances of venereal disease, smallpox, typhoid, tuberculosis, plagues, and other bodily afflictions; social inequality and poverty (both urban and rural); mistreatment of women and children; and frequency of famines, slavery, prostitution, piracy, religious massacres, and inquisitional torture. Those who claim the West has been the most advanced civilization should keep such "achievements" in mind.
More seriously, we might note that Europe enjoyed a telling advantage in navigation and armaments. Muskets and cannon, Gatling guns and gunboats, and today missiles, helicopter gunships, and fighter bombers have been the deciding factors when West meets East and North meets South. Superior firepower, not superior culture, has brought the Europeans and Euro-North Americans to positions of supremacy that today are still maintained by force, though not by force alone.
It was said that colonized peoples were biologically backward and less evolved than their colonizers. Their "savagery" and "lower" level of cultural evolution were emblematic of their inferior genetic evolution. But were they culturally inferior? In many parts of what is now considered the Third World, people developed impressive skills in architecture, horticulture, crafts, hunting, fishing, midwifery, medicine, and other such things. Their social customs were often far more gracious and humane and less autocratic and repressive than anything found in Europe at that time. Of course we must not romanticize these indigenous societies, some of which had a number of cruel and unusual practices of their own. But generally, their peoples enjoyed healthier, happier lives, with more leisure time, than did most of Europe's inhabitants.
Other theories enjoy wide currency. We hear that Third World poverty is due to overpopulation, too many people having too many children to feed. Actually, over the last several centuries, many Third World lands have been less densely populated than certain parts of Europe. India has fewer people per acre-but more poverty-than Holland, Wales, England, Japan, Italy, and a few other industrial countries. Furthermore, it is the industrialized nations of the First World, not the poor ones of the Third, that devour some 80 percent of the world's resources and pose the greatest threat to the planet's ecology.
This is not to deny that overpopulation is a real problem for the planet's ecosphere. Limiting population growth in all nations would help the global environment but it would not solve the problems of the poor-because overpopulation in itself is not the cause of poverty but one of its effects. The poor tend to have large families because children are a source of family labor and income and a support during old age.
Frances Moore Lappe and Rachel Schurman found that of seventy Third World countries, there were six-China, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Chile, Burma, and Cuba-and the state of Kerala in India that had managed to lower their birth rates by one third. They enjoyed neither dramatic industrial expansion nor high per capita incomes nor extensive family planning programs. The factors they had in common were public education and health care, a reduction of economic inequality, improvements in women's rights, food subsidies, and in some cases land reform. In other words, fertility rates were lowered not by capitalist investments and economic growth as such but by socio-economic betterment, even of a modest scale, accompanied by the emergence of women's rights.
Artificially Converted to Poverty
What is called "underdevelopment" is a set of social relations that has been forcefully imposed on countries. With the advent of the Western colonizers, the peoples of the Third World were actually set back in their development sometimes for centuries. British imperialism in India provides an instructive example. In 1810, India was exporting more textiles to England than England was exporting to India. By 1830, the trade flow was reversed. The British had put up prohibitive tariff barriers to shut out Indian finished goods and were dumping their commodities in India, a practice backed by British gunboats and military force. Within a matter of years, the great textile centers of Dacca and Madras were turned into ghost towns. The Indians were sent back to the land to raise the cotton used in British textile factories. In effect, India was reduced to being a cow milked by British financiers. By 1850, India's debt had grown to 53 million pounds. From 1850 to 1900, its per capita income dropped by almost two-thirds. The value of the raw materials and commodities the Indians were obliged to send to Britain during most of the nineteenth century amounted yearly to more than the total income of the sixty million Indian agricultural and industrial workers. The massive poverty we associate with India was not that country's original historical condition. British imperialism did two things: first, it ended India's development, then it forcibly underdeveloped that country.
Similar bleeding processes occurred throughout the Third World. The enormous wealth extracted should remind us that there originally were few really poor nations. Countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Chile, Bolivia, Zaire, Mexico, Malaysia, and the Philippines were and sometimes still are rich in resources. Some lands have been so thoroughly plundered as to be desolate in all respects. However, most of the Third World is not "underdeveloped" but overexploited. Western colonization and investments have created a lower rather than a higher living standard.
Referring to what the English colonizers did to the Irish, Frederick Engels wrote in 1856: "How often have the Irish started out to achieve something, and every time they have been crushed politically and industrially. By consistent oppression they have been artificially converted into an utterly impoverished nation." So with most of the Third World. The Mayan Indians in Guatemala had a more nutritious and varied diet and better conditions of health in the early 16th century before the Europeans arrived than they have today. They had more craftspeople, architects, artisans, and horticulturists than today. What is called underdevelopment is not an original historical condition but a product of imperialism's superexploitation. Underdevelopment is itself a development.
Imperialism has created what I have termed "maldevelopment": modern office buildings and luxury hotels in the capital city instead of housing for the poor, cosmetic surgery clinics for the affluent instead of hospitals for workers, cash export crops for agribusiness instead of food for local markets, highways that go from the mines and latifundios to the refineries and ports instead of roads in the back country for those who might hope to see a doctor or a teacher.
Wealth is transferred from Third World peoples to the economic elites of Europe and North America (and more recently Japan) by direct plunder, by the expropriation of natural resources, the imposition of ruinous taxes and land rents, the payment of poverty wages, and the forced importation of finished goods at highly inflated prices. The colonized country is denied the freedom of trade and the opportunity to develop its own natural resources, markets, and industrial capacity. Self-sustenance and self-employment gives way to wage labor. From 1970 to 1980, the number of wage workers in the Third World grew from 72 million to 120 million, and the rate is accelerating.
Hundreds of millions of Third World peoples now live in destitution in remote villages and congested urban slums, suffering hunger, disease, and illiteracy, often because the land they once tilled is now controlled by agribusiness firms who use it for mining or for commercial export crops such as coffee, sugar, and beef, instead of growing beans, rice, and corn for home consumption. A study of twenty of the poorest countries, compiled from official statistics, found that the number of people living in what is called "absolute poverty" or rockbottom destitution, the poorest of the poor, is rising 70,000 a day and should reach 1.5 billion by the year 2000 (San Francisco Examiner, June 8, 1994).
Imperialism forces millions of children around the world to live nightmarish lives, their mental and physical health severely damaged by endless exploitation. A documentary film on the Discovery Channel (April 24, 1994) reported that in countries like Russia, Thailand, and the Philippines, large numbers of minors are sold into prostitution to help their desperate families survive. In countries like Mexico, India, Colombia, and Egypt, children are dragooned into health-shattering, dawn-to-dusk labor on farms and in factories and mines for pennies an hour, with no opportunity for play, schooling, or medical care.
In India, 55 million children are pressed into the work force. Tens of thousands labor in glass factories in temperatures as high as 100 degrees. In one plant, four-year-olds toil from 5 o'clock in the morning until the dead of night, inhaling fumes and contracting emphysema, tuberculosis, and other respiratory diseases. In the Philippines and Malaysia corporations have lobbied to drop age restrictions for labor recruitment. The pursuit of profit becomes a pursuit of evil.
When we say a country is "underdeveloped," we are implying that it is backward and retarded in some way, that its people have shown little capacity to achieve and evolve. The negative connotations of "underdeveloped" has caused the United Nations, the Wall Street Journal, and parties of various political persuasion to refer to Third World countries as "developing" nations, a term somewhat less insulting than "underdeveloped" but equally misleading. I prefer to use "Third World" because "developing" seems to be just a euphemistic way of saying "underdeveloped but belatedly starting to do something about it." It still implies that poverty was an original historic condition and not something imposed by the imperialists. It also falsely suggests that these countries are developing when actually their economic conditions are usually worsening.The dominant theory of the last half century, enunciated repeatedly by writers like Barbara Ward and W. W. Rostow and afforded wide currency in the United States and other parts of the Western world, maintains that it is up to the rich nations of the North to help uplift the "backward" nations of the South, bringing them technology and teaching them proper work habits. This is an updated version of "the White man's burden," a favorite imperialist fantasy.
According to the development scenario, with the introduction of Western investments, the backward economic sectors of the poor nations will release their workers, who then will find more productive employment in the modern sector at higher wages. As capital accumulates, business will reinvest its profits, thus creating still more products, jobs, buying power, and markets. Eventually a more prosperous economy evolves.
This "development theory" or "modernization theory," as it is sometimes called, bears little relation to reality. What has emerged in the Third World is an intensely exploitive form of dependent capitalism. Economic conditions have worsened drastically with the growth of transnational corporate investment. The problem is not poor lands or unproductive populations but foreign exploitation and class inequality. Investors go into a country not to uplift it but to enrich themselves.
People in these countries do not need to be taught how to farm. They need the land and the implements to farm. They do not need to be taught how to fish. They need the boats and the nets and access to shore frontage, bays, and oceans. They need industrial plants to cease dumping toxic effusions into the waters. They do not need to be convinced that they should use hygienic standards. They do not need a Peace Corps Volunteer to tell them to boil their water, especially when they cannot afford fuel or have no access to firewood. They need the conditions that will allow them to have clean drinking water and clean clothes and homes. They do not need advice about balanced diets from North Americans. They usually know what foods best serve their nutritional requirements. They need to be given back their land and labor so that they might work for themselves and grow food for their own consumption.
The legacy of imperial domination is not only misery and strife, but an economic structure dominated by a network of international corporations which themselves are beholden to parent companies based in North America, Europe and Japan. If there is any harmonization or integration, it occurs among the global investor classes, not among the indigenous economies of these countries. Third World economies remain fragmented and unintegrated both between each other and within themselves, both in the flow of capital and goods and in technology and organization. In sum, what we have is a world economy that has little to do with the economic needs of the world's people.
Neoimperialism: Skimming the Cream
Sometimes imperial domination is explained as arising from an innate desire for domination and expansion, a "territorial imperative." In fact, territorial imperialism is no longer the prevailing mode. Compared to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the European powers carved up the world among themselves, today there is almost no colonial dominion left. Colonel Blimp is dead and buried, replaced by men in business suits. Rather than being directly colonized by the imperial power, the weaker countries have been granted the trappings of sovereignty-while Western finance capital retains control of the lion's share of their profitable resources. This relationship has gone under various names: "informal empire," "colonialism without colonies," "neocolonialism," and "neoimperialism. "U.S. political and business leaders were among the earliest practitioners of this new kind of empire, most notably in Cuba at the beginning of the twentieth century. Having forcibly wrested the island from Spain in the war of 1898, they eventually gave Cuba its formal independence. The Cubans now had their own government, constitution, flag, currency, and security force. But major foreign policy decisions remained in U.S. hands as did the island's wealth, including its sugar, tobacco, and tourist industries, and major imports and exports.
Historically U.S. capitalist interests have been less interested in acquiring more colonies than in acquiring more wealth, preferring to make off with the treasure of other nations without bothering to own and administer the nations themselves. Under neoimperialism, the flag stays home, while the dollar goes everywhere - frequently assisted by the sword.
After World War II, European powers like Britain and France adopted a strategy of neoimperialism. Left financially depleted by years of warfare, and facing intensified popular resistance from within the Third World itself, they reluctantly decided that indirect economic hegemony was less costly and politically more expedient than outright colonial rule. They discovered that the removal of a conspicuously intrusive colonial rule made it more difficult for nationalist elements within the previously colonized countries to mobilize anti-imperialist sentiments.
Though the newly established government might be far from completely independent, it usually enjoyed more legitimacy in the eyes of its populace than a colonial administration controlled by the imperial power. Furthermore, under neoimperialism the native government takes up the costs of administering the country while the imperialist interests are free to concentrate on accumulating capital-which is all they really want to do.
After years of colonialism, the Third World country finds it extremely difficult to extricate itself from the unequal relationship with its former colonizer and impossible to depart from the global capitalist sphere. Those countries that try to make a break are subjected to punishing economic and military treatment by one or another major power, nowadays usually the United States.
The leaders of the new nations may voice revolutionary slogans, yet they find themselves locked into the global capitalist orbit, cooperating perforce with the First World nations for investment, trade, and aid. So we witnessed the curious phenomenon of leaders of newly independent Third World nations denouncing imperialism as the source of their countries' ills, while dissidents in these countries denounced these same leaders as collaborators of imperialism.
In many instances a comprador class emerged or was installed as a first condition for independence. A comprador class is one that cooperates in turning its own country into a client state for foreign interests. A client state is one that is open to investments on terms that are decidedly favorable to the foreign investors. In a client state, corporate investors enjoy direct subsidies and land grants, access to raw materials and cheap labor, light or nonexistent taxes, few effective labor unions, no minimum wage or child labor or occupational safety laws, and no consumer or environmental protections to speak of. The protective laws that do exist go largely unenforced.
In all, the Third World is something of a capitalist paradise, offering life as it was in Europe and the United States during the nineteenth century, with a rate of profit vastly higher than what might be earned today in a country with strong economic regulations. The comprador class is well recompensed for its cooperation. Its leaders enjoy opportunities to line their pockets with the foreign aid sent by the U.S. government. Stability is assured with the establishment of security forces, armed and trained by the United States in the latest technologies of terror and repression. Still, neoimperialism carries risks. The achievement of de jure independence eventually fosters expectations of de facto independence. The forms of self rule incite a desire for the fruits of self rule. Sometimes a national leader emerges who is a patriot and reformer rather than a comprador collaborator. Therefore, the changeover from colonialism to neocolonialism is not without risks for the imperialists and represents a net gain for popular forces in the world.
Chapter 1 of Against Empire by Michael Parenti
Michael Parenti is an internationally known award-winning author and lecturer. He is one of the nation's leading progressive political analysts. His highly informative and entertaining books and talks have reached a wide range of audiences in North America and abroad. http://www.michaelparenti.org/
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Sep 29, 2020 | www.unz.com
For many years the security framework in the Middle East has been described as a bilateral arrangement whereby Washington gained access to sufficient Saudi Arabian oil to keep the energy market stable while the United States provided an armed physical presence through its bases in the region and its ability to project power if anyone should seek to threaten the Saudi Kingdom. The agreement was reportedly worked out in a February 1945 meeting between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, just as World War 2 was drawing to a close. That role as protector of Saudi Arabia and guarantor of stable energy markets in the region later served as part of the justification for the U.S. ouster of the Iraqi Army from Kuwait in 1991.
After 9/11, the rationale became somewhat less focused. The United States invaded Afghanistan, did not capture or kill Osama bin Laden due to its own incompetence, and, rather than setting up a puppet regime and leaving, settled down to a nineteen-years long and still running counter-insurgency plus training mission. Fake intelligence produced by the neocons in the White House and Defense Department subsequently implicated Iraq in 9/11 and led to the political and military disaster known as the Iraq War.
During the 75 years since the end of the Second World War the Middle East has experienced dramatic change, to include the withdrawal of the imperial European powers from the region and the creation of the State of Israel. And the growth and diversification of energy resources mean that it is no longer as necessary to secure the petroleum that moves in tankers through the Persian Gulf. Lest there be any confusion over why the United States continues to be involved in Syria, Iraq, the Emirates and Saudi Arabia, President Donald Trump remarkably provided some clarity relating to the issue when on September 8 th he declared that the U.S. isn't any longer in the Middle East to secure oil supplies, but rather because we "want to protect Israel."
The comment was made by Trump during a rally in Winston-Salem, N.C . as part of a boast about his having reduced energy costs for consumers. He said " I like being energy independent, don't you? I'm sure that most of you noticed when you go to fill up your tank in your car, oftentimes it's below two dollars. You say how the hell did this happen? While I'm president, America will remain the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. We will remain energy independent. It should be for many many years to come. The fact is, we don't have to be in the Middle East, other than we want to protect Israel. We've been very good to Israel. Other than that, we don't have to be in the Middle East."
The reality is, of course, that U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has been all about Israel for a very long time, at least since the presidency of Bill Clinton, who has been sometimes dubbed the first Jewish president for his deference to Israeli interests. The Iraq War is a prime example of how neoconservatives and Israel Firsters inside the United States government conspired to go to war to protect the Jewish State. In key positions at the Pentagon were Zionists Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. Feith's Office of Special Plans developed the "alternative intelligence" linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda and also to a mythical nuclear program that was used to justify war. Feith was so close to Israel that he partnered in a law firm that had an office in Jerusalem. The fake intelligence was then stove-piped to the White House by fellow neocon "Scooter" Libby who worked in the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.
After the fact, former Secretary of State Colin Powell also had something to say about the origins of the war, commenting that the United States had gone into Iraq because Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld bought into the neoconservative case made for doing so by "the JINSA crowd," by which he meant the Israel Lobby organization the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.
And if any more confirmation about the origins of the Iraq War were needed, one might turn to Philip Zelikow, who was involved in the planning process while working on the staff of Condoleezza Rice. He said "The unstated threat. And here I criticize the [Bush] administration a little, because the argument that they make over and over again is that this is about a threat to the United States. And then everybody says: 'Show me an imminent threat from Iraq to America. Show me, why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us?' So I'll tell you what I think the real threat is, and actually has been since 1990. It's the threat against Israel. And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don't care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the American government doesn't want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it's not a popular sell."
So here is the point that resonates: even in 2002-3, when the Israel Lobby was not as powerful as it is now, the fact that the U.S. was going to war on a lie and was actually acting on behalf of the Jewish State was never presented in any way to the public, even though America's children would be dying in the conflict and American taxpayers would be footing the bill. The media, if it knew about the false intelligence, was reliably pro-Israel and helped enable the deception.
And that same deception continued to this day until Trump spilled the beans earlier this month. And now, with the special security arrangement that the U.S. has entered into with Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, the ability to exit from a troublesome region that does not actually threaten American interests has become very limited. As guarantor of the agreement, Washington now has an obligation to intervene on the behalf of the parties involved. Think about that, a no-win arrangement that will almost certainly lead to war with Iran, possibly to include countries like Russia and China that will be selling it military equipment contrary to U.S. "sanctions."
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is email@example.com .
geokat62 , says: September 29, 2020 at 4:10 am GMTJWalters , says: September 29, 2020 at 4:28 am GMT
Trump Confirms U.S. Is Israel's "Protector"
Protector? Is that a fancy word for "Bitch"?JWalters , says: September 29, 2020 at 4:32 am GMT
Excellent synopsis of the situation. And if we look into the founding of Israel, we find it was founded by war profiteers. This would explain why peace has been so "elusive". It has been relentlessly dodged. "War Profiteers and the Roots of the 'War on Terror'"
https://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com/p/war-profiteers-and-roots-of-war-on.html@geokat62Derer , says: September 29, 2020 at 5:13 am GMT
It means Netanyahu is the de facto president of the US.sethster , says: September 29, 2020 at 6:07 am GMT
Trump Confirms U.S. Is Israel's "Protector"
This declaration is against the will of the American people. Hawkish policies of this nature, that endanger the American lives should be confirmed by a referendum of the people. Of course that would be logical step in a democracy but USA is not a democracy but a diktat of backroom unellected ruling clique.Talha , says: September 29, 2020 at 6:46 am GMT
990. Jews are the scapegoats for all the deficiencies of low-IQ whites just as whites are the scapegoats for all the deficiencies of low-IQ non-whites. Let me explain how that works.
Why do we observe Jews at the forefront of many cutting-edge industries? (for example the media/arts and financial industries are indeed rife with them). The low-IQ answer is, of course, a simplistic conspiracy theory: Jews form an evil cabal that created all these industries from scratch to "destroy culture" (or at least what low-IQ people think is culture, i.e. some previous, obsolete state of culture, i.e. older, lower culture, i.e. non-culture). And, to be sure, there is a lot of decadence in these industries. But, in an advanced civilization, there is a lot of decadence everywhere anyway! It's an essential prerequisite even! So it makes perfect sense that the most capable people in such a civilization will also be the most decadent! The stereotype of the degenerate cocaine-sniffing whoremonging or homosexual Hollywood or Wall Street operative belongs here. Well, buddy, if YOU were subjected to the stresses and temptations of the Hollywood or Wall Street lifestyles, maybe you'd be a "degenerate" too! But you lack the IQ for that, so of course you'll reduce the whole enterprise to a simplistic resentful fairy tale that seems laughable even to children: a bunch of old bearded Jews gathered round a large table planning the destruction of civilization! Well I say enough with this childish nonsense! The Jews are simply some of the smartest and most industrious people around, ergo it makes sense that they'll be encountered at or near all the peaks of the dominant culture, being overrepresented everywhere in it, including therefore in its failings and excesses! This is what it means to be the best! It doesn't mean that you are faultless little angels who can do no wrong, you brainless corn-fed nitwits! There's a moving passage somewhere in Nietzsche where he relates that Europe owes the Jews for the highest sage (Spinoza), and the highest saint (Jesus), and he'd never even heard of Freud or Einstein! In view of all the immeasurable gifts the Jewish spirit has lavished on humanity, anti-semitism in the coming world order will be a capital offense, if I have anything to say on the matter. The slightest word against the Jews, and you're a marked man: I would have not only you, but your entire extended family wiped out, just to be sure. You think you know what the Devil is, but he's just the lackey taking my orders. Entire cities razed to the ground (including the entire Middle East), simply because one person there said something bad about "the Jews", that's how I would have the future! Enough with this stupid meme! To hell with all of you brainless subhumans! You've wasted enough of our nervous energy on this stupid shit! And the same goes to low-IQ non-whites who blame all their troubles on whites! And it's all true: Jews and whites upped the stakes for everybody by bringing into the world a whole torrent of new possibilities which your IQ is too low to handle! So whatcha gonna do about it? Are you all bark, or are you prepared to bite? Come on, let's see what you can do! Any of you fucking pricks bark, and we'll execute every motherfucking last one of you!
From http://orgyofthewill.netGMC , says: September 29, 2020 at 9:59 am GMT
Honestly, I like way better out in the open like this. Now there is no reason to worry about all the other BS excuses, it's all on the table.
So now, as a public, we have been informed; so what are we going to do about it? Or are they so confident about their position that they know they can announce it to he world openly and be sure that there will be zero consequences?Oracle , says: September 29, 2020 at 10:22 am GMT
Protector, personal armies, saboteurs, financiers, assassin's, propagandists, liars, thieves, rapists, slavers, and that is just for starters – which includes inside and outside of the former country called the USA.@sethsterTalha , says: September 29, 2020 at 10:58 am GMT
No, you are wrong. The problem with the 'industriousness' is that it is characterized by the principle of profit before all, no matter how immoral the activity. People who do that don't care about a civilized society and should not be able to reap the benefits of one.
Also high IQ isn't exemplified by trickery, lying, subverting and eroding the morals of the host society.Realist@Hess of Germans, what are those homeboys up to lately ?Ugetit , says: September 29, 2020 at 10:59 am GMT
Tommy Thompson , says: September 29, 2020 at 11:23 am GMT
The US is not only the protector, but has been the enabler of the mafia from the start.
Chaim.Weizman and Nathan Sokolow approach the British with a dirty deal. The Zionists offer to use their international influence to bring the US into the war on Britain's side, while undermining Germany from within. The price that Britain must pay for U.S. entry is to steal Palestine from Ottoman Turkey (Germany's ally) and allow the Jews to settle there. Zionist agitated anti-German propaganda was unleashed in the US while the Zionists and Marxists of Germany begin to undermine Germany's war effort from within. Wilson establishes the Committee on Public Information (CPI) for the purpose of manipulating public opinion in support of the war.
-M.S. King, The Bad War, p 50.
Similar scenario for "WW2" which was little more than a continuation of the previous biggie. They really ought to be known as the One World Wars since they were obviously part of the plan for the world to be dominated by the International mafia through such creations as the League of Subjects and the United Slave Nations with the capitol at Tel Aviv.lavoisier , says: Website September 29, 2020 at 11:29 am GMT
Yes, Dr. Giraldi, you hit the nail on the head again.
However, the problem is that most White Middle Class Americans, are satisfied and fully compliant with this situation where the USA is a Megalethon Vassal and Servile State for the poor little Israeli state .
Also, let us be honest with ourselves, Blacks and other minorities on more occasions do dare to speak out on this issue, only to get trounced upon by the MSM and silence and snickers by the stay safe White American Middle Class. Do you ever find a Main Line White Politician speaking up for America's interests and placing them first vis a vis our best little ally ??? Only when it comes to Afro or the Hispanic – Americans sticking their heads up a little does Middle White Americana get all worked up and emotionally charged.
The White Middle Class and most certainly the well moneyed Corporate Class of America, does not mind giving away huge transfers of their tax dollars, national debt, high technologies, military hardware, and even their uniformed sons and daughter, upon command from the likes of Trump and their political opportunists managing the country (Rep and Dem alike). Serving and making America serve the Greater Zio Agenda for their ME and Global domination has become the norm and unquestionable. Try raising this issue at a dinner party and see how many people role their eyes and turn their heads away.
I doubt that the RU followers here, who seem more bent on street brawling with the false bogeymen like BLM and ANTIFA, are the ones that will stand up to the in your face take over of WDC by AIPAC and the Israel First Crowd, including front man Trump for the Kushner-Bibi WH.
Let us not forget the thieving and scamming Sunday preachers who tell them it is great to be in full service of the Zio (Jewish Talmudic based) domination agenda– as it has become a direct ticket to a Raptured Heaven . Jesus for them was been thrown under the bus long ago or strangely converted into a gun machine toting Israeli nut case extremist settler, clearing the land and villages of the indignies children and all.
Let us be frank, some elements of the America First Jewish intelligentsia are more likely to call out and the whorishness ( extremes only) of the Washington's ZOG policies than Middle Americana, who dare not risk their creature comforts, Game Time or corporate positions.
As the old adage goes, you get the Government That You Deserve .@sethsterlavoisier , says: Website September 29, 2020 at 11:36 am GMT
Are you all bark, or are you prepared to bite? Come on, let's see what you can do! Any of you fucking pricks bark, and we'll execute every motherfucking last one of you!
Well your tribe has been incredibly effective at genocide and mass murder on an unprecedented scale of barbarism in the past, and I have no doubt you remain just as capable of such barbarity and cruelty today. Your rant makes that very clear.
Too bad the high IQ does not seem to correlate in a positive way with morality.
But thanks for the warning! Trust me, many of us are quite aware of your capabilities.@Talhalavoisier , says: Website September 29, 2020 at 11:43 am GMT
Germans are a totally deracinated and brainwashed people.
Germany sold Israel submarines capable of launching nuclear missiles!
A more cucked-up people are impossible to find!
It should be no mystery how Jews have gained such control over the Gentile.
It was granted to them, willingly.@TalhaGod's Fool , says: September 29, 2020 at 12:11 pm GMT
Most Americans do not care that their country serves the unethical territorial ambitions of the Jews.
Most Americans believe Israel is a noble country filled with noble people that would never do anything unjust or immoral.
Most Americans believe Israel is our greatest ally.
This is sad, but it is true.
Hence the predicament and the peril of our fealty to Israel.
And the predicament and peril of all those who come into conflict with this rogue nation and people.HallParvey , says: September 29, 2020 at 12:30 pm GMT
The only reason Trump "spilled the beans" about how we are in the Middle East to protect Israel and not to keep oil flowing is to get himself reelected and nothing else. As to war with China, Zuckerberg alone would be able to bribe the administration in particular, and both the parties in general, with his extra billions to keep them out of the war being that he has married a chink, er, Chan. All will be back to business as usual after the election at least, for four more years.@JWaltersMalla , says: September 29, 2020 at 12:32 pm GMT
It means Netanyahu is the de facto president of the US.
Not quite. He is much more powerful than that. The entire Congress of the United States stands and applauds when he arrives to speak. They would never do that for Trump, or any president. The fear of being unpersoned keeps them in line.@Ugetit endence and freedom but things actually became more messy. Also the "hated" Russian Romanovs were got rid off, Russia pushed under Communist Jewish dictatorship. Also the destruction of the Caliph, imagine a united Turko-Arab Empire, no way Israel would have survived that. Even T.E. Lawrence who helped the Arabs fight the Turks was totally disappointed with the behaviour of his own Zionist controlled government. He was going to speak to the British people about the great betrayal to the Arabs and being a war hero they would have listened to him. But before he could do so he met with an "accident" while riding his motorcycle. Yeah, very convenient.Miville , says: September 29, 2020 at 12:35 pm GMT@sethster re good at gathering Nobel Prizes, which is best arranged by jury-rigging and string-pulling thanks to their talent for networking, but no so good as making real inventions. In Israel proper the mean Jewish IQ, 94, is not only disappointing but a few points below even the Palestinian one. Spiritually the Jews have no longer been a chosen people for ages and most of the intellectual development they knew from about 1850 onwards was due to their being emancipated en masse from rabbinical authority, not by conforming to it : now that are falling back under an even worse collective authority with Zionism they are reversing the intellectual gains they once made.Z-man , says: September 29, 2020 at 12:55 pm GMTanon  Disclaimer , says: September 29, 2020 at 1:14 pm GMT
A bit off topic but RIP Steven F. Cohen.Realist , says: September 29, 2020 at 1:19 pm GMT
Back in the second half of the 80s the big war games were all IRAQ IRAQ IRAQ!!1! There was a strong push from all the interagency pukes with their dotted-lines reports to Langley – to aim at Iraq, and to suppress any practical considerations that might interfere with this very lucrative debacle. We watched these moles countering evidence and analysis with declamatory bullshit they made up. Way back then CIA had decided. April Glaspie's headfake sprung a trap set in Kuwait by the NOCs infesting Bechtel. That horizontal-drilling rhubarb was years in preparation.
Iraq was one big war with three phases: beating up on the Iraqi armed forces; ten years of blowing shit up; the occupation.
It turned out great. CIA got money-laundering nirvana, a chaotic zone where they could ship pallets of money around. They got an arms entrepot that lasted 20 years.They got a great network of sites for the torture gulag, with secure impunity – when Iraq tried to accede to the Rome Statute in 05, the CIA torturers were on the spot to nip it in the bud. The tame jihadi boogeymen the torture camps produced were invaluable in creating Rumsfeld's "terrorist corridor" in the Sahel and justifying the P2OG and the Pan-Sahel Initiative. That put AFRICOM garrisons, US-trained warlords, and CIA torture sites in one of the most diplomatically recalcitrant regions of the world:
So turn that frown upside down! Your old bosses got a lot out of that charlie foxtrot.@sethster re all conceived and started by Gentiles Henry Ford is a great example and he knew Jews quite well. The only industries , as you call them, that Jews are involved in are leech enterprises financial corporations are excellent examples of leech enterprises. The financial products they contrive are methods to extract value from productive industries.Moi , says: September 29, 2020 at 1:29 pm GMT
A large percent of Jews are devoted obsessed with gaining wealth and power from the efforts of others which is the reason for their inordinate involvement in the Deep State and also for the abject loathing by many Gentiles throughout the ages.@geokat62Moi , says: September 29, 2020 at 1:39 pm GMT
Fact is you can fool all Americans all the time. We are a nation of ignorant people.@TalhaAnonymous  Disclaimer , says: September 29, 2020 at 1:45 pm GMT
Whether the truth is hidden or now out in the open doesn't matter to a people so stupid as to believe the Creator's offspring walked, eat and crapped on this little planet 2k years ago.
Exhibit B of their stupidity: Electing Trump (and more than a few of his predecessors).Old and Grumpy , says: September 29, 2020 at 2:01 pm GMT
The NWO won't come to America as Greta Thunberg marching ahead of the Democrats in Mao suits under LGBTQ and GND banners and tumbrels of Christians headed for the guillotine, but as one transnational compliance regime after the other enacted by treaty, such as mandatory bi-annual vaccinations with largely inefficacious vaccines carrying not just behavior modifying chemicals and sterilants as adjuvants, but DNA-altering horrors. Anyone want to argue the threats posed by these DNA- or mRNA-modifying vaccines made from, among other things, insect DNA?
Some think it's over the top to talk about the NWO that's on the horizon as a Sino-Judaic, world-hegemonic NWO, but the United States government is itself already little more than a collection of compliance regimes in service to International Jewry. The 29 standing ovations from a Congress afraid to be the first to stop clapping for a kitchen cabinet salesman-turned-Caesar made that clear enough. The rest of the story, like the nonsense that Congress and DJT are voluntarily protecting Israel, is eyewash for fools when International Jewry owns them all like the trained seals who perform in the Central Park Zoo.@God's FoolOld and Grumpy , says: September 29, 2020 at 2:04 pm GMT
The Holy Rollers were never going to bail from Trump after the embassy move to Jerusalem. Jews on the other hand are likely not amused about such a revelation. So his words were unlikely about the election.The Spirit of Enoch Powell , says: September 29, 2020 at 2:17 pm GMT
How is this foreign policy now not a violation of the church-state separation? Especially since Israel describes itself as a Jewish state.@lavoisier nd stern conversation, "For me, the new Germany exists only in order to ensure the existence of the State of Israel and the Jewish people." He's a brilliant intellectual and a thoughtful politician, and we don't need to worry – he won't give up his existential friendship so easily. And certainly not because of Bennett or his colleague Orit Strock, the party whip.
A very symbolic photo posted by the Israel Defence Forces' Twitter account, in the tweet linked to by user Talha
Realist , says: September 29, 2020 at 2:19 pm GMT@lavoisierGidoutahere , says: September 29, 2020 at 2:49 pm GMT
Too bad the high IQ does not seem to correlate in a positive way with morality.
Exactly.@sethsteranon  Disclaimer , says: September 29, 2020 at 2:56 pm GMT
Weinstein, Epstein, Maxwell, Maddof, –cking geniuses. I thought your principal asset was "God's chosen people". Now I see it's your penetrating mind.The Spirit of Enoch Powell , says: September 29, 2020 at 3:24 pm GMT
It is time to be more honest. A foreign war that the US loses may be the only way out of the political, moral and social impasse that currently afflicts the US. The forces that control the US government need to be removed and that seems increasingly unlikely to arise from simply domestic opposition.
It took World War II to remove Adolf Hitler from power in Germany. Why should anyone expect anything less to change the government of the United States? The US wants a war with Russia and China. Perhaps it is best that it be granted one? Let's see some articles on this proposition.@Talhaanon  Disclaimer , says: September 29, 2020 at 3:24 pm GMT
The odd thing is how so many Jews still support immigration despite the fact that a lot of the immigrants are (from the Jewish/Zionist perspective) at best indifferent to Israel and at worse outright hostile and want it gone.
Or perhaps they realise democracy is a sham and the Jewish elite have got their backs? Hence their plans to mongrelise Europeans nations don't really conflict with their Zionist ambitions.
One thing is for sure, when things start to get hairy in the West, all Jews will have a nice First World ethnocracy to move to.anon  Disclaimer , says: September 29, 2020 at 3:24 pm GMT
Trump's greatest contribution to the US/World might be exposing the naked ambition and evilness of the Ziocons. Before Trump, Ziocons lurked in the background as puppet masters, with their many plans obscured behind "diplomacy" and propaganda like "freedom" and "human rights", now thanks to Trump they are showing their true colors. Trump has managed to expose to the whole world including all our allies who is really running America and the extent they will go to destroy their perceived "enemies" to achieve world domination -- the end justifies the means. It is making our allies esp. Europe think twice about their alliance with JU.S.A.karel , says: September 29, 2020 at 4:25 pm GMT
Trump's greatest contribution to the US/World might be exposing the naked ambition and evilness of the Ziocons. Before Trump, Ziocons lurked in the background as puppet masters, with their many plans obscured behind "diplomacy" and propaganda like "freedom" and "human rights", now thanks to Trump they are showing their true colors. Trump has managed to expose to the whole world including all our allies who is really running America and the extent they will go to destroy their perceived "enemies" to achieve world domination -- the end justifies the means. It is making our allies esp. Europe think twice about their alliance with JU.S.A.@lavoisierHarold Smith , says: September 29, 2020 at 4:26 pm GMT
You must have been misinformed if you think that "Germany sold Israel submarines". Not really as you can find out from the link bellow. The first two submarines were donated and the third was "hawkered" for about half the production cost.
https://rotefahne.eu/2011/01/brd-1108-mio-steuergelder-fuer-israelische-u-boote/@anon the empire starts WW3, e.g. the "big one" at Yellowstone, which will do so much damage as to make it impossible for the evil empire to continue it's pursuit of world domination and control.Talha , says: September 29, 2020 at 4:37 pm GMT
BTW on a positive note, it looks like there is now some resistance from the private sector against the evil orange clown's self-destructive economic war against China:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-tariffs/some-3500-u-s-companies-sue-over-trump-imposed-chinese-tariffs-idUSKCN26G31G@The Spirit of Enoch Powell a massive forward operating base for the West declined any normalization.
I do think it is game over for quite a while in the West regarding opposition to Israel. Israel may collapse or have to come to the table or something due to some game changer in the Middle East, but I don't see it happening due to lack of support from the West anytime soon.
Note: This is a good analysis of various views:
Jan 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.comTrue Blue , 1 hour ago linkAI Agent , 1 hour ago link
Feral, yes; rabid, absolutely; smart... not so much. Why is anyone surprised?
The DemoRats have never been a party dedicated to peace; the only ones thinking that are the walking bong-holes who assuage their cognitive dissonance by telling themselves that. Both the demorats and their willing accomplices 'across the aisle' have led us into constant war for nearly eight decades. Lilliputian Big enders and Little enders all.desertboy , 36 minutes ago link
She's a good lying propagandist... but she's not brilliant. Smart? maybe. Brilliant? Cow flop has more shine than Madcow.Throat-warbler Mangrove , 1 hour ago link
Maybe he meant "brilliant manipulator" -- sometimes they have meant the same thing.BlackChicken , 1 hour ago link
Get.Us (a). Out.Now
Screw the war mongers and the MIC.richardsimmonsoftrout , 1 hour ago link
If you read the article, it's obvious that [neo]liberals/whores are the apogee of hypocrisy.navy62802 , 1 hour ago link
"they're likely to emerge from 2020 with not only smeared consciences, but four more years in the opposition."
"Smeared consciences"... that's rich, pretty sure the psychopaths don't have a conscience.holdbuysell , 1 hour ago link
Perpetual war is about $$$. It knows no party. Never has and never will.
Yup. It's always about the money. As Fitts would say, that screeching you hear is the cash flow drying up for the rentiers. The murdering of women and children be damned. Hillary's demonic cackle is but the grotesque cherry on top: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y
Sep 29, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
PATIENT OBSERVER September 28, 2020 at 4:33 amET AL September 28, 2020 at 6:11 am
This is a threat?
Washington is considering closing its embassy in Iraq, nine months after the US killing of an Iranian general on Iraqi soil led to protests over what Baghdad called a "violation" of its sovereignty, according to reports.
Multiple media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Sky News, reported on Sunday that US officials told their Iraqi counterparts that Washington will shut down its operations unless there is an end to rocket attacks on the embassy, which is located in the heavily-fortified Green Zone in Baghdad.
Sounds more like a possible victory for Iraq and its people. I suspect that there is much more to the story and the US is pre-emptively seeking a face-saving exit excuse if it were to come to that.
However, it would be extremely unlikely for the US to abandon the embassy given that it serves as the headquarters for numerous nefarious operations in Iraq and IranET AL September 28, 2020 at 6:18 am
The claim that I have read is that this is in response to the USA's assassination of General Solemani in Lebanon. More precisely the i-Ranian strategy is not per se to cause American casualties but carry out sustained attacks via proxies on American interest in i-Rack, i.e. psychological pressure, cost etc. the ultimate goal being the USA leaving i-Rack as a suitable price for the assassination.I
I've also read (Vinyard the Saker?)that the USA has so far closed some of its smaller and less defensible outposts but concentrated what remains in fewer better defended bases. The USA does not want to leave i-Rack militarily and will hang on until it is out of options. The US embassy leaving i-Rack will not be good enough for i-Ran, but maybe this is the beginning of some kind of behind the scenes bargaining, though this is hard to believe considering the US is still pushing for a gulf coalition (WAR!) against i-Ran as well as polically neutralizing any potential spoiler countries. Also the embassay was built at quite a significant cost $750 billion.* So, you are right PO, this is bluff by the big puff Plumpeo.
i-Rack has also being trying to get rid of American military presence even though they have bought F-16IQs from Washington but the latter is using the same figleaf excuse as in Syria that they are 'fighting terrorists.'
* https://www.businessinsider.com/750-million-united-states-embassy-iraq-baghdad-2013-3JRKRIDEAU September 28, 2020 at 6:47 am
$750 million. Duh!MARK CHAPMAN September 28, 2020 at 3:12 pm
$750 million. Duh
Given standard US contracting over-runs I was willg to believe "billions". The surprising thing is that it got built.
The USA will never abandon its crown jewel in Iraq, and it would make little practical difference anyway, as it lies entirely within the American 'Green Zone', and they will surely not abandon that.
"But the location of the compound is well known in Baghdad anyway, where for several years it has been marked by large construction cranes and all-night work lights easily visible from the embattled neighborhoods across the river. It is reasonable to assume that insurgents will soon sit in the privacy of rooms overlooking the site, and use cell phones or radios to adjust the rocket and mortar fire of their companions. Meanwhile, however, they seem to have held off, lobbing most of their ordnance elsewhere into the Green Zone, as if reluctant to slow the completion of such an enticing target."
The Baghdad Embassy is the USA's most-expensive embassy in the world, and it costs far more to run it each year than the cost of building it, in excess of a Billion dollars a year. What America might do, and what Iraq does fear, is send its diplomats home for awhile, and use it as an excuse to open a military operation in Iraq against what it terms Iran-aligned militias.
Sep 29, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
MOSCOWEXILE September 26, 2020 at 2:52 amMARK CHAPMAN September 26, 2020 at 3:31 am
Ватикан учит Варшаву правильному обращению с Белоруссией
The Vatican teaches Warsaw how properly to deal with Belarus
Full in the panting heart of Rome,
Beneath th'apostle's crowning dome,
From pilgrims' lips that kiss the ground,
Breathes in all tongues only one sound:
'God bless our Pope, God bless our Pope,
God bless our Pope, the great, the good.
Following the visit to the Vatican on Friday, September 25, of Polish President Andrzej Duda and his wife, the Press Department of the Holy See published a short message. It said that Pope Francis received Duda, after which the President met Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher. And further: "Heartfelt discussions took place in the context of the centenary of the birth of St. John Paul II and the 40th anniversary of the founding of the independent trade union "Solidarity". Several topics of mutual interest related to the mission of the Church were discussed, including the issues of strengthening families and raising young people. Finally, attention was drawn to some international issues such as the current health emergency, regional situation and security".
What is meant by "regional situation and security" was later deciphered by Duda himself. Note that these issues were not the subject of his conversation with the pontiff, they were raised during negotiations with Cardinal Parolin, who is in charge of the practical leadership of Vatican diplomacy. According to the Polish president, they talked about the situation in Belarus. "The cardinal asked how we perceive what is happening, I in turn asked what is the position of the Holy See", said Duda. "In fact, we came to a common opinion that it is necessary to support all those who want real democracy, who want freedom, who want to live in an honest state: these people should have our support. But, of course, Belarus must make its own decision in free and fair elections. Here we have an unambiguous position that the international community should demand from the Belarusian authorities: that the policy in Belarus be carried out in such a way as to hold the elections fairly. And the Belarusian people should be supported in this. The international community should support the Belarusian people."
At the same time, the President of Poland did not specify such key issues as when to hold "fair elections" -- now, after the constitutional reform in Belarus or the end of the next term of office of the recently inaugurated President Alexander Lukashenko. Nor was it said who Lukashenka is for Warsaw. After all, the international community has an ambiguous attitude towards it. Thus, for Vilnius, he is "the former president of Belarus, both politically and legally". Germany and the EU diplomatic department use the formula of "missing or insufficient democratic legitimacy necessary for his recognition as the legitimate president" in relation to Lukashenko. With all its usual demagogy, Washington has discussed the candidacy of the US Ambassador to Belarus Julie Fischer through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is sending her to Minsk, where she will present her credentials to the President, which means recognition of Lykashenko.
Everything is much more interesting in the case of Warsaw. As the former Polish diplomat Witold Jurash notes, the Polish Foreign Ministry speaks of the lack of legitimacy of Lukashenko and the illegality of his government, but, unlike Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, does not declare that Poland does not recognize Lukashenko as president. "The prime minister, it seems, in turn, assumes the latter", the expert believes, calling the difference between the positions of the diplomatic department and the head of government "principled". As for Duda, on this issue he is closer to the Foreign Ministry and the Vatican than to the prime minister. It is not yet known what exactly the Secretary of State of the Holy See replied to the Polish president during the meeting in the Vatican, but his position can be reconstructed based on indirect data. Recall that on September 16, the cardinal ordained the new apostolic nuncio in Belarus, Ante Jozic, to the bishopric in Croatia. This is not an ordinary event, it is obvious that it was important for Parolin to personally meet with Jozic and explain to him the Vatican's line regarding the republic, the development of the situation in which the Holy See is closely watching.
A little later, the Nuncio gave a detailed interview to the Croatian Catholic portal IKA-Zagreb. Answering the question about his mission in Belarus, he highlighted the following. "First", said Jozic, "one of the main tasks of a nuncio is the appointment of new bishops: after the retirement of bishops who have reached the age of 75, the nunciature initiates the procedure for appointing new ones. This is an indication of the head of the Belarusian Catholics, Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, who has been in Poland since the end of August and who, by order of the Belarusian authorities, is not allowed back to Minsk. In January 2021, he will just turn 75 years old, and it seems that the Holy See will not hesitate in satisfying his resignation petition. Secondly", stressed the nuncio, "the Catholic Church will not interfere in politics", because if "the Church or its leaders choose this or that person, then there is a division of believers". This is already a response to Belarusian Catholics, who are carried away by participation in protests against Lukashenko's administration, and some of them are even unhappy with the fact that the Vatican refuses to directly support their political demands. .PATIENT OBSERVER September 26, 2020 at 5:54 am
Poland will get its comeuppance as well, when Nord Stream II is finished.MOSCOWEXILE September 26, 2020 at 8:19 am
https://thesaker.is/the-last-taboo/PATIENT OBSERVER September 26, 2020 at 10:35 am
The Northern Crusade against Baltic pagans and Slav heretics.
Seen the elephant he had: been everywhere, done everything:
A Knight ther was, and that a worthy man,
That fro the tyme that he first bigan
To ryden out, he loved chivalrye,
Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisye.
Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre,
And therto hadde he riden (no man ferre)
As wel in Cristendom as hethenesse,
And ever honoured for his worthinesse.
At Alisaundre he was, whan it was wonne;
Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bigonne
Aboven alle notions in Pruce.
In Lettow hadde he reysed and in Ruce,
No Cristen man so ofte of his degree.
In Gernade at the sege eek hadde he be
Of Algezir, and riden in Belmarye.
At Lyeys was he, and at Satalye,
Whan they were wonne; and in the Grete See
At many a noble aryve hadde he be.
At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,
And foughten for our feith at Tramissene
In listes thryes, and ay slayn his foo.
This ilke worthy knight had been also
Somtyme with the lord of Palatye,
Ageyn another hethen in Turkye:
And evermore he hadde a sovereyn prys.
And though that he were worthy, he was wys,
And of his port as meke as is a mayde.
He never yet no vileinye ne sayde
In al his lyf, un-to no maner wight.
He was a verray parfit gentil knight.
Where hadn't he been?
Pruce -- Prussia: not German then but pagan Baltic tribes.
Lettow -- Lithuania: Baltic pagan tribe.
Ruce -- Russia; heretical Eastern Orthodox.
The rest of the time he seems to have been kicking Muslim arse around the Mediterranean, but, clearly, Northern European pagans and Eastern European Orthodox Christians were also considered fair game.MOSCOWEXILE September 26, 2020 at 11:00 am
Worthy of sainthood I would say if not already sainted by the Vatican. My understanding is that most largest Crusades were directed against the Eastern Orthodox just as they are now but in a different form. Modern folks do not fully appreciate the persistence of history.
If you are affected by Covid, it is certainly not apparent from the quality and quantity of your posts!
Woden speaks to me when I am in delirium.
Sep 28, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
"Western government-funded intelligence cutouts trained Syrian opposition leaders, planted stories in media outlets from BBC to Al Jazeera, and ran a cadre of journalists. A trove of leaked documents exposes the propaganda network."
"Leaked documents show how UK government contractors developed an advanced infrastructure of propaganda to stimulate support in the West for Syria's political and armed opposition.
Virtually every aspect of the Syrian opposition was cultivated and marketed by Western government-backed public relations firms, from their political narratives to their branding, from what they said to where they said it.
The leaked files reveal how Western intelligence cutouts played the media like a fiddle, carefully crafting English- and Arabic-language media coverage of the war on Syria to churn out a constant stream of pro-opposition coverage.
US and European contractors trained and advised Syrian opposition leaders at all levels, from young media activists to the heads of the parallel government-in-exile . These firms also organized interviews for Syrian opposition leaders on mainstream outlets such as BBC and the UK's Channel 4.
More than half of the stringers used by Al Jazeera in Syria were trained in a joint US-UK government program called Basma, which produced hundreds of Syrian opposition media activists.
Western government PR firms not only influenced the way the media covered Syria, but as the leaked documents reveal, they produced their own propagandistic pseudo-news for broadcast on major TV networks in the Middle East, including BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and Orient TV .
These UK-funded firms functioned as full-time PR flacks for the extremist-dominated Syrian armed opposition. One contractor, called InCoStrat, said it was in constant contact with a network of more than 1,600 international journalists and "influencers," and used them to push pro-opposition talking points.
Another Western government contractor, ARK, crafted a strategy to "re-brand" Syria's Salafi-jihadist armed opposition by "softening its image ." ARK boasted that it provided opposition propaganda that "aired almost every day on" major Arabic-language TV networks."
"The Western contractor ARK was a central force in launching the White Helmets operation.
The leaked documents show ARK ran the Twitter and Facebook pages of Syria Civil Defense, known more commonly as the White Helmets.
ARK took credit for developing "an internationally-focused communications campaign designed to raise global awareness of the (White Helmets) teams and their life saving work."
ARK also facilitated communications between the White Helmets and The Syria Campaign , a PR firm run out of London and New York that helped popularize the White Helmets in the United States.
It was apparently "following subsequent discussions with ARK and the teams" that The Syria Campaign "selected civil defence to front its campaign to keep Syria in the news," the firm wrote in a report for the UK Foreign Office." thegreyzone
Using really basic intelligence analytic tools; Occam's Razor, Walks like a duck, Smileyesque back azimuth's, etc. it has been clear that the UK government has been deeply involved in sponsoring and influencing the Syrian/ jihadi opposition in that miserable country. The wide spread British Old Boys network of aspirants to the tradition of imperial manipulation has been visible just below the surface if you had eyes to look and a brain to think.
A lot of the money for this folly came right out of USAID.
ISL , 27 September 2020 at 04:03 PMThe Twisted Genius , 27 September 2020 at 04:48 PM
Dear Colonel agreed.
I object to the line in the article that they "played the media like a fiddle" - as it implies the mainstream media is a victim as opposed to willing accomplice.
The American public very strongly told Obama they didn't want another invasion and war in the middle east (red lines or not) so rather ineffective propaganda.
Moreover, I suspect that given the US public inattention to overseas events that do not involve much US blood (in places they can not find on a map). Today's mess would be where more or less the same if the entire IO had never happened - though maybe with less cynicism of US/UK gov'ts and media.
OTH, it is curious how well the British Old Boys network (and US) aligns with Israeli interests (and runs counter to US or British interests). Maybe grayzone will investigate that (impressive) IO campaign. I think a small country in the middle east played US and UK elites like a fiddle.Babak makkinejad , 27 September 2020 at 05:10 PM
I've only given this article a cursory reading so far and it is clear that the Brits are going balls to the wall on the PSYOPS/perception management front. This campaign flows naturally from the strong material support for the Syrian "moderate rebels" provided by the US, the Brits and probably others for years. We may still be blowing up IS jihadis, but we're also supporting our own brand of jihadis around Al-Tanf, giving free hand to Erdogan's jihadis along the Turkish-Syrian border and doing our best to stymie R+6 efforts to crush the remaining jihadis and unite Syria.
The article focuses on the contractors role in PSYOP. I'm not sure if it mentions the British government's role in this. The GCHQ's Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) probably manages most of those contractors. The British Army also has the 77th Brigade. This brigade's slogan is: "behavioural change is our unique selling point". Gordon MacMillan, a reserve officer with the 77th Brigade, is now Twitter's head of editorial operations for the Middle East.
The 77th was formed in 2015 and subsumed the 15th Psychological Operations Group which was headed by Steve Tathan, who went on to head the defence division of SCL, the now defunct parent of Cambridge Analytica. I'm sure the 77th is capable of managing some of those contractors, as well. I wouldn't be surprised if quite a few of contractors were also reservists in the 77th.
I bet we're not letting the Brits have all the fun. The CIA Special Activities Center (formerly SAD) includes the Political Action Group for PSYOP, economic warfare and cyberwarfare. That dovetails nicely with what CENTCOM is doing in Syria. I knew some of those guys a while back. I remember scaring them with some of my own anarchist hacker rantings when I was penetrating those hackers.
Our Army has fours PSYOP groups brigade-sized), two active and 2 reserve. I would think they have advanced their methodology since I took the course at Bragg. For a few years, they were called military information support operations (MISO) groups rather than PSYOP groups. They have since reverted to their PSYOP name although their activities are referred to as MISO. I don't know what the difference is.Diana Croissant , 28 September 2020 at 07:45 AM
No, no, no.
There is no such small country as you describe in the Near East.
There is an self-disciplined proxy force masquerading as a state which is mostly funded by the United States to further the religious policies of the WASP Culture Continent.
It is no accident that in this context, the names of US and UK occur often in the same sentences; one declared a crusade to wrestle control of Plastine from Muslims, and the otber one carried out that crusade and escalated it.
That is also the reason that US cannot end the war over Palestine or leave Islamdom
(Oil, Geostrategic considerations, arms sales, Realpolitik are just pseudo-rationications to obscure the real war.)BABAK MAKKINEJAD , 28 September 2020 at 09:14 AM
Where is Candide (aka Voltaire) when we need him?fakebot , 28 September 2020 at 10:43 AM
How WASP-dom has arrived in this crusade is not, in my opinion, as significant as that it has been waging it for more than a hundred years.
"WASP Culture" is into golfing, not crusading. Erik Prince and the religious fundamentalists, maybe, but they don't drive US policy.
Russia and/or Chinese dominion over Eurasia cannot be permitted. Their means to achieve that would be less ethical, not that the US or UK have been prince among men and salts of the earth, as noted in the article.
The US has tried in vain to win over hearts and minds. It has been a mostly noble effort to bring countries like Iraq and Afghanistan into the 21st century, but it was always more of a losing game. The problem lies too much in Islam and tribal rivalries.
Sep 28, 2020 | peterturchin.com
Shaun Bartone February 27, 2017 at 3:47 pm
I wonder if any of the commentators here have considered that the [neoliberal] cabal now in power in the US (not elsewhere) are not in power to "take power" except for a temporary period. They don't want to run the federal government, they want to destroy it, except for the police state and the military.
They want to eliminate the EPA, vacate the State Dept and many other Depts, except for a few high-placed cronies, wipe all financial, labour, consumer and environmental regulations off the books; eliminate or reduce to a bare minimum federal health insurance, medicaid, medicare and Social Security, crush public education, privatize everything they can sell, and so on. They are not in power to "govern" but to destroy government. This is all being done with a fairly unified agenda: to free "the market" from any restrictions whatsoever, so that they -- global elites -- can make as much money as possible. It's a cabal of global corporations, militarists, Christian sovereign white supremacists, fossil fuel giants and bankers , and I think there's a high degree of cooperation for the agenda. The revolution is the cabal run by Trump/Bannon who are more extreme and ideological than any previous faction, who have no tolerance for compromise. They have an apocalyptic vision of grinding it all down to a bare minimum police state.
Sep 28, 2020 | www.amazon.com
In the United States, a great deal of study and energy goes into promoting respect for democracy, not just to keep it alive here but also to spread it around the world. It embraces the will of the majority, whether or not its main beneficiaries have more resources than other citizens do, as shown by the election of President Obama, who promised hope and change for the suffering majority, but did not sit long in office before being subjected to an economic vote of no-confidence.
Those who claim we run a plutocracy (government for the rich by the rich) -- or that we're victims of a conspiracy contrived by a shadow government -- are right while being wrong.
Our government is beyond the reach of ordinary American citizens in terms of economic power. However, the creation of a system to keep the majority of the populace at the losing end of a structure which neither promised nor delivered a state of financial equality was a predictable extension of the economic system the U.S. government was formed to protect.
... .... ...
Forty years of Cold War and the ultimate realization that abuse of the communist system and a hierarchy of privilege proved that system to be vulnerable to selfishness -- in common with the triumphant capitalist countries.
Because any desired outcome can be written into an equation to exclude unwanted facts or inputs by holding some things constant while applying chosen variables that may not hold true under every historical circumstance, it's considered "falsifiable" and therefore "scientific." But only if it appeals to the right people and justifies a given political need will it become sacrosanct (until the next round of "progress").
.... .... ...Abusive Self- Interest
In 1764, twenty- five years before the embrace of Madame Guillotine (when heads rolled literally to put the fear of the mob into politics), contempt for the filth and poverty in which the French commoners lived while the nobility gorged on luxury goods showed how arrogant they were, not just in confidence that their offices of entitlement were beyond reproach and unassailable, but that mockery and insult in the face of deliberate deprivation would be borne with obedience and humility.
It certainly affected Smith's outlook, since he wrote The Wealth of Nations with a focus on self- interest rather than moral sentiments. And while this may be purely pragmatic, based on what
he witnessed, he also wrote about the potential for self- interest to become abusive, both in collusion with individuals and when combined with the power of government. Business interests could form cabals (groups of conspirators, plotting public harm) or monopolies (organizations with exclusive market control) to fix prices at their highest levels. A true laissez- faire economy would provide every incentive to conspire against consumers and attempt to influence budgets and legislation.
Smith's assertion that self- interest leads producers to favor domestic industry must also be understood in the context of the period. While it's true that the Enlightenment was a movement of rational philosophy radically opposed to secrecy, it's important to understand that this had to be done respectfully , insofar as all arguments were intended to impress the monarchy under circumstances where the king believed himself God- appointed and infallible, no matter his past or present policies, and matters were handled with delicacy. Yet, Smith's arguments are clear enough (and certainly courageous enough) to be understood in laymen's terms.
In an era when the very industry he's observing has been fostered by tariffs, monopolies, labor controls, and materials extracted from colonies, he did his best to balance observation with what he thought was best for society. It's not his fault we pick and choose our recipes for what we do and don't believe or where we think Smith might have gone had he been alive today.
The New Double Standard
The only practical way to resolve the contradiction between the existing beneficiaries of state favoritism in this period and Smith's aversion to it is to observe that the means to prevent competition and interference with the transition from one mode of commerce to another that enhances the strength of the favored or provides a new means to grow their wealth is to close the door of government intervention behind them and burn any bridges to it.
In psychological terms, the practice of "negative attribution" is to assume that identical behavior is justifiable for oneself but not another. It may not be inconsistent with a system of economics founded on self- interest, but it naturally begs a justification as to why it rules out everyone else's self- interest. The beauty of this system is that it will always have the same answer.
You may have guessed it.
Progress.Reallocation of Assets
It was always understood that capitalism produces winners and losers. The art of economizing is to gain maximum benefit for minimum expenditure, which generally translates to asset consolidation and does not necessarily mean there is minimum sacrifice. There's an opportunity cost for everything, whether it's human, financial, environmental, or material. But the most important tenet of free market capitalism is that asset redistribution requires the U. S. government to go to DEFCON 1, unless assets are being reallocated for "higher productivity," in which case the entire universe is saved from the indefensible sin of lost opportunity.
Private property is sacred -- up until an individual decides he can make more productive use of it and appeals to the courts for seizure under eminent domain or until the government decides it will increase national growth if owned by some other person or entity. In like manner, corporations can suffer hostile takeovers, just as deregulation facilitates predatory market behavior and cutthroat competition promotes an efficiency orientation that means fewer jobs and lower incomes, which result in private losses.
In the varying range of causes underlying the loss of assets, the common threat is progress -- the "civilized" justification for depriving some other person or entity of their right to own property, presumably earned by the sweat of their brow, except their sweat doesn't have the same champion as someone who can wring more profit from it. The official explanation is that the government manages the "scarcity" of resources to benefit the world. This is also how we justify war, aggression, and genocide, though we don't always admit to that unless we mean to avoid it.
Perfectly Rational Genocide
History cooperates with the definition of Enlightenment if we imagine that thoughtfulness has something to do with genocide. In the context of American heritage, it has meant that when someone stands in the way of progress, his or her resources are "reallocated" to serve the pursuit of maximum profit, with or without consent. The war against Native Americans was one in which Americans either sought and participated in annihilation efforts or believed this end was inevitable. In the age of rational thought, meditation on the issue could lead from gratitude for the help early settlers received from Native Americans to the observation they didn't enclose their land and had no concept of private property,
to the conviction they were unmotivated by profit and therefore irreconcilable savages. But it takes more than rational thought to mobilize one society to exterminate another.
The belief in manifest destiny -- that God put the settlers in America for preordained and glorious purposes which gave them a right to everything -- turned out to be just the ticket for a free people opposed to persecution and the tyranny of church and state.
Lest the irony elude you, economic freedom requires divorcing the state from religion, but God can be used to whip up the masses, distribute "It's Them or Us" cards, and send people out to die on behalf of intellectuals and investors who've rationalized their chosenness.CHAPTER TWO: INSTILLING THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE
Selfishness may be exalted as the root and branch of capitalism, but it doesn't make you look good to the party on the receiving end or those whose sympathy he earns. For that, you need a government prepared to do four things, which each have separate dictums based on study, theorization, and experience.
Coercion: Force is illegitimate only if you can't sell it. Persuasion: How do I market thee? Let me count the ways. Bargaining: If you won't scratch my back, then how about a piece of the pie? Indoctrination: Because I said so. (And paid for the semantics.)
Predatory capitalism is the control and expropriation of land, labor, and natural resources by a foreign government via coercion, persuasion, bargaining, and indoctrination.
At the coercive stage, we can expect military and/ or police intervention to repress the subject populace. The persuasive stage will be marked by clientelism, in which a small percentage of the populace will be rewarded for loyalty, often serving as the capitalists' administrators, tax collectors, and enforcers. At the bargaining stage, efforts will be made to include the populace, or a certain percentage of it, in the country's ruling system, and this is usually marked by steps toward democratic (or, more often, autocratic) governance.
At the fourth stage, the populace is educated by capitalists, such that they continue to maintain a relationship of dependency.
The Predatory Debt Link
In many cases, post- colonial states were forced to assume the debts of their colonizers. And where they did not, they were encouraged to become in debt to the West via loans that were issued through international institutions to ensure they did not fall prey to communism or pursue other economic policies that were inimical to the West. Debt is the tie that binds nation states to the geostrategic and economic interests of the West.
As such, the Cold War era was a time of easy credit, luring postcolonial states to undertake the construction of useless monoliths and monuments, and to even expropriate such loans through corruption and despotism, thereby making these independent rulers as predatory as colonizers. While some countries were wiser than others and did use the funds for infrastructural improvements, these were also things that benefited the West and particularly Western contractors. In his controversial work Confessions of an Economic Hit Man , John Perkins reveals that he was a consultant for an American firm (MAIN), whose job was to ensure that states became indebted beyond their means so they would remain loyal to their creditors, buying them votes within United Nations organizations, among other things.
Predatory capitalists demand export- orientations as the means to generate foreign currency with which to pay back debt. In the process, the state must privatize and drastically slash or eliminate any domestic subsidies which are aimed at helping native industry compete in the marketplace. Domestic consumption and imports must be radically contained, as shown by the exchange rate policies recommended by the IMF. The costs of obtaining domestic capital will be pushed beyond the reach of most native producers, while wages must be depressed to an absolute bare minimum. In short, the country's land, labor, and natural resources must be sold at bargain basement prices in order to make these goods competitive, in what one author has called "a spiraling race to the bottom," as countries producing predominantly the same goods engage in cutthroat competition whose benefactor is the West.
Under these circumstances, foreign investment is encouraged, but this, too, represents a loaded situation for countries that open their markets to financial liberalization. Since, in most cases, the
IMF does not allow restrictions on the conditions of capital inflows, it means that financial investors can literally dictate their terms. And since no country is invulnerable to attacks on its currency, which governments must try to keep at a favorable exchange rate, it means financial marauders can force any country to try to prop up its currency using vital reserves of foreign exchange which might have been used to pay their debt.
When such is the case, the IMF comes to the rescue with a socalled "bailout fund," that allows foreign investors to withdraw their funds intact, while the government reels from the effects of an IMF- imposed austerity plan, often resulting in severe recession the offshoot of which is bankruptcies by the thousands and plummeting employment.
In countries that experienced IMF bailouts due to attacks on their currencies, the effect was to reset the market so the only economic survivors were those who remained export- oriented and were strong enough to withstand the upheaval. This means they remained internationally competitive, which translates to low earnings of foreign exchange. At the same time that the country is being bled from the bottom up through mass unemployment, extremely low wages, and the "spiraling race to the bottom," it is in an even more unfavorable position concerning the payment of debt. The position is that debt slavery ensues, as much an engine of extraction as any colonial regime ever managed.
The Role of Indoctrination
The fact that it is sovereign governments overseeing the work of debt repression has much to do with education, which is the final phase of predatory capitalism, concluding in indoctrination. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the lesson to the world was that socialism can't work, nor were there any remaining options for countries that pursued "the third way" other than capitalism. This produced a virulent strain of neoliberalism in which most people were, and are, being educated. The most high- ranking of civil servants have either been educated in the West or directly influenced by its thinking. And this status of acceptance and adherence finally constitutes indoctrination. The system is now self- sustaining, upheld by domestic agents.
While predatory capitalism can proceed along a smooth continuum from coercion to persuasion to bargaining to formal indoctrination, the West can regress to any of these steps at any point in
time, given the perceived need to interfere with varying degrees of force in order to protect its interests.
Democracy is about having the power and flexibility to graft our system of government and predatory capitalism onto any target country, regardless of relative strength or conflicting ideologies. An entire productive industry has grown up using the tools of coercion, persuasion, bargaining, and formal indoctrination to maximize their impact in the arena of U. S. politics. Its actors know how to jerk the right strings, push the right buttons, and veer from a soft sell to a hard sell when resistance dictates war, whether it's with planes overhead and tanks on the ground or with massive capital flight that panics the whole world.
When the U. S. political economy goes into warp overdrive, its job proves far more valuable than anything ever made in the strict material sense because there's never been more at stake in terms of what it's trying to gain. It's the American idea machine made up of corporations, lobbyists, think tanks, foundations, universities, and consultants in every known discipline devoted to mass consumerism, and what they sell is illusory opportunity dressed in American principles. They embrace political candidates who'll play by elitist rules to preserve the fiction of choice, and, in this way, they maintain legitimacy, no matter what kind of "reallocation" is on the economic agenda.
The issue is not whether we'll question it, but who we'll applaud for administering it.
In the Information Age, perception management is king.
Sep 28, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Washington's Hybrid War On Russian Energy Targets Germany, Belarus, And Bulgaria
by Tyler Durden Sun, 09/27/2020 - 08:10 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print
Authored by Andrew Korybko via OneWorld.press,
The US is ruthlessly waging an intense Hybrid War on Russian energy interests in Europe by targeting the Eurasian Great Power's relevant projects in Germany, Belarus, and Bulgaria, banking on the fact that even the partial success of this strategy would greatly advance the scenario of an externally provoked "decoupling" between Moscow and Washington's transatlantic allies.The Newest Front In The New Cold War
The New Cold War is heating up in Europe after the US intensified its Hybrid War on Russian interests there over the past two months. This proxy conflict is being simultaneously waged in Germany, Belarus, and Bulgaria, all three of which are key transit states for Russian energy exports to the continent, which enable it to maintain at least some influence there even during the worst of times. The US, however, wants to greatly advance the scenario of an externally provoked "decoupling" between Moscow and Washington's transatlantic allies which would allow America to reassert its unipolar hegemony there even if this campaign is only partially successful. This article aims to explore the broad contours of the US' contemporary Hybrid War strategy on Russian energy in Europe, pointing out how recent events in those three previously mentioned transit states are all part of this larger plan.Germany
From north to south, the first and largest of these targets is Germany, which is nowadays treating Russian anti-corruption blogger Navalny. The author accurately predicted in late August that "intense pressure might be put upon the authorities by domestic politicians and their American patrons to politicize the final leg of Nord Stream II's construction by potentially delaying it as 'punishment to Putin'", which is exactly what's happening after Berlin signaled that it might rethink its commitment to this energy project. America isn't all to blame, however, since Germany ultimately takes responsibility for its provocative statements to this effect. Dmitri Trenin, Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, published a thought-provoking piece titled " Russian-German Relations: Back To The Future " about how bilateral relations will drastically change in the aftermath of this incident. It's concise and well worth the read for those who are interested in this topic.Belarus
The next Hybrid War target is Belarus , which the author has been tracking for half a decade already. After failing to convince Lukashenko to break off ties with Russia after this summer's Wagner incident, a Color Revolution was then hatched to overthrow him so that his replacements can turn the country into another Ukraine insofar as it relates to holding Russian energy exports to Europe hostage. The end goal is to increase the costs of Russian resources so that the US' own become more competitive by comparison. Ultimately, it's planned that Russian pipelines will be phased out in the worst-case scenario, though this would happen gradually since Europe can't immediately replace such imports with American and other ones. "Losing" Belarus, whether on its own or together with Nord Stream II, would deal a heavy blow to Russia's geopolitical interests. Countries like Germany wouldn't have a need to maintain cordial relations with it, thus facilitating a possible "decoupling".Bulgaria
That's where Bulgaria could become the proverbial "icing on the cake". Turkish Stream is expected to transit through this Balkan country en route to Europe, but the latest anti-government protests there threaten to topple the government, leading to worries that its replacement might either politicize or suspend this project. Azerbaijan's TANAP and the Eastern Mediterranean's GRISCY pipelines might help Southeastern Europe compensate for the loss of Russian resources, though the latter has yet to be constructed and is only in the planning stages right now. Nevertheless, eliminating Turkish Stream from the energy equation (or at the very least hamstringing the project prior to replacing/scrapping it) would deal a death blow to Russia's already very limited Balkan influence. Russia would then be practically pushed out of the region, becoming nothing more than a distant cultural-historical memory with close to no remaining political influence to speak of.Economic Warfare
The overarching goal connecting these three Hybrid War fronts isn't just to weaken Russia's energy interests, but to replace its current role with American and other industry competitors. The US-backed and Polish-led " Three Seas Initiative " is vying to become a serious player in the strategic Central & Eastern European space, and it can achieve a lot of its ambitions through the construction of new LNG and oil terminals for facilitating America's plans. In addition, artificially increasing the costs of Russian energy imports through political means related to these Hybrid Wars could also reduce Russia's revenue from these sources, which presently account for 40% of its budget . Considering that Russia's in the midst of a systemic economic transition away from its disproportionate budgetary dependence on energy, this could hit Moscow where it hurts at a sensitive time.The Ball's In Berlin's Court
The linchpin of Russia's defensive strategy is Germany, without whose support all of Moscow's energy plans stand zero chance of succeeding. If Germany submits to the US on one, some, or all three of these Hybrid War fronts in contravention of its natural economic interests, then it'll be much easier for America to provoke a comprehensive "decoupling" between Russia and Europe. It's only energy geopolitics that allows for both sides to maintain some sense of cooperation despite the US-encouraged sanctions regime against Russia after its reunification with Crimea and thus provides an opportunity for improving their relations sometime in the future. Sabotaging Russia's energy interests there would thus doom any realistic prospects for a rapprochement between them, but the ball's in Berlin's court since it has the chance to say no to the US and ensure that the German-Russian Strategic Partnership upholds Europe's strategic autonomy across the present century.NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST
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Receive a daily recap featuring a curated list of must-read stories.Concluding Thoughts
For as much as cautiously optimistic as many in the Alt-Media Community might be that the US' Hybrid War on Russian energy in Europe will fail, the facts paint a much more sobering picture which suggests that at least one of these plots will succeed. Should that happen, then the era of energy geopolitics laying the foundation for Russian-European relations will soon draw to a close, thereby facilitating the US' hoped-for "decoupling" between them, causing budgetary difficulties for Moscow at the moment when it can least afford to experience such, and pushing the Eurasian Great Power's strategic attention even further towards Asia. The last-mentioned consequence will put more pressure on Russia to perfect its "balancing" act between China and India , which could potentially be a double-edged sword that makes it more relevant in Asian geopolitical affairs but also means that one wrong move might seriously complicate its 21st-century grand strategy .Mustahattu , 4 hours ago
If you look at the three countries mentioned Belarus will likely be absorbed by Russia sooner rather than later. The push for this is underway looking at meetings taking place. For Bulgaria the US is far away and has no power to stop the Turks. It is the Turks the Bulgarians fear, with a lot of reasons, their surest way of keeping out of the Turks clutches is to look to Russia for support. Unfortunately the USA has an appalling track record of betraying countries, ask Libya.
The Germans have no choice but take the Russian gas, economically, socially and for strategic reasons. The truly big fear for the US is a German/Russian bloc. German and Russian technology with unrivaled resources. That is the future super power if they are pushed together, something that is very likely if we see a major economic contraction in the next few years.Hope Copy , 1 hour ago
The US fear of an Eurasian alliance. The US fear Europe will create a Silicon Valley of the future. The US fear the Euro will replace the dollar as a reserve currency. The US fear Russia will become a superpower. The US fear China. There's a lot to fear yankee dear...cos it's all gonna happen.Ace006 , 2 hours ago
RUSSIA is content with 45 and 25nm as it can be hardened.. 14 and especially 7nm is so that the **** will wear out..Herodotus , 1 hour ago
Instead of fretting about how this or that country or bloc will become a/an _________ superpower the US could focus on regaining its former pre-eminence.
It's a crazy thought, I know, but
- moving a massive amount of industrial capacity to China and fueling the rise of a communist country just might have been a bad idea and
- thrashing about in the international arena like a rutting rhinoceros at huge expense makes us look foolish and, in the case of Syria, petty and vindictive.
Repairing the damage from the former and stopping the hemorrhage of money and reputation respectively would be a far better objective than playing Frankenstein in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Georgia, Serbia, Iran, Poland, N. Korea, and Venezuela, inter alia . Mexico is a failed state right on our border that contributes mightily to our immigration, cultural, and political problems. But, no, the puffed up, prancing morons who make US policy can summon the imagination to figure out how to help our very own neighbors deal with their hideous problems. No. Let's engage in regime change and "nation building" in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, and Belarus.
The words of the great Marcus Aurelius are on point: "Within ten days thou wilt seem a god to those to whom thou art now a beast and an ape, if thou wilt return to thy principles and the worship of reason."yerfej , 4 hours ago
Bulgaria must return to the protection of the Ottoman Empire.yojimbo , 3 hours ago
Easy solution, end NATO. Just have all US forces told to leave the EU and let them determine their own destiny. Then do the same with US forces in the ME, Japan, Korea, etc. EVERYONE would be better off, including US taxpayers which get nothing out of the useless overseas deployment of resources which could be better spent at home.Bac Si , 2 hours ago
5% budget deficit, 5% military spending. Leave the world, drop 4.5% of the spending and either save money, or build infrastructure. It's so simple, I am disappointed Trump doesn't at least state it. I get he is limited by the system, and can't be a Cincinnatus, even if he wanted to, but he has his First Amendment.. though I grant him a personal fear of being Kennedied!BaNNeD oN THe RuN , 5 hours ago
Howdy Yerfej. It sounds like you are all for Isolationism.
But Isolationism means different things to different people. Pre WW2, Isolationism in the US meant selling our products to hostile countries. In the case of Japan, oil to help them kill Chinese people. In the case of Germany and Italy, food and vehicles to help them conquer all of Europe.
Considering the ridiculous education that the US gives its children, it's no wonder that most Americans don't know much about history (I say that in general terms, not to you specifically). Henry Ford senior not only received the 'Grand Cross of the German Eagle' from Adolf Hitler in 1938, he also received a 'Congressional Medal' from the US Congress shortly after WW2 – and for the same reason. Selling trucks to help the war effort.
Even after Pearl Harbor, there were politically powerful Isolationists that did not want the US to get involved in WW2. Why? Because a lot of money was at stake. It still is. These same people will continue to argue for Isolationism even after we are attacked.
Two months AFTER Pearl Harbor, FDR made a speech that included this:
"Those Americans who believed that we could live under the illusion of isolationism wanted the American eagle to imitate the tactics of the ostrich. Now, many of those same people, afraid that we may be sticking our necks out, want our national bird to be turned into a turtle. But we prefer to retain the eagle as it is – flying high and striking hard. I know that I speak for the mass of the American people when I say that we reject the turtle policy and will continue increasingly the policy of carrying the war to the enemy in distant lands and distant waters – as far away as possible from our own home grounds." – FDR
This radical change in our foreign policy has never been explained or even referred to in US history books. Powerful economic forces will always love the idea of "Open Trade Isolationism". But if Isolationism is ever suddenly defined by not doing business with any hostile government – those powerful forces will go ballistic. They will strongly lobby against 'Economic Warfare'. In other words, they will always want to make lots of money by selling their products to hostile governments, no matter how many people die.
Want a great example?
Right after Loral Corporation CEO Bernard L. Schwartz donated a million dollars to the DNC, President Clinton authorized the release of ballistic missile technology to China so Loral could get their satellites into space fast and at low cost. Those same missiles, and their nuclear warheads, are now pointed at the US.
The argument has always been that if we trade with hostile governments, they will grow to like us. Does anyone out there believe that if the UK and France gave pre WW2 Germany an extra $20 billion in trade, Germany wouldn't have started WW2? Anyone with a brain would tell you that Germany would have put those resources into their military (like China has been doing) and WW2 would have started earlier.
Yerfej, if we brought back the Cold War organization called the Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls (COCOM), I would be all for Isolationism. President Clinton got rid of it in his first year, and Western weapons technology has been threatening us ever since.PrivetHedge , 4 hours ago
You have to love the dynamic duo of "lie, cheat and steal" Pompeo and his "mob boss" Trump. There is absolutely no subtlety in their obvious shakedown tactics.PrivetHedge , 4 hours ago
The mob had far more honor, and better morals.you_do , 4 hours ago
Washington's transatlantic allies...
Hahahah, occupied vassals.
Washington has cost Germany a massive slice of GDP.geno-econ , 5 hours ago
Yankee has plenty of problems at home.
Rest of the world can decide their own energy policy.
They do not suffer from the 'Russia' propaganda.you_do , 4 hours ago
Let Russia, the lowest cost energy producer win energy competition in Europe as China, the lowest cost manufacturing producer is winning in America. Only difference is retailers, shippers, assembly part importers such as auto, electronics and appliance makers are making a profit and consumer gets lower prices. We should let others decide for themselves and stop meddling----only result will be a bloody nosegeno-econ , 5 hours ago
Yankee has plenty of problems at home.
Rest of the world can decide their own energy policy.
They do not suffer from the 'Russia' propaganda.free-energy , 4 hours ago
Let Russia, the lowest cost energy producer win energy competition in Europe as China, the lowest cost manufacturing producer is winning in America. Only difference is retailers, shippers, assembly part importers such as auto, electronics and appliance makers are making a profit and consumer gets lower prices. We should let others decide for themselves and stop meddling----only result will be a bloody noseBobby Farrell Can Dance , 3 hours ago
Notice how everything the US does around the world is a WAR. War on Energy, War on Drugs, War on Birth Control, War War War... America will fall after 2020 if nothing changes for the better. Every year the world grows more and more tired of the US bs and moves further away from it. Its so bad that they choose to deal with a communist country over us.
You reap what you've sowed.Unknown User , 5 hours ago
The Anglo American parasite pirate gangsters keep barking on about Russia bad, China bad, but I look around and I see nothing but these trouble makers waging war on anything they cannot control. The US and UK are devil nations. They will deserve all the rot they have coming their way.Pumpinfe , 4 hours ago
Trump wants a trade balance with all major economies like Germany and China. If they don't buy from us, he will have to raise tariffs. In case of Germany, they need nothing from us so he wants them to buy US LNG. Merkel's position is that "there is a cheap Russian gas", while Trump is telling her "no there isn't one".Dabooda , 3 hours ago
So trump loves to deep throat Russia but give Germany a hard time to Nordstream 2? Wake up fanboys, your hero is a ******. I got so much money invested in gazprom. LNG is junk and gazprom (Russian owned) is gona crush LNG and trump and his idiot following can't do a damn thing. You trump idiots will believe anything. Let me enlighten you...gazprom is the lowest cost producer of natural gas in the world...go look at the difference between gazprom and LNG and then you will realize that orange dump is an idiot along with his army of empty heads. Oh and if you think China and Russia are not friendly, go look up the Power of Siberia pipeline. That will give you a good sense of the relationship between Russia and China. America is rotting from the inside and Russia and China are eating their popcorn watching it happen.Lokiban , 5 hours ago
I don't see Trump deep-throating anyone but Netanyahu. Sans gratuitous insults, your comment about Gazprom is spot onLokiban , 5 hours ago
I doubt Merkel will give in. She would commit political suicide if she did that. She knows Navalny is a US effort to stop Nordstream 2.
What is the alternative? Buying gas from the US or US-controlled oilfields in Iraq and Syria? Putin might have a say in that.thurstjo63 , 3 hours ago
I doubt Merkel will give in. She would commit political suicide if she did that. She knows Navalny is a US effort to stop Nordstream 2.
What is the alternative? Buying gas from the US or US-controlled oilfields in Iraq and Syria? Putin might have a say in that.Savvy , 4 hours ago
The main fault in Mr Korybko's thinking is that he believes that European countries will not just shoot themselves in the foot but in the head to appease the US. At a european and local level, those who wanted Nord Stream 2 to be suspended or killed have failed. The costs are way too high. For that we can thank, perversely, the agreements associated with protecting investments from political decisions pushed by the US itself!!! Given that there is no proof of Navalny being poisoned, Germany knows that there is no way that they could hope to win their case for stopping Nord Stream 2 in a tribunal with persons capable of rational thought. That is why they made the deal to buy some US liquified gas for a couple of billion dollars. Because that is the cheapest way of extricating themselves from this situation. Otherwise, they are looking at orders of magnitude more compensation to russian and european firms for stopping the pipeline.
As for Belarus, barring Lukashenko doing something profoundly stupid like reacting violently to protests, that ship has already sailed. Protests are smaller every week and mainly on the weekend as now the "opposition" has been publishing people's profiles accusing them of collaborating with the government without any proof, leading to innocent people and their families to be threatened. There will be a transition from Lukashenko over the next couple of years but you can be sure that the present "opposition" given their desire to break away from Russia will not be part of the group that comes to power in the future since their base of support diminishes every week.
Finally Bulgaria already shot themselves in the foot when they backed out of South Stream and had major problems securing energy resources to meet its needs during the intervening period. Radev as any politician wanting to stay in office knows, if he doesn't go through with connecting Turk Stream to the rest of Europe that he might as well resign. So unless the US has compromising information on him that can force him from office or the Radev's administration doesn't control the US attempts to create the conditions for a colour revolution in Bulgaria, it is definitely not going to happen.
I'm sorry but Mr. Korybko is wrong on all counts!Joiningupthedots , 2 hours ago
When the US backed Georgia's violent incursion into S Ossetia it took Russia one day to send them back.
Russians are slow to saddle but ride fast.JeanTrejean , 5 hours ago
That was with the remnants of the old Soviet Army too.
The new Russian Army is an entirely different beast in both organisation, training, experience and equipment.
This guy has his finger on the pulse;
http://thesaker.is/the-world-has-gone-absolutely-insane/BaNNeD oN THe RuN , 4 hours ago
Are the USA really at war with Russia...and EU?
Decoupling Russia from EU, is re-enforcing the Eurasia bloc...where is the future of the world.
Russia belongs to Europa...not the USA.researchfix , 5 hours ago
Geographically Europe and Asia are one continent. It was "European exceptionalism" (the precursor to American Exceptionalism) that divided it as an ethno-cultural construct.Bobby Farrell Can Dance , 3 hours ago
Cancelling NS2 will chase the German industry into Russia. Cheap energy, moderate wages, Eurasian market at the front steps.
The sheep and their ex working places and Mutti will stay in Germany.Sandmann , 4 hours ago
Do Germans want to be slaves of these abject Brits and Americans? Pffffft....gas from Russia is a NO BRAINER.
Only British and Americans rats do not like that idea. How un-selfish then, it is for these jealous, insecure morons to dictate to Germany how she should trade. That's called outright meddling. These imperialists are like entitled Karens, they think the world owes them favours at the snap of a finger.Max21c , 3 hours ago
Nordstream 2 has an add-on leg to UK. Germany is largest gas importer on earth and cannot run its industry without gas imports from Russia. LNG is simply too expensive unless US taxpayers subsidise it.
If US wants to destabilise Europe it will reap the consequences. Southern Europe depends on gas from North Africa - Portugal generates electricity from Maghreb Pipeline to Spain from Algeria via Morocco. Erdogan hopes to put Turkey in position of supplying gas to Europe.
Germany will not abandon Nordstream 2 but might abandon USA first.John Hansen , 3 hours ago
The US is ruthlessly waging an intense Hybrid War on Russian energy interests in Europe by targeting the Eurasian Great Power's relevant projects in Germany, Belarus, and Bulgaria, banking on the fact that even the partial success of this strategy would greatly advance the scenario of an externally provoked "decoupling" between Moscow and Washington's transatlantic allies.
It's a petty game and when it fails then the Washingtonians credibility and legitimacy just further erodes. The EU needs the energy supplies and the Russian Federation has the supplies. It's all just short term & small gain silliness by a pack of freaks in Washington DC and their freaks in the CIA, Thunk Tank freaks and freaks in the foreign policy establishment. It's just more of the Carnival sideshow/freakshow put on by Washingtonians. As usual if it's a Washingtonian (post Cold War) policy then there's little or no substance behind it and you can be sure it hasn't be thought through thoroughly and it'll eventually turn and boomerang back on the circus people in Washington, Ivy League circus people, and JudeoWASP elite circus people, CIA circus clowns and circus clowns in the Thunk Tonks and elites Fareign Poolicy ***-tablishment.propaganda_reaper , 3 hours ago
If all it takes is a Navaly hoax to cause this Europe isn't really worth dealing with._ConanTheLibertarian_ , 4 hours ago
Once upon a time, a revolution occurred in a country through which passed a gas pipeline. The bad guys were vanquished. And the very good foreign guys who helped the local good guys defeat the tyrant said: "We got the same stuff, but liquid."
Any similarity with fictitious events or characters was purely coincidental.Obamanism666 , 49 minutes ago
Germany needs the gaz.
https://www.politico.eu/article/why-germany-cant-say-no-to-nord-stream/lucitanian , 31 minutes ago
Remember the Gas to Europe still flows through the Ukraine. Russia just needs to reduce the gas Pressure and blame the Ukraine and Europe goes cold and Dark.
German People will beg for Nordstream 2 to be switched on.Hope Copy , 1 hour ago
That's not the way Russia works. But it's the kind of blackmail that the US uses. And that's why Russia is a more dependable partner for Europe for energy.Herodotus , 1 hour ago
This **** goes right back to the 'DeepState' pseudo-revolution that got the Nicky-the-weak killed ,because he financed his railroads and wanted to be rich as hell as he perceived the ENGLISH monarchy to be, with a parliamentary DUMA that he could over rule if need be. I have looked 'DeepState' right in the eyes when I was young and dumb and was told that I would never go to their masion.. Nicky had family enemies. and the Czech fighting force was never going to save him.. Stalin was also double-crossed, but was well informed.. it was in his sector if one reads and believes. Cunning fox Stalin was, always playing those under him to do his bidding.. and that lesson has been well learned by a couple of the world's leaders in this day-in-age...novictim , 1 hour ago
German manufacturing costs must be driven higher to take the heat off of the UK as they emerge from the EU and attempt to become competitive.SuperareDolo , 2 hours ago
When "War" is actually not war but trade policy and financial incentives then you know you are engaged in dangerous bloviations and hyperbole.
When the shooting starts, then you can talk of War.LoveTruth , 2 hours ago
Russia might not want to fight these attempts to isolate it from the western economy. The collateral damage will be that much less, once Babylon the great finally falls.IronForge , 3 hours ago
And US claims to be a "Fair Player," caring for freedom and democracy, while twisting arms and supporting corrupted officials.Maghreb2 , 2 hours ago
PetroUSD, MIC, Colonial Control of Vassals. World Domination Play by the Hegemony.
Just like the Policies of NATO: Russians Out, Germans Down, Anglo-American-ZioMasons and Vatican_Vassals In.
Policies were like this - Sponsored by Anglo-ZioMasons from Pre-WWI, continued through WWII and the First Cold War, and onwards after the Collapse of the SUN and the ensuing NeoCon Wolfowitz Doctrine and PNAC7/Bush-Cheney PetroUSD Plans.
The Hegemony Control MENA Energy Producers. The IRQ-KWT War were mishandled; and KSA demanded for the USA to Smite IRQ. The Initial War and Occupation prompted Hussein to opt the EUR for Petroleum, which Brought about the End of Hussein through the 9-11/PNAC7 Long War.
LBY opted for the Au-Dinar for Petroleum; and were Fail-Stated. IRN and RUS remain the only Major Energy Producers not Controlled by the Hegemony.
IRN were Sanctioned since removing the Shackles of Hegemonic Occupancy via Shah Par Levi; and attempts for Energy Diversification via Nuclear means raised suspicions of Nuclear Weapons Development - prompting for heavier Sanctions and 5thColumn Regime Change Operations by the Hegemony. IRN circumvented Sanctions in part by selling their Petroleum via Major Currencies and Barter. Though many Countries have reduced or maintained their purchase of IRN Petroleum via Sanctions Protocols, CHN are involved in Purchasing IRN's Output.
RUS, another Target of Ruin, Plunder, and Occupational Exploitation by the Hegemony, were Too Large a Country with Standing Armed Forces for Direct Military Invasion by the Hegemony. After the Collapse of the SUN, The Harvard/Chicago led Economic Reforms ended in Plunder - which prompted the Selection and Rise of Putin, who drove out the Plunderers. The Hegemony continue their Geopolitical War of Influence Peddling around RUS while attempting Soft War NATO Membership Recruitment and Regime Change Coups within RUS, Ex-SUN Nation-States, and Trading Partners.
RUS have endured, became Militarily mightier, have become the Major Energy Producer for North/Western Europe and CHN. In addition to the Production, RUS now have begun Trading Petroleum+NatGas outside of the PetroUSD Exchange Mechanism, opting for Customer Currencies or RUB.
RUS and IRN are expected to be Key Providers of the PetroCNY-Au Exchange Mechanism.
The Hegemony and MENA Vassals can't Compete in Combined Petroleum+NatGas Volume and Price; and DEU - by Directly Importing from RUS - will most likely become more Independent from the Hegemon.
CHN, RUS, and DEU - Major Energy, Industrial, Natural Resource, and Military Powers Decoupling from the Influences of the Hegemony, with IND Slowly coming to their Own (IND are simply Too Large to remain Vassals to the Hegemon; and Vassal GBR did so much to Oppress them in the past).
Funny that the Anglo-American-ZioMasons and VAT have brought each of these 3 Powers to Ruin and Occupation in the Past 2 Centuries.
The Ironies being Played Out are that:
1) GBR Lost their Prime Colonies - America/USA, IND, and now Trade City Colony HKG - by their Oppressive and Exploitative Occupancy; and
2) USA, after Fighting Wars for Independence from such Occupations by GBR - Once Becoming a Major Military Power, Followed in the Anglo-ZioMason Tradition of Geopolitical Conquest and Control to the Scale of pursing not only in World Domination - but in Absolute Global Rule.
Problem is demographic shift . The previous modern system dominated by Zio-Masonry was GNP and GDP where currencies were measured against global output and floated against gold and each other. Now with high inflation and demographic decline knocking out the economy is easier leading to fights between zones of influence. Petro Ruble, Euro or dollar. Dangerous commodities like kilos of heroin, trafficked humans or weapons. Zio-Masonic system has fallen to gangsterism. Hybrid Warfare is the kind of thing we saw in Afghanistan or 80s Columbia . Militarized Russian mafia vs NATO backed militarized police forces.
Once the population reaches a certain age and consumption drops there isn't much to fight over besides social control systems of the young minority. Color revolutions in Central Europe are really only effecting the long term economy of the young . Hope would be Left wing Radicals stood up to the system and aligned with right wing groups to eliminate masonic and Zionist factions and take back the command and control systems before the continet is shut down permanently.
Precision strikes and hunting down their descendents . Easy to find because Hitler and Stalin had their ancestors massacred for loyalty to Rothschild. They won't bite the hands that feed.The Vatican vassal systems was built on knowing that a Zionist is Zionist and Masons is a Mason. They are cults simply teaching them the correct way to behave can avert these political problems.
In terms of Belarus and Russia they should consider the fact the birth rate rate rose after the Soviet collapse and exodus west means many of them shouldn't have even been born in Rothschilds plan. In their " system " economic planning starts at birth because color revolutions effect long term bond issuances they control.
Stalin and Hitler both knew this and used money linked to raw marterials and goods to beat the British gold standard system. If you knew what the Western Central banks were worth you would kill people for using their money.
Sep 27, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Sunday saw huge clashes erupt between the armies of Armenia and Azerbaijan along the already militarized and disputed Nagorno-Karabakh border region. An official state of war in the region has been declared by Yerevan.
"Early in the morning, around 7 a.m. the Azerbaijani forces launched a large-scale aggression, including missile attacks..." Armenia's Defense Ministry stated Sunday. Armenia has since reportedly declared martial law and a "total military mobilization" in what looks to be the most serious escalation between the two countries in years.Tank warfare unfolding Sunday. Armenian Defense Ministry produced footage (still frame) of attack on Azeri positions.
Air and artillery attacks from both sides ramped up, with each side blaming the other for the start of hostilities, while international powers urge calm. Crucially, civilians have already been killed on either side by indiscriminate shelling . At least a dozen soldiers on either side have also been reported killed.
Armenia's high command has ordered all troops throughout the country to muster and report to their bases : "I invite the soldiers appointed in the forces to appear before their military commissions in the regions," a statement said.
Armenia's military has released footage of significant tank warfare in progress. The below is said to be Armenian army forces destroying Azerbaijani tanks:
And here's more from Sunday's fighting:
The recent conflict hearkens back to 2016, but before that to post-Soviet times. Christian Armenia and Muslim Azerbaijan fought a war at that time in which at least 200 people were killed over Armenian ethnic breakaway Nagorno Karabakh, which declared independence in 1991, despite being internationally recognized as within Azerbaijan territory .
The first war for the territory finished in 1994, but the region has been militarized since, amid sporadic shelling.
Dozens of civilians have already been injured Sunday in the major flare-up of fighting, as CNN reports :
While Armenia said it was responding to missile attacks launched by its neighbor Sunday, Azerbaijan blamed Armenia for the clashes.
In response to the alleged firing of projectiles by Azerbaijan, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan tweeted that his country had "shot down 2 helicopters & 3 UAVs, destroyed 3 tanks."
Multiple dramatic battlefield videos are circulating on social media confirming the large-scale deployment of tanks, artillery units, and airpower . Multiple Azerbaijani soldiers have been reported killed, but it's as yet unclear what casualty numbers could be.
Turkey's role in new fighting is attracting scrutiny. Its foreign ministry blamed Armenia and called for it to halt military operations, however, it hardly appears to be a mere outside or 'neutral' observer, given new widespread reports Turkey has transferred 'Syrian rebel' units to join the fighting on Azerbaijan's side .
These reports of Turkish supplied Syrian mercenaries began days ago, in what regional analysts predicted would be a huge escalation in hostilities in the Caucuses.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan late in the day slammed Turkey's meddling in the conflict . Ankara had called Armenia "an obstacle" to peace after the fresh hostilities broke out. Yerevan has now formally confirmed Turkey is supplying fighters .Via BBC
Given the number of vital oil and gas infrastructure facilities and pipelines in the region , impact on global markets could be seen as early as Monday.
"At least 16 military and several civilians were killed on Sunday in the heaviest clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan since 2016, reigniting concern about stability in the South Caucasus, a corridor for pipelines carrying oil and gas to world markets," Reuters reports.
Azerbaijan has also declared an official state of martial law while clashes between the armies are unfolding.
Meanwhile footage has emerged showing Armenia's nationwide mustering of its national and reserve forces :NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST
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Unverified footage of frontline fighting into the night:
"Pipelines shipping Caspian oil and natural gas from Azerbaijan to the world pass close to Nagorno-Karabakh," Reuters reports. "Armenia also warned about security risks in the South Caucasus in July after Azerbaijan threatened to attack Armenia's nuclear power plant as possible retaliation ."
The fighting is expected to grow fiercer along front lines in the disputed region into the night as the prospect of a full 'state of war' is looming between the historic rivals.
Sep 27, 2020 | www.unz.com
Next, I absolutely have to mention the absolutely insane situation around Belarus .
To make a long story short, the EU wants to sanction Russia for intervening in Belarus while that self-same EU is intervening in every possible imaginable manner: from the Poles who treat Tikhanovskaia as a modern False Dmitri the Fifth (see here for a summary of Polish-run False Dmitris), to the promise of a special "Marshall Plan for Belarus", to the coordination of all the protests from Poland. The EU refuses to recognize Lukashenko as the winner (in spite of the fact that there is exactly zero evidence suggesting that Lukashenko lost) and refers to Tikhanovskaia as the "Leader of Belarus" (whatever that means).
As for our US American friends, having learned exactly nothing from the abject failure of their Guaido coup in Venezuela, they now want to repeat exactly the same with Tikhanovskaia in Belarus. As a result, Tikhanovskaia has been re-christened "Juanita Guaido"
But the worst are still the Europeans. Not only are they prostituting themselves to the leaders of the Empire, the following countries were the first to declare that they will not recognize Lukashenko as the leader of Belarus: Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia (which is no surprise, they all compete for the title of most pro-US colony on the planet), but also putatively mentally sane countries such as Germany, Czechia, Slovakia, Denmark. The case of Germany is particularly amazing, because Germany will now be placed under immense pressure to cancel North Stream 2, something which the entire German industry opposes. Eventually, the US, Canada, the Ukraine, the UK and the entire EU joined in and also refused to recognize Lukashenko as the leader of Belarus.
What is especially amazing to me is that these EU imbeciles apparently don't care that without North Stream 2 they will have to purchase US gas, at much higher prices, which will make the EU economy less effective than the US one. And I thought that prostitutes are always acutely aware of the money they can make: not the European ones, apparently.
Still, I think that the "top honor" in this category goes to Poland which, while condemning some undefined Russian intervention in Belarus, runs the NEXTA Telegram channel which runs videos like this one: (in Russian – no, not in Belarusian, they know that 99.9999% Belarussians speak Russian):
The tragedy of this situation the most of people who constitute fifth column will be royally fleeced if this color revolution succeeds. As Ukrainian experience had shown the immediate result will be the drop (2-3 times) of national currency against the dollar, mass sellout of assets to the West at bargain process (for pennies on the dollar) as well as continuation of the destruction of Soviet infrastructure. Western powers want 90% of Byelorussian people to live on the level slightly above starvation and they have numerous methods of achieving this goal directly and indirectly.
In two to three year Belorussia will be a regular debt slave of the West.27 Sep, 2020 Around 200 have been detained as the Belarusian capital, Minsk and other cities host rallies, during which the opposition plans to hold a "people's inauguration" of former presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya.
The action was called in response to the secret inauguration staged by long-time President Alexander Lukashenko for himself earlier this week. Tikhanovskaya won't be attending the protest, as she fled Belarus for Lithuania after the August 9 election, which the opposition insists was rigged.
Thousands marched along Independence Avenue in Minsk, despite security forces thoroughly preparing for the unsanctioned event and urging people to stay at home. Mobile internet speed has been reduced in the capital. A local mobile operator said it has been ordered to do so by the government. It may have been done to complicate communication among demonstrators.
The city's largest squares were blocked off, with seven subway stations in the center also shut down. A convoy of armored vehicles has also been spotted outside Lukashenko's heavily guarded residence.
Music was played from loudspeakers along the route of the march to drown out the chants of the demonstrators, calling for Lukashenko's immediate resignation and a new, fair election.
Police say that almost 200 people have been arrested in Minsk and other cities where protests took place on Sunday.
The protests in Belarus have been marred by mass arrests from the very start, with thousands of anti-government demonstrators detained in the weeks since the election. Police have also been accused of using excessive force against demonstrators and mistreating detainees. Three protesters have been killed during the unrest, according to official data, with hundreds, including many officers, wounded.ALSO ON RT.COM WATCH Belarusian police use tear gas & flashbang devices against anti-Lukashenko protesters in Gomel
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Sep 27, 2020 | www.unz.com
Beckow , says: September 27, 2020 at 12:39 am GMT@vot tak – Russia could stop transit through Ukraine tomorrow and switch to LNG and existing underwater pipelines. The fact that they have not done it and signed a limited 5-year deal for 2020-2024 suggests that either Russia doesn't want to do it or it is a political concession to its customers (Germany)TG , says: September 26, 2020 at 3:01 pm GMT
You are right that NS2 theatre by Washington is simply playing for time – they know that they can't really prevail. But it is larger than that: their whole strategy is to delay and postpone. They are trying to delay the inevitable or are hoping for a miracle. But strategically they have lost. Water flows downstream, it is only a question of how fast.Realist , says: September 26, 2020 at 3:09 pm GMT
A very interesting post. I might quibble with some of the finer points, but yes, the world has gone stark raving bonkers.
The Russians are NOT ten feet tall, and the Americans – for all of the idiocy of the ruling elites – still have many strengths, and no matter how badly employed, these strengths will not disappear in a day. Russia might yet get pulled down, if they are unlucky or the elites are corrupted by money.
But there is one difference between the Americans and the Russians that, long term, may be the single biggest factor: more than hypersonic missiles or all of that. It's that, for now at least, the Russian elites can learn from experience, and the Americans, can not (or will not, but same thing).
Consider: after the Soviet Union fell, Russian forces got their tails whipped by the Chechens. The Russians rethought their approach, and in a rematch Russia scored not just a military victory, but an enduring strategic victory: they accomplished their policy goals! A goal that was not just spreading chaos and instability! When was the last time the United States did something like that? Maybe Korea in the 1950's.@Ann Nonny MouseThe Spirit of Enoch Powell , says: September 26, 2020 at 3:13 pm GMT
I'm waiting impatiently for the collapse of the US dollar, hope to live to see it.
Me too the price of gold will go through the roof.@Mustapha Mond
The Taliban in Afghanistan and the 'rag-tag' North Vietnamese who successfully fought the Vietnam War might disagree with you .
You can't really use those examples as a way of finalising the inferiority of the Western armed forces vis-à-vis Russia as the latter also did not manage to defeat the Afghans and would likely have been made a mincemeat of by the VC as well.
Russia's performance in Chechnya was also not that great considering the power differential.
Sep 26, 2020 | www.amazon.com
The rich understand that capitalism is a game of musical chairs. It's systemic class warfare conducted on a grand scale to discourage solidarity across lines that might otherwise threaten the system, and with each market re-set arranged by the Federal Reserve, more of the country's resources fall into wealthy hands.
Examining what happens when a society favors old money over new and breaks all the rules to make the world safe for finance, author Jeanne Haskin predicts increasing volatility and violence in the United States if we do not significantly change course.
For a preview of what lies ahead for the U.S., the author takes us for a quick exemplary trip through Central America.A society that is reared on competition will face unsettling challenges to authority if it doesn't set certain functions outside the arena of battle, via systematic enrichment of the affluent minority that has always had the power to topple and ruin the system.
Today's preoccupation with America's revolutionary history is not just a piece of theater. At the heart of America's outrage is an inability to lash out and demand redemption from the source of its distress because the pain is inflicted, not by hatred, but by the fundamental lack of stability built into our way of life.
Now that a fifth of the population is suffering job loss, foreclosures, or exclusion from employment due to prejudice, poor credit, a lack of skills or education, a glut of competition and insufficient opportunity, the failure to provide for the helpless majority means the system is at an impasse. Because the system can't or won't perform, the Tea Party's rise was preemptive with all its implied violence and 'real' American theater as the means to channel our anger into voting out Obama so reform can proceed unimpeded...with all its inherent dangers.
After reviewing some foreign examples that erupted in the environments of colonialism and post-colonialism, neoliberalism, militarism and oligarchies, the author filters through the head-spinning social and political noise that stands in for responsible debate in America today. Ms. Haskin's richly documented essay sees a bonfire prepared as social tensions are increased and inter-group pressures are encouraged to mount. So much for "One nation..."
Table of Contentsxi
Chapter One- Unearthing the Bones7
Chapter Two- Instilling the Illusion of Choice19
Chapter Three- Political Strategizing23
Chapter Four- Behavioral Economics27
Chapter Five- Favoring Old Money over New33
Chapter Six- Making the World Safe for Finance39
Chapter Seven- The Colonial History of Belize51
Chapter Eight- Belize -- Party Politics and Debt65
Chapter Nine- Belize -- Recommendations of the IMF83
Chapter Ten- Nicaragua 1522–193991
Chapter Eleven- Nicaragua -- The Somoza Dynasty107
Chapter Twelve- Nicaragua -- Opposition to the Sandinistas119
Chapter Thirteen- Nicaragua -- Implementing Neoliberalism133
Chapter Fourteen- El Salvador -- The Military and the Oligarchy151
Chapter Fifteen- El Salvador -- The War and Its Aftermath165
Chapter Sixteen- Honduras -- Land of Instability179
Chapter Seventeen- Honduras -- The Impact of the Contras191
Chapter Eighteen- Fast-Forward to a Volatile USA205
Sep 26, 2020 | www.amazon.com
Extracted from: From Conflict to Crisis- The Danger of U.S. Actions by Jeanne M. Haskin
CHAPTER TWO: INSTILLING THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE
Selfishness may be exalted as the root and branch of capitalism, but it doesn't make you look good to the party on the receiving end or those whose sympathy he earns. For that, you need a government prepared to do four things, which each have separate dictums based on study, theorization, and experience. Coercion: Force is illegitimate only if you can't sell it. Persuasion: How do I market thee? Let me count the ways. Bargaining: If you won't scratch my back, then how about a piece of the pie? Indoctrination: Because I said so. (And paid for the semantics.)
Predatory capitalism is the control and expropriation of land, labor, and natural resources by a foreign government via coercion, persuasion, bargaining, and indoctrination.
At the coercive stage, we can expect military and/or police intervention to repress the subject populace. The persuasive stage will be marked by clientelism, in which a small percentage of the populace will be rewarded for loyalty, often serving as the capitalists' administrators, tax collectors, and enforcers. At the bargaining stage, efforts will be made to include the populace, or a certain percentage of it, in the country's ruling system, and this is usually marked by steps toward democratic (or, more often, autocratic) governance.
At the fourth stage, the populace is educated by capitalists, such that they continue to maintain a relationship of dependency.
The Predatory Debt Link
In many cases, post-colonial states were forced to assume the debts of their colonizers. And where they did not, they were encouraged to become in debt to the West via loans that were issued through international institutions to ensure they did not fall prey to communism or pursue other economic policies that were inimical to the West. Debt is the tie that binds nation states to the geostrategic and economic interests of the West.
As such, the Cold War era was a time of easy credit, luring postcolonial states to undertake the construction of useless monoliths and monuments, and to even expropriate such loans through corruption and despotism, thereby making these independent rulers as predatory as colonizers. While some countries were wiser than others and did use the funds for infrastructural improvements, these were also things that benefited the West and particularly Western contractors. In his controversial work Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, John Perkins reveals that he was a consultant for an American firm (MAIN), whose job was to ensure that states became indebted beyond their means so they would remain loyal to their creditors, buying them votes within United Nations organizations, among other things.
Predatory capitalists demand export-orientations as the means to generate foreign currency with which to pay back debt. In the process, the state must privatize and drastically slash or eliminate any domestic subsidies which are aimed at helping native industry compete in the marketplace. Domestic consumption and imports must be radically contained, as shown by the exchange rate policies recommended by the IMF. The costs of obtaining domestic capital will be pushed beyond the reach of most native producers, while wages must be depressed to an absolute bare minimum. In short, the country's land, labor, and natural resources must be sold at bargain basement prices in order to make these goods competitive, in what one author has called "a spiraling race to the bottom," as countries producing predominantly the same goods engage in cutthroat competition whose benefactor is the West.
Under these circumstances, foreign investment is encouraged, but this, too, represents a loaded situation for countries that open their markets to financial liberalization.
Sep 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
uncle tungsten , Sep 22 2020 22:53 utc | 36On rules based disorder and the capitulation of Merkel and her BND lapdogs to the 'hate Russia' fulminations of the UKUSA morons. I see that the German Parliament has NOT TAKEN its red pills these days and is reluctant to swallow the BS. It would be satisfying to see the collective wisdom of the Parliament to exceed that of the BND. But then that is a low bar.
Sep 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
vinnieoh , Sep 22 2020 21:41 utc | 27Probably counting on the desperate vanity and ego of Trump with the looming election to not shorten the length of the leash on Pompass. Pompass must also have noticed that Trump is willing to shove the homeland into civil war in order to claim victory, so maybe Pompass finally has the latitude to slake his bloodthirstiness.
Since I'm wondering down the path of speculation, a bit further into the murk. If there is one thing that characterizes the US today from the highest to the low, it is corruption. I submit that this corruption finds its zenith in the military, and especially the procurement train: any engagement with a near-peer (or the coalition/bloc we're talking about here,) and the rot and corruption will collapse this empire in upon itself. I've had this suspicion for some time, and believe if the going got rough the collapse would come rather quickly and completely.
Sep 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Ashino , Sep 23 2020 9:23 utc | 67http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2020/09/russia-steals-everything.htmlAshino , Sep 23 2020 9:29 utc | 68
Comment by Reader Dark Fate
Following a long line of very arrogant american imperial "negotiators", mr oblivion billingslea used standard "negotiating" techniques like
(a) accusing the other side of crimes Americans have committed first and forever, eg, extreme lying, bad faith argumentation, military aggression, foreign government security breaching, assassination and poisoning [as in american presidents and independent thinkers], and of course, electoral cheating;
(b) putting the opponent in the "negotiation process" on the defensive or back foot by stating false news allegations amplified by the media controlled by the american empire;
(c) offering nothing useful or commitable to be done by the empire, and yet "magnanimously" demanding the moon as opponents' concessions, eg, russian, iranian and chinese nuclear weapons limits, but not for nato's development and deployment, and; (d) after making impossible demands, the imperials accuse the opponents of hostility and unwillingness to "negotiate".
The russians can skillfully agree by stating that they only require the americans to reduce their nukes to 320 pieces like china, and in less than five years.
This is why it is very important for sovereign nations to read the guidebook, called the "idiot's guide on running the american empire", and developing deep and lasting solutions.
As for the other american imperial military "advantages", eg, constellation of "aggression" satellites, andrei forgot to mention that these can be shot or burned down in minutes easily by russia, china and even iran, as these stations cannot hide or run away in earth orbits.
Replenishment of weapons and military supplies after 3 months is rather doomed as the cheap, mass production and manufacturing facilities do not exist. Which must be re-created somehow but now
American lands are the targets. Much, Much Different Than WW2 !!
And of course, russia can always nuke down the USA and its vassal countries, and thus permanently ruin their economies for a decade or more, they don't know how to run defense -- this was always the fatal weakness of all bullies - if they'll have enough time to "learn it"... let's see... I doubt this.
Let's see americans try to start and conduct a nuclear war after too many spy, internet and gps satellites are shot down. Russia can even do this today using conventional explosives, and the world will be shocked how helpless the american military and economy can be made even without using russian nukes.
There are countries still immune to the numerous american imperial diseases that are already documented daily in zerohedge postings. The better countries still have lots of parents telling their kids to study and work hard so they can have better lives than their ancestors.
In oregon and california, they teach unemployable kids to burn something or somebody sometime before dinner.
CdVision • 11 hours ago
I was about to say that what now comes out of the US & Trump's mouth in particular, is Orwellian. But that credits it with too much gravitas. The true comparison is Alice in Wonderland:
"Words mean whatever I want them to mean".Reminiscence of the Future.. ( http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2020/09/russia-steals-everything.html)
Russia "Steals Everything" !! (Not just China, oops... ???!!!!)
And Jesus Christ was an American and was born in Kalamazoo, MI. It is a well-known fact. So Donald Trump, evidently briefed by his "utterly competent and crushingly precise aids", knows now that too! !!! LOL
Time For Daily Auto-Hypnosis, Comrades. !!!
> US President Donald Trump claims that Russia developed hypersonic weapons after allegedly stealing information from the United States.
> According to him, "Russia received this information from the Obama administration," Moscow "stole this information." Trump said that "Russia received this information and then created" the rocket, reports TASS.
> "We have such advanced weapons that President Xi, Putin and everyone else will envy us. They do not know what we have, but they know that it is something that no one has ever heard of. "
->We are the foremost and always number one. Everything is invented only by us, the rest can only either steal, or be gifted with our developments for good behavior. This situation is eternal, unchanging, everyone lags behind American Tikhalogii at least 50 years (the time frame was chosen so that even a 20-year-old would lose heart, "what's the point of trying to catch up, it won't work anyway, in my lifetime"). It was, is, and will be, this is the natural course of events.
All this is delivered in the format of the classic Sunday sermon of the American provincial Protestant church, coding the parishioners for further deeds and actions. And it worked effectively, creating in some basalt confidence "we are better because we are better", in others - "I don't mind anything for joining this radiant success, I'm ready for anything, I'll go for any hardships and crimes, if only There".
Only now it worked. In a situation where the frequency of pronouncing such mantras is more and more, emotions are invested in them too, but in fact everyone understands that this is what autohypnosis does not work.
The poor have stolen from the United States, if you look at it, literally everything. And 5G and the superweapon of the gods. Moreover, a pearl with a characteristic handwriting is not copy / paste, but move / paste, you bastards. Therefore, the United States does not even have any traces of developments left - the guys just sit in an empty room, shrug their hands, "here we have a farm of mechanical killer dolls, with the faces of Mickey Mouse overexposed, and now look - traces of bast shoes and candy wrappers from "Korkunov" only, ah-ah-ah, well, something like that, ah. "
At the same time, there are no cases of sabotage, espionage - whole projects were simply developed, developed, brought to a working product, and then the hob - and that's it, and disappeared. And this became noticeable only after years. And all the persons involved are like "wow, wow."
Psychiatric crazy fool of the head, no less.
But due to the fact that all of the above theses are driven very tightly into the template for the perception of the world, both those who voiced these theses and the listeners are satisfied.
Because the post-American post-hegemonic world is not terrible because in some ratings another country will be higher there, and Detroit will never be rebuilt "as it was". It is scary because it is not clear how to live for people who had no support in the form of global goals, faith, philosophy of life, and all this was replaced by narcissism on the basis of "successful success is my second self".
This means that the moment when this issue has to be resolved must be delayed to the last. Leaving the whole topic on the plane "we were offended, we are offended, we were dishonest, which means we have the right to any action" is not a bad move.
It's a pity that it doesn't really affect the essence of what is happening.< >
Sep 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
uncle tungsten , Sep 22 2020 22:15 utc | 34Colm O' Toole #26David G , Sep 22 2020 22:23 utc | 35
Andre Vltchek whose done some great reporting on China, Russia, and the Middle East over the years was found dead today in Turkey.
Vale great warrior, the world was kept informed by this wonderful spirit and passionate mind. I am very sad to hear of his passing.
His works.Colm O' Toole | Sep 22 2020 21:41 utc | 26:Jen , Sep 22 2020 23:03 utc | 38
I learned about places I've never been reading Vltchek. He will be missed by many.Colm O'Toole @ 26, Uncle Tungsten @ 32, David G @ 33:willie , Sep 23 2020 7:20 utc | 64
I am also sad to hear of Andre Vltchek's passing. He used to be an occasional contributor to Off-Guardian.org.
His death is being treated as suspicious by Turkish police authorities. I myself am rather puzzled by the decision to travel overnight by car from Samsun to Istanbul, given his state of health (according to the report that Colm O'Toole linked to) and the length of the car journey (about nine hours) when he could have travelled by plane.R.I.P DR.Stephen Cohen.
R.I.P. Andre Vitchek.
Maybe his latest outcry hindered some :
Sep 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.orglizard , Sep 22 2020 21:59 utc | 31our host misses the real challenge for humans on this planet, perhaps by design. I think Michael Krieger had it right, what we should be aiming for is the decentralizing of power. invest in localism. get to know your local power structure. get ready for trade and barter survival mode.
for example, if I lived in Germany I might identify how my country helps American drone pilots like Brandon Bryant violate our constitution. from the link:On October 15, former U.S. drone operator Brandon Bryant testified before the German Parliament about the role the U.S. air base in Ramstein, Germany, plays in the U.S. drone program. Hours later, Shadowproof reported, two American Air Force officers showed up at the house of Bryant's mother in Missoula, Montana, to inform her that she was on the "hit list" of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), which Bryant's attorney is calling a clear sign of whistleblower intimidation.
Bryant, now an outspoken critic of the U.S. drone program, left the Air Force after what he described as a moment of moral clarity. "We were hunting for Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen," he told a German parliamentary inquiry committee last week. "I suddenly realized that by doing what I was doing I was going against the American Constitution which I had sworn to protect. That was when I decided I had to get out."
Bryant came back to his hometown in Missoula and became active in local politics, culminating in a felony arrest for allegedly intimidating local council members over his criticism of how local officials use public funds. this was right before the pandemic, and since then there has been nothing in the news about his case. I would know, since I could possible be a witness in the case.
if you aren't at least a little prepared for a disruption in critical supplies, and choose instead to waste time commenting on online forums, it won't matter how up to date you are on "rules based international order" vs. "international law". at that point the reality will be something like this: if you aren't holding it, you don't have it, and if you can't defend it, you won't be keeping it for long.
Colour revolutions and other forms of outside interference in state affairs are changing. This is both logical and natural, since government bodies adapt to change, find ways to counter threats, and retain the right to use legitimate force, which, according to Max Weber, is one of the features of the modern state. But no sooner do the world's leading centres for interference and destabilisation start feeling for new vulnerabilities in state systems than there is yet another attempted coup or an attack on a state system. This kind of instability is not desirable for any country, since it could gradually weaken the immunity of sovereignty. As a consequence, the transformation of protest movements should be of particular interest since, by understanding their development, it will be possible to predict protesters' and rioters' course of action. The protests in Belarus show that this is not what happened there, and the authorities were forced to respond quickly to the situation.
For an adequate understanding of anti-government strategies, it is necessary to turn, first of all, to the methods used by those organising the protests and coups.
In his article " Protests and Principles ", Srđa Popović, a well-known activist, organiser of colour revolutions and executive director of CANVAS, writes that the ideological and geopolitical factors focussed on by the media are insufficient to fully understand what's going on and evaluate the protests. He suggests paying attention to the structural conditions that differ in different countries, as well as the outcomes of movements. Popović concludes that the protests in recent years have shown a certain trend – "the traditional and institutional ways of creating change – elections, legal systems and dialogue with the elites – are insufficiently effective. So protesters have decided to utilize another form of power to force constructive change."
Further on, he asks: "If geography and ideology don't determine success, what does?" He outlines four key principles. One – a clear vision of the future. Two – a united opposition that should have a good understanding of who its allies are and who is neutral. Three – key pillars, which could be the media, business sectors, social institutions and government agencies (particularly security agencies that could be enticed over to the opposition). Four – attraction, which is a common element in many protest movements, since they position themselves as fighters of injustice.
At the same time, Popović admits that anger (and therefore also violence) is an effective tool for mobilisation, but it should be combined with hope, otherwise it will play a destructive role.
It is with a regretful sigh that Popović writes about the failed "revolutions" in Hong Kong and Venezuela, for which he partially blames the opposition. The problem with the former was the violence used against the police, and with the latter it was that Juan Guaidó put all his efforts into winning over the military and overthrowing Maduro with a coup.
In summary, Srđa Popović argues that initial conditions and context matter, but strategic skills matter even more. And it is difficult to disagree. After all, an initial flash of protest can be suppressed, activist cells can be liquidated, and crowds can be dispersed. And if there is no definite plan of action for how to act in a given situation, then any protest, whether peaceful or violent, will come to nothing.
Needless to say, the information in Popović's article is for naive readers and written with the utmost care so as to rule out any possible accusations of anti-state activities. All the advice is given from the standpoint of protecting democratic values. Therefore, one needs to be able to read between the lines and draw conclusions from past coups.
From Ukraine's Euromaidan in 2014, we know that hope can be rather deceptive and elusive. It hovers within touching distance during protests and is an additional incentive, but it never becomes a reality. Disillusionment and frustration do not set in until it is already too late, by which time power has fallen into the hands of those who immediately tighten the screws and have no intention of discussing anything with the people.
CANVAS, however, is an organisation that develops strategic action plans for particular countries. Judging by its recent online summer academy , CANVAS was actively involved in the overthrow of Bolivian President Evo Morales, supported protests in Sudan, Zimbabwe and Brazil, and has close ties with opposition groups in Malaysia, the Philippines and Georgia.
Popović's views on the strategic planning of coups is shared by Peter Ackerman , former chair of the board of trustees of Freedom House, and board member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the NATO Atlantic Council. Ackerman believes that " the talented execution of even the simplest nonviolent tactics can alter the psychology of a population and the behavior of a regime ." He also believes that the consolidated efforts of hundreds of small organisations can have a cumulative effect and make it look like there is a unity of opinion and effort. This explains why, in Ukraine, the West actively supported both the radical nationalists and the liberals, which is basically like crossing a grass snake with a viper, given that these two groups have radically different ideologies. A similar situation can be seen in Belarus, where the muscle was provided by home-grown nationalists (symbolism associated with Nazi collaborators during the war was openly used at protests), while representatives of sexual minorities were included on various opposition councils.
The International Center on Nonviolent Conflict , which was founded by Ackerman and whose headquarters are in Washington, does similar work to CANVAS. In partnership with Rutgers University (New Jersey), the centre has been running online courses for activists since 2012. These not only cover the theory of protest movements and provide specific examples, but also adapt new techniques. It is noticeable that the course developers are seeking out new frontiers in resistance movements – how to exploit culture and religion, or how to target corporations (since corporations can be state-owned, by focusing on a problem related to the company's activities, attention can then be turned to the government itself).
The activities of another institution, the United States Institute of Peace, cover 52 states , and, in a number of countries (such as China and Iran), they are carried out indirectly, using local agents and manipulating facts to its advantage. Thus, a recent report on Russia's interest in conflict zones states that " Russia's activities in conflict zones usually directly or indirectly run counter to Western interests ." The truth, however, is that it is the West's activities that run counter to the interests of Russia, which then has to respond in some way. Russia has no military bases in the Americas, whereas there are NATO bases and US troops on Russia's borders. Russian troops are in Syria legitimately, whereas US troops in the country are effectively occupiers.
The Tavistock Institute in London is doing some fairly serious work in the field of social engineering and manipulation. Its main activities are carried out under the ruse of supporting self-organisation and human relationships. Thus, the Tavistock Institute began developing the sociotechnical systems theory in the 1950s, started putting it into practice in the 1980s, and is still using it now. The proliferation of perverts around the world under the smokescreen of tolerance is largely due to this organisation (an agenda being carried out under the politically neutral guise of " Group Relations ").
It can be seen from these examples that the locale for protest headquarters and for the systematic destruction of the foundations of national identity is the same – the West, chiefly America.
Along with attempts to maintain tactical flexibility during protests, one can often see adjustments being made in response to the circumstances. Thus, the slogan "Flowers are better than bullets" on the placards of Belarusian opposition groups is just a reworking of the slogan "Food not Bombs" used in the decentralised anti-war campaign that originated in the US in the 1980s before spreading to Europe. A branch of this movement appeared in Belarus in 2005 with the help of local anarchists. A feature of the movement is the distribution of vegetarian food to the poor and the homeless. Depending on who is behind the campaign, local political nuances are superimposed in a number of countries.
Many protest movements rely on creativity. So, on 14 April 2020, Polish feminists blocked the traffic on one of Warsaw's main streets. Although the police issued large fines (upwards of €6,000) to many of the activists, no one is going to pay them, and the blocking of traffic was explained by the guidelines of the authorities themselves to observe social distancing of two metres due to the pandemic. In the end, and with the help of lawyers, the draft bills were passed to parliament, and a special commission has been appointed to review them. Thus, the feminists killed two birds with one stone: they managed to troll the government's quarantine measures and also hold a protest that drew more attention to their activities (which are directed against conservatives, including for the legalisation of abortion and the support of sexual minorities).
One should also not forget the activities of individuals aimed at the destabilisation of various governments. Usually, they do it out of ideological beliefs, often using their own money and working with international contacts. One such individual is the French neoliberal philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who actively supported coups in Yugoslavia and Ukraine, terrorists in Libya and Syria, and is currently helping Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who lost in the country's recent presidential election.
George Soros's son, Alexander Soros , is diligently carrying on his father's work by serving as deputy chair of the Open Society Foundations. Recently, he has been making frequent visits to the Balkans, where he has been seen in the company of many senior politicians. In addition to Europe, Alexander Soros often visits Myanmar and is involved in projects in several African countries.
The activities of these people and organisations represent a multi-level international network with multiple dimensions of communication and hidden strategies prepared with an eye to the future.
Therefore, to establish an adequate response mechanism to current and future challenges, the activities of these groups, individuals and institutions must be monitored at the systemic level – constantly, thoroughly and comprehensively.
Reposts are welcomed with the reference to ORIENTAL REVIEW.Leonid SAVIN
Geopolitical analyst, Chief editor of Geopolitica.ru, founder and chief editor of Journal of Eurasian Affairs; head of the administration of International Eurasian Movement.
The Russian President Vladimir Putin disclosed in a TV interview on August 27 that the Americans, amongst others, had fuelled the unrest in Belarus. He explained that the controversial presence of 33 Russian nationals (with military background) in Minsk in the run-up to the presidential election in Belarus on August 8, which briefly created misunderstanding between Minsk and with Moscow, was itself was a joint operation by Ukrainian and US intelligence agencies.
The Russian nationals were apparently given job offers and were "simply lured there (Minsk), dragged across the border de facto they were brought in on fake documents." Evidently, Russia is in possession of hard intelligence.
Putin spoke up even as US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun wrapped up talks with top Russian officials in Moscow Wednesday. According to a VOA report , Biegun's consultations "marked an intensifying U.S. effort to find a peaceful solution in Belarus." The report took note that en route to Moscow, Biegun had "signalled that Washington was not eager to accept efforts by [Belarus President Alexander] Lukashenko to cast the election standoff as an East versus West showdown that might trigger direct Russian involvement."
Simply put, Biegun was on a "damage control" mission. This can be taken as admission of defeat in the US-backed regime change project in Belarus. Conceivably, Russian officials shared with Biegun their intelligence regarding the CIA involvement. Later, crisply anodyne identical readouts were released by the Russian and American sides without divulging any details.
The CIA would roll back its Belarus operation -- for the time being, at least. A commentary titled What's Next for the Peaceful Uprising in Belarus? by the United States Institute of Peace sees "potential to bring change" in Belarus, but concludes saying, "While there are no guarantees of success, there is cause for hope. At a minimum, Belarusians have gained a new-found sense of dignity and belief in the power of nonviolent collective action."
This appears to have been a well-planned operation. Under the garb of journalists, western intelligence deployed dozens of special agents in Belarus. Lukashenko has ordered their expulsion. Associated Press, Radio Liberty and BBC "reporters" have had their accreditation cancelled. A Swedish "photo journalist", presumably an intelligence operative, was detained and was released at the personal intervention of the Swedish ambassador to Belarus and flown out of Minsk.
From the pro forma reaction by the European Union so far, Brussels has a fair idea of what really happened -- that there has been a US operation with active participation of Poland and Lithuania (both EU countries) and Ukraine. Unsurprisingly, NATO statements have been rather combative. The NATO also began air exercises in Poland and Lithuania coinciding with the unrest in Belarus.
However, major European powers -- Germany, France, Italy -- didn't want to get entangled. Their top leaders telephoned Putin to ease the tensions. The EU initially proposed OSCE as mediator, but Moscow sensed that it might lead to backdoor entry by the US intelligence. The OSCE is manned by NATO powers and is under American thumb.
The clincher has been the stern warning by the Kremlin that if the western operation continued, Russia will be left with no option but to intervene. The warning came at Putin's level, making it very clear that Russia will not countenance a regime change in Minsk to hijack Belarus into the American camp. Moscow has asserted its special interests in Belarus under international law. In his TV interview on Thursday, Putin emphatically stated:
"Indeed, the Union Treaty and the Collective Security Treaty (CSTO) include articles saying that all member states of these organisations, including the Union State, which consists of two states only – Russia and Belarus, are obliged to help each other protect their sovereignty, external borders and stability In this connection, we have certain obligations towards Belarus, and this is how Mr Lukashenko has formulated his question. He said that he would like us to provide assistance to him if this should become necessary. I replied that Russia would honour all its obligations.
"Mr Lukashenko has asked me to create a reserve group of law enforcement personnel, and I have done this. But we have also agreed that this group would not be used unless the situation becomes uncontrollable we came to the conclusion that now it is not necessary, and I hope that it will never be necessary to use this reserve, which is why we are not using it." Putin made it abundantly clear that Moscow stands by Lukashenko."
The events in Belarus constitute a watershed moment. Russia will not allow another Ukraine-type colour revolution in the "near abroad", aimed at encircling it with hostile governments. But Moscow's intervention, if at all, will conform to international law and stem out of invitation by the country concerned.
That is to say, Russia regards it to be the prerogative of the CSTO countries to handle their internal affairs without outside unlawful interference. Having said that, Moscow has invoked the CSTO's collective security doctrine. This sets a precedent. The CSTO comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. A CIA-sponsored regime change project in any of these countries can run into the CSTO's crosshairs. Considering that the CSTO is de facto led from Moscow, any more regime change project in Central Asia or Caucasus will trigger Russian countermeasures.
Most important, Moscow will not be prescriptive. Putin has supported Lukashenka's proposal to draft a new constitution and hold fresh presidential and parliamentary elections, but transition should be lawful and orderly. This Russian approach has been already evident in Kyrgyzstan (2005) Turkmenistan (2006), and Uzbekistan (2016). Even in the case of Georgia (2003) and Ukraine (2004 and 2014), Russia didn't oppose transitions but the West turned them into geopolitical contestations to instal anti-Russian regimes.
However, a caveat must be added. Putin also underscored that Belarus is a very special case. He said, in a clear reference to the US, "some forces would like to see something different happening there (Belarus). They would like to influence these processes and to bring about the solutions that would suit their political interests." Russia cannot afford to see such nefarious designs succeed in Belarus.
In Putin's words, "This nation is very close to us (Russian Federation) and perhaps is the closest, both in terms of ethnic proximity, the language, the culture, the spiritual as well as other aspects. We have dozens or probably hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of direct family ties with Belarus." Not only that, Russia sources from Belarus almost 90 percent of its imports of agricultural products.
Source: The Indian PunchlineShare this:
Sep 22, 2020 | www.rt.com
The US is working hard to keep the spotlight on the case of Alexey Navalny as a way to help block construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, according to Sergey Naryshkin, head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (the SVR).
Naryshkin believes that Washington wants to block Nord Stream 2 so it can prevent Moscow from efficiently providing gas to the continent, thereby increasing demand for American liquefied natural gas (LNG) in other European states. As things stand, Russia delivers a large percentage of the continent's gas, and the pipeline would connect the country's gas supply directly to Germany, under the Baltic Sea. The project is more than 90 percent complete.READ MORE: German FM links Nord Stream 2 to Navalny, threatens sanctions as Moscow accuses Berlin of dragging feet on alleged poisoning probe
"It is extremely important for Washington to end this project," Naryshkin said, explaining that the alleged poisoning of opposition figure Navalny has become an excuse to stop Nord Stream 2's construction.
The United States has long been opposed to the project, somewhat incredibly claiming that it would "undermine Europe's overall energy security and stability," but many believe that Washington's true motivations are economic.
Discussion about ending Nord Stream 2 resumed last month, when EU politicians debated further sanctions, following the suspected poisoning of Navalny. Naryshkin believes that the US is using the accusations of poisoning as a pretext to sell more LNG to Europe. On Thursday, MEPs demanded that Germany cancel construction of the pipeline.
Despite US pressure, Naryshkin has expressed hope that the EU will rely on common sense before the "cold winter" and likened the proposed halting of Nord Stream 2 to "cutting off the nose to spite the face."
Late last month, Russian anti-corruption activist Navalny was hospitalized in the Siberian city of Omsk after he became ill on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. Two days later, after a request from his family and associates, he was flown to Berlin for treatment at that city's Charité clinic. Following tests, German authorities announced that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the Novichok group of nerve agents. After the diagnosis, Heiko Maas, the German Foreign Minister, told Berlin tabloid Bild that he hopes "the Russians don't force [the Germans] to change [their] stance on Nord Stream 2."US aims for gas domination in Europe, Ukrainian MP says. Nord Stream 2 is 1st target, then existing European pipeline system
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Sep 10, 2020 | www.blacklistednews.com
SOURCE: CHRIS MENAHAN, INFORMATION LIBERATION
Former defense secretary Jim Mattis appears to have been plotting a coup with then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats after growing furious with President Trump for banning transgenders from the military and moving to pull out of Afghanistan and Syria.
From The Washington Post :Mattis quietly went to Washington National Cathedral [in May 2019] to pray about his concern for the nation's fate under Trump's command and, according to Woodward, told Coats, "There may come a time when we have to take collective action" since Trump is "dangerous. He's unfit."
Translation: we may have to stage a coup to get him out of power. Plenty of Democrats and former and current intelligence officials are working on a Color Revolution come November as we speak .In a separate conversation recounted by Woodward, Mattis told Coats, "The president has no moral compass," to which the director of national intelligence replied: "True. To him, a lie is not a lie. It's just what he thinks. He doesn't know the difference between the truth and a lie."
Mattis doesn't know the difference between a male and a female. Trump reportedly accurately said his generals were a "bunch of pussies.""Not to mention my f**king generals are a bunch of pussies. They care more about their alliances than they do about trade deals," Trump told White House trade adviser Peter Navarro at one point, according to Woodward.
No lie detected!
Ann Coulter, who has repeatedly tried to tell Trump today's generals have nothing in common with those of the past like Trump-favorite Gen. George Patton, responded to the news on Wednesday by saying Trump has won her back!
And he wins me back! https://t.co/7nhtSuC4k9-- Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) September 10, 2020
Sep 23, 2020 | www.blacklistednews.comSOURCE: ZEROHEDGE
As Americans pause to remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001 which saw almost 3,000 innocents killed in the worst terror attack in United States history, it might also be worth contemplating the horrific wars and foreign quagmires unleashed during the subsequent 'war on terror'.
Bush's so-called Global War on Terror targeted 'rogue states' like Saddam's Iraq, but also consistently had a focus on uprooting and destroying al-Qaeda and other armed Islamist terror organizations (this led to the falsehood that Baathist Saddam and AQ were in cahoots). But the idea that Washington from the start saw al-Qaeda and its affiliates as some kind of eternal enemy is largely a myth.
Recall that the US covertly supported the Afghan mujahideen and other international jihadists throughout the 1980's Afghan-Soviet War, the very campaign in which hardened al-Qaeda terrorists got their start. In 1999 The Guardian in a rare moment of honest mainstream journalism warned of the Frankenstein the CIA created -- among their ranks a terror mastermind named Osama bin Laden .
But it was all the way back in 1993 that a then classified intelligence memo warned that the very fighters the CIA previously trained would soon turn their weapons on the US and its allies. The 'secret' document was declassified in 2009, but has remained largely obscure in mainstream media reporting, despite being the first to contain a bombshell admission.
A terrorism analyst at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research named Gina Bennett wrote in the 1993 memo "The Wandering Mujahidin: Armed and Dangerous," that --
"support network that funneled money, supplies, and manpower to supplement the Afghan mujahidin" in the war against the Soviets, "is now contributing experienced fighters to militant Islamic groups worldwide."
The concluding section contains the most revelatory statements, again remembering these words were written nearly a decade before the 9/11 attacks :
US support of the mujahidin during the Afghan war will not necessarily protect US interests from attack.
...Americans will become the targets of radical Muslims' wrath. Afghan war veterans, scattered throughout the world, could surprise the US with violence in unexpected locales.
There it is in black and white print: the United States government knew and bluntly acknowledged that the very militants it armed and trained to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars would eventually turn that very training and those very weapons back on the American people .
And this was not at all a "small" or insignificant group, instead as The Guardian wrote a mere two years before 9/11 :
American officials estimate that, from 1985 to 1992, 12,500 foreigners were trained in bomb-making, sabotage and urban guerrilla warfare in Afghan camps the CIA helped to set up .
But don't think for a moment that there was ever a "lesson learned" by Washington.
Instead the CIA and other US agencies repeated the 1980s policy of arming jihadists to overthrow US enemy regimes in places like Libya and Syria even long after the "lesson" of 9/11. As War on The Rocks recounted :
Despite the passage of time, the issues Ms. Bennett raised in her 1993 work continue to be relevant today. This fact is a sign of the persistence of the problem of Sunni jihadism and the "wandering mujahidin." Today, of course, the problem isn't Afghanistan but Syria. While the war there is far from over, there is already widespread nervousness, particularly in Europe, about what will happen when the foreign fighters return from that conflict.
On 9/11 we should never forget the innocent lives lost, but we should also never forget the Frankenstein of jihad the CIA created .
* * *
The U.S. State Dept.'s own numbers at the height of the war in Syria: access the full report at STATE.GOV
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Sep 23, 2020 | stephenlendman.org
Struggle to Defeat the US-Orchestrated Coup Plot in Belarus
by Stephen Lendman ( stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman )
There's nothing spontaneous about weeks of public demonstrations in Belarus, largely in the capital Minsk.
What's going on was made in the USA, planned long before the August 9 Belarusian presidential election, handily won by incumbent Alexander Lukashenko.
Claims otherwise by US dark forces and establishment media otherwise don't pass the smell test.
Washington's plot is all about wanting Belarus to go the way of Ukraine -- violently transformed into a US vassal state after CIA-orchestrated late 2013/early 2014 street protests in Kiev.
Democratic Ukraine became a fascist police state, a nation unsafe and unfit to live in.
According to former Deputy Prosecutor-General (2010 – 2013), current MP in Ukraine's parliament Renat Kuzmin:
"There is a large group of people who are dissatisfied with the incumbent president (Vladimir Zelensky) and are ready to join the coup d'etat in government agencies, law enforcement agencies, security agencies, including the army" to oust him.
Are US dark forces involved? Kuzmin claims former president Poroshenko is part of the plot.
Is something similar underway in the US in the run-up to November 3 presidential and congressional elections -- a scheme by anti-Trump dark forces to deny him a second term, a coup plot to install Biden as president?
Preventing Belarus from going the way of Ukraine is vital for Russia.
On Monday, Putin and Lukashenko are meeting in Sochi, Russia.
According to the Kremlin's press service, they "plan to discuss the prospects of promoting integration processes within the Union State and implementing joint energy projects," adding:
"During the talks, they plan to discuss key issues of further development of Russian-Belarusian relations of strategic partnership and alliance."
"A special focus will be placed on the implementation of major joint projects in the trade-economic, energy and cultural-humanitarian spheres, as well as the prospects for promoting integration processes within the Union State."
On Sunday, orchestrated anti-Lukashenko demonstrations continued in Minsk, hundreds detained by security forces, according to a Belarusian Interior Ministry press release.
Joint Russian/Belarusian military exercises are being held in Belarus from September 13 – 25, a statement by Russia's Defense Ministry saying the following:
"In accordance with the schedule of international events for 2020, the planned joint Belarusian-Russian tactical exercise Slavic Fraternity, which has been held annually since 2015, will be held from 14 to 25 September at the Brestsky training ground in Belarus."
They come at a time when Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin warned about "NATO at the gates" encroachment, adding:
"The movement of NATO troops is taking place in territory adjacent to us, within the framework of the Enhanced Forward Presence and Atlantic Resolve operations."
"In particular, the 2nd Battalion of the 69th Armor Regiment is being deployed to the Pabrade training ground (in Lithuania) 15 kilometers from our border."
"The fact that about 500 people, 29 tanks, and 43 Bradley Fighting Vehicles will be in such close proximity to our border cannot do anything but worry us."
According to an Estonian Defense Forces press release:
"US Army multipurpose UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters will arrive at the Amari airbase on Sunday (September 13)."
"Next week, the helicopters will conduct missions around the airbase, central training ground and the Tapa army base."
"Their task will be to cooperate with the Estonian Defense Forces" -- despite neither country threatened by any others.
The made in the USA plot to oust Lukashenko shows no signs of ebbing.
A 1999 Russia/Belarus treaty calls for economic integration and mutual cooperation to defend both nations from foreign threats -- with the intent of Belarus integrating with Russia to again become one of its republics.
Will Lukashenko and Putin agree that this is the best way forward?
Will Belarus' leader hold a national referendum for the country's citizens to vote up or down on the issue?
Earlier I stressed that this is what democracy is all about.
If majority Belarusians wish to rejoin Russia, integrating both countries makes most sense.
It's also a key way to defeat Washington's coup plot.
Protests would likely continue for a while in diminished size and energy, then fade away and end.
VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org ( Home – Stephen Lendman ). Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org .
My two Wall Street books are timely reading:
"How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War"
Sep 23, 2020 | www.blacklistednews.com
Trailer for COUP 53, a new documentary on the joint CIA-MI6 operation to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran.
The coup that toppled a democratically elected government in Iran in August 1953 and replaced it with a tyrannical monarchy that lasted 25 years was an intelligence operations whose effects are still felt to this day.
A new documentary recounts the crime with special attention to the often-overlooked role (at least in the United States) of the British.
(If you live in the United States, you can stream COUP 53 here. If you live in the United Kingdom, you can stream here. As with all quality journalism, it will cost you something.)
From the nonprofit National Security Archive , which found some of the key documents cited in the film.
Britain's Secret Intelligence Service – MI6 – took part in the 1953 kidnapping of the chief of police of Tehran, Iran, according to a recently recovered interview of an ex-MI6 operative that is featured in a new documentary film, COUP 53. The full interview transcript has been posted for the first time by the National Security Archive.
The MI6 operative was a named Norman Darbyshire, described as:
elusive figure who was a key contributor to Britain's clandestine approach toward Iran in the early 1950s and whose final words on the coup, provided for the Granada Television series End of Empire , were never aired.
In the interview, Darbyshire said that the Americans took too much credit for ousting Prime Ministers Mohammed Mossadegh, and replacing him with a general. Mossadegh was described as a communist sympathizer because he was calling for the British petroleum company to pay the same royalty fee that American oil companies paid to the Saudis.
What helps make this item noteworthy is the near-total lack of publicly available official records on Britain's role during the oil nationalization crisis starting in 1951. Closing in on 70 years after the fact, authorities continue to withhold archival records about the coup. (The Americans in 2017 published what will probably be the last significant official release of their records, although more are known to still be classified.)
Source: COUP 53: New Documentary on Overthrow of Iran's Mosaddeq | National Security Archive
MORE: Iran's intelligence services today.
Sep 21, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org
The American people own most of the wealth – private and public – and most of the information in the country. The top one percent do not.
The American people have most of the power in the country. The top one percent do not.
These assertions may surprise you, because the top one percent and the giant corporations work overtime to control what you own . This means they do not have to seize what you own so long as their control provides them with both riches and power over you.
Let's spell this out with specifics. Our Constitution starts with the words, "We the People "; it doesn't start with 'we the corporations' or 'we the Congress' or 'we the super-rich.' The sovereign authority under the Constitution is us ; we the people are the bosses. But we give our power away to the Big Boys who run the big companies that control most of our elected politicians. The politicians in turn proceed to corrupt our elections with campaign money, gerrymandering, deceitful ads, voter obstructions, and a totally dominant two-party duopoly. This corporate state destroys competitive democracy which would give our votes meaning, choices, and effectiveness.
Shouldn't we be discussing why, when we own the vast federal public land, one-third of America – and the vast public airwaves, do we give control of these resources to corporations every day of the year to profit from at our expense? We give the television and radio stations, that block our voices, free control and use of the airwaves, 24/7. We receive very little in royalties from the energy, mining, timber, and grazing companies extracting huge wealth from our federal lands.
We send our tax dollars to Washington, D.C., and the federal government gives trillions of these dollars to companies in the form of subsidies and bailouts.
Trillions of dollars are devoted to government research and development (R&D), which has built or expanded private companies. These include such industries as aerospace, pharmaceuticals, military weapons, computers, internet, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and containerization.
Our taxpayer-funded R&D is essentially given away free to these for-profit businesses. We the People receive no royalties nor profit-sharing returns on these public investments. Worse, we pay gouging prices for drugs and other products developed with our tax dollars.
We have trillions of dollars in savings and retirement money placed in giant mutual and pension funds. The managers of these institutions make big profits by investing your money in the stock and bond markets. If you controlled these trillions of dollars in stocks and bonds that you own, that is if there was real shareholder and bondholder power, you would control the ownership of all the big companies and turn the tables on the Big Bosses. Polls show a big majority of people think Big Business has too much power and control over us. Nonetheless, we regularly give these plutocrats control over what we own.
We own our personal information. Yet, we give it totally free to the likes of Facebook, Google, Instagram, and YouTube, etc. so they can make trillions of dollars selling data on what we buy, what we like, what we think, and what we're addicted to in the marketplace. The advertisers then pester us 24/7 and even betray our trust. Imagine Alexa eavesdropping in our homes and businesses. High-tech companies should not be privy to our personal information.
Unfortunately, giving companies our personal information, from which they profit immensely and gouge and penalize us profusely, started long ago. The moment we took out credit cards, for example, we began to lose control of our money and our privacy. With the internet, companies are generating new payment-system controls, with their dictatorial fine-print agreements and never-ending additional surcharges, driven by their greedy overreaches.
People spend lots of time just trying to get through to these companies for refunds, adjustments, corrections, and simple answers to their questions.
Why have we handed over the enormous assets we own to this expanding corporate state? Why have we surrendered to statism or corporate socialism? The corporate "Borg" is sucking the ready availability of the good life, decent, secure livelihoods assured by our collective self-reliance, and the freedom to shape our future out of our political economy.
Why are we allowing the United States – this rich land of ours – to have so many impoverished, powerless people, dominated by the few? With ever greater concentration or powers under corrupt Trumpism and its corporate supremacists, control of our lives is getting worse.
It starts with us being indoctrinated into being powerless (civic skills and practice are not taught in schools). This leads to the people not taking control of Congress (only 535 of them). We are allowing elections and debates to ignore raising these basic democratic issues of who owns what and who should control our commonwealth.
David Bollier and his colleagues are working to have adults and students learn about the commons – owned by all of us – and the few examples of people sharing in our commonwealth. Through the Alaska Permanent Fund, every Alaskan gets about $2000 a year from the royalties' oil companies pay for taking the people's oil from that state.
If you're interested in reading further about the "commons" we own but do not control go to bollier.org and breakingthroughpower.org . It's in our hands!
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!
Sep 22, 2020 | gilbertdoctorow.com
On Friday, 18 September, professor Steve Cohen passed away in New York City and we, the "dissident" community of Americans standing for peace with Russia – and for peace with the world at large – lost a towering intellectual and skillful defender of our cause who enjoyed an audience of millions by his weekly broadcasts on the John Batchelor Show, WABC Radio.
A year ago, I reviewed his latest book, War With Russia? which drew upon the material of those programs and took this scholar turned journalist into a new and highly accessible genre of oral readings in print. The narrative style may have been more relaxed, with simplified syntax, but the reasoning remained razor sharp. I urge those who are today paying tribute to Steve, to buy and read the book, which is his best legacy.
From start to finish, Stephen F. Cohen was among America's best historians of his generation, putting aside the specific subject matter that he treated: Nikolai Bukharin, his dissertation topic and the material of his first and best known book; or, to put it more broadly, the history of Russia (USSR) in the 20 th century. He was one of the very rare cases of an historian deeply attentive to historiography, to causality and to logic. I understood this when I read a book of his from the mid-1980s in which he explained why Russian (Soviet) history was no longer attracting young students of quality: because there were no unanswered questions, because we smugly assumed that we knew about that country all that there was to know. That was when our expert community told us with one voice that the USSR was entrapped in totalitarianism without any prospect for the overthrow of its oppressive regime.
But my recollections of Steve also have a personal dimension going back six years or so when a casual email correspondence between us flowered into a joint project that became the launch of the American Committee for East West Accord (ACEWA). This was a revival of a pro-détente association of academics and business people that existed from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, when, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the removal of the Communist Party from power, the future of Russia in the family of nations we call the 'international community' seemed assured and there appeared to be no further need for such an association as ACEWA.
I hasten to add that in the original ACEWA Steve and I were two ships that passed in the night. With his base in Princeton, he was a protégé of the dean of diplomats then in residence there, George Kennan, who was the leading light on the academic side of the ACEWA. I was on the business side of the association, which was led by Don Kendall, chairman of Pepsico and also for much of the 1970s chairman of the US-USSR Trade and Economic Council of which I was also a member. I published pro-détente articles in their newsletter and published a lengthy piece on cooperation with the Soviet Union in agricultural and food processing domains, my specialty at that time, in their collection of essays by leaders in the U.S. business community entitled Common Sense in U.S.-Soviet Trade .
The academic contingent had, as one might assume, a 'progressive' coloration, while the business contingent had a Nixon Republican coloration. Indeed, in the mid-1980s these two sides split in their approach to the growing peace movement in the U.S. that was fed by opposition in the 'thinking community' on university campuses to Ronald Reagan's Star Wars agenda. Kendall shut the door at ACEWA to rabble rousing and the association did not rise to the occasion, so that its disbanding in the early '90s went unnoticed.
In the re-incorporated American Committee, I helped out by assuming the formal obligations of Treasurer and Secretary, and also became the group's European Coordinator from my base in Brussels. At this point my communications with Steve were almost daily and emotionally quite intense. This was a time when America's expert community on Russian affairs once again felt certain that it knew everything there was to know about the country, and most particularly about the nefarious "Putin regime." But whereas in the 1970s and 1980s, polite debate about the USSR/Russia was entirely possible both behind closed doors and in public space, from the start of the Information Wars against Russia during the George W. Bush administration following Putin's speech at the Munich Security Conference in February 2007, no voice questioning the official propaganda line in America was tolerated. Steve Cohen, who in the 1990s had been a welcome guest on U.S. national television and a widely cited expert in print media suddenly found himself blacklisted and subjected to the worst of McCarthyite style, ad hominem attacks.
From my correspondence and several meetings with Steve at this time both in his New York apartment and here in Brussels, when he and Katrina van der Heuvel came to participate in a Round Table dedicated to relations with Russia at the Brussels Press Club that I arranged, I knew that Steve was deeply hurt by these vitriolic attacks. He was at the time waging a difficult campaign to establish a fellowship in support of graduate studies in Russian affairs. It was touch and go, because of vicious opposition from some stalwarts of the profession to any fellowship that bore Steve's name. Allow me to put the 'i' on this dispute: the opposition to Steve was led by experts in the Ukrainian and other minority peoples sub-categories of the profession who were militantly opposed not just to him personally but to any purely objective, not to mention sympathetic treatment of Russian leadership in the territorial expanse of Eurasia. In the end, Steve and Katrina prevailed. The fellowships exist and, hopefully, will provide sustenance to future studies when American attitudes towards Russia become less politicized.
At all times and on all occasions, Steve Cohen was a voice of reason above all. The problem of our age is that we are now not only living in a post-factual world, but in a post-logic world. The public reads day after day the most outrageous and illogical assertions about alleged Russian misdeeds posted by our most respected mainstream media including The New York Times and The Washington Post . Almost no one dares to raise a hand and suggest that this reporting is propaganda and that the public is being brainwashed. Steve did exactly that in War With Russia? in a brilliant and restrained text.
Regrettably today we have no peace movement to speak of. Youth and our 'progressive' elites are totally concerned over the fate of humanity in 30 or 40 years' time as a consequence of Global Warming and rising seas. That is the essence of the Green Movement. Almost no one outside our 'dissident' community is concerned about the possibility of Armageddon in say two years' time due to miscalculations and bad luck in our pursuing economic, informational and military confrontation with Russia and China.
I fear it will take only some force majeure development such as we had in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis to awaken the broad public to the risks to our very survival that we are incurring by ignoring the issues that Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Princeton and New York University was bringing to the airwaves week after week on his radio program.
In terms of action, the new ACEWA was even less effective than its predecessor, which had avoided linking up with the peace movement of the 1980s and sought to exert influence on policy through armchair talks with Senators and other statesmen in Washington behind closed doors of (essentially) men's clubs.
However, the importance of the new ACEWA, and the national importance of Stephen Cohen lay elsewhere.
This question of appraising Stephen Cohen's national importance is all the more timely given that on the day of his death, 18 September, the nation also lost Supreme Justice Ruth Ginsburg, about whose national importance no Americans, whether her fans or her opponents, had any doubt.
My point in this discussion is that in the last decade of his life Stephen Cohen became one of the nation's most fearless and persistent defenders of the right to Free Speech. It was not a role that he sought. It was thrust upon him by the expert community of international affairs, including the Council on Foreign Relations, from which he reluctantly resigned over this matter.
It was forced upon him by The New York Times, The Washington Post and other major media who pilloried him or blacklisted him over his unorthodox, unsanctioned, nonconformist views on the "Putin regime." It was forced upon him by university colleagues who sought to deny his right to establish graduate school fellowships in Russian affairs bearing his name and that of his mentor at Indiana University, Professor Tucker.
In the face of vicious personal attacks from these McCarthyite forces, in the face of hate mail and even threats to his life, Steve decided to set up The American Committee and to recruit to its governing board famous, patriotic Americans and the descendants of the most revered families in the country. In this he succeeded, and it is to his credit that a moral counter force to the stampeding bulls of repression was erected and has survived to this day.
©Gilbert Doctorow, 2020
[If you found value in this article, you should be interested to read my latest collection of essays entitled A Belgian Perspective on International Affairs, published in November 2019 and available in e-book, paperback and hardbound formats from amazon, barnes & noble, bol.com, fnac, Waterstones and other online retailers. Use the "View Inside" tab on the book's webpages to browse.]
Sep 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jackrabbit , Sep 20 2020 16:45 utc | 8
How the west lost
What I liked most about this article was the highlighting of impossible-to-counter narratives, the hypocrisy of Western democracy promotion (even as Western governments fellate domestic and foreign economic elites), and the denigration of nationalism from 1990-2016.
Sadly, the author does a disservice in suggesting that such manipulations are past. Instead, the Western power-elite has done what it does best: co-opt a 'winning' narrative (nationalism) and double-down.
- Ignores the fact that the US Deep State, caretakers of the Empire, hasn't accepted defeat. Since 2014 they have been actively trying to reverse what they see as a major set-back (not defeat).
Via economic sanctions, trade wars, propaganda, and military tensions the Empire is waging a hybrid war against what it calls the "revisionist" efforts of Russia and China.
- Plays into the propaganda narrative of Trump as populist.
- Fails to see the 1990's 'economic shock therapy' as a deliberate attempt to push Russia into total capitulation. This, darker view, was confirmed obliquely by Kissinger in his interview with ft in which he stated that no one could foresee the ability of Russia to absorb pain.
Sep 21, 2020 | www.rt.com
"If at any time the United States believes Iran has failed to meet its commitments, no other state can block our ability to snap back those multilateral sanctions," Pompeo declared in a statement posted on his official Twitter account on Sunday evening.
The top US diplomat was referring to the avalanche of sanctions Washington has been hellbent on slapping on Tehran after the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) overwhelmingly rejected the US resolution to extend a 13-year arms embargo against the Islamic Republic past October earlier this week.
The humiliating defeat , which saw only one member of the 15-nation body (the Dominican Republic) siding with the US, while China and Russia opposed the resolution, and all other nations, including France and the UK, abstained, did not discourage Washington, which doubled down on its threat to hit Iran with biting sanctions.
... ... ...
"Of course other states can block America's ability to impose multilateral sanctions. The US can impose sanctions by itself, but can't force others to do it," Nicholas Grossman, teaching assistant professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Illinois, tweeted.
"That's what 'multilateral' means. Is our SecState really this dumb?" Grossman asked.
Daniel Larison, senior editor at the American Conservative, suggested that Pompeo might be having a hard time grasping the meaning of the word 'multilateral'.
Some argued that Pompeo could not be unaware of the contradictory nature of his statement. Dan Murphy, former Middle East and South Asia correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, called it "one of the most diplomatically illiterate sentences of all time."
"I guess the end game here is [to] alienate the rest of the world even further to feed his persecution complex?" Murphy wrote.
John Twomey, 16 August, 2020
Explanation. What Pompeo understands and what many others can't grasp is that the US decides if their sanctions are "multilateral" because the USA speaks for all other countries whether they like it or not.
My Opinion, 17 August, 2020
Reminiscing of his shady past as a new CIA recruit he said. "We lied, we cheated and we stole". Apparently, Mikey didn't do all too well in his literature classes, either and that's why the most suitable candidate from zionists perspective.
Sep 19, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org
Stephen F Cohen, the renowned American scholar on Russia and leading authority on US-Russian relations, has died of lung cancer at the age of 81.
As one of the precious few western voices of sanity on the subject of Russia while everyone else has been frantically flushing their brains down the toilet, this is a real loss. I myself have cited Cohen's expert analysis many times in my own work, and his perspective has played a formative role in my understanding of what's really going on with the monolithic cross-partisan manufacturing of consent for increased western aggressions against Moscow.
In a world that is increasingly confusing and awash with propaganda, Cohen's death is a blow to humanity's desperate quest for clarity and understanding.
I don't know how long Cohen had cancer. I don't know how long he was aware that he might not have much time left on this earth. What I do know is he spent much of his energy in his final years urgently trying to warn the world about the rapidly escalating danger of nuclear war, which in our strange new reality he saw as in many ways completely unprecedented.
The last of the many books Cohen authored was 2019's War with Russia? , detailing his ideas on how the complex multi-front nature of the post-2016 cold war escalations against Moscow combines with Russiagate and other factors to make it in some ways more dangerous even than the most dangerous point of the previous cold war.
"You know it's easy to joke about this, except that we're at maybe the most dangerous moment in US-Russian relations in my lifetime, and maybe ever," Cohen told The Young Turks in 2017. "And the reason is that we're in a new cold war, by whatever name. We have three cold war fronts that are fraught with the possibility of hot war, in the Baltic region where NATO is carrying out an unprecedented military buildup on Russia's border, in Ukraine where there is a civil and proxy war between Russia and the west, and of course in Syria, where Russian aircraft and American warplanes are flying in the same territory. Anything could happen."
Cohen repeatedly points to the most likely cause of a future nuclear war: not one that is planned but one which erupts in tense, complex situations where "anything could happen" in the chaos and confusion as a result of misfire, miscommunication or technical malfunction, as nearly happened many times during the last cold war.
"I think this is the most dangerous moment in American-Russian relations, at least since the Cuban missile crisis," Cohen told Democracy Now in 2017. "And arguably, it's more dangerous, because it's more complex. Therefore, we -- and then, meanwhile, we have in Washington these -- and, in my judgment, factless accusations that Trump has somehow been compromised by the Kremlin. So, at this worst moment in American-Russian relations, we have an American president who's being politically crippled by the worst imaginable -- it's unprecedented. Let's stop and think. No American president has ever been accused, essentially, of treason. This is what we're talking about here, or that his associates have committed treason."
"Imagine, for example, John Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis," Cohen added. "Imagine if Kennedy had been accused of being a secret Soviet Kremlin agent. He would have been crippled. And the only way he could have proved he wasn't was to have launched a war against the Soviet Union. And at that time, the option was nuclear war."
"A recurring theme of my recently published book War with Russia? is that the new Cold War is more dangerous, more fraught with hot war, than the one we survived," Cohen wrote last year . "Histories of the 40-year US-Soviet Cold War tell us that both sides came to understand their mutual responsibility for the conflict, a recognition that created political space for the constant peace-keeping negotiations, including nuclear arms control agreements, often known as détente. But as I also chronicle in the book, today's American Cold Warriors blame only Russia, specifically 'Putin's Russia,' leaving no room or incentive for rethinking any US policy toward post-Soviet Russia since 1991."
"Finally, there continues to be no effective, organized American opposition to the new Cold War," Cohen added. "This too is a major theme of my book and another reason why this Cold War is more dangerous than was its predecessor. In the 1970s and 1980s, advocates of détente were well-organized, well-funded, and well-represented, from grassroots politics and universities to think tanks, mainstream media, Congress, the State Department, and even the White House. Today there is no such opposition anywhere."
"A major factor is, of course, 'Russiagate'," Cohen continued. "As evidenced in the sources I cite above, much of the extreme American Cold War advocacy we witness today is a mindless response to President Trump's pledge to find ways to 'cooperate with Russia' and to the still-unproven allegations generated by it. Certainly, the Democratic Party is not an opposition party in regard to the new Cold War."
"Détente with Russia has always been a fiercely opposed, crisis-ridden policy pursuit, but one manifestly in the interests of the United States and the world," Cohen wrote in another essay last year. "No American president can achieve it without substantial bipartisan support at home, which Trump manifestly lacks. What kind of catastrophe will it take -- in Ukraine, the Baltic region, Syria, or somewhere on Russia's electric grid -- to shock US Democrats and others out of what has been called, not unreasonably, their Trump Derangement Syndrome, particularly in the realm of American national security? Meanwhile, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has recently reset its Doomsday Clock to two minutes before midnight."
And now Stephen Cohen is dead, and that clock is inching ever closer to midnight. The Russiagate psyop that he predicted would pressure Trump to advance dangerous cold war escalations with no opposition from the supposed opposition party has indeed done exactly that with nary a peep of criticism from either partisan faction of the political/media class. Cohen has for years been correctly predicting this chilling scenario which now threatens the life of every organism on earth, even while his own life was nearing its end.
And now the complex cold war escalations he kept urgently warning us about have become even more complex with the addition of nuclear-armed China to the multiple fronts the US-centralized empire has been plate-spinning its brinkmanship upon, and it is clear from the ramping up of anti-China propaganda since last year that we are being prepped for those aggressions to continue to increase.
We should heed the dire warnings that Cohen spent his last breaths issuing. We should demand a walk-back of these insane imperialist aggressions which benefit nobody and call for détente with Russia and China. We should begin creating an opposition to this world-threatening flirtation with armageddon before it is too late. Every life on this planet may well depend on our doing so.
Stephen Cohen is dead, and we are marching toward the death of everything. God help us all.
novictim , 55 minutes agoPerilouseTimes , 48 minutes ago
People are just now starting to realize that possible alternate path. But the Demoncrats in the USA must first be put down, politically euthanized, along with their neocon never-Trump Republican partners. And that cleaning up is on the way. Trump's second term will be the advancement of the USA-Russia initiative that is so long overdue.awesomepic4u , 1 hour ago
Putin won't let western billionaires rape Russia's enormous natural resources and on top of that Putin is against child molesters, that is what this Russia bashing is all about.Clint Liquor , 44 minutes ago
Sad to hear this.
What a good man. It is a real shame that we dont have others to stand up to this crazy pr that is going on right now. Making peace with the world at this point is important. We dont need or want another war and i am sure that both Europe and Russia dont want it on their turf but it seems we keep sticking our finger in their eye. If there is another war it will be the last war. As Einstein said, after the 3rd World War we will be using sticks and stones to fight it.thunderchief , 41 minutes ago
Cohen truly was an island of reason in a sea of insanity. Ironic that those panicked over climate change are unconcerned about the increasing threat of Nuclear War.Eastern Whale , 55 minutes ago
One of the very few level headed people on Russia.
All thats left are anti Russia-phobic nut jobs.
Send in the clowns.
Stephen Cohen isn't around to call them what they are anymore.fucking truth , 3 minutes ago
cooperate with Russia
Has the US ever cooperated with anyone?Mustafa Kemal , 49 minutes ago
That is the crux. All or nothing.Normal , 1 hour ago
Ive read several of his books. They are essential, imo, if you want to understand modern russian history.evoila , 19 minutes ago
The bankers created the new CCP cold war.thebigunit , 17 minutes ago
Max Boot is an effing idiot. Tucker wiped him clean too. It was an insult to Stephen to even put them on the same panel.
Gary Sick is the equivalent to Stephen, except for Iran. He too is of an era of competence which is and will be missed as their voices are drowned out by neocon warmongersBoogity , 9 minutes ago
I heard Stephen Cohen a number of time in John Bachelor's podcasts.
He seemed very lucid and made a lot of sense.
He made it very clear that he thought the Democrat's "Trump - Russia collusion schtick" was a bunch of crap.
He didn't sound like a leftie, but I'm sure he never told me the stuff he discussed with his wife who was editor of the left wing "The Nation" magazine.
Cohen was a traditional old school anti-war Liberal. They're essentially extinct now with the exception of a few such as Tulsi Gabbard and Dennis Kucinich who have both been ostracized from the Democrat Party and the political system.
Sep 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk,
Damning details of purposeful malfeasance by Boeing executives emerged in a Congressional investigation.FAA, Boeing Blasted Over 737 MAX Failures
On Wednesday, the Transportation Committee Blasted FAA, Boeing Over 737 MAX FailuresBoeing Purposely Hid Design Flaws
The 238-page document, written by the majority staff of the House Transportation Committee, calls into question whether the plane maker or the Federal Aviation Administration has fully incorporated essential safety lessons, despite a global grounding of the MAX fleet since March 2019.
After an 18-month investigation, the report, released Wednesday, concludes that Boeing's travails stemmed partly from a reluctance to admit mistakes and "point to a company culture that is in serious need of a safety reset."
The report provides more specifics, in sometimes-blistering language, backing up preliminary findings the panel's Democrats released six months ago , which laid out a pattern of mistakes and missed opportunities to correct them.
In one section, the Democrats' report faults Boeing for what it calls "inconceivable and inexcusable" actions to withhold crucial information from airlines about one cockpit-warning system, related to but not part of MCAS, that didn't operate as required on 80% of MAX jets.
Other portions highlight instances when Boeing officials, acting in their capacity as designated FAA representatives, part of a widely used system of delegating oversight authority to company employees, failed to alert agency managers about various safety matters .
The Financial Times has an even more damning take in its report Boeing Hid Design Flaws in Max Jets from Pilots and Regulators .In Bed With the Regulators
Boeing concealed from regulators internal test data showing that if a pilot took longer than 10 seconds to recognise that the system had kicked in erroneously, the consequences would be "catastrophic" .
The report also detailed how an alert, which would have warned pilots of a potential problem with one of their anti-stall sensors, was not working on the vast majority of the Max fleet . It found that the company deliberately concealed this fact from both pilots and regulators as it continued to roll out the new aircraft around the world.
Boeing's defense is the FAA signed off on the reviews. Lovely. Boeing coerced or bribed the FAA to sign off on the reviews now tries to hide behind the FAA.
There is only one way to stop executive criminals like those at Boeing. Charge them with manslaughter, convict them, send them to prison for life, then take all of their stock and options and hand the money out for restitution.
adr , 1 hour agoSDShack , 21 minutes ago
Remember, Boeing spent enough on stock buybacks in the past ten years to fund the development of at least seven new airframes.
Instead of developing a new and better plane, they strapped engines that didn't belong on the 737 and called it safe.Tristan Ludlow , 1 hour ago
What is really sad is they already had a perfectly functional and safe 737Max. It was the 757. Look at the specs between the 2 planes. Almost same size, capacity, range, etc. Only difference was the 757 requires longer runways, but I would think they could have adjusted the design to improve that and make it very similar to the 737Max without starting from scratch. Instead Boeing bean counters killed the 757 and gave the world this flying coffin. Now the world bean counters will kill Boeing.MFL5591 , 1 hour ago
Boeing is a critical defense contractor. They will not be held accountable and they will be rewarded with additional bailouts and contract awards.RagaMuffin , 1 hour ago
Can you imagine a congress of Criminals Like Schiff, Pelosi and Schumer prosecuting someone else for fraud? What a joke. Next up will be Bill Clinton testifying against a person on trial for Pedophilia!Manthong , 1 hour ago
Mish is half right. The FAA should join Boeing in jail. If they are not held responsible for their role, why have an FAA?Elliott Eldrich , 43 minutes ago
"There is only one way to stop executive criminals like those at Boeing.
Charge them with manslaughter, convict them, send them to prison for life, then take all of their stock and options and hand the money out for restitution."
There is only one way to stop regulator criminals like those in government.
Charge them with manslaughter, convict them, send them to prison for life, then take all of their pensions and ill gotten wealth a nd hand the money out for restitution.Birdbob , 1 hour ago
"There is only one way to stop executive criminals like those at Boeing.
Charge them with manslaughter, convict them, send them to prison for life, then take all of their stock and options and hand the money out for restitution."
Ha ha ha HA HA HA HA HA! Silly rabbit, jail is for poors...Dash8 , 1 hour ago
Accountability of Elite Perps ended under Oblaba's reign of "Wall Street and Technocracy Architects" .White collar criminals were granted immunity from prosecution. This was put into play by Attorney Genital Eric Holder. This was the beginning of having an orificial Attorney Genital that facilitated the District of Criminals organized crime empire ending the 3 letter agencies' interference. https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/8310187817727287761/1843903631072834621canaanav , 1 hour ago
You don't seem to understand the basic principle of aircraft design...it must not require an extraordinary response for a KNOWN problem.
Think of it this way; Ford builds a car that works great most of the time, but occasionally a wheel will fall off at highway speeds...no problem, right? ....you just guide the car to the shoulder on the 3 remaining wheels and all good.
Now, put your wife and kids in that car, after a day at work and the kids screaming in the back.
Still feel good about your opinion?Dash8 , 1 hour ago
I wrote software on the 787. You are right. This was not a known problem and the Trim Runaway procedure was already established. The issue was that the MAX needed a larger horizontal stab and MCAS would have never been needed. The FAA doesnt have the knowledge to regulate things like this. Boeing lost talent too, and gets bailouts and tax breaks to the extent that they dont care.Argon1 , 41 minutes ago
But it was a known problem, Boeing admits this.gutta percha , 1 hour ago
LGBT & Ethnicity was a more important hiring criteria than Engineering talant.Dash8 , 1 hour ago
Why is it so difficult to design and maintain reliable Angle Of Attack sensors? The engineers put in layers and layers of complicated tech to sense and react to AOA sensor failures. Why not make the sensors _themselves_ more reliable? They aren't nearly as complex as all the layers of tech BS on top of them.Argon1 , 37 minutes ago
It's not, but it costs $$....and there you have it.canaanav , 1 hour ago
Its the Shuttle Rocketdyne problem, the upper management phones down to the safety committee and complains about the cost of the delay, take off your engineer hat and put on your management hat. All of a sudden your project launches on schedule and the board claps and cheers at their ability to defy physics and save $ millions by just shouting at someone for about 60 seconds..Winston Churchill , 43 minutes ago
Each AOA sensor is already redundant internally. They have multiple channels. I believe they were hit with a maintenance stand and jammed. That said, AOA has never been a control system component. It just runs the low-speed cue on the EFIS and the stick shaker. It's an advisory-level system. Boeing tied it to Flight Controls thru MCAS. The FAA likely dictated to Boeing how they wanted the System Safety Analysis (SSA) to look, Boeing wrote it that way, the FAA bought off on it.HardlyZero , 13 minutes ago
More fundamental is why an aerodynamically stable aircraft wasn't designed in the first place,love of money.DisorderlyConduct , 1 hour ago
Yes. In reality the changed CG (Center of Gravity) due to the larger fan engine really did setup as a "new" design, so the MAX should have been treated as "new" and completely evaluated and completely tested as a completly new design. As a new design it would probably double the development and test cost and schedule...so be it.Astroboy , 1 hour ago
"Lovely. Boeing coerced or bribed the FAA to sign off on the reviews now tries to hide behind the FAA."
No - what a shoddy analysis.
The FAA conceded many of their oversight responsibilities to Boeing - who was basically given the green light to self-monitor. The FAA is the one that is in the wrong here.
Well, how the **** else was that supposed to end up? This is like the IRS letting people self-audit...highwaytoserfdom , 1 hour ago
Just as the Boeing saga is unfolding, we should expect by the end of the year other similar situations, related to drug companies, pandemia and the rest.
play_arrowLoneStarHog , 1 hour ago
It is political economy...
8. The internet was invented by the US government, not Silicon Valley
Many people think that the US is ahead in the frontier technology sectors as a result of private sector entrepreneurship. It's not. The US federal government created all these sectors.
The Pentagon financed the development of the computer in the early days and the Internet came out of a Pentagon research project. The semiconductor - the foundation of the information economy - was initially developed with the funding of the US Navy. The US aircraft industry would not have become what it is today had the US Air Force not massively subsidized it indirectly by paying huge prices for its military aircraft, the profit of which was channeled into developing civilian aircraft.
People believe that corporate executives are immune from prosecution and protected by the fact that they are within the corporation. This is false security. If true purposeful and intended criminal activities are conducted by any corporate executive, the courts can do what is called "Piercing The Corporate Veil" . It is looking beyond the corporation as a virtual person and looking at the actual individuals making and conducting the criminal activities.
Jamie Dimon should be first on this list.
Sep 19, 2020 | www.voltairenet.org
Who wants to overthrow President Lukashenko? by Thierry Meyssan
The Western press highlights Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as the winner of the Belarusian presidential election and accuses outgoing President Alexander Lukashenko of violence, nepotism and election rigging. However, an analysis of this country shows that the policies of its president correspond to the wishes of its citizens. Behind this fabricated quarrel lies the spectre of Ukrainian Euromaidan and a provoked rupture with Russia. VOLTAIRE NETWORK | PARIS (FRANCE) | 1 SEPTEMBER 2020 عربي DEUTSCH ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΆ ESPAÑOL FRANÇAIS ITALIANO NEDERLANDS POLSKI PORTUGUÊS РУССКИЙ TÜRKÇE
- Svetlana Tikhanovskaya managed to gather both thousands of liberals and neo-Nazis against President Lukashenko.
One of the objectives of the Euromaidan coup (Ukraine, 2013-14) was to cut the Silk Road in Europe. China reacted by changing its route and passing it through Belarus. From then on, Minsk tried to protect itself from the same destabilization by pursuing a more balanced policy towards the West, participating in military manoeuvres with Moscow and agreeing to supply arms to Daesh, which Moscow was fighting in Syria.
However, despite Minsk's prevarication, the CIA intervened on the occasion of the presidential election of 2020. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya defied the outgoing president, Alexander Lukashenko, who was running for a sixth term. She obtained only 10 per cent of the vote, cried fraud and fled to Lithuania, where Frenchman Bernard-Henri Lévy rushed to welcome her. Unanimously, the Western press denounced the "dictator" and hinted that Madame Tikhanovskaya had been victorious in the election.
The reality is much more complex.
First of all, while it is quite possible that the elections were rigged in favour of the incumbent president, it is highly unlikely that Svetlana Tikhanovskaya came close to the majority, as what she represents is foreign to the vast majority of Belarusians. For the past 30 years or so, a debate has been going on in the country about its European identity. Is it culturally close to pro-US Western Europe or does it belong to Slavic, pro-Russian Europe? Without a doubt, the answer is that Belarusians are culturally Russian, even if some of them do not speak exactly the same language. Admittedly, two small minorities profess divergent opinions: the first calls itself "nationalist" in reference to the short-lived Belarusian People's Republic (1918-19) whose organs in exile collaborated with the Nazis during the Second World War, then with the Stay-Behind networks of NATO; the second says it is in favour of the liberal model and the European Union.
Unlike Ukraine, which is divided into two culturally distinct zones (the pro-German West and the pro-Russian East), Belarus fundamentally thinks of itself as Russian, although politically independent of Moscow.
Secondly, if there was any doubt about the role of the US secret services in this affair, the emergence of Bernard-Henri Lévy should remove it. The rich heir of a precious wood import company made a career writing anti-Soviet essays. Sold by his publisher as a "New Philosopher", he still passes for a "philosopher" today. He supported the "freedom fighters", i.e. the Arab mercenaries of the Muslim Brotherhood in Afghanistan against the Soviets, including their leader Osama Bin Laden. He sided with the Contras in Nicaragua, i.e. the South American mercenaries of John Negroponte armed by Hashem Rafsanjani's Iran. He boasts of having been press advisor to the Bosnian President Alija Izetbegović when the former pro-Nazi had the American neoconservative Richard Perle as political advisor and the aforementioned Osama Bin Laden as military advisor. I remember how afterwards he impressed me by explaining to me that it was necessary to bomb Belgrade to bring down the "dictator" Slobodan Milošević. I did not understand very well why the pro-Nazi Izetbegović was a "democrat" while the communist Milošević was a "dictator". Anyway, going back in time, Bernard-Henri Levy, now nicknamed "BHL," gave his noisy support to the Chechen Muslim Brotherhood, which formed the Islamic Emirate of Itchkeria on Russian territory. According to a report from the Jamahiriya's foreign services, he participated in the meeting organized by Republican Senator John McCain in Cairo in February 2011 to settle the details of the overthrow of the "Gaddafi regime" which was then cited as an example by the United States. The French were surprised to see him announce in the courtyard of the Elysée Palace, in the place of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, his country's commitment against the "dictator" (all the men to be shot - and they alone - are "dictators"). Of course, he was on Kiev's Maidan Square during the "color revolution" led there by authentic Nazis.
- Born fatherless on a collective farm, Alexander Lukashenko became the most skilful head of state in Europe.
That being said, Belarusians may have grievances against President Lukashenko, but not against his policies. All the connoisseurs of the country, whether they are among his supporters or among his opponents, admit that his policy is in line with the concerns of the Belarusians. All those who approached Alexander Lukashenko were astonished by his intelligence, charisma and incorruptibility. Those who accused him of advocating attachment to Russia out of political calculation and not out of conviction admitted that they were mistaken when he maintained his position despite Moscow's rebuffs and the incredible gas war between the two countries. All were surprised by his extraordinary abilities which made him threaten the power of President Boris Yeltsin when he proposed union with Russia.
The main reproach that one could level at President Lukashenko is that he made several opposition leaders disappear; an accusation that he vigorously denies, accusing these personalities of links with criminal organizations that would have turned to their disadvantage.
For years, his opponents accused him of enriching himself on the backs of the nation without ever providing the slightest proof. Yet all international operators know that when Belarus signs a contract, the retro-commissions never exceed 5%, compared to 10% for the USA, 50% for Yeltsin's Russia (this figure fell to 10% under Putin's administration) and 60% for Iran. It is clear that the man is not motivated by money. In the absence of corruption, Western propaganda began to accuse him preventively of nepotism for the benefit of his young son, Nikolai, known as "Kolia".
The only reproach that can be made against him is that he regularly makes anti-Semitic and homophobic remarks - never having supported anti-Semitic or homophobic acts. In doing so, he is unfortunately in line with the leaders of his country.
Since the beginning of the crisis, President Lukashenko has been claiming that the opposition of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and her allies is a West-East geopolitical problem and not a national political quarrel. While this opposition claims not to be at the service of any foreign power.
Apart from the irruption of Bernard-Henri Lévy, several elements suggest that Alexander Lukashenko is telling the truth.
The Psychological Action Group of the Polish Special Forces seems to have been extremely active since the beginning of the crisis in the service of Madame Tikhanovskaya.
Ukrainian neo-Nazi militias are also involved.
Finally, the Lithuanian government, which is also hosting Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, is also involved.
However there is no trace of the European Union, unlike the Ukrainian Euromaïdan. So the most likely is that Washington is orchestrating regional actors (Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania) against the Slavic world.
In any case, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has just set up a reserve force, capable of intervening in Belarus to support the institutions and President Lukashenko; this at a time when the two men have maintained relations that are sometimes very conflicted. Thierry Meyssan
Sep 19, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
MARK CHAPMAN September 16, 2020 at 9:02 am
Yes, the EU is tentatively exploring a Guaido operation of its own, and 'recognizing' Tikohonovskaya as the real leader of Belarus. They may have been panicked into it by the very real possibility of a unification deal between Russia and Belarus – that way, they could claim any such agreement had no legal weight, as the 'real president' did not sign it. Lithuania was excited to be the first.
The Balts are always happy to lead with their chins when they believe their big brothers have their backs. But I don't think it will gain broad acceptance – that is, unless the EU is completely tone-deaf, because it is so manifestly like Operation Mister Smiley in Venezuela that the equivalency is inescapable, and that has turned into a major embarrassment for Washington. That, and signing on en masse to such a ditzy jape would more than likely only harden resolve on the part of Lukashenko. He's already had nearly every regime-change template run on him, and has flummoxed them all, so when they can't win 'fairly' (at least according to their definition of fairness) they're just going to drop all pretenses and declare their preferred candidate the winner, after refusing to observe the election so they could later say it was rigged. All of which looks suspiciously like putting your hands over your eyes and imagining you are invisible. But childishness is often mistaken for courage in Europe.
However, all this has the effect of imposing further divisions between Europe and Russia, which makes Washington a winner. Unless there is a broad European revolt by the European business community – which should realize that dividing Russia and Europe is only making Europe safe for American trade, while having little practical effect on Russia – then Washington just needs to keep its mouth shut, and clean up.
Sep 19, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
MOSCOW EXILE September 17, 2020 at 9:46 pmET AL September 18, 2020 at 12:12 am
18 сентября 2020 07:55
Посольство РФ потребовало от США разъяснений по поводу репортажа NBC
18 September 2020 07:55
The Russian Embassy has demanded clarification from the United States about an NBC report
The Russian Embassy in Washington has demanded an explanation from the US authorities about an NBC TV report, which mentions US support for "Ukrainian units" in the Crimea.
This has been reported in social networks on the official page of the diplomatic mission.
In American journalists' material, it was said that the United States was arming certain groups that were acting against Russian forces in the Crimea.
The point that the embassy is emphasizing is that Washington is supporting the activities of terrorists in Russia. Diplomats admit that the channel may be wrong, but demand that the United States clarify whether they are involved in organizing terrorist attacks against the residents of Crimea.
Ukrainian units fighting Russian occupying forces in the Crimea?
For the liberation of Crimeans living under the yoke of post-Soviet Russian imperialism?
Liberation and subsequent return as a khanate where it can pick up where it left off, carrying out slave raids in to Russia for profit.* Good times!
Sep 19, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com
MOSCOWEXILE September 14, 2020 at 11:07 pmET AL September 15, 2020 at 1:32 am
Russian librag Vedomosti reports NYT:
NYT сообщила о планах Навального вернуться в Россию
15 сентября 2020
NYT has announced Navalney's to return to Russia
15 September 2020
Founder of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, Alexei Navalny, who is undergoing treatment in Germany, has discussed his poisoning with the German prosecutor and announced that he plans to return to Russia, The New York Times has reported, citing a source in the German security forces.
According to the source, Navalny is fully aware of his condition, of what happened and where he is. In a conversation with the prosecutor, he refused that his case be jointly investigated by Germany and Russia. Navalny said he planned to return to Russia immediately after his recovery and continue his mission, the newspaper notes.
I notice that the Navalny fake story has gone off the radar in the Western MSM.
Now there just remain the lies and innuendos fixed in the minds of the sheeple.
Only an investigation by the Germans.
No investigation by the Russians.
Germans and "the whole world", to quote Pompeo, know the truth: Russians simply deny the truth, and the more they deny, the more truthful the accusations appear. And the elephant in the room: Why isn't the poisoned by "Novichok" bullshitting bastard of a US agent dead? And the answer given by the Germans, that is ironic in the extreme: because Russian doctors saved his life in Omsk.
Other elephants lurking in the shadows:
Why hadn't everyone who had been in contact with the piece of shit, including fellow passengers on the Tomsk-Moscow flight died?
Where were the hazmat-suit-wearing specialists that should have detoxified the aeroplane on board of which the Bullshitter threw a wobbler?
So many elephants, all ignored.
When the liar returns here, how about arresting him for breach of his bail conditions?
Not technically but absolutely legally he was not allowed to leave the country.
How about arresting him for perverting the course of justice? You can get life for doing that in the UK!
He refuses to allow the Russian state to investigate his case but he and his controllers and supporters maintain that the Russian state attempted to murder him with the most deadly nerve agent known to man -- but it didn't work.MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 8:58 am
Jesus has Risen!
And on the plus side he can sell expensive 'blessed' trinkets to his hamsters help subsidize his interesting lifestyle. Think holy relics, think Medjigorje, Lourdes etc.MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 4:16 am
Having survived Novichok poisoning, is he now immune?MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 10:04 am
A long read:
Навальный, "Новичок" и "белая коробка"
13 сентября 2020
Navalny, "Novichok" and the "White Box"
13 September 2020
Why is not a single Berlin doctor ready to personally confirm the announced poisoning of Navalny?
A Russian patient is recovering in the "White Box" of the Charité hospital. During the three weeks of Navalny's stay within these walls, no one shouted at the doctors that they were murderers, no one demanded from them hourly reports on the patient's state of health. At the beginning of the week, the hospital's press service informs the press that the personal guest of the Federal Chancellor has been withdrawn from an artificial coma and is reacting to other people. A couple of days later, "Spiegel" magazine publishes encouraging information: "More progress has been made. If his health continues to improve, Navalny will begin to receive more visitors". According to "Bellingcat" and "Der Spiegel", Navalny can already speak and can probably recall the events that happened before he lost consciousness on an aeroplane flying from Tomsk to Moscow.
In general, the latest Charité press releases are in clear contradiction to the horror that the German press had been gathering all week. The already poisoned underpants have been forgotten, the newspaper "Die Zeit" returns the reader to a famous photograph: morning in a café at the Tomsk airport, a passenger for the flight to Moscow flight peers into a cup that he has raised in order to drink out of it. In it,, according to a "Die " source, is not just a chemical warfare agent from the "Novichok" group: in there is a "Novichok" on steroids.
"Before this assassination attempt, the world did not know about this poison, which is said to be even more deadly and dangerous than all known substances from the Novichok group. Scientists found corresponding traces on the Navalny's hands and on the neck of a bottle from which he had drunk. This "modified Novichok" allegedly acts more slowly than previous versions. The Germans assume that one of the FSB agents monitoring Navalny, or an undercover agent, added drops of poison to his tea or applied a substance to the surface of a cup. Navalny was supposed to die on board the aircraft", writes "Die Zeit".
Everything is just fine and dandy here: for example, about agents who had to perform the necessary manipulations with a super-poison in a crowded place. A remarkable and suddenly appeared bottle -- no bottle was seen in Omsk at all. The story goes on about the fact that, apart from tea, Navalny did not drink anything. It turns out that those accompanying the blogger took the bottle out of the plane, hid it, and then transported it to Germany and handed it to Bundeswehr chemists Concealing evidence is pure criminality. But the most interesting thing is the super-"Novichok".
After the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury (let us recount the usual version of events that happened there), about 50 more people sought medical help. Houses were taken apart, pets were destroyed. But here no one except Navalny was hurt: neither the people at Tomsk airport, nor the fellow travellers with whom he, having the terrible poison in his hands, took a selfie on a bus, nor the passengers on board the aircraft, and he also touched things there. Symptoms of poisoning should have appeared amongst the passengers, but they did not. This should raise questions from the authors of the serious newspaper "Die Zeit", but it does not. A weapon of mass destruction by any reasoning, but the longer the German press examines the Navalny case, the more mediaeval and grotesque it becomes. And it works -- you can see it even from the reaction of quite moderate politicians.
Already a week and a half ago, Merkel announced the results of a toxicological examination, allegedly carried out in a secret laboratory of the Bundeswehr (yes, Navalny was poisoned), opponents of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline have intensified their onslaught against the federal government in order to stop the construction, they say, this is the only way to punish Russia. At the head of the column are the party leaders of the Greens and those associates of Merkel who are friendly with Washington and have plans for higher party or administrative posts after the Chancellor leaves.
These voices were at least heard. In an evening talk show on ZDF, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas made it clear that the shutdown of Nord Stream 2 could be one response.
"We cannot say that since the sanctions do not work, then there is no need to introduce any. Sometimes we have to put up with the risk of the consequences, thereby saying that we do not want to live in a world without rules", Maas said.
Now Herr Maas, along with many members of the government and administration and the Chancellor, lives in a world of very strange rules. Merkel's press secretary Seibert reiterated that Germany will interact with Russia exclusively at the site of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), where all the documents allegedly have already been sent.
The OPCW Technical Secretariat informed our permanent representative, Alexander Shulgin, that Berlin had only sent a notification about Navalny's poisoning, a sheet of A4 paper, but there is still nothing that the experts could work on. But the Germans had to formulate a response to the proposal of the Russian Prosecutor General's Office on exchange of information: any information about the state of Navalny can be transferred to Russia only with his permission.
This was the case in 2004. The Charité clinic then diagnosed the presidential candidate of the Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko with dioxin poisoning -- no one ever saw documentary evidence. Yushchenko then for 4 years, while he was of interest he was to the public, promised to show everything, but he never did.
This trick can be repeated again, the main thing is to find the answer to an urgent task: to inflate the level of confrontation between Russia and Germany, and therefore the entire West, in order to force the Russian authorities to be as cautious as possible in their domestic and foreign policy, for example, in the Belarusian direction.
However, the fact that Nord Stream 2, for which the German federal government was ready to support unto death, suddenly became an instrument of blackmail -- admit the poisoning, otherwise we can close it down -- openly outraged German business and regional elites.
"It seems that the verdict has already been given -- there are demands that construction of the pipeline be stopped. I strongly oppose such measures", said Michael Kretschmer, Prime Minister of Saxony.
"We have had absolutely trusting cooperation with Russia in the energy sector for 50 years. And even in the most difficult political times, which were probably even more difficult during the Cold War, we managed to maintain this trust", emphasized Michael Harms, executive director of Eastern Committee of the German economy.
Even a true transatlantist, the president of the Munich Security Conference Wolfgang Ischinger, stood up for Nord Stream 2 (and Denmark had joined the renewed US incitement against it the day before).
Political games will not pass themselves of as force majeure. Investors will go to the German government for their money. Here you need to think ten times, because along with the demands of multibillion-dollar compensation, there will definitely be asked unpleasant questions about the reasons that made the German authorities abandon a project that was profitable to all sides. So you can go to Navalny's analyses. In a normal court, bureaucratic excuses will not work. And, by the way, in Germany there are politician-lawyers who can professionally draw up a claim and conduct a case.
"I want to investigate this. One of the developers of Novichok is in the US. It is known that many special services have this poison. Of course, the Russian have it as well, but if Putin did it, then why give Navalny to Germany? So that we can establish all this here? A crime must have some logic", says Bundestag deputy Gregor Gizi.
The logic that we now see is somehow not German. One gets the impression that the compassion and humanism of the German politician, brought up on the lessons of the past, are now being tried out by smart and cynical people who know how to competently fabricate, substitute and cover their tracks. And not too far away, we already had Britain.
At the end of May 2003, the BBC released material that Prime Minister Blair and his cabinet had made a decision to enter the war in Iraq based on falsified intelligence. The person who passed on this information to reporters was David Kelly, a leading chemical weapons specialist at the British Department of Defence. His speech at the parliamentary hearings threatened the prime minister, the military and the secret services with big problems, Hiwever, on July 18, 2003, Kelly was found dead in the woods near his home. Suicide, the investigation stated, but in 2007, a group of parliamentarians conducted an unofficial investigation -- there were no legal consequences, but now all British people know that Kelly was murdered in cold blood.
In 2015, Blair was forced to admit that he lied to citizens about Iraq, and escaped trial only because no one wanted to get involved with it. Nevertheless, Blair has gone down in history with this lie. And history is important to remember in order to do it right. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calls on the Germans to leave emotions and turn on their brains.
"I hope that these absurd actions will be stopped and Germany, at least for the sake of the reputation of German punctuality, will fulfill its obligations under the agreement with the Russian Federation. Moreover, they are demanding an investigation from us, but it turns out that all those who accompanied Navalny are slowly moving to Germany too. this is very unpleasant and leads to serious thoughts. Therefore, it is in the interests of our German colleagues to protect their reputation and provide all the necessary information that would somehow shed light on their so far absolutely unfounded accusations", Lavrov said.
Another proposal has gone from Moscow to Berlin: to send a Russian investigation team to Germany in order to jointly study the circumstances of the case, the victim of which is a Russian citizen. So far, there is no reason to believe that Berlin will respond with consent.
Some German politicians and almost all the SMS likes to moralize against Russia, periodically recalling the Stalinist repressions and the GULAG. But now Germany itself behaves like an investigator during interrogation in the dungeons of the NKVD. Confession is the queen of proof.*
Yeah, we got a confession in the end!
That's all the bastards demand of Russia: Confess and then we'll be pals.
*Признание -- царица доказательств
"Confession is the Queen of proof."
From Latin: Сonfessio regina probationum est)
Roman legal principle of criminal procedural law.
Слава России!MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 4:46 am
There are undeniable advantages to accusations for which no substantiation is offered – as we saw with the Skripals, you can await public comment, identify where you went wrong from scornful rejections of the narrative, and then modify it so that it makes more sense.
In this case, people wonder why such a potent nerve agent did not fell Navalny instantly like a poleaxed ox, before he ever left the terminal, instead of 40 minutes or so into the flight. Ahhh but this, we later learn, was a specially-modified Novichok, engineered to be slow-acting. Just what you want in a nerve agent. Hint – no, it isn't. Just like you don't want it specially engineered to be 'persistent', like that chemical-warfare expert tit for Bellingcat claimed was the reason the poison daubed on Skripal's doorknob did not wash away in the rain and was still deadly weeks afterward. You want a nerve agent to quickly and efficiently kill enemy troops caught in the open and unprotected, and then as quickly degrade and disperse so your own forces can move in and occupy the objective. The last thing you want is it hanging about for weeks, or being 'slow-acting' so those troops can come in and wax your ass and then later fall down dead. One of the first casualties of these silly stories must be that the agent is 'military grade'. The military would say, if you want to use that useless shite, spread it yourself – we want nothing to do with it.MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 4:56 am
Just appeared, posted from Charité -- Bullshitter with statuesque wife and kiddie acolytes:
Another bungled FSB wet job!MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 10:07 am
navalny Hi, this is Navalny. I miss you all 😍. I still can hardly do anything, but yesterday I was able to breathe on my own all day. Generally myself. I did not use any outside help, not even the simplest valve in my throat. I liked it very much. An amazing, underestimated by many thing. Would totally recommend.
What, no tracheotomy scar?
Why aren't you dead, you wanker?
Thinking about thanking the Omsk doctors who "saved your life" after you had taken a dose of salts in the aircraft shithouse?MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 10:05 am
"I still can hardly do anything "
I'm still waiting for the difference to become evident. Navalny does perhaps less than any man in Russia who enjoys such a leisurely lifestyle.MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 10:34 am
I take it that the kiddie Navalnyites in the above Instagram are all Russian citizens and part of the Bullshitter's entourage that turned up in Berlin, hot on the heels of their comatose hero.
So how did they get the documentation that enabled them to leave the Mafia State and enter Germany, the coronavirus shamdemic notwithstanding?
Are they all guests of Frau Kanzelerin Merkel?MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 10:49 am
I thought they were the Bullshitter's kids.MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 11:22 am
Yes, they are his children. Navalnaya clearly got permission for their son to travel to Germany. His daughter has flown in from the USA.
However, the question still remains as regards those Navalnyites who rolled up in Germany following their leader's private flight there: how did they get the appropriate documentation to do so at such short notice, not to mention Pevchikh, who flew with the comatose Navalny to Berlin -- and then vanished?.
Seibert was asked about this and said he knew nothing about her.MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 11:54 am
Ah, yes; that's a good point. I just assumed the hamsters were blathering from a distance, as in Russia. I did not realize some of them had turned up in Germany, except for the mysterious Masha.
I hope Germany offers residency to the Navalnys, and that they accept. Russia can't really refuse to let him back in, he's a citizen. But as long as he is there he will cause trouble, and he'll be recharged with all the PR he has received from this latest caper.
But it is suggested that Russia is bargaining for his return; the story also expands on Lavrov's recent statements, and introduces a villain in the woodpile I would not have personally suspected: Poland.
https://www.stalkerzone.org/lavrov-offered-merkel-a-choice-between-russia-navalny/MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 12:03 pm
And get this:
Does he want to end his political ambitions? Top Eurocrat Borrell calls for Navalny's name to be attached to EU 'Magnitsky List'
https://www.rt.com/russia/500766-borrell-navalny-sanctions-russia/MOSCOWEXILE September 16, 2020 at 11:35 am
I recall Lavrov querying the other day Pevchikh's presence in Germany, her refusal to be interviewed by investigators in Omsk and how come she managed to fly to Germany with Navalny? He also said that other supporters of Navalny had also turned up in Germany.
I lay a pound to a pinch of shit that Pevchikh is a British agent.MARK CHAPMAN September 16, 2020 at 12:26 pm
Note how the monitor in the Navalny Instagram above has been censored.
It's because, they say, it displays personal data about Putin's intended Novichok victim, such as body temperature, pulse, blood pressure etc.
Wouldn't like the world to know that there is nothing wrong with him, would they?
Эксперт объяснил ретушь прикроватного экрана на фото Навального
15 сентября 2020
An expert has explained the retouching of the bedside monitor in the Navalny photo
15 September 2020
https://vz-ru.turbopages.org/vz.ru/s/news/2020/9/15/1060574.html?promo=navbar&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fzen.yandex.comMOSCOWEXILE September 16, 2020 at 10:51 pm
Too late to get smart now.MOSCOWEXILE September 16, 2020 at 10:54 pm
NAVALNY: HIDDEN AND OVERT SIGNALS
September 16, 2020
Why on earth should one think that?ET AL September 15, 2020 at 11:36 am
Comment to the above C/Z article:
anymouse • 8 hours ago
Looking good for almost a corpse. COVID-19, a flu virus, is a deadly killer, and Novichok, a deadly nerve agent, is not a killer.ET AL September 15, 2020 at 11:40 am
Dances with Bears: THE PEVCHIKH PLOT – NAVALNY BOTTLE, LONDON WITNESS FLEE THE SCENE OF THE CRIME, BERLIN TOO
British and other international toxicological experts say that without technical reporting by the laboratory of the spectrometric composition of the chemical, and without identifying the compound by the international naming protocol there is no evidence at all;..
the US Army had recently manufactured its own Novichok types: "A230, A232 and A234 A232 has a CAS number of 2308498-31-7. A230 and A234 have no known CAS numbers."
A lot more at the link.MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 3:29 pm
I reckon Khordokovsky has a hand in this. He has the same moral compass as dead Berezovsky. None. And he has refused to stick to agreements (keep out of politics). If the British or someone else get fingered for this cunning plan , would they serve him up on a silver platter? Almost certainly so.JEN September 15, 2020 at 7:10 pm
Helmer always delivers. It looks very much as if the Germans have stepped in the shit.MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 7:17 pm
We certainly did well to focus on Maria Pevchikh as soon as we discovered that in addition to being the one who evaded questioning by Russian authorities by flying out to Germany, she also had British residency. She certainly has become a "person of interest" and could well be the major individual in the plot to incapacitate Navalny and use him to pressure Germany over NSII and Russia over the Belarus unrest.MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 9:44 pm
Agreed; she does indeed look to have played a far bigger part in the operation than she lets on.MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 1:32 pm
It is still unknown whether Pevchikh is a British citizen. I think she is and probably must be, in fact, for if she is only a visa holder or an applicant for UK citizenship, she could be told by the Home Office to go take a hike if it is proven that she was instrumental in the poisoning plot.
When Berezovsky got cocky in the UK after a judge there had prevented his being forced to leave Misty Albion because Berzovsky had persuaded him that were he to return to Mordor, he would face an unfair trial and his life would be in danger -- the erstwhile "Godfather of the Kremlin" had arrived in the with a 6-month visitor's visa -- he started bragging to the "Guardian" that he was organizing with his chums still in the Evil Empire the overthrow of the tyrant Putin.
The Home Secretary at the time was none other than "Jack" Straw -- another odious pile of ordure -- who promptly summonsed Berezovsky to the Home Office for an official bollocking. He was told that if, while resident in the UK, he continued to engage himself with the overthrow of a foreign head of state, he was out.
Be that as it may, I am quite sure he was working with British state security, as was his once favoured acolyte Litvinenko.
Litvinenko was poisoned. Berezovsky committed suicide -- they say.
LikePATIENT OBSERVER September 15, 2020 at 4:41 pm
Россия задала ЕС девять вопросов об обвинениях в ситуации с Навальным
Постоянное представительство России при Евросоюзе указало на ключевые нестыковки в версии об отравлении Алексея Навального
15 сентября 2020
Russia has asked the EU nine questions about accusations in the situation with Navalny
The Permanent Representative of Russia to the European Union has pointed out the key inconsistencies in the version about the poisoning of Alexei Navalny
15 September 2020
In the eighth question, Russian diplomats drew attention to a bottle of water, on which, according to Germany, traces of poison had been found: "Not a single surveillance camera recorded how Navalny drank from a similar bottle at the Tomsk airport [before departure]. from this bottle earlier or on board the plane, how did this bottle get to Berlin? "
Ask Pevchikh! Only she is now probably undergoing debriefing in London at UK Secret Intelligence Services HQ, 85 Albert Embankment.
MARK CHAPMAN September 15, 2020 at 6:54 pm
Navalny, if indeed he was close to death, must now realize he was set up by one of his own benefactors. What would be his next move? Going back to Russia would make the most sense as the Russians may actually protect him from another show-assassination and he would have freedom to prance around to his heart's content.JEN September 15, 2020 at 10:53 pm
I don't believe he was ever 'close to death', rather that he was an active part of the deception. He is a grifting idiot who puffs up like a toad upon being flattered. He could never win power in Russia legitimately, as he is mostly a figure of contempt in Russia save for the perennially-discontented children of the liberal elite and the few Americaphiles who don't know enough to keep their heads down. I believe he played his role by taking something that would nauseate him but not seriously hurt him, rolling about and screaming, and that the introduction of the phony 'poison bottle' was with his full knowledge. I wish Russia would just disown him and tell the Germans they can have him.
However, I could be wrong. We will know from the tone of his remarks when he feels he is strong enough to once again assume his president-in-waiting role, and starts spouting off about what happened to him. He is the most likely candidate to be selected to get the water-bottle narrative back on track, so if he comes out with an explanation for how he drank from the bottle somewhere there were no surveillance cameras, and noticed a sketchy-looking guy in a leather jacket and a "Vote For Putin!" T-shirt standing nearby just before he drank, it will be a pretty good indication that he is as full of shit as ever.MOSCOWEXILE September 15, 2020 at 11:18 pm
There was considerable risk involved in the deception. I doubt that Navalny went into the deception willingly. There was a very real risk that he could have suffered some brain damage going into the first coma and that's sure to compromise his health in the long term in other ways.
More likely it seems a lot of the deception was planned behind Navalny's back and people were waiting for an opportunity to carry it out. It may have been planned years ago for someone else and then switched to Navalny once he was in the Omsk hospital. Julia Navalnaya may have been pushed into demanding that Navalny be transferred to Berlin and while the Omsk hospital doctors were stabilising him for the transfer, the deception then started going into action in Germany.MARK CHAPMAN September 16, 2020 at 8:49 am
Lavrov smelt a rat several days ago -- last week, I'm sure -- when he stated that suspicions had been aroused by one of Navalny's gang refusing to answer investigators' questions in Omsk and then scarpering off to Germany.
I'm quite sure the FSB already knew of Pevchikh's comings and goings between London and Moscow (over 60 flights there and back I read somewhere) and her activities with the Navalny organization.
Perhaps they allowed Navalny to leave for Germany -- with Pevchikh flying out with him, I may add -- because they knew what was afoot and would later expose the Germans for liars, or if not that, then for their falling to a sucker punch off the British secret service.
They certainly allowed Pevchikh to leave Russia: she didn't sneak on board Navalny's private flight.
Just Pevchikh, note, not Navalnaya, who is not a British agent, I'm sure.
MOSCOWEXILE September 16, 2020 at 4:41 am
Certainly possible – as I say, we will know more from his blabber once he starts giving interviews, which he lives to do. His tone will have changed considerably if he believes his erstwhile chums in politics intended to martyr him. Otherwise I read his expressed desire to return at once to Russia as simply remaining in character – the selfless hero risking all for freedom and democracy.
I wonder how he will thank the doctors in Omsk for saving his life, as it is generally acknowledged they did. He cannot go into transports of admiration for their professional skills, because they claimed to have found no trace of poisoning in his samples. He faces the choice, then, of simply passing over it without mention, or accusing the people who saved his life of 'being part of the machine'. Doing either will certainly not increase his popularity in Russia. And it makes no difference at all how popular he is in the west – something the west seemingly cannot be taught.
LikePAULR September 16, 2020 at 5:07 am
Die Zeit сообщила о предложении США от ФРГ по "Северному потоку -- 2"
RT на русском, 16 сентября 2020
Die Zeit announced the proposal of the USA from Germany for the "Nord Stream – 2
RT in Russian, September 16, 2020
The German government has offered the United States a deal in exchange for Washington's waiver of sanctions against Nord Stream 2.
This is reported by the newspaper Die Zeit, citing sources
It is noted that Berlin has expressed its readiness to invest up to € 1 billion in the construction of two terminals in Germany for receiving liquefied natural gas from the United States.
"In response, the United States will allow the unhindered completion and operation of Nord Stream 2", TASS quotes the text of a letter from German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, which was sent on August 7 to the head of the US Treasury, Stephen Mnuchin.
In early August, US senators sent a letter to the operator of the German port of Sassnitz calling for an end to work to support the construction of Nord Stream 2.
https://russian-rt-com.turbopages.org/russian.rt.com/s/business/news/783868-predlozhenie-frg-ssha?utm_source=yxnews&utm_medium=mobileMOSCOWEXILE September 16, 2020 at 5:57 am
This would suggest that the Germans are not planning to cancel North Stream 2 themselves in response to the Navalny case.PATIENT OBSERVER September 16, 2020 at 9:05 am
The USA won't like the offer. Zero-Win for them -- always.
Americans have to be winners -- expect to be winners: it's their birthright and what made America great. To be a loser is un-American.
In my experience, the worst thing ever for many US citizens is to be accused of being a "loser".PATIENT OBSERVER September 16, 2020 at 5:12 pm
Very true about the term "loser" being a harsh insult for Americans. The "loser" tag starts to be applied to kids in early grade school and only intensifies from that point. The glorification of success (defined by the level of conspicuous consumption) further sharpens the divide between losers and winners. Our "feel-good" stories are often about individuals who were able to transform themselves from "losers" to "winners". American culture is one-dimensional in that way.MARK CHAPMAN September 16, 2020 at 10:49 pm
Building an LNG terminal is one thing, buying US LNG is another thing. In addition, I believe that Russia could provide LNG to Germany as well and likely at a substantially lower price.
The US may settle for this gesture as it does hold the door open, however slightly, for future developments to be leveraged by the US to force Germany to reduce or stop gas purchases from Russia. Having the terminal in place could make a future change in suppliers more feasible and faster but nevertheless representing an economic disaster for Germany. Lets call it step 1 in Plan B.ET AL September 16, 2020 at 11:56 pm
I'm pretty sure the Americans will not take this offer, but will instead – correctly – interpret it as weakness and increase their pressure.MARK CHAPMAN September 17, 2020 at 8:51 am
On the other hand any diplomatic/economic success plays well in this presidential erection year. So a) is it worth it?; b) can they reverse the decision the day after? I assume they can have their cake and eat it as Brussels is mostly spineless. Borrell can squeal about Russia, but that's because he can do f/k all about the USA's behavior, being spokeshole and allMARK CHAPMAN September 16, 2020 at 9:20 am
That's what people seem not to get – the decision would not ever be 'reversible' once Nord Stream II is complete. That pipeline quad alone can carry all of Europe's gas supply that it receives from Russia. None through Ukraine, not a whiff, if that is Moscow's will, although the Russians have agreed to transit token amounts, which the Ukrainians say are not enough to make the system's continued operation viable – without the large volumes they are accustomed to handling, they will have to progressively begin shutting down, bypassing and dismantling sections they can no longer afford to maintain.
So long as the pipeline's future remains in doubt, Uncle Sam can sell the philosophical possibility of supplying Europe with large volumes of cheap LNG via tankers, made desirable – although it will cost a little more, no getting around that – for political reasons. Once Nord Stream II is complete, the reality of a reliable supply of cheap pipeline gas would have to be countered with a concrete offer from the USA; this many cubic meters times this many Euros. Any housewife can do a cost-benefit analysis at that level. Do you want to pay more for American gas just because it comes from America? Well, let me think about it – what are the benefits? Well, it comes from America! What, you mean, that's it? There would be no possibility the Americans would use their status as a major energy supplier as leverage to bring about economic or political changes in Europe that they desired, would there? Well I can't guarantee that.
You know what? I'm okay with Russian gas, thanks just the same. Maybe I'll use the money I save to buy a Ford – how's that?
MOSCOWEXILE September 16, 2020 at 8:31 am
Pathetic. After declaring forcefully that American extraterritorial sanctions are illegal – which, technically, they are, only America has a right to threaten to limit European trade in America if it wishes; although that, too is illegal under WTO rules – Germany is now cowering and trying to 'make a deal'. With Trump, in case anyone missed that, whose 'Art of the Deal' consists of destroying the opponent until he is happy to have escaped with his life, and will never publicly complain about a 'deal' which came out very much to his disadvantage. Put another way, offering America a 'deal' only highlights that you believe you are in a weak position, are looking for mercy, and are ripe for the plucking. Germany was already planning to build the heaviest concentration of LNG terminals in Europe; a far better strategy would have been to threaten to cancel them all if Uncle Sam did not back off. The Americans are certainly smart enough to figure out – in about 2.5 seconds – that more LNG terminals means diddly when Russia can also supply LNG far cheaper than the USA because it has teensy transport costs by comparison, being much closer. Two more LNG terminals buys America precisely zero advantage, but the willingness to 'deal' reveals vulnerability. The only American response to rolling on your back to expose your belly is to step on your head.
I swear, it is hard to recognize Germany as the country which once frightened the world.
A Trump counter-offer might be a commitment from Germany to buy X amount of American LNG at a locked-in price, said amount to be sufficient that extra Nord Stream capacity would not be utilized. It depends on whether the Americans really think they can actually stop Nord Stream II, because even that would ultimately be a loser strategy. Unless a term far into the future were specified, the Americans know that once the pipeline is finished, their product is no longer competitive and cannot ever be unless it is unprofitable to themselves. They could satisfy themselves with gutting the Germans for a year or two (if they accepted), but it would be short-term satisfaction at best. Might be enough to win Trump the election, though.
But if Washington thinks it can actually halt Nord Stream II – with the understanding that the Russians would probably give up after such a stinging second rebuke – then the sky is the limit, and they will scornfully reject any other solution. The one who stands to get hurt the most is Europe. But I don't think they realize it.CORTES September 17, 2020 at 12:41 am
WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO KILL THE "OPPOSITION" TORCH-BEARER NAVALNY?
September 15, 2020
MOSCOWEXILE September 17, 2020 at 12:53 am
The Borgias are history. Well, obviously, they ARE history. But now they have been relegated to the Second Division/Championship (football joke) of Poisoners by Sergei Lavrov and his chef de cuisine:
Voici le mindfuck (pardon my French):
Contains a smidgeon of addled Navalny. Delish!
https://c0.pubmine.com/sf/0.0.3/html/safeframe.html REPORT THIS ADMOSCOWEXILE September 17, 2020 at 12:56 am
Oh look! The Navalnyites have shown a video, shot in Tomsk, of Navalny drinking from the allegedly poisoned water bottle that earlier nobody had seen or made mention of before it turned up in Berlin and was sent to the Bundeswehr lab.
Recall that his loud-mouth spokeswoman had from the very start insisted that Navalny had been poisoned by laced-with-poison tea that he had drunk at Tomsk airport.
Change of story line -- as persistently happened in the Skripal fake.
Video Showing Water Bottle That 'Poisoned' Alexei Navalny Shared by His Team
17 September, 2020: 10:17
https://sputniknews.com/russia/202009171080484058-navalny-was-poisoned-by-water-bottle-in-his-hotel-room-his-team-claims/MOSCOW EXILE September 17, 2020 at 3:15 am
That Sputnik headline should read, I think, "shared with his team".
And if that is the case, why didn't his team also start howling and screaming and rolling around on the deck some time later on board the Tomsk-Moscow flight?MOSCOW EXILE September 17, 2020 at 3:36 am
Соратники Навального сообщили, что забрали бутылки из номера в Томске
17.09.2020 | 10:57
Navalny's companions have reported that they took bottles from a hotel room in Tomsk
Alexei Navalny's companions have said that a bottle of mineral water, on which German experts had allegedly found traces of poison from the Novichok group, had been brought from a hotel room in Tomsk.
On an Instagram, they have posted a video in which, according to them, an hour after news of Navalny's deteriorating condition, they examine the room and seize all the items which he had been able to touch.
On August 20, the aeroplane in which Navalny was flying urgently landed in Omsk, from where the blogger was taken to hospital. On August 21, doctors announced that the main diagnosis was metabolic disorders.
At the moment, Navalny is in Germany, where he has been taken out of an artificial coma. German doctors announced that he had been poisoned with substances from the Novichok group, but did not provide any relevant evidence.
So why didn't the Navalny hamsters, who dutifully sought out the poison bottle and most certainly handled it, throw wobblers as did Navalny when performing what he thought were the effects of nerve agent poisoning?
And whom did the hamsters hand the bottle to -- Navalnaya or Pevchikh? And who handled the bottle after its arrival in Berlin and before the obliging Bundeswehr said it had been dosed with the most lethal nerve agent (weapons grade) known to man?
Why isn't there a trail of stiffs from Tomsk to Berlin and beyond?
Who's going to believe this shite?
"Why, the whole world knows it's true!" will Imperial Plenipotentiary Pompeus Fattus Arsus surely say.CORTES September 17, 2020 at 6:20 am
One of the developers of Novichok, Leonid Rink, commented on reports that a bottle in the Tomsk hotel where Alexei Navalny had stayed could [have been] Novichok [contaminated] .
"This is a situation where no one would have been allowed to touch the bottle -- you would have died if you had done so. If this had really been the case, then there would have basically been a deceased person, and everyone who had carried this bottle without gloves and protection would also have died", he told RIA Novosti.
Ah, but . . . Rink is forgetting that it was a special, delayed action Novichok made to take effect on "Putin's Fiercest Critic" when he was on board the Tomsk-Moscow flight.
Rink's an old Soviet has-been and knows nothing about the latest developments in diabolical weaponry that issues forth from secret Orc laboratories.
Эксперт прокомментировал сообщения о бутылке с "Новичком"
Expert comments on statements about the bottle with "Novichok"
12:27JENNIFER HOR September 17, 2020 at 12:43 pm
Maybe the cunning developers have produced a Novichok variant safe to those who have sinned but fatal (or liable, at least, to provoke a severe tummy upset, occasionally) to the purest of heart?MOSCOWEXILE September 17, 2020 at 7:56 am
I like this idea of the special edition of Novichok with the delayed kick. Maybe we could call it Brawndo and speculate that the poison only goes into action when it does because the added electrolytes take time to work to release the poison.MARK CHAPMAN September 17, 2020 at 9:06 am
Alexei Navalny's team immediately after his departure from Tomsk airport, went to the hotel room in that city where he had spent the night, and packed all the items (including water bottles) so as to deliver them for analysis (of course, not in Russia). A video about this was posted on the oppositionist's Instagram.
Everything in this story is beautiful. Navalny's supporters were collecting "evidence" on a case that had not yet happened -- but it was already supposed to have happened? Together with them, there went a lawyer to the hotel -- he was also at the ready. But why were none of the "trackers" hurt if on the "evidence", as is said, they found traces of the "Novichok" military poison? And how did the "people of Navalny" end up in a room where cleaning up should have been done after the guest's departure? There are other questions as well. Some of them "KP" asked FSB reserve general Alexander Mikhailov .MOSCOWEXILE September 17, 2020 at 7:26 am
And the person shown handling the bottle is wearing gloves – they made sure to show that. But as others have pointed out, this was well before anyone knew 'an attempt had been made on the Opposition Leader's life'. What, all Lyosha's shit was still in his hotel room, towels on the floor, the next day, after he checked out? Pretty crappy service in those Russian hotels. He didn't even leave Russia for several days, and the first suggestions he had been poisoned came from his 'press agent', who claimed he had been poisoned with tea at the airport.
LikeMOSCOWEXILE September 17, 2020 at 7:42 am
Навального выдвинули на Нобелевскую премию мира
Navalny nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Sergei Yerofeyev, a professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA, has spoken about this.
According to Yerofeyev, Navalny has been nominated for the prize by "a number of professors from recognized universities who deal with Russia". He did not give specific names, but noted that there are "great people" amongst the scientists who have nominated Navalny.
A professor of any university in the world can nominate a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize: there are no specific requirements for a candidate. In addition, members of national governments and parliaments, heads of state and some other categories of persons can nominate candidates.
The oppositionist will have to fight for the main prize of the planet with venerable rivals.
This is, first of all, US President Donald Trump, who was nominated by Christian Tubring-Jedde, a member of the Norwegian parliament from the far-right Libertarian Progress Party. As the MP said in an interview with Fox News, Donald Trump should be awarded for his role in concluding an agreement on the full normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE.
And why not? O'Bummer was awarded the peace prize, wasn't he?
Same story in Yukie news:
Navalny nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Navalny nominated for Nobel Peace Prize – Kyiv PostTIMOTHY HAGIOS September 17, 2020 at 8:26 am
I wonder how the Kiev Post evaluates Navalny's position on the Crimea?
The status of the Crimea is a problem that a new democratic Russia will inherit from its former government. The Russian position on this problem will be determined by the recognition of the right of the citizens of the Crimea to determine their own destiny -- Navalny 20!8MARK CHAPMAN September 17, 2020 at 9:13 am
I say give it to him. Let him join the prestigious ranks of Obama, the OPCW, the EU.
I also propose starting a Nobel War Prize, to be awarded to whatever individual or organization is responsible for the highest body count in a given year. Although that may be redundant, considering that it would probably be given to the same people as the Peace Prize.MOSCOWEXILE September 18, 2020 at 9:17 am
Ha, ha!! And it all descends into farce, again. Navalny has arrived – he has gone global, beyond his wildest dreams. The nothing from Wherever He Is From who could not even break 5% in presidential election polling is now a major star, glittering in the western firmament. As Saint Lily Tomlin once remarked, no matter how cynical you get, you can never keep up.
All the west is going to be able to get out of this is the satisfaction of showing its ass to the neo-Soviets, the way it does when it re-names the street the Russian Embassy is – or was – located on after some prominent Russian dissident. Beavis and Butthead level, at best.
On Navalny, a Russian blogger writes:
That's it! This is a farewell article. A real goodbye to the topic. More precisely, parting with Navalny as a topic. His political role has been played to the end. And even lethal doses of Novichok have not caused a mass movement. Furgal's arrest caused an explosion of civil consciousness in Khabarovsk. The poisoning of Navalny, sending him abroad, the discovery of Novichok, official accusations from Germany did not cause any rally, no procession, no movement. No excitement in civic consciousness has occurred and will never happen.
Sep 18, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
turcopolier , 16 September 2020 at 08:52 AMeakens , 16 September 2020 at 10:03 AM
It is clear that the heat has gone away in the fabled "Arab Street" over the issue of Israel. If that were not so, the rulers would not have dared to do this. That being so ... It will be very interesting to see how many people from these two countries go to Israel to visit holy sites like the al-Aqsa Mosque. There have not been many religious tourists from Egypt and Jordan. This is what the Israelis call pilgrims. Trump thinks that he can bring Saudi Arabia into such a deal? Good! Let's see it. He thinks that Iran can be brought into such a deal? Wonderful! Let's see it.
He thinks the Palestinians will accept permanent helot status? Maybe so... But is that something we should relish?
And what of Syria? What of Syria? Evidently Trump considered murdering President Assad two years ago. Is he going to abandon regime change now? is he going to abandon the policy of Pompeo and Jeffries?
I suggest that security should be very tight on airline flights from Bahrein and the UAE.nbsp; tjfxh , 16 September 2020 at 11:17 AM
I suspect this has less to do with peace and more to do with lining up a coalition against Iran. He's signing peace deals at the white house the same day he not only threatens Iran for a make believe assassination plot against our South African Ambassador, but admits he wanted to assassinate Assad.
He's making a big mistake though if he thinks Iranians will behave and respond similarly to the Arabs, and they are certainly not North Koreans.
He's being frog marched into a war with Iran while his ego is being stroked under the guise of a Nobel peace prize.A.I.S. , 16 September 2020 at 11:49 AM
What say about Alastair Crooke's "Maintaining Pretence Over Reality: 'Simply Put, the Iranians Outfoxed the U.S. Defence Systems'" at Strategic Culture Foundation?
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/09/14/maintaining-pretence-over-reality-simply-put-iranians-outfoxed-us-defence-systems/Leith , 16 September 2020 at 12:01 PM
My guess is that the acceptability for Helot status of Palestinians will depend on how much worse it is compared to the status of Palestinian equivalents elsewhere. Syria and Lebanon certainly look far less attractive. The other issue is the degree with which Arab elites can "reroute" Anti Israeli into Anti Iranian sentiments on the Arab street.
Also, from my admittedly limited experience, Palestinians aren't exactly homogenous, Gaza =! West Bank.
If the Israelis are smart (and I think they are), they will continue to exploit Palestinian disunity by not having one helot status but several, with privileges to repress and boss around the lesser helots (perhaps even some less desirable Israelis) awarded to the higher helots.
I think this will be fairly hard though. Various Historical, religion and cultural issues specific to the situation make it quite hard for Arabs to actually assimilate into Israeli society. There is also a lack of a unifying foe to unite against. If you look at relatively successful integration/assimilations in history, jointly overcoming something that was threatening to both typically ranked pretty highly as a cause.Jack , 16 September 2020 at 02:12 PM
"I suggest that security should be very tight on airline flights from Bahrein and the UAE."
Bingo! I won't be flying on Gulf Air or FlyDubai.Jack , 16 September 2020 at 02:44 PM
The neocons have been firmly ensconced in ME policy since Reagan. At least Trump made a little bit of lemonade. Nothing earth shattering IMO but moved the ball forward 10 yds and away from own goals under the so-called experts & strategists of the past decades.
The TDS afflicted media couldn't bear that some lemonade was made. Wolf Blitzer interviewing Jared Kushner was all about pandemic nothing about the implications or process to having couple gulf sheikhs recognize Israel. The fact is that these gulf sheikhs only paid lip service to the plight of the Palestinians in any case. This formalizes what was reality. The "Arab Street" have always been a manifestation of whatever were powerful manipulations. The manipulators have been coopted in the current lemonade making. In any case Bibi must be very pleased. He didn't have to give up anything in his difficult domestic political predicament.Serge , 16 September 2020 at 05:18 PM
Support for Israel and its maximalist dreams has always been bipartisan.Yeah, Right , 16 September 2020 at 06:03 PM
The arabs simply do not care anymore, from Morocco to Oman. Their spirit totally broken by the "Arab spring", youth disillusioned and jobless. The only dream left for most is to ape the western lifestyle. The others are fighting in wars.
I can see one of two futures, a Clean Break: Securing the Realm-style one in which all of the arabs live life as helots under the thumb of a Greater Israel. This would bring relative economic prosperity to most of the helots.Polish Janitor , 16 September 2020 at 06:14 PM
I think I see the flaw in this article: ..."If that turns out to be the case and this maneuver succeeds in ultimately bringing about a two state solution for Israel and the Palestinians,"...
Surely you don't believe that these maneuvers are intended to bring about a Palestinian state?
The colonel has a much more realistic take on this: the intention is to co-opt the Arab states into forcing the Palestinians to accept permanent helot status. Not quite slaves but closes to it.
There would be many ways to describe that, but I suspect "peace plan" would rank amongst the less accurate ones.John Merryman , 16 September 2020 at 10:17 PM
One running theme that I have been seeing from the former so-called neocon critics and ME wars opponents (Michael Scheuer comes to mind) is their uncontrollable exhilaration for any terrible so-called F.P. 'success' that the Trump admin achieves in the ME.
I also remember when the Trump admin killed the Gen. Suleimani late last year the same people also touted it a national security success. This is shameful pattern.
Just because Jared Kushner, Berkowitz (Kushner's mini-me), David Friedman and the Zionist anti-American paid shills of Christians United For Israel et.al put Israel's interest first does not make it a success for American interests abroad. Trump does not know two things about the ME. He just obeys orders from this outside 'advisors' when it comes to ME policy.
It it exactly what it is. Israel normalized relations with the most notorious dictatorships and wants to implement Pegasus spying program and wide-scale surveillance (among other nefarious things) in UAE and Bahrain. How is that a success for America? America should stay out of these Israeli-first trouble making schemes and stay neutral or out of there.
Let me tell you what a F.P. success is, OK? It would have been a huge success if America was able to lure Iran into its orbit to fend of the Chinese communists out of the region and out of our lives and have a stronger alliance with regards to its upcoming Cold War with China.
It would have been successful for America to balance China out with Iran, India, Turkey and Afghanistan, and not let China to invest billions in Haifa port (close to U.S. military forces there) a major hub of its Belt and Road initiative and a huge blow to U.S. new Cold war effort against China.
Think about it.
Allow me to raise a few points: first of all , every single one of these brutal backward Arab dictatorships has had low key but crucial relations with Israel since the Cold War and they just made it open, Big deal! Second, this joyfulness for a hostile anti-american country is quite sad for two reasons:
1. that Larry touts it as a success for America, which is anything but a success for America. It is a success for Bibi and Trump's evangelical/zionist sugar daddies to cough up some Benjamins for Trump's campaign and his GOP/Likudniks. I guess nowadays our judgement is so clouded and inverted that MAGA and MIGA are considered inseparable.
2. The delusion that dems are bitterly angry and anti-Israel (because they are anti-Trump) and therefore it automatically becomes an issue of partisan support for Trump and whatever he does. This idea is so absurd that I won't get into it. Dems were the first to congratulate Israel.
I would like Larry to tell me what he thinks of H.R. 1697 Israel Anti-Boycot Act which punishes American citizens for practicing their god-given 2nd Amendment rights. or the 3.8 billion of aid, or the the gifting of Golan heights to Bibi? Are these big foreign policy success too?
What the Arab-Israeli normalization means:
*The U.S. wants out of the ME to focus on China, a wet dream that Israel favors especially post Cold War. It does not want secular, (semi) democratic sovereign states around it, and if anyone pays attention close enough they do whatever they can to prevent any kind of political reform and change of government to occur among Arab nations. Israelis are staunch supporters of Saudi, Bahraini, UAE, Jordanian, and Egyptian dictatorships in the MENA region.
Israel will now be better positioned to roll-back any kind of grassroots reform in the ME with the help of their now openly pro-Israeli Arab rulers by directing policies to these backward rulers to divest from human development and political reform and instead invest more in security, tech, surveillance.
This trend also explains Israeli constant opposition to the Iran Deal, which would have had further ramifications for political reform and accelerated weakening of Hardliners in Tehran and a better position for America to pivot to China with the help of a moderated Iran. Israel does not want a powerful democratic nation near its borders, and especially not in Iran. Just take a look at Israel's neighbors and tell me how many of them are democratic and friendly with Israel and how does Israel behave when there are secular Arab democratic states around it?
- There is a developing coalition of powerful states as a reaction to the Arab-Israeli normalization that observers call "the rejectionists". They are, Turkey, Qatar, Pakistan (impending), Malaysia (impending), Iran, and EU (impending).
- It is true that Iran has now a target on its back and if it were smart, it would try its best to develop some kind of alliance with the secular democratic humanists in EU to try to remove itself from isolation, save what is left of the Iran Deal, and try to isolate and condemn Israelis, Arab dictators and their cohorts internationally and through diplomacy back portraying them as illiberal and anti-democratic or similar things. Although I am not too hopeful that Iran is be able to do this for a number of obvious reasons.
- This Arab-Israeli normalization is a MIGA (Make Israel Great Again) vision of very tightly controlled development for the MENA region and extremely' special' attention has been given to the cyber tech development (call it surveillance) to control the 'Arab Street' from social revolt and the prevention of next rounds of Arab Springs, which again goes back to Israel's long-standing regional doctrine of propping pro-U.S. and now pro-Israeli Arab dictatorships in the region.different clue , 17 September 2020 at 02:42 AM
In the end, it's all just tribal superstition. Logically a spiritual absolute would be the essence of sentience, from which we rise, not an ideal of wisdom and judgement, from which we fell. The fact we are aware, than the myriad details of which we are aware.
One of the reasons we can't have a live and let live world is because everyone thinks their own vision should be universal, rather than unique. So the fundamentalists rule.
The reason nature is so diverse and dense is because it isn't a monoculture. Irrespective of our technology, we are still fairly primitive, in the grand scheme of things.Mathias Alexander , 17 September 2020 at 04:53 AM
When I read that " If you look at relatively successful integration/assimilations in history, jointly overcoming something that was threatening to both typically ranked pretty highly as a cause." I think that The Islamic Republic of Iran is what is being offered or used as that cause.
If this all ends up in the longest run leading to today's and tomorrow's Israelis accepting the lesser Israel that Rabin ended up deciding would be necessary for a lesser-but-still-real Palestine to emerge as a real country resigned with both resigned enough to that outcome that they would tolerate eachother's separate independence over the long term, then this will go somewhere good.
But if the present and future Israelis believe this means that the total advantage is totally theirs to press, then present and future Palestinians will continue searching for ways to make their unhappiness felt. But that outcome would not be Trump's fault. That outcome would be the majority-likudnic Israelis' choice.Matthew , 17 September 2020 at 09:26 AM
To have a two state solution Israel will have to leave enough of Palestine without Jewish settlement for there to be room for another state. Their actions show that they have no intention of doing that.BABAK MAKKINEJAD , 17 September 2020 at 09:55 AM
Larry: the problem with "outside in" strategy is that implies that if conditions are bad enough for the Palestinians, they will agree to any deal Trump can force down their throats. Instead, Palestinians have been offered terrible deals since 2000 (ie., a state that is never going to be a real state with permanent Israeli control over its borders, air space, and water tables)
The smarter plan is to acknowledge that the Zionists killed the Two-State Solution, and Palestinians might as well push this into an anti-Apartheid struggle. The gerontocracy that rules the PA will soon pass away. The younger generation of Palestinians are much more sophisticated.
As a trial lawyer, I see this type of behavior all the time. If you offer someone essentially nothing, they lose nothing by rejecting it. The Arab dictators will not be around forever. And before Camp David, the Palestinians have suffered far worse than they are suffering now.Artemesia , 17 September 2020 at 10:35 AM
For any kind of Peace in Palestine, Jerusalem must revert back to Muslim Sovereignty.
It is all about who calls the shots there; just as it was 800 years ago.turcopolier , 17 September 2020 at 10:58 AM
Matthew: Your description of Trump's strategy is no different from Vladimir Jabotinsky's 1923 Iron Wall doctrine
In short: "We Jews know that Arabs (Palestinians) will never, ever voluntarily give up hope of resisting Jewish demands, and Jews will never stop with Jewish demands: that all of Palestine become Jewish.
Since 'voluntary' will not work, only force -- an Iron Wall -- will suffice.
Jabotinsky defines "Iron Wall" as the enforcement capacity of an outside power:"we cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the Land of Israel or the Arab countries. Their voluntary agreement is out of the question. Hence those who hold that an agreement with the natives is an essential condition for Zionism can now say "no" and depart from Zionism. Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population. This colonization can, therefore, continue and develop only under the protection of a force independent of the local population – an iron wall which the native population cannot break through. This is, in toto, our policy towards the Arabs. To formulate it any other way would only be hypocrisy.
Not only must this be so, it is so whether we admit it or not. What does the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate mean for us? It is the fact that a disinterested power committed itself to create such security conditions that the local population would be deterred from interfering with our efforts."
Be aware that Benjamin Netanyahu's father, Benzion, was Jabotinsky's administrative assistant, then replacement, in New York; that Bibi is very much heir to the ideological fervor of Jabotinsky & of Benzion; and that Benzion and Benjamin laid out the blueprint for the GWOT at the Jerusalem Conference July 4, 1979
Trump plays only a walk-on role in this carefully scripted 150 year old zionist drama.turcopolier , 17 September 2020 at 11:30 AM
To "Muslim Sovereignty?" No. It should be an international city.
"there isn't a lot of difference between KSA and these fiefdoms of uae and bahrain.." A total crock. you obviously have never been to either of these places.
BABAK MAKKINEJAD , 17 September 2020 at 11:46 AMArtemesia , 17 September 2020 at 12:00 PM
Who or what Legitimate Authority would administer such an International City?
None has ever existed.
Jews can have Jerusalem if they return Washington, DC to full USA sovereignty.
Sep 18, 2020 | www.rt.com
By Caitlin Johnstone , an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz ...Amid all the pedantic squabbling over when it is and is not legal under US law for a journalist to expose evidence of US war crimes, we must never lose sight of the fact that (A) it should always be legal to expose war crimes, (B) it should always be illegal for governments to hide evidence of their war crimes, (C) war crimes should always be punished, (D) people who start criminal wars should always be punished, (E) governments should not be permitted to have a level of secrecy that allows them to start criminal wars, and (F) power and secrecy should always have an inverse relationship to one another.
The Assange case needs to be fought tooth and claw, but we must keep in mind that it is so very, very many clicks back from where we need to be as a civilization. In an ideal situation, governments should be too afraid of the public to keep secrets from them; instead, here we are begging the most powerful government in the world to please not imprison a journalist because he arguably did not break the rules that that government made for itself.
Do you see how far that point is from where we need to be?
It's important to remember this. It's important to remember that the amount of evil deeds power structures will commit is directly proportional to the amount of information they are permitted to hide from the public. We will not have a healthy world until power and secrecy have an inverse relationship to each other: privacy for rank-and-file individuals, and transparency for governments and their officials.
"But what about military secrets?" one might object. Yes, what about military secrets? What about the fact that virtually all military violence perpetrated by the world's largest power structures is initiated based on lies ? What about the utterly indisputable fact that the more secrecy we allow the war machine, the more wars it deceives the public into allowing it to initiate?
In a healthy world, the most powerful government on Earth wouldn't be trying to squint at its own laws in such a way that permits the prosecution of a journalist for telling the truth.
In a healthy world, the most powerful government on Earth wouldn't prosecute anyone for telling the truth at all.
In a healthy world, governments would prosecute their own war crimes, instead of those who expose them.
In a healthy world, governments wouldn't commit war crimes at all.
In a healthy world, governments wouldn't start wars at all.
In a healthy world, governments would see truth as something to be desired and actively sought, not something to be repressed and punished.
In a healthy world, governments wouldn't keep secrets from the public, and wouldn't have any cause to want to.
In a healthy world, if governments existed at all, they would exist solely as tools for the people to serve themselves, with full transparency and accountability to those people.
We are obviously a very, very far cry from the kind of healthy world we would all like to one day find ourselves in. But we should always keep in mind what a healthy world will look like, and hold it as our true north for the direction that we are pushing in.
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By Caitlin Johnstone , an independent journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Her website is here and you can follow her on Twitter @caitoz
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
Reality007 3 hours ago 18 Sep, 2020 10:07 AMUnfortunately, no criminals that have committed or covered up war crimes, decades ago to present, will ever be indicted. They are all above the law while all innocents that revealed the truths must pay highly. We can only pray and hope for the best for Julian Assange.Fred Dozer Reality007 1 hour ago 18 Sep, 2020 12:16 PMI see nothing wrong with robbing banks in criminal controlled countries. These governments, murder, cheat, lie, & steal.T. Agee Kaye 2 hours ago 18 Sep, 2020 11:10 AMThe right of a people to know what their government is doing, and the potential consequences of those actions on the people, nation, and society, is inalienable. The exposure of war crimes and any corruption is not illegal and cannot be made illegal. The trial of Assange is not about the legality of Assange's actions. It is a display of the influence that criminal interests have over the government and judiciary. It is an attempt to create legitimacy by creating precedent. Murder has plenty of precedent. It will never be legitimate.Jewel Gyn 3 hours ago 18 Sep, 2020 10:21 AMAgreed but having said that, we are not living in a perfect world. Bully with big fists exist and the lesser countries just stood by frustrated and sucking their thumbs, silent lest they be targeted for voicing out. And you can see clearly why US is walking away from any form of organised voice eg UN.Odinsson 2 hours ago 18 Sep, 2020 10:51 AMWhat we need in the case of Julian Assange is factual reporting. While the motivation to prosecute Assange is most likely political, there would be no ability to prosecute him were it not for his active support of PFC Manning's hacking of a DOD information system. It is not unlawful to publish classified information which was provided to you, so long as you are not involved in the criminal acts leading to the exfiltration of the data. Had Assange not aided PFC Manning by looking up hash codes in spreadsheets of known password to hash code translations then the grand jury would not have indicted him. FWIW, it is my opinion that the statute of limitations expired long ago and this should be grounds for dismissal of all charges against him.jholf 1 hour ago 18 Sep, 2020 12:04 PMThese world leaders, claim to be Christians, ... their God 'commands', "Thou shalt not kill." Yet, for more than 6 decades, that is exactly what each of these Christian Commanders in Chief, have done for no reason, other than to fill the pockets of the elite. A man is known by his deeds, Assange gave us truth, while these world leaders gave us war and destructi
Sep 18, 2020 | thesaker.is
Question: Here I am listening to you and wondering how many people care about this? Why is it that no one understands this? Is this politics that is too far away from ordinary people who are nevertheless behind it? Take Georgia or Ukraine. People are worse off now than before, and despite this, this policy continues.
Will the Minsk agreements ever be implemented? Will the situation in southeastern Ukraine ever be settled?
Returning to what we talked about. How independent is Ukraine in its foreign policy?
Sergey Lavrov: I don't think that under the current Ukrainian government, just like under the previous president, we will see any progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, if only because President Zelensky himself is saying so publicly, as does Deputy Prime Minister Reznikov who is in charge of the Ukrainian settlement in the Contact Group. Foreign Minister of Ukraine Kuleba is also saying this. They say there's a need for the Minsk agreements and they cannot be broken, because these agreements (and accusing Russia of non-compliance) are the foundation of the EU and the US policy in seeking to maintain the sanctions on Russia. Nevertheless, such a distorted interpretation of the essence of the Minsk agreements, or rather an attempt to blame everything on Russia, although Russia is never mentioned there, has stuck in the minds of our European colleagues, including France and Germany, who, being co-sponsors of the Minsk agreements along with us, the Ukrainians and Donbass, cannot but realise that the Ukrainians are simply distorting their responsibilities, trying to distance themselves from them and impose a different interpretation of the Minsk agreements. But even in this scenario, the above individuals and former Ukrainian President Kravchuk, who now heads the Ukrainian delegation to the Contact Group as part of the Minsk process, claim that the Minsk agreements in their present form are impracticable and must be revised, turned upside down. Also, Donbass must submit to the Ukrainian government and army before even thinking about conducting reforms in this part of Ukraine.
This fully contradicts the sequence of events outlined in the Minsk agreements whereby restoring Ukrainian armed forces' control on the border with Russia is possible only after an amnesty, agreeing on the special status of these territories, making this status part of the Ukrainian Constitution and holding elections there. Now they propose giving back the part of Donbass that "rebelled" against the anti-constitutional coup to those who declared these people terrorists and launched an "anti-terrorist operation" against them, which they later renamed a Joint Forces Operation (but this does not change the idea behind it), and whom they still consider terrorists. Although everyone remembers perfectly well that in 2014 no one from Donbass or other parts of Ukraine that rejected the anti-constitutional coup attacked the putschists and the areas that immediately fell under the control of the politicians behind the coup. On the contrary, Alexander Turchinov, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and others like them attacked these areas. The guilt of the people living there was solely in them saying, "You committed a crime against the state, we do not want to follow your rules, let us figure out our own future and see what you will do next." There's not a single example that would corroborate the fact that they engaged in terrorism. It was the Ukrainian state that engaged in terrorism on their territory, in particular, when they killed [Head of the Donetsk People's Republic] Alexander Zakharchenko and a number of field commanders in Donbass. So, I am not optimistic about this.
Question: So, we are looking at a dead end?
Sergey Lavrov: You know, we still have an undeniable argument which is the text of the Minsk Agreements approved by the UN Security Council.
Question: But they tried to revise it?
Sergey Lavrov: No, they are just making statements to that effect. When they gather for a Contact Group meeting in Minsk, they do their best to look constructive. The most recent meeting ran into the Ukrainian delegation's attempts to pretend that nothing had happened. They recently passed a law on local elections which will be held in a couple of months. It says that elections in what are now called the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics will be held only after the Ukrainian army takes control of the entire border and those who "committed criminal offenses" are arrested and brought to justice even though the Minsk agreements provide for amnesty without exemptions.
Question: When I'm asked about Crimea I recall the referendum. I was there at a closed meeting in Davos that was attended by fairly well respected analysts from the US. They claimed with absolute confidence that Crimea was being occupied. I reminded them about the referendum. I was under the impression that these people either didn't want to see or didn't know how people lived there, that they have made their choice. Returning to the previous question, I think that nobody is interested in the opinion of the people.
Sergey Lavrov: No, honest politicians still exist. Many politicians, including European ones, were in Crimea during the referendum. They were there not under the umbrella of some international organisation but on their own because the OSCE and other international agencies were controlled by our Western colleagues. Even if we had addressed them, the procedure for coordinating the monitoring would have never ended.
Sep 17, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca
Construction of Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany is about 94% completed.
The project is all about supplying Germany and other European countries with readily available low-cost Russian natural gas -- around 30% cheaper than US liquified natural gas (LNG).
Both right wings of the US one-party state want the pipeline halted to benefit US producers at Russia's expense.
US sanctions on the project breach international law, Germany's Angela Merkel earlier saying "(w)e oppose extraterritorial sanctions (W)e don't accept" them.
"We haven't backed down (on wanting Nord Stream 2 completed) nor do we intend to back down."
Last December, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said "European energy policy is decided in Europe, not the United States. We reject any outside interventions and extraterritorial sanctions."
Did the novichok poisoning of Putin critic Alexey Navalny hoax change things?
During a September 24 – 25 summit of EU leaders, the future of Nord Stream 2 will be discussed. Ahead of the summit, Merkel's government offered to invest around one billion euros (about $1.2 billion) in construction of two terminals in Germany for US LNG.
According to the German broadsheet Die Zeit, by letter to Trump regime Treasury Secretary Mnunchin in August, German Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said the following:
"In exchange (for Berlin's proposed LNG investment), the US will allow unobstructed finalization and use of Nord Stream 2," adding:
"(E)xisting legal options for (challenging US) sanctions (on firms involved in the project) have not been exhausted yet."
The broadsheet added that Scholz first expressed Berlin's proposal verbally, confirming it by letter. Proposed German LNG terminals would be built in Brunsbuttel and Wilhelmshaven. Berlin's proposal also included a gas transit contract for Ukraine and financing of a terminal for Poland's use of US LNG.
Following the Navalny false flag, opinion on completing Nord Stream 2 in Germany is divided. Merkel still supports the project as evidenced by her government's offer to build two terminals for US LNG in exchange for dropping sanctions on the pipeline by the US.
Orchestrated Events Responsible for Alexey Navalny's Illness?
Last June, US Senate hardliners proposed legislation to expand Nord Stream 2 related sanctions.
It targets all nations and enterprises involved in the project, including underwriting, insurance and reinsurance companies.
At the time, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said Russia will complete construction of the project on its own -- expected to be operational in January or shortly thereafter. Last month, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass expressed "displeasure" to Pompeo about US sanctions on the project. Last week, Polish government spokesman Piotr Muller was quoted saying the following:
"Poland has from the very beginning emphasized that European solidarity (on Nord Stream 2) should be unambiguous."
"Therefore, if such a need is expressed by the German side, Poland is open to the idea of using the infrastructure which it is building for its own energy security."
His remark followed German media reports that Merkel said a decision by her government on Nord Stream 2 has not been made in light of the Navalny incident. German officials supporting the project stressed that the country will be the main beneficiary of its completion economically, environmentally and strategically. Construction on the proposed 800 – 950 km Baltic Pipe gas pipeline from Norwegian North Sea waters to Poland hasn't begun.
If completed in October 2022 as proposed, it'll be able to deliver about 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually -- less than 20% of Nord Stream 2's 55 billion annual cubic meter capacity.
Berlin earlier was skeptical about the project because of environmental concerns. Days earlier, Polish energy expert Jakub Wiech called it "pointless" to compare Baltic Pipe to Nord Stream 2, given the latter project's far greater capacity and ability to provide gas to other Western European countries. A day after the Navalny incident last month, Merkel said Nord Stream 2 will be completed regardless of threatened new US sanctions on firms involved in the project.
Separately on Wednesday, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Nord Stream 2's completion should not be raised in discussing the Navalny incident.
"It should stop being mentioned in the context of any politicization."
"This is a commercial project that is absolutely in line with the interests of both Russia and European Union countries, and primarily Germany."
No evidence links Russia to Navalny's illness. Whatever caused it wasn't from a novichok nerve agent, the deadliest know substance able to kill exposed individuals in minutes. Over three weeks after falling ill, Navalny is very much alive, recuperating in a Berlin hospital, and able to be ambulatory for short periods.
A Final Comment
On September 14, CNBC reported the following:
"Experts say Berlin is unlikely to (abandon Nord Stream 2 that's) over 94% completed after almost a decade's construction, involv(ing) major German and European companies, and is necessary for the region's current and future energy needs," adding:
"In this case, economic and commercial interests could trump political pressure" against Russia.
Chief eurozone economist Carsten Brzeski said he doesn't see "Germany pulling out of the project Many (in the country) are still in favor of it."
CNBC noted that
"Germany has been reluctant to link the fate of its involvement with Nord Stream 2 to the Navalny incident so far, and (FM Heiko) Maas conceded that stopping the building of the pipeline would hurt not only Russia but German and European firms."
"(O)ver 100 companies from 12 European countries" are involved in the project about half of them from Germany."
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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com . He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com .
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William Gruff , Sep 15 2020 19:50 utc | 47
Sep 17, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
William Gruff , Sep 15 2020 18:50 utc | 42
While I agree with the statement, I can, with a degree of certainty, say nothing was intercepted, and this is all face saving. As this article elucidates, no such iron dome, exists, or cannot be overcome.
All empire's bases remain exposed in the region. This is why the empire is high tailing it out of SW Asia. Zarif said so, himself.
Dr Rubin, the founder and first director of the Israel Missile Defence Organization, which developed the state's first national missile defence shield, wrote in the wake of the 14 September attack on Abqaiq, (the Saudi Armco oil facility) that it was: "A brilliant feat of arms. It was precise, carefully-calibrated, devastating yet bloodless -- a model of a surgical operation the incoming threats [were not] detected by the U.S. air control systems deployed in the area, nor by U.S. satellites
This had nothing to do with flaws in the air and missile defence systems; but with the fact that they were not designed to deal with ground-hugging threats. Simply put, the Iranians outfoxed the defense systems".
William Gruff , Sep 15 2020 18:50 utc | 42Katyusha rockets are normally fired in salvos of dozens. Two of them being launched against the American fortress in Baghdad is just gentle prodding.Sakineh Bagoom , Sep 15 2020 19:08 utc | 44
Another interesting point is that Katyusha rockets (BM-21 Grad) are dirt cheap. Whatever was used to intercept them was several orders of magnitude more expensive. I'm sure the Iraqi militias can keep lobbing Katyushas at the Green Zone for much longer than America can afford to try to shoot them down.Another interesting point is that Katyusha rockets (BM-21 Grad) are dirt cheap. Whatever was used to intercept them was several orders of magnitude more expensive. I'm sure the Iraqi militias can keep lobbing Katyushas at the Green Zone for much longer than America can afford to try to shoot them down.
Sep 10, 2020 | www.defenddemocracy.press
The relationship between Germany and Russia has reached its lowest point since Berlin supported the pro-Western coup in Ukraine six years ago and Russia subsequently annexed the Crimean Peninsula.
The German government is openly accusing the Russian state of poisoning opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who is currently in Berlin's Charité Clinic. He reportedly awoke from a coma on Monday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel personally announced at a press conference last week that a chemical weapons laboratory of the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) had proved "beyond doubt" that Navalny was the victim of an attack using the Novichok nerve agent. She called on the Russian government to answer "very serious questions."
At a special session of the Parliamentary Control Committee, which meets in secret, representatives of the German government and the secret services left no doubt, according to media reports, that the poisoning of Navalny had been carried out by Russian state authorities, with the approval of the Russian leadership. The poison was said to be a variant of the warfare agent -- one even more dangerous than that used in the Skripal case in Britain. It purportedly could enter the body simply through inhalation, and its production and use required skills possessed only by a state actor.
Germany and the European Union are threatening Russia with sanctions. The German government has even questioned the completion of the almost finished Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, which it had categorically defended against pressure from the US and several Eastern European states.
The German media has gone into propaganda mode, repeating the accusations against Russian President Vladimir Putin with a thousand variations. Seventy-nine years after Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, which claimed more than 25 million lives, German journalists and politicians, in editorials, commentaries and on talk shows, speak with the arrogance of people who are already planning the next military campaign against Moscow.
Anyone who expresses doubts or contradicts the official narrative is branded a "conspiracy theorist." This is what happened to Left Party parliamentarian Sevim Dagdelen, among others, on Sunday evening's "Anne Will" talk show. The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) foreign policy expert Norbert Röttgen, the head of the Munich Security Conference Wolfang Ischinger and former Green Party Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin sought to outstrip one another in their accusations against the Russian government. When Dagdelen gently pointed out that, so far, no evidence whatsoever has been presented identifying the perpetrators, she was accused of "playing games of confusion" and "encouraging unspeakable conspiracy theories."Read also: Russian Defense Minister held talks with Iran's Chief of Staff
The Russian government denies any responsibility in the Navalny case. It questions whether Navalny was poisoned at all and has called on the German government to "show its cards" and present evidence. Berlin, according to Moscow, is bluffing for dirty political reasons.Contradictory and implausible
Evidence of the involvement of the Russian state is as contradictory as it is implausible.
For example, the German authorities have so far published no information or handed evidence to Russian investigators identifying the chemical with which Navalny was poisoned. Novichok is merely a generic term for several families of warfare agents.
No explanation has been given as to why no one else showed signs of poisoning from a nerve agent that is fatal even in the tiniest amounts, if touched or inhaled. Navalny had had contact with numerous people between the time he boarded the airplane on which he fainted, his entering the clinic in Omsk where he was first treated, and his transfer to the Charité hospital in Berlin.
This is only one of many unexplained anomalies in the German government's official story. Career diplomat Frank Elbe, who headed the office of German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher for five years and negotiated the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons as head of the German delegation in Geneva from 1983 to 1986, wrote on Facebook on Friday: "I am surprised that the Federal Ministry of Defence concludes that the nerve agent Novichok was used against Navalny."
Novichok, he wrote, belongs "to the group of super-toxic lethal substances that cause immediate death." It made no sense, he argued, to modify a nerve poison that was supposed to kill instantly in such a way that it did not kill, but left traces behind allowing its identification as a nerve agent.
There was something strange about this case, Elbe said. "Either the perpetrators -- whoever they might be -- had a political interest in pointing to the use of nerve gas, or foreign laboratories were jumping to conclusions that are in line with the current general negative attitude towards Russia."
The assertion that only state actors can handle Novichok is also demonstrably false. The poison was sold in the 1990s for small sums of money to Western secret services and economic criminals, and the latter made use of it. For example, in 1995, the Russian banker Ivan Kiwelidi and his secretary were poisoned with it. The chemist Leonid Rink confessed at the time in court that he had sold quantities to criminals sufficient to kill hundreds of people. Since the binary poisons are very stable, they can last for decades.Read also: UK psyops bigwig pushed plan to 'mine Sevastopol Bay' during 2014 Crimea crisis – leaked documents
The Navalny case is not the reason, but the pretext for a new stage in the escalation of German great power politics and militarism. The media hysteria over Navalny is reminiscent of the Ukrainian crisis of 2014, when the German press glorified a coup d'état carried out by armed fascist militias as a "democratic revolution."
Social Democrat Frank-Walter Steinmeier, then foreign minister and now German president, personally travelled to Kiev to persuade the pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, to resign.
He also met with the fascist politician Oleh Tyahnybok, whose Swoboda Party glorifies Nazi collaborators from World War II. Yanukovych's successor, Petro Poroshenko, one of the country's richest oligarchs, was even more corrupt than his predecessor. He terrorised his opponents with fascist militias, such as the infamous Azov regiment. But he brought Ukraine into NATO's sphere of influence, which was the real purpose of the coup.
In the weeks before the Ukrainian coup, leading German politicians (including then-President Joachim Gauck and Steinmeier) had announced a far-reaching reorientation of German foreign policy. The country was too big "to comment on world politics from the sidelines," they declared. Germany had to defend its global interests, including by military means.
NATO marched steadily eastward into Eastern Europe, breaking the agreements made at the time of German reunification in 1990. For the first time since 1945, German soldiers today patrol the border with Russia. With Ukraine's shift into the Western camp, Belarus is the only remaining buffer country between Russia and NATO.
Berlin now sees the protests against the Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko as an opportunity to remove this hurdle as well. Unlike in Ukraine, where anti-Russian nationalists exerted considerable influence, especially in the west of the country, such forces are weaker in Belarus, where the majority speaks Russian. The working class is playing a greater role in the resistance to the Lukashenko regime than it did in Ukraine. But Berlin is making targeted efforts to steer the movement in a pro-Western direction. Forces that appeal for Western support, such as the presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, are being promoted.Read also: Europe - "Green" Alliance with Russia or experimental field for genetic Monsters?Dispute over Nord Stream 2
The dispute over the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, whose discontinuation is being demanded by more and more German politicians, must also be seen in this context. It was a strategic project from the very beginning.
The natural gas pipeline, which will double the capacity of Nord Stream 1, which began operations in 2011, will make Germany independent of the pipelines that run through Ukraine, Poland and Belarus. These countries not only earn transit fees from the pipelines but have also used then as a political lever.
With a total capacity of 110 billion cubic metres per year, Nord Stream 1 and 2 together would carry almost all of Germany's annual gas imports. However, the gas is also to be transported from the German Baltic Sea coast to other countries.
In addition to Russia's Gazprom, German, Austrian, French and Dutch energy companies are participating in the financing of the project, which will cost almost €10 billion. The chairman of the board of directors is former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (Social Democratic Party), who is a friend of President Putin.
Nord Stream 2 is meeting with fierce opposition in Eastern Europe and the US. These countries fear a strategic alliance between Berlin and Moscow. In December of last year, the US Congress passed a law imposing severe sanctions on companies involved in the construction of the pipeline -- an unprecedented move against nominal allies. The nearly completed construction came to a standstill because the company operating the special ship for laying the pipes withdrew. Berlin and Moscow protested vehemently against the US sanctions and agreed to continue construction with Russian ships, which, however, will not be available until next year at the earliest.
Excerpt of an article by Peter Schwarz published by wsws.org
Sep 17, 2020 | www.rt.com
That's according to Maximilian Krah, a member of the European Parliament from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. The "obscure" case involving the alleged poisoning of Navalny has been used by the EU establishment to launch another round of Moscow-bashing, he says.
The lawmaker explained that his fellow MEPs had not, in fact, seen a single piece of evidence suggesting the Russian government might have had a hand in what happened to Navalny.
We don't have the evidence... none of the members of parliament who today voted in favor of sanctions has seen any evidence.
Krah said it was "unrealistic" to expect that Navalny's case would not be politicized, arguing that it was "absolutely clear" it was being used to push an anti-Moscow agenda.
On Thursday morning, the EU Parliament passed a resolution calling on member states to "isolate Russia in international forums," to "halt the Nord Stream 2 project" and to prioritize the approval of another round of sanctions against Moscow.
The MEP also expressed skepticism about the prospects of the broader public ever getting to see any evidence linking the opposition figure's sudden illness to Russian foul play.
"Evidence will only get published and provided to Russia if there is public pressure," he said, adding that he does not see any such pressure building anywhere in the EU. Until that changes, Berlin is likely to continue demanding "answers" from Moscow while holding off on requests by Russian for cooperation, Krah believes.ALSO ON RT.COM European Parliament calls for international probe into alleged Navalny poisoning & suspension of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline
The German MEP also weighed in on the fate of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, suggesting that the alleged poisoning could work to Washington's benefit, given that the White House has been seeking to undermine the project, liking Russian gas to Germany, for months. Krah said it was "clear from the beginning" that the US would try to use the situation to scupper the project, which he says would make Germany "more independent from American influence."
The EU resolution, which is not legally binding but acts as an advisory for the bloc's leaders, was supported by 532 MEPs and opposed by 84, while 72 abstained. Fresh sanctions against Russia have been mulled by both the EU and US since news about Navalny's alleged poisoning was made public.ALSO ON RT.COM Berlin struggles to answer RT's question on fate of mysterious Navalny aide who left Russia for Germany without being questioned
Moscow has repeatedly expressed its readiness to cooperate with Germany in the probe into the incident, while stressing that the Russian medics who first treated Navalny when he fell ill found no traces of any poison in his body. The Kremlin has also repeatedly approached Berlin for data possessed by the German side, but has so far received none.
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Dachaguy 8 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 02:02 PMOf course, the investigation is incomplete, but that doesn't stop the EU from levying "justice." We've seen this before in the Downing Street Memos, where the facts were, "being fixed around the policy. " Millions of innocent people died as a result. When will people learn?Jeff_P 4 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 06:01 PMThere should be an international commission to look into this false flag. It should be comprised of Russia and Germany, of course, but no other NATO or European countries and no US vassal states other than Germany. Other members could be Cuba, China, Venezuela, and maybe India. And, of course, the US playbook of assignment of guilt without the benefit of evidence and the exacting of penalties without proving guilt won't fly. Russia might just tell Europe to go FO and leave PACE and the other organizations that it supports but which insist on abusing it.perikleous 6 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 04:09 PMIf Russia was determined they would say you cannot delay NSII or we cut the Ukraine pipeline as well, its all or none! Tick Tock Tick Tok, winter is coming soon! Hopefully the Covid 19 won't delay the fuel ships your relying on or the workers who procure the fuel, you know a 2nd wave... is "Highly Likely" and its taking over in the rural areas where the fuel comes from! Present evidence to a poisoning directed by either the fuel company or the gov't and we will continue, or just tell your "handlers" go ***, because I do not recall the US severing weapons sales to Saudi Arabia after Admission to them Severing the head off of (J. Koshoggei) because the US profits/jobs are bigger than one WaPo Journalists life! Hypocracy in action!Shelbouy 6 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 03:46 PMGermany has offered to help pay for the construction of two LNG terminals in Germany to the tune of 1 billion plus to the US. to receive US LNG. The US in turn has said then they would not interfere with the completion of Nord Stream 2 if this were to take place. I am suggesting that Germany then would have 30% cheaper Russian gas than US LNG, blend these two prices, hi cost US LNG and low cost Russian gas of Nord Stream 2, and sell to the EU consumers at a price which would likely be higher than the current rate today, and who would be the wiser, and who would consumers blame when the price of gas goes up instead of down. This may, at least temporarily, appease the US while at the same time ensure the completion of the cheaper Russian supply line, and prevent the diversion of Russian gas to other customer nations like China, and Germany laughs all the way to the bank. This is only speculation on my part because I do not know if it would work that way or not. If it did then Germany would have their cake and eat it. The offer of Germany to the US is however, a fact. The reasons behind this offer are speculative. After all, it's really all about money anyway.perikleous Shelbouy 5 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 04:16 PMThe US would demand a contract/commitment for the fuel based on your yearly usage currently, if you re neg, they still bill you for it! Then its handled in court while your bank accounts are frozen and none of the US debt to you is paid until this is resolved. You may win the hearing/court but the losses from not having access to that money will cost way more!HimandI 4 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 05:47 PMJust more proof that the EU rulers are bought and paid prostitutes.Jayeshkumar 6 minutes ago 17 Sep, 2020 10:03 PMMay be EU is indirectly suggesting to use the 2nd Pipeline to be used Exclusively for Transporting the Hydrogen, in the Future!Congozebilu 2 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 08:06 PMFrom the first minute this Navalny story broke I knew it was aimed at Nordstream. Everyone who understands geopolitics and also US desperation to sell "freedom gas" knows that Nordstream was the intended target this Navalny clown show.ivoivo 1 hour ago 17 Sep, 2020 09:00 PMapparently there are evidence found in a trash can in his hotel room in omsk, they poisoned him with novichock in a water they gave it to him and discard a paper cup in a trash can, standard kremlins procedure, isn't it, what is happening to world intelligence, russians can't kill some dude that is actually not even important and americans can't stop russian hackers in meddling in us election
Sep 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
International election observer missions are supposed to watch that the individual legal voting rules of a country are followed. They are expected to report any irregularities they detect. Unfortunately there are now attempts to pervert their purpose. The active withholding of observer missions is now used to delegitimize elections even when those are fair and follow all the relevant rules. Recent examples are the presidential election in Belarus and the upcoming congressional election in Venezuela.
Back in June we detected a planned color revolution in Belarus by connecting various media reports that hyped the weak opposition forces.
One additional indication that the election in Belarus would be used for nefarious purposes was the willful absence of OSCE election monitors.
Belarus had, as usual, expected the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to send election observers for the August 9 election. But the OSCE preemptively announced that it would not do so because an invitation was allegedly too late:"The lack of a timely invitation more than two months after the announcement of the election has prevented ODIHR from observing key aspects of the electoral process," ODIHR Director Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir said. "These include areas we have noted in recent observation reports as requiring improvement in Belarus, such as the formation of election commissions and registration of candidates. It is clear from the outcomes of these processes that the authorities have not taken any steps to improve their inclusiveness."
The government of Belarus was surprised by the one-sided step:"Indeed, to be honest, ODIHR's decision was disappointing and unexpected. We really hope that this decision will be revised. After all, today, a day after the registration of presidential candidates, in line with earlier public statements, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent invitations to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. These are our traditional partners in election observation. We remain strongly committed to our promises and obligations, including within the framework of the OSCE," Anatoly Glaz said.
He emphasized that Belarus has never held elections without observation. "This time we were also determined to invite OSCE/ODIHR observers after the candidate registration. It was announced publicly on numerous occasions, we informed our western partners, senior officials of the Office and personally Ingibjorg Gisladottir about it. We are absolutely transparent in this context and this can be double-checked," the spokesman said.
The willful absence of OSCE election observers later allowed 'western' media and politicians to claim that the election, which Belarus' President Lukashenko won, had been unfair.
In an August 18 interview Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out that the OSCE argument was wrong:There are international legal frameworks that must serve as guidance when it comes to determining one's attitude towards events in a specific country. [...] [T]he Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has an Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). One of its responsibilities is to monitor national elections in the OSCE member states. This responsibility is part of the obligations signed by all members of this highly respected organisation, without exception. We are being told that the violations during the election campaign were obvious and documented by voluntary observers, on social media, on camera, etc. The ODIHR itself, which was supposed to monitor the elections, claims that its representatives did not go to Belarus because the invitation was sent too late. This is not true, to put it mildly, because, like any other OSCE member state, Belarus's only commitment is "to invite international observers to national elections."
There is no timeline for inviting OSCE election observers. The OSCE should have prepared for the mission before the official invitation took place.
The scheme to not send election observers when an unwanted candidate is likely to win now sees a repeat with regards to Venezuela. On September 2 the President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro invited the European Union to send election monitors to watch over the congressional election that will take place on December 6:Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Twitter that a letter had been sent to UN chief Antonio Guterres and EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, outlining "the broad electoral guarantees agreed for the upcoming parliamentary elections," and inviting them to send observers.
The move came a day after Maduro pardoned more than 100 lawmakers and associates of opposition leader Juan Guaido "in the interests of promoting national reconciliation" ahead of the polls.
A week later the EU claimed that the three month preparation time was too short for it to send monitors:The European Union has received an invitation to observe parliamentary elections in Venezuela in December, but President Nicolas Maduro's authoritarian government so far has not met "minimum conditions" to allow it to do so, an EU spokeswoman said on Friday.
The spokeswoman, in a statement to Reuters, said "time is already too short" to deploy a full EU Electoral Observation Mission if Maduro's administration does not delay the vote beyond the current date of Dec 6.
The "time is too short" argument is obviously nonsense. The UN and the EU were already invited in January and had plenty of time to prepare themselves:MOSCOW, January 24. /TASS/. /TASS/. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has invited obsevers from the United Nations, European Union and several Latin American countries to the parliamentary elections that will be held in the Bolivarian Republic later this year, the press service of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
What the EU really wants though is to prevent the elections from taking place in an orderly manner :Venezuela's opposition has split on whether to participate in the elections, which will see voters elect delegates in the National Assembly. The current assembly head, Juan Guaido, is recognized by the EU as Venezuela's legitimate head-of-state, though Maduro retains control of the government and military.
Guaido's coalition of parties has vowed to boycott the election to avoid legitimizing an electoral process they deride as rigged. But in recent weeks another opposition bloc has emerged, under two-time former presidential candidate Henrique Capriles, which says Guaido's stance risks making the opposition irrelevant and a strategy based on persuading foreign nations to impose sanctions on Maduro's government has failed.
On Thursday, Stalin Gonzalez, an opposition lawmaker backing Capriles, told Bloomberg that Capriles' faction would also boycott the election unless international observers agree to attend.
The opposition rejects participation in the election unless European monitors are deployed. The EU then refuses to send monitors. It thereby sabotages an election that has an outcome the EU may not like.
Should the election take place and should Maduro's party, for lack of opposition participation, win a solid majority the EU will claim that the election was unfair even when every vote will have been counted correctly.
This scheme of not sending election observers is not furthering democracy and legitimate elections. It is a willful sabotage of elections where the most likely outcome is contrary to the preferences of those observer organizations. It discredits their original purpose.
Posted by b on September 13, 2020 at 10:48 UTC | Permalink
dave , Sep 13 2020 11:07 utc | 1I guess there's no arguing that the elite are eliminating the old world order of sovereign countries and replacing that system with corporate industrial zones ran by corporate boards.Maracatu , Sep 13 2020 11:17 utc | 2
Corporate fascism and it's elitist cult members are reorganizing the world into a cashless and morally bankrupt system where only they have privacy and security while the rest of us live in a permanent underclass where upward mobility depends upon your service to the neofeudal lords that have been hand picked by the covert agency useful idiots.
Hold on to your arses folks, things are going to get really different really quickly going forward.
Stay safe and remember not to let other people choose your enemies for you." We have been careful in our way of proceeding because we see imperialism as the main enemy of the Venezuelan people, and that is why we supported Maduro's 2018 presidential bid. But the truth is that, beyond the capitalist crisis, the exhaustion of the Venezuelan dependent rentier model [of economic development], and the impact of the imperialist siege, there is plenty of evidence pointing to a real political shift in the project of the governing forces [in Venezuela]. " Interview with Oscar Figuera is the general secretary of the Venezuelan Communist Party [PCV].AtaBrit , Sep 13 2020 11:31 utc | 3Byelarus is a participating country of the OSCE so it seems strange but very convenient that observers be withheld.Constantine , Sep 13 2020 12:09 utc | 4
What about regional elections?
Will observers be present at Russia's regional elections today?
Ever since the Nicaraguan elections in the 80s, when the ex-Somozista fascists, now rebranded as democratic forces, were given instructions by Washington not to participate in order to invalidate the expected victory of the Sandinistas, this practice is followed whenever convenient. Of course, one might credibly question the sincerity of the US & Vassals to democratic institutions when they have been consistently supporting dictators and fascistic thugs for so long (such as Somoza in Nicaragua), but torrents of propaganda can produce the desired effects.Jen , Sep 13 2020 12:27 utc | 5
The question is when the targeted countries will finally start to invalidate the "guardians of democracy and freedom", a.k.a., the defenders of corporate fascism and neoliberalism. At some point it must be obvious that the OSCE, the EU organs and other similar entities must be openly declared unfit and disregarded. In the distant possibility that some people are genuinely committed (even for selfishinterests) to see remotely objective institutions to address such international issues, there must be a message that the current ones won't do for a number of countries in the world due to political interference or downright servitude to the Anglo-American empire and its vassals."... There is no timeline for inviting OSCE election observers. The OSCE should have prepared for the mission before the official invitation took place ..."Richard Steven Hack , Sep 13 2020 12:33 utc | 6
You're assuming that OSCE is competent enough to be able to prepare for a major core mission of overseeing elections and ensuring they are carried out properly with full transparency and accountability.
Alexandra Brzozowski, OSCE facing leadership crisis (Euractiv.com, 20 July 2020)The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is facing an unprecedented leadership crisis, after failing to agree an extension of its four most senior posts, leaving many in Europe worried about how it will continue to work until successors are chosen in December.
The 57 member states failed to reach a consensus on extending the mandates of four of the OSCE's top officials last week, as of Saturday (18 July), the body has been de facto leaderless.
Swiss diplomat Thomas Greminger was appointed OSCE Secretary General in 2017, for a three-year term, with the four posts being a political package deal struck under the Austrian OSCE chairmanship, thus ending a leadership vacuum in the OSCE. All four are now vacant.
Besides Greminger's, the three other positions that have been vacated include the director of the organization's election monitoring and pro-democracy work (ODIHR, Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir) ; OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (Harlem Desir), and OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities.
The OSCE's consensus-based structure means even a single veto at the ministerial meeting in December can sink any reappointment ...
Perhaps the ODIHR's failure to send observers to the Presidential elections in Belarus wasn't just willful ... it was also a sign of its disorganisation and lack of competent leadership.Posted by: dave | Sep 13 2020 11:07 utc | 1 Stay safe and remember not to let other people choose your enemies for you.vk , Sep 13 2020 13:17 utc | 7
Trust me to perform on both counts.
Posted by: Constantine | Sep 13 2020 12:09 utc | 4 At some point it must be obvious that the OSCE, the EU organs and other similar entities must be openly declared unfit and disregarded.
Precisely. Virtually every "international" organization is under the thumb of the US either directly, or via funding, or via indirect influence, to the point where there is literally *no* such thing as "international order" any more (if there ever was.) Right-wingers who worry about "One World Government" already have that - it's the US (except for countries like Iran, China and Russia.)
Bottom line: The only way to "free the world" is to get rid of the US government - by any means necessary. Notice I don't say "overthrow it" or "destroy it" - that would be illegal under 18 U.S. Code § 2385. Advocating overthrow of Government. So I don't actually use those words... You are free to believe that I mean doing so by legal voting (if you're really stupid.)And the buck, obviously, doesn't stop with Belarus:Jackrabbit , Sep 13 2020 13:25 utc | 8
EU tries not to lag behind US in its attempts to 'punish' Russia - Lavrov
As I've been trying to say here, this is part of a bigger, overall process happening in the European Peninsula since the post-war period, marked by an unbroken streak of decline in every possible facet.
This process, however, is multifaceted and is an amalgamation of many variables, historical and economic:
1) most important of all, Europe went from imperial to colonial status in a big bang event (WWII);
2) Cold War cut it off from the rest of Eurasia;
3) this status as USA-oriented (American colony) ossified beyond the Cold War, in the form of the ideology of Atlanticism and social-democracy ("socialism" in American terminology);
4) collapse of social-democracy and rise of neoliberalism as a manifestation of a transition from socialization of wealth (post-war miracle) to socialization of misery (tendency of the profit rate to fall, long depression in European capitalism);
5) degeneration of social-democracy into a demented form of "humanitarian imperialism";
6) cannibalization of Europe by Germany with the creation of the EU and, more importantly, the EZ;
7) the institutionalization of the Atlanticist ideology in Germany with the creation and codification of the EU (a dialectic reverse of point 6);
8) a desperate German attempt to expand eastwards (the "3% deficit rule", the destruction of the Ukraine, the attempt to destroy Belarus), in the vacuum of NATO expansion to the same direction, i.e. the EU as the "institutional/governmental" branch of NATO. This one also has a dialectical pair, which is the exhaustion of the American Empire."Western democracies" used to be admired and their certification of a "free and fair" election was the gold standard.jared , Sep 13 2020 13:33 utc | 9
But oligarch capitalism and Empire has changed all that.
I expect that an alternative body will soon fill the void for observing/certifying elections. How soon before Western publics demand that their elections are certified by the new body?
This is the kind of development that some would call "incompetence" on the part of Deep State/Empire asshats who doggedly pursue their own interests via faux populist huckster leaders that apply lipstick to swine.
!!I would challenge B as logical and fair minded person to attempt the other side of this arguement which is also not without merit I believe.Anne , Sep 13 2020 13:38 utc | 10
This place is becoming what the beloved Caitlin has described as Echo Chamber for prop and self reinforcement.
Just because US kind of sucks and is getting worse rapidly does not imply that other countries are good or even better. US is becoming police state so what is China or Russia or BelarusB "This scheme of not sending election observers is not furthering democracy and legitimate elections. It is a willful sabotage of elections where the most likely outcome is contrary to the preferences of those observer organizations. It discredits their original purpose."vk , Sep 13 2020 14:02 utc | 11
True B - I would only add that while refusing to send observers is wilful, intended to allow western governments, agencies and MSM, together with the westernized/westernizing younger, city (often bourgeois) people of the targeted country, to delegitimize elections in those countries they want for their own purposes (in the case of Belarus both to rape and plunder its economy while gobbling up the last stretch of Russia's western borderlands for NATO).
And @6 Richard S Hack - So bloody true. The few parts of the UN (usually individuals like the Special Rapporteurs on Poverty etc) that remain objective, trustworthy, are sidelined, ignored. Meanwhile those UN bodies, offshoots like the OPCW, OSCE continue to be used by, attended to, hailed by the west, its MSM and politicos.Another example of European/German desperation to avoid irrelevance in the 21st Century:jared , Sep 13 2020 14:10 utc | 12
Why is Germany wading into the Indo-Pacific's strategic waters?
@ Posted by: jared | Sep 13 2020 13:33 utc | 9
This is a fallacy and I've seen this argument being used by American far-rightists very often these years.
Besides the fact that the numbers themselves tell a completely different picture (that is: the USA indeed has worse human rights records than Russia, China, Venezuela etc. etc.), there's also a failure by design of the narrative.
The question isn't about abstract legal concepts (trilateralism, bilateralism, multilateralism, multipolarity, unipolarity, accords etc. etc.) or of institutions (nation-State vs. nation-State; UN vs. nation-State; EU vs. nation-State etc.), but the dialectical progress of History: which nation-State - in the world of nation-State - has the means and will to promote the progress of humankind?
The answer is clear as day: it's China and only China.
That's why China should be favored in all Eurasian and South China Sea affairs - irrelevant being if its through diplomatic or military ways, bilateral or multilateral deals.
If we degenerate to a simplistic, institutionalistic view of the world/History, we will equal China to the West. This is a false equivalence, and incurs the danger of humanity delving deep into another Dark Age - this time, maybe forever, as we have nukes.There are studies which regulary report compasons of countries on measures of security, quality of life, freedom and most of them are b/s. But even so if there were an assessment made by people with first hand knowledge I suspect on 0-10 Belarus would be around -5 and China around -8 and US around -2 and most of Europe around 0.Sunny Runny Burger , Sep 13 2020 14:14 utc | 13
Great places to visit (actually US, not so much). Many of those places would be very good as long as you dont cross the wrong personUkraine showed that the OSCE is worthless, however the strategy of continuing to confront the OSCE with its own original aims and standards is still the correct choice because it doesn't take much effort.pnyx , Sep 13 2020 15:37 utc | 14
It is similar to a holding action and meanwhile the new structures and alternatives are created and already in use although I don't remember the name they had; they observed and vouched for the Belorussian election.
Like in everything else the US & Europe has already lost but they're too dumb to realize, they'll be gone before they get that far.This is an important article, a pointer to a perfidious tactic that completely destroys elections as an instrument for expressing the political will of a population, already limited in the setting of the bourgeois state, but still somewhat functional. Naturally, used only when the victory of 'undesirable' parties can be expected.Paco , Sep 13 2020 15:41 utc | 15
The same tactic, by the way, is pursued by Tronald, who tries everything to avert the threat of defeat by preemptively delegitimizing the election.
Posted by: vk | Sep 13 2020 13:17 utc | 7worldblee , Sep 13 2020 16:18 utc | 16
Excelent summary, I saw earlier today Lavrov speaking, as usual that is diplomacy, a really prepared, well spoken and to the point diplomat and not the approach of the buy our protection or else gang led by the lier, cheater and stealer representative of what looks like a highway robbers group. Germany blew it again, they tried twice with cannons and failed, they did it with the €uro and miserably failed again.I really have nothing to add to what vk has already said, other than saying this is a good article followed by a good discussion - a rarity in the western world.james , Sep 13 2020 16:28 utc | 17thanks b... excellent overview, and would benefit from adding jens comment @5- also very relevant... the OSCE is becoming like the OPCW - manipulated by the west.. how undemocractic, but in keeping with the trend....BraveNewWorld , Sep 13 2020 16:30 utc | 18
@ jackrabbit... yes - incompetent because ultimately it is not going to work...It's not like the elections weren't going to be declared illegitimate no matter what. The US demanded as the ruler of the world to over see the Syrian elections. The US couldn't prove any thing untoward happened and said they were legitimate elections. Then less than a year later changed it's story to help fan sectarian violence.psychohistorian , Sep 13 2020 16:39 utc | 19These narrative control efforts by empire are part of their ongoing strategy to maintain what they have of unilateral control/power. And these are conscious but misguided efforts that have been going on for decades, guided by the global private finance elite and their God of Mammon acolytes.Rob , Sep 13 2020 16:52 utc | 20
The aggressive push back against alternative forms of social organization (multilateralism) by the West is being called out and this will hopefully lead to death by a thousand cuts which the world wishes to happen sooner rather than later.A clearer, more open case of managing public opinion could hardly be found. Just as in Julian Assange's extradition trial, the outcome has been predetermined. In essence, the OSCE will claim that the election was unfair, because they knew it would be.Kooshy , Sep 13 2020 17:02 utc | 21Some thoughts and comparisons with past models on peace between Israel and Persian Gulf Arab States, and US designs to implement a new security architecture for western Asia.occupatio , Sep 13 2020 19:34 utc | 22
In early 70s when Americans were waist high in Vietnam quagmire and Watergate, Brits knew they had enough, no longer could afford policing the Persian Gulf and maintain their bases in the area. As of the result, the rearrangement of political and security architecture for Persian Gulf region became essential and necessary. In short years most disputes between the Arab states and Iran was resolved, Bahrain and UAE became independent states friendly to Iran, Iran reclaimed her sovereignty to several PG islands, Iraq and Iran' dispute on Shatt al Arab water way was resolved, same with Kurdish insurgencies against the governments, Iran and Egypt restarted their relation, etc.. This (fake, unsubstantiated) political changes were arranged (mostly by British and Americans) to calm the political atmosphere in the region, making possible for Iran to become the" Police of Persian Gulf" to protect the new and old Arab fake but Rich states around the Gulf while the western powers no longer could afford doing so.
To make a new security arrangement to secure the western investments and interests by Iran in the region. Iran was to become capable to purchase massive amount of new and modern armament and training from the west with little money she was earning from her oil production. While Iran, and most of the oil producing gulf states were suffering from lack of any meaningful infrastructure. The solution to make these countries purchasing power capable of affording massive increase in purchasing western armament and infrastructure, came with a substantial increase in their only source of income, the oil price. What is called the "Petrol Dollar" recycling was created to recycle their earning from oil with Arms and Good from the west, a win, win solution. Meaning US will print unbacked fiat currency which everyone will need to have to purchase oil from the Persian Gulf oil producing states and oil producing states will purchase military goods and other services from (western) oil purchasing states.
By now we all know how long this fake security arrangements worked, yes less than 5 years, with Iranian revolution in 79 the west had to return to the region to protect its Arab client states. The Shah with full political, economic and military support of west could not protect himself from internal revolute, nevertheless the Arab statelets. The fact is, after Iranian revolution of 79 the west never was able, to arrange a meaningful lasting security architecture, in western Asia, to secure its Arab and Israeli clients and interests. Amazingly, while during all this past forty years since the Iranian revolution, besides its Arab client states all major regional Sunni Muslim states of Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan were in full cooperation with the US to restructure and maintain a new security architecture for western Asia outside of Iranian influence. It Never worked it never will, historically is impossible to make such an arrangement without Iran.
The reason I brought this up is, I see a similar even more clumsy and desperate new arrangement is forming up by the west to secure this small, low density high value Persian Gulf statelets. Apparently, this new arrangement is through utilizing Israel as the securing umbrella state, the so called Israel peace with Arabs states in the Gulf, this while unlike the Shah' time at least on surface Turkey and Pakistan are officially not supporting this efforts.
It is not too difficult to understand peace with Israel, may bring some comfort and approval for Arab sheikhs and monarch while out of their choice they know US like Brits are leaving. But these Arab rulers know peace with Israel will not be accepted in their own Arab streets specially among rebellious Arabs youth. The fact is that these client Arab states more than external security that Israel supposedly can provide, need internal security from their own ever growing rebellious Arab youth. In fact, the recognition of Israel by these rich Arab monarchs makes them to be more insecure internally. Egypt and Jordan after peace deals and recognition of Israel, internally became less secure and more of police states, so was the Shah of Iran.
Looks like all signs are pointing to the direction of western states moving and making new arrangements to leave western Asia, Arab western clients should know they wouldn't last, Historically and naturally Turkey's influence will grow in eastern Mediterranean, and Iran' in central Asia, Persian Gulf region.
Once my father ( a historian) told me, one can rewrite history book as one wish, but you one can't recreate the geography. Geography of the Persian Gulf is the bitch for US.
KooshyRussia also asked independent observers for the Crimea vote to leave Ukraine and join Russia. of course it was refused, because US-NATO will never recognize election results for countries don't bend the knee.karlof1 , Sep 13 2020 20:25 utc | 23Excellent reporting b!! Time for the G-20, SCO, or the NAM to create their own election monitoring organizations to do what the dying Outlaw US Empire and its decrepit vassals refuse to do, and truthfully can't be trusted to honestly report results even when they do observe. Not being agreement capable has crept into other areas related to diplomatic relations. Essentially, the West has Navalnied itself with its easily discerned lies and distortions.Constantine , Sep 13 2020 21:50 utc | 24Just because US kind of sucks and is getting worse rapidly does not imply that other countries are good or even better.div> One has to wonder how many international organizations the US has by the short and curlies.
Posted by: jared | Sep 13 2020 13:33 utc | 9
Not sure about your definition of "good". Neither China nor Russia have transformed in the last decades entire regions of the world into post-apocalyptic hellholes while posing as God's gift on humanity. None of them has unleashed conventional or unconventional attacks on the US or other countries in complete disregard of international laws, while using racist, ethno-supremacist rhetoric to justify criminal policies.
And considering the utterly brazen effort of the US/EU to subvert Belarus and transform it into a neoliberal corporate colony and a fascist bastion of Russophobia, you really have some nerve mentioning this country on par with Mordor-on-the-Potomac.
Posted by: Dick , Sep 13 2020 21:58 utc | 25One has to wonder how many international organizations the US has by the short and curlies.Hoarsewhisperer , Sep 14 2020 2:52 utc | 26
Posted by: Dick | Sep 13 2020 21:58 utc | 25Whilst we're pondering fake US-invented UN organisations, it's probably time to mention the IAEA and its insanely myopic focus on Iran, and only Iran.Debsisdead , Sep 14 2020 6:55 utc | 27
How "international" is that?The solution to this issue is obvious, so obvious I'm really surprised that it hasn't been put in place yet.arby , Sep 14 2020 11:18 utc | 28
These election inspection and validation teams are primarily comprised of former politicians, politicians who for whatever reason have a reputation for honesty (yeah right 99% of 'em are neolibs so that's obviously untrue) and who have a bit of an international profile.
There are far more of these types than there are cushy little gigs for them.
Many have made a play at a big UN gig and either done their time or in the case of women, hit the 'glass ceiling'. Mary Robinson former president of Ireland who went on to become boss of UN Human Rights division is a classic example. That job was the highest she could get try as she might there is no way the UN is going to select a woman to be UN Secretary General. So after her term at UNHRC finished no more gigs for Robinson, consequently she got burned last year when she tried to sell the world a crock about, Sheikha Latifa, the daughter of the evil prick in charge of Dubai/UAE.
There are literally hundreds of these former politicians around and many of them have been cast on the slag heap of the oligarchy simply because there are not enough gigs to go around.
They know that other retired pols owed bigger favours by the oligarchy will always get the high paying gigs ahead of them so many have nothing to lose if they are merely required to tell the truth without putting any spin on it. That is how the Euro election monitoring mob first started out, and there no reason why some foundation cannot do exactly the same, set up a monitoring team to observe what goes down in the Venezuela election and tell the truth about it afterwards.
Of course the borg will eventually wake up to this and try to heavy/bribe/extort a team member to lie. But not initially, if Iran, Russia, China set up a London based 'foundation' recruit some ex-pols with nothing to lose to do an honest job and report about it honestly there will be many takers as long as the pay is good.
A handful of 'honest' pols could blow the wannabe Venezuela coup out of the water.
The stakeholders have enough data on well known pols from everywhere to know who is under the empire's thumb and who is free of it to choose widely.Venezuela elections 2018Bemildred , Sep 14 2020 11:57 utc | 29
"Daniel Kovalik teaches international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh Law School. His most recent book is "The Plot to Attack Iran."
I just returned from observing my fourth election in Venezuela in less than a year. Jimmy Carter has called Venezuela's electoral system "the best in the world," and what I witnessed was an inspiring process that guarantees one person, one vote, and includes multiple auditing procedures to ensure a free and fair election.
I then came home to the United States to see the inevitable "news" coverage referring to Venezuela as a "dictatorship" and as a country in need of saving.
Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 14 2020 6:55 utc | 27S.O. , Sep 14 2020 13:07 utc | 30
Nice elaboration of the situation with NGOs. For many of those people, those are the best jobs available to them, so of course they can be coerced.
In PR it is called the "independent third-party testimonial technique" and it is ubiquitous. Marketing is basically the study of how to gull your fellow humans effectively, everybody ought to learn about it in school. study it, just a prophylaxis.
But it has been over-employed of late, so they are having to invent new "independent third-parties" all the time now, and the Chumps are wising up.
Propaganda is most effective when little used. We are getting regular full-tilt propaganda offensives almost continuously these days, wall-to-wall bullshit. You cannot get away from it.
This will not last long.
The other thing besides NGOs etc., is the Mighty Wurlitzer, where you already have alternate news sources RT, Sputnik, Xinhua, etc. available.Debsisdead @27jared , Sep 14 2020 22:14 utc | 31
There *were* independent observers in Venezuela (2018). Quite a lot of them if I remember correctly. They ALL declared the elections as both fair and honest.
Neocons et Al did not give a single shit. As far as the US is concerned you can have as many independent unbiased observers as you want. It doesn't matter. The US won't recognise them and the media will play pretend they don't exist because it's not about maintaining the integrity of democratic elections. It never was. It's about forcing a decision the US hegemony wants.I imagine that there have been identified a protocol and quantifiable measures of a legitemate election and agencies qualified to access. These agencies would be credible and widely respected by all sides - they would not be agents of vested interests. Who would have such credibilty to assess and underwrite such a plan - clearly it could not be a long list of discredited actors. Only maybe Cuba comes to mind.Debsisdead , Sep 14 2020 23:38 utc | 32@SO #30 Do you even know what happened in Venezuela it seems you do not.james , Sep 14 2020 23:55 utc | 33
If I remember correctly the argument with the elections for National Assembly was never about the result because the opposition won, it was about the alternative methods used by Maduro the president to ensure his policies continued. The president is elected separately and has a considerable amount of legislative, judicial and executive power. These powers are the same as the ones that fascist presidents before Chavez had used without complaint by either amerika or other Latin American states.
The entire basis of some guy's 'prezdency' is that he had been selected by a majority in the Assembly, that is unconstitutional. Now it is certain that Maduro's PSUV will gain a majority in the Assembly this time some guy and amerika are pretending it will be rigged, when they know it won't be. PSUV victory will mean that some guy no longer has any basis for his claim legal or moral and amerika will have to stop diverting Venezuela's income to him. If independent monitors do go down and observe, then give the ballot a big tick it will do much to spike amerika's paper cannons.@ jared | Sep 14 2020 22:14 utc | 31... jared, you are either braindead, or really naive.... did you follow the OPCW actions with regard to the supposed chemical weapon attack in syria the past year or two??? take a look at that and get back to us on how it hasn't been corrupted... same deal here with OSCE and ODIHR.. they are tools of the empire at this point...steven t johnson , Sep 15 2020 0:38 utc | 34arby@28 is outraged that Venezuela is defined in the US as a dictatorship. Some, maybe most of the people who hate Venezuelan dictatorship, are perfectly sincere. The thing is, they regard majority rule as dictatorship. The purpose of government is to protect rights. Many people think political and civil rights, while those who own property think property rights (first or only, a lot of them.) But majority rule that can change the socioeconomic system is tyranny, the illegitimate use of the majority to violate rights. The whole point of "democracy" is to make sure the majority can't oppress the minority, that mere majority votes don't change fundamental policy. The vision of freedom in this is the freedom to buy what you can afford and to do with your property whatever you want. That's the free market and thus democracy is about maintaining the free market. That's how the freedom of slave owners to carry their chattels anywhere in the US without losing their property rights in them simply *was* the struggle for freedom and why the election of a Republican president who would oppose this was a tyrannical attack on their freedom compelling and justifying war for independence.Hoarsewhisperer , Sep 15 2020 1:52 utc | 35
The notion of democracy as majority rule is more of a socialist/communist idea, pretended to in verbiage on occasion to spread confusion. Democracy as majority rule, or government operating in the general interest rather than property, is the kind of democracy socialists and communists, consistent principled ones at any rate, want. If one accepts that labor is the general interest, a break with the old meaning of democracy, the kind compatible with slavery and empire and Jim Crow and endless wars to punish whole nations, is complete. Most people will not break with the old meaning, shamefacedly refusing to answer the question, democracy for who?Further to my quip @ #26 about fake NGOs, here's Pat Lang's commendably brutal assessment of the fakery behind the UN...Peter AU1 , Sep 15 2020 3:58 utc | 36
14 September 2020
The UN is not a government.
Some points regarding the UN:
1. It has no effective power to enforce anything.
a. It has no money of its own. The members make voluntary donations.
b. It has no army. Members volunteer troops for "peace keeping" duty. Blue Helmets are just spectators everywhere they are placed. The only exception is in Korea which is an accident of history. But, Blue Helmet duty is VERY popular with soldiers everywhere because the UN supplementary pay is JUST WONDERFUL. (as is UN civilian pay).
2. The UN pretends that its "Resolutions" are something like laws. They are not. These multitudinous documents are useful to the major powers (US, Russia, China, India maybe) when they want to justify some action they wish to take. The various "Resolutions" on Iraq that the US managed to wheedle out of the Security Council come to mind. And, the "Resolutions" are oh, so useful as rhetorical devices with which to denounce your long-standing enemies. The Muslim/Arab states and the Israelis are particularly good at this.
3. The real value of the UN lies in its role as a coordinating body for its subordinate specialized agencies; IAEA, UNHCR, ICAO, etc. But, in fact, some of them are of no real value, and exist largely to line the pockets of their staff.
4. The international courts and investigations run by the UN are a joke. They have no power whatever against the aforementioned major powers. War crimes trials? Yes, the losers get tried after denunciation by the winners. Once again, the lawyers, investigators etc., live well in the process. The farcical UN investigation into the murder of Rafiq Hariri is a wonderful example. It went on forever and guess what! Hizballah done it! (probably with a wink and a nod from the Assad) Who woulda thought? An effort was made in the midst of the investigation to get me to participate. The pitch was made by a sometimes famous ex-CIA pundit guy who said that my intimate knowledge of the low personalities among the Lebanese Shia and Hizballah would be the key to making the case for their guilt. Then, the next day the chief UN investigator called to make the same appeal with a lot of money attached to it. But, alas, I slithered away without taking the bait.
Perhaps we should bring back the League of Nations. They also were useless and they have all those empty marble palaces in Geneva. Maybe with Bill De Blasio in charge the UN might wish to leave New York City. pl
Posted at 11:36 AM in government, Israel | Permalink | Comments (6)HoarsewhispererCyril , Sep 15 2020 4:23 utc | 37
He is correct on the UN to an extent. It is now as useless in most regards as the league of nations. It is however a US construct based on US culture and beliefs. Most of its addons are based on US propaganda of the day - unhcr, opcw ect.
US has long since held itself unaccountable to the UN - since the Nicaragua case. To the extent US is now sanctioning a UN investigator that dared to investigate gods own country on war crimes in Afghanistan.@Richard Steven Hack | Sep 13 2020 12:33 utc | 6Peter AU1 , Sep 15 2020 6:00 utc | 38
Precisely. Virtually every "international" organization is under the thumb of the US either directly, or via funding, or via indirect influence, to the point where there is literally *no* such thing as "international order" any more (if there ever was.)
That is not true. In 2017, inside the United Nations General Assembly, the US lost 9-128 on the question of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The US is free to build its Israeli embassy wherever it wants, but the country can no longer force the rest of the world to follow. The international order is still very strong.
Right-wingers who worry about "One World Government" already have that - it's the US (except for countries like Iran, China and Russia.)
That's a really big "except". The BRICS countries (which include China and Russia) will be more than 50% of global GDP by 2030 .CyrilZanon , Sep 15 2020 11:20 utc | 39
un general assembly has always been as useful as tits on a bull or alternativly a us tool. usnc is what counts but that also is only voluntary and set up with us groupy pissants having veto power.I knew this would happenarby , Sep 15 2020 12:31 utc | 40
'Provocative & unacceptable': Minsk says Lithuania's recognition of Tikhanovskaya as Belarusian president breaks international law
Absolutely crazy"Posted by: steven t johnson | Sep 15 2020 0:38 utc | 34"Cyril , Sep 15 2020 22:21 utc | 41
Not sure what you are getting at but I see that the mighty empire has so far failed to win over the Venezuelan people or the army.
It tells me that by far the majority of Venezuelans are onside with their government despite the insane and intense outside pressure.@jared | Sep 13 2020 13:33 utc | 9Jen , Sep 16 2020 0:10 utc | 42
Just because US kind of sucks and is getting worse rapidly does not imply that other countries are good or even better. US is becoming police state so what is China or Russia or Belarus
Many countries are undoubtedly better, not only because the US sucks, but also because they have objectively behaved much better.
(1) In trustworthiness. They don't dump contracts and treaties, such as the Iran nuclear deal or the ABM/INF treaties (and probably START soon), when it suits them.
(2) In external behavior. They obey the international rules. The invasion of Iraq and the sanctions on Russia and Iran (without Security Council approval) are all violations of the UN Charter, which the US has already ratified. The US therefore promised to obey the Charter, and has broken that promise -- repeatedly.
(3) And even in most human rights. Murders by cop in 2019: about 3 in China; over 1000 in the Land of the Free.
Many people who are uncomfortable with the monster that the US has become, like yourself, Jared, attempt to excuse the Empire's detestable actions by saying that other countries are just as bad. They are not, not even close.Jared @ 9, Cyril @ 41:psychohistorian , Sep 16 2020 0:38 utc | 43
Damn right the US is becoming the World's No 1 Police State.
Imprisonment Rates per 100,000 people, according to World Prison Brief via Sentencing Advisory Council (in Victoria state, Australia, data retrieved April 2020):
United States: 655 per 100,000
Russia: 359 per 100,000
Belarus : 343 per 100,000
China: 120 per 100,000
By way of comparison here are figures (per 100,000 people) from some other countries, using above sources.
England and Wales: 139
South Africa: 259
So it turns out that the US far outstrips China, Russia and Belarus in incarcerating more people in prison per 100,000 head of population, and moreover some other nations in the Anglosphere counted as "democratic" and respecting the rule of law also have more people in prison per 100,000 persons than China does.@ Jen | Sep 16 2020 0:10 utc | 42 with the incarceration numbers...thanks.Debsisdead , Sep 16 2020 3:27 utc | 44
Being the money guy I also think about the associated "for profit" prison system. Having a for profit prison system is a travesty in itself but reflective of the double-standard exceptionalism prevalent in the West.....if we were to put the criminals from Wall Street in those prisons, the public view/attitude about them would magically change.....sigh
Wouldn't it be nice to design a social system that had a more humanistic distribution of socialistic versus for profit sectors....and of course, to be on topic, get private money like we see now out of politics/elections.Jen @ #42 I took a look at the rates of imprisonment for Oceania and as I suspected Aotearoa is quite bad, really bad in fact at 182 per 100,000 in keeping with my hypothesis that the highest rates of imprisonment are usually those countries subjected to colonial style imperialism where the indigenous population is oppressed. I realise that the situation in amerika is sort of different as the 'settlers' nearly wiped out the indigenous population but as the native americans were replaced by African slaves who are still oppressed as are the remnants of indigenous people the amerikan figure is high.james , Sep 16 2020 16:35 utc | 45
The indigenous population of Formosa/Taiwan are also doing it tough since Chiang kai-shek's kuomintang invasion has led to a typical han chinese takeover their imprisonment rate is 258 per 100,000. The indigenous population of Taiwan have been subjected to land theft & denial of their language & culture for 70 years and nothing I have ever heard on this from beijing causes me to hope that this would change when Taiwan is reintegrated into the mainland. The best solution would be to kick the invaders back to the mainland then create the republic of Formosa or whatever the original people choose their country to be named.
The really big shock is Palau which has had a very mixed up colonialism since spain first invaded back in the 16th Century. Since then Germany 1899 to 1918, then Japan 1918 to 1945ish (big battle on Palau between Japan & amerika during ww2) and amerika since then - although Palau is complicated as they tried to get free from amerika back in the 1980's and got lumbered with something far worse in 1994 under a Clintonista Compact of Free Association with amerika which gives them all the bad aspects of amerika but with less say in amerika's decision-making than Puerto Rico, which is really saying something. Check out how many lies the borg can get in an article about a nation with an amerikan puppet government. The imprisonment rate on what should be a pacific paradise if it wasn't chocka with amerikan bases is a whopping 522 prisoners per 100,000 of population.
Too often a nation's citizens just accept statistics such as these without actually considering how & why there is such a huge variation on rates of imprisonment.
In Aotearoa very few Tangata Whenua still get locked up for petty crimes (eg there was a bit of a scandal when some tory pig leaked the fact that former minister of Maori Affairs Dover Samuels had served six weeks in prison as an adolescent for the alleged 'crime' of theft of a pillow. The scandal wasn't about what it should have been; that a 16 year old had been tossed in the slammer on a petty charge brought on the verbal evidence a pakeha woman in a fit of jealousy or how Mr Samuels' word was less credible than hers. No the fuss was about a cabinet minister having been a 'former convict') but far too many impoverished citizens do end up in the slammer & since tangata whenua & Pacifica people are overrepresented in the poverty stats they are also overrepresented in crime stats.
For me the incarceration of indigenous people has always been one of my motives for spending a big chunk of my life resisting imperialism. It is bad enough that just about everything is stolen from indigenous populations & their cultures are destroyed, they are also harshly punished for not adhering to a colonising culture which they have no idea of.@ Jen | Sep 16 2020 0:10 utc | 42.. thanks for that quick overview... the usa prison system is a for profit system - more prisoners, more profit... it is a sick system...p>
i agree with @44 debs last paragraph.... that i think is very true...
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Sep 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
snake , Sep 15 2020 22:09 utc | 54Karlof 1 @ 32 attacks vk @4-- Your attempt to credit Karl Popper with the concept of public opinion is just as false as the stories b wrote about. Click here for a history of that concept. by: karlof1 | Sep 15 2020 17:04 utc | 32
What I like about what vk@ 4 said is that he has given this list a beginning to not only understand our plight as members of the governed classes, but also to analyze our experience with this stuff and to develop a set of rules that can allow us to defend our minds against being controlled by invisible hands of mind control.
can we on this list develop a defensive strategy and use it to teach the governed masses?
Around the globe and throughout history it can be observed that the oligarchs invent a collection of values and stuff them into structures they call nation states, culture, institutions and journalist are all designed to, and rewarded for supporting the values, while media is charged to keep the propaganda circulating.
The H&C propaganda model pulls together from across the political communications literature the variety of factors which essentially constrain journalist and means that they don't actually play the independent autonomous and watchdog role that we expect them to in a democracy ae Herman Chromsky talk about the importance oe size concentration ownership oe mainstream media the way in w/e ownership of most oe media outlets w/people go to for their information is essentially associated w/very large conglomerates w/h overlapping interests and overlapping interests with government and this produces a large structural constraint oe way the media operates.
The Interface between Propaganda and War: Prof.
The Propaganda Model: The filters (Herman & Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent, the political economy of the mass media).
Sep 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
xrxs , 38 minutes ago
Sen. Chris Murphy said this the other day: "I have a real belief that democracy is unnatural. We don't run anything important in our lives by democratic vote other than our government. Democracy is so unnatural that it's illogical to think it would be permanent. It will fall apart at some point, and maybe that point isn't now, but maybe it is."
Sep 16, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
1. Do I have the facts straight?
Karl Marx said that " Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it ." I doubt very much that you will know which changes you need to make if you don't have a very good idea about your starting point. In his book Factfulness and in his many excellent online presentations, the late Swedish Professor of International Health Hans Rosling identifies a lot of the ways things have gotten better , especially for the world's poorest.
Suppose, for example, that you encounter the name " Milton Friedman ," perhaps in connection with lamented "neoliberalism" and maybe in connection with human rights abuses perpetrated by the brutal Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Friedman has been denounced as the "father of global misery," and his reputation has taken another beating in the wake of the fiftieth anniversary of his 1970 New York Times Magazine essay " The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits ," which I suspect most people haven't read past its title. But what happened during "The Age of Milton Friedman," as the economist Andrei Shleifer asked in a 2009 article ? Shleifer points out that "Between 1980 and 2005, as the world embraced free market policies, living standards rose sharply, while life expectancy, educational attainment, and democracy improved and absolute poverty declined." Things have never been so good, and they are getting better , especially for the world's poor.
In 2008, there was a bit of controversy over the establishment of the Milton Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago, which operates today as the Becker Friedman Institute (it is also named for Friedman's fellow Chicago economist Gary Becker ). In a blistering reply to a protest letter signed by a group of faculty members at the University of Chicago, the economist John Cochrane wrote, "If you start with the premise that the last 40 or so years, including the fall of communism, and the opening of China and India are 'negative for much of the world's population,' you just don't have any business being a social scientist. You don't stand a chance of contributing something serious to the problems that we actually do face." Nor, might I add, do you stand much of a chance of concocting a revolutionary program that will actually help the people you're trying to lead.2. What makes me so sure I won't replace the existing regime with something far worse?
I might hesitate to push the aforementioned button because while the world we actually inhabit is far from perfect, it's not at all clear that deleting the state overnight wouldn't mean civilization's wholesale and maybe even perpetual collapse. At the very least, I would want to think long and hard about it. The explicit mention of Frantz Fanon and Che Guevara in the course description suggest that students will be approaching revolutionary ideas from the left. They should look at the results of populist revolutions in 20th century Latin America, Africa, and Asia. The blood of many millions starved and slaughtered in efforts to "forge a better society" cries out against socialism and communism, and macroeconomic populism in Latin America has been disastrous . As people have pointed out when told that "democratic socialists" aren't trying to turn their countries into Venezuela, Venezuelans weren't trying to turn their country into Venezuela when they embraced Hugo Chavez. I wonder why we should expect WLU's aspiring revolutionaries to succeed where so many others have failed.3. Is my revolutionary program just a bunch of platitudes with which no decent person would disagree?
In 2019, Kristian Niemietz of London's Institute of Economic Affairs published a useful volume titled Socialism: The Failed Idea That Never Dies , which you can download for $0 from IEA . He notes a tendency for socialists and neo-socialists to pitch their programs almost exclusively in terms of their hoped-for results rather than in terms of the operation of concrete social processes they hope to set in motion (on this I paraphrase my intellectual hero Thomas Sowell ).
Apply a test proposed a long time ago by the economist William Easterly: can you imagine anyone seriously objecting to what you're saying? If not, then you probably aren't saying anything substantive. Can you imagine someone saying "I hate the idea of the world's poor having better food, clothing, shelter, and medical care" or "It would be a very bad thing if more people were literate?" If not, then it's likely that your revolutionary program is a tissue of platitudes and empty promises. That's not to say it won't work politically–God knows, nothing sells better on election day than platitudes and empty promises–but you shouldn't think you're saying anything profound if all you're saying is something obvious like "It would be nice if more people had access to clean, drinkable water."
... ... ...7. How has it worked the other times it has been tried?
Are you considering "land reform," whether land expropriation and redistribution, or straight up collectivization? Satellite images of the effects of land reform in Zimbabwe should make you think twice.
Years before the Russian Revolution, Eugene Richter predicted with eerie prescience what would happen in a socialist society in his short book Pictures of the Socialistic Future ( which you can download for $0 here ). Bryan Caplan, who wrote the foreword for that edition of Pictures and who put together the online " Museum of Communism ," points out the distressing regularity with which communists go from "bleeding heart" to "mailed fist." It doesn't take long for communist regimes to go from establishing a workers' paradise to shooting people who try to leave. Consider whether or not the brutality and mass murder of communist regimes is a feature of the system rather than a bug. Hugo Chavez and Che Guevara both expressed bleeding hearts with their words but used a mailed fist in practice (I've written before that "irony" is denouncing Milton Friedman for the crimes of Augusto Pinochet while wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt. Pinochet was a murderous thug. Guevara was, too). Caplan points to pages 105 and 106 of Four Men: Living the Revolution: An Oral History of Contemporary Cuba . On page 105, Lazaro Benedi Rodriguez's heart is bleeding for the illiterate. On page 106, he's "advis(ing) Fidel to have an incinerator dug about 40 or 50 meters deep, and every time one of these obstinate cases came up, to drop the culprit in the incinerator, douse him with gasoline, and set him on fire."
... ... ...9. What will I do with people who aren't willing to go along with my revolution?
Walter Williams once said that he doesn't mind if communists want to be communists. He minds that they want him to be a communist, too. Would you allow people to try capitalist experiments in your socialist paradise? Or socialist experiments in your capitalist paradise (Families, incidentally, are socialist enterprises that run by the principle "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.")? Am I willing to allow dissenters to advocate my overthrow, or do I need to crush dissent and control the minds of the masses in order for my revolution to work? Am I willing to allow people to leave, or will I need to build a wall to keep people in?10. Am I letting myself off the hook for questions 1-9 and giving myself too much credit for passion and sincerity?
The philosopher David Schmidtz has said that if your best argument is that your heart is in the right place, then your heart is most definitely not in the right place. Consider this quote from Edmund Burke and ask whether or not it leads you to revise your revolutionary plans:
"A conscientious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood. He would feel some apprehension at being called to a tremendous account for engaging in so deep a play, without any sort of knowledge of the game. It is no excuse for presumptuous ignorance, that it is directed by insolent passion. The poorest being that crawls on earth, contending to save itself from injustice and oppression is an object respectable in the eyes of God and man. But I cannot conceive any existence under heaven (which, in the depths of its wisdom, tolerates all sorts of things) that is more truly odious and disgusting, than an impotent helpless creature, without civil wisdom or military skill, without a consciousness of any other qualification for power but his servility to it, bloated with pride and arrogance, calling for battles which he is not to fight, contending for a violent dominion which he can never exercise, and satisfied to be himself mean and miserable, in order to render others contemptible and wretched." (Emphasis added).
Sep 14, 2020 | geopolitics.co
SEPTEMBER 12, 2020 GEOPOLITICS101 1 COMMENT
Imagine for a moment that there is a foreign government that receives billions of dollars a year in "aid" and other benefits from the United States taxpayer. Consider beyond that, the possibility that that government might take part of the money it receives and secretly recycle it to groups of American citizens in the United States that exist to maintain and increase that money flow while also otherwise serving other interests of the recipient country.
That would mean that the United States is itself subsidizing the lobbies and groups that are inevitably working against its own interests. And it also means that U.S. citizens are acting as foreign agents, covertly giving priority to their attachment to a foreign country instead of to the nation in which they live.
Sep 14, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
booboo , 6 hours agoAce006 , 5 hours ago
"The Past is Prologue
It is September 2020. Americans are focused on an election between an Orange Fascist criminal and an old-school right-wing Democrat war criminal. Where Donald Trump projects chaos and disorder, Biden projects stability, order, and a return to normalcy. If Trump is the virus, then surely Biden is the cure"
so this *** clown spends 5000 words on the criminal operation in Libya under Obama/Biden/Clinton which leave the country in utter chaos and this is his money shot? Orange man bad fascist, old school democrat War Criminal normal.
what a load of tripe
A+. He provides much needed clarity and perspective on the Libyan tragedy and then crashes into the usual delusional, leftist landfill of fascism, murder of black youth, BLM (all hail), and Biden as, so help me, some kind of a cure for anything.
... ... ...
Sep 14, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
The Plot Against Libya: An Obama-Biden-Clinton Criminal Conspiracy
by Tyler Durden Fri, 09/11/2020 - 23:40 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print
Authored by Eric Draitser via Counterpunch.org,
The scorching desert sun streams through narrow slats in the tiny window. A mouse scurries across the cracked concrete floor, the scuttling of its tiny feet drowned out by the sound of distant voices speaking in Arabic. Their chatter is in a western Libyan dialect distinctive from the eastern dialect favored in Benghazi. Somewhere off in the distance, beyond the shimmering desert horizon, is Tripoli, the jewel of Africa now reduced to perpetual war.
But here, in this cell in a dank old warehouse in Bani Walid, there are no smugglers, no rapists, no thieves or murderers. There are simply Africans captured by traffickers as they made their way from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Eritrea, or other disparate parts of the continent seeking a life free of war and poverty, the rotten fruit of Anglo-American and European colonialism. The cattle brands on their faces tell a story more tragic than anything produced by Hollywood.
These are slaves: human beings bought and sold for their labor. Some are bound for construction sites while others for the fields. All face the certainty of forced servitude, a waking nightmare that has become their daily reality.
This is Libya, the real Libya. The Libya that has been constructed from the ashes of the US-NATO war that deposed Muammar Gaddafi and the government of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. The Libya now fractured into warring factions, each backed by a variety of international actors whose interest in the country is anything but humanitarian.
But this Libya was built not by Donald Trump and his gang of degenerate fascist ghouls. No, it was the great humanitarian Barack Obama, along with Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Susan Rice, Samantha Power and their harmonious peace circle of liberal interventionists who wrought this devastation. With bright-eyed speeches about freedom and self-determination, the First Black President, along with his NATO comrades in France and Britain, unleashed the dogs of war on an African nation seen by much of the world as a paragon of economic and social development.
But this is no mere journalistic exercise to document just one of the innumerable crimes carried out in the name of the American people. No, this is us, the antiwar left in the United States, peering through the cracks in the imperial artifice – crumbling as it is from internal rot and political decay – to shine a light through the gloom named Trump and directly into the heart of darkness.
There are truths that must be made plain lest they be buried like so many bodies in the desert sand.The War on Libya: A Criminal Conspiracy
To understand the depth of criminality involved in the US-NATO war on Libya, we must unravel a complex story involving actors from both the US and Europe who quite literally conspired to bring about this war, while simultaneously exposing the unconstitutional, imperial presidency as embodied by Mr. Hope and Change himself.
In doing so, a picture emerges that is strikingly at odds with the dominant narrative about good intentions and bad dictators. For although Gaddafi was presented as