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Sanctions against Russia

News Demonization of Putin Recommended Links British roots of US Rusoophobia Cold War II Perfidious Albion
Peak Cheap Energy and Temporary Oil Price Slump USA-Russia Gas War North Stream South Stream Zugzwang for Ukraine Russian Diplomacy
Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism False flag poisonings Skripal poisoning Litvinenko poisoning History of American False Flag Operations DNC and Podesta emails leak: blaming Vladimir Putin
Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Nulandgate Anti-Russian hysteria in connection with DNC leak Putin-did-it fiasco Russian Ukrainian Gas Wars The Rape of Russia
British poisoning false flags MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Great Plunder of Russia after the dissolution of the USSR Obama: a yet another Neocon Professor Steven Cohen Putin stands up to US and G8 warmongers on Syria
Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization  Comprador vs. national bourgeoisie Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Diplomacy by deception Net hamsters
Neoliberal Compradors Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Khodorkovsky case Boris Berezovsky Magnitsky case Navalny's Saga
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment America and the Imperial Project Demonization of Putin Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Nemtsov assassination
Color revolutions The Rape of Russia, Testimony of Anne Williamson Before the House Banking Committee Russian Color Revolution of 2012 From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Suppression of Russian language and culture in Ukraine
Miraculous metamorphosis of Russian crooks on crossing Western border Comprador vs. national bourgeoisie America and the Imperial Project Most important anti-Russian propaganda campaigns The Deep State Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
Russian foreign policy Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Pussi Riot Provocation American Exceptionalism "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries Brain Drain
Soft propaganda The Real War on Reality Economics of Peak Energy Russophobic quotes from famous Russian Liberasts Humor Etc

Sanctions on false premises are unacceptable and need to be fought. But the question is how?  The larger story is the world neoliberal system. The USA is imperial power of the global neoliberal empire, so to speak. So it can dictate other players what to do, and often does. As long as neoliberalism is the social system that dominant on the globe.

IMHO Russia needs to be extremely careful with designing the countermeasures for the recent round of sanctions. The key idea of the new round of sanctions is to limit export capacity of Russia to EU and to provoke internal discontent due to sliding standard of living and create preconditions for a color revolution. Preventing that is the key countermeasure. So for example launching some new chemical plants that consume a lot of gas (producing fertilizers, or plastics, for example) makes perfect sense. You can sell chemicals instead of gas and probably can get additional profit because you do not need to transport gas several thousand miles West.

The standard countermeasure is import substitution but it will not work in many areas. For example in chips Russia is almost totally dependent on the West and China. I think they have only one or two own CPUs (Elbrus  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elbrus_(computer)   ). All PCs and software are of Western origin (mainly China produced ). They also produce one mainframe-style open source CPUs (SPARC compatible), and several low end microprocessors.  That's almost it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Russian_microprocessors

Similarly complex equipment with geo steering necessary to increase output from the old oil fields is not produced in Russia (BTW this equipment dooms Trump idea of Mexican wall ;-).

So the key here is not to overreact and preserve cool head. May be just taking the blow and keep standing is the best policy. Otherwise, if as the result of overreaction the standard of living drops, Russia can slide into Venezuela-style situation, or, even worse -- provoke Brazilian-style the revolt of oligarchs (which will be happily financed by the West), or Argentinean style transition of power based of fake promises of neoliberal candidate. Sanctions tend to aggravate internal problems in Russian society and that is the calculation of the US congress. Now some Russian oligarch now will lose money. Sometimes serious money. As in neoliberal society "appetite comes with the meal" and "greed is good" Sechin's, and others loyalty to the state is not absolute.

As Russia is still a neoliberal country resistance to the global neoliberal empire (even decaying and with discredited ideology) is a very tough option. Especially open revolt against the dollar hegemony. That's the key advantage of the USA in this game: fifth column that benefits from neoliberal globalization if a serious force in any neoliberal country.

In any case, I think Russia should take considerable time to create viable countermeasures, which need to be highly asymmetrical: beneficial for Russian producers and still nor too harmful for the USA. Because the risk is to provoke the USA for another round of sanctions. May be selling some part of reserves kept in dollars also make sense, as a symbolic gesture. I do not know.

I would think some aggressive "liberalization" of arm export is one possible reaction. Iran would buy a lot of air-defense equipment, I think. If the USA do not allow to earn money in energy, Russia needs to find a decent substitute. And in some categories of weapons Russia can give the USA run for the money. See http://www.businessinsider.com/arms-sales-by-the-us-and-russia-2014-8

Unfortunately currently there is no alternative to neoliberalism. But cheap oil (by which I means oil below $100 per barrel) might not last another decade, so it makes sense to wait for the end of "chap oil age". which will be a knockdown for the USA. Becoming the boy for beating for the USA is not very attractive prospect. They need to coordinate the response with China, because other then via China they have almost no access to many technologies that originated in the West. West still holds tremendous technological superiority in many key areas.

While equalizing staff of the US and Russian embassies is not a bad reaction on Obama provocation, it is important to understand that countermeasures is what the US policymakers expect to start the spiral of tightening economic screws on Russia.

But in no way it is easy or may be even prudent for Russia to try to quickly switch from Western financial system to something else. And Russia track record does not inspire too much confidence. They were first hit in 2014. They have several years to introduce the domestic credit card and it looks like they did almost nothing. https://www.rbth.com/business/2015/04/02/visa_and_mastercard_join_russias_national_card_payment_system_44955.html

So the Chinese card is the only viable replacement for Mastercard/Visa in Russia https://www.rt.com/business/180696-china-russia-union-pay/

Similarly it would be cost-efficient to show US auditors like Price-Waterhouse-Cooper, KPMG, Deloitte, and like the door, but then what?

http://aaajournals.org/doi/10.2308/bria-10175?code=aaan-site


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[Apr 19, 2021] Biden's Sanctions Leave Russia's Stocks and Bonds in Stalemate

Apr 19, 2021 | finance.yahoo.com

The U.S. has leveled sanctions on Russia over election interference and cyberattacks, including barring U.S. financial institutions from buying new domestically issued Russian government debt.

The Biden Administration went where Presidents Obama and Trump had not, barring U.S. financial institutions from buying new domestically issued Russian sovereign bonds. The move excluded the secondary market, though. Anyone can still trade the so-called OFZs already in circulation. And it was matched by a substantial carrot: a dovish speech on Russia by Biden, floating a potential summit with Putin this summer.

The market had feared worse, says Vladimir Tikhomirov, chief economist at BCS Global Markets in Moscow. The ruble is still down 4%, and stocks 3%, since Russia stoked tensions a month ago by massing troops on Ukraine's border. That is despite buoyant oil prices that should benefit Russia. "Everyone was discussing direct punishment of Russian companies or a cutoff from SWIFT," he says, referring to the backbone for global financial transactions. "The actual sanctions turned out to be relatively mild."

Global investors have been fleeing the OFZ market without any push from the White House. Foreigners' share of outstanding bond holdings have fallen to 20% from about a third last summer, notes Aaron Hurd, senior currency portfolio manager at State Street Global Advisors.

Political risk still depresses the value of Russian assets by 15%, Tikhomirov estimates. That is reasonable considering Biden's options for escalating sanctions, says Daniel Fried, an Atlantic Council fellow who was the State Department's sanctions coordinator under Obama. "He could move into the secondary debt market, restrict state-owned energy companies' ability to raise capital, or go after the money hidden by Putin and his cronies," he says. "It could get to be a pretty tight squeeze."

To close the political risk gap, Putin needs to at least restore calm with Ukraine, risking domestic political face after a month of hyping the alleged threat from Russia's southern neighbor. The coming week offers two opportunities for Putin to move toward Biden's proffered stable relationship, Tikhomirov says. He could sound friendly in an annual state of the nation address scheduled for April 21, and he could turn up (virtually) for the global climate summit Biden has called on April 23-24.

These may be far overshadowed by Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who is on hunger strike in a maximum-security prison outside Moscow. Navalny-allied doctors said April 17 he could "die within days" without outside medical intervention. Backing off from its merciless treatment of Navalny would also look like an embarrassing climb-down from the Kremlin's point of view.

Hurd expects a stalemate where Russian assets could nudge higher as oil prices remain firm and the Central Bank of Russia raises interest rates. Putin will make few concessions with his party facing parliamentary elections in September, he predicts. Washington will be constrained by the European Union's reluctance to stiffen anti-Russian measures. "The ruble could still go higher from here, but we remain tentative over the next six months," he says.

Putin has essentially accomplished the goal he set after his 2014 invasions of Ukraine, a self-sufficient Russia that can pursue its perceived security interests without worrying what the rest of the world thinks, says Yong Zhu, portfolio manager for emerging markets debt at DuPont Capital Management.

Government debt amounts to a mere 18% of gross domestic product, and in a pinch can be serviced domestically. That keeps yields too low to pay for the country's geopolitical turbulence, he concludes: 10-year Russian domestic bonds pay about 7% annually, compared with 9% for Brazil or South Africa. "Russia doesn't really need anything beside the iPhone," Zhu quips.

Self-reliance has also spelled isolation from the capital and talent that could lift Russia to its proper place in global innovation and growth. But Putin and his regime seem to like it that way.

[Nov 08, 2020] How Foreign Nations View the 2020 Election - The National Interest

Nov 08, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

Russia has consistently stressed its willingness to work with either candidate -- late last month, the Kremlin's press secretary Dmitri Peskov rebuffed suggestions that Moscow prefers the incumbent: "it would be wrong to say that Trump is more attractive to us."

But Russia's political commentary sphere has proven more polarized. Some cite Biden's readiness to extend the New START treaty without additional conditions as evidence that Biden is someone that the Kremlin can do business with; others have expressed concern over the Democratic candidate's "Russophobic" cabinet picks and predict that, under a Biden presidency, Washington's policy of rollback will escalate to an unprecedented level. But there is also an overarching belief that Washington's Russia policy is so deeply embedded across U.S. institutions that not much is likely to change in U.S.-Russian relations.

As Peskov put it, "there is a fixed place on the altar of US domestic policy for hatred of Russia and a Russophobic approach to bilateral relations with Moscow." Still other commentators are interested in the process as much as the outcome, drawing attention to ongoing mass unrest and allegations of electoral misconduct in order to argue that Washington has forfeited its moral authority to lecture others on proper democratic procedure and the orderly transition of power.

[Nov 06, 2020] What we see is salami slicing sanctions (SSS) where the west adds small slices here and there that do add up, the latest being on suppling microelectronics to the Russian aviation industry.

Nov 06, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

ET AL November 6, 2020 at 12:04 pm

And this is also another opportunity of all the other stuff the US could have demanded their allies should do as well as the USA that they haven't done because it would have caused extreme autof/kery, sic banning the sale of airliners, engines, electronics etc. Russia could simply have pulled its titanium supply. Guess who's share prices would tank first and all the consequences?

As we have pointed out here before, while the US is exhorting u-Rope to 'take on for the team,' mega-corps (though weakening) like GE has arrange full localization of its turbine (power/mineral extraction) business with a local Russian partner. Yes. GE, Microsoft and others told the White House to f/k off. Not in public.

What we see is salami slicing sanctions (SSS) where the west adds small slices here and there that do add up, the latest being on suppling microelectronics to the Russian aviation industry. This is to hobble Russia's investment in its current rebuilding of its civil airliner industry or what's left of it. These sanction are a dick move precisely because they are easy and get support from both american political parties.

We have also covered on this blog many times before, cutting Russia off from the Joy of Sex West, they've cut their own markets off (retail/food produce etc.) which Russia has in turn finally massively self-invested for domestic products and also up market equivalents. That's cost u-Rope billions not only in lost sales, but in future sales share that will not return to where it once was.

So, cutting off western microelectronics for aircraft looks even more weak p*ss considering Russia's state strategic program of Russianizing its aircraft programs despite the obvious up front cost. Russia was doing this anyway because it was obvious which way the wind was blowing. Either they get on with it or they will be forced to do it.

The west is running out of any meaningful sanctions they can enact without causing futher blowback. How stupid is that? It's the product of thirty years of 'Do Something' policy however dumb or short sighted because the West has to be seen to do something. The concept of Leave it Alone has never crossed their minds. It really is an ad dick tion! 😉 Just don't expect to finding them in a self-help group admitting to all the nasty s/t they've done and as part of their step program, reaching out and apologizing for any of it. Neither them nor their media supporting hamsters.


[Oct 19, 2020] To be fair, Russia was never given a time to grow. It was sanctioned, sanctioned and sanctioned.

Oct 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

steven t johnson , Oct 18 2020 10:52 utc | 112

Not sure who this Andrei Martyanov is, but underlying all the comments is the proposition that Putin-managed capitalism works great, will work great forever, will not have a crisis ever and will make Russia totally independent in all ways. Stated so forthrightly, no doubt it sounds too stupid to admit to. Nonetheless this is the claim. I say capitalist restoration did not improve the Russian economy in the way implied by Martyanov. Putin is still a Yeltsinite, even if he is sober enough to pass for competent.


Smith , Oct 18 2020 11:44 utc | 113

To be fair, Russia was never given a time to grow. It was sanctioned, sanctioned and sanctioned.

China did have a sweet time from the 80s to 10s where they serve as the world factory.

michael , Oct 18 2020 11:47 utc | 114
@vk | Oct 17 2020 17:32 utc | 12

I take the opposite view: Looking from today, Russia is lucky that the USSR collapsed in 1991. It shed its debt, its currency passed through hyperinflation, and their economy collapsed and rebuilt. The US and most Western countries still have that coming for them, and soon.

Plus beyond that the strict Communist/Marxist atheism over 70+ years lead to a rebirth of Christian values in Russia, their biggest advantage in this cultural war. And they practice science, not scientism.

Note: Russia and China are more capitalist than the US, for quite some time now. (12+ years)

Yeah, Right , Oct 18 2020 12:01 utc | 115
@110 Abe as far as I understand it, the economic argument goes like this: take the number of rubles generated/spent/whatever in Russian economic activity, then use the current conversion rate to convert that into an "equivalent" amount of US dollars.

Then see what you can buy with that many US dollars.

If you went shopping in the USA, the answer would be that this many US dollars doesn't buy you much, ergo, Russian economic activity is pathetically low.

An example: the Russian government might budget xxx (fill in the figure) rubles to buy new T-90 tanks. In Washington they would convert that into US dollars, and then declare that this is chicken-feed. Hardly enough to buy less than 10 Abrams tanks.

Only the Russians aren't buying Abrams tanks from the USA, and are not spending dollars. They are buying T-90 tanks, and for the amount of rubles spent they'll get 50 tanks.

Every metric the US analyst are using tells them that the USA is vastly, vastly outspending the Russians on military equipment, to the point where it is obvious that the Russian military must be destitute and decrepit.

But if they every took the time to look they'll see 50 brand-spanking new T-90 main battle tanks. Weapons that their assumptions say that the Russians can't afford, and would wonder "Huh? Where'd they come from?"

If they ever looked, which is doubtful.

vk , Oct 18 2020 14:56 utc | 116
@ Posted by: Andrei Martyanov | Oct 18 2020 4:11 utc | 96

I agree that comparing Russia's economy with the likes of Italy and Spain is ridiculous, but it's not that simple. Capitalism is not what is appears to be.

If a (capitalist) nation wants to get something from another (capitalist) nation, it needs to export something. There's no free lunch in international trade: if you want to import, you have to export or issue sovereign debt bonds (treasury bonds).

In this scenario, either Russia produces everything it needs in its own territory or it will have to export in order to import the technology it needs to do whatever it needs to do. Remember: the Russian Federation is a capitalist nation-state, it has to follow the laws of motion of capitalism, which take precedence over whatever Putin wants. To ignore that economic laws exist is to deny any kind of theory of collapse; nation-states would then be eternal, natural entities with no entropy.

Even if Russia produces everything it needs in its own territory, it is still capitalist. It would need, in order to "substitute imports", to super-exploit its own labor force (working class) in order to extract surpluses for its industrialization efforts. That's what the USSR did during Stalin.

If Russia is doing the imports substitution in the classical way (the way Latin America did during the liberal dictatorships of the 1950s-1980s), then it is trying to sell commodities to industrialized countries in order to import technology and machinery necessary to industrialize its own territory. That is probably the case here.

Assuming this more probable case, then I'm sorry to tell you it won't work. It may work in the short or even medium term, but it will ultimately fail in the long term. The thing is that, in a system of capitalist exchange between an agrarian and an industrial nation-state, the industrial nation-state will always have the advantage (i.e. have a trade surplus). That's because of Marx's labor theory of value: industrialized commodities ("manufactured goods") have more intrinsic value than agrarian/raw material commodities - just think about how many kilos of bananas Brazil would have to export to the USA in order to import one single unit of an iPhone 12, to use an contemporary example. As a social result, industrialized countries have a higher organic composition of capital (OCC) than agrarian countries, as they need more value to just keep themselves afloat (as a metaphor: it's more expensive to keep a big mansion than a little flat in a stationary state). Value (wealth) then tends to flow from lower OCC to the higher OCC, this is the material base that divides the First and Third World countries until today.

To make things even worse, raw materials/agricultural products have an inelastic demand, which means their prices fall when production rises, and their prices rise when production falls, relative to overall demand. You will pay whatever the water company will charge you for the cubic meter of water - but you won't consume more or less water because of its price, hence the term "inelastic": demand tends to be more or less constant on a macroeconomic level. The same problem suffers the commodity exporter nations: there will come a stage where their exports' overall value will collapse vis-a-vis the machinery and technology they need to import.

As a result, the commodity exporter nations will have to get more debt overseas, by issuing more T-bonds, just to keep the trade balance afloat. What was the quest for progress becomes a vicious battle for mere survival. A debt crisis is brewed.

And that's exactly what happened to the Latin American countries in the 1980s-1990s: their debt exploded and they were put to their knees by the USA (the country that issues the universal fiat currency). The USA then charged their debt, which triggered a wave of privatizations of everything those countries had built over decades. This is what will happen to Russia if it falls for the lure of imports substitution.

That's why I urge the Russians to review their concepts and try to get back to the Soviet times. It doesn't need to be exactly how it was before: you can make the due reforms and adopt a more or less Chinese model of socialism. That's the only way out, if the Russian people doesn't want to be enslaved by the liberals (capitalists).

pretzelattack , Oct 18 2020 15:11 utc | 117
looks like the fbi is still in bed with the cia on russiagate, they are now pivoting to investigating the laptop as a russian intelligence operation.
pretzelattack , Oct 18 2020 15:14 utc | 118
@vk from what i'm reading (stephen cohen: soviet fates and lost alternatives) the chinese adopted something like bukharin's nep policies, which stalin did his best to wipe out in the ussr. i've got some problems with cohen's last book, "war with russia?" but he has a lot of good information on the history of the ussr.
pretzelattack , Oct 18 2020 15:17 utc | 119
russia is not "lucky" that it went through a massive collapse following idiotic u.s. austerity policies in the 90's. it is still recovering from that.
vk , Oct 18 2020 15:42 utc | 120
@ Posted by: pretzelattack | Oct 18 2020 15:14 utc | 118

On the surface, yes: the comparison between Reform and Opening Up and NEP are irresistible. But it is not precise: the only merit it has is in the fact that it is fairer than simply classifying Deng Xiaoping's reforms as neoliberalism (Trotskysts, Austrian School) or capitalism (liberals).

The key here is the difference of the nature of the Chinese peasant class and the Russian peasant class. The Chinese peasant class, besides suffering a lot (millions of dead by famine) in the hands of a liberal government for decades (Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Government) (while the Russian equivalent - the "February Revolution" - only lasted a few months, engulfed by their insistence on continuing with the meat-grinder of WWI), had a different historical subtract.

Chinese late feudalism was much more developed, much more manufactured-centered than Russian late feudalism. As a result, the Chinese peasant was much more proletarian-minded than the feudal Russian peasant. Also, the Chinese didn't have the kulak problem (peasant petite-bourgeoisie) - instead, they had regional warlords who self-destructed during the chaotic republican period (1911-1949). When the warlords were gone, what was left was a much more proletarian-minded, egalitarian-minded, small peasantry. This peasantry didn't bother to migrate to the cities to work in the industry or to start their own factories in the countryside itself. That's why Deng Xiaoping's Reform and Opening Up was successful - not because of his genius, but because he was backed up by a capable people.

The Chinese peasantry, for example, didn't hoard or directed their grain surplus to exports in order to starve the proletariat to death in the cities - they sold it to the Chinese market. The Chinese peasantry also trusted their central government (CCP) and saw itself as part of the project - in complete opposition to the feudal-minded Russian kulak, who saw his piece of land as essentially an independent and self-sufficient cell/ecosystem.

That's why the Reform and Opening Up was successful (it survives until the present times) and the NEP soon failed - following the good harvest of 1924, came the awful harvest of 1926, which triggered a shit show where the peasantry hoarded the grain and almost starved the USSR to extinction, and which led to Stalin's ascension and the dekulakization process (forced collectivization).

pretzelattack , Oct 18 2020 15:59 utc | 121
@vk thanks for your detailed and thorough response, i will keep it in mind as i read.
pretzelattack , Oct 18 2020 16:11 utc | 122
i should add that i know little about the actual history of communism, but capitalism is revealing itself as a monstrous failure, and not all the propaganda in the world is succeeding at covering that up.
Abe , Oct 18 2020 16:32 utc | 123
Yeah, Right @ 115

I know how economic reasoning comes to that conclusion, but IRL comparing such different countries only by GDP metric is insane and beyond stupid.

Eg. Russia has GDP similar to California!

Yes, in US centric GDP metrics that favors and cheats US itself (surprise!).

But. One of those countries sent man in space, produces everything, has vast resources and is self sufficient nuclear superpower.
Other one cant even feed and provider water to its population without outside help.

GDP means nothing when sh*t hits the fan. What will "richer" country do if it goes to war with "poorer"? Throw money at them while they launch nukes at it?

vk , Oct 18 2020 17:43 utc | 124
@ Posted by: pretzelattack | Oct 18 2020 16:11 utc | 122

There certainly are similarities between the NEP and the Reform and Opening Up. It's very possible Deng Xiaoping took Lenin as inspiration.

Forgot to mention the Scissors Crisis, which erupted in 1923, and triggered the NEP. That crisis is one more evidence that shows manufactured products are inherently more valuable than raw materials/agrarian products.

Andrei Martyanov , Oct 18 2020 19:57 utc | 125
@Eric.
The facts are that even in 2020 Russia does not have anything close to gas turbines that can replace Siemens

Before posting anything--learn your facts. You, obviously, have issues with accessing them.

https://www.interfax.ru/russia/694526

Again, for products of Western "education" basic logic and ability for a basic extrapolation seem beyond the grasp: there are no issues for Russia to produce anything, other than time and some money. Country which produces best hi-tech weapons in the world, dominates world's nuclear energy market (this is not your iPhone "hi tech") and has a full enclosed cycle for aerospace industry, among many other things, will have little trouble in substituting pretty much anything. I remember a bunch of morons, who pass for "analysts", from either WSJ or WaPo declaring 6 years ago that sanctions will deny Russia access to Western extraction technologies. Sure, for a country whose space program alone will crush whole economies of UK or Germany should they ever try to recreate it, will have "problems" producing compressor or drill equipment with the level of Russia's metallurgy and material science. Generally speaking, West's present pathetic state is a direct result of utter incompetence across the board in a number of key fields of human activity and your post, most likely based on some BS by Western media, is a good demonstration of this state of the affairs.

Andrei Martyanov , Oct 18 2020 20:00 utc | 126
@Jason

Per immigration policy, you can easily find a a truck load of resources, especially on the web-sites of Russian diplomatic missions (Embassies, Consulates etc.), easily available. Per cats--Russian love for cats is boundless and intense. You may say that Russia is a cat-obsessed country;)

steven t johnson , Oct 18 2020 20:05 utc | 127
vk@120 posits a mystical cultural difference in Russian and Chinese peasants, which unfortunately has pretty much the same content as the hypothesis of a racial difference. That the morally superior race is supposed to be Chinese doesn't really help. As often, some strange assertions of facts that aren't so accompany such bizarre thinking. The rich peasants in China (what would be kulaks in Russian history,) were notorious for moneylending. As ever, the inevitable arrears ended in the moneylender's family taking the land. Collectivization came early in China, well along the way by 1956. And a key aspect of it was the struggle against the Chinese equivalent of the kulak class. As for the insistence that private farming is superior, the growth of inequality in land drove millions, a hundred million or more, into the cities. Without residence permits this floating proletariat was effectively superexploited by the new capitalist elements, as Deng meant them to do. Nor did the warlords discredit themselves, not as a group. If anything the young warlord who forced Chiang to reject active war against the Communists, in order to fight the Japanese invaders, was the one who kept the GMD (KMT in Wade-Giles,) from discrediting itself. [Xian incident] And what warlords had to do with the Chinese rich peasantry *after* the Revolution is a complete mystery.

Socially, the deliberate uneven development promoted by Deng and his successors, is eroding the social fabric of the larger countryside. This, in addition to the neocolonial concessions, the growing links to the Chinese bourgeoisie of the diaspora suggest that as Dengists may go even back/forward to a new form of warlordism. The thing about comparing Bukharism/NEP to Dengism/the "Opening" is that Bukharin's program failed spectacularly. But modern China is not next door to Nazi Germany. Even more to the point, Stalin's victory over Hitler has provided a kind of moral shield for China, even under Deng, inspiring fear of losing a general war. If Bukharin had beaten Stalin, we can be as sure as any hypothetical can be, the USSR would have been defeated, not victorious. In modern China, the Bukharin won. There is an excellent chance the national government of today's China will be defeated.

Eric , Oct 18 2020 20:53 utc | 128
@125 Andrei Martyanov

That article describes a 110 MW turbine that has now finally been put into production (while Siemens, General Electric etc. produce utility-class gas turbines up to about 600 MW, with far higher efficiency and most likely reliability). The article further describes 40 GW of thermal electrical production to be "modernized" until 2031 (11 years from now), and apparently a microscopic 2 GW of new capacity from "domestic and localized" 65 MW turbines to be commissioned 2026-2028. (I don't understand Russian so I had to rely on Yandex's machine translation.) That's admittedly some kind of progress, but is simply not going to cut it. Nowhere close.

Imagine if China set the ambition to build its own semiconductors and its own turbofans for its stealth fighters sometime around 2040. Imagine if China was still producing a third of the amount of electricity of the United States instead of about double, etc., and considered this to be adequate. It would be akin to abandoning its ambitions for technological and industrial independence from the West, and that is exactly what Russia is doing in the realm of gas turbines. There is apparently no capability and no seriousness going into translating Russia's world-class research and science into actual large-scale, modern industrial production, and everything points to this continuing, while you can blather on all you want about people with "Western education" simply not getting anything.

Andrei Martyanov , Oct 18 2020 21:16 utc | 129
@Eric
That's admittedly some kind of progress, but is simply not going to cut it. Nowhere close.

That's admittedly you switching on "I am dense" mode and trying to up the ante with 600 MW, which are a unique product, while you somehow miss the point that 110 MWt MGT-110 of fully Russian production has completed a full cycle of industrial tests and operations (an equivalent of military IOC--Initial Operational Capability) and is in a serial production. But instead of studying the issue (even if through Yandex translate) with Siemens which when learning about MGT-110 offered Russia 100% localization with technology transfer, Russians declined, you go into generalizations without having even minimal set of facts and situational awareness. In fact 110 MWt turbines are most in demand product for a variety of applications. Get acquainted with this.

https://power-m.ru/en/customers/thermal-power/gas-turbines/

I am not going to waste my time explaining to you (you will play dense again) what IOC means and how it relates to serial production, I am sure you will find a bunch of unrealted "argumentation".

Imagine if China

I don't need to imagine anything, as well as draw irrelevant parallels with China.

There is apparently no capability and no seriousness going into translating Russia's world-class research and science into actual large-scale, modern industrial production, and everything points to this continuing, while you can blather on all you want about people with "Western education" simply not getting anything.

This is exactly what I am talking about. Hollow declarations by people who can not even develop basic factual base.

Grieved , Oct 18 2020 21:16 utc | 130
@125 Andrei Martyanov

It's great to see you here with your excellent facts and perspectives on Russia. I'm sorry you have to deal with people whose minds are too small to grasp the immense scale of Russia - scale in physical size, civilizational depth and importance to the balance of power in the world.

Russia alone stopped the creeping gray hegemony from the west that had looked like it would just ooze over the whole world and suffocate it in bullshit and tribute payments. And then China joined in the fun. The world has a future now, when a decade ago this didn't seem possible, at least from my view in the US. Geopolitically, Russia gave us this future, and China has come to show us how much fun it's going to be.

Many thanks to you and your people.

vk , Oct 18 2020 21:31 utc | 131
@ Posted by: steven t johnson | Oct 18 2020 20:05 utc | 127

There's no mysticism here because we know how the kulaks emerged in Russia: they were the result of the catastrophic capitalist reforms of the 1860s, which completely warped the old feudal relations of the Russian Empire.

The reforms of the 1860s were catastrophic for two reasons:

1) it freed the peasants slowly. The State serfs - the last who gained their freedom - were left with no land. A complex partition system of the land, based on each administrative region, created a distorted division of land, where very few peasants got huge chunks of land (the future kulaks) and most received almost nothing (as Lenin demonstrated, see his first book of his Complete Works, below the rate of subsistence);

2) it tried to preserve the old feudal privileges and powers of the absolutist monarchy.

As a result, the Russian Empire had a bizarre economic system, a mixed economy with the worst of the two words: the inequality and absolute misery of capitalism and the backwardness and lack of social mobility of feudalism.

But yes, you're right when you state Mao's era was not an economic failure. His early era really saw an attempt by the CCP to make an alliance with the "national bourgeoisie", and this alliance was indeed a failure. This certainly led to a more radical approach by the CCP, still in the Mao era (collectivization). Life quality in China greatly increased after 1949, until the recession of the Great Leap Forward (which was not a famine, but threw back some socioeconomic indicators temporarily back to the WWII era). When the Great Leap Forward was abandoned, China continued to improve afterwards.

All of this doesn't change the fact that China's "NEP" was a success, while the original NEP wasn't. Of course, there are many factors that explain this, but it is wrong to call late Qing China as even similar to the late Romanov Russia.

I'm not saying Stalin's reform were a failure. Without them, they wouldn't be able to quickly import the Fordist (Taylorist) method they needed to industrialize. The USSR became a superpower in just 19 years - a world record. The first Five-Year Plan was a huge morale boost and success for the Soviet people - specially because it happened at the same time as the capitalist meltdown of 1929.

--//--

@ Posted by: Eric | Oct 18 2020 20:53 utc | 128

The thing with semiconductors (and other very advanced technologies) is that it is an industry that only makes sense for a given nation to dominate if they're going to mass produce it. That usually means said production must be export oriented, which means competing against already well-established competitors.

China doesn't want to drain the State's coffers to fund an industry that won't at least pay for itself. It has to change the wheels with the car moving. That's why it is still negotiating the Huawei contracts in the West first, why it still is trying to keep the Taiwanese product flowing first, only to then gradually start the heavy investment needed to dominate the semiconductor technology and production process.

They learned with the Soviets in this sense. When computers became a thing in the West, the USSR immediately poured resources to build them. They were able to dominate the main frame technology, and they were successfully implemented in their economy. Then came the personal computers, and, this time, the Soviets weren't able to make it integrate in their economy. The problem wasn't that the Soviets didn't know how to build a personal computer (they did), but that every new technology is born for a reason, and only makes sense in a given social context. You can't just blindly copy your enemy's technology and hope for the best.

Andrei Martyanov , Oct 18 2020 23:03 utc | 132
@Grieved
The world has a future now, when a decade ago this didn't seem possible, at least from my view in the US. Geopolitically, Russia gave us this future, and China has come to show us how much fun it's going to be. Many thanks to you and your people.

Thank you for your kind words. As my personal experience (my third book is coming out soon)shows--explaining economic reality to people who have been "educated" (that is confused, ripped off for huge tuition and given worthless piece of paper with MBA or some "economics" Bachelor of "Science" on it) in Western pseudo-economic "theory" that this "global" "rules-based order" is over, is pretty much an exercise in futility. And if a catastrophe of Boeing is any indication (I will omit here NATO's military-industrial complex)--dividends, stocks and "capitalization" is a figment of imagination of people who never left their office and infantile state of development and swallowed BS economic narrative hook, line and sinker without even trying to look out of the window. They still buy this BS of US having "largest GDP in the world" (in reality it is much smaller than that of China), the de-industrialization of the United States is catastrophic (they never bothered to look at 2018 Inter-agency Report to POTUS specifically about that)and its industrial base is shrinking with a lighting speed, same goes to Germany which for now retains some residual industrial capability and competences but:

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-germany-economy-manufacturing/german-manufacturing-output-to-shrink-4-this-year-bdi-says-idUKKBN1XT1D6

This is before COVID-19, after it Germany's economy shrank worst among Western nations, worse even than the US. It is a long story, but as Michael Hudson stated not for once in his books and interviews, what is "taught" as economics in the West is basically a pseudo-science. Well, it is. Or, as same Hudson stated earlier this year:"The gunboats don't appear in your economics textbooks. I bet your price theory didn't have gun boats in them, or the crime sector. And probably they didn't have debt in it either." And then they wonder in Germany (or EU)how come that EU structures are filled with pedophiles, "Green" fanatics and multiculturalists. Well, because Germany (and EU) are occupied territories who made their choice. And this is just the start. What many do not understand here is that overwhelming majority of Russians do not want to deal with Europe and calls for new Iron Curtain are louder and louder and the process has started. Of course, there is a lot of both contempt and schadenfreude on Russian part. As Napoleon stated, the nation which doesn't want to feed own army, will feed someone else's. Very true. Modern West worked hard for it, let it "enjoy" now.

karlof1 , Oct 18 2020 23:52 utc | 133
Andrei Martyanov @132 & elsewhere--

It's good to see you commenting here as barflies seem more inclined to listen to you than me. Did you watch Russian documentary on The Wall , which I learned about from Lavrov's meeting with those doing business within Russia on 5 Oct? I asked The Saker if his translation team would take on the task of providing English subtitles or a voice over but never got a reply one way or the other. IMO, for Russia to avoid the West's fate it must change its banking and financial system from the private to the public realm as Hudson advocates most recently in this podcast . As for Mr. Lavrov, he surprised the radio station interviewers by citing Semyon Slepakov's song "America Doesn't Like Us," of which barfly Paco thankfully provided a translation of the lyrics.С наилучшими пожеланиями крепкого здоровья и долгих лет жизни!

Smith , Oct 19 2020 0:01 utc | 134
So I don't get it, who won that engagement, Andrei or Eric?

Can Russia produce that turbo thingie or not?

Eric , Oct 19 2020 0:18 utc | 135
@132 Andrei Martyanov

I think you an Grieved misunderstand somewhat where I am coming from here. Michael Hudson would be (and has been) the first to describe how Russia's elites (and to a large extent it seems also the people) bought into a bogus neoliberal ideology teaching that somehow Russia needs to earn the money it needs to build its own economy in the form of foreign currency through export revenues. Apparently these economists and politicians in Russia never bothered to look how Western economies actually operate (as opposed to what they preach to countries they want to destroy), or for that matter how China has developed its economy (in all of these countries, the necessary credit is created on a keyboard.) The export revenues that Russia earns in the form of dollars and euros are sold to the central bank for the roubles that Russia's government needs to function. Bizarrely, this creates just as much inflation as it would if the central bank had just created the roubles without "backing" foreign currency. In fact, there is more inflation created, because in times of high oil prices, corresponding amounts of roubles are suddenly thrown into a domestic market that is underdeveloped, for example in its infrastructure and its food processing. There are reasons why China can expand its money supply by much greater proportions each year and still suffer far less inflation than Russia.

Unlike China, Russia had already attained much of the technological expertise for the equipment that it later decided it was unable to produce inside the country. A good example of this are the turboexpanders whose design was perfected (though the basic idea was a bit older) by Pyotr Kapisa in the 1930's in the USSR. This same technology went into the turbopumps of the rocket engines in the Energia boosters. These engines are still to this day, 30 years after the Soviet collapse, imported by the United States. As these rocket engines including the turbopumps are still produced in Russia, the know-how to manufacture was obviously not lost.

I read just the other day that as part of its import substitution program, Russia is considering to produce the turboexpanders for processing natural gas (separating methane from ethane) inside the country. Russia, with the world's largest natural gas reserves and production, and as I described already possessing the expertise to produce the turboexpanders needed for cryogenic separation, chose to hand over possibly billions of dollars to the West to import this machinery over the years, only to be helpless when the West introduced technological sanctions against its oil and gas sector. Very likely, in a couple of years we will receive the announcement that the drive to produce them domestically has been abandoned, after it was realized that their production will require new factories and new machinery, which do not fall out of the sky in Russia as they apparently do in the West and in China. Putin will announce that great business awaits whichever Western investor ready to provide the funds. (Spoiler: They won't! The West is not very interested in investing into building up Russia's industrial capabilities, preferring instead to loot its natural resources and to suck out its skilled worked and scientists.)

While Russia sits and waits for higher oil prices or foreign dollar credit on the one hand, and with unemployed skilled labor and rotting industrial infrastructure on the other hand, China spends the equivalent of trillions of dollars (in yuan, obviously) into fixed capital (not least infrastructure) each year. The funds for this are all created by keystrokes by the PBOC and provide employment for the domestic workforce. You don't have to ponder long on which model has been hugely successful, and which has been an unmitigated disaster.

I can't find the exact figures right now, but Russia produces something like 300,000 STEM graduates every year, more than the United States. (I may very well have read this originally on your blog, by the way.) Many of them will still be forced to emigrate to find gainful employment, even 20 years after the 1990's ended and Putin became President. These graduates remain even in post-Soviet times of a very high quality, and undergraduate students in Russia are trained at a higher level in mathematics and physics than in particular Americans are even as post-graduates. By refusing to invest in its own scientific infrastructure and industry the way China has done and does, Russia gives away all the education and training that were provided to these students, especially to the same Western countries that are seeking to destroy Russia. This is completely unforgivable.

I should add that I myself study physics in Germany. I have great appreciation for the Russian methods of teaching mathematics and physics, as many do here. I have learned, preferentially, mathematical analysis from Zorich, mechanics, electrodynamics etc. from Landau-Lifschitz, much about Fourier series from Tolstov, and so on, and have very often been awestruck and inspired in a mystical fashion by these works. I am not somehow unaware of the unparalleled quality (in particular after the destruction of Germany in WWII) of the USSR's and Russia's math/physics education or unfamiliar with the achievements of the USSR in science and engineering. It's precisely because I am familar with them that it frustrates me immensely how Russia's potential is needlessly wasted.

Digby , Oct 19 2020 0:28 utc | 136
What many do not understand here is that overwhelming majority of Russians do not want to deal with Europe and calls for new Iron Curtain are louder and louder and the process has started. Of course, there is a lot of both contempt and schadenfreude on Russian part.
Andrei (132), do you have a link to an opinion poll that supports this? Thanks in advance.
james , Oct 19 2020 1:01 utc | 137
@ Digby | Oct 19 2020 0:28 utc | 136.. if you haven't already listened to the lavrov interview that b linked to in his main post - it is a question and answer thing - you would benefit from doing so and it would help answer you question some too.. see b's post at this spot -"In a wide ranging interview with Russian radio stations" and hit that link
Digby , Oct 19 2020 2:17 utc | 138
@ james (137)
Well, I looked into the interview. While it is informative in its own right (at some point it briefly touches on Russo-Japanese relations), and some of the interviewers do show some concerns, I'm still not sure how it helps answer my question (maybe I missed something?). My initial impression was that Mr. Martyanov was referring to Russian civilians - not just radio interviewers.
Thanks anyway for the heads up.
james , Oct 19 2020 3:37 utc | 139
@ 138 digby... my impression was the radio interviewers questions were a reflection of the general sentiment of the public.. i could be wrong, but it seems to me they have completely given up on the west based on what they ask and say in their questions to lavrov...

on another note, you might enjoy engaging andrei more directly on his website which i will share here...

https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/

cheers..

[Oct 18, 2020] More Pressure On Russia Will Have No Effect

Notable quotes:
"... Russia is militarily secure and the 'west' knows that. It is one reason for the anti-Russian frenzy. Russia does not need to bother with the unprecedented hostility coming from Brussels and Washington. It can ignore it while taking care of its interests. ..."
"... As this is so obvious one must ask what the real reason for the anti-Russian pressure campaign is. What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint? ..."
"... The nightmare scenario for the Anglo-Americans is a Germany-Russia-China triangle. If that happens it is game over! ..."
"... They don't want an actual war. They just ratchet up the tensions to keep Europe subdued and obedient and Russia off balance and thereby prevent any rapprochement between the two. ..."
"... The strong hatred and hostility coming from the US and the EU are due to the understanding that they don't have much time, and they must act now, or tomorrow it will be too late. ..."
"... Years ago Barack Obama gave speech to West Point graduates, proclaiming US moral and racial superiority (because they mix'n's*it) over whole world, Goebbels would be proud. Germany has long history of hating all those Slavs, and Israel... Lets not go there with how they threat those inferior brown people. ..."
"... Of course that end-point is money for military contractors and power for the FP elite in government and think-tanks which also means money. Yes, there are true-believers who see a mighty struggle between "good" (the USA) an "evil" (Russia/China) but they are incompetent. As for the American people they will believe whatever the NY Times says since they are militantly ignorant of history, geography, foreign affairs in general, and, above all, political science. ..."
"... The USA is lucky the USSR collapsed in 1991. If it managed to somehow survive for mere 17 years more, it would catch the 2008 capitalist meltdown ..."
"... It looks like the USA imported the Irish and imported their luck, too. ..."
"... This loathing was made blatantly manifest during WWII, of course, but it didn't die out because that generation and more likely their children remain with us. Ditto the generational Anglo-American hatred of Russians (yes, for the UK, and their haute bourgeoisie, it has deeper historical roots than the 20thC) and the USSR even more... ..."
"... "Maas added that Germany takes decisions related to its energy policy and energy supply 'here in Europe', saying that Berlin accepts ' the fact that the US had more than doubled its oil imports from Russia last year and is now the world's second largest importer of Russian heavy oil .'" [My Emphasis] ..."
"... The neocon/NATO aggressive expansionism has many purposes, but one is surely domestic repression: to gaslight and cause fear-the-foreign-bogeyman trauma among the American and British people as a whole and make most of them become docile and lose their critical thinking skills and their ability to analyze their own societies. ..."
"... One of the best ways to lobotomize the publics of the US and UK is to very gradually impose martial law in the name of protecting national security and ensuring peace and harmony at home. ..."
"... At the time, I thought it was just Trump and his followers freaking out, now I think it's the NatSec people, who have finally seen the truth of their situation. As one can see in the Atlantic Council piece B posted, they are still trying to keep the old narrative patched together too. ..."
"... As I've said numerous times -- Fuck the US Empire and it's minion bitches. Jesse Ventura commented this past week that EVERY US Incumbent politician should be voted out of office this election. 99% of them are scum. ..."
"... That was the whole point of the first Cold War. It is the whole point of creating a Cold War 2.0. Absolutely nothing has changed. ..."
"... If the Russian Federation really has an ongoing imports substitution program, then this explains everything. Germany is an exports-oriented economy. It wants to integrate with the Russian economy in the sense to keep it as an agrarian-extrativist economy to feed it with cheap commodities to feed their industry. Germany's ideal Russia is Brazil. ..."
"... A Russia that also exports high-value commodities (manufactured commodities) is a direct threat to Germany, as it competes with it directly in the international market. That's the reason Germany doesn't want the BRI to come to Europe, as Merkel once said: Europe must not become China's peninsula. China is Germany's main competitor, as it is also a big manufacturing exporter. ..."
"... Perhaps the US only has one script in the playbook: to balkanise, disrupt and foster 5th columns until their opponent becomes a dysfunctional or failed state. ..."
"... The US and EU attempts to break Russia's independent foreign policy are just stepping stones to the eventual goal of a breakup Russia itself, never forget Albright's comments in the 90s about how Siberia shouldn't belong to Russia alone. ..."
"... We may yet see a Cuban missile crisis scenario but it looks more likely to be caused by arms sales to Taiwan than conflict in the Caucasus. ..."
"... I also think its naive to see these as "fires burning at Russia's borders" instead of as deliberately set bear traps . Azerbaijan is in a strategic location between Russia and Iran and the conflict with Armenia comes just before Russia is about to sell advanced weapons to Iran. ..."
Oct 17, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Over the last years the U.S. and its EU puppies have ratcheted up their pressure on Russia. They seem to believe that they can compel Russia to follow their diktat. They can't. But the illusion that Russia will finally snap, if only a few more sanctions ar applied or a few more houses in Russia's neighborhood are set on fire, never goes away.

As Gilbert Doctorow describes the situation:

The fires burning at Russia's borders in the Caucasus are an add-on to the disorder and conflict on its Western border in neighboring Belarus, where fuel is poured on daily by pyromaniacs at the head of the European Union acting surely in concert with Washington.

Yesterday we learned of the decision of the European Council to impose sanctions on President Lukashenko, a nearly unprecedented action when directed against the head of state of a sovereign nation.
...
It is easy enough to see that the real intent of the sanctions is to put pressure on the Kremlin, which is Lukashenko's guarantor in power, to compound the several other measures being implemented simultaneously in the hope that Putin and his entourage will finally crack and submit to American global hegemony as Europe did long ago.
...
The anti-Russia full tilt ahead policy outlined above is going on against a background of the U.S. presidential electoral campaigns. The Democrats continue to try to depict Donald Trump as "Putin's puppy," as if the President has been kindly to his fellow autocrat while in office. Of course, under the dictates of the Democrat-controlled House and with the complicity of the anti-Russian staff in the State Department, in the Pentagon, American policy towards Russia over the entire period of Trump's presidency has been one of never ending ratcheting up of military, informational, economic and other pressures in the hope that Vladimir Putin or his entourage would crack. Were it not for the nerves of steel of Mr. Putin and his close advisers , the irresponsible pressure policies outlined above could result in aggressive behavior and risk taking by Russia that would make the Cuban missile crisis look like child's play.

The U.S. arms industry lobby, in form of the Atlantic Council, confirms the 'western' strategy Doctorow describes. It calls for 'ramping up on Russia' with even more sanctions:

Key to raising the costs to Russia is a more proactive transatlantic strategy for sanctions against the Russian economy and Putin's power base, together with other steps to reduce Russian energy leverage and export revenue. A new NATO Russia policy should be pursued in tandem with the European Union (EU), which sets European sanctions policy and faces the same threats from Russian cyberattacks and disinformation. At a minimum, EU sanctions resulting from hostilities in Ukraine should be extended, like the Crimea sanctions, for one year rather than every six months. Better yet, allies and EU members should tighten sanctions further and extend them on an indefinite basis until Russia ends its aggression and takes concrete steps toward de-escalation.

It also wants Europe to pay for weapons in the Ukraine and Georgia:

A more dynamic NATO strategy for Russia should go hand in hand with a more proactive policy toward Ukraine and Georgia in the framework of an enhanced Black Sea strategy. The goal should be to boost both partners' deterrence capacity and reduce Moscow's ability to undermine their sovereignty even as NATO membership remains on the back burner for the time being.

As part of this expanded effort, European allies should do more to bolster Ukraine and Georgia's ground, air, and naval capabilities, complementing the United States' and Canada's efforts that began in 2014.

The purpose of the whole campaign against Russia, explains the Atlantic Council author, is to subordinate it to U.S. demands:

Relations between the West and Moscow had begun to deteriorate even before Russia's watershed invasion of Ukraine, driven principally by Moscow's fear of the encroachment of Western values and their potential to undermine the Putin regime. With the possibility of a further sixteen years of Putin's rule, most experts believe relations are likely to remain confrontational for years to come. They argue that the best the United States and its allies can do is manage this competition and discourage aggressive actions from Moscow. However, by pushing back against Russia more forcefully in the near and medium term, allies are more likely to eventually convince Moscow to return to compliance with the rules of the liberal international order and to mutually beneficial cooperation as envisaged under the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act.

The 'rules of the liberal international order' are of course whatever the U.S. claims they are. They may change at any moment and without notice to whatever new rules are the most convenient for U.S. foreign policy.

But as Doctorow said above, Putin and his advisors stay calm and ignore such trash despite all the hostility expressed against them.

One of Putin's close advisors is of course Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. In a wide ranging interview with Russian radio stations he recently touched on many of the issues Doctorow also mentions. With regards to U.S. strategy towards Russia Lavrov diagnoses :

Sergey Lavrov : [...] You mentioned in one of your previous questions that no matter what we do, the West will try to hobble and restrain us, and undermine our efforts in the economy, politics, and technology. These are all elements of one approach.

Question : Their national security strategy states that they will do so.

Sergey Lavrov : Of course it does, but it is articulated in a way that decent people can still let go unnoticed, but it is being implemented in a manner that is nothing short of outrageous.

Question : You, too, can articulate things in a way that is different from what you would really like to say, correct?

Sergey Lavrov : It's the other way round. I can use the language I'm not usually using to get the point across. However, they clearly want to throw us off balance , and not only by direct attacks on Russia in all possible and conceivable spheres by way of unscrupulous competition, illegitimate sanctions and the like, but also by unbalancing the situation near our borders, thus preventing us from focusing on creative activities. Nevertheless, regardless of the human instincts and the temptations to respond in the same vein, I'm convinced that we must abide by international law.

Russia does not accept the fidgety 'rules of the liberal international order'. Russia sticks to the law which is, in my view, a much stronger position. Yes, international law often gets broken. But as Lavrov said elsewhere , one does not abandon traffic rules only because of road accidents.

Russia stays calm, no matter what outrageous nonsense the U.S. and EU come up with. It can do that because it knows that it not only has moral superiority by sticking to the law but it also has the capability to win a fight. At one point the interviewer even jokes about that :

Question : As we say, if you don't listen to Lavrov, you will listen to [Defense Minister] Shoigu.

Sergey Lavrov : I did see a T-shirt with that on it. Yes, it's about that.

Yes, it's about that. Russia is militarily secure and the 'west' knows that. It is one reason for the anti-Russian frenzy. Russia does not need to bother with the unprecedented hostility coming from Brussels and Washington. It can ignore it while taking care of its interests.

As this is so obvious one must ask what the real reason for the anti-Russian pressure campaign is. What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint?

Posted by b on October 17, 2020 at 16:31 UTC | Permalink


james , Oct 17 2020 16:45 utc | 1

thanks b.... that lavrov interview that karlof1 linked to previously is worth its weight in gold...

it gives a clear understanding of how russia sees what is happening here on the world stage... as you note cheap talk from the atlantic council 'rules of the liberal international order' is no substitute for 'international law' which is what russia stands on.... as for the usa campaign to tar russia and claim trump is putins puppet.. apparently this stupidity really sells in the usa.. in fact, i have a close friend here in canada from the usa with family in the usa has bought this hook, line and sinker as well.. and he is ordinarily a bright guy!

as for the endpoint - the usa and the people of the usa don't mind themselves about endpoints... it is all about being in the moment, living a hollywood fantasy off the ongoing party of wall st... the thought this circus will end, is not something many of them contemplate.. that is what it looks like to me.. maga, lol...

Michael Droy , Oct 17 2020 16:52 utc | 2
Belarus - this is happenstance, not long term planning. Like Venezuela - indeed neither original Presidential candidate nor his wife had a Wikipedia entry a week or so before being announced as candidate (much like Guaido 2 weeks before Trump "made" him President.

Yes the Western media make the most of it, and yes there are many in place in and besides the media whose job it is to maximise any noise. But little is happening in Belarus. Sanctioning is all anyone can do now. (Sanctions = punishment therefore proof of guilt without trial or evidence).

US pressure is based on the Dem vs Rep "I am tougher on Russia than you" game spurred on by the MIC.
European pressure is based on the Euro Defence force concept and a low key but real desire to rid itself of Nato. So again we have Nato saying "without US/us Europe would be soft on Russia" and Europe saying we are tough on Russia whatever.

Meanwhile China takes over the real world.

Down South , Oct 17 2020 16:56 utc | 3
What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint?

It is about driving a wedge between Europe and Russia. The nightmare scenario for the Anglo-Americans is a Germany-Russia-China triangle. If that happens it is game over!

They don't want an actual war. They just ratchet up the tensions to keep Europe subdued and obedient and Russia off balance and thereby prevent any rapprochement between the two.

Putin has repeatedly stated he wants a Lisbon to Vladivostok free trade area.

The Anglo-Americans will never permit that. That Europe is committed to a course that is against their own best interest shows just how subservient they are to the Anglo-Americans.

I think it was the first head of NATO that said the purpose of the organization is to "keep the Russians out, the Germans down and the US in"

Absolutely nothing has changed since then.

bjd , Oct 17 2020 17:01 utc | 4
There is no endpoint. Those who argue for it, the Western think-tank industry and security and intelligence industry, are recipients of huge sums of money. It is bread and butter for large numbers of people. And the acceptance of the conclusions and advice of the immense stacks of papers thus produced mean money towards the defense industry and the cyber warfare industry. In the end, all this is driven by elites' fear of their own populations. Sowing FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) makes these populations docile. Rinse and repeat.
Passer by , Oct 17 2020 17:05 utc | 5
>>As this is so obvious one must ask what the real reason for the anti-Russian pressure campaign is.

The reason was probably the new Russian Constitution, which is basically a declaration of independence from the West. This has caused serious triggerings in western elites, although their reaction took some time to crystalise due to the Covid Pandemic.

>>What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint?

The endpoint is - EU and NATO move into Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Georgia, Belarus, Armenia.

A puppet government of someone like Navalny is installed Russia. That government further gives up Crimea, Kaliningrad and Northen Caucasus. In the long run, a soft partition of Russia into 3 parts follows (as per the Grand Chessboard 1997).

The possibility for that happening is overall negative, as the West is on a long term decline, that is, it will be weaker in 2030, and even weaker in 2040 or 2050.

OECD economies were 66 % of the world economy in 2010 but that share is estimated to drop to 38 % of the world economy in 2050 (with further drops after that).

The strong hatred and hostility coming from the US and the EU are due to the understanding that they don't have much time, and they must act now, or tomorrow it will be too late.

Seeji , Oct 17 2020 17:15 utc | 6
Apt cover picture!
Abe , Oct 17 2020 17:18 utc | 7
Well, the hostility in "western" "elite" (rulers) towards Russia is on much more primal level than money and power IMO. It is pure racial hatred combined with Übermensch God complex. Main controllers in modern "west" are US, Israel and Germany.

Years ago Barack Obama gave speech to West Point graduates, proclaiming US moral and racial superiority (because they mix'n's*it) over whole world, Goebbels would be proud. Germany has long history of hating all those Slavs, and Israel... Lets not go there with how they threat those inferior brown people.

Seeji , Oct 17 2020 17:19 utc | 8
@ Down South #3

Yes. And it was so depressing that Germany played the Navalny Novichok hoax recently borrowed from the Perfidious Albion!

Bemildred , Oct 17 2020 17:24 utc | 9
They forsee not having to admit they are incompetent yet.
Chris Cosmos , Oct 17 2020 17:26 utc | 10
"What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint?"

Of course that end-point is money for military contractors and power for the FP elite in government and think-tanks which also means money. Yes, there are true-believers who see a mighty struggle between "good" (the USA) an "evil" (Russia/China) but they are incompetent. As for the American people they will believe whatever the NY Times says since they are militantly ignorant of history, geography, foreign affairs in general, and, above all, political science.

The problem as I see it is Europe generally, and Germany in particular. Why do they follow Washington diktats?

gottlieb , Oct 17 2020 17:31 utc | 11
Well let's see, the USA is $30 trillion in debt and counting, faces an upcoming economic depression to rival the 'great' one, with a citizenry on the brink of civil war and a political system that makes a 'banana republic' look like ancient Greece. Desperate is as desperate does.
vk , Oct 17 2020 17:32 utc | 12
As this is so obvious one must ask what the real reason for the anti-Russian pressure campaign is. What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint?

For a very simple reason: there's no other option. Capitalism can only work in one way. There's a limit to how much capitalism can reform within itself without self-destructing.

The West is also suffering from the "Whale in a Swimming Pool" dilemma: it has grown so hegemonic, so big and so gloated that its strategic options have narrowed sharply. It has not much more room for maneuver left, its bluffs become less and less effective. As a result, its strategies have become increasingly linear, extremely predictable. The "whale in a pool dilemma" is not a problem when your inner workings (domestic economy) is flourishing; but it becomes one when the economy begins to stagnate and, ultimately, decline (albeit slowly).

On a side note, it's incredible how History is non-linear, full of surprises. The Russian Federation is inferior to the Soviet Union in every aspect imaginable. Except for one factor: it now has an ascendant China on its side in a time where the West is declining. (Historical) context is everything.

The USA is lucky the USSR collapsed in 1991. If it managed to somehow survive for mere 17 years more, it would catch the 2008 capitalist meltdown and have an opportunity to gain the upper hand over capitalism (plus have a strong China on its side). Socialism/communism wouldn't have been demoralized the way it was in the 1990s, opening a huge flank for revolutions in the Western Hemisphere (specially Latin America). NATO would be much weaker. Since the USSR was closed to capitalism, the USA wouldn't be able to enforce as crippling economic sanctions on China and the USSR. The USSR would be able to "reform and open up" in a much safer environment (by copying China, instead of Yeltsin's neoliberalism), thus gaining the opportunity to make a Perestroika that could actually work.

But it didn't happen. Well, what can I say? It looks like the USA imported the Irish and imported their luck, too.

Anne , Oct 17 2020 17:37 utc | 13
Abe @7 - I would agree and have raised somewhere (old age?) that part of what we are seeing in this latest western-NATO cooked up charade re Navalny is, in part at least, a deep historical supremacist loathing of the Slavs an in general and the Russians in particular by the haute bourgeois Germans. This loathing was made blatantly manifest during WWII, of course, but it didn't die out because that generation and more likely their children remain with us. Ditto the generational Anglo-American hatred of Russians (yes, for the UK, and their haute bourgeoisie, it has deeper historical roots than the 20thC) and the USSR even more...

The pressure on Russia is enormous and I would enlarge on the economic sanctions aspect (siege warfare): Belarus, Armenia-Azerbaijan (Erdogan once again playing his role for the US/NATO - in this business, Iran is also a target), Kyrgyzstan - all on or very close to Russia's borders and thus dividing and draining (intention) Russia's focus and $$$$ (the Brzezinski game) in order to open it up to the western corporate-capitalist bloodsuckers. And I suspect that as the US (and UK) economies drain away, so these border country "revolts," "protests" etc. will grow...

Russia really needs to join with China in full comity. Bugger the west - they do not respect the rights of either country to their own culture, societal structures, mores, perspectives...nor apparently even those countries' rights to their own coastal waters, air space...

One wonders how the USA would react to Chinese and/or Russian warships in the Gulf or traversing (lengthwise) the Atlantic or Pacific????

karlof1 , Oct 17 2020 17:50 utc | 14
It appears Lavrov's saying we'll just ignore the EU and its major components for awhile got quick results as Germany's FM just announced "Nord Stream 2 will be completed" ; but he also said this:

"Maas added that Germany takes decisions related to its energy policy and energy supply 'here in Europe', saying that Berlin accepts ' the fact that the US had more than doubled its oil imports from Russia last year and is now the world's second largest importer of Russian heavy oil .'" [My Emphasis]

Now isn't that the interesting bit of news!! The greatest fracking nation on the planet needs to import heavy oil (likely Iranian, unlikely Venezuelan) from its #1 adversary. As for the end game, I've written many times what I see as the goal and don't see any need to add more.

winston2 , Oct 17 2020 18:02 utc | 17
"The Russians are coming' is a long standing fear built the American psyche almost from the very start. Russian colonization of the California Territory outnumbered the US population. The Monroe Doctrine was all about that,not S.America at all. The Brits ruled S.America by mercantile means until WWI cut the sea lanes, then and only then did it fall into the sphere of Yankee control.

Then there is Alaska. The Sewards Folly documents are almost certainly fakes, the verified Russian copy says a 100year LEASE,not a sale. The National Archives refuses examination by any but its own experts. Unless they are forgeries and they know it there can be no real reason for their stance. There is much more background to the antipathy than many are aware.

Rob , Oct 17 2020 18:02 utc | 18
@bjd (4) You nailed it, my friend. Cold wars are immensely profitable for certain sectors of the economy and the parasites who run them. The supreme imperative is always to have enemies--really big, bad, dangerous enemies--whether real or imagined. I will be voting for Biden, but I don't have much hope for positive change in American foreign policy. Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, etc. will continue to be vilified as nations to be feared and hated.
Dao Gen , Oct 17 2020 18:05 utc | 19
The neocon/NATO aggressive expansionism has many purposes, but one is surely domestic repression: to gaslight and cause fear-the-foreign-bogeyman trauma among the American and British people as a whole and make most of them become docile and lose their critical thinking skills and their ability to analyze their own societies.

One of the best ways to lobotomize the publics of the US and UK is to very gradually impose martial law in the name of protecting national security and ensuring peace and harmony at home.

After several color revolutions succeeded, the Russiagate/Spygate op was carried out in the US, with British assistance. This op has been largely successful, though there has been limited resistance against its whole fake edifice as well as with the logic of Cold War2.0. Nevertheless, Spygate has shocked many tens of millions of Dems into a stupor, while millions more are dazed and manipulated by the Chinese bogeyman being manufactured by Trump. The most dangerous result of the martial law lite mentality caused by Spygate and its MSM purveyors is the growing support for censorship of free speech coming mostly from the Dems, such as Schiff and Warner. The danger inherent in this trend became very clear when FaceBook and Twitter engaged in massive and unprecedented arbitrary censorship of the New York Post and of various Trump-related accounts. This is the kind of thing you do during Stage 1 of a coup. Surely it was at least in part an experiment to see how various power points in the US would respond. Even though Twitter ended the censorship later, it was probably a successful experiment designed to gauge reactions and areas of resistance. In November, there could be further, more serious experiments/ops. If so, the current expansionist movements being made and planned by the US and NATO may well be integral parts of a new non-democratic model of "American-style democracy" -- not constitution-based but "rules-based."

Posted by: Dao Gen |

Ike , Oct 17 2020 18:13 utc | 21
"As this is so obvious one must ask what the real reason for the anti-Russian pressure campaign is. What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint?"

I think the answer is clear. The US economy is collapsing and likewise those wedded to the US dollar system. The USA spent 90% more than it received last year. They are desperate to have access to Russia's largely untapped resources and it doesn't want any competition for its position as world hegemon. Thus Russia and China are in the crosshairs.

Fortunately the corruption in the USA has resulted in a weaker military capability over time and they are reduced to behaving in clandestine and terroristic ways to try and achieve this. The turmoil enveloping the USA is scape goated on Trump and Covid19 but is ultimately due to their faltering economy and a big helping of financial corruption. Talk about your chickens coming home to roost

Bemildred , Oct 17 2020 18:27 utc | 22
Posted by: Ike | Oct 17 2020 18:13 utc | 21

Talk about your chickens coming home to roost."

Sounds like thunder, all those chickens. I appeared to me that whomever is in charge here, they started pulling all the levers they could lay a hand on a couple weeks back in terms of stirring up trouble. Throwing sand in the eyes of ones enemy.

At the time, I thought it was just Trump and his followers freaking out, now I think it's the NatSec people, who have finally seen the truth of their situation. As one can see in the Atlantic Council piece B posted, they are still trying to keep the old narrative patched together too.

Paco , Oct 17 2020 18:27 utc | 23
Posted by: vk | Oct 17 2020 17:32 utc | 12

Politfiction, or what could have happened if is an entertaining but futile exercise. Everybody agrees, there was no need for the USSR to dissolve, it was like a big jackpot for an amazed rival that rushed to declare himself the winner. The price has been high, on both sides of the fence but of course with a lot more victims and destruction on the other side of the fallen wall. Gorbachov a tragic figure and Yelstyn a sinister one, in spite of his being a clown, a tragic one at that, bombing his parliament and laughing at the world together with the degenerate Clinton, the 90's were somber indeed. The west paid its price, a self declared victory that did not bring any benefit, the peace dividend never was, to the contrary, military budgets never stopped growing year after year. The end of history was proclaimed, no need to match or better the rival ideology, there is none, so proles you better stop complaining, or else and that's where we are.

Laguerre , Oct 17 2020 18:34 utc | 25
Just to repeat the obvious, for the US actually to go to war is out of the question these days -- the US public would not tolerate the casualties. Therefore other methods have to be found to achieve the same objectives -- the maintenance of an eternal enemy in 1984 style, to keep up military budgets and world hegemony, neither of which are the elite ready to abandon. Economic sanctions have been the weapon of choice in the age of Trump, but there isn't really any other. Sometimes they are better aimed and sometimes not.

In any case I am not sure I agree that the EU is really submissive to the US in this respect. They don't want to offend the US, and some leaders have genuinely swallowed the Kool-Aid, but others haven't, and the continuation of Nordstream 2 is where they haven't.

steven t johnson , Oct 17 2020 18:38 utc | 26
Doctorow wrote "Of course, under the dictates of the Democrat-controlled House and with the complicity of the anti-Russian staff in the State Department, in the Pentagon, American policy towards Russia over the entire period of Trump's presidency..."

The Senate is more important for foreign affairs and has been Republican for Trump's entire term. The House was also Republican for half of Trump's term. Lastly the "staff" is not really able to run things in the presence of a minimally competent administrator, at the head of the State Department, acting under leadership of a competent, energetic president. There is no sign Doctorow is particularly intelligent or insightful.

I have long ago lost track of where the bar's consensus on Turkey is, whether the failing US means Erdogan must become the follower of the skilled, brave and indefatigable Putin...or whether his sultanship is suicidally persisting in thinking Russia cannot actually deliver anything his sultanship really needs and wants. At any rate it is entirely unclear what "international law" Lavrov thinks supports Russia.

As to the China Russia "alliance," the difficulty is that Putin has so very little to offer.

Steve , Oct 17 2020 18:39 utc | 27
I can hazard a guess to answer your final question. I think corruption is probably the main reason. Those involved in this are mostly interested in self-enrichment through the gullibility of their societies. I don't think the stenographers and the hot-heads neo liberals pushing for a show-down with Russia are intent on committing suicide by igniting a hot war with Russia, but they hope that Moscow could be intimidated and surrender eventually. As you rightly said, it is a pipe dream of course, but they get paid heavily for the hot air they emit.
Norwegian , Oct 17 2020 18:39 utc | 28
@James2 | Oct 17 2020 18:29 utc | 24
The west insulted the people's intelligence!!!
But unfortunately, the people didn't notice that.
dh-mtl , Oct 17 2020 18:46 utc | 29
'As this is so obvious one must ask what the real reason for the anti-Russian pressure campaign is. What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint?'

The endpoint is quite clear: 'Global Governance, by Global Institutions under control of the 'Globalists' (i.e. the Davos crowd).' For this, the 'Globalists' must subdue Russia.

Russia is not only blocking the 'Globalist's' plans in its own right, but, since 2013, it has been protecting other nations from falling prey to 'Globalist' colonization (Syria, Eastern Ukraine, Iran, Venezuela, Libya, Belarus, etc.). And Russia is the lynch-pin to enable the 'Globalists' to corner China.

In addition, together with China, Russia is offering the world an alternative to 'Globalism', a 'Multi-Polar World Order' that is much more attractive than becoming a 'Globalist' vassal.

For the 'Globalists' time has become critical. They are facing revolts in their home countries (Trump, Brexit, Gilets-Jaunes, etc.). The main source of their geo-political power, (since they can no longer challenge Russia and China militarily) the U.S. dollar, is on the verge of collapse as the World's reserve currency. And the economic growth of China means that China has become the most important trading partner for most of the World's nations.

The window of opportunity for the 'Globalists' to create their 'Global Governance' system may have already closed. But, as usual, the losers of any war are usually the last to know. The desperation with which the 'Globalists' are fighting their last battles, against Trump, against Russia, against Brexit, is testimony to the fact that for the 'Globalists' losing this war means their extinction as a ruling elite.

james | Oct 17 2020 18:55 utc | 30

@ steven t johnson | Oct 17 2020 18:38 utc | 26..

c'mon steve.... what is the usa offering turkey here?? they could give a rats ass about turkey, or any other country in the middle east, excluding their 24/7 darling israel... the usa presence on the world stage is meant to sabotage any and all who don't bow down to the exceptional nations philosophy of 'might makes right'... the obvious benefits of russia-china synergy are apparent to both countries and they continue to capitalize on this, in spite of what you read in the usa msm.. russia as a lot to offer china... the fact that the nation apparently masquerading as a gas station has so much to offer is also the reason that all the pillage of the 90's hasn't turned out the way the harvard boys had envisioned... that you can't see the vast wealth and value of russia has nothing to do with the reality on the ground... keep the blinders on, lol...

Laguerre , Oct 17 2020 19:09 utc | 31

The EU's attitude to the US is much like its attitude to Britain and Brexit. They don't want to split with the US, because, after all, there might be war, and NATO would be needed, but it's becoming increasingly less likely. In the same way, they would have preferred to stay in good relations with Britain, until Britain insisted on a hostile Brexit. Basic interests come first, and that will also be the case in the future with the US.
Abe , Oct 17 2020 19:11 utc | 32
Anne @ 13

Russia and China are already de-facto alliance. Militarily they cooperate at every level and will soon extend shared anti ballistic shield over China too. It is clear to any outside enemy (except for most retarded ones) that nuclear attack on one will be treated as attack on both of them. Not having formal alliance is somewhat an advantage (eg. limited attack on one of them by enemy that can be easily handled will not complicate situation) as it controls escalation. Lack of escalation control led to WW1 so...

Apart for military, Russia is one of rare fully self sufficient countries in the world. Having vast natural resources and territory, knowledge and industrial capacity to built EVERYTHING they need, they can afford to be sanctioned by whole world and close borders completely if needed. Having 100% secure land borders with China and already huge (and increasing) trade, including oil & gas, only make Russia's self sufficiency even more stable. It also strategically benefits China, as its main weakness is lack of those same resources Russia has in abundance and is willing to share.

So, if sh*t hits the fan, and Russia and China say f*ck it and close borders to rest of the world (even though China trade profits wouldn't be happy), both countries form self sufficient symbiosis that can carry on for centuries.

Which brings me to all those little fires US is starting in Russia's neighborhood. They don't matter. Unlike USSR, Russia's mission is self preservation only, not changing whole world into communist utopia (even though @VK here repeatedly fails to acknowledge it). And survive it will. All it needs is to wait few generations.

Unlike Russia, collective west is going down the drain. Soon enough, all those Slav hating in Bundestag, UK parlament and elsewhere will have more urgent problem of Islamic head choppers that became majority in their countries, while US will have problem to recruit enough men,women and "others" from pool of rainbow colored too-fat and unfit, godless faggot from broken family snowflakes.

joey_n , Oct 17 2020 19:36 utc | 34
@Down South (3)
At least someone still understands. For what it's worth, Lurk and I briefly discussed in the Brexit thread about England doing all it could to prevent comity between continental powers (e.g. Russia and Germany before the first world war).
https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/10/its-a-hard-brexits-a-gonna-fall.html?cid=6a00d8341c640e53ef026be41afef7200d#comment-6a00d8341c640e53ef026be41afef7200d
Laguerre , Oct 17 2020 19:37 utc | 35
As China has been mentioned, I think it is worth saying that although I have full confidence that Putin will maintain his usual good sense in international conflicts, I have more doubts about the Chinese regime. I don't really understand their policy, which is becoming more nationalistic and edgy. I don't see why. They have great economic success; they should be more relaxed, but they aren't. The first signs came with their attitude towards the Muslims in China. One, the concentration camps in Xinjiang - in that case the Uyghur jihadists in Syria must have provoked anxiety in Beijing. But also increasing pressure on the Hui Muslims in central China (who are native Han) to become more "national". Some years ago they weren't bothered. Now they are.

This suggests that the question of Taiwan could blow up, apart from HongKong. They are less tolerant in Beijing.

Andrei Martyanov , Oct 17 2020 19:41 utc | 36
@Down South
It is about driving a wedge between Europe and Russia. The nightmare scenario for the Anglo-Americans is a Germany-Russia-China triangle. If that happens it is game over!

It is a tired and false concept. There cannot be a "triangle" which includes Germany, due to Germany's increasingly diminishing status. Moreover, Russians do not view Europe as a viable part of Russia's future--the cultural gap is gigantic and continues to grow--the only place of Europe in general, and Germany in particular, in Russian plans is that of a market for Russia's hydrocarbons and other exports. A rather successful program of export-substitution in Russia in the last 6 years dropped technological importance of Germany for Russia dramatically. In some fields, such as high-power turbines made Germany irrelevant, as Siemens learned the hard way recently.

Laguerre , Oct 17 2020 19:49 utc | 37

Andrei Martyanov | Oct 17 2020 19:41 utc | 36

due to Germany's increasingly diminishing status.

Difficult to believe.

CitizenX , Oct 17 2020 19:54 utc | 38

@b on October 17, 2020 at 16:31 UTC

"U.S. and its EU puppies have ratcheted up their pressure...

The 'rules of the liberal international order' are of course whatever the U.S. claims they are. They may change at any moment and without notice to whatever new rules are the most convenient for U.S. foreign policy."

Outstanding assessment and thank you for addressing it.

As I've said numerous times -- Fuck the US Empire and it's minion bitches. Jesse Ventura commented this past week that EVERY US Incumbent politician should be voted out of office this election. 99% of them are scum.

Every politician, corporate CEO Banker and Media whore, Judge, CIA filth should have a pitchfork held to their throat and be tried for treason and war crimes. MIC/Pentagon should be destroyed. Majority of Americans are propagandized dumbfucks. Sounds a bit like an American Cultural Revolution is exactly the medicine.

There will come a day for reckoning and true justice, hopefully it is sooner than later. There should be no mercy. For those committing their treasonous crimes, they know better but have chosen poorly, they should be broken.

Russia, Putin and Lavrov have remained the adults in the room while the Empire Brats tantrum themselves.
Anyone else notice that the Anti-Russia rhetoric increased after Snowden was trapped in Russia?

... ... ...

Stonebird , Oct 17 2020 20:01 utc | 40
"Alas, repent, the endpoint is near...."

I agree with Ike and others who think the US money situation is the problem. But I also think that the underlying endpoint is hyperinflation, not just the loss of the dollars' "reserve status." Hyperinflation is when so much "money" has been produced that it no longer has any value and the Central Bank cannot control what comes next.

There is a point at which people want to get rid of dollars and panic buy or "invest" in assets, or anything solid or simply anything (Gold, land etc. bread) At which time the money they want to get rid of looses value continuously, as others don't want it either. A Rush for the exits happens.

Who has the MOST money - the Rich and the sovereign Nations? (Althought the latter may also be in the same situation as the US.) Russia has more or less got rid of all it's US holdings. The Chinese must be alarmed by the thought of the Fed issuing ONLY new-digicoins, and then the US simply refusing to pay debts to the Chinese at some future point. They might want out now. Not so much dumping everything but a steady reduction of US denominated "assets" or reserves.

Most of this becomes self-sustaining panic, as happened in the Weimar Rep. What can be considered "assets" to grab? ie Russia, minerals and it's Gold, China and its Gold. Then the choice might be to invest in the US military and use it while there is a residue of belief in the Dollar.

The only thing about a panic exit is that it happens very quickly. About a month or two between when the first bright sparks try to get out and when everyone else tries to grab part of a rapidly restricted choice of things to buy with an unending pile of "empty" dollars.

Buy wheelbarrows.

David , Oct 17 2020 20:07 utc | 41
Germany should've been conquered by the Soviet Union entirely as it was won with Soviet, largely Russian, blood. Germany is increasingly irrelevant to Russia's needs now as Martyanov points out above. Germany's existence today should be that of a Russian oblast, same with Eastern Ukraine from Kharkiv to Mariupol and Belarus.

Ask yourself what Germany produces that Russia can't produce for itself with import substitution schemes or similar schemes within a 10 year period. Russia's GDP by PPP is the size of Germany's already and depending on how it deals with the impact of COVID, may continue an upward year-on-year growth trend (People's Republic of China is the only major economy forecast to expand in fiscal quarter this year). The fact of the matter is that Russia's population is much larger, its industrial base, at least in heavy industry, is nearly self sufficient (not much light industry to speak of) and Germany depends on Russian oil and gas to keep its lights on. Russia can carry on without Germany just fine. There may be a noticeable impact now if Russia were cornered into doing that, but it's nothing that can't be overcome in short order.

juliania , Oct 17 2020 20:08 utc | 42
Thank you, b, and before reading comments, I will give my take on your last question:
As this is so obvious one must ask what the real reason for the anti-Russian pressure campaign is. What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint?

The whole 'rules based order' became very clear when the Trans Pacific Partnership, TPP, was being debated,and what happened then is what many have noted, the 'rules' were all to advantage the US. So, you might say that was the beginning of the end for the oligarchy. And the partnership reformed after it had taken out that problem, to be fair to all participants. All the oligarchy can do is keep on keeping on until it can't. This is really about survival for that class of individuals who intend to keep on being in charge here in the US and wherever its tentacles have reached. The only endpoint they see is their continuance. And I suppose their fear is that it is simply not possible for that to be the case.

Hopefully there will just come a point where, as in Plato's Republic, the dialogue simply moves on. There, it begins in the home of the ancient one, Cephalus, with a polite discussion, and the old man says his piece, to which Socrates responds:

"What you say is very fine indeed, Cephalus...but as to this very thing, justice, shall we so simply assert that it is the truth and giving back what a man has taken from another, or is to do these very things sometimes just and sometimes unjust? Take this case as an example of what I mean: everyone would surely say that if a man takes weapons from a friend when the latter is of sound mind, and the friend demands them back when he is mad, one shouldn't give back such things, and the man who gives them back would not be just, and moreover, one should not be willing to tell someone in this state the whole truth."

"What you say is right," he said.

[Allan Bloom translation]

In the dialogue, the old man leaves to 'look after the sacrifices', handing down the argument to his heir, Polymarchus. To me, Socrates has adroitly caused this to come about in much the fashion that Lavrov answers his press questioners in the link b provides. That is, he has done so with diplomacy, and a lesson to his younger companions which perhaps Cephalus is no longer able to understand. Quod erat demonstrandum.

m , Oct 17 2020 20:15 utc | 43
Spent much of your money for weapons, brag with your military and wonder why you are perceived as a thread ...
Josh , Oct 17 2020 20:24 utc | 47
https://tass.com/world/1213379
Down South , Oct 17 2020 20:26 utc | 48
Andrei Martyanov @ 36

It is a tired and false concept

Yet in your disparaging comments of Europe and Germany in particular you proceed to show how successful the Anglo-Americans have been in creating a wedge between Europe and Russia actually validating my original point.

"Keep the Russians out, the Germans down and the US in"

That was the whole point of the first Cold War. It is the whole point of creating a Cold War 2.0. Absolutely nothing has changed.

Passer by , Oct 17 2020 20:30 utc | 50
Posted by: m | Oct 17 2020 20:15 utc | 43

By whom exactly? US & several euro puppets? Typical racist thinking that Europe and its former colonies are somehow "the world" or "the international community".

Meanwhile opinion of Russia is positive in India (1,3 billion people, more than the whole West combined) and China (1,4 billion, more than the whole West combined).

Those who don't spend for their own weapons, spend for their master's weapons (like europuppets).

Btw your master (US) spends on weapons too. What are you going to do about it?

norecovery , Oct 17 2020 20:45 utc | 51
@ laguerre -- This interview with Pepe Escobar by Moderate Rebels will answer some of your questions regarding China's treatment of Muslim minorities.
https://soundcloud.com/moderaterebels/the-coronavirus-pandemic-and-us-hybrid-war-on-china-with-pepe-escobar
Down South , Oct 17 2020 21:01 utc | 55
joey_n @ 34

As was rightly pointed out in that discussion, British foreign policy towards Europe was to ensure that no single power was to be allowed to achieve hegemony over Europe. The famous "balance of power"

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_balance_of_power

The Cold War with Russia is merely a British and US continuation of that exact same policy.

vk , Oct 17 2020 21:01 utc | 56
@ Posted by: Andrei Martyanov | Oct 17 2020 19:41 utc | 36

If the Russian Federation really has an ongoing imports substitution program, then this explains everything. Germany is an exports-oriented economy. It wants to integrate with the Russian economy in the sense to keep it as an agrarian-extrativist economy to feed it with cheap commodities to feed their industry. Germany's ideal Russia is Brazil.

A Russia that also exports high-value commodities (manufactured commodities) is a direct threat to Germany, as it competes with it directly in the international market. That's the reason Germany doesn't want the BRI to come to Europe, as Merkel once said: Europe must not become China's peninsula. China is Germany's main competitor, as it is also a big manufacturing exporter.

Down South , Oct 17 2020 21:19 utc | 57
https://youtu.be/ZVYqB0uTKlE

Watch in full. UK policy towards Europe in a nutshell

Digby , Oct 17 2020 21:24 utc | 58
@ David (41)
If I recall correctly, after WWII Stalin wanted a united, independent and Russia-friendly Germany, and even rejected the Morgenthau Plan.

https://thesaker.is/stalin-about-allies-idea-of-division-of-germany/

Eventually the Allied zones of occupation became West Germany, and the Soviet occupation zone became East Germany.

H.Schmatz , Oct 17 2020 21:40 utc | 60
@Posted by: vk | Oct 17 2020 21:01 utc | 56

But...it is not China currently main market for German exports...and Turkey second? In detriment of the EU....

Laguerre , Oct 17 2020 21:46 utc | 61
Posted by: Down South | Oct 17 2020 21:19 utc | 57

Old stuff. It's why Britain is losing today. They haven't kept up.

Smith , Oct 17 2020 22:04 utc | 63
Unlike China, Russia lacks the weight of population and reliance on the globalist capitalist system to throw around, China will not shut itself up for Russia when it can trade with EU & Turkey instead.

Russia is increasingly put into weak position, where Russian troops are sent to do the dying, while the Chinese business whoop in afterwards to get all the juicy business deals. In other words, Russia does the dying while China enriches itself.

Russia only hope is that it becomes friendly with the EU, otherwise, it is going to be crushed between two superpowers, the EU and China.

kemerd , Oct 17 2020 22:08 utc | 64
I think the point of the sanctions and all the pressure on Russia is an appeal to Russian elite, Just a reminder that they are isolated from the rest of the elite and hope that it would help them throw Russian nationalists from power. I think this might succeed as Putin did no really take on the new Russian capitalist class, and that will probably be his undoing.
Don Bacon , Oct 17 2020 22:12 utc | 66
@vk 36
That's the reason Germany doesn't want the BRI to come to Europe

BRI in Europe - 16 countries: Austria*, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Ukraine * shaky

SCMP - Aug 17, 2020: China's rail shipments to Europe set records as demand surges for Chinese goods amid coronavirus

> July saw 1,232 cargo trains travel from Chinese cities to European destinations – the most ever in a single month
> Once regarded as merely ornamental, freight service along belt and road trade routes has become increasingly important as exporters turn to railway transport. . . here

c1ue , Oct 17 2020 22:18 utc | 67
Lavrov, Shoigu and Putin are calm, but the domestic economic situation is not. While I have noted before that Russia is better positioned to survive low oil prices than Saudi Arabia - it doesn't mean this is fun.

Couple that with COVID-19 economic losses, and stresses on the domestic Russian economy are enormous.

Among other signs: after bouncing around in the 60s for some time, the ruble just hit 80 to the USD. Anecdotally, I am hearing a lot of direct personal accounts of businesses not being able to pay their people because their own customers aren't paying.

Russia has done relatively little extra to assist with COVID-19 related economic harms, so this isn't great either.

norecovery , Oct 17 2020 22:30 utc | 68
@ laguerre -- The interview with Pepe Escobar deals with the whole range of issues in the hybrid war against China, but the information you're looking for Regarding the suppression and re-education of Muslim terrorists starts just past the 1-hour point.

https://soundcloud.com/moderaterebels/the-coronavirus-pandemic-and-us-hybrid-war-on-china-with-pepe-escobar

H.Schmatz , Oct 17 2020 22:30 utc | 69
@Posted by: c1ue | Oct 17 2020 22:18 utc | 67

One would say you are describing the state of affairs in the US... Projecting?

norecovery , Oct 17 2020 22:34 utc | 70
@ laguerre -- Start at 1:09:40
Don Bacon , Oct 17 2020 22:36 utc | 71
@ Laguerre 35

the Chinese regime. I don't really understand their policy, which is becoming more nationalistic and edgy.

No, it's become more multi-national and sensible. Take the BRI: Launched in 2013, it was initially planned to revive ancient Silk Road trade routes between Eurasia and China, but the scope of the BRI (Belt & Road Initiative) has since extended to cover 138 countries, including 38 in sub-Saharan Africa and 18 in Latin America and the Caribbean.

they should be more relaxed
China has been an open target for the US, which doesn't even mention China any more (Pompeo) but dumps on the "CCP" (Chinese Communist Party). China (like Russia) has not responded in kind.

their attitude towards the Muslims in China
The US State Dept slash CIA has been fomenting terrorism in Xinjiang for years and China has had to contend with it.

the question of Taiwan could blow up
Taiwan like some other places in the world, including Hong Kong, has been another place where the US has fomented instability. This has increased recently with Taiwan "president" Tsai declaring that Taiwan (January this year, BBC interview) is a separate country, which it isn't. China is being pushed to do his Abe Lincoln thing and save the union.

They are less tolerant in Beijing
Chinese by nature are tolerant, and Beijing has been tolerant in the face of US naval fleets and bomber visits in their near seas, plus political attacks, sanctions and tariffs.

winston2 , Oct 17 2020 22:38 utc | 72
66 watch what they do and have done and not what they.
Construction started four years ago on enlarging and modernization of the railway marshaling yards in Duisburg.
The volume of Chinese freight trains arriving daily is already quite amazing and planned to increase to one every hour next month 24/7.They are not returning empty. The oil and gas pipeline corridors also had ten plus railway tracks built alongside .Germany is already at the center of the BRI expansion into Germany and it started four years ago.
vk , Oct 17 2020 22:42 utc | 73
@ Posted by: H.Schmatz | Oct 17 2020 21:40 utc | 60

That's why Germany is not full anti-China.

--//--

@ Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 17 2020 22:12 utc | 66

Just because Germany doesn't want it, it doesn't mean it's not getting.

--//--

@ Posted by: c1ue | Oct 17 2020 22:18 utc | 67

I agree. Capitalism is a dead end for Russia. It's all about when Putin dies. After he dies, it will be a coin flip for Russia: it could continue its course or it could get another Yeltsin.

Smith , Oct 17 2020 22:48 utc | 74
@ vk

Germany being against BRI is news to me. Any proof? And it is very unlikely that China will be able to fool the europeans lile the american. The EU has regulations and aren't purely about profit.

And they still have strong domestic industry.

Patroklos , Oct 17 2020 22:54 utc | 75
Perhaps the US only has one script in the playbook: to balkanise, disrupt and foster 5th columns until their opponent becomes a dysfunctional or failed state. Then send in the acronyms (IMF etc), establish a provisional administration under trusted local elites but commandeer resource-rich areas under direct provincial command. That's US imperialism and it won't stop until they encounter opposition effective enough to resist it. That's why they'll never forgive Putin for Syria. In the end they want to finish doing to Russia (by other means...) what the Germans began in '41; and not just Russia, but anywhere their markets are prevented from calling the shots.
emersonreturn , Oct 17 2020 23:31 utc | 77
thank you, @72. the chinese learned much from their century of humiliation & clearly one of the important lessons was trade both ways, rather than take their silver, sell them tea, silks & porcelain & need nothing they offered.
Grieved , Oct 17 2020 23:40 utc | 78
@77 emersonreturn

That's an excellent observation, and a concept I had not encountered before. Thank you. How consciously China holds that narrative, if at all, I couldn't say.

But it's a great dynamic - kind of like keeping your enemies close. And if the German increase in reciprocal railroad trade with China is as it was stated up-thread, it would seem to be working.

emersonreturn , Oct 18 2020 0:02 utc | 79
@78, thank you, grieved...i've long admired you. in times such as these it can be a challenge to keep sight of the positive but as china prospers & wishes her trading partners to as well, & so long as russia continues to strive toward the high road rather than descend to the barroom floor perhaps we can also learn to rise...i'm reminded of a sufi saying: 'rise in love do not fall'. may we all.
Yeah, Right , Oct 18 2020 0:05 utc | 80
Do they even think about an endpoint? Is it really on their radar?

Or is this all being done because they are spoilt, and are throwing a tantrum because they aren't getting their way?

I assume that there are sober heads in the Pentagon that wargame possible "endpoints". If not sober at the beginning then sober when the results play out to their bitter end.

Or... maybe not. Post-retirement board seats are at stake, dammit! Full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes!

Grieved , Oct 18 2020 0:10 utc | 81
#35 Laguerre

I'm truly astonished that you don't know the truth of Xinjaing - in sum, that the concentration camps are a huge lie that can be revealed as such by any satellite, and that China has developed a progressive and worthy solution to the foreign-provoked terrorism within its border.

Fortunately, Qiao Collective, a great expert source on China, has recently compiled a treasure trove of links to know the truth:

Xinjiang: A Report and Resource Compilation - Sep 21 Written By Qiao Collective

Based on a handful of think tank reports and witness testimonies, Western governments have levied false allegations of genocide and slavery in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. A closer look makes clear that the politicization of China's anti-terrorism policies in Xinjiang is another front of the U.S.-led hybrid war on China.

This resource compilation provides a starting point for critical inquiry into the historical context and international response to China's policies in Xinjiang, providing a counter-perspective to misinformation that abounds in mainstream coverage of the autonomous region.

kooshy , Oct 18 2020 0:29 utc | 82
Posted by: Andrei Martyanov | Oct 17 2020 19:41 utc | 36

Andrei

A good justification on Russian German transitional relation, and we hope Russia is not fooled again, by hopes. Those of us who hope for containing and reducing western dominance over the world affairs, politics and economy, hope that Russians have learned from their experience of the 90's joining G7, seat at NATO, joining western sanctions on smaller powers, etc. all those efforts were the carrots thrown at Russia to tame the bear, one would think up to Georgian war, it worked, that war perhaps woke the bear. Russians felt they are part of Europe,part of western community of privileged nations (first world) but all that was a decoy to move the NATO to Russian borders. I hope Russians once for all have learned, as long as they have a big modern military and plenty of energy resources that is not under the western (you read US) control they will never be accepted as a "western" country, Ironically, Russia is the largest European country.

As a strategist you know better than most to circumvent western power and to bring back the rule of international law, it would be impossible without having the Russian defensive political and military power (as in Syria) on the side of resistance. We just hope you are right Russia, will not be bought out again. IMO as you say, is just impossible for Germany, or even France to decouple from the US grip on europe.

jared , Oct 18 2020 1:04 utc | 83
Seems to me its been terribly effective. Russian economy pretty weak heavily reliant on raw materials, fracturing at the periphery. China and Russia seem less than alies.

Seems US has Germany, France by the short hairs. US had to bail them out in 2009. Europe is having some problems with solvency and cohesion - whats a bureaucrat to do? Its not really about the sovereigns, that's only for appearances.

jared , Oct 18 2020 1:06 utc | 84
Also seems maybe Russians are growing tired of lack of progress.
Don Bacon , Oct 18 2020 1:17 utc | 85
@ 77
The Century of Humiliation from 1842 to 1949 and the contemporary discourse around it are a driving narrative of contemporary Chinese history, foreign policy, and militarization of its surrounding regions like the South China Sea. The expansion of the Chinese navy in numbers, mission, and aggression is directly fueled by China's previous weakness and exploitation at the hands of western nations. . . . here
c1ue , Oct 18 2020 1:19 utc | 86
@H.Schmatz #69

The US economy is definitely in trouble, but the US has spent roughly $2 trillion this year to help its economy = a bit under 10% of 2019 GDP.

The difference is structural. The US economy is a service one - and lockdowns are literally the best way to damage it.

The Russian economy is still heavily dependent on natural gas and oil sales. Despite the initial devaluation, ongoing low oil prices plus increasing competition in natural gas (for example, Azerbaijan is now selling natural gas to Italy) is hurting its economy.

Nor has Russia spent much to compensate for COVID-19 losses beyond its existing health and social safety nets - the Russian plan was $73B / 5 trillion rubles = 4.3% of 2019 GDP.

Circe , Oct 18 2020 2:00 utc | 88
I am anti-war and I am an anti-war crimes liberal (examples of war crimes: ethnic cleansing, proof of genocide, torture, collective punishment via deprivation and occupation of dispossessed land). Yet, I am also a non-interventionist except in extreme circumstances but I am against regime change for the sake of neutralizing competing powers or converting them religiously or politically.

All this implies exercising the highest integrity and blocking out all external influence and pressure if one is a true liberal, and relying solely on conscience and wisdom.

Therefore, I don't like the term liberal sullied and usurped by fake liberals, neoliberals and Zionist liberals, and I also take offense to the way liberal as a general term is denigrated in this article.

Andrei Martyanov , Oct 18 2020 2:24 utc | 90
@vk

Germany is an exports-oriented economy. It wants to integrate with the Russian economy in the sense to keep it as an agrarian-extrativist economy to feed it with cheap commodities to feed their industry. Germany's ideal Russia is Brazil.

True, it was about 10 years ago. Economic reality, of course, is such that Germany already beat the record by consecutive 20 months of real economy shrinkage. In general, Germany's energy policy is suicidal and Russia is increasingly independent from imports.

A lot to be done in the future yet, of course, but as the whole comedy with high-power turbines and Siemens demonstrated, Russia can do it on her own, plus General Electric is always there, sanctions or no sanctions. It is a complicated matter, but it is Germany which increasingly becomes irrelevant for Russia as an old image of technologically-advanced Germans getting their hands on Russia's resources and ruling the world--this image is utterly obsolete, completely false and doesn't correspond to the reality "on the ground".

It is really a simple thing which many Westerners cannot wrap their brains around, that the country which has a space program which operates ISS and second fully operational global satellite navigation constellation, or which produces hypersonic weapons and whose shipbuilding dwarfs that of Germany will have relatively little troubles in developing other crucial industries and removing Western interests from those. Simple as that.

Yeah, Right , Oct 18 2020 3:01 utc | 91
@90 Very true. Every time I read someone proclaiming that the Russian economy is no bigger than Italy's, or Spain's, or ..... (fill in the blanks) I simply think to myself: "This word, I do not think it means what you think it means".

Because it should be obvious to everyone that Italy can not produce all the things that Russia produces.
Equally, Spain can not produce all the things that Russia produces.

So if someone has measured "economy" in such a way that the numbers for Russia are the same as the number for Italy - or Spain - is simply admitting that their economic models are flawed.

Don Bacon , Oct 18 2020 3:13 utc | 92
Map of the World's Manufacturing Output 2018

here

BiloxiMarxKelly , Oct 18 2020 3:20 utc | 93
PLEASE SHARE, THANK YOU MOA
https://youtu.be/kr04gHbP5MQ
Kadath , Oct 18 2020 3:28 utc | 94
The US and EU attempts to break Russia's independent foreign policy are just stepping stones to the eventual goal of a breakup Russia itself, never forget Albright's comments in the 90s about how Siberia shouldn't belong to Russia alone.

Ultimately, though the US and EU nation states are nothing more than tools of the globalist elite whose dream of a fully economically integrated world where the power of labour is completely crushed by the power of capital to move instantly across the planet is already falling apart. The economic elite have already pillaged all of the minor nations in the world and the two grand prizes, Russia and China are too powerful to attack directly now. unable to control their unbridled greed they've begone the process of auto-self cannibalism, destroying their own states (or killing their hosts as Michael Huddson would say) in order to completely centralize all capital within the 0.1%.

This will make them very rich, however hundreds of millions of Americans, Australians, Canadians, Japanese and Europeans will be impoverished in order to do this. When this is eventually realized by the majority of the people in these states, the economic elite will be lucky if they "just" lose everything but their lives in mass nationalization campaigns. I see very little evidence that the Russian or Chinese states would be willing to offer safe harbour for the criminal oligarchs of the West, like London has offered to criminal Oligarchs fleeing justice in Russia

Yeah, Right , Oct 18 2020 4:09 utc | 95
@92 Don Bacon Would be very interesting to know how they define "manufacturing".

I suspect very much that it includes many things that aren't actually, you know, "manufactured".

Andrei Martyanov , Oct 18 2020 4:11 utc | 96
@Don Bacon.

Before posting here monetarist propaganda BS form Western "economic" sources learn to distinguish monetary expression of product and actual product in terms of quantity and quality.

Just to demonstrate to you: for $100,000 in a desirable place in the US you will be able to buy a roach-infested shack in a community known for meth-labs and high crime, for exactly the same money in Russia you will buy a superb brand-new house in a desirable location.

To demonstrate even more, for a price of a single Columbia-class SSBN ($8 billion+) which does not exist other than on paper yet, Russia financed and produced her 8-hulls state of the strategic missile submarines.

UK economy is dwarfed by Russia even in accordance by IMF and World Bank, in fact, it is, once one excludes still relevant RR and few other manufacturers, is down right third world economy. I am not going to post here all data from IMF, but even this can explain why you posted a BS. Anyone "counting" real economic sector in USD and Nominal GDP has to have head examined and is probably dumbed down through "economics" programs in Western madrasas, aka universities.

https://www.investopedia.com/insights/worlds-top-economies/

In related news, learn what Composite Index of National Capability (CINC) is and check energy consumption and production of Germany and Russia, just for shits and giggles.

https://yearbook.enerdata.net/total-energy/world-consumption-statistics.html

But, of course, feel free to remain reliant on economic BS produced by Western "economists".

Grieved , Oct 18 2020 4:16 utc | 97
@92 Don Bacon, @95 Yeah, Right

Yes, and also it should be said that obviously these metrics aren't the correct ones to judge the power of a country among its peers.

Perhaps a better metric is for any nation to ask: Of all these countries, which one do we NOT want to punch us in the face?

This, after all, is how geopolitical stature is measured.

It's not what you produce, it's how you deploy it that matters.

Grieved , Oct 18 2020 4:35 utc | 98
@97 more

And of course, Martyanov @96 is absolutely correct - the relative values of currencies are proved to be nothing more than the entries of bookkeepers and bankers, all "sound and fury, signifying nothing." What matters is what the home unit of currency will buy at home.

A better question is as Andrei suggests, what does it cost for Russia to produce something that works, as opposed to what it costs the US to produce something that doesn't work because of theft and cost inflation in the delivery chain?

The ultimate - MAD - question that the US should ask itself is this: How much does it cost Russia to destroy the US, compared with the cost involved for the US to destroy Russia?

~~

The cost of living is higher in the US. The cost of doing anything is higher. But none of that means the quality of the result is greater - I certainly don't hear anyone lately saying the living is good, compared to what people pay for it.

Jackrabbit , Oct 18 2020 4:41 utc | 99
b quotes Gilbert Doctorow:
Were it not for the nerves of steel of Mr. Putin and his close advisers, the irresponsible pressure policies outlined above could result in aggressive behavior and risk taking by Russia that would make the Cuban missile crisis look like child's play.
We may yet see a Cuban missile crisis scenario but it looks more likely to be caused by arms sales to Taiwan than conflict in the Caucasus.

I also think its naive to see these as "fires burning at Russia's borders" instead of as deliberately set bear traps . Azerbaijan is in a strategic location between Russia and Iran and the conflict with Armenia comes just before Russia is about to sell advanced weapons to Iran.

!!

[Oct 10, 2020] Tell me again how Trump "doesn't want to start a new war": If Trump thinks that he can win re-election by panding to Zionist lonny, he might be mistaken

It time to make him accountable at the election box. Not that it matter much as Biden is yet another neocon and Zionist, but stil...
American people are tied of sliding standard of living, permanent wars and jingoism. Trump might share Hillary fate in 2020, because any illusion that he is for common fold, who voted for him in 2016 now disappeared. So he is not better then neocon Biden and Biden is new bastard. So why vote for the old bastard if we have new, who might be slightly better in the long run
This is a very expensive foreign policy, that doesn't benefit the USA. It has potential to raise the price of oil significantly.
Notable quotes:
"... Behind the move was pressure from the Zionist lobby. President Trump is in need of campaign funds and the lobby provides those. ..."
"... I can also see this green lighting Israeli or joint American-Israeli strikes on alleged Iranian nuclear weapons development sites and other military and petro-state assets. ..."
"... It's disgusting to watch the people of the US/UK/EU go along with this. Western elites are fat, lazy, vicious, and cruel. ..."
"... Paul wrote: "Perhaps a Biden administration would be just as much a Zionist captive as the Trump administration." Yes at least as much or more zionist. Nothing about Harris or Biden (or the DNC) says they won't be. ..."
"... I nominate president Eisenhower as slightly less zionist on one occasion: during the Anglo,French, Zionist Suez invasion of 1956 Eisenhower remarked after numerous UN resolutions condemning the bandit state's aggression ' Should a nation which attacks and occupies foreign territory in the face of United Nations disapproval be allowed to impose conditions on its withdrawal?' ..."
"... "The EU is trying to prop up the US Empire in response to its decline, instead of trying to free itself. " ..."
"... Donald Trump talked up his Iran policy in a profanity-laden tirade on Friday, telling conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh that Tehran knows the consequences of undermining the United States. ..."
"... "Iran knows that, and they've been put on notice: if you fuck around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are going to do things to you that have never been done before." ..."
Oct 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
" Why U.S. Elections Do Not Change Its Foreign Policies | Main | The Ceasefire In Nagorno-Karabakh Is Unlikely To Hold " October 09, 2020 Europe And The New Sanctions On Iran

The U.S. has imposed new sanctions on Iran which will make ANY trade with the country very difficult:

[T]he Trump administration has decided to impose yet further sanctions on the country , this time targeting the entirety of the Iranian financial sector. These new measures carry biting secondary sanctions effects that cut off third parties' access to the U.S. financial sector if they engage with Iran's financial sector. Since the idea was first floated publicly , many have argued that sanctioning Iran's financial sector would eviscerate what humanitarian trade has survived the heavy hand of existing U.S. sanctions.

Behind the move was pressure from the Zionist lobby. President Trump is in need of campaign funds and the lobby provides those. The move is also designed to preempt any attempts by a potentially new administration to revive the nuclear agreement with Iran:

This idea appears to have first been introduced into public discourse in an Aug. 25, 2020, Wall Street Journal article by Mark Dubowitz and Richard Goldberg urging the Trump administration to "[b]uild an Iranian [s]anctions [w]all" to prevent any future Biden administration from returning to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear accord between Iran and the world's major powers on which President Donald Trump reneged in May 2018.

The new sanctions will stop all trade between the 'western' countries and Iran.

The Foreign Minister of Iran responded with defiance:

Javad Zarif @JZarif - 17:30 UTC · Oct 8, 2020

Amid Covid19 pandemic, U.S. regime wants to blow up our remaining channels to pay for food & medicine.

Iranians WILL survive this latest of cruelties.

But conspiring to starve a population is a crime against humanity. Culprits & enablers -- who block our money -- WILL face justice.

In response Iran will continue its turn to the east. Russia, China and probably India will keep payment channels with Iran open or will make barter deals.

The Europeans, who so far have not dared to counter U.S. sanctions on Iran, are likely to be again shown as the feckless U.S. ass kissers they have always been. They will thereby lose out in a market with 85 million people that has the resources to pay for their high value products. If they stop trade of humanitarian goods with Iran they will also show that their much vaunted 'values' mean nothing.

The European Union claims that it wants to be an independent actor on the world stage. If that is to be taken seriously this would be the moment to demonstrate it.

Posted by b on October 9, 2020 at 16:37 UTC | Permalink


Thomas Minnehan , Oct 9 2020 17:11 utc | 3
Unconscionable but what is new with pompass and his ghouls; treasury dept responsible for cranking up the sanctions program was formerly headed by a dual citizen woman who resigned suddenly after being exposed as an Israeli citizen-not hard to understand that sentiment in that dept has not changed.

The other aspect here is the FDD as key supporter of these severe sanctions; very virulent anti-Iranian vipers nest of ziocons with money bags from zionist oligarch funders.

karlof1 , Oct 9 2020 17:14 utc | 4
Ho-hum. As I wrote earlier, just the daily breaking of laws meaning business as usual. As noted, Russia has really upped the diplomatic heat on EU and France/Germany in particular, and that heat will be further merited if the response is as b predicts from their past, deplorable, behavior.

Much talk/writing recently about our current crisis being similar in many ways to those that led to WW1, but with the Outlaw US Empire taking Britain's role. I expect Iran's Iraqi proxies to escalate their attacks aimed at driving out the occupiers. IMO, we ought to contemplate the message within this Strategic Culture editorial when it comes to the hegemonic relationship between the Outlaw US Empire and the EU/NATO and the aims of both. The EU decided not to continue fighting against the completion of Nord Stream, but that IMO will be its last friendly act until it severs its relations with the Outlaw US Empire. With the Wall moved to Russia's Western borders, the Cold War will resume. That will also affect Iran.

james , Oct 9 2020 18:33 utc | 13
thanks b... it is interesting what a pivotal role israel plays in all of this... and why would there be concern that biden would be any different then trump in revoking the jcpoa? to my way of thinking, it is just pouring more cement and sealing the fate of the usa either way, as an empire in real decline and resorting to more of the same financial sanctions as a possible precursor to war.. frankly i can't see a war with iran, as the usa would have to contend with russia and china at this point... russia and china must surely know the game plan is exactly the same for them here as well.. as for europe, canada, australia and the other poodles - they are all hopeless on this front as i see it... lets all bow down to the great zionist plan, lol...
Daniel , Oct 9 2020 18:48 utc | 14
Yeah but at least Trump didn't start any new wars. /s

The Eurotools in Brussels are absolutely disgusting. A weaker bunch of feckless, milquetoast satraps is difficult to imagine. The EU perfectly embodies the 21st century liberal ethic: spout virtue signaling nonsense about peace, freedom, human rights and the "rules based international order" while licking the boots of Uncle Scam and the Ziofascists and going along with their war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Russia and China need to step up their game and boldly circumvent the collective punishment sanctions that are choking the life out of Iran, Syria and Venezuela. They still let the rogue states of the west get away with far too much.

augusto , Oct 9 2020 18:52 utc | 15
The Teheran men will not surrender to the yankee herds and hordes. And less so the telavivian.
It s easy to see that in the medium run this cruelly extended crime plays in chinese, russian and shia hands.
And they must start immediately a backlash handing hundreds of special forces and weapons opver to the Houthi hands.
Paco , Oct 9 2020 18:54 utc | 17
the Cold War will resume

The Cold War never ended.

Stonebird , Oct 9 2020 19:20 utc | 20
Of course there is a war on, and it has been gathering force for some time.

Iran is but one more skirmish or battle. However, Xi and Putin are using what I call the "Papou yes". You must always say "yes" as this way you avoid direct conflict, but then you go and do exactly what you were going to do in the first place . The person who does the demanding - having had his/her demands "met" has nothing further to add and will go away. (I have seen this effective technique in action).

At the moment it appears that the aim of the subversive (military/CIA/NGO) wings of the Empire are to start as many conflicts as possible. To isolate and overextend Russia, leading to it's collapse. (As they claim to have done before.)

The "Alternative axis" is just carrying on with it's own plan to overextend and eventually let the US dissolve into its own morasss. The opposition are trying to follow their own plan without giving an opening for the US/NATO to use its numerical military advantage, by not taking the bait.

The ultimate battle is for financial control of the worlds currency, or in the case of the US, to halt the loss of it's financial power. To avoid that The next step could be the introduction of a Fed. owned controlled and issued "digi-dollar", When all outstanding "dollar assets" are re-denominated into virtual misty-money which is created exclusively by the Fed. Banks become unnecessary as the Fed becomes the only "lender" available, Congress redundant, debts no longer matter and so on. Who cares about the reserves held by China and overseas "investors" if their use or even existence can be dictated by the Fed?
They have already published a "trial balloon" about introducing a digi-dollar.

Iran? the US is throwing ALL its cards into what looks like it's final battle to preserve the dollars supremacy. Why cut ALL the Iranian financial system out of their sphere of influence? Because it (thinks) it can and by doing so cower the wavering into obeying.

AtaBrit , Oct 9 2020 19:28 utc | 21
Thanks 'b', very well timed. I was actually heading to the open thread with this article until I saw your piece. This Asia Times article focuses on three key points:

- Iran has replaced the dollar with the Yuan as its main foreign currency
"This may become the east wind for the renminbi (yuan) and provide a new oil currency option for traders in oil-producing countries, including Iran," an editorial on qq.com said. "

- Several large banks in Iran are developing a gold encrypted digital currency called PayMon and had issued more than 1,000 crypto-currency mining licenses, which could promote the development of crude oil. Domestic traders use cryptocurrency to import goods and bypass American banks.

- The Iranian-Swiss Joint Chamber of Commerce
"Switzerland had received a special exemption from US supervisory authorities to allow the SHTA operations."

It remains to be seen how effective the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Agreement actually is. Some say it is nothing but a US propaganda stunt. Hopefully, that is not the case.

Richard Steven Hack , Oct 9 2020 20:37 utc | 31
Sure. Tell me again how Trump "doesn't want to start a new war." Morons.
William Gruff , Oct 9 2020 20:50 utc | 32
What does Iran need that they cannot get from China and Russia? The USA has cheap corn, and the EU has... what, cheese? Other than that I don't see why Iran needs to trade with the empire and its more servile vassals anyway.
Tollef Ås/秋涛乐 , Oct 9 2020 20:55 utc | 33
Strange, that ther is a jewish or Israeki ´ animosity agains Iran (or agains tthe Medtans -- as thy are all named in all Greek records(H, that theer is a jewish animosity against, that ther is a jewish anikisit agains Iran (or the Medtans -- as thy are old ptt in all Greek Strenge(Hellemistic) tales, Cyrur+s the Great is reported to have liberatet the Jews of Babilon end sent them back to Jerusalem . So, "PRIMO SON VENETANO, SECUNDO SON CHRISTANO" -- STILL A COMMONLY ACCEPTED SAYING INVENEZIA WHEB I VISITED ABD AKED IT IN THE THE YEAR OF 1´2917! Iran (or the Medtans -- as thy are old ptt in all Greek Strenge(Hellemistic) tales, Cyrur+s the Great is reorted to have liberatet te´he Jews of Babilon end sent them back to Jerusalem . So, "PRIMO SON VENETANO, SECUNDO SON CHRISTANO" -- STILL A COMMONLY ACCEPTED SAYING INVENEZIA WHEB I VISITED ABD AKED IT IN THE THE YEAR OF 1´2917! ellenistic) tales, Cyrur+s the Great is reorted to have liberatet te´he Jews of Babylon end sent them back to Jerusalem . So, "PRIMO SON VENETANO, SECUNDO SON CHRISTANO" -- STILL A COMMONLY ACCEPTED SAYING INVENEZIA WHEB I VISITED ABD AKED IT IN THE THE YEAR OF 2017
Paco , Oct 9 2020 21:05 utc | 34
Quite impressed with all the theories about Europe and its behavior. The answer is very simple, Europe is occupied by a foreign power, it is a colony. And all the qualifiers are quaint.
davenitup , Oct 9 2020 21:09 utc | 35
It's the world's loss that great cultures like the Persians have been suppressed for so long. The madness needs to end.
Passer by , Oct 9 2020 21:11 utc | 36
Posted by: Red Ryder | Oct 9 2020 20:06 utc | 23

I disagree. What did the EU did on Iran, compared to Russia and China? It stopped most trade with Iran, including the purchase of iranian oil, and it stopped all investment projects. INSTEX is a joke. Meanwhile Germany recently banned Hezbollah.

Yes, they did vote for the JCPOA in the UN. I look at actions rather than words though, and EU has imposed de facto sanctions on Iran.

Moreover, German FM Maas told Israel recently that efforts are underway to keep the Iran arms embargo. (He is also a big "Russia fan" - sarc off)

In other words, we "support" the JCPOA, but in practice with arms and trade embargoes on Iran continuing.

Yeah right.

Posted by: powerandpeople | Oct 9 2020 20:15 utc | 24

No, its not so simple, unless you claim that european russophobia started with the US and did not exist before it. Guy Mettan has a good book on it. It is a thousand years old issue, involving Catholicism, France, Germany, Sweden, Britain, and others.

Yes, the US wants to divide the EU and Russia. But the EU itself is rotten from within.

Politics are more important than the economy, German Chancellor Merkel said in relation to Russia.

"Drang nach Osten" - "Drive to the East".

Germany dreams of capturing Eastern Europe and using is as some sort of colonised labor pool similar to what Latin America is for the US.

And this is why the EU, without any prodding, eagerly took the lead in the attempt of colour revolution in Belarus, where it played far bigger role than the US.

m , Oct 9 2020 21:24 utc | 37
I have to disagree with your assessment.

Signing and adhearing to the JCPOA turned Europe and Iran from opponents into partners. This is a great diplomatic achievement. However, no part of the JCPOA made the two allies or obliged the European side to wage an economic war with the USA on behalf of Iran. On the contrary, the Iranians would be the first to say they are no friends of Europa. They have been complaining about "Western meddling" in their region for years. (Note that they don`t differentiate but always speak collectively of "the West").

So that`s their chance to show the world how much of a sovereign nation they are and that they can handle their problems without the "meddling" of the "despicable" Europeans. There is no obligation - neither legal nor moral - for Europe to take the side of Iran in the US-Iran conflict.

And actually it is both sides - both Iran and the USA - who are unhappy with the current European neutrality.

_K_C_ , Oct 9 2020 21:31 utc | 38
Thanks to MoA for being one of the only honest brokers of news on Iran in the English language. As an American citizen living abroad (in EU) I have a more jaded and at the same time worried feeling about this.

Along with all the other stuff, including the current threat to close the U.S. embassy in the Iraqi "Green Zone" and the accompanying military maneuvers, which would spark war in the region, I see this hardening and expansion of sanctions as yet the next clue that the U.S. and Donald Trump's regime are looking toward re-election and a hot war with/on Iran. Rattling the cage ever more and backing Iran into the corner with brutal, all-encompassing sanctions is already an act of war, usually the first prior to bombs falling. I can also see this green lighting Israeli or joint American-Israeli strikes on alleged Iranian nuclear weapons development sites and other military and petro-state assets.

I hope I'm wrong but we've all seen this before and it never ends well. If the EU shows a spine, or more likely Russia and/or China step in directly, perhaps the long desired neocon/neolib/Zionist hot war against Iran can be avoided.

Perimetr , Oct 9 2020 21:32 utc | 39
I think it is very important for the US to kill another 500,000 children via sanctions, in order to demonstrate the importance of freedom and democracy and observing international law.
AriusArmenian , Oct 9 2020 21:48 utc | 40
While reading this post I was thinking what MoA wrote in the last two paragraphs. And also that Iran will just continue to turn to China, Russia, and others in the East.

It's disgusting to watch the people of the US/UK/EU go along with this. Western elites are fat, lazy, vicious, and cruel.

claudio , Oct 9 2020 22:17 utc | 41
@17 passer by
(and others)
"Europeans can not be helped. Ironically, it is their own rejection of their WW2 past that causes them to reject the multipolar world and sovereignty as "primitive things from the past"

plus, as you point out elsewhere, there are longer histories at play: the Crusades against the Slavs, the Moors and the Turks (and the Arabs, in fact), the invention of "western civilization" in the 19th century (Arians vs Semites, Europe vs Asia, ecc) ...

plus, there is the persisting aspiration for world domination, partly frustrated by WW1 and the upheavals of the XXth century, which transformed the UK and the whole of Europe (with Japan, Australia, etc) in a junior partner of the new US Empire

(that's the other lesson learned from WW2: no single european power could dominate the continent and the world, but they could dominate as junior partners under the new young leader of the wolf pack, the US)

plus, there are is a class war that can be better fought, by national oligarchies, within globalist rethoric and rules

plus, there are the US deep state instruments of domination over european national states

but Europeans (and Usaians) do understand the language of force, and they have - at the moment - encountered a wall in their attempts at expansion, in Iran, China, Russia, Venezuela, ecc; an alternative multipolar alliance is taking shape

so they might attempt to win a nuclear war by 20 million deaths to 2 (or 200 to 20, who cares), but they might also decide to tune down their ambitions and return to reality; maybe

wj2 , Oct 9 2020 23:28 utc | 45
@m (#35)
EU promised to uphold JCPOA. They can't because of the US and they are doing next to nothing to change that. EU isn't neutral. They are stooges. Iran is right to complain about it, the US isn't.
Boss Tweet , Oct 9 2020 23:54 utc | 48
Trump is a man of peace, he hasn't started any new wars - whatever that means, lol.

As far as I know economic blocade is tantamount to war. If he wins reelection expect renewed kinetic attacks on venezuela and Iran. He's already lined up his zionist coalition with arabic satraps to launch his Iran quagmire. Trump is a deal maker, he understands the economy and will bring back manufacturing jobs to Murikkka, lol. I'm sure Boeing execs in deep trouble would love to sell plane to the Iranians but Mr. MIGA just made that impossible. Nothing to worry about, there's always the next socialist bailout for Boeing funded by taxpayers - suckers as Trump would call them. So much for winning, can't fix deplorable and stupid...

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/08/iran-deal-fallout-boeing-may-lose-20-billion-in-aircraft-deals.html

Btw b, Trump's opposition to the Iran deal has nothing to do with money or the zionist lobby. Stable genius opposed JCPOA in 2015 even before announcing his run for the presidency. It's not about the mula but all about the mollah's, lol: The Donald in his own words at a tea party event in 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIDNonMDSo8

kooshy , Oct 10 2020 0:00 utc | 49
Ever since the Iranian revolution of 1979 multiple US regimes in DC have been totally successful in making majority Iranian people everywhere in the world, understand that the US is their chronic strategic enemy for decades to come. At same time, these US regimes have equally been as successful in making American people believe Iran is their enemy.
The difference between this two side's belief is, that, Iranian people by experiencing US regime' conducts have come to their belief, but the American people' belief was made by their own regime' propaganda machinery. For this reason, just like the people to people relation between the US and Russian people, Before and after the fall of USSR the relation between US and Iran in next few generations will not come to or even develop to anything substantial or meaningful. One can see this same trajectory in US Chinese relations, or US Cuban. Noticeably all these countries relation with US become terminally irreparable after their revolutions, regardless of the maturity or termination of the revolution. As much as US loves color revolutions, US hates real revolutions. The animosity no longer is just strategic it has become people to people, and the reason and blame goes to Americans since they never were ready to accept the revolutions that made nations self-servient to their interests. The bottom line truth is the US / and her poodles in europe know, ever since the revolution Iran no longer will be subservient to US interests.
Hermius , Oct 10 2020 0:23 utc | 51
This is leverage to bargain away the oil pipeline to germany. That is what is behind it. You scratch my back, the US is saying to the EU, in particular, Germany....
karlof1 , Oct 10 2020 0:25 utc | 52
It's an Economy based on Plunder! , so that's why sanctions here, there and everywhere!! But the real problem is we aren't participating in the Plunder!! Sometimes you gotta use extreme sarcasm to explain the truth of a situation, and that's what Max and Stacey do in their show at the link. 13 minutes of honest reporting about the fraudulent world in which we live. As for Jerome Powell, current Fed Chair, he's complicit in the ongoing criminal activity just as much as the high ranking politicos. Bastiat laid it out 180 years ago, but we're living what he described now. And that's all part of what I wrote @40 above. The moral breakdown occurred long ago but took time to perfect.
joey_n , Oct 10 2020 0:34 utc | 54
Patrick Armstrong did a Sitrep article last month
https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2020/09/24/russian-federation-sitrep-24-september-2020/
where he cited an article on Sputnik titled "Macron: Europe 'Will Not Compromise' With Washington on Iran Sanctions"
https://sputniknews.com/world/202009221080541258-macron-europe-will-not-compromise-with-washington-on-iran-sanctions/
Make of it what you will.
Xingu , Oct 10 2020 0:46 utc | 55
I think it is crazy that EU allows US to manage SWIFT to the point they invent new entities to sidestep SWIFT and US sanctions (which are weak and ineffective, but that is the trajectory of their weak attempts at independence). Force SWIFT to equally service all legal transactions according to EU law, and let US cut itself off from all international financial transfers if it doesn't like using EU's SWIFT. US corps won't allow that to happen, it's just that EU refuses to call US bluff. Of course they are now praying for Biden presidency, but if they can't assert themselves it is all ultimately the same thing.
dh , Oct 10 2020 1:17 utc | 58
These 'foreign policy experts' think the trade war with China has been a mistake. But they think Trump is too soft on Russia and he hasn't been tough enough on NK, Iran and Venezuela.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/foreign-policy-experts-rebuke-trump-administration-for-policies-that-emboldened-rivals-alienated-allies-135205214.html

Paul , Oct 10 2020 1:34 utc | 59
It has become a standard trick for outgoing US administrations to saddle the incoming administration with set in stone policies and judicial appointments.

"Behind the move was pressure from the Zionist lobby. President Trump is in need of campaign funds and the lobby provides those. The move is also designed to preempt any attempts by a potentially new administration to revive the nuclear agreement with Iran."

Perhaps a Biden administration would be just as much a Zionist captive as the Trump administration.

The danger for the world is the Trump administration may go even further than additional sanctions. So I refer to the previous post, US policy remains the same whatever bunch are the frontmen.

Theodore Herzl even tried to drag Kaiser Wilhelm11 into the Zionist spider web: https://middleeastrealitycheck.blogspot.com/2008/07/theodor-herzl-first-photoshopper.html

When that attempt failed they worked on convincing the Sultan of Turkey to give them someone else's homeland. The Zionist Zealot Mr Kalvariski became the administrator of the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association with the aim of establishing a jewish suprematist ghetto. Following that flop the Zionists turned to the hapless British and were rewarded by Balfour with his notorious British government double cross of the Arabs. Now it's the turn of the US and assorted captive nations to uphold and support tyranny and Talmudic violence.

Crush Limbraw , Oct 10 2020 1:59 utc | 60

I am SLOWLY coming to the conclusion that DaTrumpster understands DaDeepState better than any of us armchair pundits. His patient - and yes, perhaps faulty strategy - he's still standing after ALL DaCrap that's been thrown at him.
All the 'EXPURTS' - including MoA - can only see part of DaPicture at best.

I've been as hard on DaTrumpster as anyone on DaConservative side - but I am SLOWLY coming to understand WTF just might be going on.

Point - don't be too sure of your immediate inclinations - we ALL see through DaGlass DARKLY!

Don Bacon , Oct 10 2020 2:27 utc | 61
SWIFT is only a messaging system – SWIFT does not hold any funds or securities, nor does it manage client accounts. Behind most international money and security transfers is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) system. SWIFT is a vast messaging network used by banks and other financial institutions to quickly, accurately, and securely send and receive information, such as money transfer instructions.
Sunny Runny Burger , Oct 10 2020 2:29 utc | 62
Paul wrote: "Perhaps a Biden administration would be just as much a Zionist captive as the Trump administration." Yes at least as much or more zionist. Nothing about Harris or Biden (or the DNC) says they won't be.

And hasn't it always been that way from one president to the the next? Was there ever one that was less zionist than the predecessor? (Maybe they're all so close this is an impossible question to answer, that too could be the case).

The sitting executive branch gives the favors right now and anyone incoming gives the favors after they win and thus each election becomes a double windfall for the lobby group?

A zionist double dip . Maybe most US voters could grasp it like that.

I can't back this up (much like my previous comment in this thread) but it's my impression. It would probably take a lot of work to make sure it's right; one would have to scrutinize so much over so many decades.

Paul , Oct 10 2020 3:29 utc | 63
@Sunny Runny Burger 60

I nominate president Eisenhower as slightly less zionist on one occasion: during the Anglo,French, Zionist Suez invasion of 1956 Eisenhower remarked after numerous UN resolutions condemning the bandit state's aggression ' Should a nation which attacks and occupies foreign territory in the face of United Nations disapproval be allowed to impose conditions on its withdrawal?'

This could be a useful quote for todays world.

Later, in 1964, Eisenhower approved his hand picked emissary's US $150 million so called Johnston Plan to steal the waters of the Jordan River and further marginalize the Palestine Arabs and surrounding Arab states.

ARI , Oct 10 2020 3:36 utc | 64
Sanctions aren't the story. Once all the players have left the JCPOA, either Israel or the US can claim Iranians are at the point of producing a nuclear weapon. Without the JCPOA and inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities it will be impossible to prove or deny the allegations. Thus giving either the US or Israel justification it wants to conduct military strikes against Iran. The only things stopping this from happening is if the EU stays in the JCPOA...
_K_C_ , Oct 10 2020 3:53 utc | 65
Fully agree with ARI | Oct 10 2020 3:36 utc | 62

Exactly the aim. I said so in an earlier post. This is all part of the program to create a false justification to conduct military strikes inside Iran. At this point, I'm really surprised that the U.S. even tries to construct these narratives after Obama's Syria and Libya operations didn't even really bother, save for a few probably fake "chemical weapons" attack they alleged Assad committed. Libya I don't remember hearing anything. The embassy maybe? After the Soleimani strike and the shootdown of the U.S. drone, not to mention the alleged Iranian attacks on ARAMCO's oil facilities, I'm really quite surprised something more serious (not to minimize the awful acts of war which the sanctions definitely are) hasn't already happened. It will soon, especially if Trump gets re-elected. Wonder what all of his "no new wars" supporters will say then?

Everybody reading knows what SWIFT is. That's a nice attempt to circumscribe the overall sanctions regime and paint it as "no big deal."

Crush Limpbro - Checked out your site. You've got a long way to go before you can criticize MoA. Hope that comment draws a few clicks to keep you going, but I would caution other barflies to use a proxy; could be a honey trap to collect IP addresses.

El Cid , Oct 10 2020 4:10 utc | 66
This United States imposed and Zionist inspired siege on Iran and its people will only further strengthen the political and economic bonds with Russia and China. Meanwhile, the US collapses from its internal social limitations and its abandonment of public healthcare responses to the Corvid 19 pandemic. Europe it close behind the US in this respect.
ARIES , Oct 10 2020 4:17 utc | 67
IRGC Commander-In-Chief: U.S. Is Incapable Of Waging War Against Iran, Its Weapons Are Outdated:

https://toranja-mecanica.blogspot.com/2020/10/irgc-commander-in-chief-us-is-incapable.html

Paul , Oct 10 2020 4:20 utc | 68
ARI @62

What exactly is this 'Justification'.. . 'to conduct military strikes against Iran' that you refer to hasbara boy? Failure to obey foreign imposed zionist diktats?

Would this 'justification' apply to the bandit state if it refused to abide by the NNPT for example?
No double standards pass the test here.

kiwiklown , Oct 10 2020 4:42 utc | 69
Yet another proof that "Western values" and their "rules based international order" mean exactly nothing.

In the past, the West at least kept up some pretense that it was wrong to target unarmed civilians (still, they flattened Driesden; Hiroshima; North Korea, Vietnam, Laos). Today, they do not care to be seen openly, cruelly, brutally, sadistically killing civvies. These American bastards say, "... it is not killing if the victims drop dead later, like, not right now. " Or, "... it became necessary to destroy Iran in order to save Iran."

Iran is perfectly correct to call this a crime against humanity for the West to starve a population of food and medicine. This will boomerang just as the opium-pushing in China will boomerang on the West.

Meanwhile, just as those drug-pushing English bastards earned themselves lordships and knighthoods; just as presidential bastards retire to their Martha Vineyard mansions; so the current crop of bastards in American leadership will retire to yet more mansions, leaving the next couple generations to meet Persian wrath. The American way is to "win" until they are tired of winning, no?

But in truth, in objective reality, only those who have lost their human-ness are capable of crimes against humanity.

michaelj72 , Oct 10 2020 4:50 utc | 71
The US is cruising for a bruising in the middle east fucking with Iran like this. Not that the US hasn't deserved a good knockout punch the past 19 years since invading and destroying Afghanistan and Iraq, etc, etc. Regardless of their rhetoric, how the European rogues and rascals (France, Germany and the UK) can sleep at night is beyond me.
snake , Oct 10 2020 7:00 utc | 75
Yes Psychochistorian @ 1, At the nation state level, EU support for blockade terror and sanction torture (BT&ST), against reluctant nation states and non compliant individuals within those nation states, logically suggests EU nation states are not independent sovereign countries <=EU nation states exist in name only? Maybe its just like in the USA, these private monopoly powered Oligarcks (PMPO), own everything (privately owned copyrights, patents, and property) made possible by rules nation states turn into law. The citizens of those privately owned EU nation states are victims <=in condition=exploitable. Maybe PMPOs use nation states <=as profit support weapons, to be directed against <=any and all <=competition, whereever and however <=competition appears.

The hidden suspects <=capital market linked crowds through out the world..

Media is 92% owned by six private individuals, of the seven typical nation state layers of authority and power: 5 are private and two are public. Additionally, few in the international organizations have allegiance to historic cultures of the nation state governed masses. It is as if, the named nation states are <=threatened by knee breaking thugs, but maybe its not threat, its actual PMPO ownership.

If one accepts PMPO <=to be in control of all of USA and all of allied nation state, one can explain <=current BT&ST events. But private Oligarch scenarios <=raise obvious questions, why have not the PMPO challenged East eliminated <=Israel, MSM propaganda repeatedly blames or points to Israel <=to excuse the USA leaders for their BT&ST policies. Seems the PMPO are <=using the nation states, they own <=to eliminate non complying competition.

What is holding the East back? Russia and China each have sufficient oil, gas and technology to keep things functional, so why has not the competition in the East taken Israel out, if Israel is directing the USA to apply BT&ST against its competitors? Why is the white House so sure, its BT&ST policies will not end up destroying Israel? Maybe because Israel has no real interest <=in the BT&ST policy <=Israel is deceptions:fall guy? The world needs to pin the tail on the party driving USA application of BT&ST because no visible net gain to Governed Americans seems possible from BT&ST policies?

I think Passer @ 17 has hit the nail on its head. "The EU is trying to prop up the US Empire in response to its decline, instead of trying to free itself. "

Norwegian , Oct 10 2020 7:11 utc | 76
@ARI | Oct 10 2020 3:36 utc | 62
Sanctions aren't the story. Once all the players have left the JCPOA, either Israel or the US can claim Iranians are at the point of producing a nuclear weapon.

So you put that forward as a justification for attacking Iran militarily, but that means according to your logic you also have justification for attacking Israel or the US militarily. The rules are the same for all, right?

robin , Oct 10 2020 8:12 utc | 77
Economic warfare is certainly effective. However, time is running out for these weapons as America's lock on the world economy grows weaker. With a rapidly approaching expiry date, the word out may be to use em or lose em.

In a zero-sum great game, it makes sense to deploy such weapons now insofar as an opponent's loss is always a gain for oneself.

jscott , Oct 10 2020 9:26 utc | 79
Donald Trump talked up his Iran policy in a profanity-laden tirade on Friday, telling conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh that Tehran knows the consequences of undermining the United States.

"Iran knows that, and they've been put on notice: if you fuck around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are going to do things to you that have never been done before."

Uncle Samuel is setting up a provocation for war.

uncle tungsten , Oct 10 2020 9:45 utc | 81
psychohistorian #1
What a shit show we are seeing. What is the next phase of this civilization war that is not a war because there are not enough dead bodies for some I guess?...but it sure looks like war to me.

Well for the first time in history Iran's symbolic "Red Flag" is still flying above the popular Jamkaran Mosque Holy dome. Perhaps the USA and its running dogs body count has risen in Iraq and Afghanistan? How would we know. These things are disguised from the fearless press in those countries ;)

Perhaps the dead and mangled are many but we do know that the US chief killer in Afghanistan was reduced to ashes immediately following General Shahid Qassem Suleimanis murder by the USA whilst on a diplomatic mission in Iraq.

In respect of b's observation above, the illegal occupier of Palestine is more likely tipping millions into the Harris Presidency as well as the possible Trump Presidency. I doubt either Harris or the biden bait and switch stooge would restore the JCPOA. Besides they would not be invited to sit at the table any time soon IMO. They would likely refuse to any conditions of reversing the sanctions and then carry on about all that 'unreasonable demands by a terrorist state' stuff etc etc.

No, Iran will be getting on with its future in a multilateral world where the United Nations has been reduced to pile of chicken dung by the USA while most other nations go along with global lunacy.


Circe , Oct 10 2020 12:56 utc | 87
You know what's telling about the bootlickers who hem and haw about U.S. policy with the T Administration, but never mention Trump as the real source of it even when profuse Zionist shit spills from his mouth on Limbaugh's show proving he's a Ziofascist pig?

What's telling is that these usual suspects jumped all over ARI @64 for zeroing in on Trump's precise intentions with Iran but they gave a pass to the real HASBARIST in the room, Crush Limbraw @60, exposing himself, putting his HARD-ON FOR TRUMP on full display.

@60 we ALL see through DaGlass DARKLY!
Speak for yourself- you Zionist MORON!

Ahhhhhh, you can always count on the DUPLICITY of MOA'S weathervane james and friends. Me, I ain't here to win a popularity contest like weathervane; I'm here to kick ass when I witness duplicity in action. My friend here is the truth that I'll defend to the grave.

********

Noooo, dum-dums Putin will not come to Iran's rescue when he's warm in bed with his Zionist Oligarchs and Russian squatters whom he pays homage to from time to time when he visits Ziolandia thanking them for choosing the stolen West Bank over Russia.

Iran knows that, and they've been put on notice. That's Trump blowhard driving the drumbeat.

Just rescue me from my self-destructive self for 4 more years, oh kings of Zion and Wall Street, and I'll give you WAR!!! all in CAPS with three exclamation points. The GREATEST war you've ever seen.

Linda Amick , Oct 10 2020 13:07 utc | 88
When I read the Great Reset article on the World Economic Forum website it seems to me that the western Globalists, in concert align the US and EU. That accounts for the basic vassal arrangements that predominate but allow for some nonalignments on certain issues.
Paco , Oct 10 2020 13:24 utc | 89
Posted by: vk | Oct 10 2020 0:58 utc | 56

That is precisely what the Belarusian authorities announced when Tikhanovskaya left Minsk, that she was helped in her way out, but we know how the MSM acts, they stick to their own script, just like a Hollywood movie.

The Belarusians must be watching with great attention what is happening in Kirguizia, riots and complete chaos, and thinking how lucky they were to avoid the color rev that was in the menu for them, which the same methods, discredit the oncoming election, claim fraud after it, use similar symbols like the clenched fist and the heart, new flag, start transliterating family and geographical names to a mythical and spoken by a very small minority language and then nobody knows if to spell Tikhanovskaya, Tsikhanouskaya or like the politically incorrect but street wise Luka called her, Guaidikha. And that is Kirguizia, how about a shooting war in Armenia and Azerbaijan, all those conflicts were unimaginable when the USSR existed, but the empire even on his way down is insatiable.

Circe , Oct 10 2020 13:25 utc | 90
@88 Linda Amick

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=RDPIAXG_QcQNU&feature=share&playnext=1

Paco , Oct 10 2020 13:35 utc | 91
Posted by: Circe | Oct 10 2020 12:56 utc | 87

There is over a million jews of Russian origin living in Israel, 20% of the population, with deep roots in Russia, language, culture and relatives. Do not let partisanship for the Dems blind you, a true successful leader is someone that defends his country's interests while at the same time tries to have good relations with everybody else, obviously that balance is not easy to achieve in a world full of conflicting interests, but so far Putin seems to be balancing his act while not loosing sight of the main thing, Russia.

Circe , Oct 10 2020 13:52 utc | 92
Paco, strange name for a Russiabot, oh well...

Nice way of putting: Putin belongs to the Zionist Club.

FYI, I'm not blind. I'm one of those special beings who was born with two extra eyes...in the back of my head.

Jackrabbit , Oct 10 2020 13:56 utc | 93
Circe @Oct10 12:56 #87
Putin will not come to Iran's rescue when he's warm in bed with his Zionist Oligarchs

If Putin is so close to Zionists, then why does Russia block the Zionist regime-change in Syria? Why has Russia denied Israel and USA entreaties to allow them to bomb Iran?

Russia Warns U.S. and Israel That Iran Is Its 'Ally' and Was Right About Drone Shoot Down

!!

Paco , Oct 10 2020 14:03 utc | 94
Posted by: Circe | Oct 10 2020 13:52 utc | 92

Not as strange as a mythological demigoddess that turned sailors into swain and that now enjoys to plunge into the mud with her creatures. A bot, what an easy label, it has lost any meaning.

Paco , Oct 10 2020 14:12 utc | 95
special beings who was born with two extra eyes...in the back of my head.

Alaska yellow fin sole, not bad, from Bristol Bay, but the Melva -a tunafish species with more oil in its meat- I cooked for lunch, just caught, has a lot more fish oil with its rich contents of vitamin D, add sunny Mediterranean weather and that is my pill for today, trying to keep the bug at bay.

expat , Oct 10 2020 14:39 utc | 96
Circe, why don't you do what your namesake would have done and whip yourself up some meds to calm down? You're starting to lapse into excessive use of upper case, italics, exclamation points, bolding, profanity, and of course, insults.

This may help. It looks like the orange man is in fact going down, so you will soon have Joe and Kamal empowered to dismantle the evil Putin-Netanyahu-Trump axis, and put the US back on the path to truth and justice.

Circe , Oct 10 2020 14:41 utc | 97
@93 Jackrabbit

It's called... lip service.

@94,95 Fransisco

A bot by any other name will smell as fishy. 🤭
Just messing with you!

ptb , Oct 10 2020 14:44 utc | 98
The unilateral and illegal-under-JCPOA sanctions mean it's time for EU to either confront the extraterritorial US policy it has clearly rejected in principle, or (more likely) acknowlege that it remains in practice just a collection of 'client states'. A sad moment for me, but useful for clarity.
Paco , Oct 10 2020 14:48 utc | 99
Posted by: Circe | Oct 10 2020 14:41 utc | 97

Hard to understand but you guys are incapable of spelling the name of a once great US city, San Francisco. I heard it has changed a lot, got to see long time ago, before the digital craze.

juliania , Oct 10 2020 15:51 utc | 100
This is a brief but subtle post by b, with quiet but telling headline. Perhaps, just guessing, a new take on the post he was having difficulty with earlier? The question of the EU is an interesting one - not to be considered as virulent as the former Soviet Union, but somehow as tugged at by the components thereof...

Sanctions on Iran? We do know what Iran is capable of; surely we have not forgotten? Indeed, by pressing these sanctions at this late date, the Trump administration surely has not forgotten either the effect sanctions had on Russia. They were postive to that country's independent survival, though the immediate effect was demonstrably harsh. So now, sanctions on Iran? One doesn't have to be a world leader to suppose similar cause, similar effect.

Ah, Paco has a wonderful meal of a beneficial fish called the Melva! Bravo, Paco; all is not lost! But you have hooked the sea-serpent as well -- take care! That one - carefully remove the hook and set it free ;)

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[Jul 16, 2020] We support the environment as long as it benefits our trade partners and is poitically balanced in our favor.

Jul 16, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

ET AL July 14, 2020 at 9:14 am

Politico.eu : EU's new green label for fertilizer is set to benefit Russia
https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-new-green-label-fertilizer-benefits-russia-cadmium-phosphate/

That scientific debate soon turned into a geopolitical one, however. EU farmers are overwhelmingly dependent on North and West Africa for phosphate where, because of the natural conditions, there is usually a cadmium level far higher than 20mg/kg. At the same time, phosphate coming from Russia has far lower natural levels of the metal.

Southern European countries feared that switching phosphate supplies away from Africa to Russia could severely undermine volatile North African economies and trigger social problems

One of the countries that has strongly opposed the new labeling rules is Poland -- a country that historically wants to avoid commercial dependence on Russia but also has its own national fertilizer business and has invested in a Senegalese phosphate mine
####

Plenty more at the link.

We support the environment as long as it benefits our trade partners and is poitically balanced in our favor.

This looks like the european industry is waving the 'Russia Bad' flag because it cannot counter the technical aspects and more environmental policies coming out of the EU.

They are also arguing in favor of less transparency and less information for farmers which is suspect because their fear is that low cadmium fertilizer (from Russia/wherever) may get tax-breaks to promote its use.

Rather than figure out a way to adapt and help their partners, their first reaction is to throw poo at the walls.

[Jul 13, 2020] Washington has essentially forgotten how to negotiate on mutually-respectful terms, and favours maneuvering its 'partners' into relationships in which the USA has an overwhelmingly dominant position, and then announcing it is 'leveling the playing field'. Which means putting its thumb on the scale.

Jul 13, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MARK CHAPMAN July 7, 2020 at 8:12 am

Again, probably not an urgent problem unless some existing Chinese aircraft in service are on their last legs and urgently must be replaced. In which case they could go with Airbus if the situation could not wait. China has options. Boeing does not.

The west loves to portray the Chinese as totally without ethics, and if you have a product they can't make for themselves, they will buy it from you only until they have figured out how to make it themselves, and then fuck you, Jack. I don't see any reason to believe the Chinese value alliances less than the west does, or are any more incapable of grasping the value of a give-and-take trade policy. The west – especially the United States – favours establishing a monopoly on markets and then using your inability to get the product anywhere else as leverage to force concessions you don't want to make; is that ethical? China must surely see the advantages of a mutually-respectful relationship with Russia, considering that country not only safeguards a significant length of its border from western probing, but supplies most of its energy. There remain many unexplored avenues for technical, engineering and technological cooperation. At the same time, Russia is not in a subordinate position where it has to endure being taken advantage of.

Trade is hard work, and any partner will maneuver for advantage, because everyone in commerce likes market share and money. But Washington has essentially forgotten how to negotiate on mutually-respectful terms, and favours maneuvering its 'partners' into relationships in which the USA has an overwhelmingly dominant position, and then announcing it is 'leveling the playing field'. Which means putting its thumb on the scale.


[Jul 13, 2020] How to Make a Brick from Straw and Bullshit

After neocons in Washinton adopted Magnitsky act all bets for US-Russia cooperation are off. And that in a long run will hurt the USA too.
Notable quotes:
"... Every time you "impose costs" on another country, you make more enemies and inspire more end-around plays which take you as an economic player out of that loop. And by and by what you do is of no great consequence, and your ability – your LEGAL ability, I should interject – to 'impose costs' is gone. ..."
Jul 13, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MARK CHAPMAN July 13, 2020 at 10:49 am

Every time you "impose costs" on another country, you make more enemies and inspire more end-around plays which take you as an economic player out of that loop. And by and by what you do is of no great consequence, and your ability – your LEGAL ability, I should interject – to 'impose costs' is gone. Sooner or later America's allies are going to refuse to recognize its extraterritorial sanctions, which it has no legal right to impose; it gets away with it by threatening costs in trade with the USA, which is a huge economy and is something under its control. But that practice causes other countries to gradually insulate themselves against exposure, and one day the cost of obeying will be greater than the cost of saying "Go fuck yourself".

The New York Times goes a little further, stressing that the agreement would entail an economic and military partnership: "It calls for joint training and exercises, joint research and weapons development and intelligence sharing -- all to fight "the lopsided battle with terrorism, drug and human trafficking and cross-border crimes." This would give Iran access to some fairly high-tech systems, perhaps fighter aircraft and training and tech support, but of that part of the package, I would rate intelligence sharing the highest. It would potentially give Iran a heads-up on what the USA is planning in the region before it even is briefed to Congress – Washington leaks like a sieve, and while it is often intentional, it happens when it is not desired as well.

https://www.nytimes.com/svc/oembed/html/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2020%2F07%2F11%2Fworld%2Fasia%2Fchina-iran-trade-military-deal.html

Washington's policy now consists of little more than frantically papering over cracks as they appear; its ability to direct the world is gone and its ability to influence it is deteriorating by the day as it becomes more and more intensely disliked, and everyone's enemy. Perversely, this brings war closer as a possibility, as threats of it are no longer an effective deterrent to partnerships and exchanges the USA does not like. More and more of those threatened are taking the attitude of "Put up or shut up". Trade deals outside Washington's influence increase those countries' insulation against US sanctions, and perhaps it is beginning to dawn on the western banking cartel that it is in imminent danger of being isolated itself, like a fleck of grit that irritates an oyster and finds itself encased in nacre.

ET AL July 13, 2020 at 9:22 am

SCMP: China hits back, sanctioning US officials and Congress members in response to Xinjiang ban
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3092945/china-hits-back-sanctioning-us-officials-response-uygur-ban

Beijing follows through on its promised retaliation for Washington's move to hold individuals to account

Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio among those facing sanctions in latest tit-for-tat move
####

More at the link.

What springs to mind is that Groucho Marx quote: "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."

That the US sanctions China with an act named after a dodgy Russian book-keeper working for a thief is all kinds of wrong, but as we all know, the ends justify the means. Hamsters are happy.

[Jul 03, 2020] FUCKUS banned Russia from the Olympics on a bogus state sponsored steroid scam, no reinstatement on horizon. FUCKUS kicked Russia out of the now G7 and imposed a trade embargo that destroyed a large commercial relationship w/Germany.

Notable quotes:
"... Some countries like Italy (maybe Germany) are warming to Russia a little bit but Russia has a long way to go just to get back to their pre-2014 status with Europe. That is 'tightening their grip?'. I know, this is how propagandists speak. ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Christian J. Chuba , Jul 3 2020 16:13 utc | 162

VK, re: Russia's grip on Europe is gradually tightening from the U.K.'s INDEPENDENT

It's behind a paywall but I read just enough to be curious as to how someone could possibly justify a clickbait title like that.

I suspect that the rest of the article is just going to recap Russia's alleged sins in order to fan hatred but how can someone objectively say that Russia is tightening its grip on Europe?

  1. FUCKUS banned Russia from the Olympics on a bogus state sponsored steroid scam, no reinstatement on horizon.
  2. FUCKUS kicked Russia out of the now G7 and imposed a trade embargo that destroyed a large commercial relationship w/Germany.

What is the 'overwhelming' evidence that the Russians poisoned the Skripal's, Novichok can be made by just about anyone.

Some countries like Italy (maybe Germany) are warming to Russia a little bit but Russia has a long way to go just to get back to their pre-2014 status with Europe. That is 'tightening their grip?'. I know, this is how propagandists speak.

[Jun 21, 2020] Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace'.

Highly recommended!
Jun 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Christian J. Chuba , Jun 21 2020 14:18 utc | 78

Re: the Nuremberg trials , I became fascinated by the writings of Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace' . This is when one country sets up an environment for war against another country. I'll grant you that this is vague but if this is applicable at all how is this not an accurate description of what we are doing against Iran and Venezuela?

In both cases, we are imposing a full trade embargo (not sanctions) on basic civilian necessities and infrastructures and threatening the use of military force. As for Iran, the sustained and unfair demonization of Iranians is preparing the U.S. public to accept a ruthless bombing campaign against them as long overdue. We are already attacking the civilian population of their allies in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon.

How Ironic that the country that boasts that it won WW2 is now guilty of the very crimes that it condemned publicly in court.

[May 02, 2020] The RD-180, sanctions and the relations between Russia and the USA

May 02, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Uncle Volodya says, "Ignorance is always correctable. But what shall we do if we take ignorance to be knowledge?"

"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

― Issac Asimov

There's a prejudice against making fun of the mad that spans all cultures, all ethnicities; mock the mentally ill at your peril, for some fair-minded citizen will surely intervene. Possibly many, enough to make you take to your heels, because those who were born without the ability to reason, or had it and lost it, are perhaps God's most innocent children. There are few compensations for being born half-a-bubble off plumb, but one of them is anti-mockery armor. Having a laugh at the expense of the lunatic is bad form; something only dicks do, because it's cheap and easy.

That's what must be preventing Dmitry Rogozin from roaring with laughter; from falling helplessly to his knees and collapsing, wheezing, onto his side. If someone smart says something stupid, they are fair game. But laughing when someone whose openly-stated beliefs suggest they are suffering from dementia is inappropriate. His dilemma is both obvious, and acute – what to do?

First, some background; who is Dmitry Rogozin? A former Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the Russian Federation's defense industries, he also served as his country's Ambassador to NATO. He has degrees in philosophy and technology, and currently serves as the Russian Federation's Special Representative on Missile Defense. He is also the Director of Roscosmos, the Russian state's Space Industry. Some have talked him up as a possible replacement for Vladimir Putin, as President of the Russian Federation, but it is in his latter capacity, head of Roscosmos, that we are most interested today. He knows more about rockets than that they are pointy at one end and have fire at the other, if you get my drift.

A bit more background, and then I promise we can begin to tie things together; I think I can also promise you are going to laugh. Not because you're a dick. But I think you will find you do have to kind of snicker. Just be careful who hears you, okay? It's not as much of an insult if people don't know.

Most who have any understanding of space or rockets or satellites have heard of the RD-180 . But in case there are some readers who have never heard of it, it is the Russian Federation's workhorse rocket engine. Its first flight was 20 years ago, but it was built on the shoulders of the RD-170 , which has been in service since 1985, making it a Soviet project. The RD-180 is essentially a two-combustion-chamber RD-170, which has four and remains the most powerful rocket engine in the world. The RD-180 is used by the United States in its Atlas space vehicles.

For some time, that was a fairly comfortable arrangement. The USA made fun of Russia whenever it wanted to feel superior, just as it's always done, and made the occasional ideological stab at 'establishing freedom and democracy' by changing out its leader, but the Russian people were not particularly cooperative, and there were some problems getting a credible 'liberal opposition' started; even now, the best candidate still seems to be Alexey Navalny, who is kind of the granite canoe of opposition figures – not particularly well-known, nasty rather than compelling, spiteful as a balked four-year-old.

But then American ideologues in the US Department of State decided the time was ripe for a coup in Ukraine, and almost overnight, the United States and Russia were overt enemies. The United States, under Barack Obama, imposed sanctions designed to wreck the Russian economy , in the hope that despairing Russians would throw Putin out of office. America's European allies went along for the ride, and trade between Russia and its former trade partners and associates in Europe and the USA mostly dried up.

Not rocket engines, though. America made an exception for those, and continued to buy and stockpile RD-180's. The very suggestion that RD-180 engines might go on the sanctions list – US Federal Claims Court Judge Susan Braden postulated that funds used to purchase rocket engines might end up in Rogozin's pocket (he being head of the Space Program, and all), and he was under US sanctions – moved the Commander of the United States Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center to note that without RD-180 engines, the Atlas program would have to be grounded .

All this is by way of highlighting a certain vulnerability. Of course, observers remarked, the United States is a major technological power – it could easily produce such engines itself. So, why didn't it, inquiring minds wanted to know.

Enter United Launch Alliance (ULA) CEO Tony Bruno, with what reporters described as a 'novel explanation'. Thanks much for the link, Patient Observer. The United States buys United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno.Russian rocket engines to subsidize the Russian space industry , so that fired rocket scientists will not pack up the wife and kiddies and their few pitiful belongings, and depart for Iran or North Korea. You know; countries that really hate the United States. I swear I am not making that up. Look:

"The United States is buying Russian rocket engines not because of any problems with its domestic engine engineering programmes, but to subsidize Russian rocket scientists and to prevent them from seeking employment in Iran or North Korea, United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno has intimated.

"The [US government] asked us to buy [Russian engines] at the end of the Cold War in order to keep the Russian Rocket Scientists from ending up in North Korea and Iran," Bruno tweeted, responding to a question about what motivates ULA to continue buying the Russian-made RD-180s."

Sadly, I had no Rogozin-like qualms about being thought a dick. I snorted what I was drinking (chocolate milk, I think) all over my hand, and gurgled with mirth for a good 20 seconds. Holy Moley – what a retarded explanation! How long did he grope for that, spluttering like Joe Biden trying to remember what office he is currently running for? Jeebus Cripes, the United States has no control at all over what rocket scientists are paid in the Russian Federation – what do they imagine prevents Putin The Diktator from just pocketing all the money himself, or spending it on sticky buns to feed to Rogozin, and throwing a few fish heads to the rocket scientists? Do they really believe some sort of symbiotic relationship exists between Russia's rocket scientists and the US Treasury Department? Really ? Have things actually gotten that far down the road to Simple? I tell you, I kind of felt a little sorry for Tony 'Lightning Rod' Bruno. But more sorry for his family, who has to go out and find him when he's wandering in the park with no pants on again, you know. Humanitarian concerns.

So I started doing a little digging. And right away, I made a couple of discoveries that made my synapses frizzle. One, the United States has a license to manufacture the RD-180 engine domestically . And apparently can't.

"Under RD AMROSS, Pratt & Whitney is licensed to produce the RD-180 in the United States. Originally, production of the RD-180 in the US was scheduled to begin in 2008, but this did not happen. According to a 2005 GAO Assessment of Selected Major Weapon Programs, Pratt & Whitney planned to start building the engine in the United States with a first military launch by 2012. This, too, did not happen. In 2014, the Defense Department estimated that it would require approximately $1 billion and five years to begin US domestic manufacture of the RD-180 engine."

It's only Wiki, but the references bear it out, such as the GAO's " Defense Acquisitions: Assessment of Selected Major Weapons Programs "; you want page 65.

Well, no wonder! It's a lot cheaper to slip some bucks to starving Russian rocket scientists than spend a Billion simoleons on a Pratt & Whitney program that will take five years (!!!) minimum to set up before it even starts producing an engine the Russians have been making for 20 years, and gave Pratt & Whitney the plans for. Seen in that light, it makes a weird kind of sense, dunnit? Minus the altruism and violins, of course.

Right about then, I made a second discovery that shook the fuzz off my fundament. Tony Bruno did not make that shit up . No, indeedy. It would have been simpler, and I have to say a bit more comforting, to assume Tony Bruno is the locus of American retardation. But he isn't; the poor bastard was just repeating an American doctrinal political talking-point. Behold !

"When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, the US government worried about the possible consequences of lots of Russian rocket designers getting fired. What if they ended up working for regimes like Iran or North Korea?"

Pretty much word-for-word what poor Tony Bruno said. And that was posted 5 years ago.

But who cares, right? Just some wiggy space-nerd site.

Oh, but wait. Look at his reference . It's from NASA. And it does indeed include the paragraph he quoted.

"Moreover, several on the Space Council, as well as others in the Bush Administration, saw another reason to engage the post-Soviets in a cooperative space venture: as a way to help hold the Russian nation together at a time when the Russian economy was faltering and its society was reeling. In the words of Brian Dailey, Albrecht's sucessor, "If we did not do something in this time of social chaos in Russia, then there would be potentially a hemorrhaging of technology 'away from Russia' to countries who may not have a more peaceful intention behind the use of those technologies."

I'm not sure how reliable that is – the Americans still insist, in it, that they landed on the moon, and it points out that Dan Quayle was head of the National Space Council, dear Lord, have mercy. But it's NASA! There was apparently a school of thought, prevalent in American politics, that America had to support the Russian economy , for fear of its technological proteges high-siding it for Dangerville. Neither North Korea or Iran are mentioned by name, but they would certainly be easy to infer from the description.

So we could draw one of two conclusions; either (1) Obama was a witless tool who did not read that historical imperative (probably had his nose in a healthy-greens cookbook, some shit like that) and blundered ahead with a plan to wreck the Russian economy, loosing a torrent of Russian rocket scientists into a cynical Murka-hatin' world, or (2) Obama was a genius who applied sanctions with a surgeon's delicacy, avoiding sanctions on the Russian space program. Although he did apply sanctions directly on its..umm director. Okay, let's go with (1).

Anyway, it's kind of odd, I guess you'd say, to hear that same Brian Dailey, he who blubbered sympathetically (or so history records) "We have to do something in this time of social chaos in Russia" say this:

"The meeting was actually more or less a signing ceremony, a large event, so to speak, but it was one that was obviously going to be reaching into some very hard winds that would prevent us from really moving forward. That's a rather obtuse way of saying that we were having serious problems with the Russians. They wanted a lot of money for doing these things. They wanted to charge us a lot of money to hook up, and we didn't believe that since this was a government-to-government activity, that money should be appropriately involved, and it was the intention of the two Presidents to put something together that would be funded by their respective governments rather than us trying to fund something for Russia."

Say what? You had to do something for the Russian economy without money? Tell me more.

" At that point, Dan had got very upset with the Russians and proceeded to tell them that we were not going to do business with Semenov directly, but our opposite number was Yuri Koptev, and that he ought to start learning how to work with U.S. industry, and that we were not going to pay for this particular activity and we were not going to be blackmailed into paying them, so to speak, and insisted that this be taken off the table and we proceed to find ways of making this happen, not ways to slow it down or charge us for any kind of cooperative activities like this. "

This all had to do with cooperation on some sort of docking system for the Mir Space Station, nothing to do with the RD-180, but I think you can see why I would be a bit skeptical regarding Project Payola for the Russian rocket scientists.

You might be getting a tingly feeling – call it a suspicion – that the USA is kind of pulling our leg on the idea that it can make a superior multi-chamber rocket engine any time it feels like it, and is just buying the RD-180 on long-ago government orders to cut the Russians a break. You might suspect the RD-180 is actually a pretty good engine, but the United States can't make it for that kind of money, and perhaps can't make it at all. I know! Let's ask United Launch Alliance , that company that Tony Bruno is the CEO of.

"The Atlas launch vehicle's main booster engine, the RD-180, has demonstrated consistent performance with predictable environments over the past decade. The RD-180 has substantially contributed to the established a record of high reliability on Atlas launch vehicles since its debut on the Atlas III in May of 2000."

You don't say. Tell me more.

"In the early 1990s the closed cycle, LOx rich, staged combustion technology rumored to exist in Russia was originally sought out by General Dynamics because engines of this kind would be able to provide a dramatic performance increase over available U.S. rocket technology. Unlike its rocket building counterparts in the United States, Europe, China, and Japan, Russia was able to master a unique LOx rich closed cycle combustion technology which delivered a 25% performance increase."

But but I read the George H.W. Bush administration urged America to buy Russian rocket engines because they heard a rumor there was a suitcase sale on at the Energomash company store. And that, you know, the scientists might be planning a little trip.

"NPO Energomash, the leading designer of engines in Russia, had gone through hundreds of designs, each an improvement on the last, to harness the power of LOx rich combustion. This required a very careful approach to how the fuel is burned in the preburner so that the temperature field is uniform. It also required improvements in materials and production techniques. They found a way to take the chamber pressures to new limits while protecting the internal components from fire risks. This required a new class of high temperature resistant stainless steel invented to cope with the risks of the LOx rich environment."

Oh, seriously, c'mon – is it as good as all that?

"The demonstrated performance established during this process was beyond anything achieved in the United States. The RD-180 reaches chamber pressures up to 3,722psia which was more than double the chamber pressures achieved by comparable U.S. engines. Exposure to Russian design philosophy and the success of a high performance engine made U.S. engine designers question their own methods. This dual sided cross-cultural engineering approach which has persisted through the life of the RD-180 program adds depth to the understanding of engine capability and operational characteristics."

Okay, thanks, company that Tony Bruno is the CEO of. Good to know it wasn't just charity.

[May 02, 2020] EU should consider 'flexible' Russia sanctions

May 02, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al April 28, 2020 at 10:18 am

I'm posting this for entertainment purposes:

Euractiv: EU should consider 'flexible' Russia sanctions over Ukraine: report
https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/eu-should-consider-flexible-russia-sanctions-over-ukraine-report/

The EU should reconsider its 'all or nothing' approach on sanctions imposed on Russia for its role in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, as well as its annexation of Crimea, a new report from the International Crisis Group suggests. The Brussels-based think tank calls for the easing of certain sanctions in exchange for Russian progress towards peace in Ukraine.

"Inflexible sanctions are less likely to change behaviour," said Olga Oliker, Europe and Central Asia programme director. "Because of that, we urge considering an approach that would allow for the lifting of some sanctions in exchange for some progress, with a clear intent to reverse that rollback of sanctions if the progress itself is reversed."

.A major roadblock in the implementation of the Minsk deal has been the sequence of events supposed to bring an end to the conflict that has so far claimed more than 13,000 lives.

Kyiv wants to first regain control over its border with Russia before local elections in the war-torn region can be held, while Moscow believes that elections must come first
####

Door. Horse. Barn. Bolted.

The Intentional Critics Grope is yet again a $/€ short in the reality department.

You would think the Editor Gotev (the last two paras by him) would mention that the Minsk agreement clearly states elections come first and that Kiev has singularly refuse the other conditions of the agreement, but that really would be asking too much. From a professional journalist.

It's the same shit we got with the US-North Korea 4 point nuclear agreement where de-nuclearization of the region is the final stage yet it didn't take Washington and ball-licking corporate media to parrot 'denuclearization' as the first point as suddently decided by the Ovum Orifice.*

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agreed_Framework

Mark Chapman April 28, 2020 at 1:24 pm
They try it on again about every six months, just to see if the Russian negotiators have changed and if the new ones are dimwitted. I'm sure it is crystal clear to the Kremlin that if it gave Ukraine back exclusive control of the border, it would (a) call up troops and set up a cordon to make it impossible for eastern Ukraine to be reinforced, and (b) launch an all-out military push to re-take the breakaway regions. The west would then shout "Safe!!!", and the game would be over – Ukraine is (almost) whole again, praise Jeebus. There would be a propaganda storm that Russia was 'trying to meddle in the peace process' while Kuh-yiv rooted out and either imprisoned or executed all the 'rebel' leaders, and the west – probably the USA – would provide 'peacekeepers' to give Ukraine time to restore its complete control over the DNR and LPR. Then, presto! no elections required, we are all happy Ukrainians!

They knew 'inflexible sanctions were less likely to change behaviors' when they first agreed to impose them – but they were showing their belly to Washington, and don't know how to stop now. Serves them right if they are losing revenue and market share.

Mark Chapman April 29, 2020 at 8:42 am
I don't think Russia is very interested, beyond polite diplomatic raising of the eyebrows, in relaxing of sanctions under conditions the EU is careful to highlight could be reapplied in a trice, as soon as anyone was upset with Russia's performance. Because that moment would be literally only a moment away. The UK can be counted on to register blistering outrage at the drop of a hat, and while its influence on the EU will soon be limited, dogs-in-the-manger like Poland can always be relied upon to throw themselves about in an ecstasy of victimhood. It would be impossible to set up any sort of dependable supply chain, as the interval between orders would never be known with any degree of certainty. Fuck the EU. Russia is better off to press on as it has been doing. The EU has to buy oil and gas from Russia because the logistics and price of American supplies make them economically non-competitive, and best to just leave it there. The EU will bitch, but it will continue to buy, whereas any other commerce would be subject to theatrical hissy fits.

[Apr 05, 2020] US sidestepped OWN SANCTIONS against Russia to save American lives from Covid-19... If only it cared as much about Iranian live

Notable quotes:
"... "It's like being on eBay" ..."
"... "They big-footed us" ..."
"... "We're going broke." ..."
"... "We're on our own." ..."
"... "viable" ..."
"... "money laundering" ..."
"... "propaganda ploy." ..."
Apr 03, 2020 | www.rt.com

US sidestepped OWN SANCTIONS against Russia to save American lives from Covid-19... If only it cared as much about Iranian lives

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer. He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf's staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer. He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf's staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector.

Russian plane with medical aid unloaded at JFK airport, United States, New York City © Ruptly Follow RT on

When it comes to saving American lives, sanctions are not an obstacle to the provision of life-saving medical equipment. Ramping up sanctions on struggling Iran is okay however – which goes to show the US price tag on human life. It was a sight that warmed the heart of even the most cynical American opponent of Vladimir Putin's Russia -- a giant An-124 aircraft, loaded with boxes of desperately needed medical supplies, being offloaded at JFK Airport. When President Trump spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart on March 31, he mentioned America's need for life-saving medical supplies, including ventilators and personal protective equipment. Two days later the AN-124 arrived in New York.

As the aircraft was being unloaded, however, it became clear that at least some of the equipment being offloaded had been delivered in violation of existing US sanctions. Boxes clearly marked as containing Aventa-M ventilators, produced by the Ural Instrument Engineering Plant (UPZ), could be seen. For weeks now President Trump has made an issue about the need for ventilators in the US to provide life-saving care for stricken Americans.

There was just one problem -- the manufacturer of the Aventa-M, UPZ, is a subsidiary of Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies (KRET) which, along with its parent holding company ROSTEC, has been under US sanctions since 2014. Complicating matters further is the fact that the shipment of medical supplies was paid in part by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a Russian sovereign wealth fund which, like ROSTEC, was placed on the US lending blacklist in 2014 following Russia's intervention in Crimea. Half of the Russian aid shipment was paid for by the US State Department, and the other half by RDIF.

Read more Russian declaration aimed at stopping sanctions amid coronavirus crisis REJECTED at UN General Assembly

According to a State Department spokesperson, the sanctions against RDIF do not apply to purchases of medical equipment. KRET, however, is in the strictest SDN (Specially Designated Persons) sanctions list , which means US citizens and permanent residents are prohibited from doing business with it. So while the letter of the sanctions may not have been violated, the spirit certainly has been.

One only need talk to the embattled Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, to understand the difficulty in trying to purchase much-needed medical equipment during a global pandemic where everyone else is trying to do the same. New York has been competing with several other states to purchase much-needed ventilators from China. "It's like being on eBay" , Cuomo recently told the press, with 50 states bidding against one another, driving the price up. The issue became even more complicated when the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, entered the bidding war. "They big-footed us" , Cuomo said, driving the price per ventilator up to $25,000. "We're going broke."

Cuomo estimates that New York will need upwards of 40,000 ventilators to be able to handle the influx of stricken patients when the outbreak hits its peak. At the moment, New York has 17,000 ventilators available -- including 2,500 on order from China -- and Cuomo doesn't expect any more. "We're on our own." Plans are in place to begin imposing a triage system to prioritize ventilator availability if and when the current stockpile is exhausted. These plans include the issuance of an emergency waiver that permits health care providers to take a patient off a ventilator to make it available for another patient deemed to be more "viable" -- that is, who has a greater expectation of surviving the disease.

Cuomo's predicament is being played out around the world, in places like Italy, Spain -- and Iran, where the outbreak of coronavirus has hit particularly hard. The difference, however, is that while the US, Italy and Spain are able to scour the global market in search of life-saving medical supplies, Iran is not. US sanctions targeting the Iranian financial system, ostensibly imposed to prevent "money laundering" by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command, which has been heavily sanctioned by the US over the years, have made it virtually impossible for Iran to pay for humanitarian supplies needed to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

Also on rt.com 'This is NUTS!' Russiagaters see red over Putin's planeload of corona-aid for Trump, queue to look gift-horse in mouth

As bad as it is for Governor Cuomo, at least he can enter a bidding war for medical supplies. Iran can't even get its foot in the door, and it is costing lives. Making matters worse, at a time when the international community is pleading for the US to ease sanctions so Iran can better cope with an outbreak that is taking a life every ten minutes, the US instead doubled down, further tightening its death grip on the Iranian economy.

The global coronavirus pandemic will eventually end, and when it does there will be an accounting for how nations behaved. Nations like Russia and China have been repeatedly vilified in the US media for any number of reasons -- even the Russian aid shipment containing the sanctioned ventilators has been dismissed as a "propaganda ploy." What, then, do you call the US' blatant disregard for select human lives?

The callous indifference displayed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other officials to the suffering of the Iranian people by increasing sanctions at a time when the situation cries out for them to be lifted in order to save lives, when contrasted to the ease in which US sanctions on Russia are ignored when life-saving medical equipment is needed, drives home the point that, as far as the US is concerned, human life only matters when it is an American one. That might play well among American voters (it shouldn't), but for the rest of the world it is a clear sign that hypocrisy, not humanitarianism, is the word that will define the US going forward.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this article erroneously stated that entering a financial relationship with RDIF is prosecutable under the US sanctions regime. In reality, RDIF is under sectoral sanctions that only apply to certain interactions, which, according to a State Department spokesperson, do not include purchases of medical equipment. The article has been changed accordingly.

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[Apr 04, 2020] It doesn't seem to matter how much the US hoses the EU they'll still fall in lockstep when Trump says "jump"

Apr 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Tobi , Apr 4 2020 0:26 utc | 103

Posted by: Likklemore | 94

It doesn't seem to matter how much the US hoses the EU they'll still fall in lockstep when Trump says "jump".

Russian declaration aimed at stopping sanctions amid coronavirus crisis REJECTED at UN General Assembly

A User , Apr 4 2020 1:22 utc | 108

I realise few will since amerikans are 100% exceptionalist right up to their last breath but please read the best article by far on masks & respirators cleaning issues esp such ones as 'steam' cleaning are on this link I posted earlier.

It is written by Dr John Campbell who has been writing on this virus for several months. My brother the retired journo recommended him to me in early February, so naturally I have been assiduous in ignoring the bloke for that reason, combined with the fact Campbell is an englander, but he has put together an excellent piece on masks & respirators, one which uses y'know those pesky fact things to support his statements about assorted items efficacy, longevity and ability to be cleaned. With respirators 95% & above he recommends having several and rotating them so that they cop 4-5 days down time which should be enough time for the virus to kark it of its own accord.

I don't believe for a moment that will stop the continual spouting of uninformed claptrap, but I tried.

[Mar 17, 2020] Russia Strikes Back Where It Hurts American Oil by Scott Ritter

Mar 17, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

R ussia and Saudi Arabia are engaged in an oil price war that has sent shockwaves around the world, causing the price of oil to tumble and threatening the financial stability, and even viability, of major international oil companies.

On the surface, this conflict appears to be a fight between two of the world's largest producers of oil over market share. This may, in fact, be the motive driving Saudi Arabia, which reacted to Russia's refusal to reduce its level of oil production by slashing the price it charged per barrel of oil and threatening to increase its oil production, thereby flooding the global market with cheap oil in an effort to attract customers away from competitors.

Russia's motives appear to be far different -- its target isn't Saudi Arabia, but rather American shale oil. After absorbing American sanctions that targeted the Russian energy sector, and working with global partners (including Saudi Arabia) to keep oil prices stable by reducing oil production even as the United States increased the amount of shale oil it sold on the world market, Russia had had enough. The advent of the Coronavirus global pandemic had significantly reduced the demand for oil around the world, stressing the American shale producers. Russia had been preparing for the eventuality of oil-based economic warfare with the United States. With U.S. shale producers knocked back on their heels, Russia viewed the time as being ripe to strike back. Russia's goal is simple: to make American shale oil producers " share the pain ".

The United States has been slapping sanctions on Russia for more than six years, ever since Russia took control (and later annexed) the Crimean Peninsula and threw its weight behind Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The first sanctions were issued on March 6, 2014, through Executive Order 13660 , targeting "persons who have asserted governmental authority in the Crimean region without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine that undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets."

The most recent round of sanctions was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on February 18, 2020, by sanctioning Rosneft Trading S.A., a Swiss-incorporated, Russian-owned oil brokerage firm, for operating in Venezuela's oil sector. The U.S. also recently targeted the Russian Nord Stream 2 and Turk Stream gas pipeline projects.

Russia had been signaling its displeasure over U.S. sanctions from the very beginning. In July 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that U.S. sanctions were "driving into a corner" relations between the two countries, threatening the "the long-term national interests of the U.S. government and people." Russia opted to ride out U.S. sanctions, in hopes that there might be a change of administrations following the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections. Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear that he hoped the U.S. might elect someone whose policies would be more friendly toward Russia, and that once the field of candidates narrowed down to a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Putin favored Trump .

"Yes, I did," Putin remarked after the election, during a joint press conference with President Trump following a summit in Helsinki in July 2018. "Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal."

Putin's comments only reinforced the opinions of those who embraced allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election as fact and concluded that Putin had some sort of hold over Trump. Trump's continuous praise of Putin's leadership style only reinforced these concerns.

Even before he was inaugurated, Trump singled out Putin's refusal to respond in kind to President Obama's levying of sanctions based upon the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia had interfered in the election. "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!" Trump Tweeted . Trump viewed the Obama sanctions as an effort to sabotage any chance of a Trump administration repairing relations with Russia, and interpreted Putin's refusal to engage, despite being pressured to do so by the Russian Parliament and Foreign Ministry, as a recognition of the same.

This sense of providing political space in the face of domestic pressure worked both ways. In January 2018, Putin tried to shield his relationship with President Trump by calling the release of a list containing some 200 names of persons close to the Russian government by the U.S. Treasury Department as a hostile and "stupid" move .

"Ordinary Russian citizens, employees and entire industries are behind each of those people and companies," Putin remarked. "So all 146 million people have essentially been put on this list. What is the point of this? I don't understand."

From the Russian perspective, the list highlighted the reality that the U.S. viewed the entire Russian government as an enemy and is a byproduct of the "political paranoia" on the part of U.S. lawmakers. The consequences of this, senior Russian officials warned, "will be toxic and undermine prospects for cooperation for years ahead."

While President Trump entered office fully intending to " get along with Russia ," including the possibility of relaxing the Obama-era sanctions , the reality of U.S.-Russian relations, especially as viewed from Congress, has been the strengthening of the Obama sanctions regime. These sanctions, strengthened over time by new measures signed off by Trump, have had a negative impact on the Russian economy, slowing growth and driving away foreign investment .

While Putin continued to show constraint in the face of these mounting sanctions, the recent targeting of Russia's energy sector represented a bridge too far. When Saudi pressure to cut oil production rates coincided with a global reduction in the demand for oil brought on by the Coronavirus crisis, Russia struck.

The timing of the Russian action is curious, especially given the amount of speculation that there was some sort of personal relationship between Trump and Putin that the Russian leader sought to preserve and carry over into a potential second term. But Putin had, for some time now, been signaling that his patience with Trump had run its course. When speaking to the press in June 2019 about the state of U.S.-Russian relations, Putin noted that "They (our relations) are going downhill, they are getting worse and worse," adding that "The current [i.e., Trump] administration has approved, in my opinion, several dozen decisions on sanctions against Russia in recent years."

By launching an oil price war on the eve of the American Presidential campaign season, Putin has sent as strong a signal as possible that he no longer views Trump as an asset, if in fact he ever did. Putin had hoped Trump could usher in positive change in the trajectory of relations between the two nations; this clearly had not happened. Instead, in the words of close Putin ally Igor Sechin , the chief executive of Russian oil giant Rosneft, the U.S. was using its considerable energy resources as a political weapon, ushering in an era of "power colonialism" that sought to expand U.S. oil production and market share at the expense of other nations.

From Russia's perspective, the growth in U.S. oil production -- which doubled in output from 2011 until 2019 -- and the emergence of the U.S. as a net exporter of oil, was directly linked to the suppression of oil export capability in nations such as Venezuela and Iran through the imposition of sanctions. While this could be tolerated when the target was a third party, once the U.S. set its sanctioning practices on Russian energy, the die was cast.

If the goal of the Russian-driven price war is to make U.S. shale companies "share the pain," they have already succeeded. A similar price war, initiated by Saudi Arabia in 2014 for the express purpose of suppressing U.S. shale oil production, failed, but only because investors were willing to prop up the stricken shale producers with massive loans and infusion of capital. For shale oil producers, who use an expensive methodology of extraction known as "fracking," to be economically viable, the breakeven price of oil per barrel needs to be between $40 and $60 dollars. This was the price range the Saudi's were hoping to sustain when they proposed the cuts in oil production that Russia rejected.

The U.S. shale oil producers, saddled by massive debt and high operational expenses, will suffer greatly in any sustained oil price war. Already, with the price of oil down to below $35 per barrel, there is talk of bankruptcy and massive job layoffs -- none of which bode well for Trump in the coming election.

It's clear that Russia has no intention of backing off anytime soon. According to the Russian Finance Ministry , said on Russia could weather oil prices of $25-30 per barrel for between six and ten years. One thing is for certain -- U.S. shale oil companies cannot.

In a sign that the Trump administration might be waking up to the reality of the predicament it faces, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin quietly met with Russia's Ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov. According to a read out from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two discussed economic sanctions, the Venezuelan economy, and the potential for "trade and investment." Mnuchin, the Russians noted, emphasized the "importance of orderly energy markets."

Russia is unlikely to fold anytime soon. As Admiral Josh Painter, a character in Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October," famously said , "Russians don't take a dump without a plan."

Russia didn't enter its current course of action on a whim. Its goals are clearly stated -- to defeat U.S. shale oil -- and the costs of this effort, both economically and politically (up to and including having Trump lose the 2020 Presidential election) have all been calculated and considered in advance. The Russian Bear can only be toyed with for so long without generating a response. We now know what that response is; when the Empire strikes back, it hits hard.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of several books, including his forthcoming, Scorpion King: America's Embrace of Nuclear Weapons From FDR to Trump (2020).

[Jan 04, 2020] Why the US Seeks to Hem in Russia, China and Iran by Patrick Lawrence

Sep 13, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

America's three principal adversaries signify the shape of the world to come: a post-Western world of coexistence. But neoliberal and neocon ideology is unable to to accept global pluralism and multipolarity, argues Patrick Lawrence.


Special to Consortium News

The Trump administration has brought U.S. foreign policy to the brink of crisis, if it has not already tipped into one. There is little room to argue otherwise. In Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, and in Washington's ever-fraught relations with Russia, U.S. strategy, as reviewed in my previous column , amounts to little more than spoiling the efforts of others to negotiate peaceful solutions to war and dangerous standoffs in the interests of an orderly world.

The bitter reality is that U.S. foreign policy has no definable objective other than blocking the initiatives of others because they stand in the way of the further expansion of U.S. global interests. This impoverished strategy reflects Washington's refusal to accept the passing of its relatively brief post–Cold War moment of unipolar power.

There is an error all too common in American public opinion. Personalizing Washington's regression into the role of spoiler by assigning all blame to one man, now Donald Trump, deprives one of deeper understanding. This mistake was made during the steady attack on civil liberties after the Sept. 11 tragedies and then during the 2003 invasion of Iraq: namely that it was all George W. Bush's fault. It was not so simple then and is not now. The crisis of U.S. foreign policy -- a series of radical missteps -- are systemic. Having little to do with personalities, they pass from one administration to the next with little variance other than at the margins.

Let us bring some history to this question of America as spoiler. What is the origin of this undignified and isolating approach to global affairs?

It began with that hubristic triumphalism so evident in the decade after the Cold War's end. What ensued had various names.

There was the "end of history" thesis. American liberalism was humanity's highest achievement, and nothing would supersede it.

There was also the "Washington consensus." The world was in agreement that free-market capitalism and unfettered financial markets would see the entire planet to prosperity. The consensus never extended far beyond the Potomac, but this sort of detail mattered little at the time.

The neoliberal economic crusade accompanied by neoconservative politics had its intellectual ballast, and off went its true-believing warriors around the world.

Happier days with Russia. (Eric Draper)

Failures ensued. Iraq post–2003 is among the more obvious. Nobody ever planted democracy or built free markets in Baghdad. Then came the "color revolutions," which resulted in the destabilization of large swathes of the former Soviet Union's borderlands. The 2008 financial crash followed.

I was in Hong Kong at the time and recall thinking, "This is not just Lehman Brothers. An economic model is headed into Chapter 11." One would have thought a fundamental rethink in Washington might have followed these events. There has never been one.

The orthodoxy today remains what it was when it formed in the 1990s: The neoliberal crusade must proceed. Our market-driven, "rules-based" order is still advanced as the only way out of our planet's impasses.

A Strategic and Military Turn

Midway through the first Obama administration, a crucial turn began. What had been an assertion of financial and economic power, albeit coercive in many instances, particularly with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, took on further strategic and military dimensions. The NATO bombing campaign in Libya, ostensibly a humanitarian mission, became a regime-change operation -- despite Washington's promises otherwise. Obama's "pivot to Asia" turned out to be a neo-containment policy toward China. The "reset" with Russia, declared after Obama appointed Hillary Clinton secretary of state, flopped and turned into the virulent animosity we now live with daily. The U.S.-cultivated coup in Kiev in 2014 was a major declaration of drastic turn in policy towards Moscow. So was the decision, taken in 2012 at the latest , to back the radical jihadists who were turning civil unrest in Syria into a campaign to topple the Assad government in favor of another Islamist regime.

Spoilage as a poor excuse for a foreign policy had made its first appearances.

I count 2013 to 2015 as key years. At the start of this period, China began developing what it now calls its Belt and Road Initiative -- its hugely ambitious plan to stitch together the Eurasian landmass, Shanghai to Lisbon. Moscow favored this undertaking, not least because of the key role Russia had to play and because it fit well with President Vladimir Putin's Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), launched in 2014.

Belt and Road Initiative. (Lommes / CC BY-SA 4.0)

In 2015, the last of the three years I just noted, Russia intervened militarily and diplomatically in the Syria conflict, in part to protect its southwest from Islamist extremism and in part to pull the Middle East back from the near-anarchy then threatening it as well as Russia and the West.

Meanwhile, Washington had cast China as an adversary and committed itself -- as it apparently remains -- to regime change in Syria. Three months prior to the treaty that established the EAEU, the Americans helped turn another case of civil unrest into a regime change -- this time backing not jihadists in Syria but the crypto-Nazi militias in Ukraine on which the government now in power still depends.

That is how we got the U.S.-as-spoiler foreign policy we now have.

If there is a president to blame -- and again, I see little point in this line of argument -- it would have to be Barack Obama. To a certain extent, Obama was a creature of those around him, as he acknowledged in his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic toward the end of his second term. From that "Anonymous" opinion piece published in The New York Times on Sept. 5, we know Trump is too, to a greater extent than Obama may have feared in his worst moments.

The crucial question is why. Why do U.S. policy cliques find themselves bereft of imaginative thinking in the face of an evolving world order? Why has there been not a single original policy initiative since the years I single out, with the exception of the now-abandoned 2015 accord governing Iran's nuclear programs? "Right now, our job is to create quagmires until we get what we want," an administration official told The Washington Post 's David Ignatius in August.

Can you think of a blunter confession of intellectual bankruptcy? I can't.

Global 'Equals' Like Us?

There is a longstanding explanation for this paralysis. Seven decades of global hegemony, the Cold War notwithstanding, left the State Department with little to think about other than the simplicities of East-West tension. Those planning and executing American diplomacy lost all facility for imaginative thinking because there was no need of it. This holds true, in my view, but there is more to our specific moment than mere sclerosis within the policy cliques.

As I have argued numerous times elsewhere, parity between East and West is a 21st century imperative. From Woodrow Wilson to the post-World War II settlement, an equality among all nations was in theory what the U.S. considered essential to global order.

Now that this is upon us, however, Washington cannot accept it. It did not count on non-Western nations achieving a measure of prosperity and influence until they were "just like us," as the once famous phrase had it. And it has not turned out that way.

Can't we all just get along? (Carlos3653 / Wikimedia)

Think of Russia, China, and Iran, the three nations now designated America's principal adversaries. Each one is fated to become (if it is not already) a world or regional power and a key to stability -- Russia and China on a global scale, Iran in the Middle East. But each stands resolutely -- and this is not to say with hostile intent -- outside the Western-led order. They have different histories, traditions, cultures, and political cultures. And they are determined to preserve them.

They signify the shape of the world to come -- a post-Western world in which the Atlantic alliance must coexist with rising powers outside its orbit. Together, then, they signify precisely what the U.S. cannot countenance. And if there is one attribute of neoliberal and neoconservative ideology that stands out among all others, it is its complete inability to accept difference or deviation if it threatens its interests.

This is the logic of spoilage as a substitute for foreign policy. Among its many consequences are countless lost opportunities for global stability.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author, and lecturer. His most recent book is Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century (Yale). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is www.patricklawrence.us. Support his work via www.patreon.com/thefloutist .

If you valued this original article, please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one.

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Tags: Barack Obama China Donald Trump George W. Bush Iran Neoliberlism Patrick Lawrence Russia Spoiler United States Vladimir Putin

Post navigation ← Solving Italy's Immigration Crisis Consortium News Unveils New Logo → 78 comments for "Why the U.S. Seeks to Hem in Russia, China and Iran"

R Davis , September 20, 2018 at 04:21

adversary: – one's opponent in a contest, conflict or dispute.

& I ask this
"Is it really thus"
"Why must it be thus"

How can China be an adversary of the USA when all their manufactured goods come from China.
example:- a water distiller – manufactured in & purchased from China retails for AU$70 odd.
The very same item manufactured in China – but purchased from the USA retails for US$260 plus.
China should be a most welcome guest at the dinner table of the USA.

R Davis , September 20, 2018 at 04:28

While i'm here – where did China get all their surveillance equipment from – the place is locked down tighter than a chicken coop plagued by foxes.

relevant article – CRAZZ FILES – Bone Chilling Footage Shows the Horrific Tyranny Google is Now Secretly Fostering in China.

In my opinion Google is not trying to keep information out of China – BUT – preventing information from get out of China – to the world at large.
A lockdown as severe as this – tells us that there is something seriously bad happening inside China.
Maybe even a mass genocide

Bob Arnold , September 16, 2018 at 09:48

This analysis is correct as far as it goes. However, what is lacking is an analysis of the lunatic monetary ideology that has looted the physical economy of the U.S. by putting enormous fake profits of speculative instruments in the hands of our "elites." It is the post industrial, information age economy which must be transformed by very painful loss of control by these putative elites if the world is to survive their insane geopolitics. What the Chinese are doing by rapid build up of worldwide infrastructure needs to be replicated here. The only way of doing so is first by ending the Wall St./City of London derivatives nightmare and then by issuing trillions of credits needed for that very purpose.

Lee Anderson , September 16, 2018 at 15:16

Agreed, you speak wisely of the root of the problem. Those who create and distribute money make ALL the rules and dominate the political and media landscape.

Freedomlover , September 17, 2018 at 15:20

Hit the nail on the head.
Thanks

bevin , September 14, 2018 at 18:32

This really is an excellent analysis. I would highlight the following point:
"There is a longstanding explanation for this paralysis. Seven decades of global hegemony, the Cold War notwithstanding, left the State Department with little to think about other than the simplicities of East-West tension. Those planning and executing American diplomacy lost all facility for imaginative thinking because there was no need of it. This holds true, in my view, but there is more to our specific moment than mere sclerosis within the policy cliques "

Conformism and its consequences, probably derived in part from Puritanism and further cemented by the alternating racisms of anti-indigenous and anti black attitudes- the history of the lynch mob and various wars against the poor which ended up in the anti-communist frenzies of the day before yesterday constitute the backbone of American history- is the disease which afflicts Washington.

Don Bacon , September 14, 2018 at 18:03

You don't mention corruption and profiteering, which go hand-in-hand with American Exceptionalism and the National Security State (NSS) formed in 1947. The leader of the world which is also an NSS requires enemies, so the National Security Strategy designates enemies, a few of them in an Axis of Evil. Arming to fight them and dreaming up other reasons to go to war, including a war on terror of all things, bring the desired vast expenditures, trillions of dollars, which translate to vast profits to those involved.

This focus on war has its roots in the Christian bible and in a sense of manifest destiny that has occupied Americans since before they were Americans, and the real Americans had to be exterminated. It certainly (as stated) can't be blamed on certain individuals, it's predominate and nearly universal. How many Americans were against the assault by the Coalition of the Willing upon Iraq? Very few.

Homer Jay , September 14, 2018 at 22:09

"How many Americans were against the assault by the Coalition of the Willing upon Iraq? Very few."

Are you kidding me? Here is a list of polls of the American public regarding the Iraq War 2003-2007;

https://www.politifact.com/iraq-war-polls/

Even in the lead up the war when the public was force fed a diet comprised entirely of State Dept. lies about WMDs by a sycophantic media, there was still a significant 25-40 percent of the public who opposed the war. You clearly are not American or you would remember the vocal minority which filled the streets of big cities across this country. And again the consent was as Chomsky says "manufactured." And it took only 1 year of the war for the majority of the public to be against it. By 2007 60-70% of the public opposed the war.

Judging from your name you come from a country whose government was part of that coalition of the willing. So should we assume that "very few" of your fellow country men and women were against that absolute horror show that is the Iraq war?

Don Bacon , September 14, 2018 at 23:05

You failed to address my major point, and instead picked on something you're wrong on.

Iraq war poll –Pew Research
http://assets.pewresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/old-assets/publications/770-1.gif

PS: bevin made approximately the same point later (w/o the financial factor).
"Conformism and its consequences, probably derived in part from Puritanism and further cemented by the alternating racisms of anti-indigenous and anti black attitudes- the history of the lynch mob and various wars against the poor which ended up in the anti-communist frenzies of the day before yesterday constitute the backbone of American history- is the disease which afflicts Washington."

Homer Jay , September 17, 2018 at 14:47

Respectfully, Your data backs up my comment/data. And to your larger point, again we must be careful when describing such attitudes as "American", a country with a wide range of attitudes/ beliefs. To suggest we are all just a war mongering mob is bigoted. You probably will say that's defensive but it's also right. And making the recklessly inaccurate claim that "very few" Americans opposed the war in Iraq, without taking into account the disinformation campaign that played into the initial consent, needs to corrected more than once.

Sari , September 14, 2018 at 15:15

I just encountered (via Voltairenet) "The Pentagon's New Map," a book written by Thomas Barnett, an assistant once to Admiral Arthur K. Cebrowski (now deceased). Barnett wrote an earlier article for the March 2003 Esquire entitled "Why the Pentagon Changes Its Map: And Why We'll Keep Going to War" ( https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a1546/thomas-barnett-iraq-war-primer/ ) describing their ideas which are introduced thusly:

"Since the end of the cold war, the United States has been trying to come up with an operating theory of the world -- and a military strategy to accompany it. Now there's a leading contender. It involves identifying the problem parts of the world and aggressively shrinking them. Since September 11, 2001, the author, a professor of warfare analysis at the U.S. Naval War College, has been advising the Office of the Secretary of Defense and giving this briefing continually at the Pentagon and in the intelligence community. Now, he gives it to you."

His basic premise: "Show me where globalization is thick with network connectivity, financial transactions, liberal media flows, and collective security, and I will show you regions featuring stable governments, rising standards of living, and more deaths by suicide than murder. These parts of the world I call the Functioning Core, or Core. But show me where globalization is thinning or just plain absent, and I will show you regions plagued by politically repressive regimes, widespread poverty and disease, routine mass murder, and -- most important -- the chronic conflicts that incubate the next generation of global terrorists. These parts of the world I call the Non-Integrating Gap, or Gap."

One more quote gives you the "Monarch Notes" edition: "Think about it: Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are pure products of the Gap -- in effect, its most violent feedback to the Core. They tell us how we are doing in exporting security to these lawless areas (not very well) and which states they would like to take "offline" from globalization and return to some seventh-century definition of the good life (any Gap state with a sizable Muslim population, especially Saudi Arabia).

If you take this message from Osama and combine it with our military-intervention record of the last decade, a simple security rule set emerges: A country's potential to warrant a U.S. military response is inversely related to its globalization connectivity."

Of course, we all recognize how much prevarication currently exists in "implementing" this strategy, but I would suggest that, very likely, the Pentagon is, indeed, following this "New Map." And, yes, this "map" shows us why the U.S. has been continually at war since 9/11 and subbornly refuses to leave Syria, Iraq, and the Middle East with their apparent justification being "Might Makes Right." Thierry Mayssen (Voltairenet) aptly describes the Gap states as "reservoirs of resources" driven into perpetual war, destabilization, and chaos by a preeminently overwhelming hegemonic U.S. military.

I had to laugh. One of Barnett's reasons in promulgating this new "map" involves the continued stability of the Core; however, what do we see today? Huge waves of immigration greatly destabilizing every aspect of Europe and chaos and destabilization flooding the U.S. via false/contrived polarization in every sphere of life. BUT! The military has "a Map!"

Psssstt!! Who's "creating" the Gap? Who has funded and armed Al Qaeda/DAESH/ISIS in the Middle East? We'll need GPS to keep up with the Pentagon's "new map!"

Archie1954 , September 14, 2018 at 14:39

I have often wondered why the US was unable to accept the position of first among equals. Why does it have to rule the World? I know it believes that its economic and political systems are the best on the planet, but surely all other nations should be able to decide for themselves, what systems they will accept and live under? Who gave the US the right to make those decisions for everyone else? The US was more than willing to kill 20 million people either directly or indirectly since the end of WWII to make its will sovereign in all nations of the World!

Bob Van Noy , September 14, 2018 at 21:54

Archie 1954, because 911 was never adequately investigated, our government was inappropriately allowed to act in the so-called public interest in completely inappropriate ways; so that in order for the Country to set things right, those decisions which were made quietly, with little public discussion, would have to be exposed and the illegalities addressed. But, as I'm sure you know, there are myriad other big government failures also left unexamined, so where to begin?

That is why I invariably raise JFK's Assassination as a logical starting point. If a truly independent commission would fix the blame, we could move on from there. Sam F., on this forum, has mentioned a formal legal undertaking many times on this site, but now is the time to begin the discussion for a formal Truth And Reconciliation Commission in America Let's figure out how to begin.

So,"Who gave the US the right to make those decisions for everyone else?", certainly not The People

Lee Anderson , September 16, 2018 at 15:28

Jill Stein said if elected she would boycott all countries guilty of human rights abuses and she included Saudi Arabia and Israel. She also said she would form a 9/11 commission comprised of those independent people and groups currently reporting on this travesty. Meanwhile we have the self-proclaimed "progressive" talk show hosts such as Thom Hartmann, defending the PNAC NEOCONS while making Stein persona non grata and throwing real progressive candidates under the bus.

The PNAC NEOCONS understood the importance of creating a galvanizing, catastrophic and catalyzing event but the alternative media is afraid to call a spade a spade, something about the truth being too risky to ones career, I assume.

See much more at youtopia.guru

Bob Van Noy , September 17, 2018 at 09:19

Lee Anderson thank you for your response, I agree and I appreciate the link suggestion, I'm impressed and will read more

didi , September 14, 2018 at 13:49

It is always the unintended consequences. Hence I disagree with some of your views. A president who takes actions which trigger unintended/unexpected consequences can be held accountable for such consequences even if he/she could not avert the consequences. It is also often true that corrections are possible when such consequences begin to appear. Given our system which makes only presidents powerful to act on war, peace, and foreign relationships there is no escaping that they must be blamed only.

Jessika , September 14, 2018 at 13:36

A very good article. Spoiler and bully describe US foreign policy, and foreign policy is in the driver's seat while domestic policy takes the pickings, hardly anything left for the hollowed-out society where people live paycheck to paycheck, homelessness and other assorted ills of a failing society continue to rise while oligarchs and the MIC rule the neofeudal/futile system. When are we going to make that connection of the wasteful expenditure on military adventurism and the problem of poverty in the US? The Pentagon consistently calls the shots, yet we consistently hear about unaccounted expenditures by the Pentagon, losing amounts in the trillions, and never do they get audited.

nondimenticare , September 14, 2018 at 12:18

I certainly agree that the policy is bereft, but not for all of the same reasons. There is the positing of a turnaround as a basis for the current spoiler role: "What had been an assertion of financial and economic power, albeit coercive in many instances, particularly with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, took on further strategic and military dimensions."

To substantiate this "crucial turn," Lawrence makes the unwarranted assumption that the goal post Soviet Union was simply worldwide free-market capitalism, not global domination: "Failures ensued. Iraq post–2003 is among the more obvious. Nobody ever planted democracy or built free markets in Baghdad"; and the later statement that the US wanted the countries it invaded to be "Just like us."

Though he doesn't mention (ignores) US meddling in Russia after the collapse of the USSR, I presume from its absence that he attributes that, too, to the expansion of capital. Indeed, it was that, but with the more malevolent goal of control. "Just like us" is the usual "progressive" explanation for failures. "Controlled by us" was more like it, if we face the history of the country squarely.

That is the blindness of intent that has led to the spoiler role.

Unfettered Fire , September 14, 2018 at 11:15

Is it really so wise to be speaking in terms of nationhood after we've undergone 50 years of Kochian/libertarian dismantlement of the nation-state in favor of bank and transnational governance? Remember the words of Zbigniew Brzezinski:

"The "nation-state" as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state." ~ Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages, 1970

"Make no mistake, what we are seeing in geopolitics today is indeed a magic show. The false East/West paradigm is as powerful if not more powerful than the false Left/Right paradigm. For some reason, the human mind is more comfortable believing in the ideas of division and chaos, and it often turns its nose up indignantly at the notion of "conspiracy." But conspiracies and conspirators can be demonstrated as a fact of history. Organization among elitists is predictable.

Globalists themselves are drawn together by an ideology. They have no common nation, they have no common political orientation, they have no common cultural background or religion, they herald from the East just as they herald from the West. They have no true loyalty to any mainstream cause or social movement.

What do they have in common? They seem to exhibit many of the traits of high level narcissistic sociopaths, who make up a very small percentage of the human population. These people are predators, or to be more specific, they are parasites. They see themselves as naturally superior to others, but they often work together if there is the promise of mutual benefit."

http://www.alt-market.com/articles/3504-in-the-new-qmultipolar-worldq-the-globalists-still-control-all-the-players

Jeff Davis , September 14, 2018 at 11:46

Your comment is astute and valuable, and consequently deserves to be signed with your real name, so that you can be identified as someone worth listening to.

Don Bacon , September 14, 2018 at 17:44

Screen names don't matter, content does.

OlyaPola , September 15, 2018 at 11:34

"Screen names don't matter, content does."

Apparently not for some where attribution is sought and the illusion of trust the source trust the content is held, leading to curveballs mirroring expectations whilst serving the purposes of others.

JuanPZenter , September 17, 2018 at 07:31

Why? The better to dox him with?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doxing

OlyaPola , September 14, 2018 at 13:35

""The "nation-state" as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state." ~ Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages, 1970"

The date of publication is of significance as was Mr. Paul Craig Roberts' Alienation in the Soviet economy of 1971, as was Mr. Andrei Amalrik's "Can the Soviet Union last until 1984 published in 1969.

The period 1968 – 1973 was one significant trajectory in the half-life of "we the people hold these truths to be self-evident" which underpinned and maintained the "nation state" misrepresented/branded as the "United States of America" through a change in the assays of the amalga mutual benefit/hold these truths to be self-evident.

The last hurrah of the "red experts" – Mr. Brezhnev and associates – despite analyses/forecasts from various agencies agreed, detente based on spheres of influence facilitating through interaction/complicity various fiats including but not restricted to fiat currency, fiat economy, fiat politics all dependent on mutations of "we the people hold these truths to be self-evident".

This interaction also facilitated processes which accelerated the demise of the "Soviet Union" and its continuing transcendence by the Russian Federation – the choice of title being a notice of intent that some interpreted as the "End of History" whilst others interpreted as lateral opportunity facilitated by the hubris of the "End of History".

The "red experts" were not unique in their illusions; another pertinent example is the strategy of the PLO in maintaining the illusion of the two state solution/"Oslo accords" facilitating the continuing colonial project branded as "Israel".

Mr. Brzezinski was one of the others who interpreted the "End of History" as linear opportunity where the assay of amalga of form could be changed to maintain content/function which was/is to "still" control all the players.

However in any interactive system neither omniscience nor sole agency/control is possible, whilst by virtue of interaction the complicity of all can be encouraged in various ways to facilitate useful outcomes in furtherance of purpose, whilst illusions of the "End of History" and the search for the holy grail of "Full Spectrum Dominance" acted as both accelerators and multipliers in the process of encouragement, whilst obscuring this process in open sight through the opponents' amalga of reliance on "plausible belief based in part on projection", "exceptionalism" and associated hubris.

The "nation state" subsuming illusions of mutual benefit and mutual purpose has always been a function of the half-lives of components of its ideological facades and practices – sexual intercourse wasn't invented in 1963 and "The "nation-state" as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force" wasn't initiated in 1970.

Unfettered Fire , September 14, 2018 at 13:43

"In our society, real power does not happen to lie in the political system, it lies in the private economy: that's where the decisions are made about what's produced, how much is produced, what's consumed, where investment takes place, who has jobs, who controls the resources, and so on and so forth. And as long as that remains the case, changes inside the political system can make some difference -- I don't want to say it's zero -- but the differences are going to be very slight." ~ Noam Chomsky

Giants: The Global Power Elite – A talk by Peter Phillips
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np6td-wzDYQ

The Elite World Order in Jitters
Review of Peter Phillips' book Giants: The Global Power Elite
https://dissidentvoice.org/2018/09/the-elite-world-order-in-jitters/

backwardsevolution , September 14, 2018 at 17:14

Unfettered Fire – good posts. Thank you. Peter Phillips is definitely worth listening to.

Jon Dhoe , September 14, 2018 at 11:02

Israel, Israel, Israel.

When are we going to start facing facts?

Daniel Good , September 14, 2018 at 09:59

Yet there is a thread that leads through US foreign policy. It all started with NSC 68. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSC_68 . Already in the 1950's, leading bankers were afraid of economic depression which would follow from a "peace dividend" following the end of WWII. To avoid this, and to avoid "socialism", the only acceptable government spending was on defense. This mentality never ended. Today 50% of discretionary govenmenrt spending is on the military. http://www.unz.com/article/americas-militarized-economy/ . We live in a country of military socialism, in which military citizens have all types of benefits, on condition they join the military-industrial-complex. This being so, there is no need for real "intelligence", there is no need to "understand" what goes on is foreign countries, there no need to be right about what might happen or worry about consequences. What is important is stimulate the economy by spending on arms. From Korean war, when the US dropped more bombs than it had on Nazi Germany, through Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya etc etc the US policy was a winning one not for those who got bombed (and could not fight back) but for the weapons industry and military contractors. Is the NYTimes ever going to discuss this aspect? Or any one in the MSM?

Lee Anderson , September 16, 2018 at 15:42

All that and we constantly have to endure the bankster/MIC-controlled media proclaiming everyone who joins the military as "heroes" defending our precious"freedoms." The media mafia is evil.

Walter , September 14, 2018 at 09:26

The "why" behind the US foreign policies was spoken with absolute honest clarity in the "Statement of A. Wess Mitchell
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs" to the Senate on August 21 this year. The transcript is at :

https://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/082118_Mitchell_Testimony.pdf

Quoth the esteemed gentleman (inter alia)

"It continues to be among the foremost national security interests of the United States to prevent the domination of the Eurasian landmass by hostile powers. The central aim of the administration's foreign policy is to prepare our nation to confront this challenge by systematically strengthening the military, economic and political fundamentals of American power. "

Tellingly the "official" State Department copy is changed and omits the true spoken words

See yourself: https://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/rm/2018/285247.htm

This is the essence of MacKinder's Thesis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Geographical_Pivot_of_History and was the underlying reason for both world wars in the 20th century.

An essay on this observed truth https://journal-neo.org/2018/09/11/behind-the-anglo-american-war-on-russia/

A deeper essay on the same subject https://www.silkroadstudies.org/resources/pdf/Monographs/1006Rethinking-4.pdf

I would propose that the zionish aspect exists due to the perceived necessity of "Forward Operating Base Israel" lookit a map, Comrade The ISIS?Saudi?Zionist games divides the New Silk Road and the Eurasian land mass and exists to throttle said pathways.

Interestingly the latter essay is attributed to Eldar Ismailov and Vladimer Papava

Brother Comrade Putin knows the game. The US has to maintain the fiction for the public that it does not know the game, and is consequently obliged to maintain a vast public delusion, hence "fake news" and all the rest.

OlyaPola , September 14, 2018 at 13:49

"I would propose that the zionish aspect exists due to the perceived necessity of "Forward Operating Base Israel" lookit a map, Comrade"

Some have an attraction to book-ends.

Once upon a time the Eurasian book-ends were Germany and Japan, and the Western Asian book-ends Israel and Saudi Arabia.

This "strategy" is based upon the notion that bookend-ness is a state of inertia which in any interactive system is impossible except apparently to those embedded in "we the people hold these truths to be self-evident".

Consequently some have an attraction to book-ends.

Walter , September 15, 2018 at 12:31

If I understand you correctly, then yes, some imagine that a static situation can exist. This a natural but delusional way of seeing the world, of course – especially because Chin and Rus are able to liquidate any counter-forces that attempt to create or maintain "book-ends.

The actual spoken words to the Senate of Mr. Michell are very significant, as the removal of them from the ostensibly real, but actually false, State Department "Transcript" implies. Foolish Mr. Michell! He accidentally spoke the true objective of US foreign policy and also the domestic objective – total bamboozlement of the US population "prepare the country for " (Obvious, world war against the Heartland states that fail to "cooperate" (surrender).

People ought to read the pdf what Michell actually spoke all of it and consider the logical implications. Michell has a big mouth Good. He confirms the dark truths

The guilty according to circumstantial evidence has confessed his guilt so to say; confirming the crime

An Israeli-Saudi "Greater Israel" dividing Syria between Saud and zion is of course a goal that in effect would be a "book-end".

Too late now as it is clear that Syrian skies are probably going to soon be "no-fly-zone" for foreign invaders

Then will come the "pitch-forks", as Napoleon's retreat from Moscow illustrated

OlyaPola , September 16, 2018 at 04:25

"If I understand you correctly, then yes, some imagine that a static situation can exist. This a natural but delusional way of seeing the world"

Absolutes including stasis don't exist but the belief of others in book-ends including extensive foreign bases are lands of opportunities for others facilitating pitch forking without extensive travel.

Consequently some perceive that the opponents have hopes and wishes which they seek to represent as "strategies" and "tactics" and some opportunities of lateral challenge derived there-from.

Some would hold that the opponents' have a greater assay of the rubbing sticks school of thermo-dynamics in "their" amalga of perception, in some regards even less perceptive than Heraclitus although Heraclitus lived in his time/interactions as the interaction below suggests.

One of the consequences is the opponents tendency to bridge doubt by belief to attain comfort through iteration and subsequent projection, facilitating lateral opportunities for others with greater perception of fission/metamorphosis/transcendence including the "unintended consequences" -at least in the opponents' perception – without resort to Mr. Heisenberg's deliberations, leading to some of the opponents resorting to snake-oil sales techniques suggesting that their intent/purpose was always what they perceived to be the concept/construct "chaos".

A further illustration of this and how it was/is not limited to present opponents citing trajectories during the period 1968 – 1973 and some subsequent consequences was broadcast through this portal on the 14th of September 2018 but not "published" possibly in ignorance of Mr. Bulgakov's contention that manuscripts don't burn.

The examples used were detente on the bases of spheres of influence agreed by the Politburo despite contrary advice from many agencies, the strategy of the PLO and half-life of these beliefs in the strategies of Hamas.

Detente on the basis of sphere of influence facilitated fiat currency, fiat politics, and fiat re-branding – "neo-liberalism" -, colonial projects in Western Asia, and how opening Pandora's box was/is only perceived as wholly a disadvantage for those seeking to deny lateral process (Stop the Empires War on Russia slogan being a useful example) and those not so immersed helped facilitate the ongoing transcendence of the "Soviet Union" by the Russian Federation – the title being a notice of intent that opponents perceived as the "End of History" as functions of their framing and projection.

OlyaPola , September 16, 2018 at 07:51

Some hold that New York, New York was so good they named it twice, whilst some others wonder whether they named it twice to make it easier for the inhabitants to locate.

Following the precautionary principle I attach below a further illustration of :

" . the opponents have hopes and wishes which they seek to represent as "strategies" and "tactics" and some opportunities of lateral challenge derived there-from ..

"One of the consequences is the opponents tendency to bridge doubt by belief to attain comfort through iteration and subsequent projection, facilitating lateral opportunities for others with greater perception of fission/metamorphosis/transcendence including the "unintended consequences" -at least in the opponents' perception – without resort to Mr. Heisenberg's deliberations, leading to some of the opponents resorting to snake-oil sales techniques suggesting that their intent/purpose was always what they perceived to be the concept/construct "chaos".

which was alluded to in the "unpublished" broadcast which referenced

1. "The "nation-state" as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state." ~ Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages, 1970.

2. Mr. P.C. Roberts' Alienation in the USSR (1971)

3. Mr Andrei Amalrik's Can the Soviet Union last until 1984 (1969).

in illustration of interactive amalga which some call Russiagate, presumably because the water had flowed but apparently not under the bridge.

The recent US presidential election process including the "outcomes" were relatively easy to predict
and required no encouragement from outside – doing "nothing" being a trajectory of doing for those not trapped in the can do/must do conflation.

Some don't understand Russian very well and so instead of understanding Mr. Putin's remark that Mr. Trump was "colourful" which has connotations to some with facility in the Russian culture/language, some sought to bridge doubt by belief to attain expectation on the basis of "plausible belief".

An increasing sum of some are no longer so immersed as illustrated in

https://www.rt.com/shows/on-contact/438556-america-book-conversation-economy/

whilst perceptual frames often have significant half-lives.

exiled off mainstreet , September 14, 2018 at 00:42

This is a great series of articles and the comments, including those having reservations, are intelligent. Since those comments appearing not to appear later seem to have appeared, mechanical difficulties of some sort seem to have been what occurred. I hope Mr. Tedesky, one of the most valued commentators writing in the comments, continues his work.

Dennis Etler , September 13, 2018 at 21:05

Patrick Lawrence's essay makes perfect sense only when it is applied to US foreign policy since the end of WW2. It is conventional wisdom that the US is now engaged in Cold War 2.0. In fact, Cold War 2.0 is an extension of Cold War 1.0. There was merely a 20 year interregnum between 1990 and 2010. Most analysts think that Cold War 1.0 was an ideological war between "Communism" and "Democracy". The renewal of the Cold War against both Russia and China however shows that the ideological war between East and West was really a cover for the geopolitical war between the two. Russia, China and Iran are the main geopolitical enemies of the US as they stand in the way of the global, imperialist hegemony of the US. In order to control the global periphery, i.e. the developing world and their emerging economies, the US must contain and defeat the big three. This was as true in 1948 as it is in 2018. Thus, what's happening today under Trump is no different than what occurred under Truman in 1948. Whatever differences exist are mere window dressing.

Rob Roy , September 15, 2018 at 00:16

Mr. Etler,
I think you are mostly right except in the first Cold War, the Soviets and US Americans were both involved in this "war." What you call Cold War 2.0 is in the minds and policies of only the US. Russian is not in any way currently like the Soviet Union, yet the US acts in all aspects of foreign attitude and policy as though that (very unpleasant period in today's Russians' minds) still exists. It does not. You says there was "merely a 20 year interregnum" and things have picked up and continued as a Cold War. Only in the idiocy of the USA, certainly not in the minds of Russian leadership, particularly Putin's who now can be distinguished as the most logical, realistic and competent leader in the world.
Thanks to H. Clinton being unable to become president, we have a full blown Russiagate which the MSM propaganda continues to spread. There is no Cold War 2.0. It's a fallacy to create a false flag for regime change in Russia. Ms. Clinton, the Kagan family, the MIC, etc., figure if we can take out Yanukovich and replace him with Fascists/Nazis, what could stop us from doing the same to Russia. The good news: all empires fail.

Maxwell Quest , September 13, 2018 at 13:41

"This is the logic of spoilage as a substitute for foreign policy. Among its many consequences are countless lost opportunities for global stability."

Mr. Lawrence is much too accommodating with his analysis. Imagine, linking US "foreign policy" in the same thought as "global stability", as if the two were somehow related. On the contrary, "global instability" seems to be our foreign policy goal, especially for those regions that pose a threat to US hegemony. Why? Because it is difficult to extract a region's wealth when its population is united behind a stable government that can't be bought off.

Walter , September 13, 2018 at 13:30

US is attempting to stop a process, to prevent Change see https://www.fort-russ.com/2017/10/v-golstein-end-of-cold-war-and/

Conjuring up Heraclitus..Time is a River, constantly changing. And we face downstream, unable to see the Future and gazing upon the Past.

The attempt has an effect, many effects, but it cannot stop Time.

The Russian and the Chinese have clinched the unification of the Earth Island, "Heartland" This ended the ability to control global commerce by means of navies – the methods of the Sea Peoples over the last 500 years are now failed. The US has no way of even seeing this fact other than force and violence to restore the status quo ante .

Thus World War, as we see

Recollecting Heraclitus again, the universe is populated by opposites as we see, China and Russia represent a cathodic opposite to the US

OlyaPola , September 14, 2018 at 09:38

"Conjuring up Heraclitus "

"And we face downstream, unable to see the Future and gazing upon the Past."

Time is a synonym of interaction the perception of which and opportunities derived therefrom being functions of analysing interactions which require notions and analyses of upstream-perceived transition point (similar to the concept/construct zero)-downstream lateral processes, which Heraclitus perceived and practiced.

Heraclitus lived in a previous time/interaction and the perception and uses of thermodynamics have laterally changed since Heraclitus' time.

Omniscience can never exist in any lateral system, but time/interaction has facilitated the increase of perceptions and lateral opportunities to facilitate various futures and their encouragement through processes of fission – the process of strategy formulation, strategy implementation, strategy evaluation, and strategy modulation refers.

Framing including attempts to deny agency to others and hence interaction thereby denying time, leads to strategic myopia, and when outcomes vary from expectations/hopes/wishes lead the myopic to attempt to bridge doubt by belief to attain comfort.

Categorical imperatives are kant facilitating can't, best left to Kant, although apparently some are loathe to agree.

"The US has no way of even seeing this fact other than force and violence to restore the status quo ante ."

The temporary socio-economic arrangement misrepresented/branded as "The United States of America" has a vested interest in seeking to deny time/interaction including through "exceptionalism" and a history of flailings and consequences derived therefrom.

"Recollecting Heraclitus again, the universe is populated by opposites as we see, China and Russia represent a cathodic opposite to the US "

As above, Heraclitus lived in a previous time and the perception and uses of thermodynamics have laterally changed since Heraclitus' time although apparently not informing the perceptions and practices of some.

Understandably Heraclitus sometimes relied within his framing on notions of moments of stasis/absolutes (steady states) such as opposites, where as like in all areas of thermo-dynamics a more modern framework would include the notions of amalga with varying interactive half-lives.

It would appear that your contribution is also subject to such "paradox" as in "China and Russia represent a cathodic opposite to the US "

Perhaps a more illuminating but more complex formulation would be found in :

"In other parts of planet earth the assay of amalga and their varying interactive half-lives differ from those asserted to exist within the temporary socio-economic arrangements misrepresented/branded as "The United States of America" thereby facilitating opportunities to transcend coercive relationships such as those practiced by the temporary socio-economic arrangements misrepresented/branded as "The United States of America", by co-operative socio-economic relations conditioned by the half-lives of perceptions and practices derived therefrom.

In part that contributed and continues to contribute to the lateral process of transcendence of the "Soviet Union" by the Russian Federation previously leading to a limited debate whether to nominate Mr. Brezhinsky, Mr.Clinton, Mr. Fukuyama or Mr. Wolfowitz for the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts facilitating the transcendence of the temporary socio-economic arrangements misrepresented/branded as "The United States of America".

Jeff Harrison , September 13, 2018 at 13:29

I guess I missed this one, Patrick. Great overview but let me put it in a slightly different context. You start with the end of the cold war but I don't. I could go all the way back to the early days of the country and our proclamation of manifest destiny. The US has long thought that it was the one ring to rule them all. But for most of that time the strength of individual members of the rest of the world constrained the US from running amok. That constraint began to be lifted after the ruling clique in Europe committed seppuku in WWI. It was completely lifted after WWII. But that was 75 years ago. This is now and most of the world has recovered from the world wide destruction of human and physical capital known as WWII. The US is going to have to learn how to live with constraints again but it will take a shock. The US is going to have to lose at something big time. Europe cancelling the sanctions? The sanctions on Russia don't mean squat to the US but it's costing Europe billions. This highlights the reality that the "Western Alliance" (read NATO) is not really an alliance of shared goals and objectives. It's an alliance of those terrified by fascism and what it can do. They all decided that they needed a "great father" to prevent their excesses again. One wonders if either the world or Europe would really like the US to come riding in like the cavalry to places like Germany, Poland, and Ukraine. Blindly following Washington's directions can be remarkably expensive for Europe and they get nothing but refugees they can't afford. Something will ultimately have to give.

The one thing I was surprised you didn't mention was the US's financial weakness. It's been a long time since the US was a creditor nation. We've been a debtor nation since at least the 80s. The world doesn't need debtor nations and the only reason they need us is the primacy of the US dollar. And there are numerous people hammering away at that.

Gerald Wadsworth , September 13, 2018 at 12:59

Why are we trying to hem in China, Russia and Iran? Petro-dollar hegemony, pure and simple. From our initial deal with Saudi Arabia to buy and sell oil in dollars only, to the chaos we have inflicted globally to retain the dollar's rule and role in energy trading, we are finding ourselves threatened – actually the position of the dollar as the sole trading medium is what is threatened – and we are determined to retain that global power over oil at all costs. With China and Russia making deals to buy and sell oil in their own currencies, we have turned both those counties into our enemies du jour, inventing every excuse to blame them for every "bad thing" that has and will happen, globally. Throw in Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and a host of other countries who want to get out from under our thumb, to those who tried and paid the price. Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and more. Our failed foreign policy is dictated by controlling, as Donald Rumsfeld once opined, "our oil under their sand." Oil. Pure and simple.

Maxwell Quest , September 13, 2018 at 14:18

I agree, Gerald. Enforcing the petro-dollar system seems to be the mainspring for much of our recent foreign policy militarism. If it were to unravel, the dollar's value would tank, and then how could we afford our vast system of military bases. Death Star's aren't cheap, ya know.

Maxwell Quest , September 13, 2018 at 15:33

I agree, Gerald. Along with ensuring access to "our" off-shore oil fields, enforcing the petro-dollar system is equally significant, and seems to be the mainspring for much of our recent foreign policy militarism. If this system were to unravel, the dollar's value would tank, and then how could we afford our vast system of military bases which make the world safe for democracy? Death Star's aren't cheap, ya know.

Anonymous Coward , September 13, 2018 at 22:40

+1 Gerald Wadsworth. It's not necessarily "Oil pure and simple" but "Currency Pure and Simple." If the US dollar is no longer the world's currency, the US is toast. Also note that anyone trying to retain control of their currency and not letting "The Market" (private banks) totally control them is a Great Devil we need to fight, e.g. Libya and China. And note (2) that Wall Street is mostly an extension of The City; the UK still thinks it owns the entire world, and the UK has been owned by the banks ever since it went off tally sticks

MichaelWme , September 13, 2018 at 12:18

It's called the Thucydides trap. NATO (US/UK/France/Turkey) have said they will force regime change in Syria. Russia says it will not allow regime change in Syria. Fortunately, as a Frenchman and an Austrian explained many years ago, and NATO experts say is true today, regime change in Russia is a simple matter, about the same as Libya or Panamá. I forget the details, but I assume things worked out well for the Frenchman and the Austrian, and will work out about the same for NATO.

Jeff Davis , September 14, 2018 at 12:53

Very dry. Kudos.

Anastasia , September 13, 2018 at 12:04

Putin said years ago, and I cannot quote him, but remember most of it, that it doesn't matter who is the candidate for President, or what his campaign promises are, or how sincere he is in making them, whenever they get in office, it is always the same policy.

Truer words were never spoken, and it is the reason why I know, at least, that Russia did not interfere in the US elections. What would be the point, from his viewpoint, and it is not only just his opinion. You cannot help but see at this point that that he said is obviously true.

TJ , September 13, 2018 at 13:47

What an excellent point. Why bother influencing the elections when it doesn't matter who is elected -- the same policies will continue.

Bart Hansen , September 13, 2018 at 15:43

Anastasia, I saved it: From Putin interview with Le Figaro:

"I have already spoken to three US Presidents. They come and go, but politics stay the same at all times. Do you know why? Because of the powerful bureaucracy. When a person is elected, they may have some ideas. Then people with briefcases arrive, well dressed, wearing dark suits, just like mine, except for the red tie, since they wear black or dark blue ones. These people start explaining how things are done. And instantly, everything changes. This is what happens with every administration."

rosemerry , September 14, 2018 at 08:02

Pres. Putin explained this several times when he was asked about preferring Trump to Hillary Clinton, and he carefully said that he would accept whoever the US population chose, he was used to dealing with Hillary and he knew that very little changed between Administrations. This has been conveniently cast aside by the Dems, and Obama's disgraceful expulsion of Russian diplomats started the avalanche of Russiagate.

James , September 13, 2018 at 09:24

Great to see Patrick Lawrence writing for Consortium News.

He ends his article with: "This is the logic of spoilage as a substitute for foreign policy. Among its many consequences are countless lost opportunities for global stability. "

Speaking of consequences, how about the human toll this foreign policy has taken on so many people in this world. To me, the gravest sin of all.

Bob Van Noy , September 13, 2018 at 08:46

I agree with Patric Lawrence when he states "Personalizing Washington's regression into the role of spoiler by assigning all blame to one man, now Donald Trump, deprives one of deeper understanding." and I also agree that 'Seven decades of global hegemony have left the State Department, Cold War notwithstanding, left the State Department with little to think about other than the simplicities of East-West tension.' But I seriously disagree when he declares that: "The crisis of U.S. foreign policy -- a series of radical missteps -- are systemic. Having little to do with personalities, they pass from one administration to the next with little variance other than at the margins.'' Certainly the missteps are true, but I would argue that the "personalities" are crucial to America's crisis of Foreign Policy. After all it was likely that JFK's American University address was the public declaration of his intention to lead America in the direction of better understanding of Sovereign Rights that likely got him killed. It is precisely those "personalities" that we must understand and identify before we can move on

Skip Scott , September 13, 2018 at 09:35

Bob-

I see what you're saying, but I believe Patrick is also right. Many of the people involved in JFK's murder are now dead themselves, yet the "system" that demands confrontation rather than cooperation continues. These "personalities" are shills for that system, and if they are not so willingly, they are either bribed or blackmailed into compliance. Remember when "Dubya" ran on a "kinder and gentler nation" foreign policy? Obama's "hope and change" that became "more of the same"? And now Trump's views on both domestic and foreign policy seemingly also doing a 180? There are "personalities" behind this "system", and they are embedded in places like the Council on Foreign Relations. The people that run our banking system and the global corporate empire demand the whole pie, they would rather blow up the world than have to share.

Bob Van Noy , September 13, 2018 at 14:42

You're completely right Skip, that's what we all must recognize and ultimately react to, and against.
Thank you.

JWalters , September 13, 2018 at 18:46

I would add that human beings are the key components in this system. The system is built and shaped by them. Some are greedy, lying predators and some are honest and egalitarian. Bob Parry was one of the latter, thankfully.

JWalters , September 13, 2018 at 18:30

Skip, very good points. For those interested further, here's an excellent talk on the bankers behind the manufacutured wars, including the role of the Council on Foreign Relations as a front organization and control mechanism.
"The Shadows of Power; the CFR and decline of America"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6124&v=wHa1r4nIaug

Joe Tedesky , September 13, 2018 at 09:42

Bob, you are right. I find it most interesting and sad at the same time that in Woodward's new book 'Fear' that he describes a pan 'almost tragic incident' whereas Trump wanted to sign a document removing our missiles and troops out of S Korea, but save for the steady hand of his 'anonymous' staffers who yanked the document off his presidential desk . wow, close one there we almost did something to enforce a peace. Can't have that though, we still have lots to kill in pursue of liberty and freedom and the hegemonic way.

Were these 'anonymous' staffers the grandchildren of the staffers and bureaucracy that undermined other presidents? Would their grandparents know who the Gunmen were on the grassy knoll? Did these interrupters of Executive administrations fudge other presidents dreams and hopes of a peaceful world? And in the end were these instigators rewarded by the war industries they protected?

The problem is, is that this bureaucracy of war has out balanced any other rival agency, as diversity of thought and mission is only to be dealt with if it's good for military purposes. Too much of any one thing can be overbearingly bad for a person, and likewise too much war means your country is doing something wrong.

Bob Van Noy , September 13, 2018 at 14:51

Many thanks Joe, I admire your persistence. Clearly Bob Woodward has been part of the problem rather than the solution. The swamp is deep and murky

JWalters , September 13, 2018 at 18:36

Bob and Joe, here's a solid review of Woodward's book Fear that points out his consistent service to the oligarchy, including giving Trump a pass for killing the Iran deal. Interesting background on Woodward in the comments as well.
https://mondoweiss.net/2018/09/woodward-national-security/

will , September 15, 2018 at 22:30

people have been pointing out that Woodward is the exact kind of guy the CIA would recruit since shortly after Watergate.

O Society , September 13, 2018 at 18:21

The document Gary Cohen removed off Trump's desk – which you can read here – states an intent to end a free trade agreement with South Korea.

"White House aides feared if Trump sent the letter, it could jeopardize a top-secret US program that can detect North Korean missile launches within seven seconds."

Sounds like Trump wanted to play the "I am such a great deal maker, the GREATEST deal maker of all times!" game with the South Koreans. Letter doesn't say anything about withdrawing troops or missiles.

Funny how ***TOP-SECRET US PROGRAMS*** find their way into books and newspapers these days, plentiful as acorns falling out of trees.

Joe Tedesky , September 13, 2018 at 19:59

Thanks for the clarification. Joe

O Society , September 14, 2018 at 13:38

You're welcome, Joe. These things get confusing. Who knows anymore what is real and what isn't?

Trump did indeed say something about ending military exercises and pulling troops out of South Korea. His staff did indeed contradict him on this. It just wasn't in relation to the letter Cohn "misplaced," AFAIK.

Nobody asked me, but if they did, I'd say the US interfered enough in Korean affairs by killing a whole bunch of 'em in the Korean War. Leave'em alone. Let North and South try to work it out. Tired of hearing about "regime change.'

Republicans buck Trump on Korea troop pullout talk

Joe Tedesky , September 13, 2018 at 10:17

Bob once again my comment disappeared I hope someone retrieves it. Joe

Joe Tedesky , September 13, 2018 at 12:24

Here's what I wrote:

Bob, you are right. I find it most interesting and sad at the same time that in Woodward's new book 'Fear' that he describes a pan 'almost tragic incident' whereas Trump wanted to sign a document removing our missiles and troops out of S Korea, but save for the steady hand of his 'anonymous' staffers who yanked the document off his presidential desk . wow, close one there we almost did something to enforce a peace. Can't have that though, we still have lots to kill in pursue of liberty and freedom and the hegemonic way.

Were these 'anonymous' staffers the grandchildren of the staffers and bureaucracy that undermined other presidents? Would their grandparents know who the Gunmen were on the grassy knoll? Did these interrupters of Executive administrations fudge other presidents dreams and hopes of a peaceful world? And in the end were these instigators rewarded by the war industries they protected?

The problem is, is that this bureaucracy of war has out balanced any other rival agency, as diversity of thought and mission is only to be dealt with if it's good for military purposes. Too much of any one thing can be overbearingly bad for a person, and likewise too much war means your country is doing something wrong.

Joe Tedesky , September 13, 2018 at 12:24

Again

Bob, you are right. I find it most interesting and sad at the same time that in Woodward's new book 'Fear' that he describes a pan 'almost tragic incident' whereas Trump wanted to sign a document removing our missiles and troops out of S Korea, but save for the steady hand of his 'anonymous' staffers who yanked the document off his presidential desk . wow, close one there we almost did something to enforce a peace. Can't have that though, we still have lots to kill in pursue of liberty and freedom and the hegemonic way.

Were these 'anonymous' staffers the grandchildren of the staffers and bureaucracy that undermined other presidents? Would their grandparents know who the Gunmen were on the grassy knoll? Did these interrupters of Executive administrations fudge other presidents dreams and hopes of a peaceful world? And in the end were these instigators rewarded by the war industries they protected?

The problem is, is that this bureaucracy of war has out balanced any other rival agency, as diversity of thought and mission is only to be dealt with if it's good for military purposes. Too much of any one thing can be overbearingly bad for a person, and likewise too much war means your country is doing something wrong.

Joe Tedesky , September 13, 2018 at 14:03

Thanks for retrieving my comments sorry for the triplicating of them. Joe

Joe Tedesky , September 13, 2018 at 12:25

3 of my comments disappeared boy does this comment board have issues. I'm beginning to think I'm being targeted.

Deniz , September 13, 2018 at 17:58

Dont take it personally, I see it more of a lawnmower than a scalpel.

rosemerry , September 14, 2018 at 08:36

My comment has disappeared too-it was a reply to anastasia.

Kiwiantz , September 13, 2018 at 08:20

Spoiler Nation of America! You got that dead right! China builds infrastructure in other Countries & doesn't interfere with the citizens & their Sovereignty. Contrast that with the United Spoiler States of America, they run roughshod over overs & just bomb the hell out of Countries & leaves devastation & death wherever they go! And there is something seriously wrong & demented with the US mindset concerning, the attacks on 9/11? In Syria the US has ended up arming & supporting the very same organisation of Al QaedaTerrorists, morphed into ISIS, that hijacked planes & flew them into American targets! During 2017 & now in 2018, it defies belief how warped this US mentality is when ISIS can so easily & on demand, fake a chemical attack to suck in the stupid American Military & it's Airforce & get them to attack Syria, like lackeys taking orders from Terrorist's! The US Airforce is the airforce of Al Qaeda & ISIS! Why? Because the US can't stomach Russia, Syria & Iran winning & defeating Terrorism thus ending this Proxy War they started! Russia can't be allowed to win at any cost because the humiliation & loss of prestige that the US would suffer as a Unipolar Empire would signal the decline & end of this Hegemonic Empire so they must continue to act as a spoiler to put off that inevitable decline! America can't face reality that it's time in the sun as the last Empire, is over!

Sally Snyder , September 13, 2018 at 07:57

Here is what Americans really think about the rabid anti-Russia hysteria coming from Washington:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/08/americans-on-russia-will-of-people.html

Washington has completely lost touch with what Main Street America really believes.

Waynes World , September 13, 2018 at 07:37

Finally some words of truth about how we want our way not really democracy. A proper way to look at the world is what you said toward the end a desire to make people's lives better.

mike k , September 13, 2018 at 07:14

Simply put – the US is the world's biggest bully. This needs to stop. Fortunately the bully's intended victims are joining together to defeat it's crazy full spectrum dominance fantasies. Led by Russia and China, we can only hope for the success of the resistance to US aggression.

This political, economic, military struggle is not the only problem the world is facing now, but is has some priority due to the danger of nuclear war. Global pollution, climate disaster, ecological collapse and species extinction must also be urgently dealt with if we are to have a sustainable existence on Earth.

OlyaPola , September 13, 2018 at 04:39

Alpha : "America's three principal adversaries signify the shape of the world to come: a post-Western world of coexistence. But neoliberal and neocon ideology is unable to to accept global pluralism and multipolarity, argues Patrick Lawrence."

Omega: "Among its many consequences are countless lost opportunities for global stability."

Framing is always a limiter of perception.

Among the consequences of the lateral trajectories from Alpha to Omega referenced above, is the "unintended consequence" of the increase of the principal opponents, their resolve and opportunities to facilitate the transcendence of arrangements based on coercion by arrangements based on co-operation.

Opening Pandora's box was/is only perceived as wholly a disadvantage for those seeking to deny lateral process.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , September 13, 2018 at 04:32

Yes, I certainly agree with author's view.

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/john-chuckman-comment-empire-corrupts-all-the-principles-of-economics-as-well-as-principles-of-ethics-and-good-government-there-is-nothing-good-to-say-about-empire-and-the-american-one-is-no-excep/

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/john-chuckman-comment-how-american-politics-really-work-why-there-are-terrible-candidates-and-constant-wars-and-peoples-problems-are-ignored-why-heroes-like-julian-assange-are-persecuted-and-r/

HomoSapiensWannaBe , September 13, 2018 at 08:23

John Chuckman,
Wow. Thanks! I have just begun reading your commentaries this week and I am impressed with how clearly you analyze and summarize key points about many topics.

Thank you so much for writing what are often the equivalent of books, but condensed into easy to read and digest summaries.

I have ordered your book and look forward to reading that.

Cheers from Southeast USA!

[Jan 04, 2020] Russia would obviously provide Iran with military supplies, intelligence, and diplomatic support, making any invasion attempt very costly for the US.

Jan 04, 2020 | thesaker.is

Nate on January 03, 2020 , · at 8:32 pm EST/EDT

Regarding the talk of a hypothetical "Iran War", I do not think Washington will actually try invading Iran, for a couple of reasons.

1. The US does not currently have enough troops to occupy Iran. It would require a military draft. This would cause massive opposition inside the USA (easily the biggest internal US political turmoil since the Vietnam War). And the youngest American adults that would get drafted are the least religious US generation ever (i.e. they are not Evangelical fundamentalists who want to throw their lives away for "Israel" and the "End Times").

2. Where would Washington launch the invasion from? Iraq? The US will soon be asked to leave Iraq, and if Washington does not comply it will very quickly turn into another quagmire for the US just like it was in the 2000s. And if they tried invading from Afghanistan, Iran could always arm the Taliban. And besides, would Pakistan really allow the US military to pass through its territory to Afghanistan to invade Iran? I think not.

3. Russia would obviously provide Iran with military supplies, intelligence, and diplomatic support, making any invasion attempt very costly for the US.

Therefore, Washington's options are rather limited to missile strikes, CIA funded terrorist attacks, and other lesser forms of meddling.

[Dec 31, 2019] The US is now openly dismissive as a matter of law any ally or partner who engages in economic activity it disapproves by Tom Luongo

Dec 26, 2019 | astutenews.com

Europe is willing to defy the U.S. on Nordstream to the point of forcing the U.S. to openly and nakedly destroy its reputation with European contractors and governments to stop one pipeline in a place where multiple gas pipelines will be needed for future growth.

This is the diplomatic equivalent of the nuclear option. And the neocons in the Senate just pushed the button. Europe understands what this is really about, the U.S. retaining its imperial position as the policy setter for all the world. If it can set energy policy for Europe then it can set everything else.

And it's clear that the leadership in Europe is done with that status quo. The Trump administration from the beginning has used NATO as an excuse to mask its real intentions towards Europe, which is continued domination of its policies. Trump complains that the U.S. pays into NATO to protect Europe from Russia but then Europe buys its energy from Russia. That's unfair, Donald complains, like a little bitch, frankly, even though he right on the surface. But if the recent NATO summit is any indication, Europe is no longer interested in NATO performing that function. French President Emmanuel Macron wants NATO re-purposed to fight global terror, a terrible idea. NATO should just be ended.

But you'll notice how Trump doesn't talk about that anymore. He wants more billions pumped into NATO while the U.S. still sets its policies. This is not a boondoggle for the MIC as much as it's a Sword of Damocles to hold over Europe's head. The U.S.'s involvement in should be ended immediately, the troops brought home and the billions of dollars spent here as opposed to occupying most of Europe to point missiles at a Russia wholly uninterested in imperial ambitions no less harboring any of them.

And Trump also knows this but thinks stopping Nordstream 2 is the price Europe has to pay him for this privilege. It's insane. The time has come for Europe to act independently from the U.S. As much as I despise the EU, to untangle it from the U.S. on energy policy is the means by which for it to then deal with its problems internally. It can't do that while the U.S. is threatening it. Circling the wagons against the immediate threat, as it were.

And that means protecting its companies and citizens from the economic depredations of power-mad neoconservatives in the U.S. Senate like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham.

Allseas, the Swiss company laying the pipe for Nordstream 2, has halted construction for now , awaiting instructions from the U.S. Gazprom will likely step in to finish the job and Germany will green light any of the necessary permits to get the pipeline done. Those people will be put out of work just in time for Christmas, turning thousands of people against the U.S. Commerce drives people together, politics drives them apart.

But, at the same time, the urgency to finish Nordstream 2 on time is wholly irrelevant now because Ukraine and Russia came to terms on a new five-year gas transit contract. This ensures Gazprom can meet its contractual deliveries to Europe that no one thought could be done on time. But when the Nazi threat to Zelensky meeting with Merkel, Macron and Putin in Paris failed to materialize, a gas deal was on the horizon.

And, guess what? U.S. LNG will still not have the marginal lever over Europe's energy policy because of that. Putin and Zelensky outmaneuvered Cruz, Graham and Trump on this. Because that's what this boils down to. By keeping Russian gas out of Europe, it was supposed to constrain not only Russia's growth but also Europe's. Because then the U.S. government can control who and how much energy can make it into European markets at critical junctures politically.

That was the Bolton Doctrine to National Security. And that doctrine brought nothing but misery to millions.

And if you look back over the past five years of U.S./EU relations you will see this gambit clearly for what it was, a way to continue European vassalage at the hands of the U.S. by forcing market share of U.S. providers into European markets.

Again, it gets back to Trump's ideas about Emergy Dominance and becoming the supplier of the marginal erg of energy to important economies around the world.

The smart play for the EU now that the gas transit deal is in place is to threaten counter-sanctions against the U.S. and bar all LNG shipments into Europe. Gas prices are at historic lows, gas supplies are overflowing thanks to fears of a deal not being in place.

So, a three to six month embargo of U.S. LNG into Europe to bleed off excess supply while Nordstream 2 is completed would be the right play politically.

But, in reality, they won't need to, because the U.S. won't be able to import much into Europe under current prices and market conditions. And once Nordstream 2 is complete, LNG sales to Europe should crater.

In the end, I guess it's too bad for Ted Cruz that economics and basic human ingenuity are more powerful than legislatures. Because Nordstream 2 will be completed. Turkstream's other trains into Europe will be built. Venezuela will continue rebuilding its energy sector with Russian and Chinese help.

There is no place for U.S. LNG in Europe outside of the Poles literally burning money virtue signaling their Russophobia. Nordstream 2 was a response to the revolt in Ukraine, to replace any potential losses in market share to Europe. Now Russia will have what it had before passing through Ukraine along with Nordstream 2. By 2024 there will be at least two trains from Turkstream coming into Europe.

Iran will keep expanding exports, settling its oil and gas trade through Russian banks. And the U.S. will continue to fulminate and make itself even more irrelevant over time. What men like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump refuse to understand is that when you go nuclear you can't ever go back. If you threaten the nuclear option, there's no fall back position.

And when those that you threaten with annihilation survive they are made all the stronger for passing through the eye of the needle. Looking at Gazprom's balance sheet right now, that's my take.


By Tom Luongo. Source: Gold Goats 'n Guns

[Dec 21, 2019] Trump administration sanction companies involved in laying the remaining pipe, and also companies involved in the infrastructure around the arrival point.

Highly recommended!
Dec 21, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Watcher x Ignored says: 12/13/2019 at 6:27 am

The new US defense bill, agreed on by both parties, includes sanctions on executives of companies involved in the completion of Nordstream 2. This is companies involved in laying the remaining pipe, and also companies involved in the infrastructure around the arrival point.

This could include arrest of the executives of those companies, who might travel to the United States. One of the companies is Royal Dutch Shell, who have 80,000 employees in the United States.

Hightrekker x Ignored says: 12/13/2019 at 12:28 pm
So much for the "Free Market".
Hickory x Ignored says: 12/12/2019 at 11:28 pm
Some people believe 'the market' for crude oil is a fair and effective arbiter of the industry supply and demand. But if we step back an inch or two, we all can see it has been a severely broken mechanism during this up phase in oil. For example, there has been long lags between market signals of shortage or surplus.

Disruptive policies and mechanisms such as tariffs, embargo's, and sanctions, trade bloc quotas, military coups and popular revolutions, socialist agendas, industry lobbying, multinational corporate McCarthyism, and massively obese debt financing, are all examples of forces that have trumped an efficient and transparent oil market.

And yet, the problems with the oil market during this time of upslope will look placid in retrospect, as we enter the time beyond peak.
I see no reason why it won't turn into a mad chaotic scramble.
We had a small hint of what this can look like in the last mid-century. The USA responded to military expansionism of Japan by enacting an oil embargo against them. The response was Pearl Harbor. This is just one example of many.
How long before Iran lashes out in response to their restricted access to the market?
People generally don't respond very calmly to involuntary restriction on food, or energy, or access to the markets for these things.

[Dec 21, 2019] Washington's Proposed New Sanctions Against Turkey also Aimed Against Russia by Paul Antonopoulos

Notable quotes:
"... Although the bill has not said which specific Russians, the nature of the bill means that there will be inevitable sanctions against Russia as it is a top weapon exporter to Syria, which will unlikely change despite of the new sanctions. Those in the eventual sanction list will face an American blacklist, which means a ban on entry, freezing of assets in the United States, a ban on doing business with this person for American citizens or companies. At the same time, the bill allows that the US President can consider each case separately and refuse to impose sanctions. ..."
"... Washington is frustrated that European energy policy is decided in Europe, not in the U.S., which calls into question the cooperation between the U.S. and Europe. It is a very risky measure and Europe would need to have a blunt attitude of rejection of these measures imposed by the U.S., because its own economy is at risk. ..."
"... Effectively, the "Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act," which strangely targets Russia who had a greater role than the U.S. in defeating ISIS terrorists, is just another way for Washington to warn other countries not to buy the S-400 or Russian military equipment or engage in energy diplomacy with Moscow. It is unlikely that this will deter states from conducting arms and energy deals with Russia as Moscow has been pioneering anti-sanction measures to protect financial transactions without punishment, and rather it demonstrates a Washington that is becoming increasingly desperate in the Era of Multipolarity. ..."
Dec 21, 2019 | astutenews.com

Washington's Proposed New Sanctions Against Turkey also Aimed Against Russia December 18, 2019 A Opinion Leave a comment With the world fixated on Turkish actions against Syria, Greece and Libya at the moment, the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Senate of the United States Congress approved a bill, "Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act," spearheaded and thoroughly promoted by staunch anti-Syria/Venezuela/Iran/Russia Democratic Senator Robert Menendez who celebrated the bills passing on his Twitter . The Republican-led Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 18-4 to send the bill for a vote in the full Senate.

The approval of the bill was widely reported in the mainstream media as an "anti-Turkey bill." Senator Jim Risch, the panel's Republican chairman, a fellow endorser of the bill with Menendez, said that the approval of this bill is because of the "drift by this country, Turkey, to go in an entirely different direction than what they have in the past. They've thumbed their nose at us, and they've thumbed their nose at their other NATO allies."

According to the draft bill , the Turkish acquisition of the powerful S-400 missile defense system gives grounds to impose sanctions against this country, under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). In particular, the document restricts the sale of U.S. weapons to Turkey and imposes sanctions on Turkish officials responsible for supplying weapons towards their illegal military operation in Syria.

Turkey signed in December 2017 the first contract with Russia for the purchase of the S-400 for a value of $2.5 billion, which caused tension in relations between Ankara and Washington. The U.S. demanded that Ankara renounce that transaction and buy U.S. Patriot systems, and threatened to delay or cancel the sale of the F-35 fighters to Turkey. Ankara refused to make concessions and assured that its purpose of acquiring Russian systems remains firm.

What was missed, perhaps intentionally by the majority of the mainstream media is that this bill has a heavy anti-Russian/Syrian component to it. Although not as detailed and expansive as the Turkish section of the bill, it claims that "the Russian Federation and Iran continue to exploit a security vacuum in Syria and continue to pose a threat to vital United States national security interests," without explaining what these security interests are, exactly as we have become accustomed to.

According to the bill, there will be a

"list of each Russian person that, on or after such date of enactment, knowingly exports, transfers, or otherwise provides to Syria significant financial, material, or technological support that contributes materially to the ability of the Government of Syria to acquire defense articles, defense services, and related information."

Although the bill has not said which specific Russians, the nature of the bill means that there will be inevitable sanctions against Russia as it is a top weapon exporter to Syria, which will unlikely change despite of the new sanctions. Those in the eventual sanction list will face an American blacklist, which means a ban on entry, freezing of assets in the United States, a ban on doing business with this person for American citizens or companies. At the same time, the bill allows that the US President can consider each case separately and refuse to impose sanctions.

These proposed new sanctions that will have to pass the House of Representatives, which passed its own anti-Turkish sanctions bill by an overwhelming 403-16 vote in October, is part of a wider effort for the U.S. to keep pressurizing Russia's economy. On December 9, the committees of both chambers of the U.S. Congress previously agreed on the military budget for 2020, which includes restrictions against the Nord Stream 2 and Turk Stream pipelines to bring Russian energy to Europe, infrastructures designed to raise Europe's energy security. The U.S. bill that provides sanctions against companies participating in the laying of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline aims to obtain unilateral advantages in the gas area to the detriment of the interests of the countries of Europe. This prompted the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Russian-German Foreign Chamber of Commerce, Matthias Schepp, to explain that the new measures against Nord Stream 2 affect not only Russia, but, above all, European companies and Germany's energy interests.

Washington is frustrated that European energy policy is decided in Europe, not in the U.S., which calls into question the cooperation between the U.S. and Europe. It is a very risky measure and Europe would need to have a blunt attitude of rejection of these measures imposed by the U.S., because its own economy is at risk.

Effectively, the "Promoting American National Security and Preventing the Resurgence of ISIS Act," which strangely targets Russia who had a greater role than the U.S. in defeating ISIS terrorists, is just another way for Washington to warn other countries not to buy the S-400 or Russian military equipment or engage in energy diplomacy with Moscow. It is unlikely that this will deter states from conducting arms and energy deals with Russia as Moscow has been pioneering anti-sanction measures to protect financial transactions without punishment, and rather it demonstrates a Washington that is becoming increasingly desperate in the Era of Multipolarity.


By Paul Antonopoulos
Source: Infobrics

[Dec 08, 2019] What is our strength? by Andrey Bezrukov

Redacted Google translation...
This is the net result of Clinton policies and neocon dominance in the USA foreign policy. And it is not a pretty picture. It might difficult to win Russia back as an ally after those Russiagate nonsense. They feel really offended by it and might overreact as is evident from the test below.
I'll just say again that imbecilization is a completely normal historical phenomenon in declining empires, Empires also tend to have a very flexible conception of truth, that is, they believe they can fabricate reality for the simple reason they are geopolitically dominant.
The fact that the MSM have become mouthpieces for the CIA/deep state has played a huge role in the brainwashing of academia and the rise of neoliberalism. The false narratives these "trusted sources" of information have been serving up create a very real Matrix, a false reality that is ingrained into those who rely upon them for their daily "news".
May 04, 2018 | vz.ru

It feels like the world has gone crazy. They push someone's wallet in our pocket, and then shout "catch the thief!". We try to debunt this false flag, show surveillance footage, which clearly shows the setup. But the continue shout in chorus - " thief, thief, thief!". Acquaintances turn away, hide their eyes. Those "Western partners" iare numerous and they silence our weak attempts to protest. We were driven into a corner... They try to strangulate us with sanctions.

Unfortunately, this is our new reality. For the next decade. The question is "Why?" Because we are a force in international arena again. We're ruining their racketeering business. We are a vivid example that it is possible to escape the system of the global racket of which they feed, That there is an alternative.

So now there is a player who does not wan to pay the racketeers, And he is still alive. This means that others may not pay either. They hate such a situation, because other players may refuse to pay, and that also means that sooner or later they might be force to live within this own meanss. It has been a long time since they live within their means, and they completely lost the habit of doing so. So they want to "solve" the problem with us now ones and forever, while others are still afraid of them.

Plus they have a new gang leader. Like all newbies, he wants to be the toughest. And raises the stakes.

Let's face the truth. They won't let us go easily. It's pointless to explain. We will be hunted, subjected to the array of false flags, persecuted and sanctioned to death. And if they feel the slack – they will beta us to the death, much more thoroughly then they did in 1990th. The question of whether this can be avoided is no longer worth asking. Today we have one question – how to survive the next two decades?

We need finally exhale and turn on the brain... The key to victory, as Sun Tzu wrote – is in knowing the enemy and knowing yourself.

What is their strength?

First, there are many. And they have money. They can buy everything, including witnesses and judges. We'll be blamed for for anything; they will attack and we will be framed as the attacker.

Second, they scream loudly. In chorus. That control world mass communications. And their propaganda works. It is useless to argue otherwise. All our arguments are useless. They will fall of death ear and will be ignored. Nobody will question their validity -- they will be simply swipe under the carpet. No matter how ridiculous is their "version of events" is (Skripals, Russiagate, Ukrainegate) the label "the guilty party" is already put on us like a yellow patch on the Jews in Nazi Germany. Before any investigation or God forbid judicial process. And most people on the planet still take their word for it.

What is their weakness?

As opponents these guys, I mean their neoliberal elites are the second grade; they belong to the "grey zone", the zone of mediocrity. Too greedy, too arrogant, and too lazy. Sometime semi-senile. Their previous generation was much stronger. They respected us. And we them.

We do not respect this new neoliberal elite and they feel that. And we don't respect them because such mediocrities do not deserve our respect, and are not trustworthily partner. They generally can be classified as "Unable to adhere to any legal treaties" (Nedogovorosposobnie") . And that scares us, almost to death, because you need to deal with completely unpredictable, bizarre partner for whom treaties and agreements are not worth the paper they were printed on. But they will avoid open fight, unless the success guaranteed. We need to ensure that such situation never occur.

Their nervousness, their fidgeting, their second-rateness now is staring to be felt by other countries who would prefer to hedge their bet and join only a sure winner. They see that the outcome of the USA quest for Full Spectrum Dominance is not yet decided.

In addition, our opponents are now engaged in brutal showdown with each other. Western Europe recovered and became competitor of the USA. They also are openly laughing over their new chief. Half of the major Europium countries leadership probably hates him. For how long he can stay in power is completely unclear. But this is a new and unexpected development. .

And those in the second row, the stooges, are generally ready to escape from this virtual battlefield. It became too expensive to catch hot potatoes for Uncle Sam as the amount of loot for partners shrunk dramatically. And problems with neoliberalism at home mounted. Neoliberal chickens start coming to roost. They were promised money and a share of loot, not a beating in a real fight with a strong determined opponent.

What is our strength?

First of all we no longer have any illusions about the the USA or West in general, illusions that cost us so dearly in 1990th. They are predators who want to colonize, fleece and dismember our nation. An having no illusions means that they can't repeat economic rape they committed in 1990th. Now we know what awaits us if we give up. They'll devour us completely. Those gangsters will kick the lying opponent with feet until he is dead. They won't let us survive a second time.

We also have a grenade as the last resort. They know it, and they're terrified we'll pull the pin.

They don't understand how we can be defeated, so they try new ways to make us surrender without a fight. Looking for a weak spot.

What is our weakness?

Our first problem is that we are alone. We are a big and clumsy country with a lot of internal problems and convoluted history. Which refuse to became the USA vassal. We were a difficult neighbor in the past. Some people are afraid of us because or our past.

Our second and main problem is the lack of money for economic reconstruction. We don't have enough money for the restoration of the economy and the standard of living of our people after 1990th rape to the level we deserve as the major European country. Say the level the Germany managed to achieve, despite being defeated in WWII. And nobody is going to help us, at least on acceptable conditions. They will try to slow down our economic development by all mean possible. that's why they already imposed sanctions under bogus pretext. They will impose more to slow down the process. They will manipulate oil prices and engage us in "gas wars." If we can solve this problem and restore the economy and the standard of living of people after 1990 collapse other problems will be easier to take on.

Also a nice thing about having money is that you instantly have a lot of fiends ;-) At once.

Now some panoramic view on the situation like in oil painting.

First of all out willingness to fight back is a guarantee that they will not get into a real fight. We need to hold out for the next ten-twenty years or so. I think this is what we can expect for neoliberalism to last before the collapse.

But that doesn't solve all our problems. We need that they stop punching us with new sanctions. Better forever but, at least for the next twenty years. Until their racket finally falls apart.

So the second goal is to earn to earn money need to reconstruction of the economy and creating first class infrastructure. Which will allow us to grow. and we need to do this while there is time. That probably means that invest our money in growth and stop saving "for a rainy day" in US treasures and Western banks. Otherwise, this rainy day may come in a very unexpected fashion and way too soon: money will simply be confiscated as long as they can do it with impunity.

Andrey Bezrukov is the associate Professor of the chair of applied analysis of international problems, MGIMO

[Nov 15, 2019] Russia is trying to re-industrialize because they're forced to: sanctions actually accelerates the process because Russian internal investors know there will be a reasonably long term market for Russian goods

Nov 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

c1ue , Nov 15 2019 16:23 utc | 164

@NemesisCalling #142

The problem with import substitution is that the factories that used to make these goods were largely moved to China. China isn't going to give them back.

So in order to attempt to substitute US made for the China imports, the factories have to be built first.

Secondly, China heavily subsidizes the early parts of the supply chains: raw materials and what not. This wouldn't hold true to American factories.

So while the goal and the theory are good, the problem is the execution.

Russia is doing it because they're forced to: sanctions actually accelerates the process because Russian internal investors know there will be a reasonably long term market for Russian goods so long as the sanctions hold true, and the sanctions also lock in Russian capital (that which was repatriated) to some extent.

[Nov 07, 2019] 3 Steps to Reviving the Russian Relationship

Notable quotes:
"... This period is when Clinton IMHO sent NATO in a wrong direction from being strictly defensive/political to getting involved in Yugoslavia which certainly irritated Russia. ..."
"... Then good old Obama and another Clinton deciding to overthrow Gaddafi and his whole Arab Spring foreign policy to include getting involved in Syria. These were disastrous decisions that the current POTUS inherited and is trying to change except the "deep state" is fighting him tooth and nail. ..."
"... Getting out of Ukraine would be a huge trust maker for Russia and it would be followed by sanctions being lifted allowing for a level playing field to begin working on the issues that need fixing. NATO isn't going away however the forward deployed forces in the Baltic's and Poland could over time in an agreed to reciprocal move say removing Iskander missiles from Kaliningrad could be accomplished. ..."
Nov 07, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

J Urie Z'ing Sui 13 hours ago ,

You are 100% correct that trust is the number one point in coming to any agreement and currently there is very little trust on either side for varying reasons. One important fact that is overlooked by most people is the leadership of President George H. W. Bush and PM Margaret Thatcher during the transition from the Soviet Union/Warsaw pact to independent sovereign nations. The Bush was a WW II pilot and Thatcher earned the name Iron Lady for her decisive action in the Falklands War, both understood the world as it was in 1990. This statement highlights the view that prevailed from Bush at the time: "Not once, but three times, Baker tried out the "not one inch eastward" formula with Gorbachev in the February 9, 1990, meeting. He agreed with Gorbachev's statement in response to the assurances that "NATO expansion is unacceptable." Baker assured Gorbachev that "neither the President nor I intend to extract any unilateral advantages from the processes that are taking place," and that the Americans understood that "not only for the Soviet Union but for other European countries as well it is important to have guarantees that if the United States keeps its presence in Germany within the framework of NATO, not an inch of NATO's present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction." (See Document 6)"

These were complicated issues that involved a multitude of parties being negotiated by just a few i.e. US, UK, France and West Germany a holdover from the WW II model. The Poles, Czechs and others were not consulted and IMHO had they been the situation would have become untenable. It must be remembered that Poland and Czechoslovakia suffered heavily due to "large important nations" giving them away pre and post WW II. There was no written agreement nor official treaty between the west and the Soviet Union soon to be Russian Federation and I believe that was intentional for the reason I give above. George H. W. Bush was not reelected in 1992 and Bill Clinton became POTUS and he pursued a foreign policy that was entirely different. Some of his ideas used Thatchers earlier idea of a more political NATO with less emphasis on the original military mission which brought in the Partnerships for Peace program. That program was IMHO quite good as it stabilized countries that were wobbly in the 1990's after the breakup occurred. The Clinton White House had Madeline Albright an immigrant from Czechoslovakia as secretary of State and Zbigniew Brzezinski a former secretary of State and an academic that influenced his policies which were pro eastern European anti Russian. It was during this time that NATO expanded. The US is a country of immigrants and there is a large Polish population as well as other eastern Europeans and political considerations are always come into play.

This period is when Clinton IMHO sent NATO in a wrong direction from being strictly defensive/political to getting involved in Yugoslavia which certainly irritated Russia.

G.W. Bush basically continued the trend with regard to NATO but was preoccupied with 9/11 more than anything else. Bush thought that he understood Putin and even invited him to his ranch in Crawford, Texas which Putin accepted and they did seem to get along.

However 2008 and the Georgia War began the slide in relations between the two countries. Then good old Obama and another Clinton deciding to overthrow Gaddafi and his whole Arab Spring foreign policy to include getting involved in Syria. These were disastrous decisions that the current POTUS inherited and is trying to change except the "deep state" is fighting him tooth and nail.

Getting out of Ukraine would be a huge trust maker for Russia and it would be followed by sanctions being lifted allowing for a level playing field to begin working on the issues that need fixing. NATO isn't going away however the forward deployed forces in the Baltic's and Poland could over time in an agreed to reciprocal move say removing Iskander missiles from Kaliningrad could be accomplished.

Gaugamela39 a day ago ,

Carthago delenda est. The policy of Cato the Censor should be applied in an unrelenting manner, leading to 'salting the earth' of Moscow.

dorotea Gaugamela39 a day ago ,

Many have tried, usually ended up in those infamous endless Russian fields, in long boxes. See Pushkin, for the exact quote. But historical trivialities aside, there should be a way to satisfy Imperial hubris without 'salting the grounds'. Hannibal's elephants did not carry nukes in their trunks. Trying for the sixth time in the last 4 centuries to get Moscow grounds salted might end badly for the entire planet.

The Chosen One dorotea a day ago ,

So it seems to me that only the advent of a nuclear weapon and the threat of an imminent deadly retaliation prevents a new "drang nach osten".

Z'ing Sui J Urie 39 minutes ago • edited ,

Trust was not breached by Russia, military buildup, hostile threatening military, NATO expansion and refusal to negotiate on these issues did not originate from Russia. Russia has tried to negotiate, concede and de-escalate before. The West did not respond to those moves. Even US sanctions placed on Soviet Union were not removed from Russia, despite there being no reason for them to remain in place. This and other recent events (libya, iran deal etc) tells Russia and other global players that de-escalating with the West doesn't work.

Even now, West seems to be interested to trade with Russia at least in some areas. And Europe is increasingly frustrated with the United States. There is reportedly a number of EU initiatives aimed at gradually limiting US economic levers created during the Cold War. Rising economies will gradually offer more opportunities outside of the Western world. Multipolar wolrd was a slogan in the 00s, in the 2040es it might be a reality.

We know NATO will not maintain ABM and CFE, and it is apparently not interested in INF and Open Skies, and even START is in question now. NATO will withdraw troops if only Russia does something? Please, you don't really believe that. With INF gone, Iskander is outdated, it was a treaty-limited weapon. Moving it a few hundred klicks will not make NATO concede anything now.

A huge trust maker would be for all NATO members to publically admit on their web page that pledges to Russia were broken and at least some NATO officials feel responsibility for that. They've spent 27 years denying any verbal assurances, now that those assurances are declassified, they build other narratives about how those pledges did not matter. For there to be trust, there needs to be an admission that trust was there, and was broken, and not by Russia. No troop movements necessary even.

J Urie mal a day ago • edited ,

Biden isn't going to win the next election Trump will be reelected in 2020. The current strain in relations with Russia has been inherited by Trump and even before he was elected the DNC and Hillary Clinton cooked up the "Russia colusion" story which after $46 million and 2 1/2 years no Russia collision. Of course now we have the Dems trying to impeach Trump which will not go anywhere in the Senate more waste of time and money. However there is the Justice Department I.G. report soon to be released and many of the people who brought you the Russia colusion hoax will be named. The Justice Department has an ongoing criminal investigation into the key players and will undoubtedly result in indictments and prosecutions.
The real reason all of this is going on is because the establishment both Dem's & Repub's along with the deep state look at Trump as an outsider who is tipping over their apple cart i.e. he is changing the foreign policy direction and they don't like it one bit so they create fake issues to try and stop him.
After his reelection I predict that more normal relations with Russia will resume.

dorotea Roma Ilto 14 hours ago ,

Nowadays the actual attacks are manifested as 'hybrid warfare'. Of course Russia took the US intervention and financing of Chechen rebels as an attack back in the 2000 ties. She took fermenting and financing of the Georgian rose revolution as a hybrid attack, same as promises made to pres. Saakashvili to support him militarily and politically after his attack on Tskhinvali were taken as a hybrid attack. Same goes for both of the first color revolution in Ukraine, and then the Revolution of dignity of 2014 that pushed ultra-right government to power in Ukraine. In fact the NATO promise to both Georgia and Ukraine to take them in as members in 2008 right after Putin's warning in 2007 was the first move in the 'hybrid war'. The West had been warned, yet it decided to bulldoze its way across Eurasia and triggered the confrontation. The placings of Aegises ashore in Poland and Romania was the cherry on top. There can be be no meaningful compromise until the West backs off on the NATO enlargement. That 2008 conference was what had reanimated the image of the collective West as adversary for Russia.

What both sides should strive for though is at the very least to diminish the degree of danger to the planet. Russia would not back off because she finds it easy enough to corner individual EU states into minimal economic cooperation - Germany is already in recession and there is no way they are going to continue damaging their economy for the sake of US politics. And then there is China. When the Russians cannot buy goods from Germans they go for made in China, which in turn gets China secure oil and gas from Russia. Which make the repeat of pre-WW II situation with blockade on Japan pretty much impossible. Get realistic, the West is loosing this one and should count her chickens already.

Roma Ilto dorotea 14 hours ago ,

Well, then the sanctions will continue, as will the policy of keeping Russian in check in the EU gas market.
What's interesting is that NATO never attacked Russia or threatened to attack Russia. Seems to me that Putin is simply using the expansion as a pretext for military aggression against the neighboring states. It's what the USSR did in 1939 against Finland. According the Soviet side, the war started after Finland attacked the Soviet Union...

dorotea Roma Ilto 14 hours ago ,

Russia *needs* the sanctions for at least another 5 years. Her milk and beef production is still lagging compared to the deceased USSR and the only way her greedy oligarchs will heavily invest in cow herd rearing is to continue to block the Eastern European milk products to enter Russia. Chicken, eggs, pork and veggies are already up to speed, wheat production is exploding, the salmon breeding programme have started so the Norway is not getting her market back, bu the cow herds take longer to rear.
The Power of Siberia pipeline is being certified and filled right now - China would receive her first delivery of piped Russian gas in 2020, so it is good that EU is prepping or the squeeze - they are not going to continue getting unlimited cheap Russian gas, because Power of Siberia II is in the works.

Every individual NATO member had attacked Russia in the past 4 centuries ( including small but meaningful US contingent in the 1918), and some non-member allies had stomped those fields as well. So the Russians are not taking any chances with the buffer zone. All of Russia expansions to the West have always started with West invading first - then being rolled back league by league. But seriously - ? Russians can live with Europe staying where she is - if in turn Europe can learn to respect her civilization borders. The move on Ukraine and Georgia was not a wise one.

[Nov 03, 2019] The Saker interviews Michael Hudson by Michael Hudson and The Saker

Nov 03, 2019 | www.unz.com

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Introduction: I recently spoke to a relative of mine who, due to her constant and voluntary exposure to the legacy AngloZionist media, sincerely believed that the three Baltic states and Poland had undergone some kind of wonderful and quasi-miraculous economic and cultural renaissance thanks to their resolute break with the putatively horrible Soviet past and their total submission to the Empire since. Listening to her, I figured that this kind of delusion was probably common amongst those who still pay attention and even believe the official propaganda. So I asked Michael Hudson, whom I consider to be the best US economists and who studied the Baltics in great detail, to reply to a few very basic questions, which he very kindly did in spite of being very pressed on time. Once again, I want to sincerely thank him for his kind time, support and expertise.

* * *

The Saker: The US propaganda often claims that the three Baltic states are a true success, just like Poland is also supposed to be. Does this notion have a factual basis? Initially it did appear that these states were experiencing growth, but was that not mostly/entirely due to EU/IMF/US subsidies? Looking specifically at the three Baltic states, and especially Latvia, these were the "showcase" Soviet republics, with a high standard of living (at least compared to the other Soviet republics) and a lot of high-tech industries (including defense contracts). Could you please outline for us what truly happened to these economies following independence? How did they "reform" their economies going from an ex-Soviet one to the modern "liberal" one?

Michael Hudson: This is a trick question, because it all depends on what you mean by "success."

The post-Soviet neoliberalism has been a great success for kleptocrats at the top. They gave themselves the public domain, from key industries to prime real estate. But the Balts largely let their Soviet industries collapse, making no effort to salvage or reorganize them.

Much of the problem, of course, was that all the linkages to Soviet-era industry were torn apart as the Soviet Union was disbanded. With their supplier and final markets closed down from Russia to Central Asia, the Baltic economies had to start afresh – with a very right-wing tax policy and no government help whatsoever, as the government itself had become privatized in the hands of former officials and grabitizers.

Lithuania was marginally better in having some industrial policy. EU and NATO accession in 2004, along with easy credit, kicked off property bubbles in the Baltics, largely inflated by Swedish banks that made a bonanza off these countries that lacked their own banks or public credit creation. The resulting 2008 crashes were the largest in the world as a percent of GDP, with Latvia suffering the world's biggest contraction.

The neoliberal western advisors who took control of these economies – as if this was the only alternative to Soviet bureaucracy – imposed crushing austerity programs to restore macroeconomic "stability" meaning security of their land and infrastructure grabs. This was applauded by Europe's bankers, who thought the Balts had discovered a workable recipe allowing austerity governments to retain power in a seeming democracy. These policies would have collapsed governments anywhere else, but the ability to emigrate, plus ethnic divisions against Russian speakers, allowed these governments to survive.

It's a historically specific situation, but Europe's bankers promote it as a generalized model. George Soros's INET and his associated front institutions have been leaders in subsidizing this financialization-cum-grabitization. The result has been a massive exodus of prime working age people from Lithuania and Latvia. (Estonians simply commute to Finland.) Meanwhile, their economies are buoyed by foreign bank lending, which sends profits back to home countries and can be reversed at any time.

Politically, the neoliberal revolution also has been a success for U.S. Cold Warriors, who sent over native Balts from Georgetown and other universities to impose "free market" doctrine – that is, a market "free" of domestic regulation against theft of the public domain, against monopolies, against land taxes and other income taxes. The Baltic states, like most of the rest of the former Soviet Union, became the Wild East.

What was left to the Baltic countries was land and real estate. Their forests are being cut down to sell wood abroad. I describe all this in my book Killing the Host .

The Saker: After independence, the Baltic states had tried to cut as many ties with Russia as possible. This included building (rather silly looking) fences, to forcing the Russians to develop their ports on the Baltic, to shutting down large (or selling to foreign interests which then shut them down) and profitable factories (including a large nuclear plant I believe), etc. What has been the impact of this policy of "economic de-Sovietization" on the local economies?

Michael Hudson: Dissolution of the Soviet Union meant that Baltic countries lost their traditional markets, and had to shift their focus to Western Europe and, to some extent, Asia.

Latvia and Estonia had been assigned computer and information technology, and they have found this to be much in demand. When I was in Japan, for instance, CEOs told me that they were looking to Latvia above all to outsource computer work.

Banking also was a surviving sector. Gregory Lautchansky, former vice-rector at the University of Riga had been a major player already in the 1980s for moving out Russian oil and KGB money. (His company, Nordex, was sold to Mark Rich.) Many banks continued to shepherd Russian flight capital via offshore banking centers into the United States, Britain and other countries. Cyprus of course was another big player in this.

The Saker: Russians are still considered "non-citizens" in the Baltic republics; what has been the economic impact of this policy, if any, of anti-Russian discrimination in the Baltic states?

ORDER IT NOW

Michael Hudson: Russian-speakers, who do not acquire citizenship (which requires passing local language and history tests), are blocked from political office and administrative work. While most Russian speakers below retirement age have now acquired that citizenship, the means by which citizenship must be acquired has caused divisions.

Early on in independence, many Russians were blocked from government, and they went into business, which was avoided by many native Balts during the Soviet era because it was not as remunerative as going into government and profiting from corruption. For instance, real estate was a burden to administer. Russian-speakers, especially Jewish ones, have wisely focused on real estate.

The largest political party is Harmony Center, whose members and leadership are mainly Russian-speaking. But the various neoliberal and nationalist parties have jointed to block its ability to influence law in Parliament.

Since Russian speakers are only able to "vote with their feet," many have joined in the vast outflow of emigration, either back to Russia or to other EU countries. Moreover, the poor quality of social benefits has led to few children being born.

The Saker: I often hear that a huge number of locals (including non-Russians) have emigrated from the Baltic states. What has caused this and what has been the impact of this emigration for the Baltic states?

Michael Hudson: The Baltic states, especially Latvia, have lost about 30 percent of their population since the 1990s, especially those of working age. In Latvia, about 10 percent of the loss were Russians who exited shortly after independence. The other 20 percent have subsequently emigrated.

The European Commission forecasts that Latvia's working-age population will decline by 1.6% annually for the next 20 years, while the birth rate remains as stagnant as it was in the late 1980s. The retired population (over age 65) will rise to half a million people by 2030, more than a quarter of today's population, and perhaps about a third of what remains. This is not a domestic market that will attract foreign or local investment.

And in any case, the European Union has viewed the post-Soviet economies simply as markets for their own industrial and agricultural exports, not as economies to be built up by public subsidy as the European countries themselves, the U.S. and Chinee economies have done. The European motto is, "Give a man a fish, and he will be fed all day with your surplus fish and consumer goods – but give him a fishing rod and we will lose a customer."

Readers who are interested might want to look at the following books and articles. I think the leading work has been done by Jeffrey Sommers and Charles Woolfson.

The Saker: Finally, what do you believe is the most likely future for these states? Will the succeed in becoming a "tiny anti-Russia" on Russia's doorstep? The Russians appear to have been very successful in their import-substitution program, at least when trying to replace the Baltic states: does that mean that the economic ties between Russia and these states is now gone forever? Is it now too late, or are there still measures these countries could take to reverse the current trends?

Michael Hudson: Trump's trade sanctions against Russia hurt the Baltic countries especially. One of their strong sectors was agriculture. Lithuania, for instance, was known for its cheese, even in Latvia. The sanctions led Russian dairy farming to develop their own cheese-making, and agriculture has become one of Russia's strongest performing sectors.

This is a market that looks like it will be permanently lost to the Baltic states. In effect, Trump is helping Russia follow precisely the policy that made American agriculture rich: agricultural isolation has forced domestic replacement for hitherto foreign food. I expect that this will lead to consumer goods and other products as well.

The Saker: thank you for your time and replies!


PeterMX , says: November 3, 2019 at 7:01 am GMT

I am in Tallinn, Estonia right now. Just how good an economy is performing is often hard to determine by talking to people, because like economists, many people have different perceptions. I was just talking to a Russian-Estonian who was telling me how much better Lithuanians and Latvians are then Estonians at doing things and how much cheaper things are there. It is true that things are much cheaper in the other Baltic countries because Estonia (a tiny country of just over 1 million people) has taken off. Since the 2008 econmic collapse housing prices have shot up and in Tallinn there is building going on all over the city. But, my acquaintance is wrong about other things. Estonians do things very well and Tallinn is a very nice city, with beautiful cafes, clean and well kept streets and crime is very low. It is a very good city, except it is now very expensive, especially considering how much people make here. The weather is not nice, except for in the summer and there are friendly Estonians but they don't have a reputation for being particularly friendly, even among themselves. I have not been back to Latvia yet, but when I was in Riga years ago, it was a gorgeous city, bigger than Tallinn too. I think they do things very well there too. The Russians I speak to here are often friendly and based on what I have been told, relations between Russians and Estonians are much better than when I was here in the early 2000's.

No offense is intended to Russians, but the Baltic countries had large German populations that played a key role in the development of the cultures and peoples of these countries. There were also many Jews here prior to WW II. By the time WW II had begun the German populations were much smaller than they had been and at the end of the war the Jewish populations were much smaller. Jews were targeted in Latvia and Lithuania and many Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians were shipped off to far off places in the USSR during the war. I believe the Jews were largely pro communist and welcomed the Soviet takeover of these countries in 1940, while the Latvian and Estonian peoples were pro German, thus explaining the hard feelings between Balts and Jews.. They wanted independence and formed legions to fight alongside the German army during WW II.

These countries were very advanced before WW II, having engineering industries and the Russian Empire's first auto company was formed in Riga before WW I. While engineering may have been restarted after WW II, these countries populations were decimated and they never returned to their former heights. Perhaps they still can.

GMC , says: November 3, 2019 at 7:33 am GMT
I'm assuming that these 3 East European countries are being bombarded with the same propaganda as the Ukies are, so Russian speakers and those intelligent enough to see the game being played will be belittled and isolated. But the Russian folks living in Russia have a birds eye view of what is going on in the west and their puppet countries. Russia TV and debate programs, just have to show the delinquencies that are daily happenings in the States, and Europe, in order to make the Ru people say – No Thanks to that way of life. As far as the new Russian cheeses that are now in the markets -lol – they make a lightly smoked gouda that is really good and is about 120-140 roubles a kilo. And, they are making more cheddar that is a white medium taste as well. No scarcity of good natural food in Russia and No POlice state. Spacibo Unz Rev.
Anonymous [159] Disclaimer , says: November 3, 2019 at 8:18 am GMT
The trade volume between Russia and the Baltic states has actually risen, despite the sanctions. The Baltics send food products and booze to Russia (and another 150 countries, food exports to Russia actually grew in 2016-2018). As well as chemical products and pharmaceuticals. Meldonium, btw, is made in Latvia and is still being sent to Russia (as well as 20 other countries), not for athletes, but for regular folks. Work is being carried out on a new generation Meldonium pill (the biggest market will be Russia).

Growth in the Baltic states has been 3-4% in the last few years. GDP per capita, as well as HDI, is higher than in Russia. Foreign investment, including from Russia, has been growing (Russia was the second largest investor in Latvia in 2018). Savings rates are growing, too. After a relative quiet period after 2010, the number of Russian (and other tourists) has grown again.

Estonia's population stopped shrinking in 2016 and is now growing in fact. They've seen immigration from Finland, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, as well as returning Estonians.

Emigration is a problem, of course, but this is partly because the Baltic states are the only former USSR republics whose citizens were even given work permits in the West, imagine what would happen if these permits were given to Russians from the regions.

Neo-liberal policies are of course bad and certain types of investment should be controlled, but to say that there are no social services in the Baltic states is complete nonsense. Due to generous parental payments, birthrates have risen significantly since the 1990s – in fact, birthrates in the Baltics are now slightly higher than the EU average. Life expectancy is also growing. Latvia covers IVF treatments in full. There are free school lunches.

Yes, it is true that some of the Soviet era factories should've been salvaged but the problem was they were not competitive globally at that time (and there was no capital to remodel them). The Soviet market was a closed one. However, some businesses were salvaged. There is local manufacturing (electronics, pharmaceuticals, etc).

Not everything is ideal, but it is also not the kind of gloom and doom as you paint.

Jake , says: November 3, 2019 at 11:46 am GMT
If the Anglo-Zionist Empire comes to save you, you should expect to be raped: culturally and religiously as well as economically.
onebornfree , says: Website November 3, 2019 at 3:48 pm GMT
Saker says: "Initially it did appear that these states were experiencing growth, but was that not mostly/entirely due to EU/IMF/US subsidies?"

"Foreign Aid Makes Corrupt Countries More Corrupt":

"Any time a government hands out money, not just foreign aid, it breeds corruption And there are few better examples than Ukraine – just don't tell the House impeachment hearings. Counting on foreign aid to reduce corruption is like expecting whiskey to cure alcoholism .If U.S. aid was effective, Ukraine would have become a rule of law paradise long ago . The surest way to reduce foreign corruption is to end foreign aid."

http://jimbovard.com/blog/2019/10/29/foreign-aid-makes-corrupt-countries-more-corrupt/

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: November 3, 2019 at 5:16 pm GMT
@onebornfree The EU gives every year about 2,500 million euros to the 3 Baltic countries ( 6 million people the three of them ) , and 9000 million euros to Poland ( 38 million people ) , plus more billions to other eastern members .

Older members of the EU , specially the UK which is going out , Greece witch was tortured ( again ) economically by Germany , and south Europe in general are not very happy about admitting so many ex-soviets countries en the EU and subsidizing them .

AnonFromTN , says: November 3, 2019 at 9:31 pm GMT
@SeekerofthePresence

Recovery and self-sufficiency since Yeltsin show the brilliance of the Russian people

It's not so much brilliance as sheer necessity to survive under sanctions. But some results were better than anyone expected. Say, food before sanctions used to be so-so in the provinces and downright bad in Moscow because of abundance of imported crap. Now the food is exclusively domestic, fresh and tasty. Russia never had traditions of making fancy cheeses. Now, to bypass sanctions, quite a few Italian and French cheese-makers started production in Russia, so in the last 2-3 years domestically made excellent fancy cheeses appeared in supermarkets. Arguably, Russian agriculture benefited by sanctions more than any other sector, but there are success stories virtually in every industry. Sanctions and Ukrainian stupidity served as a timely wake up call for Russian elites, who earlier wanted to sell oil and natural gas and buy everything else. Replacing imports after the sanctions were imposed had a significant cost in the short run, but in the long run it made Russia much stronger, economically and militarily. Speak of unintended consequences.

Kazlu Ruda , says: November 3, 2019 at 11:58 pm GMT
My mom is from Lithuania and I've been there several times. We have second cousins our age.

Her father was a surveyor for the Republic in the 20s and 30s, charged with breaking up the manors and estates and the state distributing the land to the peasantry. It was near-feudalism. There was very little industrialization; that which existed were in a few urban centers. One interesting comment from her was that the "Jews were communists". From what I've read they were the urban working class, but perhaps part of the socialist/Jewish Bund?

There is no doubt that the Soviet period unleashed considerable industrialization and modernization. Lithuania had some of the best infrastructure in the USSR. Its traditional culture was really celebrated.

When I first visited, not long after the fall of the USSR, there were enormous, vacant industrial plants. The collective farms were in the process of being sold off the western European agribusiness firms. One relative through marriage was from the Ukraine, with a PhD in Physics and had been employed in the military industries -- she was cleaning houses thereafter.

Any usable industrial enterprises were quickly sold off. The utilities are all foreign owned. Part of EU mandates are "open" electricity "markets", which resulting in DC interconnections costing hundreds of millions with the west to import very high priced electricity. The EU has paid for "Via Baltica", a highway running from Poland to Estonia; it is choked with trucks carrying imports and there are huge distribution and fulfillment centers along the highway. Such progress, huh?

There had been good public transport in the earlier years of independence, but that has been replaced with personal automobiles -- usually western European used cars that pollute a lot. Trakai is a commuter town to Vilnius with a medieval castle (restored in Soviet times). First time I went it was very pleasant. Second time in 2018 the place was choked with cars and not very nice at all.

The impact of emigration cannot be over-stated. College educated young people leave by the hundreds of thousands. Those that remain are paid very low wages (e.g., 1000 euros for a veterinarian or dentist), but pay west European prices for many essentials. Housing is cheaper than the west.

Last time in Kazlu Ruda there were huge NATO exercises in progress and even bigger ones planned for 2020. German units were billeted at an airbase nearby, rumored to have been a CIA black site. How fitting, as the Germans with the Lithuanian Riflemens Union exterminated a quarter of a million Jews in a matter of months (see Jager Report on Wikipedia). There is a Red Army graveyard in the town that has the remains of perhaps 350 soldiers killed in the area driving out the Nazis. I was frankly surprised it was still there.

Lithuania hasn't been independent since the days of the Pagans and Vytautas. It surely isn't independent today.

Anecdotal -- yes. But based on personal observation.

[Sep 15, 2019] Iran A Club of Sanctioned Countries in Solidarity Against US Economic Terrorism Dissident Voice

Sep 15, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

Iran: A Club of Sanctioned Countries in Solidarity Against US Economic Terrorism

by Press TV / September 13th, 2019

PressTV Interview – transcript

Background links:
https://ifpnews.com/iranian-mps-propose-formation-of-club-of-sanctioned-countries
https://www.newsweek.com/russia-china-iran-fight-sanctions-1458096

Excerpts:

An Iranian parliamentary faction has come up with the idea of establishing a club of sanctioned countries for concerted action against the US economic terrorism.

The chairman of the Parliament's faction on countering sanctions, Poormokhtar, gave a report on the formation of the faction and its activities, as well as the ongoing efforts to establish the club of sanctioned countries. Iran's FM, Zaraf, said this would be enhancing the already existing alliance of Russia, China, Syria, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela against US economic terrorism.

PressTV: Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Cuba, and Venezuela are among the nations that have come out against the United States' use of sanctions to enforce its foreign policy around the world. In what ways can they fight these US sanctions as a group?

Peter Koenig: Brilliant idea! Solidarity makes stronger and eventually will attract other countries who are sick and tired of the US sanction regime, and since they have the backing of Russia and China, that's a very strong alliance, especially an economic alliance. The sanction regime can only be broken through economics, meaning decoupling from the western monetary system. I said this before and say it again, at the risk of repeating myself.

After all, China is the world's largest and strongest economy in Purchasing Power GDP measures which is the only comparison that really counts. I believe this solidarity alliance against US sanctions is certainly worth a trial.

And personally, I think it will be a successful trial, as more countries will join, possibly even non-sanctioned ones, out of solidarity against a common tyrant.

The countries in solidarity against sanctions, in addition to ignoring them -- and the more they ignore them, the more other countries will follow-suit -- that's logical as fear disappears and solidarity grows.

For example, Iran and Venezuela, oil exporting countries, could accompany their tankers by war ships. Yes, it's an extra cost, but think of it as temporary and as a long-term gain. Would "Grace I" have been accompanied by an Iranian war ship the Brits would not have dared confiscating it. That's for sure.

PressTV: Many of the US sanctions have led to death of civilians in those particular countries. At the same time, sanctions have also led to the improvement of these countries to the point where domestic production in various fields advanced. Don't sanctions become country-productive to US aims?'

PK: Of course, the sanctions are counter-productive. They have helped Russia to become food-self-sufficient, for example. That was not Washington's intention and less so the intention of the EU, who followed Washington's dictate like puppets.

Sanctions are like a last effort before the fall of the empire, to cause as much human damage as possible, to pull other nations down with the dying beast. It has always been like that starting with the Romans through the Ottoman's. They realize their time has come but can't see a world living in peace. So they must plant as much unrest and misery as possible before they disappear

That's precisely what's happening with the US.

Intimidation, building more and more military bases, all with fake money, as we know the dollar is worth nothing – FIAT money – that the world still accepts but less and less so, therefore military bases, deadly sanctions, and trade wars. Trump knows that a trade war against China is a lost cause. Still, he can intimidate other countries by insisting on a trade war with China or that's what he thinks.

PressTV: The more countries US sanctions, illegally, more people turn against the US: doesn't that defeat the US so-called fight against terrorism and violence?

PK: Well, US sanction and the entire scheme of US aggression has nothing to do with fighting terrorism, as you know. It's nothing but expanding US hegemony over the world, and if needed, and more often than not, the US finances terrorism to fight proxy wars against their so-called enemies, meaning anybody not conforming to their wishes and not wanting to submit to their orders and not letting them exploit – or rather steal – their natural resources.

Syria is a case in point. ISIL is funded and armed by the Pentagon, who buys Serbian produced weapon to channel them through the Mid-East allies to Syrian terrorists, the ISIL or similar kinds with different names -- just to confuse.

Venezuela too – the opposition consist basically of US trained, financed and armed opposition "leaders" – who do not want to participate in totally democratic elections – order of the US – boycott them. But as we have seen as of this day, the various coup attempts by the US against their legitimate and democratically elected President, Nicolás Maduro, have failed bitterly, and this despite the most severe sanctions regime South American has known, except for Cuba, against whom the US crime has been perpetuated for 60 years.

So, nobody should have the illusion that Washington's wars are against terrorism. Washington is THE terrorist regime that fights for world hegemony.

Press TV is the first Iranian international news network broadcasting in English on a round-the-clock basis. Read other articles by Press TV , or visit Press TV's website .

This article was posted on Friday, September 13th, 2019 at 7:33am and is filed under China , Cuba , Interview , Iran , Russia , Sanctions , Syria , United States , US Terrorism , Venezuela .

[Sep 13, 2019] The US Massively Underestimates the Trade War Blowback by Robert Berke

Notable quotes:
"... Trade wars and sanctions are economic weapons against rival regimes, and like actual military warfare, often lead to unanticipated and sometimes devastating blowback from the targeted regimes. ..."
"... At the same time, western companies were forced to withdraw from Russian mega-deals because of sanctions. The best-known example was Exxon, forced by sanctions to walk away from an Arctic joint venture with Russia's state-owned oil giant, Rosneft, where it had invested $3.2 billion. In their very first effort, the partners successfully drilled oil wells containing 750 million barrels. ..."
"... The trade war with China that has led to tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese exports to the US, and as a result, Russia and China have moved even closer. It remains an absolute mystery why no one in the west had foreseen the blowback from economic warfare leading to an alliance between two of its most powerful adversaries. ..."
"... The US acts as if it has been blind-sided by the Russian/China moves, even though years before it undertook economic warfare against them, China, the world's largest energy importer, agreed to finance oil and gas multi-billion-dollar pipelines in neighboring Russia. Now Russia has become China's largest energy supplier, equaling or perhaps even surpassing its energy supplies to Europe. ..."
"... As stated by Global Village Space (GBS) , China and Russia rushed to aid Iran, with China replacing Total, in a 25-year deal estimated to be worth some $400 billions. With that, China inherits a bonanza, providing much needed finance and technology to a country that was and could again become one of the world's leading energy producers. China is looking to finance $280 billion to develop Iran's gas, oil and petrochemicals industries, along with $120 billion to improve transport and manufacturing, making it a key partner in China's Road and Belt program. ..."
"... The deal also gives China the right to buy any or all Iranian oil, gas, and petrochemicals products at a minimum guaranteed 12% discount to global benchmarks, plus an additional discount of 6-8% for risk adjusted compensation. Financing will proceed using local currencies, avoiding the costs of converting to a hard currency like the US dollar or the Euro, giving the Beijing yet another 10% cost advantage. ..."
"... In direct defiance of US sanctions against Iran, China has stepped into the breach, increasing its oil purchases from Iran while becoming Iran's major energy trade and finance partner. Like Russia, it seems that Iran is moving towards a military alliance with China. If the west worries about China's expansive moves in the South China Sea, along China's own borders, what to make then of China moving in on Hormuz, where some 30% of world oil is transited each day? ..."
"... It is well known that the US has been in secret meetings with Iran representatives, much to the dismay of the Saudi Arabia and Israel. As Bloomberg reports, after the G7 meeting, Trump publicly and repeatedly stated he was ready to meet with Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani. Bloomberg also reported that in a meeting with his Cabinet, Trump announced that he was ready to ease sanctions as a possible way to open negotiations between the two countries. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin agreed with the President, while National Security Advisor Bolton voiced strong opposition, that only one day later, led to his firing. Secretary of State Pompeo stated that Trump may meet on the sidelines of the upcoming UN meeting with Iran's President. ..."
"... The EU defence industry initiative, the ECB's money transfer service, the EU army (or defence collaboration :) are all longer term policies aimed at reducing the EU's reliance on systems that are controlled by the USA. ..."
"... Sanctions are the modern equivalent of siege warfare, only the target is a nation, not a city. ..."
"... John Bolton is clueless. He's a throwback to ruthless American competition and cowboy capitalism. And he appears to be an idiot. ..."
"... Consumer spending is going to struggle the rest of the year as it rebalances and manufacturing is heading to a full blown recession by December as auto companies try and get their balance sheets under control. ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. Even though most readers know the general point very well, that US trade and financial sanctions haven't brought targets to their knees, and had instead pushed them to find allies, but it's useful to have detail to flesh out the story. There are some bits one can quibble with, like the "annexation of Crimea" bit, and the US objectives for its sanctions against Russia. At least under the Obama Administration, the belief was that they would damage the economy severely and force a regime change.

By Robert Berke, an energy financial analyst with experience as a government consultant to the State of Alaska. Originally published at OilPrice

Trade wars and sanctions are economic weapons against rival regimes, and like actual military warfare, often lead to unanticipated and sometimes devastating blowback from the targeted regimes.

A prime example was President Obama sanctioning Russia over its annexation of Crimea. The sanctions were designed to block Russia from any access to western financing, aimed at causing a dire financial and economic crisis in Russia that would force it to relinquish Crimea and end support for Ukraine's breakaway territories.

In fact, the sanctions did cause Russia to enter a short-lived recession. But it also had other, much more drastic results for the West. It forced Russia to move closer to China, and Moscow saw Beijing as a great alternative to western financing for Russian industries.

At the same time, western companies were forced to withdraw from Russian mega-deals because of sanctions. The best-known example was Exxon, forced by sanctions to walk away from an Arctic joint venture with Russia's state-owned oil giant, Rosneft, where it had invested $3.2 billion. In their very first effort, the partners successfully drilled oil wells containing 750 million barrels.

As noted by Reuters, the withdrawal was costly:

Exxon will post an after-tax loss of $200 million as a result of pulling out of the Rosneft deal, but the true costs for the company run much deeper. Exploring and developing giant offshore fields in Russia was supposed to provide long-term growth for the company, and, in recent years, has seen falling reserves.

But the opportunity losses are likely to be far higher for Exxon, the company that famously missed the US shale revolution. The long-term deal with Rosneft, expected to continue for decades, included exploration for oil in the Black Sea, enormous shale resources in Western Siberia, and the development of three large blocks in the Arctic (Kara Sea).

The trade war with China that has led to tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese exports to the US, and as a result, Russia and China have moved even closer. It remains an absolute mystery why no one in the west had foreseen the blowback from economic warfare leading to an alliance between two of its most powerful adversaries.

China's major state-owned oil companies and its Silk Road fund each became 10% partners in Russia's first major Arctic LNG (liquified natural gas), project in the Yamal Peninsula, undertaken with Novatek, Russia's largest independent gas producer. The project offers great prospects for enormous expansion.

The US acts as if it has been blind-sided by the Russian/China moves, even though years before it undertook economic warfare against them, China, the world's largest energy importer, agreed to finance oil and gas multi-billion-dollar pipelines in neighboring Russia. Now Russia has become China's largest energy supplier, equaling or perhaps even surpassing its energy supplies to Europe.

A similar scenario is taking place in the Persian Gulf where the US has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear deal, while imposing economic sanctions on Iranian oil exports. The French energy giant, Total, that in recent years has been a leading international oil company in that country, was forced to withdraw because of sanctions, just like Exxon in Russia's Arctic, it left billions of dollars on the table.

This may also answer the question as to why French Prime Minister Macron was so intent on inviting the Iranian Foreign Secretary to the recent G7 meeting in France. It's also no secret that French carmakers Peugeot and Renault are the main suppliers to Iran's auto assembly plants.

As stated by Global Village Space (GBS) , China and Russia rushed to aid Iran, with China replacing Total, in a 25-year deal estimated to be worth some $400 billions. With that, China inherits a bonanza, providing much needed finance and technology to a country that was and could again become one of the world's leading energy producers. China is looking to finance $280 billion to develop Iran's gas, oil and petrochemicals industries, along with $120 billion to improve transport and manufacturing, making it a key partner in China's Road and Belt program.

The deal also gives China the right to buy any or all Iranian oil, gas, and petrochemicals products at a minimum guaranteed 12% discount to global benchmarks, plus an additional discount of 6-8% for risk adjusted compensation. Financing will proceed using local currencies, avoiding the costs of converting to a hard currency like the US dollar or the Euro, giving the Beijing yet another 10% cost advantage.

GBS further reports that the security for these projects will include up to 5,000 Chinese security personnel on the ground in Iran to protects Chinese projects and to safeguard the transit of energy products from Iran to China, including security for the very strategic Hormuz Straits.

In direct defiance of US sanctions against Iran, China has stepped into the breach, increasing its oil purchases from Iran while becoming Iran's major energy trade and finance partner. Like Russia, it seems that Iran is moving towards a military alliance with China. If the west worries about China's expansive moves in the South China Sea, along China's own borders, what to make then of China moving in on Hormuz, where some 30% of world oil is transited each day?

If these are considered winning policies for the West, one has to ask what failure looks like.

The West is already slowly becoming aware of the blowback this disastrous policy has caused. Evidence for this can be found in Macron's efforts to persuade Trump towards a peaceful resolution with Iran.

It is well known that the US has been in secret meetings with Iran representatives, much to the dismay of the Saudi Arabia and Israel. As Bloomberg reports, after the G7 meeting, Trump publicly and repeatedly stated he was ready to meet with Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani. Bloomberg also reported that in a meeting with his Cabinet, Trump announced that he was ready to ease sanctions as a possible way to open negotiations between the two countries. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin agreed with the President, while National Security Advisor Bolton voiced strong opposition, that only one day later, led to his firing. Secretary of State Pompeo stated that Trump may meet on the sidelines of the upcoming UN meeting with Iran's President.

The firing of Bolton was immediately followed by a fall in the price of oil and gold. Allowing Iran to continue to increase supplies into already well supplied oil markets will add downward pressure on oil prices. For the Trump administration, this is not necessarily a bad thing unhappy consumers at the gas pump make for unhappy voters.

Similarly, the Trump Administration badly needs to move towards ending the trade war with China in order to calm global markets. The recent announcement of the resumption of trade talks between the US and China in October may provide an opportunity for a similar easing of tariffs and a path towards further resolution.

Although these actions could help to quell global tensions, it may be too late to reverse some of the serious damage caused by US-led economic warfare. Once China positions itself in Iran, it will not likely be interested in withdrawing from its new strategic position in the Middle East, that it gained as a result of US near sighted foreign policy.

Prior to the election, we may see a breakthroughs in the trade war, and the alleviation of sanctions with Russia, Iran, China, and perhaps even North Korea, but the US will almost certainly see the negative consequences from adversaries it helped to expand and strengthen.


The Rev Kev , September 13, 2019 at 5:48 am

Can't speak much about the effects of the Chinese sanctions but I know a little bit about the Russian ones. These Russian sanctions are biting hard but not the way they were intended and it is not only the big oil companies that are losing big. Since they kicked in Russia has lost about $50 billion in trade with the European Union which kinda stings. But in the same time frame, the European Union has lost about $240 billion.

Considering that fact that these sanctions were never for their benefit but for solidarity with the US, that is a very expensive price tag. The US lost only about $17 billion but I remember reading that after the sanctions kicked in, trade between the U and Russia actually increased. Europe is a big loser here, particularly with agriculture. When the EU sanctioned Russian products to the EU, the Russians did the same to them a few weeks later which came as a shock. Since then Russia has made huge investments into growing their own food crops and those markets will never come back again for the EU. As an example, Russia is once more a world leader in the production of wheat second only to the US and has learned the value of autarky.

You see these results in all sorts of areas as the country started phasing out imports and replacing them with domestically made products. They even started making marine engines out of necessity as they were denied purchase of foreign ones. People might remember how Russia was going to buy two specially built ships from France but France reneged under pressure from Washington.

France not only had to give back all the money the Russians paid but also had to compensate Russia for all related costs that the Russians made. In the end France paid Russia over a billion dollars which was triple what the Russians initially paid. And now the Russians are constructing their own ships of this class in the Crimea using the knowledge acquired from France. Perhaps it is things like this that has cause Macron to open up contacts with Russia once more in spite of what Washington demands.

https://www.rt.com/business/462291-putin-sanctions-eu-losses/

Add in the purchase of gold stocks, developing financial systems in case the US cuts Russia off from the SWIFT clearance systems, the development of weaponry that makes the deployment of nuclear missile systems in Europe futile, you realise that Washington has massively underestimated the response of counties like Russia, China and Iran and depended on unicorn wishes instead.

fajensen , September 13, 2019 at 7:03 am

But in the same time frame, the European Union has lost about $240 billion. Considering that fact that these sanctions were never for their benefit but for solidarity with the US, that is a very expensive price tag.

Well, Looks like Donald Trump let "The Swamp(tm)" run loose and they went and over-torqued the screws!

Some decision makers in within the EU have begun to see the US sanctions against everything and everyone as having the true goals of ablating EU's influence on the world while hampering EU-based businesses. There are initiatives and polices that hints at "cutting the cord" are quietly being introduced.

The EU defence industry initiative, the ECB's money transfer service, the EU army (or defence collaboration :) are all longer term policies aimed at reducing the EU's reliance on systems that are controlled by the USA.

The 'North Stream' pipeline and keeping the Iran deal kinda alive are more immediate and direct challenges, as was the total unwillingness to join in any of the planned military adventures involving Syria and Iran.

France is being rather open about about it. Possibly to test out on behalf of the EU what the USA is actually willing to do to exact revenge and enforce compliance, possibly also because opposing the USA in France remains a reliable way to win votes.

Carolinian , September 13, 2019 at 8:51 am

It's not just Trump. Our Congress is totally at the beck of special pleaders such as LNG exporters and arms companies. All seek to use the US economic weapon to further their own interests.

John A , September 13, 2019 at 7:17 am

Plus, Russia is determinedly GMO free. The more the US goes down the GMO route, the less likely the food trade with the EU – the European dogs wont eat GMO dogfood. Post Brexit perhaps, Britain will accept US foods, all the more reason to insist on a proper border if NI remains part of the 'UK'.

notabanker , September 13, 2019 at 9:43 am

It's not just GMO, but the level and quality of technocratic oversight. US government agencies are incapable of regulating anything in the private sector. While the EU is still greatly influenced by private money, it has not completely sold out.

rd , September 13, 2019 at 2:16 pm

The EU has effectively sidelined FAA on the the 737 MAX: https://www.heraldnet.com/business/boeing-737-max-jet-to-face-separate-test-by-eu-regulators/

What US airline would fly the 737 MAX if the FAA says go ahead but the EASA holds back on approval?

US regulatory capture has now become so blatant that the rest of the world is starting to ignore US regulators.

jackiebass , September 13, 2019 at 6:17 am

What is ignored by media is the harm sanctions inflict on the people living in these countries. I think it should be considered a crime against humanity and our leaders should be prosecuted. Sanctions are a weapon that is just as harmful as weapons to kill. We only seem to look at the economic effects and ignore the social effects.

Ander Pierce , September 13, 2019 at 9:13 am

Sanctions are the modern equivalent of siege warfare, only the target is a nation, not a city.

I've known in a vague intuitive way that US sanctions would alienate nations and isolate the US, it's useful seeing how exactly these sanctions are backfiring with more nuance!

John , September 13, 2019 at 7:15 am

What is the next step after you have sanctioned everything and everyone and the reaction is a shrug and a work around? Sanctions do have their bite, but they are, or are becoming, a more effective tool for global economic and political realignment than a means to accomplish their stated purpose.

Susan the other` , September 13, 2019 at 10:38 am

Good question. I am wondering the same thing. There is a vague pattern here with Russia, the most resource-rich oil producer. We don't want Russia to take off too fast. What can be left in the ground should be left in the ground. And maybe that was the existential threat posed by Exxon – a private, profit seeking US corporation geared to do everything fast in order to make their profits.

Just thinking about slamming the breaks on manufacturing and consumption and how this can make a mess of the oil industry if it is going for profits – race to the bottom (currently). Rather, anyone thinking straight would want to conserve oil, control it's production and marketing. John Bolton is clueless. He's a throwback to ruthless American competition and cowboy capitalism. And he appears to be an idiot.

Watt4Bob , September 13, 2019 at 7:18 am

There was a discussion of China's role in manufacturing drugs for Big Pharma on the news last night, truly frightening.

They've already been found to be selling us contaminated drugs, what happens when they refuse to deliver anything other than fentanyl?

I find it hard to understand how we're going to recover from the damage done by the short-sighted, wholesale outsourcing of our manufacturing to China.

Drake , September 13, 2019 at 10:52 am

Given the centrality of drugs to American life, we should categorize them as sensitive items of national security and declare a war on foreign drugs. That would brilliantly combine the failed policies of the past with the failed policies of the present. We could make exceptions for most-favored nations like Colombia or Afghanistan.

I'm not even sure how sarcastic I'm being. ;)

Chauncey Gardiner , September 13, 2019 at 12:53 pm

As in military conflicts, the fog of geoeconomic war together with partisan lens and poor leadership can prevent adversaries from developing an accurate assessment of reality. The writer has raised some examples that support his view pertaining to pushback, and he could be right as The Rev Kev so eloquently pointed out here WRT Russia. However, whether his article provides an accurate overview of the current state of play remains an open question IMO.

Setting aside deeply troubling questions about our national values and whether sanctions should ever be employed due to their very damaging effects on domestic populations, together with their evident past failure to realize policy goals, there are credible accounts that China is now confronting a U.S. dollar shortage; that China has significant issues in its financial system and economy; and that the people of China are seeing sharply rising food prices as a result of decreased supplies of pork and soybeans. These issues are being perceived as sufficient to cause China's leaders to be receptive to negotiating resolution of the current tariffs, trade, intellectual property, and investment impasse on terms favorable to the U.S. Whether this will be so remains to be seen, of course.

Sound of the Suburbs , September 13, 2019 at 2:27 pm

A multi-polar world became a uni-polar world with the fall of the Berlin Wall and Francis Fukuyama said it was the end of history. It was all going so well, until the neoliberals got to work. The US created an open, globalised world with the Washington Consensus. China went from almost nothing to become a global super power.

That wasn't supposed to happen, let's get the rocket scientists onto it. Maximising profit is all about reducing costs. China had coal fired power stations to provide cheap energy. China had lax regulations reducing environmental and health and safety costs. China had a low cost of living so employers could pay low wages. China had low taxes and a minimal welfare state.

China had all the advantages in an open globalised world. "The Washington Consensus was always going to work better for China than the US" the rocket scientists.

If the US left this running it would be China first and America second. PANIC!

marku52 , September 13, 2019 at 3:48 pm

It seems since about the Vietnam war era, US FP has been run by hubristic idiots with delusions of grandeur. Its foreign policy 101 that you never, never, set policy to drive your 2 largest rivals to alliance.

Yet these morons did exactly that. Since Trump, there have been many retirements form the State Dept.

And maybe that's not such a bad thing. They show no evidence of competence.

GF , September 13, 2019 at 3:50 pm

According to this linked article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-13/russia-wants-to-rent-out-more-farmland-for-food-exports-to-asia

Russia is leasing out old collective farm lands that was abandoned in the eastern part of the country to Asian countries to farm and grow the export food products needed. It seems the collective farms were abandoned and now the Russian government is re-purposing the vast amounts of land available.

"Russia is now considering requests from Asian firms to farm another 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) -- an area roughly the size of Jamaica, according to the head of a government agency."

It may be said that Trump's tariffs are the best things that could have happened to China and Russia.

notabanker , September 13, 2019 at 3:55 pm

If it leads to us not growing corn and soybeans, it may be a good thing for the US as well.

Andy Raushner , September 13, 2019 at 4:16 pm

Frankly, I think it has pushed up consumer spending and that is about it. In other words, this economy has overcapacity problems in the auto sector and its relation to junk corporate debt, is not good.

Consumer spending is going to struggle the rest of the year as it rebalances and manufacturing is heading to a full blown recession by December as auto companies try and get their balance sheets under control.

[Sep 13, 2019] The War in Eastern Ukraine May be Coming to an End But Do Any Americans Care? by Jeremy Kuzmaro

Ukraine is mainly the result of attempt of the USA to encircle Russia well as EU design for economic Drang nach Osten -- attempt to displace Russia in xUSSR republics.
So they pushed Ukraine into the pat that Baltic republic were already known for.
Notable quotes:
"... Ukraine's newly elected comedian president Volodymyr Zelensky called the prisoner exchange a "first step" in ending the war in Eastern Ukraine, which has killed an estimated 13,000 civilians. ..."
"... In a subsequent referendum, 89% in Donetsk and 96% in Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine voted for independence, which the new government of Petro Poroshenko government did not accept. ..."
"... She told U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in a telephone conversation that was tapped and later leaked that Arseniy Yatsenyuk, neoliberal head of the "Fatherland" Party, should be Prime Minister as he was thought to have the "economic" and "governing experience." ..."
"... Nuland further revealed that the U.S. had invested over $5 billion in "democracy promotion" in Ukraine since 1991 through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which was carrying on the kind of work previously undertaken by the CIA during the Cold War. ..."
"... NED president Carl Gershman called Ukraine "the biggest prize" and an important interim step towards toppling [Russian President Vladimir] Putin who "may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself." ..."
"... To help achieve this end, the Obama administration pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees to the post-coup government in Ukraine, which Putin considered as the "ideological heirs of [Stephen] Bandera, Hitler's accomplice in World War II." ..."
"... Swayed by a slick lobbying campaign backed by supporters of the Afghan mujahidin in the 1980s looking for a new cause and by the Senate's Ukraine Caucus, the Obama administration further provided nearly $600 million in security assistance to the Ukrainian military. ..."
"... American military advisers embedded in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry provided rocket propelled grenades, carried out training exercises and planned military operations including with members of the fascist Azov battalion, which had Nazi-inspired Wolfsangel patches emblazoned on their sleeves. ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

On Saturday September 7, Russia and Ukraine agreed to a prisoner swap which has brought hope of improved relations between the two countries and an end to the 5-year long conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

A peace accord is being planned for later this month in Normandy involving Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany.

Ukraine's newly elected comedian president Volodymyr Zelensky called the prisoner exchange a "first step" in ending the war in Eastern Ukraine, which has killed an estimated 13,000 civilians.

The Ukraine War remains largely unknown to the American public even though the United States has had a great stake in it.

The war started after a coup d'états in Ukraine in February 2014, which overthrew the democratically elected pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovuch.

In a subsequent referendum, 89% in Donetsk and 96% in Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine voted for independence, which the new government of Petro Poroshenko government did not accept.

The United States was a heavy backer of the coup and dirty war that unfolded in the East.

Victoria Nuland, the head of the State Department's European desk, traveled to Ukraine three times during the protests that triggered the coup, handing out cookies to demonstrators.

She told U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in a telephone conversation that was tapped and later leaked that Arseniy Yatsenyuk, neoliberal head of the "Fatherland" Party, should be Prime Minister as he was thought to have the "economic" and "governing experience."

Nuland further revealed that the U.S. had invested over $5 billion in "democracy promotion" in Ukraine since 1991 through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which was carrying on the kind of work previously undertaken by the CIA during the Cold War.

Ukraine has long been considered an important bridge between Eastern and Western Europe and holds lucrative oil and gas deposits.

NED president Carl Gershman called Ukraine "the biggest prize" and an important interim step towards toppling [Russian President Vladimir] Putin who "may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself."

To help achieve this end, the Obama administration pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees to the post-coup government in Ukraine, which Putin considered as the "ideological heirs of [Stephen] Bandera, Hitler's accomplice in World War II."

Swayed by a slick lobbying campaign backed by supporters of the Afghan mujahidin in the 1980s looking for a new cause and by the Senate's Ukraine Caucus, the Obama administration further provided nearly $600 million in security assistance to the Ukrainian military.

It was supplied with counter-artillery radars, anti-tank systems, armored vehicles and drones in a policy expanded upon by Trump.

Before and after the Ukrainian military's campaign began, Secretary of State John Kerry, CIA Director John Brennan, and Vice President Joe Biden visited Kiev, followed by a flow of senior Pentagon officials.

A back-door arms pipeline was set up through the United Arab Emirates and Blackwater mercenaries were allegedly deployed.

American military advisers embedded in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry provided rocket propelled grenades, carried out training exercises and planned military operations including with members of the fascist Azov battalion, which had Nazi-inspired Wolfsangel patches emblazoned on their sleeves.

Obama's National Security adviser, Samantha Power, claimed that the [Ukrainian] governments "response [to alleged provocations by eastern rebels] [was] reasonable, it is proportional, and frankly it is what any of our countries would have done."

The Ukrainian military and allied warlord and neo-Nazi militias were not acting reasonably or proportionally, however, when they carried out artillery and air attacks on cities and struck residential buildings, shopping malls, parks, schools, hospitals and orphanages in Eastern Ukraine, and tortured and executed POWs in what amounted to clear war crimes.

NYU Professor Stephen Cohen notes that even The New York Times , which mainly deleted atrocities from its coverage, described survivors in Slovyansk living "as if in the Middle Ages."

That the American public knows nothing of these events is a sad reflection of the superficiality of our media and decline in the quality of international news coverage.

It is also a testament to the failing of the political left, which has embraced the cause of immigrant and Palestinian rights and fighting climate change, legitimately, but neglected the plight of the Eastern Ukrainian people. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jeremy Kuzmarov

Jeremy Kuzmarov is the author of The Russians are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce (Monthly Review Press, 2018).

[Aug 25, 2019] The G7 Should Pressure China but Find a Solution with Russia The National Interest

Aug 25, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

[Aug 21, 2019] Further US sanctions on Russia. Russian gdp growth is very low now, forecasts are about mere 1,2 % per anum, and thus Russia's share of world GDP is declining

Notable quotes:
"... EU is the power, that took part in creating narco-haven in Kosovo, murdering children of Iraq, building sex slaves markets in Libya, destroying what was left of democracy in Ukraine. EU power is diminishing? Let it crash and burn if you ask me. ..."
Aug 21, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Arioch , Aug 20 2019 14:22 utc | 83

> Further US sanctions on Russia. Russian gdp growth is very low now, forecasts are about mere 1,2 % per anum, and thus Russia's share of world GDP is declining.

Posted by: Passer by | Aug 20 2019 13:15 utc

You think "harming Russia" is a good answer to question "how does it boost USA the hegemon?". Well, let's suppose it...

Problem then is, Russia does not care that much about nominal GDP and even about PPP GDP. It is "average temperature in hospital", where some patients are in 41C fever and others in 4C morgue, but on average they all have that healthy 36,6C.

However, even for those sanctions that did hit Russia and EU hard (and those were enacted mostly in 2015), under the "China-Russia double helix" model, economic soft power is Chinese responsibility, so targetting EU and Russia economically was perhaps a mis-aiming, like would be targetting China militarily.

Also, take a single line - "congress obliges Trump to enlist Russian officials for sanctions" and do the search in both pro-Clinton Google and in DDG. first page of Google has zero relebvant results. DDG however starts with

Trump Administration Sends Congress List of Possible Russia ...
www.nytimes.com/2017/10/26/us/politics/trump-russia-sanctions.html

Congress has tied Trump's hands on Russian sanctions - Vox
www.vox.com/2017/7/29/16061878/trump-russian-sanctions-sign

Congress Forces Trump to Sanction Russia - Fash the Nation
fashthenation.com/2018/03/congress-forces-trump-to-sanction-russia/

Trump Finally Imposes Russia Sanctions That Congress Ordered ...
www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/03/trump-finally-imposes-russia-sanctions-that-congress-ordered-months-ago/

Is 2017 so far ago that we already forgot it? Trump has no freedom of choice to sanction Russia or not. It is not his authority to make this choice. Trump is ordered to sanction and he would do. If he has any leeway, it is to how specifically sanction, but even that choice is framed into UIS domestic politic fuel, as a vehicle to fry Trump over being "Putin's shil" and looking "not enough" into evil Russians.

> China postponed for overtaking the US in gdp MER to 2032 from 2024.

Estimations are just that, estimations. Guesses into the future mixed with propaganda. If you don't buy Trump's tweets about "China begging for deal" and Obama's about "Russian economy in tatters" - why to buy these estimations?

> Indian growth downgraded - which taken together with China means slowing down Asia's rise.

Pro-American Modi in power of India was a definite win for USA. But I do not think Trump did it in 2016. Such events are grown for years and years of undercover works.

Same for the Brazil fiasco, which i perceive was much heavier blow upon BRICS than Modi. But Brazilian coup was in preparation yet before Trump's oath. May 2016 was the FINAL act, prepared months before: nytimes.com/interactive/2016/world/americas/brazil-dilma-rousseff-impeachment.html

> Iran in recession - long term growth is low - it means that Iran's share of the world economy is now declining. This will lower Iranian influence in the long term.

Long term? like Trump is planning for long term? Would he, like Putin, still be American president in 2016+18=2034 ?
Well, maybe. However does it boost much US the hegemon position today?

Also notice how this pushes Iran back to Russian bucket. Before JCPOA Iran was flirting with "Lesser Satan" a lot, promising to buy russian airliners, promising to barter Iranian goods (oil and others) for Russian goods, thus de facto letting Russia be quasi-monopolistic seller of Iranian goods on world market for any margin Russia would manage to extract. All those hints and kinda-plans were squashed instantly after JCPOA. Iran rushed to trade with EU directly, to buy Boeing and Airbis jets.... But was shot into the leg before it started. I think China would also find their way to be "big helping brother" to Iranian economy, on some conditions of course.

> Venezueala in deep recession

True, and this is again fitting the isolationist bill, to a degree. If Team Trump ready to exclude USA from global trade - it would have to secure oil supply. Enslaving a nearby oil-containing nation would do.

Additionally, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States–Venezuela_relations lists 2014 as start of economic sanctions against Venezuela. So, Trump has inherited "office of Venezuelan affairs" from Cinton/Obama. And... he brought it to light and headlines by making that idiotic wannabe-coup. The sh*t that previously USA did silently pretending whitegloved "shining beacon", Trump exposed.

Did it really made USA position better in 2018 than it was in 2014? I doubt. To me it seemes more like T.T. accelerated things and "threw it all on the table" making Venezuela "hit the rock bottom". Now Venezuela can adjust to the new brave world, while USA would probably not be in position to tighten its grip - it already burned all the reserves and in so clumsy way, that Bolton and Co became a laughing stock. If anything, it exposed that while most gov't there would be paying lip service to USA, none would go with something material. France invaded with USA Libya, Germany invaded with USA Serbia, but none enlisted to invade Venezuela with USA.

> In Latin America most governments are now US puppet governments.

Brazil was indeed a huge blow into the BRICS dream. But i see it more of that indirect, covert "soft power" that USA secret services prepared and rushed to implement before Trump.

> Weakened the EU, via support for Brexit and other ways - it means that the euro will not be a viable alternative for replacing the dollar

Basically turning EU elites against USA and splitting "Western Hegemony" into rivaling factions.

From multipolar view circa 2010, would it be much difference for, say, Russia or China or Iran, whether USD or EUR would be "reserve currency"?

After Alexander of Macedonia died his empire split to pieces, and some of those pieces soon started warring. Did this enhance Greek hegemony or reduced it?

When COMECOM and Warsaw Pact disbanded did it enhanced Soviet hegemony over Eastern Europe or reduced it? But it slashed exports of those lands, Bulgaria is not more agriculture super-power it used to be, "Ikarus" bus is still often meet in Moscow street but in the "remnants of old times still able to run" kind, Poland is no more producing ocean-grade ships. So, was it enhancing USSR share of world economy then?

Also, didn't he kind of forced EU elites into Chinese OBOR camp? That said, similarly Russia was forced towards China in 2013-2014 by Western lunacy, so i would not say it was Trump's novelty to push EU eastwards.

EU was in with US in looting Libya, EU was in with US in looting Serbia, now US calls for EU to join in "patrolling" Persian Gulf and response is... like the one about invading Venezuela. Hegemon became stronger?

> Trade wars seem to be hitting EU's export dependent economy pretty hard.

And i wish to see more of those wars not less. Won't you? EU is the power, that took part in creating narco-haven in Kosovo, murdering children of Iraq, building sex slaves markets in Libya, destroying what was left of democracy in Ukraine. EU power is diminishing? Let it crash and burn if you ask me.

> Turkey has serious economic problems - partly due to the US again - which again means slowing down multipolarity

Wasn't in 2012 Turkey part of Hegemon entourage neck-deep in bloody ISIS affair?
Wasn't Turkey for decades be knockign into closed EU membership doors?
Wasn't Turkey send their people into Germany to intertwine and cross-influence?

Turkey as part of multipolarity? Maybe. But exactly because it was prohibited from what they see their place in global western world. However i am not very sure that would West offer "larger piece" to Turkey in their crippling hegemony, turkey would not turn back yet again. Goog thing, it would be hard to do as few believe western promises today, but again, didn't Trump (but other western politicians too, and including many pre-Trump) invested into making West glaringly "not agreement-capable" in but everyone's view?

Trump could smash Turkey and instate Kudistan.
Trump could smash Kurds and make amends with Erdo.
Instead Trump is breaking pots with both. Neither Kurds not Turks no trust "the shining beacon".

> Overall situation - the US share in the world economy is declining at slower rates than before

Won't this mean Trump's economic policy is if limited success?

> the retarding of growth of everyone else, which means defacto slowing down multipolarity and the replacement of the US dollar

That may be what some faction of Team Trump counting upon. But i have reservations.
Uni-polarity is not about economic growth. It is about trading on One True Market, hegemon's one.
And when everything goes down, another factors start to weigh in. Like elasticity of demand and replacement with cheaper substitutes. Like, if i need a tooling for my house, i would perhaps want to purchase Japanese Makita or German Bosh. Those are famous brands with decades of well earned reputation. But if i only can salivate on them, then perhaps i can go with some cheaper Chinese knock-off? Or perhaps to blow the dust from my grandpa's old tool and purchase nothing at all? If i can buy genuine American Levi's it is a fad, but if i can, then perhaps i will make it in Turkey-made or China-made or Philipinnes-made or even Syria-made jeans? You know, their cut is not that fitting as European or American, but perhaps we can deal with it for the price? If in Russia i can no more buy Czech or German beer as before 2014, then perhaps i can sooth myself with apple cidre from semi-eastern Altai region of Russia? And then, will my gov't still had the same need for USD for those adjusted trade transactions, as it used to?

[Aug 16, 2019] Punishing the World With Sanctions by Philip Giraldi

Aug 16, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

August 15, 2019 © Photo: Flickr Sanctions are economic warfare, pure and simple. As an alternative to a direct military attack on a country that is deemed to be misbehaving they are certainly preferable, but no one should be under any illusions regarding what they actually represent. They are war by other means and they are also illegal unless authorized by a supra-national authority like the United Nations Security Council, which was set up after World War II to create a framework that inter alia would enable putting pressure on a rogue regime without going to war. At least that was the idea, but the sanctions regimes recently put in place unilaterally and without any international authority by the United States have had a remarkable tendency to escalate several conflicts rather than providing the type of pressure that would lead to some kind of agreement.

The most dangerous bit of theater involving sanctions initiated by the Trump administration continues to focus on Iran. Last week, the White House elevated its extreme pressure on the Iranians by engaging in a completely irrational sanctioning of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. The sanctions will have no effect whatsoever and they completely contradict Donald Trump's repeated assertion that he is seeking diplomacy to resolving the conflict with Iran. One doesn't accomplish that by sanctioning the opposition's Foreign Minister. Also, the Iranians have received the message loud and clear that the threats coming from Washington have nothing to do with nuclear programs. The White House began its sanctions regime over a year ago when it withdrew from the JCPOA and they have been steadily increasing since that time even though Iran has continued to be fully compliant with the agreement. Recently, the US took the unprecedented step of sanctioning the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is part of the nation's military.

American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made clear that the sanctions on Iran are intended to cause real pain, which, in fact, they have succeeded in doing. Pompeo and his accomplice in crime National Security Advisor John Bolton believe that enough pressure will motivate the starving people to rise up in the streets and overthrow the government, an unlikely prospect as the American hostility has in fact increased popular support for the regime.

To be sure, ordinary people in Iran have found that they cannot obtain medicine and some types of food are in short supply but they are not about to rebel. The sanctioning in May of Iranian oil exports has only been partially effective but it has made the economy shrink, with workers losing jobs. The sanctions have also led to tit-for-tat seizures of oil and gas tankers, starting with the British interception of a ship carrying Iranian oil to Syria in early July.

Another bizarre escalation in sanctions that has taken place lately relates to the Skripal case in Britain. On August 2 nd , Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing a package of new sanctions against Moscow over the alleged poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England in March 2018. The order "prohibit[s] any United States bank from making any loan or providing any credit except for loans or credits for the purpose of purchasing food or other agricultural commodities or products." The ban also includes "the extension of any loan or financial or technical assistance by international financial institutions," meaning that international lenders will also be punished if they fail to follow Washington's lead.

The sanctions were imposed under the authority provided by the US Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act adopted in 1991, which imposes penalties for use of chemical weapons. Novichok, which was reportedly used on the Skripals, is a chemical weapon developed in the labs of the Soviet Union, though a number of states are believed to currently have supplies of the agent in their arsenals. Russia can appeal the sanctions with 90 days by providing "reliable assurance" that it will not again use chemical weapons.

Russia has strenuously denied any role in the attack on the Skripals and the evidence that has so far been produced to substantiate the Kremlin's involvement has been less than convincing. An initial package of US-imposed sanctions against Russia that includes the export of sensitive technologies and some financial services was implemented in August 2018.

Venezuela is also under the sanctions gun and is a perfect example how sanctions can escalate into something more punitive, leading incrementally to an actual state of war. Last week Washington expanded its sanctions regime, which is already causing starvation in parts of Venezuela, to include what amounts to a complete economic embargo directed against the Maduro regime that is being enforced by a naval blockade.

The Venezuelan government announced last Wednesday that the United States Navy had seized a cargo ship bound for Venezuela while it was transiting the Panama Canal. According to a government spokesman, the ship's cargo was soy cakes intended for the production of food. As one of Washington's raisons d'etre for imposing sanctions on Caracas was that government incompetence was starving the Venezuelan people, the move to aggravate that starvation would appear to be somewhat capricious and revealing of the fact that the White House could care less about what happens to the Venezuelan civilians who are caught up in the conflict.

Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez condemned the move as "serious aggression," and accused the Trump Administration of trying to impede Venezuela's basic right to import food to feed its people.

One of the most pernicious aspects of the sanctions regimes that the United States is imposing is that they are global. When Washington puts someone on its sanctions list, other countries that do not comply with the demands being made are also subject to punishment, referred to as secondary sanctions. The sanctions on Iran's oil exports, for example, are being globally enforced with some few exceptions, and any country that buys Iranian oil will be punished by being denied access to the US financial and banking system. That is a serious penalty as most international trade and business transactions go through the dollar denominated SWIFT banking network.

Finally, nothing illustrates the absurdity of the sanctions mania as a recent report that President Trump had sent his official hostage negotiator Robert O'Brien to Stockholm to obtain freedom for an American rap musician ASAP Rocky who was in jail after having gotten into a fight with some local boys. The Trumpster did not actually know the lad, but he was vouched for by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, both of whom have had nice things to say about the president. The negotiator was instructed to tell Sweden that if they did not release Rocky there would be "negative consequences." Who can doubt that the consequences would undoubtedly have included sanctions?

It has reached the point where the only country that likes the United States is Israel, which is locked into a similar cycle of incessant aggression. To be sure Donald Trump's rhetoric is part of the problem, but the indiscriminate, illegal and immoral use of sanctions, which punish whole nations for the presumed sins of those nations' leaders, is a major contributing factor. And the real irony is that even though sanctions cause pain, they are ineffective. Cuba has been under sanctions, technically and embargo, since 1960 and its ruling regime has not collapsed, and there is no chance that Venezuela, Iran or Russia's government will go away at any time soon either. In fact, real change would be more likely if Washington were to sit down at a negotiating table with countries that it considers enemies and work to find solutions to common concerns. But that is not likely to happen with the current White House line-up, and equally distant with a Democratic Party obsessed with the "Russian threat" and other fables employed to explain its own failings.

[Jul 18, 2019] The more "effective" the sanctions, the closer to war

Jul 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

elkern , Jul 17 2019 16:08 utc | 31

Trailer Trash is exactly right about brittle supply chains. To "maximize Shareholder value" (the Prime Directive from Wall Street), corporations are maximizing (not optimizing) efficiency, at the expense of long-term priorities.

Summer Diaz is sorta right about what I might describe as US cultural/political obesity, but I don't look forward to living here after the shit hits the fan. There are lotsa crazy bastards with guns. We'll see real race war, starvation, all 4 Horsemen.

Re questions about Israel's fate in Marandi's scenario: I think it's smart that he/they don't talk about retaliation against Israel. Everybody knows that Iran has the ability to really hurt Israel (sans Nukes, they probably can't obliterate it); but this threat is much better left unsaid, just hanging in the air. Threatening Israel would be bad PR, decreasing chances that EU, Russia, & China can talk the US back from the brink of WWIII. And making sure Israel knows they're in danger - without bragging about it - gets (non-crazy) Zionists in USA to help prevent all-out war!

It's OK for Iran to talk about the threat to KSA, UAE, etc, because everybody hates them anyway, and cutting off the world's energy supply is their Doomsday Bomb. They need to remind the world that if the US attacks Iran, everybody loses.


karlof1 , Jul 17 2019 16:23 utc | 32

Three main antagonists have aimed at post-revolution Iran: The Outlaw US Empire, Occupied Palestine, and Saudi Arabia, the latter being the most recent and vulnerable, while the first two have already waged varying degrees of war with the Empire's Economic War having existed for 40+ years. The Levant's former Colonial powers--Turkey, France, UK--are feeble, and in Turkey's case is allied with Iran while being spurned by NATO and EU. Lurking in the background are Russia and China's designs for Eurasian Integration which only the Outlaw US Empire seeks to prevent as such integration benefits Saudi Arabia, Occupied Palestine, France and UK. Thus the only entity that might benefit from non-hybrid war with Iran is the Outlaw US Empire--Occupied Palestine's interests actually lie with becoming part of an Integrated Eurasia not in trying to impede it. And the same goes for the other nations occupying the Arabian Peninsula--but they all need to come to their senses by deeply examining their actual long term interests as Qatar seems to have done in its rapprochement with Iran.

But, just how would a non-hybrid conflict with Iran benefit the Outlaw US Empire if it consumes its regional allies? Would it bring more riches or create greater debt atop the human cost? Most analysts have pointed to the Empire's vulnerability upon the trashing of the current global economic structure. Indeed, the only visible benefit might accrue from slowing Eurasian Integration. Then there's the highly negative result to the Empire's global credibility which is already scrapping rock bottom and the likely end of Dollar Hegemony and the Free Lunch it's lived on for the past 70+ years. But what about the fulfillment of the Christian Rapture Myth? Sorry, but there should be no need to answer that fantastical, magical, thinking. Not a very good balance sheet is it as liabilities seem to vastly outweigh assets. Unfortunately, such logic is ignored by ideologues drunk on magical thinking. And these results don't take into consideration an escalation into global nuclear conflict that's in nobody's interest.

But as noted, Trump's up a tree and keeps climbing higher onto ever thinner, more precarious branches. Iran offered him a chance to climb down if he removes illegal sanctions and returns to JCPOA, which Pompeo promptly replied to with a lie that Iran would negotiate on its ballistic missiles, thus giving the overall goal away.

So, Trump can't/won't climb down and non-hybrid conflict would do great damage to Outlaw US Empire interests, which is where we were at July's beginning.

goldhoarder , Jul 17 2019 16:41 utc | 33
Iran will respond to a limited military strike with a massive and disproportionate counterstrike targeting both the aggressor and its enablers.
Which will be the green light for an even more violent & disproportionate counterstrike on Iran. Make no mistake - there are plenty of gung-ho Washington & Tel Aviv power brokers who want to trash Iran. And they will do it, given the chance. The above scenario is precisely what the war gods are hoping for.

I don't know about that. The US and Israel would really be opening up a can of worms. Any over reaction by the USA and Israel gives Russia, India, and China a precedent to follow. China might it easy to settle their difficulties with Taiwan. Kiev might go up in a mushroom cloud. The USA isn't the only country in the world with problems. If they don't play by the rules it just leads to more rule breakers.

arata , Jul 17 2019 16:47 utc | 34
An Alternate Scenario
There is a saying in Persian language called "Namad Maali" translates as "feltman massag", it means slow killing.
This proverb is very often used in contemporary Persian language but most of the people do not know the actual origin of the proverb.
There is an interesting legend behind it. Holagu Khan, a Mongol ruler, the grandson of Chengiz Khan conquered Baghdad on year 1258, and captured the Caliph Al-Mo'tasam, the last Caliph of Abbasid dynasty. Holagu decided to execute the Caliph and finish the 500 years Muslim caliphate.
Many statesmen begged him to hold on. They told him that the caliph is legitimate successor of prophet Mohammad. Caliphate is the pillar of the world, if you remove this pillar there will be sun eclipse, thunder storm and total darkness. Holagu, with his shamanistic believes fearing sky revenge was yielding, but he consulted his prime minister a Persian mullah, Nasir al-Din Tusi. Nasir told him do not worry, these are total nonsense, all of our great Shai twelve imams were direct descendants of prophet Mohammad, they were inherently innocent, while Abbasid are not direct descendants of prophet. See that our imams, eleven out of twelve, were martyred, there was no sun eclipse, no thunder storm, no darkness of the world.
Holagu was bold enough to carry out the execution. Other statesmen brought forward a group of astrologists who searched through their horoscopes and studied signs of stars and concluded that all the signs are catastrophic, if a drop of caliph's blood drops on earth, there will be a devastating thunder storm, rain of bloods pours down from sky and end of world ...
Holagu consulted Nasi again. Nasir being a great humorist, told him not worry, we can devise a pretty easy solution for your peace of mind, send the caliph to hot bath of feltman workshop, order to be wrapped in felt, they will give him a hot water bath with soap, they will roll him slowly over and over, as they are crafting a felt, his life will be ended peacefully in massage, without a drop of blood, meanwhile I will assign one of my intelligent apprentice who is familiar with sky ways ( Nasir was a great mathematician and Astronomer, he founded a famous observatory, he was inventor of trigonometry), to sit on the roof top of the feltman workshop, he will monitor any changes on sky if there is a minor change, he will signal to the feltman to release the caliph.
President Vladimir Khan has been giving warnings to Ayatollah do not burn JCPOA, do not close Strait of Hurmoz. Ayatollah is telling him do not worry we are giving a feltman massage. Just tell Xi khan do not lean his back against the wall street pillar, clean up your hands from future fund casino, the pillars are collapsing slowly.



jason , Jul 17 2019 17:13 utc | 35
the US and its allies are bluffing. don't get caught up in wars and rumors of it. the only way it was going to happen was if syria and iraq fell and both of them didn't.

when it didn't. they resort back to the usual MO, look busy.

OutOfThinAir , Jul 17 2019 17:31 utc | 36
A reminder from Iran that they can hit back.

Hopefully folks who can influence power have been reading the Guns of August.

Possible miscalculations are everywhere and the parties are no strangers to false flags and proxy actors.

So I'm crossing my fingers for strong back channel communications.

I'm not expecting outright major war. Perhaps a skirmish or two, but a negotiated deal is still the most likely outcome.

c1ue , Jul 17 2019 17:56 utc | 37
@C I eh? #14
I don't see China as the same situation as Russia.
The Russians who have largely supported Putin despite economic ill-effects from sanctions are, at best, 1 generation removed from 1991-1996 post-Soviet collapse privation. They remember the bad times and how to get through them.
The mainland Chinese today are 2 generation removed from the famines in the 50s and 60s, and furthermore there is a largely generational break due to the Cultural Revolution.
I don't see China collapsing, but I also don't see the mainstream population taking a oil-starvation induced economic collapse well at all, because the deal is social repression if the economy and standards of living continue to improve.
The difference is French cheese and EU fruits and vegetables - luxury goods vs. oil = energy = everything.
Uncle Jon , Jul 17 2019 17:57 utc | 38
There seems to be misconception about Kuwait, in particular.

Kuwaitis are fed up with the Saudis and are more Iranophile than anything. They see who is a true regional power.

Recently, I happen to be invited to a diplomatic function, welcoming a new Kuwaiti ambassador (Not in US). There were several businessmen associates of the new ambassador at that function. In an impromptu conversation, they professed their love for anything Iranian or Persian, from culture and history to food and the people, and their disdain for the Saudis and their ruling family.

In fact, one of them, much to my shock, uttered the circulating rumor that the ruling family in SA are actually Jews. He said everyone in the region knows about this open secret but afraid to talk about. That was a revelation for me coming from a Kuwaiti since I never did pay attention to those rumors.

I think in the event of a regional conflict, Kuwait will be spared by Iran. What would happen to the ruling family will be another story.

james , Jul 17 2019 18:04 utc | 39
thanks Seyed Mohammad Marandi.. i agree with your headline...

the usa is not agreement friendly.. everything is on their terms only... they rip up contracts when a new president doesn't like it, and make endless demands of others under threat, just like bullies do. they sanction countries and don't mind killing, starving and subjecting people in faraway lands to their ongoing and desperate means of domination.. nothing about the usa is friendly... they spend all their money on the military not just because it works so well for wall st and the corporations but because they think they can continue to bully everyone and anyone indefinitely.. they get support from the obvious suspects and all the other colonies of the usa - europe, canada and etc - turn a type of blind eye to it all, fearful they might be next if they step out of line.. thus, all these chattel countries fail in line with the usa regime sanctions...

basically, the prognosis isn't good.. none of the colonies are capable of speaking up to the usa regime, largely because they lack strong leadership and independence of thought in all this... we continue to slip towards ww3 and at present all the observing countries sit on their hands waiting for the next shoe to drop.. that is where we are at present with regard the ramp up to war on iran...

Harry Law , Jul 17 2019 21:24 utc | 60
The Gulf states know they would be in the front lines in any conflict, Saudi and UAE infrastructure destruction would mean Kings, Princes and Emir's scurrying from their destroyed countries because of their inability to sell oil and feed their people, as one Iranian General said.. the US bases in the region are not threats, "they are targets". Its true Iran has an army of 500,000, they also have millions of military aged men who would form militias and have the reputation of taking their shrouds with them into battle.
I think a major miscalculation by Trump, initiating this kind of scenario is unlikely, those other whack jobs Pence, Pompeo and Bolton are a cause for concern, just hear this nutcase Lindsey Graham threatening the Europeans....
"The United States should sanction "to the ground" European countries that continue to trade with Iran under the 2015 nuclear deal and refuse to join America's pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic, says top Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
"I will tell the Europeans, 'If you want to side with the Iranians, be my guest, but you won't use an American bank or do business with the American economy,'" Graham said".
https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/16/601067/US-Graham-Trump-Iran-JCPOA-EU-sanction-to-ground
William Herschel , Jul 17 2019 21:39 utc | 61
Punitive sanctions against nations with a powerful military establishment have an incredibly poor track record. Germany after WWI. Japan prior to Pearl Harbor. And one might add Russia today. The more "effective" the sanctions, the closer to war.

But, of course, military planners in the U.S. and Israel have already picked out the targets for nuclear strikes during the very first wave of attacks on Iran. It will be nuclear first, ask questions later. Heil Trump has already said he will use nuclear weapons: "obliterate". But will even that work? I doubt it. Iran must expect nuclear attacks in the first wave. Yes, their urban populations will be destroyed, but their military? I doubt it.

Formerly T-Bear , Jul 17 2019 21:54 utc | 62
@ Harry Law | Jul 17 2019 21:24 utc | 60

The folks who now are called Iranian once fought the most militaristic society ever - the Spartans. There is likely a memory of that conflict still, and the lessons learned. They face a military that no longer remembers Vietnam or its lessons. Sanctions are an act of war, not military war but war against another who have been made into enemies nonetheless. Be mightily careful who you make your enemy, one sage reminds that you become like them. Look at those the U.S. has made enemy: Hitler and National Socialism; Mussolini and Fascism; Stalin and State Authoritarianism; Franco and Military Repression; and the list continues substantially, and then look at the U.S. in a distortion free mirror and what does one see?

Maracatu , Jul 17 2019 22:00 utc | 63
Taking into consideration the novel Rand Paul intervention, the likely way forward is this, and I'm sure it is what Putin (the master negotiator) has in mind: Trump blundered badly by throwing out the JCPOA, but he needs a way out that allows him to save face and even turn it into a partial "win". On the world stage (ie. for the public) it needs to look like Trump accedes to reinstate the JCPOA IN EXCHANGE for Iran withdrawing from Syria! This will not only save the nuclear deal, thereby reducing tensions, but it will force Israel to back down and shut up. Israel can't complain and Trump can sell it as an achievement of his, "without having to go to war". The US, of course will have to give Iran, Syria and Russia something in exchange: Iran and Russia ultimately bolstered their forces in Syria in order to save Assad. All things considered, Assad has won the war, so the reason for the bolstered Iranian and Russian presence no longer applies. What the US must agree to is to suspend its efforts to overthrow Assad (which Trump has been trying to do via the withdrawal of US troops in northern Syria), thereby returning the country to the status quo ante. The wild card in all of this, however, is Turkey's presence in Syria. Perhaps China can lend a helping hand on that issue?
Yeah, Right , Jul 17 2019 22:14 utc | 64
@35 "when it didn't. they resort back to the usual MO, look busy."

I agree with that comment, though I will add that for this Administration "looking busy" has a Keystone Cops look about it.

I mean, let's be real here: Norman Schwarzkopf did not make a single move against Iraq until he had well over 500,000 GI's at his command, and Tommy Franks was not willing to restart the Crash Boom Bang until he had built up his army to just shy of 500,000 soldiers.

And Iraq then was nowhere near as formidable as Iran is now.

Where are the troop buildups? Where is the CENTCOM army?
Nowhere. And no sign of it happening.

There is a real possibility that Bolton might get his way and start his dinky little war, only to find that the USA loses a great big war before he even manages to get out of bed.

CENTCOM is not ready for war, nowhere close to it, and for that reason alone Iran is correct to tell the USA that if Trump launches a "limited strike" then their response will be "it's on, baby".

Beibdnn. , Jul 17 2019 22:51 utc | 67
@ William Herschel 61. If the U.S. or anyone else uses any type of Nuclear weapons against Iran, a declared ally of Russia, it will result in an immediate and full scale Nuclear retaliation. This is a recent statement made by Vladimir Putin. Pompeo, Bolton et all are well aware of this. The U.S. might talk of using tactical nukes but despite their Hubris, even the most pro war in the Pentagon know what the results of that type of planned anihilation will have on the U.S. mainland. People like Lindsey Graham are merely empty vessels making a lot of noise.
karlof1 , Jul 17 2019 23:14 utc | 69
Why would Iran allow any Western nation to save face through negotiations or otherwise? Khamenei yesterday tweeted several statements that were later posted to his website:

"At this meeting, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran stressed that Western governments' arrogant behavior is the main obstacle in establishing ties and maintained: Western governments' major vice is their arrogance. If they face a weak government, their arrogance will be effective. But if that country knows the truth about them and resists, the Western governments will be defeated.

"Referring to problems rising between Iran and the European partners of the JCPOA, Ayatollah Khamenei said: Now, in the matters between us and the Europeans, the problems persist, because of their arrogance.

"The Leader of the Islamic Revolution highlighted Iran's commitment to the JCPOA -- also known as the Iran Deal -- and criticized European dignitaries of the deal for breaching it, saying: As stated by our Foreign Minister, who works hard, Europe has had eleven commitments, none of which it has met. The Foreign Minister, despite his diplomatic considerations, is clearly stating that. But what did we do? We acted based on our commitments, and even beyond that.

"Ayatollah Khamenei reiterated that Iran continued to stay within the JCPOA despite the fact that the EU partners of the JCPOA as well as the British government violated the international plan of action and yet demanded Iran to stay with its promises: Now that we have started to reduce our commitments, they step forward. They are very insolent, and they have not abided by their eleven commitments. We have just started to reduce some of our commitments, and this process will surely continue."

The hypothetical suggestion Zarif made in his interview with NBC News was just that--hypothetical--as it had to spell out again for the apparently illiterate, deaf or both SoS Pompeo and BigLie Media presstitutes.

In his arrogance, Trump climbed up the tree he's now stuck within; and as I've pointed out again and again, Iran isn't going to help him in his climb down--they'll be no face saving for the arrogant Western nations. I mean, how clear can the Iranians make that?! They quite well understand the very real interests at stake I put forth in my comment @32. And the Turks on their own have upped the stakes with Erdogan assuring :

"that his country is prepared to leave NATO during a meeting with Russian Deputy Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

"'I met twice with Turkish President Recep Erdogan and he told me personally that Turkey was willing to withdraw from NATO,' Zhirinovsky wrote."

Trump seems desperate for a way to climb down from his tree. Controversial Kentucky Senator Rand Paul apparently volunteered his services as an emissary to Iran , which Trump okayed but Paul's office is being mum about. As noted, Iran isn't going to talk unless tangible, visible concessions are made prior to any talks occurring--concessions Zarif and Rouhani have already stated as the minimum required: Ending all illegal sanctions and return to JCPOA.

Uncle Jon , Jul 17 2019 23:38 utc | 72
@karlof1 69

Iran just announced that they would be open to talk about ballistic missiles when US stops selling arms in the Middle East.

You have to hand it to the Iranians. In the one-up-manship game, they are a formidable opponent. Obviously, there is less than zero chance that would ever happen, but they are super smart in driving the message of US arrogance home. I am happy to see they don't take any shit from the Empire.

Master negotiators at work.

[Jul 17, 2019] Merkel Ally Narrowly Elected To Top EU Post, Averting Major Institutional Crisis

Looks like EU sanctions will continue
Jul 17, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

In light of historical events, it would be ironic if that particular twist comes back to bite Poland some day in the not too distant future.


TeethVillage88s , 10 hours ago link

Money, Money, Money,... Old Money, Factories, Russian Mercheant, German Industrialist, American Slave owner... Nord Deutscheland, Bremen, was heavily Communist... Family would understand the power of Communist Equality and Serfdom.

Von der Leyen's great-grandfather was the cotton merchant Carl Albrecht (1875–1952), who married Mary Ladson Robertson (1883–1960), an American who belonged to the Ladson family , a family of the southern aristocracy from Charleston, South Carolina . Her American ancestors had played a significant role in the British colonization of the Americas and the Atlantic slave trade .

admin user , 11 hours ago link

Merkel Ally Narrowly Elected To Top EU Post, Prolonging "Major Institutional Myopia"

FTFY

schroedingersrat , 12 hours ago link

Von der Leyen is a tool for the anglo-zio complex. Well done USA for installing your woman as head of the EU.

Aurelian77 , 13 hours ago link

She has SEVEN children. Very unusual for a European leader...

Davidduke2000 , 13 hours ago link

An old Soviet General said the EU is like the old Soviets , the leaders were not elected, they were appointed by others mostly their friends and the EU process is the same, fat cats appoint other fat cats instead of direct elections.

[Jul 01, 2019] Putin: I hope that sanity will prevail in the end

Notable quotes:
"... "Question: Mr President, you have given an extensive overview of different topics. A short time after you last met with Donald Trump, the Americans introduced new sanctions against Russia. Could you tell if you received some reassurances from Donald Trump that no new sanctions will follow this time, or do you think sanctions may be imposed again? Or are you confident that there will no more sanctions? ..."
"... "Vladimir Putin: I have no idea. This is not our business; it is up to the United States to think about how they should build relations with Russia. I think we have mutual understanding that we should somehow get out of the situation that has emerged so far. But this is the same as with our colleagues and partners from the UK. It is an abnormal situation, it must be simply rectified; we must somehow find the strength to turn the page, to move on and to look to the future. It is the same in relations with the United States. ..."
"... "Let me reiterate, I meet with US businesspeople, including at the St Petersburg Economic Forum. 550 people went there. They want to work. That means jobs, that means goals the President of the United State is trying to achieve. I actually said in that interview that after the globalisation processes led to such big growth of the world economy, even the middle class in the United States felt they were left behind. While large corporation made huge profits, their management got a lot of advantages as did their partners, the middle class did not, not very much. Wages remained the same, and the standard of living began to grow a little. Jobs are needed and conditions to raise real incomes of US citizens. To achieve that they need to expand cooperation and work with everyone, including Russia. ..."
"... "They restricted the operation of their companies in the Russian market. We made calculations across some European countries, and it really amounts to lost profits. Cutting exports (our imports are their exports) amounts to tens of billions of euros. That means jobs, either job cuts or jobs that were not created. The same applies to the United States. I hope that sanity will prevail in the end." ..."
"... That is a polite way of saying that sanity is not prevailing at the moment. Putin pointing out that there is nothing Russia can do about the current relationship between the US and Russia leaves no illusions as to who the insane party is. It is not within Russia's power to make America sane. There are no magic words they can utter to fix what ails the US. ..."
"... Globalization is simply a neoliberal economic substitute for colonialism. ..."
"... Neoliberals contrary to popular opinion do not believe in self-regulating markets as autonomous entities. They do not see democracy as necessary for capitalism. ..."
"... The neoliberal globalist world is not a borderless market without nations but a doubled world (economic -global and social- national) . The global economic world is kept safe from democratic national demands for social justice and equality, and in return each nation enjoys cultural freedom. ..."
"... Neoliberals see democracy as a real problem. Democracy means the unwashed masses can threaten the so called market economy (in fact manipulated and protected markets) with worker demands for living wages and equality and consumer demands for competitive pricing and safe products. Controlling both parties with money prevents that. ..."
"... In fact, neoliberal thinking is comparable to that of John Maynard Keynes in one respect : "the market does not and cannot take care of itself". ..."
"... Neoliberals insulate the markets by providing safe harbor for capital, free from fear of infringement by policies of progressive taxation or redistribution. They do this by redesigning government, laws, and other institutions to protect the market. ..."
"... For example the stock market is propped up by the Feds purchases of futures, replacing the plunge protection teams intervention at an even more extreme level. Manipulation of economic statistics by the BLS also serve a similar purpose. ..."
"... What you described is precisely a symptom of falling profitability. Financialisation, for example, only increases when the "real economy" is not profiting enough anymore. ..."
"... "If you try to understand how so many jobs have disappeared, the answer that you come up with over and over again in the data is that it's not trade that caused that -- it's primarily technology," Eighty percent of lost jobs were not replaced by workers in China, but by machines and automation. That is the first problem if you slap on tariffs. What you discover is that American companies are likely to replace its more expensive workers with machines." ..."
"... More evidence for Marx's Law: the USA was a victim of its own success, not of its own failures, nor because of alien enemies. ..."
Jul 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 30, 2019 4:46:37 PM | 39

In case there are others aside from myself interested in the G-20 outcomes, here are a few links to what IMO's important. Go here to get the links to the three main documents G-20 produced: "G20 Osaka Leaders Declaration," "Osaka declaration on digital economy," and "G20 Osaka leaders' statement on preventing exploitation of the internet for terrorism and violent extremism conductive to terrorism (VECT)." Pepe Escobar's recap . Transcript of Putin's post G20 news conference.

I hoped when I added the presser link to the Putin interview thread and hinted there were connections between them that another line of analysis would develop, but it seems participants were way to immersed/invested in the liberalism debate to bother.

From the press conference, I'd like to point-out one of the Q&As related to the illegal sanctions regime, economic development and how they interact with Trump's 2016 Campaign Pledges as we begin the 2020 election cycle:

"Question: Mr President, you have given an extensive overview of different topics. A short time after you last met with Donald Trump, the Americans introduced new sanctions against Russia. Could you tell if you received some reassurances from Donald Trump that no new sanctions will follow this time, or do you think sanctions may be imposed again? Or are you confident that there will no more sanctions?

"Vladimir Putin: I have no idea. This is not our business; it is up to the United States to think about how they should build relations with Russia. I think we have mutual understanding that we should somehow get out of the situation that has emerged so far. But this is the same as with our colleagues and partners from the UK. It is an abnormal situation, it must be simply rectified; we must somehow find the strength to turn the page, to move on and to look to the future. It is the same in relations with the United States.

"I told you that we reasserted our wish to support the business community's proposal regarding tools for the support of business initiatives. But it shows that the incumbent Administration has intentions to somehow continue with this abnormal situation. I spoke about our trade with the United States and with some other partners. Obviously, $25 billion in trade does not meet our interests and does not reflect our potential.

"That is why I have no idea if they will do anything or not. At any rate, one thing is sure – we are not going to ask for anything. No means no. And if there is interest, we will respond in kind and will do everything we can to turn the situation around.

"Let me reiterate, I meet with US businesspeople, including at the St Petersburg Economic Forum. 550 people went there. They want to work. That means jobs, that means goals the President of the United State is trying to achieve. I actually said in that interview that after the globalisation processes led to such big growth of the world economy, even the middle class in the United States felt they were left behind. While large corporation made huge profits, their management got a lot of advantages as did their partners, the middle class did not, not very much. Wages remained the same, and the standard of living began to grow a little. Jobs are needed and conditions to raise real incomes of US citizens. To achieve that they need to expand cooperation and work with everyone, including Russia.

"They restricted the operation of their companies in the Russian market. We made calculations across some European countries, and it really amounts to lost profits. Cutting exports (our imports are their exports) amounts to tens of billions of euros. That means jobs, either job cuts or jobs that were not created. The same applies to the United States. I hope that sanity will prevail in the end."

It appears that Trump needs to end his Trade and Sanctions Wars (although all the illegal sanctions aren't his doing) in order to bolster his reelection chances. The questions are, Will the sanction hawks like Mnuchin try to impede such a policy change since it seems to be required for domestic politics and How will D-Party candidates treat the issue, particularly as several are hooked on Russiagate Koolaid?

And do please note the question about the interview at the end, Putin's answer and how he put in within the context of the G20!

William Gruff , Jun 30, 2019 5:32:28 PM | 45

Great quote of Putin by karlof1 @39. That final sentence says much, though:

"I hope that sanity will prevail in the end"

That is a polite way of saying that sanity is not prevailing at the moment. Putin pointing out that there is nothing Russia can do about the current relationship between the US and Russia leaves no illusions as to who the insane party is. It is not within Russia's power to make America sane. There are no magic words they can utter to fix what ails the US.

William Gruff , Jun 30, 2019 8:47:27 PM | 82
A minor correction to dh-mtl @59 where it was claimed "[The globalists] lost power from the mid-1930s to 1980."

The globalists were never actually out of power in the US. Instead they were confronted with a massive upsurge in radical organized labor that threatened to remove them from power. The globalists had to make very significant concessions to buy time for that labor uprising to subside. That happened to take almost half a century, but throughout that period the globalists retained power, though in a somewhat weakened form. They are back at full strength now

Other than that dh-mtl's analysis seems accurate.

dh-mtl , Jun 30, 2019 9:13:22 PM | 86
donkeytale | Jun 30, 2019 8:14:48 PM | 79 says:

'But to say any one nation "produced" the current global market economic system is a bit like saying Yahweh created all the heavens and the earth in 6 days.'

I never suggested that 'one nation' produced this global system.

What I was suggesting is that perhaps the financial elites who benefit from, as you describe it, a 'financial system created by and for the wealthiest elites wherever they may call home', and who controlled Reagan and Clinton and W and Obama, Blair and Cameron and Macron and Merkel and Aznar in Spain, etc., etc., and hundreds of MEPs in the European parliament, and who created the U.S. Deep State, control virtually all of western main-stream media, and who place their people in control of institutions such as the World Bank, and IMF, and UN and WTO and BIS, and who decide the fate of the world every year at Davos and the Bilderberg conference, might have had something the do with creating the laws and treaties that created that system.

This sounds like a pretty effective political system to me, though definitely not democratic.

karlof1 , Jul 1 2019 4:06 utc | 104
pretzelattack @100--

Carter agreed to appoint Volker in order to save the bondholders by destroying the domestic economy with interest rates over 20% which is what actually cost him the 1980 election. In 1978, McNamara was sent off to the World Bank to work in tandem with IMF to begin the imposition of the euphemized Structural Adjustment Programs--the globalized version of Neoliberalism.

dh-mtl , Jul 1 2019 4:08 utc | 105
donkeytale | Jun 30, 2019 9:51:00 PM | 90 says:

'the Trump-nationalists and Brexiteers do not offer an effective solution to problem of wealth inequality which is your complaint'.


Wealth inequality is not my complaint. My point is that 'dictatorship', whether it be in the hands of 'wealthy global elites', military or other, cannot achieve acceptable outcomes for a large, complex, modern society, and that excessive wealth inequality is a sure indicator of dictatorship.

The Trump-nationalists and Brexiteers may not have an effective solution. But they are convinced that what has been going on in their societies over the past 30 plus years has definitely not worked for them either. My analysis is that they are trying to return to the conditions in which the outcomes were much better for them.

My own conviction is that acceptable outcomes for a society can only be achieved when the political leaders are working on behalf of the society as a whole, rather than for a narrow privileged group, and especially a group that has little or no allegiance to the nation-state, whose boundaries define the society.

When the political leaders are truly working on behalf of the population as a whole, there is a wide variety of policy options that can work. Trial and error over time will ensure that the policy options that are most appropriate for a particular society and its circumstances will eventually emerge.

Pft , Jul 1 2019 5:38 utc | 114

Globalization is simply a neoliberal economic substitute for colonialism.

Neoliberals contrary to popular opinion do not believe in self-regulating markets as autonomous entities. They do not see democracy as necessary for capitalism.

The neoliberal globalist world is not a borderless market without nations but a doubled world (economic -global and social- national) . The global economic world is kept safe from democratic national demands for social justice and equality, and in return each nation enjoys cultural freedom.

Neoliberals see democracy as a real problem. Democracy means the unwashed masses can threaten the so called market economy (in fact manipulated and protected markets) with worker demands for living wages and equality and consumer demands for competitive pricing and safe products. Controlling both parties with money prevents that.

In fact, neoliberal thinking is comparable to that of John Maynard Keynes in one respect : "the market does not and cannot take care of itself".

The neoliberal project did not liberate markets so much as protect them by protecting capitalism against the threat of democracy and to reorder the world where borders provide a captive market

Neoliberals insulate the markets by providing safe harbor for capital, free from fear of infringement by policies of progressive taxation or redistribution. They do this by redesigning government, laws, and other institutions to protect the market.

For example the stock market is propped up by the Feds purchases of futures, replacing the plunge protection teams intervention at an even more extreme level. Manipulation of economic statistics by the BLS also serve a similar purpose.

Another example is getting government to accept monopoly capitalism over competitive capitalism and have appointed judges who believe illegal collusion is nothing more than understandable and legal "conscious parallelism"

... ... ...

vk , Jul 1 2019 12:54 utc | 132
@ Posted by: Lochearn | Jun 30, 2019 9:33:07 PM | 89

What you described is precisely a symptom of falling profitability. Financialisation, for example, only increases when the "real economy" is not profiting enough anymore.

It's important to highlight that the tendency of the profit rate to fall doesn't necessarily means a company is losing money, but just that the profit rate is secularly decreasing. Since it's a tendency, it also doesn't mean this fall happens linearly: capital still operates in cycles. However, over the long term, profit rates will fall, no matter what.

vk , Jul 1 2019 13:22 utc | 135
About the deindustrialization process in the USA since the 1970s:

The G20 and the cold war in technology

The biggest reason Trump can't bring back home these manufacturing jobs is because they have been lost in large part to the success of 'efficiency' in the US Over the past three-and-a-half decades, manufacturers have shed more than seven million jobs while producing more stuff than ever. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reported in The Manufacturing Footprint and the Importance of U.S. Manufacturing Jobs that

"If you try to understand how so many jobs have disappeared, the answer that you come up with over and over again in the data is that it's not trade that caused that -- it's primarily technology," Eighty percent of lost jobs were not replaced by workers in China, but by machines and automation. That is the first problem if you slap on tariffs. What you discover is that American companies are likely to replace its more expensive workers with machines."

More evidence for Marx's Law: the USA was a victim of its own success, not of its own failures, nor because of alien enemies.

gzon , Jul 1 2019 21:32 utc | 168

Karlof 156 cont.

When we speak of unadulterated capitalism and capital, we start with the most basic capital we have, our hands. If I go and LABOUR by planting a tree and caring for it, the fruit I consider mine. I might give those away at choice, or exchange them for something else of value. That something eventually became known as money, a commonly recognised unit, it's strength being that it could not be replicated, and its worth accepted in a wider market by others. The fruit of a persons labour was transmitted to descendants and family in tradition, in a society that respected that tradition. The whole process is very very personal, including where extended business starts appearing.

Now, you want me to both accept taxation, where to not compete is a losing proposition, and to accept that finance is able to conjure up replica money using that taxation as basis, with which I have to compete with own earnings that are steadily purposefully diluted - I take it very very very personally. What are you going to offer me, subsidy from the pooled value now under your control ? Because it is a social and "fair" management of reality ? Communism and socialism do not work, they remove the most natural good incentives a person can have to actually go out and achieve anything, they dull what are otherwise lively common understandings, they diminish societies that otherwise have open appreciation for the effort of others. They try to own those, and they end up as dictatorships to try to impose an own ideological dream. The same can be said of crony capitalism, which approaches fascism.

That is why I subscribe to minarchic classical liberal notions of organisation, with hard money and transparency of finance, as compromise. You know Iran and Saudi are gold backed, don't you. You can figure out from that part of what is going on, maybe.

[Jun 29, 2019] Latest Weapon Of US Imperialism Liquified Natural Gas

Highly recommended!
See better discussion at platts.com "But US LNG could face problems of its own – the current low prices are forcing ever growing numbers of US producers into bankruptcy. According to a recent report by Haynes and Boone, 90 gas and oil producers in the US and Canada have filed for bankruptcy between January 2015 and the start of August 2016." So $2 price at Henry Hub should rise to at least $4 for companies to stay in business.
Notable quotes:
"... Less than half of the gas necessary for Europe is produced domestically, the rest being imported from Russia (39%), Norway (30%) and Algeria (13%). In 2017, gas imports from outside of the EU reached 14%. Spain led with imports of 31%, followed by France with 20% and Italy with 15%. ..."
"... The South Stream project, led by Eni, Gazprom, EDF and Wintershall, should have increased the capacity of the Russian Federation to supply Europe with 63 billion cubic meters annually, positively impacting the economy with cheap supplies of gas to Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia. Due to the restrictions imposed by the European Union on Russian companies like Gazprom, and the continuing pressure from Washington to abandon the project and embrace imports from the US, the construction of the pipeline have slowed down and generated tensions between Europe and the US. Washington is piling on pressure on Germany to derail Nord Stream 2 and stop the construction of this important energy linkage. ..."
"... Further tension has been added since ENI, an Italian company that is a leader in the LNG sector, recently discovered off-shore in Egypt one of the largest gas fields in the world, with an estimated total capacity of 850 billion cubic meters. To put this in perspective, all EU countries demand is about 470 billion cubic meters of gas in 2017. ..."
"... s mentioned, LNG imported to Europe from the US costs about 20% more than gas traditionally received through pipelines. This is without including all the investment necessary to build regasification plants in countries destined to receive this ship-borne gas. Europe currently does not have the necessary facilities on its Atlantic coast to receive LNG from the US, introduce it into its energy networks, and simultaneously decrease demand from traditional sources. ..."
"... This situation could change in the future, with LNG from the US seeing a sharp increase recently. In 2010, American LNG exports to Europe were at 10%; the following year they rose to 11%; and in the first few months of 2019, they jumped to 35%. A significant decrease in LNG exports to Asian countries, which are less profitable, offers an explanation for this corresponding increase in Europe. ..."
"... Washington, with its LNG ships, has no capacity to compete in Asia against Qatar and Australia, who have the lion's share of the market, with Moscow's pipelines taking up the rest. The only large remaining market lies in Europe, so it is therefore not surprising that Donald Trump has decided to weaponize LNG, a bit as he has the US dollar . This has only driven EU countries to seek energy diversification in the interests of security. ..."
"... The European countries do not appear to be dragging their feet at the prospect of swapping to US LNG, even though there is no economic advantage to doing so. As has been evident of late, whenever Washington says, "Jump!", European allies respond, "How high?" ..."
"... The generalized hysteria against the Russian Federation, together with the cutting off of Iranian oil imports at Washington's behest, limit the room for maneuver of European countries, in addition to costing European taxpayers a lot. ..."
Jun 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

One of the most important energy battles of the future will be fought in the field of liquid natural gas (LNG). Suggested as one of the main solutions to pollution , LNG offers the possibility of still managing to meet a country's industrial needs while ameliorating environmental concerns caused by other energy sources. At the same time, a little like the US dollar, LNG is becoming a tool Washington intends to use against Moscow at the expense of Washington's European allies.

To understand the rise of LNG in global strategies, it is wise to look at a graph (page 7) produced by the International Gas Union (IGU) where the following four key indicators are highlighted: global regasification capacities; total volumes of LNG exchanged; exporting countries; and importing countries.

From 1990 to today, the world has grown from 220 million tons per annum (MTPA) to around 850 MTPA of regasification capacity. The volume of trade increased from 20-30 MTPA to around 300 MTPA. Likewise, the number of LNG-importing countries has increased from just over a dozen to almost 40 over the course of 15 years, while the number of producers has remained almost unchanged, except for a few exceptions like the US entering the LNG market in 2016.

There are two methods used to transport gas.

The first is through pipelines, which reduce costs and facilitate interconnection between countries, an important example of this being seen in Europe's importation of gas. The four main pipelines for Europe come from four distinct geographical regions: the Middle East, Africa, Northern Europe and Russia.

The second method of transporting gas is by sea in the form of LNG, which in the short term is more expensive, complex and difficult to implement on a large scale. Gas transported by sea is processed to be cooled so as to reduce its volume, and then liquified again to allow storage and transport by ship. This process adds 20% to costs when compared to gas transported through pipelines.

Less than half of the gas necessary for Europe is produced domestically, the rest being imported from Russia (39%), Norway (30%) and Algeria (13%). In 2017, gas imports from outside of the EU reached 14%. Spain led with imports of 31%, followed by France with 20% and Italy with 15%.

The construction of infrastructure to accommodate LNG ships is ongoing in Europe, and some European countries already have a limited capacity to accommodate LNG and direct it to the national and European network or act as an energy hub to ship LNG to other ports using smaller ships.

According to King & Spalding :

"All of Europe's LNG terminals are import facilities, with the exception of (non-EU) Norway and Russia which export LNG. There are currently 28 large-scale LNG import terminals in Europe (including non-EU Turkey). There are also 8 small-scale LNG facilities in Europe (in Finland, Sweden, Germany, Norway and Gibraltar). Of the 28 large-scale LNG import terminals, 24 are in EU countries (and therefore subject to EU regulation) and 4 are in Turkey, 23 are land-based import terminals, and 4 are floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs), and the one import facility in Malta comprises a Floating Storage Unit (FSU) and onshore regasification facilities."

The countries currently most involved in the export of LNG are Qatar (24.9%), Australia (21.7%), Malaysia (7.7%), the US (6.7%), Nigeria (6.5%) and Russia (6%).

Europe is one of the main markets for gas, given its strong demand for clean energy for domestic and industrial needs. For this reason, Germany has for years been engaged in the Nord Stream 2 project, which aims to double the transport capacity of gas from Russia to Germany. Currently the flow of the Nord Stream is 55 billion cubic meters of gas. With the new Nord Stream 2, the capacity will double to 110 billion cubic meters per year.

The South Stream project, led by Eni, Gazprom, EDF and Wintershall, should have increased the capacity of the Russian Federation to supply Europe with 63 billion cubic meters annually, positively impacting the economy with cheap supplies of gas to Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia. Due to the restrictions imposed by the European Union on Russian companies like Gazprom, and the continuing pressure from Washington to abandon the project and embrace imports from the US, the construction of the pipeline have slowed down and generated tensions between Europe and the US. Washington is piling on pressure on Germany to derail Nord Stream 2 and stop the construction of this important energy linkage.

Further tension has been added since ENI, an Italian company that is a leader in the LNG sector, recently discovered off-shore in Egypt one of the largest gas fields in the world, with an estimated total capacity of 850 billion cubic meters. To put this in perspective, all EU countries demand is about 470 billion cubic meters of gas in 2017.

ENI's discovery has generated important planning for the future of LNG in Europe and in Italy.

Problems have arisen ever since Donald Trump sought to oblige Europeans to purchase LNG from the US in order to reduce the trade deficit and benefit US companies at the expense of other gas-exporting countries like Algeria, Russia and Norway. As mentioned, LNG imported to Europe from the US costs about 20% more than gas traditionally received through pipelines. This is without including all the investment necessary to build regasification plants in countries destined to receive this ship-borne gas. Europe currently does not have the necessary facilities on its Atlantic coast to receive LNG from the US, introduce it into its energy networks, and simultaneously decrease demand from traditional sources.

This situation could change in the future, with LNG from the US seeing a sharp increase recently. In 2010, American LNG exports to Europe were at 10%; the following year they rose to 11%; and in the first few months of 2019, they jumped to 35%. A significant decrease in LNG exports to Asian countries, which are less profitable, offers an explanation for this corresponding increase in Europe.

But Europe finds itself in a decidedly uncomfortable situation that cannot be easily resolved. The anti-Russia hysteria drummed up by the Euro-Atlantic globalist establishment aides Donald Trump's efforts to economically squeeze as much as possible out of European allies, hurting European citizens in the process who will have to pay more for American LNG, which costs about a fifth more than gas from Russian, Norwegian or Algerian sources.

Projects to build offshore regasifiers in Europe appear to have begun and seem unlikely to be affected by future political vagaries, given the investment committed and planning times involved:

"There are currently in the region of 22 large-scale LNG import terminals considered as planned in Europe, except for the planned terminals in Ukraine (Odessa FSRU LNG), Russia (Kaliningrad LNG), Albania (Eagle LNG) – Albania being a candidate for EU membership – and Turkey (FSRU Iskenderun and FSRU Gulf of Saros).

Many ofthese planned terminals, including Greece (where one additional import terminal is planned – Alexandroupolis), Italy (which is considering or planning two additional terminals – Porto Empedocle in Sicily and Gioia Tauro LNG in Calabria) , Poland (FSRU Polish Baltic Sea Coast), Turkey (two FSRUs) and the UK (which is planning the Port Meridian FSRU LNG project and UK Trafigura Teesside LNG). LNG import terminal for Albania (Eagle LNG), Croatia (Krk Island), Cyprus (Vassiliko FSRU), Estonia (Muuga (Tallinn) LNG and Padalski LNG), Germany ( Brunsbόttel LNG), Ireland (Shannon LNG and Cork LNG), Latvia (Riga LNG), Romania (Constanta LNG), Russia (Kaliningrad LNG) and Ukraine (Odessa).

Nine of the planned terminals are FSRUs: Albania, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and the UK. "In addition, there are numerous plans for expansion of existing terminals, including in Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the UK."

Washington, with its LNG ships, has no capacity to compete in Asia against Qatar and Australia, who have the lion's share of the market, with Moscow's pipelines taking up the rest. The only large remaining market lies in Europe, so it is therefore not surprising that Donald Trump has decided to weaponize LNG, a bit as he has the US dollar . This has only driven EU countries to seek energy diversification in the interests of security.

The European countries do not appear to be dragging their feet at the prospect of swapping to US LNG, even though there is no economic advantage to doing so. As has been evident of late, whenever Washington says, "Jump!", European allies respond, "How high?" This, however, is not the case with all allies. Germany is not economically able to interrupt Nord Stream 2. And even though the project has many high-level sponsors, including former chancellor Gerhard Schrφder, the project constantly seems to be on the verge of being stopped – at least in Washington's delusions.

Even Eni's discovery of the gas field in Egypt has annoyed the US, which wants less competition (even when illegal, as in the case of Huawei) and wants to be able to force its exports onto Europeans while maintaining the price of the LNG in dollars, thereby further supporting the US dollar as the world's reserve currency in the same manner as the petrodollar .

The generalized hysteria against the Russian Federation, together with the cutting off of Iranian oil imports at Washington's behest, limit the room for maneuver of European countries, in addition to costing European taxpayers a lot. The Europeans appear prepared to set whatever course the US has charted them, one away from cheaper gas sources to the more expensive LNG supplied from across the Atlantic. Given the investments already committed to receive this LNG, it seems unlikely that the course set for the Europeans will be changed.


Sputternik , 1 hour ago link

I live in Europe. I can honestly say that the people I know here prefer Russian gas. People are very ticked off about how the US meddled in their gas supply and the structuring of the pipelines. Most feel that even if US LNG WAS competitive with Russian gas price for now, that the US would in some way either increase prices or use it in some other way to control or manipulate the EU. And sentiment towards USA tends toward resentment and distrust. That's not to say they are necessarily pro-Russia, but definitely a wave of anti US is present.

phaedrus1952 , 46 minutes ago link

US LNG pricing is based on Henry Hub which today is under $2.30/mmbtu.

Even adding in liquefaction and shipping costs, the price to the end user is extremely low.

Henry hub is projected to be sub $3 for DECADES!

Combine the low price with spot deliveries (pipe usually demands long term contracting commitments), and US LNG actually has strong rationale for being accepted.

The statement above that US LNG cannot compete against Australia in Asia is preposterously false due to the VERY high buildout costs of the Aussie LNG infrastructure.

Next year, Oz's first LNG IMPORT terminal at Port Kembla may well be supplied with US LNG.

jaxville , 44 minutes ago link

The US has shown itself to be unreliable as a supplier of anything. Political posturing will always take precedence over any international transaction.

Anonymous IX , 2 hours ago link

Oh, for pity's sake, Laugher. Everything...absolutely everything you attribute to Russia in your post can be said of the U.S. I'm not much of a Wiki fan, but for expediency, here's their view on military bases.

The establishment of military bases abroad enables a country to project power , e.g. to conduct expeditionary warfare , and thereby influence events abroad. Depending on their size and infrastructure, they can be used as staging areas or for logistical, communications and intelligence support. Many conflicts throughout modern history have resulted in overseas military bases being established in large numbers by world powers and the existence of bases abroad has served countries having them in achieving political and military goals.

And this link will provide you with countries worldwide and their bases.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_with_overseas_military_bases

Note that Russia, in this particular list, has eight bases all contiguous to Russia. The U.S. has 36 listed here with none of them contiguous to the U.S.' borders.

FormerTurbineGuy , 2 hours ago link

Whilst the left wants to go full throttle towards Wind and Solar, no one knows that the natural gas lobby is behind these sources because both sources need a backup. While everyone talks "carbon footprint" they never discusses plant efficiency ( or in the terms of engines brake specific fuel consumption and turbine specific fuel consumption ) in terms of thermal efficiency. You know the boring stuff that plant operators stress over to make sure when your wife wakes up @ 3 in the morning to feed the baby, the lights do go on, and they are creating that wattage in an cost affective manner. With that said, the king of thermal efficiency i.e. burning a fuel to create electricity, is the Combined Cycle Natural Gas Power Plant. These plants combines a stationary gas turbine buring natural gas to spin a generator and a boiler on the back side capture the waste heat to create steam to spin a turbine to again add an input to the generator for a current state of the art of 61% efficiency . That means only 39% going up the stack or for steam cooling to get your "Delta T" for the steam cycle to work. This 61% is vs maybe in the mid 40's for a coal, oil plant or in the case of Nuclear just waste heat with nothing going out a stack. The greater wattage per fuel burned, and the modularization of these Combined Cycle Plants aka have a series of 100mw turbines and bring them on line as needed, make this a win-win IMHO for a massive refurbishing of our Utility base, with a host of benefits, before Gen 3 & Gen 4 Nuclear truly take off again. These plants could be a great stop gap before Gen 3 & 4 are a reality. All the macinations towards wind and solar and their disavantages aka being bird vegamatics, vistas being spoiled and huge swaths of land being used for panels make no sense vs energy density of efficient plants. We are the Natural Gas King, lets not flare it anymore, and really, really leverage it here, help allies, and use it for bringing bad behaving children of the world to the table ifyou will, if you want the candy, behave....

Anonymous IX , 1 hour ago link

Why do we have to treat other countries like we're the parent? We aren't. They are equal and fully functioning countries quite capable of determining their own political and economic future...which may involve not trading or interacting with the U.S. Particularly if we demand of them conditions we ourselves would never accede.

JeanTrejean , 3 hours ago link

To get cheap energy, is an advantage for the European Industry.

Why should we use expensiver energy ?

And, as I read ZH, the future of the US shale gas is far to be assured.

SoDamnMad , 3 hours ago link

The Lithuanian FSRU "Independence" which was delivered from Hyundai Heavy Industries in 2014 to the port of Klaipeda drove energy costs for heating through the roof and perhaps is one of the reasons the Prime Minister at the time only came in third in the latest presidential elections. You can stay reasonably warm, eat or have money for medicine and other necessities. Pick 2 ONLY. Thank you USSA

tuetenueggel , 3 hours ago link

Brainsick as Pompeo the US Pork without character.

As Long as Russia dlivery theier gas constantly and for a much better price then Us-Shale idiots, the ziocons only can lose. We Europeans are not very impressed.

Arising , 3 hours ago link

The biggest Capitalist economy on the planet needs to use mob tactics to push its over priced wares- seems 'long term' is not part of their hit-and-run operation.

Call me Al , 3 hours ago link

LNG = Liquefied natural gas, not liquid.

Now as for the article; apart from a few Eastern European Countries (The Ukraine, Poland etc.), I have seen no proof whatsoever, that Europe is shifting to US LNG.

As for "As has been evident of late, whenever Washington says, "Jump!", European allies respond, "How high?""; I am sorry, but I think those days are over..... this can be seen in our Iranian stance, the 2 Russian pipelines - 1 being Nordstream II and the other Turk-stream, increased trade with Russia, joining the the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and so on and so on......

Kirk2NCC1701 , 3 hours ago link

Call me AI, both terms are acceptable.

Liquified refers to the processing.

Liquid refers to the state of the gas after processing.

earleflorida , 2 hours ago link

thankyou :)

tuetenueggel , 3 hours ago link

yeah, vasalls are not jumping any longer.

libfrog88 , 3 hours ago link

Slowly but surely the anti-Russia propaganda is dying. You can fool all the people some of the time, you can fool some people all of the time (libtards), but you can't fool all the people all of the time. Europeans (the citizens) will question why they should pay 20-30% more for their natural gas just to please America. Politicians better have an answer or change of policy if they want to be reelected.

[Jun 27, 2019] US sanctions against Iran amount to an act of war

Jun 27, 2019 | www.wsws.org

Scott Randall21 hours ago • edited

"...as Stratfor, put it, "Trump, fearing a much bigger escalation, got cold feet."

One is reminded of the scene from Oliver Stone's JFK (1991), a General in the Joint Chiefs comments disparagingly about Kennedy for keeping his finger "on the chicken switch" with regard to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Lyndon Johnson in the White House with Henry Cabot Lodge in 1963 declares: "Gentlemen, I want you to know I'm not going to let Vietnam go the way China did. I'm personally committed. I'm not going to take one soldier out of there 'til they know we mean business in Asia (he pauses) You just get me elected, and I'll give you your damned war ."

animalogica day ago
Another question exists: should the US resist the allure of military action against Iran, what can Iran do?
US sanctions against Iran amount to an act of war. Iran can bust sanctions up to some point -- but for how long? Will Iran suffer half a million dead children & elderly people as Iraq did in the 90's ? SHOULD Iran have to suffer such a criminally imposed loss of life?
Where is the way out of this insanity?
Iran won't negotiate with the US for the very good reason that the US clearly wants to sterilize Iranian sovereignty (ie the US won't accept ANY Iranian missiles -- that is, Iran has no right to self defense).
Sad to say, Trump does not need to launch military action against Iran, merely continue to economically terrorise Iran until it has NO choice but to initiate military action against its tormentors.
Ahson3 days ago
Trump being a demented fool that he is now says this:

https://www.presstv.com/Det...

This shows the deep divisions within the imperialist elites on what to do about Iran. They don't have a real plan. Just making it up as they go along.

Ahson3 days ago
The war on Iran will continue till kingdom come, until it falls. Its clear as day that both Russia and China back their Iranian allies against US provocations. China hasn't flinched under US threats to embargo Iranian crude, and continues to purchase it, and Russia has an oil swap agreement with Iran, where it buys Iranian oil and sells it as Russian on the international market. This must be a severe irritation to the imperialists in Washington and London as it renders their Iran sanctions regime practically toothless.

https://www.tasnimnews.com/...

Nobody should be surprised when the next US provocation unfolds, yet again taking us to the brink of disaster.

Ahson3 days ago • edited
Iranian fishermen are finding parts of the CIA drone exposing the lie that the drone was in 'international airspace':

https://www.presstv.com/Det...

Ahson3 days ago • edited
The imperialists are not backing down in their quest for subduing Iran. Seems like the idea here is to put as many large ships in harms way as possible....and provoke Iran to attack one of these......This will ensure the probability of miscalculation and/ or accidents becomes almost unavoidable. There must be regime change in Tehran, on the road to Beijing and Moscow:

https://sputniknews.com/mil...

John Upton • 3 days ago
Iran has every right to defend itself from US imperialisms constant violence, as is the case with China and Russia. It is also pleasing to see the almighty war machine get a bloody nose.

But we should never lose sight of the fact that it is always the working class that suffers the most in terms of death, injuries and destitution.
End all wars!
End production for profit and the Nation state upon which it is built!

John Upton • 3 days ago
America's history demonstrates that loss of (foreign) life is of little concern to those in power.
The Manhattan Project was established, and mightily financed because of reasonably well established fears that Nazi Germany was on track to build its own A-bombs.
With the defeat of Germany that fear was gone. Nevertheless, knowing full well that Imperial Japan had no such program, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were vapourised. A clear demonstration that they, atomic weapons, WMD, worked and a warning to the Soviet Union that it too could be annihilated.
Robert Oppenheimer and others refused to take part in building an H-bomb for class and humane reasons. This fell on Truman's deaf ears.
American Imperialism is indifferent to death and destruction of billions.
As WSWS has stated, Trumps announcement that the loss of 150 Iranian lives is the the reason he pulled backs so much bilge.
FireintheHead3 days ago • edited
Trump is in a catch 22. When push has come to shove , he simply cannot sell another war to the US working class, and he knows it , and he's been well and truly spooked by the Iranian response.

All the US garbage of itself as ''victim'', all the 'good cop bad cop' routines are wearing thin. Nobody is buying it anymore , especially from a gangster.

Perhaps a predicted massive spike in global temperatures will clear out the collective cobwebs further.

Gracchus3 days ago
Good point about the possibility of Iran sinking a carrier. The Chinese have developed advanced anti-ship weapons that, if the results of a RAND corporation war game can be believed, will be able to neutralize carriers. This highlights the fact that, whatever the salesmen of advanced weaponry might say, it will not win wars alone. All of the smart weapons in the world have not ended the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan in the favour of American imperialism.

We can see an historical precedent in the British development of the dreadnought, the modern battleship, in the arms race that preceded WWI. Dreadnoughts were supposed to be the decisive super weapons of the day, but the British and German battle fleets remained in their moorings for most of the war for fear that these expensive ships would fall prey to torpedos. The sinking of the HMS Formidable in 1915 is a case in point. The only major engagement between dreadnoughts was at Jutland and it was inconclusive.

For all of the contemporary bluster about super weapons and the fetishism of smart bombs and cyber weapons, they will not decisively win a war alone. As in the world wars of the last century, the bourgeoisie will be forced to mobilize society for a war. This will mean bringing the working class - against its will - into the maelstrom.

Gracchus3 days ago • edited
Yet again the WSWS demonstrates the incredible foresight and clarity of Marxist analysis. I would like to extend my thanks to Comrade Andre and the editors of the WSWS for their indefatigable efforts to impart Marxist consciousness to the masses. For all of the naysayers who have attacked the WSWS as "sectarian" or as not involved in "practical work," need we point to anything other than the WSWSs explanation of the connection between eruption of American imperialism and the decline of the productive forces of that nation state? That analysis has placed the WSWS in the position of being better prepared politically for the consequences of war than the imperialists, as the latest farce in the Middle East demonstrates.

A quote from Trotsky will further emphasize my point:

"We will not concede this banner to the masters of falsehood! If our generation happens to be too weak to establish Socialism over the earth, we will hand the spotless banner down to our children. The struggle which is in the offing transcends by far the importance of individuals, factions and parties. It is the struggle for the future of all mankind."

The spotless banner is in good hands.

Robert Seaborne Gracchus3 days ago
thank you Gracchus,
for your inspiring comment, I couldn't agree more with it.
dmorista3 days ago • edited
The official story, as usual, is a bunch of hooey. Trump wouldn't bat an eye over the death of 150 Iranians. In addition to the worries about losing an aircraft carrier: the military high command probably let him know that the much vaunted, and outlandishly expensive, force of F-35s, will quickly lose its effectiveness if exposed to probing by the high tech radars the Russians have developed, and that are used in conjunction with at least the S-400 antiaircraft and antimissile defense system. So the question is, if the stealth advantage of the F-35 is only good for a limited time, is this particular geostrategic confrontation worth using up that particular asset??

Then there is the whole question of whether the Iranians would close the Straits of Hormuz in response to a major air raid on their nuclear facilities; this leads to some much more important issues. Despite the blathering about "international waters" and "freedom of navigation" the facts are that the Straits of Hormuz are only 21 miles wide. So all the water in them is either in Iranian territory to the north or Omani to the south. They would be entirely within their rights, as elucidated in the International Law of the Sea, to close the straits after some sort of military strike against them (for what that is worth, which is something at least as far as public opinion outside of the U.S. is concerned). The Iranians have stated that if and when they close the straits they will announce it publicly, no subterfuge or secret operations will be involved.

Since nearly 30% of the World's oil moves through those straits cutting them off will cause an immediate spike in oil prices. Prices of $100 - $300 a barrel would be reached within a few days. If the Straits of Hormuz were closed for a longer period we could easily see prices rise to $1,000 a barrel according to Goldman Sachs projections (see Escobar article cited below). Anything over $150 a barrel would trigger an economic, industrial, and financial crisis of immense proportions around the world. The financial and speculative house of cards, that the ruling classes of the U.S.-led Finance Capital Bloc depends on for their dominance of world capital and markets, would likely come tumbling down. The amount of derivatives that are swirling about the planet and that are traded and created constantly is estimated to be from $1.2 - $2.5 Quadrillion. That's right from $1,200 - $2,500 Trillion or $1,200,000 - $2,500,000 Billion {remember Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, who once said "a billion here and a billion there and first thing you know, You're talking BIG MONEY!!} (See "World Derivatives Market Estimated As Big As $1.2 Quadrillion Notional, as Banks Fight Efforts to Rein It In", March 26, 2013, Yves Smith, "Naked Capitalism", at < https://www.nakedcapitalism... >, and "Iran Goes for 'Maximum Counter-pressure' ", June 21, 2019, Pepe Escobar, "Strategic Culture Foundation", at < https://www.strategic-cultu... >, and "Global Derivatives: $1.5 Quadrillion Time Bomb", Aug 24, 2015, Stephen Lendman, Global Research, at
< https://www.globalresearch.... >). Just like during the 2007 - 2008 crisis the various elements of shadow banking, and speculation would collapse. Remember that total world production of and trade in actual products is only about about $70 - $80 Trillion, or perhaps less than 1/31st the size of the Global Derivatives markets.

All the world's elite capitalists, be they Western or Asian or from elsewhere, maintain homes in numerous places. One reason for this is so they have somewhere to go, if they need to flee from environmental and/or socioeconomic disaster and the resultant chaos in their primary place of residence. As we move ever deeper into this extremely severe and ongoing Crisis of Capitalism, these issues will continue to become more acute.

So we can rest assured that; in addition to the crazed war-mongers Bolton and Pompeo (and their supporters and backers) whispering in Trump's ear to "go ahead and attack the Iranians"; and in addition to the somewhat more sober counsel of General Dunford and other members of the top military command; that titans of finance capital were undoubtedly on the phone warning "Bone-Spur Don" that his digs in Manhattan and Florida might not be entirely safe if the worst were to happen in response to a military strike. The absurd story of Don worrying about 150 Iranians is so ludicrous that it did not even pass the smell test with the corporate controlled media for very long.

Irandle dmorista2 days ago
Oil reached $147 a barrel in 2007-08. That caused the so-called Great Recession.

As WSWS has pointed out there are few if any US options left but war.

Charlotte Ruse3 days ago
"Thirty years of endless war have created a veritable cult of militarism within the American ruling elite, whose guiding assumption seems to be that wars can be waged without drastic global consequences, including for the United States itself."

The military/security surveillance state is a trillion dollar enterprise that instigates conflicts to expand its profits. Militarism works hand-in-hand with the neoliberal corporatists who deploy the military to secure natural resources, wage slaves, and geostrategic hegemony. It should be noted, that the US imperialist agenda left unhindered after the dissolution of the Soviet Union only intensified.

However, in order for the US ruling class to achieve the "ultimate goal" of unilateral hegemony in the Middle East the military must confront Iran a powerful sizable country with economic and political ties to China and Russia. This is the dilemma confronting the warmongering psychopaths
who are influenced by Israel and Saudi Arabia.

A significant military attack against Iran will NOT go unanswered and if the Iranian Military destroys a US warship and kills hundreds of sailors it would unleash another major war in the Middle East igniting the entire region and possibly leading to a world war.

What should traumatize the US population and awaken them from their hypnotic warmongering stupur created by propaganda proliferated on FOX, MSNBC, and CNN is that the United States came within minutes of launching a war whose military consequences it had NOT seriously examined.

John Hudson3 days ago
There's a rumour going around that in preparation for the strike the US launched a massive cyber attack on Iran's air defence - and failed.
Ahson John Hudson3 days ago
Its no rumor:

https://sputniknews.com/mid...

Sebouh803 days ago
In light of these dangerous events it is obvious that a faction of the American ruling class circles including Trump were not prepared to face the consequences of a strike against Iran. That is precisely why Trump aborted the mission last Friday. Just yesterday Trump himself admitted for the first time that if it was up to John Bolton then we would be fighting the whole world. Today Pompeo has been sent to Middle East to broaden his alliance with Gulf Monarchical regimes most notably Saudi Arabia and UAE. It is aimed to prepare the ground for possible confrontation with Iran.
kurumba Sebouh802 days ago
Trump's comment re Bolton that the US "would fight the whole world" sums up what the US is really about. Take it from me, The US hates virtually every country save one: Israel. Illegal US Sanctions regimes now extend to almost 50% of the world's population. The US does not even like the advanced countries such as Europe and Japan. They tolerate them because of diplomatic support and large investment and trade ties. Outside that they have no affinity or connection. Until we all realise the true nature of The US and its exclusive cultural mindset [NFL, NBA, MLB etc etc], populations will merely continue to enable the US to attack and sanction everybody and anyone of their demented choosing. The tragedy is that if the other countries became united and were committed to ending this US terror by eg dumping the US Dollar as international reserve currency and sanctioning all US corporations, the US would face severe turmoil and its reign of endless terror brought to a sudden end.
Popart 20153 days ago • edited
"The strikes were called off at the last moment, amid deep divisions at the highest levels of the White House and the Pentagon over the consequences -- military, diplomatic and political -- of what would likely be the single most dangerous and reckless action of the entire Trump presidency."

I believe things simple didn't go as planned as an airplane was threatened to be taken down. Bolton was in Israel after that to most likely assure Netanyahu that a new attack would be conducted, Bolton Warned Iran Not to 'Mistake U.S. Prudence and Discretion for Weakness'...

https://www.nytimes.com/201...

Ahson3 days ago • edited
There needs to be a correction in the article on the older Raad system not having been used but instead the newer, 'Third of Khordad' system which brought down the MQ-4C Triton. Pictures/ Info on the Third of Khordad reveals that it is in effect an Iranian version of the Soviet Buk-M2 of the MH-17 downing fame which the western backed Kiev junta used from its hand me down Soviet weapons arsenal, to shoot down the ill fated Malaysian Airliner over the Ukraine. The system also is stark evidence of the close defense relationship between the Russians and the Iranians, confirming the suspicions in the west that whatever weaponry Putin transfers to Syria or Iraq is by default also available to Iran.
Andy Niklaus3 days ago
Great Perspective again to build antiwar movement in the global workingclass!
Ahson3 days ago • edited
Not to be outdone by his failure to bring Iran to its knees, Trump ordered a massive cyber attack on Iran's missile batteries and its command and control centers after rescinding the military order to physically attack Iran for downing the drone. The Iranians today announced the failure of this desperate US cyber attack:

https://www.presstv.com/Det...

This is in addition to the CIA placing an agent within the Iranian oil ministry for conducting sabotage. She has been arrested and faces the death penalty for espionage:

https://www.tasnimnews.com/...

The deep State in the US will not stop trying to subdue Iran until it capitulates. Iran must fall to Washington in order for the US to effectively counter and sabotage both Putin's Eurasian Integration and president Xi's BRI projects.

imaduwa3 days ago
Trump's alterration at this moment can be due to Iran's internal coherence against American imperialism. With santions being reinforced, one can anticipate more and more impovershment and quality of life geting lower unabated to the point that the basis for internal coherence gets eroded substantially. We saw working class uprisings in Iran recently and leadership accused imperialist as rabble-rousers to find a way out.That is why we need building SEP/IYSSE in Iran to hatch revolutionary force in Iran for Iran to join the peer in the rest of the world. Morsi in Egypt was overthrown by Sisi with the backing of US imperialism headed by Obama at that time. So is the imperialism and it will continue to work to weaken Iran as a force successfully confronting imperialism in the middle east currently. Let us therefore empower international working class to empower it to overthrow imperialism on one hand and Stalinism on the other hand. Russia too depend largely on its arms sale to maintain its economy. But human needs, not wepons, but basic needs including clean environment. Long live the socialist revolution in Iran and internationally. Death to imperialism. Thank you comrade Andre Damon.
jet1685 • 3 days ago
"The strikes were called off at the last moment, amid deep divisions at the highest levels of the White House and the Pentagon over the consequences -- military, diplomatic and political -- of what would likely be the single most dangerous and reckless action of the entire Trump presidency."
Economically it would be Armageddon. Although some think America does not rely on Mideast oil, the world economy does and America is a part of that despite what nationalists dream. Bolton is making threats from Israel and clearly some believe they stand to gain from war but militarily too it would be Armageddon. The Pentagon would answer the sinking of a carrier by nuking Iran to preserve American "credibility" i.e. fear. China and Russia would have to react, China at least to keep its oil supplied. India pushed against China could add more mushroom clouds not to mention Pakistan. Israel itself with Tel Aviv bombarded from Lebanon and maybe invaded unable to stop this might nuke Lebanon and maybe Tehran if any of it remains and Damascus besides. Just as ww1 started because military train timetables had to be followed there are nukewar plans in Washington, Moscow, and Beijing that won't take long. So world workers need to start our plan before others begin. Preemptive general strikes, antiwar and socialist revolutionary agitation and propaganda within imperialist rank and files and human blockades of war material networks should happen at an early date like now. Now also WikiLeaks should put out whatever it hasn't while people exist to read it. The rich are determined to kill Assange anyway and full wartime censorship is not far off.
erroll jet16853 days ago • edited
Some people have speculated that if the U.S. does attack Iran then Iran will launch missiles at Saudi Arabia's oil fields which will then send oil prices skyrocketing to $130 dollars a barrel. The article also notes that:

"While Trump's foreign policy team -- headed by National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- 'unanimously' supported the attack, General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 'cautioned about the possible repercussions of a strike, warning that it could endanger American forces,' the Times wrote."

Apparently the good general cannot get too worked up at the sight of thousands and thousands of Iranian children, women, and old men who would be slaughtered and grievously wounded by U.S. bombs and the water supply which would be contaminated when those bombs would land at a nuclear power plant. But these horrific actions by the United States are of no consequence because, as Madeline Albright observed on a television a few decades ago, the deaths of a half million Iraqi children by the U.S. was worth it. It would appear that the lives of foreigners are of little consequence to those who are in power. Threatening to start a war against another country for the most specious of reasons is simply another reason why a malignant narcissist like Trump needs to be removed from office as quickly as possible. Or perhaps Trump believes that the best way to improve his low poll numbers is to start dropping 500 lb. bombs on a country which does not in any remote way pose a threat to the United States.

"Almost all propaganda is designed to create fear. Heads of governments and their officials know that a frightened people is easier to govern, will forfeit rights it would otherwise defend, is less likely to demand a better life, and will agree to millions and millions being spent on 'Defense'."-John Boynton Priestly [1894-1984], English writer

"Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a god."-Jean Rostand [1894-1977], French philosopher and biologist

лидия3 days ago
When a FOX-news man is the most sane voice in USA foreign policy (regarding aggression against Iran and Venezuela) - it is the real madness!
лидия3 days ago
After Hezballah had booted Zionist colonizers out of Lebanon, Zionist apartheid had lost its image of "invincibility".
Now even ghetto Gaza is fighting back.
Irandle3 days ago
Spies? What is that in reference to?
Gerry Murphy Irandle3 days ago • edited
The CIA payrolled press whores like CNN's Christiane Amanpour for example a prime warmonger and there are countless others embedded in every western media source.
Ahson Gerry Murphy3 days ago
Ironically, Amanpour is Iranian background, an avowed revolution hater and a devoted Iranian Pahlavi monarchist. She's on the record for saying that she wants to see the Shah's exiled son back on the throne in Iran, serving US imperialism for the 'benefit of the Iranian nation'.
The Top-Hatted Commie3 days ago
The sinking of an aircraft carrier, especially one as well known as the USS Lincoln, would have been one of the biggest PR disasters for both Trump and the military. It probably would have sparked demands from the people to know how, despite pouring trillions of dollars into the mouths of greedy defense contractors for decades, a supposedly inferior military could so easily take down one of our ships.
piet The Top-Hatted Commie3 days ago
Khrushchev once said of the Sverdlov class cruisers built in the early 1950's that their only practical purpose was as targets for anti ship missile training because of how outdated they where considering they where armed with guns.

Maybe the anti-ship missile now stands at the point where it can make carriers obsolete similar to how the battleship was made obsolete by the carrier.

Robert Buell Jr piet3 days ago
There are some who argue that surface navies became obsolete in the 1950's with the advent of long range missiles. For many years now, China has been helping to build up Iranian area defences...

https://www.mei.edu/publica...

Ahson The Top-Hatted Commie3 days ago • edited
Cold war weapons are unsuitable for countering Iran's asymmetric warfare doctrine. A dozen or two highly advanced US warships are no match for a thousand missile boats and thousands of Iranian anti-ship missiles in the narrow confines of the shallow gulf.
Corwin Haught3 days ago • edited
Minutes or hours, or Trump never signed on to them, as the accounts from different US media outlets and Trump have differed at several points. Fog of war indeed.

[Jun 25, 2019] This Administration's handling of Iran is bellicose and stupid by W. James Antle III

Notable quotes:
"... It is utterly bizarre to hear people who believe Trump is unfit to lead seem disappointed that he isn't taking us to war. ..."
"... This is a crisis of his own making and he should get kudos for not making it any worse, but that's it. ..."
"... The author seems to think this was some kind of well-considered decision, while Trump is quoted as saying he "thought about it for a second". He could, and almost certainly will change his mind after about the same amount of reflection. ..."
"... Yes, Iran dodged a bullet in this instance. So did our country. Maybe if Trump gets enough positive reinforcement from his last-second audible, he'll be less inclined to "cock and load" the American military in the future. For my part, I'm starting to think his "hawk" advisors are getting closer and closer to hitting pay dirt. By the way, who are his "dove" advisors? ..."
"... If anyone believes the reason Trump gave for calling off the strike, I refer them to his 10,000+ lies since he's been in office. My guess is he changed his mind watching Tucker. ..."
"... Trump staggers through his presidency like a pinball bouncing its way through the machine - first this side, then that side, then being flipped back up to the top by a comment he hears on Fox News to start it all over again. ..."
"... "It does not require Nostradamus-like skills to anticipate how the good cop, bad cop routine Trump appears to be trying with Bolton in particular could end in disaster." ..."
"... the entire U.S. foreign policy architecture remains hyper-busted. I.e., An Imperial President, a feckless Congress that has abrogated its constitutional responsibilities, and Pentagon Brass who think that they swore an oath to be mindless automatons obeying the illegal orders of the Imperial President rather than being defenders of the Constitution. ..."
"... And Tucker Carlson aside, the MSM, sycophantic lapdog of the Pentagon, is still all in to the illegal and unconstitutional Warfare State con. ..."
Jun 25, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
It is utterly bizarre to hear people who believe Trump is unfit to lead seem disappointed that he isn't taking us to war.

... ... ...

Adriana Pena a day ago
No matter how laudable averting war is, the fact is that we would have never been in this situation if Trump had not unilaterally abandoned the Iran deal. This is a crisis of his own making and he should get kudos for not making it any worse, but that's it.
ron_goodman 2 days ago
The author seems to think this was some kind of well-considered decision, while Trump is quoted as saying he "thought about it for a second". He could, and almost certainly will change his mind after about the same amount of reflection.
Bill In Montgomey a day ago • edited
I don't know. Maybe a wise president would not have appointed Bolton and Pompeo in the first place. Nor would a wise president have had a $130 million drone flying over Iranian air space (or right on its border).

Yes, Iran dodged a bullet in this instance. So did our country. Maybe if Trump gets enough positive reinforcement from his last-second audible, he'll be less inclined to "cock and load" the American military in the future. For my part, I'm starting to think his "hawk" advisors are getting closer and closer to hitting pay dirt. By the way, who are his "dove" advisors?

=marco01= 2 days ago • edited
Please, he didn't even know about projected casualties until ten minutes before the attack was to be launched, no doubt because he's too lazy smart to attend planning meetings/briefings.

If anyone believes the reason Trump gave for calling off the strike, I refer them to his 10,000+ lies since he's been in office. My guess is he changed his mind watching Tucker.

Ken T a day ago
Trump staggers through his presidency like a pinball bouncing its way through the machine - first this side, then that side, then being flipped back up to the top by a comment he hears on Fox News to start it all over again.

But just because on this pass he happened to randomly bounce off of a "good" bumper, we're supposed to congratulate him for finally "becoming President". The only thing bizarre here is the contortions his supporters put themselves through to try to deny what is obvious to everyone else.

Dave Sullivan 14 hours ago
If I go to my neighbors front yard with a gun, point it at their house, then don't shoot, I am not practicing restraint. I should be arrested for brandishing a firearm. This article is crop.
paradoctor 18 hours ago
I'm glad that he didn't, but I'm not glad that he almost did.
FL_Cottonmouth a day ago
Lighten up, folks. Obviously, Antle's headline, "The Night Donald Trump Became President," is a play on the same words that a lot of talking heads (not just unreconstructed neoconservatives like Bill Kristol, but "mainstream" centrists like Fareed Zakaria) used when Trump bombed Syria for the first time.

He's being facetious, not serious. He isn't praising Trump or his "B-Team" for their restraint (on the contrary, they have created a crisis for no good reason and have brought us to the brink of war as a result) so much as he's criticizing the media for its warmongering.

The media is actually trying to bait the President into a unilateral act of war against another country that hasn't attacked us and couldn't threaten us even if it did.

Taras77 a day ago
"It does not require Nostradamus-like skills to anticipate how the good cop, bad cop routine Trump appears to be trying with Bolton in particular could end in disaster."

At this point, I am almost afraid to check the latest news-with tapeworm Bolton, it is a matter of time before the situation blows up.

SteveM a day ago
Re: "If Trump continues to break with this pattern, however, it will be less celebrated in Washington than it would deserve to be. Putting the unelected hawks in their proper place would be a truly presidential act."

However, note that Trump refuses to concede any Imperial authority to wage war that illegally violates the Constitution. He just chose not to start a war with Iran - this time. (And also note that the Pentagon is always happy to oblige the Imperial President and kill and destroy without question.)

So the entire U.S. foreign policy architecture remains hyper-busted. I.e., An Imperial President, a feckless Congress that has abrogated its constitutional responsibilities, and Pentagon Brass who think that they swore an oath to be mindless automatons obeying the illegal orders of the Imperial President rather than being defenders of the Constitution.

And Tucker Carlson aside, the MSM, sycophantic lapdog of the Pentagon, is still all in to the illegal and unconstitutional Warfare State con.

[Jun 25, 2019] This Administration's handling of Iran, as compared to the last, is anything but stupid.

Notable quotes:
"... This is a crisis of his own making and he should get kudos for not making it any worse, but that's it. ..."
"... The author seems to think this was some kind of well-considered decision, while Trump is quoted as saying he "thought about it for a second". He could, and almost certainly will change his mind after about the same amount of reflection. ..."
"... "If Trump continues to break with this pattern, however, it will be less celebrated in Washington than it would deserve to be. Putting the unelected hawks in their proper place would be a truly presidential act." ..."
Jun 25, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

UPC Arch Stanton a day ago

...This Administration's handling of Iran, as compared to the last, is anything but stupid. Unless, of course, you're of the opinion we should be going to war, and you're pissed that this President made the right decision at the right time. Nice try, because thinking the way you are is stupid.
Adriana Pena a day ago
No matter how laudable averting war is, the fact is that we would have never been in this situation if Trump had not unilaterally abandoned the Iran deal. This is a crisis of his own making and he should get kudos for not making it any worse, but that's it.
ron_goodman 2 days ago
The author seems to think this was some kind of well-considered decision, while Trump is quoted as saying he "thought about it for a second". He could, and almost certainly will change his mind after about the same amount of reflection.
Bill In Montgomey a day ago • edited
I don't know. Maybe a wise president would not have appointed Bolton and Pompeo in the first place. Nor would a wise president have had a $130 million drone flying over Iranian air space (or right on its border).

Yes, Iran dodged a bullet in this instance. So did our country. Maybe if Trump gets enough positive reinforcement from his last-second audible, he'll be less inclined to "cock and load" the American military in the future.

For my part, I'm starting to think his "hawk" advisors are getting closer and closer to hitting pay dirt.

By the way, who are his "dove" advisors?

John D. Thullen a day ago
Well, this article vanquished my very recent admiration for Michael Brendan Dougherty, acquired by way of Mr. Dreher.

"articulates a classical Augustinian just war argument ..."

That's like claiming Mrs O'Leary's cow that kicked over the lantern and burned Chicago to the ground was articulating the finer points of preventing forest fires originated by Smokey the Bear.

Do the writers here do a little physical stretching before contorting yourselves into pretzel shapes trying to justify every lantern Trump kicks over into poles of dry hay as he goes along?

Of course conservative Christians hate pulling back from imminent, and possibly nuclear war. When haven't they in American history?

=marco01= 2 days ago • edited
Please, he didn't even know about projected casualties until ten minutes before the attack was to be launched, no doubt because he's too lazy smart to attend planning meetings/briefings.

If anyone believes the reason Trump gave for calling off the strike, I refer them to his 10,000+ lies since he's been in office. My guess is he changed his mind watching Tucker.

Ken T a day ago
Trump staggers through his presidency like a pinball bouncing its way through the machine - first this side, then that side, then being flipped back up to the top by a comment he hears on Fox News to start it all over again. But just because on this pass he happened to randomly bounce off of a "good" bumper, we're supposed to congratulate him for finally "becoming President". The only thing bizarre here is the contortions his supporters put themselves through to try to deny what is obvious to everyone else.
Dave Sullivan 14 hours ago
If I go to my neighbors front yard with a gun, point it at their house, then don't shoot, I am not practicing restraint. I should be arrested for brandishing a firearm. This article is crop.
paradoctor 18 hours ago
I'm glad that he didn't, but I'm not glad that he almost did.
FL_Cottonmouth a day ago
Lighten up, folks. Obviously, Antle's headline, "The Night Donald Trump Became President," is a play on the same words that a lot of talking heads (not just unreconstructed neoconservatives like Bill Kristol, but "mainstream" centrists like Fareed Zakaria) used when Trump bombed Syria for the first time. He's being facetious, not serious. He isn't praising Trump or his "B-Team" for their restraint (on the contrary, they have created a crisis for no good reason and have brought us to the brink of war as a result) so much as he's criticizing the media for its warmongering. The media is actually trying to bait the President into a unilateral act of war against another country that hasn't attacked us and couldn't threaten us even if it did.
Emma Liame a day ago
thank you!!!
Taras77 a day ago
"It does not require Nostradamus-like
skills to anticipate how the good cop, bad cop routine Trump appears to
be trying with Bolton in particular could end in disaster."

At this point, I am almost afraid to check the latest news-with tapeworm bolton, it is a matter of time before the situation blows up.

SteveM a day ago
Re: "If Trump continues to break with this
pattern, however, it will be less celebrated in Washington than it would
deserve to be. Putting the unelected hawks in their proper place would
be a truly presidential act."

However, note that Trump refuses to concede any Imperial authority to wage war that illegally violates the Constitution. He just chose not to start a war with Iran - this time. (And also note that the Pentagon is always happy to oblige the Imperial President and kill and destroy without question.)

So the entire U.S. foreign policy architecture remains hyper-busted. I.e., An Imperial President, a feckless Congress that has abrogated its constitutional responsibilities, and Pentagon Brass who think that they swore an oath to be mindless automatons obeying the illegal orders of the Imperial President rather than being defenders of the Constitution.

And Tucker Carlson aside, the MSM, sycophantic lapdog of the Pentagon, is still all in to the illegal and unconstitutional Warfare State con.

Jessica Ramer a day ago
This type of article is the reason I read The American Conservative. Thank you for addressing this important issue from a cautious and realistic perspective.

Although Donald Trump and I are on opposite sides of the fence on nearly every issue, I do prefer his restrained foreign policy instincts to the hawkish ones of Hillary Clinton.

Cascade Joe 2 days ago
One hundred thumbs up for this article.
Apex_Predator a day ago
"Neocons gonna neocon"

"In other breaking news, water is still wet!"

PeterTx52 a day ago
lots of anti-Trumper commenters
EliteCommInc. a day ago
Goodness you people and your Nobel prize obsession. The last guy got one he didn't deserve so I should get one too. Whether the decision was presidential or not is hinged on motive in my view.

If it was an assessment that if our drone did in fly over US airspace, then it represented a legitimate target for Iran - then certainly critical thinking as expressed has some merit to sound management.

If the matter was decided on the messiness of conflict and calculating one's political carreer, the level of sound management is simply not a factor.

MrNIKOLA 2 days ago
THIS is what white supremacy looks like: Punish Iran because one day in the far off future they may develop an atomic bomb but gift Israel $3 billion a year while it harbors hundreds of nukes. Meanwhile, pat head choppers like Saudi Arabia on the head -- As long as they buys billions in US weapons and force nations to use US dollars to buy oil.
Wardog00 MrNIKOLA a day ago
Do you realize that Iran is an Aryan nation, which would make them white? Israel is a Jewish nation, which most white supremacists hate. And Saudi Arabia is an Arab country, which would not make it a white country.
So how in the world is this what white supremacy looks like?

[Jun 23, 2019] Are Starvation Sanctions Worse Than Overt Warfare

Jun 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Starvation sanctions kill people.

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have reportedly already died as a result of this administration's relentless assault on their economy; those human beings are no less dead than they would have been if the US had killed them by dropping cluster bombs on Caracas. Yet these deaths have received virtually no mainstream media coverage, and Americans, while they strongly oppose attacking Iran militarily , have had very little to say about Trump's attacks on the nation's economy. The economy which people use to feed their children, to care for their elderly and their sick.

I'm titling this essay "Starvation Sanctions Are Worse Than Overt Warfare", and I mean it. I am not saying that starvation sanctions are more destructive or deadly than overt military force in and of themselves; what I am saying is that the overall effect is worse, because there's no public accountability for them and because they deliberately target civilians.

If the US were to launch a barrage of Tomahawk missiles into an Iranian suburb with the goal of killing civilians, there'd be international outrage and the cohesion of the US-centralized power alliance would take a major hit. Virtually everyone would recognize this as an unforgivable war crime. Yet America will be able to kill the same number of civilians with the same deliberate intention of inflicting deadly force, and it would suffer essentially no consequences at all. There's no public or international pressure holding that form of violence at bay, because it's invisible and poorly understood.

It reminds me of the way financial abuse gets overlooked and under-appreciated in our society. Financial abuse can be more painful and imprisoning than physical or psychological abuse (and I speak from experience), especially if you have children, yet you don't generally see movies and TV shows getting made about it. In a society where people have been made to depend on money for survival, limiting or cutting off their access to it is the same as any other violent attack upon their personal sovereignty, and can easily be just as destructive. But as a society we haven't yet learned to see and understand this violence, so it doesn't attract interest and attention. That lack of interest and attention enables the empire to launch deadly campaigns targeting civilian populations unnoticed, without any public accountability. It's great that more people are starting to understand the cost of war, to the extent that we're even seeing US presidential candidates make opposing it central to their platforms, but this is happening at a time when overt warfare is becoming more obsolete and replaced with something subtler and more sinister. We must as a society evolve our understanding of what starvation sanctions are and what they do, and stop seeing them as in any way superior or preferable to overt warfare.

The fact that people generally oppose senseless military violence but are unable to see and comprehend a slow, boa constrictor-like act of slaughter via economic strangulation is why these siege warfare tactics have become the weapon of choice for the US-centralized empire. It is a more gradual way of murdering people than overt warfare, but when you control all the resources and have an underlying power structure which maintains itself amid the comings and goings of your officially elected government, you're in no hurry. The absence of any public accountability makes the need for patience a very worthwhile trade-off.

So you see this siege warfare strategy employed everywhere by the US-centralized empire:

The US-centralized power alliance is so powerful in its ability to hurt nations with financial influence that in 1990 when Yemen voted against a UN Security Council Resolution authorizing the attack against Iran, a senior US diplomat was caught on a hot mic telling the Yemeni ambassador, "That will be the most expensive 'no' vote you ever cast." According to German author Thomas Pogge , "The US stopped $70 million in aid to Yemen; other Western countries, the IMF, and World Bank followed suit. Saudi Arabia expelled some 800,000 Yemeni workers, many of whom had lived there for years and were sending urgently needed money to their families."

That's real power. Not the ability to destroy a nation with bombs and missiles, but the ability to destroy it without firing a shot.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/RM0uvgHKZe8

It's no wonder, then, that the drivers of this empire work so hard to continue growing and expanding it. The oligarchs and their allies in opaque government agencies no doubt envision a world where all noncompliant nations like Iran, Russia and China have been absorbed into the blob of empire and war becomes obsolete, not because anyone has become any less violent, but because their economic control will be so complete that they can obliterate entire populations just by cutting them off from the world economy whenever any of them become disobedient.

This is the only reason Iran is being targeted right now. That's why you'll never hear a factually and logically sound argument defending Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal; there is none. There was no problem with the JCPOA other than the fact that it barred America from inflicting economic warfare upon Iran, which it needed for the purpose of toppling the nation's government so that it can be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire.

And all the innocent human beings who die of starvation and disease? They don't matter. Imperial violence only matters if there are consequences for it. The price of shoring up the total hegemony of the empire will have been worth it .

[Jun 22, 2019] Putin about the economic war being waged against Russia after the Ukraine Coup in 2014.

Notable quotes:
"... "Let's go back to economic issues. Many people link these difficulties with the Western sanctions. By the way, the European Union again extended them today. Sometimes, there are appeals to make peace with everyone. If Russia complied with the West's demands and agreed to everything, would this benefit our economy in any way?" ..."
"... "Second, what would this give us and what would it not give us, and what would we lose? Look, according to expert analyses, Russia fell short by about $50 billion as a result of these restrictions during these years, starting in 2014. The European Union lost $240 billion, the US $17 billion (we have a small volume of trade with them) and Japan $27 billion. All this affects employment in these countries, including the EU: they are losing our market... ..."
"... "Now, the attack on Huawei: where does it come from and what is its objective? The objective is to hold back the development of China, the country that has become a global rival of another power, the United States. The same is happening with Russia, and will continue to happen , so if we want to occupy a worthy place under the sun, we must become stronger, including, and above all, in the economy." [My Emphasis] ..."
"... Dealing with Putin's bolded remark is a question not just for Russia, China and Iran; it's a question for the entire world and harkens back to the words of George Kennan I cited a few days ago about the USA needing a policy to continue its economic dominance of the planet he uttered in 1947, the policy that became The Anti-Communist Crusade covering for its actual Super Imperialism policy to retain that dominance. ..."
"... What's happening is a titanic struggle to make the Outlaw US Empire cease pursuing that policy. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 21, 2019 6:34:03 PM | 189

I'd like barflies to ponder the following thought/probability: Radar Saturated Environment--radiation not from just individual, discreet, identifiable points, but from such a vast multitude that no single point can be discerned.

To further my brainstorming de-escalation, I'd like to point out what Putin said in his Direct Line yesterday about the economic war being waged against Russia in accordance with the Ukraine Coup in 2014. Pavel Zarubin asks:

"Let's go back to economic issues. Many people link these difficulties with the Western sanctions. By the way, the European Union again extended them today. Sometimes, there are appeals to make peace with everyone. If Russia complied with the West's demands and agreed to everything, would this benefit our economy in any way?"

I thought this a capital question very similar to Iran's dilemma. Putin's response is quite long, so I won't cite it all. Rather, I'll limit it to his initial reply and conclusion as they both deal with the Big Picture:

"First, what does it mean 'to make peace'? We have not fought with anyone and have no desire to fight with anyone.

"Second, what would this give us and what would it not give us, and what would we lose? Look, according to expert analyses, Russia fell short by about $50 billion as a result of these restrictions during these years, starting in 2014. The European Union lost $240 billion, the US $17 billion (we have a small volume of trade with them) and Japan $27 billion. All this affects employment in these countries, including the EU: they are losing our market....

"Now to the question of whether some things would be different if we give in and abandon our fundamental national interests. We are not talking about reconciliation here. Perhaps there will be some external signals, but no drastic change. Look, the People's Republic of China has nothing to do with Crimea and Donbass, does it? We are accused of occupying Donbass, which is nonsense and a lie.

But China has nothing to do with it, and yet the tariffs for Chinese goods are rising, which is almost the same as sanctions.

"Now, the attack on Huawei: where does it come from and what is its objective? The objective is to hold back the development of China, the country that has become a global rival of another power, the United States. The same is happening with Russia, and will continue to happen , so if we want to occupy a worthy place under the sun, we must become stronger, including, and above all, in the economy." [My Emphasis]

This year's Direct Line was as usual filled with domestic issues some that lead to foreign policy issues. The overall scope and distinctness of the minutia are as vast as Russia. I've followed these over the years and note they reveal Russia's strengths and fragilities. I'm tempted to cite more but will leave it to the reader to pursue, but after 90 minutes you still won't be finished because the transcript isn't yet complete, which while frustrating is also amazing.

Dealing with Putin's bolded remark is a question not just for Russia, China and Iran; it's a question for the entire world and harkens back to the words of George Kennan I cited a few days ago about the USA needing a policy to continue its economic dominance of the planet he uttered in 1947, the policy that became The Anti-Communist Crusade covering for its actual Super Imperialism policy to retain that dominance.

What's happening is a titanic struggle to make the Outlaw US Empire cease pursuing that policy.

[Jun 20, 2019] Putin Says US Establishment Stops Trump From Improving Ties With Russia And 'Invents Fake News'

Jun 20, 2019 | www.newsweek.com

Russian president Vladimir Putin blamed the U.S. establishment for preventing an improvement in relations between Moscow and Washington.

During his annual televised question-and-answer session with members of the public, Putin was asked about the prospects for better ties if he met with President Donald Trump.

The Russian energy Ministry's department head Evgeny Grabchak, who faces U.S. sanctions, asked Putin on air if he would "want to meet with Trump."

Putin replied that dialogue with the U.S. was "always good" adding that Russia was "ready for this dialogue as long as our partners were too."

Putin went on: "But even if Trump wants to change anything, there are restrictions imposed by other organs of power. There is a part of the American establishment that continues to invent fake news. We have things to discuss with Trump in all areas, including the economy," Novaya Gazyeta reported.

[Jun 19, 2019] The Warm War Russiamania at the Boiling Point by Jim Kavanagh

Notable quotes:
"... Theresa May's immediate conclusion that the Russian government bears certain and sole responsibility for the nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals is logically, scientifically, and forensically impossible. ..."
"... Teresa May is lying, everyone who seconds her assertion of false certainty is lying, they all know they are lying, and the Russians know that they know they are lying. ..."
"... "War" is what they seem to want it to be. For the past 18 to 24 months, we've also been inundated with Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner's ominous "We have been attacked. We are at war," video, as well as the bipartisan ( Hillary Clinton , John McCain ) insistence that alleged Russian election meddling should be considered an "act of war" equivalent to Pearl Harbor . Indeed, Trump's new National Security advisor, the warmongering lunatic John Bolton, calls it , explicitly "a casus belli , a true act of war." ..."
"... Even the military is getting in on the act. The nerve-agent accusation has been followed up by General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, accusing Russia of arming the Taliban! It's noteworthy that this senior American military general casually refers to Russia as "the enemy": "We've had stories written by the Taliban that have appeared in the media about financial support provided by the enemy." ..."
"... The economic war against Russian is being waged through a series of sanctions that seem impossible to reverse, because their expressed goal is to extract confession, repentance, and restitution for crimes ascribed to Russia that Russia has not committed, or has not been proven to have committed, or are entirely fictional and have not been committed by anyone at all. We will only stop taking your bank accounts and consulates and let you play games with us if you confess and repent every crime we accuse you of. No questions permitted. ..."
Apr 02, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
Is it war yet?

Yes, in too many respects.

It's a relentless economic, diplomatic, and ideological war, spiced with (so far) just a dash of military war, and the strong scent of more to come.

I mean war with Russia, of course, although Russia is the point target for a constellation of emerging adversaries the US is desperate to entame before any one or combination of them becomes too strong to defeat. These include countries like Iran and China, which are developing forces capable of resisting American military aggression against their own territory and on a regional level, and have shown quite too much uppitiness about staying in their previously-assigned geopolitical cages.

But Russia is the only country that has put its military forces in the way of a U.S. program of regime change -- indirectly in Ukraine, where Russia would not get out of the way, and directly in Syria, where Russia actively got in the way. So Russia is the focus of attack, the prime target for an exemplary comeuppance.

Is it, then, a new Cold War, even more dangerous than the old one, as Stephen F. Cohen says ?

That terminology was apt even a few months ago, but the speed, ferocity, and coordination of the West/NATO's reaction to the alleged nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals, as well as the formation of a War Cabinet in Washington, indicates to me that we've moved to another level of aggression.

It's beyond Cold. Call it the Warm War. And the temperature's rising.

The Nerve of Them

There are two underlying presumptions that, combined, make present situation more dangerous than a Cold War.

One is the presumption of guilt -- or, more precisely, the presumption that the presumption of Russian guilt can always be made, and made to stick in the Western mind.

The confected furor over the alleged nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals demonstrates this dramatically.

Theresa May's immediate conclusion that the Russian government bears certain and sole responsibility for the nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals is logically, scientifically, and forensically impossible.

False certainty is the ultimate fake news. It is just not true that, as she says: "There is no alternative conclusion other than the Russian state is culpable." This falsity of this statement has been demonstrated by a slew of sources -- including the developers of the alleged "Novichok" agent themselves, a thorough analysis by a former UN inspector in Iraq who worked on the destruction of chemical weapons, establishment Western scientific outlets like New Scientist (" Other countries could have made 'Russian' nerve agent "), and the British government's own mealy-mouthed, effective-but-unacknowledged disavowal of that conclusion. In its own words, The British government found: "a nerve agent or related compound," " of a type developed by Russia." So, it's absolutely, positively, certainly, without a doubt, Russian-government-produced "Novichok" .or something else.

Teresa May is lying, everyone who seconds her assertion of false certainty is lying, they all know they are lying, and the Russians know that they know they are lying. It's a

https://www.youtube.com/embed/lErlHLCNM_s?autoplay=0list=WL

It boggles the -- or at least, my -- mind how, in the face of all this, anyone could take seriously her ultimatum, ignoring the procedures of the Chemical Weapons Convention , gave Russia 24 hours to "explain" -- i.e., confess and beg forgiveness for -- this alleged crime.

Indeed, it's noteworthy that France initially, and rather sharply, refused to assume Russian guilt, with a government spokesman saying, "We don't do fantasy politics. Once the elements are proven, then the time will come for decisions to be made." But the whip was cracked -- and surely not by the weak hand of Whitehall -- demanding EU/NATO unity in the condemnation of Russia. So, in an extraordinary show of discipline that could only be ordered and orchestrated by the imperial center, France joined the United States and 20 other countries in the largest mass expulsion of Russian diplomats ever.

Western governments and their compliant media have mandated that Russian government guilt for the " first offensive use of a nerve agent " in Europe since World War II is to be taken as flat fact. Anyone -- like Jeremy Corbyn or Craig Murray -- who dares to interrupt the "Sentence first! Verdict afterwards!" chorus to ask for, uh, evidence, is treated to a storm of obloquy .

At this point, Western accusers don't seem to care how blatantly unfounded, if not ludicrous, an accusation is. The presumption of Russian guilt, along with the shaming of anyone who questions it, has become an unquestionable standard of Western/American political and media discourse.

Old Cold War McCarthyism has become new Warm War fantasy politics.

Helled in Contempt

This declaration of diplomatic war over the Skripal incident is the culmination of an ongoing drumbeat of ideological warfare, demonizing Russia and Putin personally in the most predictable and inflammatory terms.

For the past couple of years, we've been told by Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Marco Rubio, and Boris Johnson that Putin is the new Hitler. That's a particularly galling analogy for the Russians. Soviet Russia, after all, was Hitler's main enemy, that defeated the Nazi army at the cost of 20+ million of its people -- while the British Royal Family was not un-smitten with the charms of Hitlerian fascism , and British footballers had a poignant moment in 1938 Berlin saluting the Fuhre.:

"War" is what they seem to want it to be. For the past 18 to 24 months, we've also been inundated with Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner's ominous "We have been attacked. We are at war," video, as well as the bipartisan ( Hillary Clinton , John McCain ) insistence that alleged Russian election meddling should be considered an "act of war" equivalent to Pearl Harbor . Indeed, Trump's new National Security advisor, the warmongering lunatic John Bolton, calls it , explicitly "a casus belli , a true act of war."

Even the military is getting in on the act. The nerve-agent accusation has been followed up by General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, accusing Russia of arming the Taliban! It's noteworthy that this senior American military general casually refers to Russia as "the enemy": "We've had stories written by the Taliban that have appeared in the media about financial support provided by the enemy."

Which is strange, because, since the Taliban emerged from the American-jihadi war against Soviet forces in Afghanistan, and the Taliban and Russia have "enduring enmity" towards each other, as Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network puts it . Furthermore, the sixteen-year-long American war against the Taliban has depended on Russia allowing the U.S. to move supplies through its territory, and being "the principal source of fuel for the alliance's needs in Afghanistan."

So the general has to admit that this alleged Russian "destabilising activity" is a new thing: "This activity really picked up in the last 18 to 24 months When you look at the timing it roughly correlates to when things started to heat up in Syria. So it's interesting to note the timing of the whole thing."

Yes, it is.

The economic war against Russian is being waged through a series of sanctions that seem impossible to reverse, because their expressed goal is to extract confession, repentance, and restitution for crimes ascribed to Russia that Russia has not committed, or has not been proven to have committed, or are entirely fictional and have not been committed by anyone at all. We will only stop taking your bank accounts and consulates and let you play games with us if you confess and repent every crime we accuse you of. No questions permitted.

This is not a serious framework for respectful international relations between two sovereign nations. It's downright childish. It paints everyone, including the party trying to impose it, into an impossible corner. Is Russia ever going to abandon Crimea, confess that it shot down the Malaysian jet, tricked us into electing Donald Trump, murdered the Skripals, is secretly arming the Taliban, et. al .? Is the U.S. ever going to say: "Never mind"? What's the next step? It's the predicament of the bully.

This is not, either, an approach that really seeks to address any of the "crimes" charged. As Victoria Nuland (a Clintonite John Bolton) put it on NPR, it's about, "sending a message" to Russia. Well, as Russia's ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov said , with this latest mass expulsion of diplomats, the United States is, "Destroying what little remained of US-Russian ties." He got the message.

All of this looks like a coordinated campaign that began in response to Russia's interruption of American regime-change projects in Ukraine and especially Syria, that was harmonized -- over the last 18 to 24 months -- with various elite and popular motifs of discontent over the 2016 election, and that has reached a crescendo in the last few weeks with ubiquitous and unconstrained " enemization " [1] of Russia. It's hard to describe it as anything other than war propaganda -- manufacturing the citizenry's consent for a military confrontation.

Destroying the possibility of normal, non-conflictual, state-to-state relations and constituting Russia as "the enemy" is exactly what this campaign is about. That is its "message" and its effect -- for the American people as much as for the Russia government. The heightened danger, I think, is that Russia, which has for a long time been reluctant to accept that America wasn't interested in "partnership", has now heard and understood this message, while the American people have only heard but do not understand it.

It's hard to see where this can go that doesn't involve military conflict. This is especially the case with the appointments of Mike Pompeo, Gina Haspel, and John Bolton -- a veritable murderers' row that many see as the core of a Trump War Cabinet. Bolton, who does not need Senate confirmation, is a particularly dangerous fanatic, who tried to get the Israelis to attack Iran before even they wanted to, and has promised regime change in Iran by 2019. As mentioned, he considers that Russia has already given him a " casus belli. " Even the staid New York Times warns that, with these appointments, "the odds of taking military action will rise dramatically."

The second presumption in the American mindset today makes military confrontation more likely than it was during the Cold War: Not only is there a presumption of guilt, there is a presumption of weakness . The presumption of guilt is something the American imperial managers are confident they can induce and maintain in the Western world; the presumption of weakness is one they -- or, I fear, too many of them -- have all-too blithely internalized.

This is an aspect of the American self-image among policymakers whose careers matured in a post-Soviet world. During the Cold War, Americans held themselves in check by the assumption, that, militarily, the Soviet Union was a peer adversary, a country that could and would defend certain territories and interests against direct American military aggression -- "spheres of interest" that should not be attacked. The fundamental antagonism was managed with grudging mutual respect.

There was, after all, a shared recent history of alliance against fascism. And there was an awareness that the Soviet Union, in however distorted a way, both represented the possibility of a post-capitalist future and supported post-colonial national liberation movements, which gave it considerable stature in the world.

American leadership might have hated the Soviet Union, but it was not contemptuous of it. No American leader would have called the Soviet Union, as John McCain called Russia, just "a gas station masquerading as a country." And no senior American or British leader would have told the Soviet Union what British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson told Russia last week: to "go away and shut up."

This is a discourse that assumes its own righteousness, authority, and superior power, even as it betrays its own weakness. It's the discourse of a frustrated child. Or bully. Russia isn't shutting up and going away, and the British are not -- and know they're not -- going to make it. But they may think the Big Daddy backing them up can and will. And daddy may think so himself.

Like all bullies, the people enmeshed in this arrogant discourse don't seem to understand that it is not frightening Russia. It's only insulting the country, and leading it to conclude that there is indeed nothing remaining of productive, non-conflictual, US-Russian "partnership" ties. The post-Skripal worldwide diplomatic expulsions, which seem deliberately and desperately excessive, may have finally convinced Russia that there is no longer any use trying. Those who should be frightened of this are the American people.

The enemy of my enemy is me.

The United States is only succeeding in turning itself into an enemy for Russians. Americans would do well to understand how thoroughly their hypocritical and contemptuous stance has alienated the Russian people and strengthened Vladimir Putin's leadership -- as many of Putin's critics warned them it would. The fantasy of stoking a "liberal" movement in Russia that will install some nouveau-Yeltsin-ish figure is dissipated in the cold light of a 77% election day. Putin is widely and firmly supported in Russia because he represents the resistance to any such scheme.

Americans who want to understand that dynamic, and what America itself has wrought in Russia, should heed the passion, anger, and disappointment in this statement about Putin's election from a self-described "liberal" (using the word, I think, in the intellectual tradition, not the American political, sense), Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT TV (errors in translation by another person):

Essentially, the West should be horrified not because 76% of Russians voted for Putin, but because this elections have demonstrated that 95% of Russia's population supports conservative-patriotic, communist and nationalist ideas. That means that liberal ideas are barely surviving among measly 5% of population.

And that's your fault, my Western friends. It was you who pushed us into "Russians never surrender" mode

[W]ith all your injustice and cruelty, inquisitorial hypocrisy and lies you forced us to stop respecting you. You and your so called "values."

We don't want to live like you live, anymore. For fifty years, secretly and openly, we wanted to live like you, but not any longer.

We have no more respect for you, and for those amongst us that you support, and for all those people who support you.

For that you only have yourself to blame.

In meantime, you've pushed us to rally around your enemy. Immediately, after you declared him an enemy, we united around him .

It was you who imposed an opposition between patriotism and liberalism. Although, they shouldn't be mutually exclusive notions. This false dilemma, created by you, made us to chose patriotism.

Even though, many of us are really liberals, myself included.

Get cleaned up, now. You don't have much time left.

In fact, the whole "uprising"/color revolution strategy throughout the world is over. It's been fatally discredited by its own purported successes. Everybody in the Middle East has seen how that worked out for Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and the Russians have seen how it worked out for Ukraine and for Russia itself . In neither Russia nor Iran (nor anywhere else of importance) are the Americans, with their sanctions and their NGOs and their cookies ,going to stoke a popular uprising that turns a country into a fractured client of the Washington Consensus. More fantasy politics.

The old new world Washington wants won't be born without a military midwife. The U.S. wants a compliant Russia ( and "international community") back, and it thinks it can force it into being.

Fear Knot

Consider this quote from The Saker , a defense analyst who was born in Switzerland to a Russian military family, "studied Russian and Soviet military affairs all [his] life," and lived for 20 years in the United States. He's been one of the sharpest analysts of Russia and Syria over the last few years. This was his take a year ago, after Trump's cruise missile attack on Syria's Al Shayrat airfield -- another instant punishment for an absolutely, positively, proven-in-a day, chemical crime:

For one thing, there is no US policy on anything.

The Russians expressed their total disgust and outrage at this attack and openly began saying that the Americans were "недоговороспособны". What that word means is literally "not-agreement-capable" or unable to make and then abide by an agreement. While polite, this expression is also extremely strong as it implies not so much a deliberate deception as the lack of the very ability to make a deal and abide by it. But to say that a nuclear world superpower is "not-agreement-capable" is a terrible and extreme diagnostic.

This means that the Russians have basically given up on the notion of having an adult, sober and mentally sane partner to have a dialog with.

In all my years of training and work as a military analyst I have always had to assume that everybody involved was what we called a "rational actor". The Soviets sure where. As were the Americans.

Not only do I find the Trump administration "not agreement-capable", I find it completely detached from reality. Delusional in other words.

Alas, just like Obama before him, Trump seems to think that he can win a game of nuclear chicken against Russia. But he can't. Let me be clear here: if pushed into a corner the Russian will fight, even if that means nuclear war.

There is a reason for this American delusion. The present generation of American leadership was spoiled and addled by the blissful post-Soviet decades of American impunity.

The problem is not exactly that the U.S. wants full-on war with Russia, it's that America does not fear it. [2]

Why should it? It hasn't had to for twenty years during which the US assumed it could bully Russia to stay out of its imperial way anywhere it wanted to intervene.

After the Soviet Union broke up (and only because the Soviet Union disappeared) the United States was free to use its military power with impunity. For some time, the U.S. had its drunken stooge, Yeltsin, running Russia and keeping it out of America's military way. There was nary a peep when Bill Clinton effectively conferred on NATO (meaning the U.S. itself) the authority to decide what military interventions were necessary and legitimate. For about twenty years -- from the Yugoslavia through the Libya intervention -- no nation had the military power or politico-diplomatic will to resist this.

But that situation has changed. Even the Pentagon recognizes that the American Empire is in a "post-primacy" phase -- certainly "fraying," and maybe even "collapsing." The world has seen America's social and economic strength dissipate, and its pretense of legitimacy disappear entirely. The world has seen American military overreach everywhere while winning nothing of stable value anywhere. Sixteen years, and the mighty U.S. Army cannot defeat the Taliban. Now, that's Russia's fault!

Meanwhile, a number of countries in key areas have gained the military confidence and political will to refuse the presumptions of American arrogance -- China in the Pacific, Iran in the Middle East, and Russia in Europe and, surprisingly, the Middle East as well. In a familiar pattern, America's resultant anxiety about waning power increases its compensatory aggression. And, as mentioned, since it was Russia that most effectively demonstrated that new military confidence, it's Russia that has to be dealt with first.

The incessant wave of sanctions and expulsions is the bully in the schoolyard clenching his fist to scare the new kid away. OK, everyone's got the message now. Unclench or punch?

Let's be clear about who is the world's bully. As is evident to any half-conscious person, Russia is not going to attack the United States or Europe. Russia doesn't have scores of military bases, combat ships and aircraft up on America's borders. It doesn't have almost a thousand military bases around the world. Russia does not have the military forces to rampage around the world as America does, and it doesn't want or need to. That's not because of Russia's or Vladimir Putin's pacifism, but because Russia, as presently situated in the political economy of the world, has nothing to gain from it.

Nor does Russia need some huge troll-farm offensive to "destabilize" and sow division in Western Europe and the United States. Inequality, austerity, waves of immigrants from regime-change wars, and trigger-happy cops are doing a fine job of that. Russia isn't responsible for American problems with Black Lives Matter or with the Taliban.

All of this is fantasy politics.

It's the United States, with its fraying empire, that has a problem requiring military aggression. What other tools does the U.S. have left to put the upstarts, Russia first, back in their places?

It must be hard for folks who have had their way with country after country for twenty years not to think they can push Russia out of the way with some really, really scary threats, or maybe one or two "bloody nose" punches. Some finite number of discrete little escalations. There's already been some shoving -- that cruise missile attack, Turkey's downing of a Russian jet, American attacks on Russian personnel (ostensibly private mercenaries) in Syria -- and, look, Ma, no big war. But sometimes you learn the hard way the truth of the reverse Mike Tyson rule: "Everyone has a game plan until they smack the other guy in the face."

Consider one concrete risk of escalation that every informed observer is, and every American should be, aware of.

The place where the United States and Russia are literally, geographically, closest to confrontation is Syria. As mentioned, the U.S. and its NATO ally, Turkey, have already attacked and killed Russians in Syria, and the U.S. and its NATO allies have a far larger military force than Russia in Syria and the surrounding area. On the other hand, Russia has made very effective use of its forces, including what Reuters calls "advanced cruise missiles" launched from planes, ships , and submarines that hit ISIS targets with high precision from 1000 kilometers.

Russia is also operating in accordance with international law, while the U.S. is not. Russia is fighting with Syria for the defeat of jihadi forces and the unification of the Syrian state. The United States is fighting with its jihadi clients for the overthrow of the Syrian government and the division of the country. Russia intervened in Syria after Obama announced that the U.S. would attack Syrian army troops, effectively declaring war. If neither side accepts defeat and goes home, it is quite possible there will be some direct confrontation over this. In fact, it's hard to imagine that there won't.

A couple of weeks ago Syria and Russia said the U.S. was planning a major offensive against the Syrian government, including bombing the government quarter in Damascus. Valery Gerasimov, head of Russia's General Staff, warned: "In the event of a threat to the lives of our servicemen, Russia's armed forces will take retaliatory measures against the missiles and launchers used." In this context, "launchers" means American ships in the Mediterranean.

Also a couple of weeks ago, Russia announced a number of new, highly-advanced weapons systems. There's discussion about whether some of the yet-to-be-deployed weapons announced may or may not be a bluff, but one that has already been deployed, called Dagger ( Kinzhal, not the missiles mentioned above), is an air-launched hypersonic cruise missile that files at 5-7,000 miles per hour, with a range of 1200 miles. Analyst Andrei Martyanov claims that: "no modern or perspective air-defense system deployed today by any NATO fleet can intercept even a single missile with such characteristics. A salvo of 5-6 such missiles guarantees the destruction of any Carrier Battle Group or any other surface group, for that matter." Air-launched. From anywhere.

The U.S. attack has not (yet) happened, for whatever reason (Sputnik reporter Suliman Mulhem, citing "a military monitor," claims that's because of the Russian warnings). Great. But given the current state of America's anxiously aggressive "post-primacy" policy -- including the Russiamania, the Zionist-driven need to destroy Syria and Iran, and the War Cabinet -- how unlikely is that the U.S. will, in the near future, make some such attack on some such target that Russia considers crucial to defend?

And Syria is just one theater where, unless one side accepts defeat and goes home, military conflict with Russia is highly likely. Is Russia going to abandon the Russian-speaking people of the Donbass if they're attacked by fascist Kiev forces backed by the U.S.? Is it going to sit back and watch passively if American and Israeli forces attack Iran? Which one is going to give up and accept a loss: John Bolton or Vladimir Putin?

Which brings us to the pointed question: What will the U.S. do if Russia sinks an American ship? How many steps before that goes full-scale, even nuclear? Or maybe American planners (and you, dear reader) are absolutely, positively sure that will never happen, because the U.S. has cool weapons, too, and a lot more of them, and the Russians will probably lose all their ships in the Mediterranean immediately, if not something worse, and they'll put up with anything rather than go one more step. The Russians, like everybody, must know the Americans always win.

Happy with that, are we? Snug in our homeland rug? 'Cause Russians won't fight, but the Taliban will.

This is exactly what is meant by Americans not fearing war with Russia (or war in general for that matter). Nothing but contempt.

The Skripal opera, directed by the United States, with the whole of Europe and the entire Western media apparatus singing in harmony, makes it clear that the American producers have no speaking role for Russia in their staging of the world. And that contempt makes war much more likely. Here's The Saker again, on how dangerous the isolation the U.S. and its European clients are so carelessly imposing on Russia and themselves is for everybody:

Right now they are expelling Russian diplomats en mass e and they are feeling very strong and manly.

The truth is that this is only the tip of a much bigger iceberg. In reality, crucial expert-level consultations, which are so vitally important between nuclear superpowers, have all but stopped a long time ago. We are down to top level telephone calls. That kind of stuff happens when two sides are about to go to war. For many months now Russia and NATO have made preparations for war in Europe. Very rapidly the real action will be left to the USA and Russia. Thus any conflict will go nuclear very fast. And, for the first time in history, the USA will be hit very, very hard, not only in Europe, the Middle-East or Asia, but also on the continental US.

Mass diplomatic expulsions, economic warfare, lockstep propaganda, no interest whatsoever in respectfully addressing or hearing from the other side. What we've been seeing over the past few months is the "kind of stuff that happens when two sides are about to go to war."

The less Americans fear war, the less they respect the possibility of it, the more likely they are to get it.

Ready or Not

The Saker makes a diptych of a point that gets to the heart of the matter. We'd do well to read and think on it carefully:

1/ The Russians are afraid of war. The Americans are not.

2/ The Russians are ready for war. The Americans are not.

Russia is afraid of war. More than twenty million Soviet citizens were killed in WWII, about half of them civilians. That was more than twenty times the number of Americans and British casualties combined. The entire country was devastated. Millions died in the 872-day siege of Leningrad alone, including Vladimir Putin's brother. The city's population was decimated by disease and starvation, with some reduced to cannibalism. Wikileaks calls it "one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history [and] possibly the costliest in casualties." Another million-plus died in the nine-month siege of Stalingrad.

Every Russian knows this history. Millions of Russian families have suffered from it. Of course, there was mythification of the struggle and its heroes, but the Russians, viscerally, know war and know it can happen to them . They do not want to go through it again. They will do almost anything to avoid it. Russians are not flippant about war. They fear it. They respect it.

The Americans are not (afraid of war). Americans have never experienced anything remotely as devastating as this. About 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War, 150 years ago. (And we're still entangled in that!) The American mainland has not been attacked by a significant military force since the War of 1812. Since then, the worst attacks on American territory are two one-off incidents (Pearl Harbor and 9/11), separated by seventy years, totaling about six-thousand casualties. These are the iconic moments of America Under Siege.

For the American populace, wars are "over there," fought by a small group of Americans who go away and either come back or don't. The death, destruction, and aroma of warfare -- which the United States visits on people around the world incessantly -- is unseen and unexperienced at home. Americans do not, cannot, believe, in any but the most abstract intellectual sense, that war can happen here , to them. For the general populace, talk of war is just more political background noise, Morgan Freeman competing for attention with Stormy Daniels and the Kardashians.

Americans are supremely insouciant about war: They threaten countries with it incessantly, the government routinely sells it with lies, and the political parties promote it opportunistically to defeat their opponents -- and nobody cares. For Americans, war is part of a game. They do not fear it. They do not respect it.

The Russians are ready for war. The Nazi onslaught was defeated -- in Soviet Russia, by Soviet Citizens and the Red Army -- because the mass of people stood and fought together for a victory they understood was important. They could not have withstood horrific sieges and defeated the Nazis any other way. Russians understand, in other words, that war is a crisis of death and destruction visited on the whole of society, which can only be won by a massive and difficult effort grounded in social solidarity. If the Russians feel they have to fight, if they feel besieged, they know they will have to stand together, take the hits that come, and fight to the finish. They will not again permit war to be brought to their cities while their attacker stays snug. There will be a world of hurt. They will develop and use any weapon they can. And their toughest weapon is not a hypersonic missile; it's that solidarity, implied by that 77%. (Did you read that Simonyan statement?) They may not be seeking it, but, insofar as anybody can be, they are ready to fight.

Americans are not (ready for war): Americans experience the horror of wars as a series of discrete tragedies visited upon families of fallen soldiers, reported in human-interest vignettes at the end of the nightly news. Individual tragedies, not a social disaster.

It's hard to imagine the social devastation of war in any case, but American culture wants no part of thinking about that concretely. The social imagination of war is deflected into fantastic scenarios of a super-hero universe or a zombie apocalypse. The alien death-ray may blow up the Empire State Building, but the hero and his family (now including his or her gender-ambivalent teenager, and, of course, the dog) will survive and triumph. Cartoon villains, cartoon heroes, and a cartoon society.

One reason for this, we have to recognize, is the victory of the Thatcherite/libertarian-capitalist "no such thing as society" ideology. Congratulations, Ayn Rand, there is no such thing as American society now. It's every incipient entrepreneur for him or herself. This does not a comradely, fighting band of brothers and sisters make.

Furthermore, though America is constantly at war, nobody understands the purpose of it. That's because the real purpose can never be explained, and must be hidden behind some facile abstraction -- "democracy," "our freedoms," etc. This kind of discourse can get some of the people motivated for some of the time, but it loses its charm the minute someone gets smacked in the face.

Once they take a moment, everybody can see that there is nobody with an army threatening to attack and destroy the United States, and if they take a few moments, everybody can see how phony the "democracy and freedom" stuff is and remember how often they've been lied to before. There's just too much information out there. (Which is why the Imperial High Command wants to control the internet.) Why the hell am I fighting? What in hell are we fighting for? These are questions everybody will ask after, and too many people are now asking before, they get smacked in the face.

This lack of social understanding and lack of political support translates into the impossibility of fighting a major, sustained war that requires taking heavy casualties -- even "over there," but certainly in the snug. American culture might be all gung-ho about Seal Team Six kicking ass, but the minute American homes start blowing up and American bodies start falling, Hoo-hah becomes Uh-oh , and it's going to be Outta here .

Americans are ready for Hoo-hah and the Shark Tank and the Zombie Apocalypse. They are not ready for war.

You Get What You Play For

"Russiagate," which started quite banally in the presidential campaign as a Democratic arrow to take down Trump, is now Russiamania -- a battery of weapons wielded by various sectors of the state, aimed at an array of targets deemed even potentially resistant to imperial militarism. Trump himself -- still, and for as long as he's deemed unreliable -- is targeted by a legal prosecution of infinite reach (whose likeliest threat is to take him down for something that has nothing to do with Russia). Russia itself is now targeted in full force by economic, diplomatic, ideological -- and, tentatively, military -- weapons of the state. Perhaps most importantly, American and European people, especially dissidents, are targeted by a unified media barrage that attacks any expression of radical critique, anything that "sows division" -- from Black Lives Matter, to the Sanders campaign, to "But other countries could have made it" -- as Russian treachery.

The stunning success of that last offensive is crucial to making a war more likely, and must be fought. To increase the risk of war with a nuclear power in order to score points against Donald Trump or Jill Stein -- well, only those who neither respect, fear, nor are ready for war would do such a stupid and dangerous thing.

It's impossible to predict with certainty whether, when, or with whom a major hot war will be started. The same chaotic disarray and impulsiveness of the Trump administration that increases the danger of war might also work to prevent it. John Bolton may be fired before he trims his moustache. But it's a pressure-cooker, and the temperature has spiked drastically.

In a previous essay , I said that Venezuela was a likely first target for military attack, precisely because it would make for an easy victory that didn't risk military confrontation with Russia. That's still a good possibility. As we saw with Iraq Wars 1 (which helped to end the "Vietnam Syndrome") and 2 (which somewhat resurrected it), the imperial high command needs to inure the American public with a virtually American-casualty-free victory and in order to lure them into taking on a war that's going to hurt.

But the new War Cabinet may be pumped for the main event -- an attack on Iran. Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton are all rabid proponents of regime-change in Iran. We can be certain that the Iran nuclear deal will be scrapped, and everyone will work hard to implement the secret agreement the Trump administration already has with Israel to "to deal with Iran's nuclear drive, its missile programs and its other threatening activities" -- or, as Trump himself expresses it: "cripple the [Iranian] regime and bring it to collapse." (That agreement, by the way, was negotiated and signed by the previous, supposedly not-so-belligerent National Security Advisor, H. R. McMaster.)

Still, as I also said in the previous essay, an attack on Iran means the Americans must either make sure Russia doesn't get in the way or make clear that they don't care if it does. So, threatening moves -- not excluding probing military moves -- against Russia will increase, whether Russia is the preferred direct target or not.

The siege is on.

Americans who want to continue playing with this fire would do well to pay some respectful attention to the target whose face they want to smack. Russia did not boast or brag or threaten or Hoo-Hah about sending military forces to Syria. When it was deemed necessary -- when the United States declared its intention to attack the Syrian Army -- it just did it. And American10-dimensional-chess players have been squirming around trying to deal with the implications of that ever since. They're working hard on finding the right mix of threats, bluffs, sanctions, expulsions, "Shut up and go away!" insults, military forces on the border, and "bloody nose" attacks to force a capitulation. They should be listening to their target, who has not tired of asking for a "partnership," who has clearly stated what his country would do in reaction to previous moves (e.g., the abrogation of the ABM Treaty and stationing of ABM bases in Eastern Europe), whose country and family have suffered from wartime devastation Americans cannot imagine, who therefore respects, fears, and is ready for war in ways Americans are not, and who is not playing their game:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9QxWYIAtCMU

Notes.

[1] Ironically, given current drivers of Russiamania, this is a reference to remarks by Janet Napolitano. " The Enemization of Everything or an American Story of Empathy & Healing? "

[2] Though it's ridiculous that it needs to be said: I'm not talking here about the phony fear engendered by the media presentation of the "strongman," "brutal dictator" Vladimir Putin. This is part and parcel of comic-book politics -- conjuring a super-villain, who, we all know, is destined to be defeated. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jim Kavanagh

Jim Kavanagh edits The Polemicist .

[Jun 14, 2019] 'Make Russia Prostrate Again' Is the Only Thing US Democrats and Republicans Can Agree on

Jun 14, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Despite the deep schism that separates America's deranged political duopoly, they do share a common foreign policy pet project, and that is to prevent Russia from ever shining again on the global stage in all fields of endeavor.

One of Donald Trump's main pledges on the 2016 campaign trail was to rekindle the dying embers of US-Russia relations, which had been undergoing a mini Ice Age under Barack Obama, his ballyhooed 'reset' notwithstanding. But before Trump was ever put to the test of romancing Russia, he was sidelined by one of the most malicious political stunts of the modern age.

It is only necessary to recall the 2016 Winter of Our Discontent when the Democratic leader sent 35 Russian diplomats and their families packing just before New Year's Eve in retaliation for Russia's alleged involvement in hacking the Democratic National Committee's computers. Before Trump ascended the throne, those unfounded claims lit the fuse on 'Russiagate,' the debacle which continues to undermine not just US-Russia relations, but the entire US political system.

Yet would things have turned out any differently between Washington and Moscow had the Democrats graciously accepted defeat in 2016 without feeling the need to blame remote Russia? I am not sure.

Today, observers reason that the US Republicans have no choice but to 'get tough' on Russia in an effort to dispel Democrat-generated rumors of excessive coziness with the Kremlin. Last year, for example, Trump bested Obama on the Russia front when he expelled 60 Russian diplomats in response to an alleged assassination attempt on former British spy, Sergey Skripal; an astonishing move on the part of the US conservative, but with so much riding on the line was it really a surprise?

And what was it exactly that was 'riding on the line'? Aside from good relations between the world's two premier nuclear powers, not to mention thwarting nuclear Armageddon as Prime Minister Theresa May very unwisely issued an ultimatum to Russia over the matter, there is the question of hundreds of billions of dollars of business contracts – from gas supplies to military hardware. Tycoon Trump would sooner win over European gas supplies than the plains of Central Asia, for example, the geopolitical lynchpin so dear to the hearts of US policymakers, like the late Zbigniew Brzezinski. This is where so many people misread Donald Trump: His heart and mind is devoted to the business deals, not the military steals. But that doesn't necessarily make his moves are any less dangerous.

From President Trump's perspective, Russia is a 500-pound cigar-chomping guy at the negotiating table with an ego and stature equal to his own that must be vanquished lest The Deal be lost and he – Donald J. Trump, CEO and Founder of The Trump Organization – look like a second-rate negotiator and fraud. Similar to the methods a belligerent globalist, Trump the inveterate businessman will do anything to achieve leverage in the pursuit of profit.

This is where Trump was only too happy to oblige the British with their extremely suspect Skripal story because vilifying the Russians, once again, would give the US an upper hand in stealing business away from Moscow, most notably in the realm of European gas supplies. Presently, the Trump administration is trying hard to halt progress on Nord Stream 2, an ambitious 11 billion euro ($12.4 billion) project to construct a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.

Speaking from Kiev this week, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Washington, once again endorsing the spirit of free competition and enterprise, was preparing to introduce sanctions on foreign companies involved in the project.

But that's just the beginning.

To show how low the Americans would stoop to get a piece of this lucrative European market, which the Russian's have been dutifully supplying for many decades, they've gone for some dramatic rebranding , calling LNG supplies "freedom gas." You know, the byproduct of 'freedom fries.'

"Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America's allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy," said US Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes.

Dmitry Peskov, official spokesman of the Russian president, scoffed at such cynical attempts by Washington to strong-arm nations into accepting its preferred version of the 'free market.'

"Instead of fair competition they prefer to act like in Wild West times," Peskov told RT's Sophie Shevardnadze ahead of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). "They just show the gun and say that no, you guys here in Europe, you are going to buy our natural gas and we don't care that it is at least 30% more expensive than the gas coming from the Russians. This is the case."

Perhaps nowhere else is this effort to 'control the market' more evident than in the realm of military spending, and particularly among NATO states. Currently, European countries spend some $240 billion annually on military weapons and forces, while Russia spends just $66 billion each year. Yet for businessmen like Trump, that is not good enough. Employing the vacuous claim of an 'aggressive Russia,' Trump is passing around the proverbial hat, demanding that NATO members contribute an ever-higher amount of their GDP to military spending. At the same, the eastern border with Russia has become militarized like never before.

Here there is striking convergence on the part of the Democrats and Republicans when it comes to Russia. The Democrats under Barack Obama, accepting the baton passed to them by the Bush administration, dropped a US-made missile defense system in Romania, a stone's throw from the Russian border. Obama's assurances that the Russians would be allowed to participate in the project were casually forgotten. But the Russians, who know a thing or two about military strategy, did not forget. Last year, Vladimir Putin unveiled a number of daunting military breakthroughs, including hypersonic weapons, which the Russian leader explained were developed with the sole purpose of striking a strategic balance between the two nuclear superpowers. And if the world needs more of anything these days, it is certainly balance.

With such ploys in mind, it is easy to see why Moscow has little cause for celebration with either a Democrat or Republican in the White House. Both political parties have long viewed Russia not as a potential partner that could lend tremendous assistance in resolving some of the planet's most intractable problems, but rather as some Cold War foe that needs vilified and vanquished. Of course there is good reason for this decades-long duplicity. The double-pronged attack by the Democrats and Republicans allows Washington to continue to make strategic inroads against Russia, as well as China, while filling the corporate coffers at the same time. It is an age-old strategy – albeit a foolhardy one in an age of nuclear weapons – which is doomed to ultimate failure, if not disaster, if left unchecked. The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation. Tags: NATO Perry Russia Trump US

[Jun 03, 2019] MH17 attribution to Russia now looks like a classic false flag operation by Western intelligence services

Jun 03, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

I'd have to go with Zuesse's conclusion.

Have brought up Gabbard's sticking with the lies and false narratives regarding Russia and Ukraine, clearly one of her blind spots in her "antiwar" political campaign, that along with the massive and unrelenting war OF terror. That letter is a rather disgusting display of imperialist obfuscation by the duopoly political parties, fully supporting the lies about Maduro and what's happening in VS and in effect providing cover for future actions. You can't claim to be against military action while also lying about the reasons. Of course they can, that's how they prep the public for imperial advances. up 4 users have voted.


wendy davis on Sun, 06/02/2019 - 4:10pm

i'm not positive that

@Big Al

i totally endorse zuesse's theory, but oh my, he'd brought in a lot of moving parts at the time. paranoid conspiracy theory or 'coincidence theory', as some brilliant mofo used to ask. (i'l think of his name later.) the russian defense ministry's contentions are in conflict with zuesse's (buk missiles v. another jet with missiles), but i sure as hell know that the dutch report decision in advance was bullshit. i'd think that one would have to be willfully blind to accept it at face value, esp. if any of them like gabbard were on the defense and intel committees at the time. same with madurro's venezuela, to pretend that it's not mainly the egregious sanctions and blockades that are responsible for the estimated 40,000 citizens who've died for lack of medicines and food. and now their CLAP food delivery system is under attack...again.

i get that the intel they're fed is rubbish, but they all have the duty to look further than what lies they're spoon fed. CEPR has been incredibly valuable a resource for one, and it's pretty mainstream.

but he's right about one thing: yanukovitch was overthrown due to his refusal to sign the EU association memo, and when Imperialists speak of how 'russia stole crimea', or refuse to see why the separatists in the donbass formed their own independent nation-states, it's utter hypocrisy.

thanks for reading and commenting, big al.

oh, and do you know if tulsi's FP is still at her house.gov site? i looked at all her press releases that were dated after that offensive letter, but i'd found nothing new.

Big Al on Sun, 06/02/2019 - 4:55pm
Ya, I never got into it much.

@wendy davis I mean, there's the establishment/government narrative and there's the truth, that's about all I need to know. It's like that saying "trust, but verify". I say fuck that, "don't trust, and verify that".
I don't know about Gabbard's FP, she's done some housecleaning and avoided certain things since becoming the CFR's choice for 2024. Again, I've already done enough research, what, for over 3 years now?, to see what she's all about, something I failed to do in 2007/8 regarding Obama. Lo and behold, all the clues were there just waiting to be uncovered, but I wasn't in the same place as now.

Pluto's Republic on Sun, 06/02/2019 - 10:43pm
I believe the answer was best documented

@wendy davis

...by the Russians, who were not allowed to participate in the Dutch investigation. The information and data was presented to the Dutch and to the Western media in September 2018. Everything one could hope to see in physical evidence is here. There is additional evidence not in this article that adds to the details and forensics presented here.

https://www.rt.com/news/438596-mh17-downing-russian-briefing/

This information was not published in the West or in the Vassal State of Netherlands. The US possesses satellite photos of the incident. But it has classified those photos and refuses to release them.

As for means, motive and opportunity:

• MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, not over Russia.
• It was shot down with a missile owned by Ukraine, not by Russia.
• It had propaganda value for Ukraine and its CIA masters, none for
• The missile was fired from territory controlled by the neo nazi Kiev regime.

But the best evidence of what took place, as far as I'm concerned, is right here:

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, falling in the rebel-held part of the country. The crash claimed the lives of 283 passengers and 15 crew members, most of them Dutch nationals. Russia was blamed by Western media in the first days after the tragedy, even before any evidence had been collected on the ground.

wendy davis on Mon, 06/03/2019 - 8:57am
excellent,

@Pluto's Republic

and thank you. your memory is prodigious, and having the 2018 RT news is srsly helpful, as is your M,M, & O formula. blame first, then fail to allow russia (and malaysia) to be able to run investigations. good to know as well that the malaysian minister knew of the serial numbers and that ukraine owned the missiles.

eric zuesse had said that even dutch journalists were raising havoc with the JIT back in the day. but just think what this false blame resulting in mega-sanctions began, then onto the skripals, russia-gate in many guises, and tra la la.

mr. wd laughed this mornin' and said he wishes he had a choice to vote for sergei lavrov for prez; i second that!

dunno if the EU still wants a compact with ukraine, but NATO sure wants the neo-nazi nation as a member. ping: if i have the energy and time, i'll try to find in zuesse's tome admissions by snipers in 2014, as well.

Lookout on Sun, 06/02/2019 - 5:03pm
Tulsi's issue page....

...is here -
https://www.tulsigabbard.org/

Must admit I didn't hunt down her Ukraine position, but my personal take is Obummer and the CIA set out to foment problems and managed to get a fascists regime elected in order to oppose Russia. The new Ukrainian president may take things in a more pro-Russia direction?

wendy davis on Sun, 06/02/2019 - 6:01pm
ach; not at her house.gov

@Lookout

site, at her election site. well, check out Russia , for now. and i do thank you; i was lookin' in all the wrong places. ; )i'll check out more soon as i have time, but zounds: russia: crimea, the nation's interference in our election, wooof. of course jill stein raised boatloads of bucks for recounts in three states on the basis of russian interference, later 'foreign interference' against the wishes of the green party board and her own running mate, so...there's that, but it was just a dodge against trump winning, not hillary. sorry, tulsi.

wendy davis on Mon, 06/03/2019 - 9:09am
my apologies

@Lookout

for being in such a hurry i hadn't even registered your speculation about zelenskiy, but nah, he wants crimea and the donbass self-declared republics that Putin stole from him...back. he's being lauded and applauded for 'standing up to KGB Putin'. ; )

and the IMF's bailin' em out again so they have enough to pay their NATO dues and join the EU. (just saw that tryin' to remember how to sorta spell the comic's name.)

jim p on Sun, 06/02/2019 - 7:32pm
The pilot's body, iirc,

maybe it was passengers', was returned to Malaysia ... but in a sealed coffin, that even family members were refused to open.

At the time an OSCE member was the first to arrive at the crash site. Some 20 minutes after the downing. The photos taken by him, or so it was attributed, showed round holes (not shrapnel) shot in the pilot area. Sorry I don't have any links handy on either of these, but I'm pretty sure this is correct.

wendy davis on Sun, 06/02/2019 - 8:29pm
thank you;

@jim p

as i understand it, the hole size was not in contention. but weather it had been the pilot or a passenger: '...but in a sealed coffin, that even family members were refused to open.'

is that perhaps a malaysian custom? is the truth out there somewhere?

jim p on Mon, 06/03/2019 - 12:17pm
The family was furious

@wendy davis and the government protested. The holes in the photo were in the cockpit and looked perfectly round.

wendy davis on Mon, 06/03/2019 - 12:31pm
as pluto &

@jim p

eric zuesse remind us, the holes in the cockpit were likely from machine guns on the ukrainian fighter jet sent to make sure the ukie buk missiles had (omg) killed the plane, which if i'm getting it right (a big IF) was changing direction as it went down. my apologies for not getting all the moving parts and claims right on this thread.

but the 21st century wire shows charts and evidence that the flight crew was ordered to change course by the air traffic control tower (as per the later censored bbc plus recordings).

Pluto's Republic on Sun, 06/02/2019 - 11:20pm
Many believed that a Ukraine fighter jet

@jim p

...was involved in the downing of MH17, which was the opinion of many aviation experts and others, who found bullet holes in the cockpit, wings, and fuselage. This in addition to Buk damage.

Recordings were captured by multiple sources of a frightened and stressed Ukrainian pilot, who radioed, "I shot the wrong plane!" He sounded as if he was commanded to shoot down a military target plane and was misled into shooting a passenger jet. That pilot, named Voloshyn, later committed suicide.

The typical recollection of the incident is:

A fighter was also sent up to 'make sure' the target plane was shot down. If I remember rightly, the plane was hit, but was still flying and it began to turn back. If the plane story (which I tend to believe) is true, it's at that point that the fighter jet opened fire on the cockpit and wings.

That would also account for Buk damage to the Boeing, as well as fighter machine gun damage to the cockpit.

You can find many references to this incident along with transcripts of the conversation between the fighter pilot and the ground base.

wendy davis on Mon, 06/03/2019 - 8:54am
that theory

@Pluto's Republic

certainly covers all the bases, doesn't it? good on ya, again, upside-down pluto.

wendy davis on Mon, 06/03/2019 - 12:40pm
i never found zuesse's

video confessions from the snipers at maidan (i assume ukrainians firing on protestors in front of the trades union building that was eventually...burned to the ground.

but this?

"For instance, Moscow said a theory was never tested that the airliner could have been downed by a fighter jet spotted by Russian radar stations near flight MH17. The theory was later proven false by the discovery of debris from the Buk rocket.

Though Russia doesn't possess those black boxes ( which, by chance, were handed by the pro-Russian separatists to the Malaysian Government's representative, and yet that Government handed them to Netherland's Government instead of to Russia's -- apparently trusting Netherlands more than trusting Russia or even themselves), Russia does possess, and publicly reveals, evidence that's conclusive on its own; and it is 100% consistent with Haisenko's reconstruction of the event, regardless whether a Buk was involved or not."

one of his links went to ' MH17 Verdict: Real Evidence Points to US-Kiev Cover-up of Failed False Flag ' July 25, 2014 , 21stcenturywire.com

"As MH17 moved into Ukrainian air space, it was moved by ATC Kiev approximately 200 miles north – putting it on a new course, heading directly into a war zone, a well-known dangerous area by now – one that's hosted a number of downed military craft over the previous 3 weeks. Robert Mark, a commercial pilot and editor of Aviation International News Safety magazine, confirmed that most Malaysia Airlines flights from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur would normally travel along a route significantly further south than the route MH17 was diverted onto.

Data on all airline flight records can be found here. The BBC reported on July 17th: " Ukraine's SBU security service has confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner, a source in Kiev has told Interfax news agency."

a great (and lengthy) collaborative investigation by 21st century wire. thanks, obomba, thanks, tulsi, thanks Pierre and vickie nuland. and even the new guy can't control his neo-nazis. but then again, at least yulia tymoshenko didn't win.

but NATO will add them to the roster soon, which is one of the reasons that the atlantic council had recommended him: to root out poroshenko's oligarchs' corruption.

wendy davis on Mon, 06/03/2019 - 5:20pm
no date given, but:
wendy davis on Mon, 06/03/2019 - 5:13pm
i found it,

but i almost wish i hadn't it's sooooo long and full of twists and turns, news reports, videos, but in general the theme is that mikhail saakashvilli hired them, then stiffed them.

' The "Snipers' Massacre" in Kiev -- Another False Flag? ', January 13, 2015 , granvillepost.com, eric zuesse

you may remember him best john Mccains buddy: 'today we are all georgians'? like ahmed chalabi, he's the proverbial bad penny who keeps returning in whatever guise needed (after expulsions), and the big news this week is that zelenskiy's reinstated his ukrainian citizenship after promising to give up his former ambitions and work with the new prez.

good gawd all-friday.

[May 22, 2019] NATO has pushed eastward right up to its borders and threatened to incorporate regions that have been part of Russia's sphere of influence -- and its defense perimeter -- for centuries

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Economist and Stephens are correct. The trade dispute is merely a small part of a much larger and even more intense geopolitical rivalry that could ignite what Stephens describes as "an altogether hotter war." ..."
"... From the mid-1940s onward, the primacy of the United States was assumed as a given. History had rendered a verdict: we -- not the Brits and certainly not the Germans, French, or Russians -- were number one, and, more importantly, were meant to be. That history's verdict might be subject to revision was literally unimaginable, especially to anyone making a living in or near Washington, D.C. ..."
"... Choose your own favorite post-Cold War paean to American power and privilege. Mine remains Madeleine Albright's justification for some now-forgotten episode of armed intervention, uttered 20 years ago when American wars were merely occasional (and therefore required some nominal justification) rather then perpetual (and therefore requiring no justification whatsoever). ..."
"... Like some idiot savant, Donald Trump understood this. He grasped that the establishment's formula for militarized global leadership applied to actually existing post-Cold War circumstances was spurring American decline. Certainly other observers, including contributors to this publication, had for years been making the same argument, but in the halls of power their dissent counted for nothing. ..."
"... Yet in 2016, Trump's critique of U.S. policy resonated with many ordinary Americans and formed the basis of his successful run for the presidency. Unfortunately, once Trump assumed office, that critique did not translate into anything even remotely approximating a coherent strategy. President Trump's half-baked formula for Making America Great Again -- building "the wall," provoking trade wars, and elevating Iran to the status of existential threat -- is, to put it mildly, flawed, if not altogether irrelevant. His own manifest incompetence and limited attention span don't help ..."
"... There is no countervailing force within the USA that is able to tame MIC appetites, which are constantly growing. In a sense the nation is taken hostage with no root for escape via internal political mechanisms (for all practical purposes I would consider neocons that dominate the USA foreign policy to be highly paid lobbyists of MIC.) ..."
"... In this sense the alliance of China, Iran, Russia and Turkey might serve as an external countervailing force which allows some level of return to sanity, like was the case when the USSR existed. ..."
"... I agree with Bacevich that the dissolution of the USSR corrupted the US elite to the extent that it became reckless and somewhat suicidal in seeking "Full Spectrum Dominance" (which is an illusive goal in any case taking into account existing arsenals in China and Russia and the growing distance between EU and the USA) ..."
May 21, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Great Power Game is On and China is Winning If America wants to maintain any influence in Asia, it needs to wake up. By Robert W. Merry • May 22, 2019

President Donald J. Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People, Thursday, November 9, 2017, in Beijing, People's Republic of China. ( Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead) From across the pond come two geopolitical analyses in two top-quality British publications that lay out in stark terms the looming struggle between the United States and China. It isn't just a trade war, says The Economist in a major cover package. "Trade is not the half of it," declares the magazine. "The United States and China are contesting every domain, from semiconductors to submarines and from blockbuster films to lunar exploration." The days when the two superpowers sought a win-win world are gone.

For its own cover, The Financial Times ' Philip Stephens produced a piece entitled, "Trade is just an opening shot in a wider US-China conflict." The subhead: "The current standoff is part of a struggle for global pre-eminence." Writes Stephens: "The trade narrative is now being subsumed into a much more alarming one. Economics has merged with geopolitics. China, you can hear on almost every corner in sight of the White House and Congress, is not just a dangerous economic competitor but a looming existential threat."

Stephens quotes from the so-called National Defense Strategy, entitled "Sharpening the American Military's Competitive Edge," released last year by President Donald Trump's Pentagon. In the South China Sea, for example, says the strategic paper, "China has mounted a rapid military modernization campaign designed to limit U.S. access to the region and provide China a freer hand there." The broader Chinese goal, warns the Pentagon, is "Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global pre-eminence in the future."

The Economist and Stephens are correct. The trade dispute is merely a small part of a much larger and even more intense geopolitical rivalry that could ignite what Stephens describes as "an altogether hotter war."

... ... ..

Russia: Of all the developments percolating in the world today, none is more ominous than the growing prospect of an anti-American alliance involving Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran. Yet such an alliance is in the works, largely as a result of America's inability to forge a foreign policy that recognizes the legitimate geopolitical interests of other nations. If the United States is to maintain its position in Asia, this trend must be reversed.

The key is Russia, largely by dint of its geopolitical position in the Eurasian heartland. If China's global rise is to be thwarted, it must be prevented from gaining dominance over Eurasia. Only Russia can do that. But Russia has no incentive to act because it feels threatened by the West. NATO has pushed eastward right up to its borders and threatened to incorporate regions that have been part of Russia's sphere of influence -- and its defense perimeter -- for centuries.

Given the trends that are plainly discernible in the Far East, the West must normalize relations with Russia. That means providing assurances that NATO expansion is over for good. It means the West recognizing that Georgia, Belarus, and, yes, Ukraine are within Russia's natural zone of influence. They will never be invited into NATO, and any solution to the Ukraine conundrum will have to accommodate Russian interests. Further, the West must get over Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula. It is a fait accompli -- and one that any other nation, including America, would have executed in similar circumstances.

Would Russian President Vladimir Putin spurn these overtures and maintain a posture of bellicosity toward the West? We can't be sure, but that certainly wouldn't be in his interest. And how will we ever know when it's never been tried? We now understand that allegations of Trump's campaign colluding with Russia were meritless, so it's time to determine the true nature and extent of Putin's strategic aims. That's impossible so long as America maintains its sanctions and general bellicosity.

NATO: Trump was right during the 2016 presidential campaign when he said that NATO was obsolete. He later dialed back on that, but any neutral observer can see that the circumstances that spawned NATO as an imperative of Western survival no longer exist. The Soviet Union is gone, and the 1.3 million Russian and client state troops it placed on Western Europe's doorstep are gone as well.

So what kind of threat could Russia pose to Europe and the West? The European Union's GDP is more than 12 times that of Russia's, while Russia's per capita GDP is only a fourth of Europe's. The Russian population is 144.5 million to Europe's 512 million. Does anyone seriously think that Russia poses a serious threat to Europe or that Europe needs the American big brother for survival, as in the immediate postwar years? Of course not. This is just a ruse for the maintenance of the status quo -- Europe as subservient to America, the Russian bear as menacing grizzly, America as protective slayer in the event of an attack.

This is all ridiculous. NATO shouldn't be abolished. It should be reconfigured for the realities of today. It should be European-led, not American-led. It should pay for its own defense entirely, whatever that might be (and Europe's calculation of that will inform us as to its true assessment of the Russian threat). America should be its primary ally, but not committed to intervene whenever a tiny European nation feels threatened. NATO's Article 5, committing all alliance nations to the defense of any other when attacked, should be scrapped in favor of language that calls for U.S. intervention only in the event of a true threat to Western Civilization itself.

And while a European-led NATO would find it difficult to pull back from its forward eastern positions after adding so many nations in the post-Cold War era, it should extend assurances to Russia that it has no intention of acting provocatively -- absent, of course, any Russian provocations.

... ... ...

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century .

likbez, May 22, 2019

Great article. Thank you very much!

Pragmatic isolationalism is a better deal then the current neocon foreign policy. Which Trump is pursuing with the zeal similar to Obama (who continued all Bush II wars and started two new in Libya and Syria.) Probably this partially can be explained by his dependence of Adelson and pro-Israeli lobby.

But the problem is deeper then Trump: it is the power of MIC and American exeptionalism ( which can be viewed as a form of far right nationalism ) about which Andrew Bacevich have written a lot:

From the mid-1940s onward, the primacy of the United States was assumed as a given. History had rendered a verdict: we -- not the Brits and certainly not the Germans, French, or Russians -- were number one, and, more importantly, were meant to be. That history's verdict might be subject to revision was literally unimaginable, especially to anyone making a living in or near Washington, D.C.

If doubts remained on that score, the end of the Cold War removed them. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism, politicians, journalists, and policy intellectuals threw themselves headlong into a competition over who could explain best just how unprecedented, how complete, and how wondrous was the global preeminence of the United States.

Choose your own favorite post-Cold War paean to American power and privilege. Mine remains Madeleine Albright's justification for some now-forgotten episode of armed intervention, uttered 20 years ago when American wars were merely occasional (and therefore required some nominal justification) rather then perpetual (and therefore requiring no justification whatsoever).

"If we have to use force," Secretary of State Albright announced on morning television in February 1998, "it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future."

Back then, it was Albright's claim to American indispensability that stuck in my craw. Yet as a testimony to ruling class hubris, the assertion of indispensability pales in comparison to Albright's insistence that "we see further into the future."

In fact, from February 1998 down to the present, events have time and again caught Albright's "we" napping. The 9/11 terrorist attacks and the several unsuccessful wars of choice that followed offer prime examples. But so too did Washington's belated and inadequate recognition of the developments that actually endanger the wellbeing of 21st-century Americans, namely climate change, cyber threats, and the ongoing reallocation of global power prompted by the rise of China. Rather than seeing far into the future, American elites have struggled to discern what might happen next week. More often than not, they get even that wrong.

Like some idiot savant, Donald Trump understood this. He grasped that the establishment's formula for militarized global leadership applied to actually existing post-Cold War circumstances was spurring American decline. Certainly other observers, including contributors to this publication, had for years been making the same argument, but in the halls of power their dissent counted for nothing.

Yet in 2016, Trump's critique of U.S. policy resonated with many ordinary Americans and formed the basis of his successful run for the presidency. Unfortunately, once Trump assumed office, that critique did not translate into anything even remotely approximating a coherent strategy. President Trump's half-baked formula for Making America Great Again -- building "the wall," provoking trade wars, and elevating Iran to the status of existential threat -- is, to put it mildly, flawed, if not altogether irrelevant. His own manifest incompetence and limited attention span don't help.

There is no countervailing force within the USA that is able to tame MIC appetites, which are constantly growing. In a sense the nation is taken hostage with no root for escape via internal political mechanisms (for all practical purposes I would consider neocons that dominate the USA foreign policy to be highly paid lobbyists of MIC.)

In this sense the alliance of China, Iran, Russia and Turkey might serve as an external countervailing force which allows some level of return to sanity, like was the case when the USSR existed.

I agree with Bacevich that the dissolution of the USSR corrupted the US elite to the extent that it became reckless and somewhat suicidal in seeking "Full Spectrum Dominance" (which is an illusive goal in any case taking into account existing arsenals in China and Russia and the growing distance between EU and the USA)

[May 05, 2019] The US is going to sanction itself into obscurity

As soon as nations learn to avoid dollar transactions that will dramatically weaken the USA neoliberal empire. Bulling using technology transfer prohibitions is not effective as Germany and Japan are now fully recovered from WWII destruction and post immediate threat to the USA technological hegemony.
May 05, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Joe Tedesky , April 29, 2019 at 22:01

We the people needn't worry about our vote for president in as much as we the people should investigate the people who surround our president's. Trump has been overtaken from his campaigns foreign policy rhetoric by the same cabal of those who have captured the other previous presidents from they're living up to their promises, whether by choice or by compromise. I wish that a presidential campaign requirement were that each presidential candidate would divulge the cabinet choices they would make as secretary's of our national agencies. I wish for a lot of things that never will happen but still it would be nice to know such substantial appointments as opposed to knowing about their personality disorders wish are always disclosed for further review and constant discussion.

I've said it before that the US is going to sanction itself into obscurity. These sanctioned nations are many and still growing if you include our allies. It's all sticks and no carrots. When it all collapses the collapse may be blamed on US arrogance and profit.

[May 05, 2019] James Petras

Notable quotes:
"... US global power is built on several significant facts. These include: the US victory in World War II, its subsequent advanced economy and dominant military position throughout five continents. ..."
"... The US advanced its dominance through a series of alliances in Europe via NATO; Asia via its hegemonic relationship with Japan, South Korea, Philippines and Taiwan as well as Australia and New Zealand in Oceana; Latin America via traditional client regimes; Africa via neo-colonial rulers imposed following independence. ..."
"... The most significant advance of US global power took place with the demise and disintegration of the USSR, the client states in Eastern Europe, as well as the transformation of China and Indo-China to capitalism during the 1980's. ..."
Apr 29, 2019 | www.unz.com

Introduction

US global power in the Trump period reflects the continuities and changes which are unfolding rapidly and deeply throughout the world and which are affecting the position of Washington.

Assessing the dynamics of US global power is a complex problem which requires examining multiple dimensions.

We will proceed by:

Conceptualizing the principles which dictate empire building, specifically the power bases and the dynamic changes in relations and structures which shape the present and future position of the US. Identifying the spheres of influence and power and their growth and decline. Examining the regions of conflict and contestation. The major and secondary rivalries. The stable and shifting relations between existing and rising power centers. The internal dynamics shaping the relative strength of competing centers of global power. The instability of the regimes and states seeking to retain and expand global power.

Conceptualization of Global Power

US global power is built on several significant facts. These include: the US victory in World War II, its subsequent advanced economy and dominant military position throughout five continents.

The US advanced its dominance through a series of alliances in Europe via NATO; Asia via its hegemonic relationship with Japan, South Korea, Philippines and Taiwan as well as Australia and New Zealand in Oceana; Latin America via traditional client regimes; Africa via neo-colonial rulers imposed following independence.

US global power was built around encircling the USSR and China, undermining their economies and defeating their allies militarily via regional wars.

Post WWII global economic and military superiority created subordinated allies and established US global power, but it created the bases for gradual shifts in relations of dominance.

US global power was formidable but subject to economic and military changes over time and in space.

US Spheres of Power: Then and Now

US global power exploited opportunities but also suffered military setbacks early on, particularly in Korea, Indo-China and Cuba. The US spheres of power were clearly in place in Western Europe and Latin America but was contested in Eastern Europe and Asia.

The most significant advance of US global power took place with the demise and disintegration of the USSR, the client states in Eastern Europe, as well as the transformation of China and Indo-China to capitalism during the 1980's.

US ideologues declared the coming of a unipolar empire free of restraints and challenges to its global and regional power. The US turned to conquering peripheral adversaries. Washington destroyed Yugoslavia and then Iraq – fragmenting them into mini-states. Wall Street promoted a multitude of multi-national corporations to invade China and Indo-China who reaped billions of profits exploiting cheap labor.

The believers of the enduring rule of US global power envisioned a century of US imperial rule.

In reality this was a short-sighted vision of a brief interlude.

The End of Unipolarity: New Rivalries and Global and Regional Centers of Power: An Overview

US global power led Washington into 'overreach', in several crucial areas: it launched a series of costly prolonged wars, specifically in Iraq and Afghanistan, which had three negative consequences: the destruction of the Iraq armed forces and economy led to the rise of the Islamic State which overtook most of the country; the occupation in Afghanistan which led to the emergence of the Taliban and an ongoing twenty year war which cost hundreds of billions of dollars and several thousand wounded and dead US soldiers; as a result the majority of the US public turned negative toward wars and empire building

The US pillage and dominance of Russia ended, when President Putin replaced Yeltsin's vassal state. Russia rebuilt its industry, science, technology and military power. Russia's population recovered its living standards.

With Russian independence and advanced military weaponry, the US lost its unipolar military power. Nevertheless, Washington financed a coup which virtually annexed two thirds of the Ukraine. The US incorporated the fragmented Yugoslavian 'statelets' into NATO. Russia countered by annexing the Crimea and secured a mini-state adjacent Georgia.

China converted the economic invasion of US multi-national corporations into learning experiences for building its national economy and export platforms which contributed which led to its becoming an economic competitor and rival to the US.

US global empire building suffered important setbacks in Latin America resulting

from the the so-called Washington Consensus. The imposition of neo-liberal policies privatized and plundered their economies, impoverished the working and middle class, and provoked a series of popular uprising and the rise of radical social movements and center-left governments.

The US empire lost spheres of influence in some regions (China, Russia, Latin America, Middle East) though it retained influence among elites in contested regions and even launched new imperial wars in contested terrain. Most notably the US attacked independent regimes in Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Somalia and Sudan via armed proxies.

The change from a unipolar to a multi polar world and the gradual emergence of regional rivals led US global strategists to rethink their strategy. The Trump regime's aggressive policies set the stage for political division within the regime and among allies.

The Obama – Trump Convergence and Differences on Empire Building

By the second decade of the 21 st century several new global power alignments emerged: China had become the main economic competitor for world power and Russia was the major military challenger to US military supremacy at the regional level. The US replaced the former European colonial empire in Africa. Washington's sphere of influence extended especially in North and Sub Sahara Africa: Kenya, Libya, Somalia and Ethiopia. Trump gained leverage in the Middle East namely in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Jordan.

Israel retained its peculiar role, converting the US as its sphere of influence.

But the US faced regional rivals for sphere of influence in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq and Algeria.

In South Asia US faced competition for spheres of influence from China, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In Latin America sharp and abrupt shifts in spheres of influence were the norm. US influence declined between 2000 – 2015 and recovered from 2015 to the present.

Imperial Power Alignments Under President Trump

President Trump faced complex global, regional and local political and economic challenges.

Trump followed and deepened many of the policies launched by the Obama- Hillary Clinton policies with regard to other countries and regions . However Trump also radicalized and/or reversed policies of his predecessors. He combined flattery and aggression at the same time.

At no time did Trump recognize the limits of US global power. Like the previous three presidents he persisted in the belief that the transitory period of a unipolar global empire could be re-imposed.

Toward Russia, a global competitor, Trump adopted a policy of 'rollback'. Trump imposed economic sanctions, with the strategic 'hope' that by impoverishing Russia, degrading its financial and industrial sectors that he could force a regime change which would convert Moscow into a vassal state.

At the beginning of his Presidential campaign Trump flirted with the notion of a business accommodation with Putin. However, Trump's ultra-belligerent appointments and domestic opposition soon turned him toward a highly militarized strategy, rejecting military – including nuclear – agreements, in favor of military escalation.

Toward China, Trump faced a dynamic and advancing technological competitor. Trump resorted to a 'trade war' that went far beyond 'trade' to encompass a war against Beijing's economic structure and social relations. The Trump regime-imposed sanctions and threatened a total boycott of Chinese exports.

ORDER IT NOW

Trump and his economic team demanded China privatize and denationalize its entire state backed industry. They demanded the power to unilaterally decide when violations of US rules occurred and to be able to re-introduce sanctions without consultations. Trump demanded all Chinese technological agreements, economic sectors and innovations were subject and open to US business interests. In other words, Trump demanded the end of Chinese sovereignty and the reversal of the structural base for its global power. The US was not interested in mere 'trade' – it wanted a return to imperial rule over a colonized China.

The Trump regime rejected negotiations and recognition of a shared power relation: it viewed its global rivals as potential clients.

Inevitably the Trump regime's strategy would never reach any enduring agreements on any substantial issues under negotiations. China has a successful strategy for global power built on a 6 trillion-dollar world-wide Road and Belt (R and B) development policy, which links 60 countries and several regions. R and B is building seaports, rail and air systems linking industries financed by development banks.

In contrast, the US banks exploits industry, speculates and operates within closed financial circuits. The US spends trillions on wars, coups, sanctions and other parasitical activities which have nothing to do with economic competitiveness.

The Trump regime's 'allies' in the Middle East namely Saudi Arabia and Israel, are parasitic allies who buy protection and provoke costly wars.

Europe complains about China's increase in industrial exports and overlook imports of consumer goods. Yet the EU plans to resist Trump's sanctions which lead to a blind alley of stagnation!

Conclusion

The most recent period of the peak of US global power, the decade between 1989-99 contained the seeds of its decline and the current resort to trade wars, sanctions and nuclear threats.

The structure of US global power changed over the past seven decades. The US global empire building began with the US command over the rebuilding of Western European economies and the displacement of England, France, Portugal and Belgium from Asia and Africa.

The Empire spread and penetrated South America via US multi-national corporations. However, US empire building was not a linear process as witness its unsuccessful confrontation with national liberation movements in Korea, Indo China, Southern Africa (Angola, Congo, etc.) and the Caribbean (Cuba). By the early 1960's the US had displaced its European rivals and successfully incorporated them as subordinate allies.

Washington's main rivals for spheres of influence was Communist China and the USSR with their allies among client state and overseas revolutionaries.

The US empire builders' successes led to the transformation of their Communist and nationalist rivals into emergent capitalist competitors.

In a word US dominance led to the construction of capitalist rivals, especially China and Russia.

Subsequently, following US military defeats and prolonged wars, regional powers proliferated in the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Latin America. Regional blocs competed with US clients for power.

The diversification of power centers led to new and costly wars. Washington lost exclusive control of markets, resources and alliances. Competition reduced the spheres of US power.

In the face of these constraints on US global power the Trump regime envisioned a strategy to recover US dominance – ignoring the limited capacity and structure of US political , economic and class relations.

China absorbed US technology and went on to create new advances without following each previous stage.

Russia's recovered from its losses and sanctions and secured alternative trade relations to counter the new challenges to the US global empire. Trump's regime launched a 'permanent trade war' without stable allies. Moreover, he failed to undermine China's global infrastructure network; Europe demanded and secured autonomy to enter into trade deals with China, Iran and Russia.

Trump has pressured many regional powers who have ignored his threats.

The US still remains a global power. But unlike the past, the US lacks the industrial base to 'make America strong'. Industry is subordinated to finance; technological innovations are not linked to skilled labor to increase productivity.

Trump relies on sanctions and they have failed to undermine regional influentials. Sanctions may temporarily reduce access to US markets' but we have observed that new trade partners take their place.

Trump has gained client regimes in Latin America, but the gains are precarious and subject to reversal.

Under the Trump regime, big business and bankers have increased prices in the stock market and even the rate of growth of the GDP, but he confronts severe domestic political instability, and high levels of turmoil among the branches of government. In pursuit of loyalty over competence, Trump's appointments have led to the ascendancy of cabinet officials who seek to wield unilateral power which the US no longer possesses.

Elliot Abrams can massacre a quarter-million Central Americans with impunity, but he has failed to impose US power over Venezuela and Cuba. Pompeo can threaten North Kore, Iran and China but these countries fortify alliances with US rivals and competitors. Bolton can advance the interests of Israel but their conversations take place in a telephone booth – it lacks resonance with any major powers.

Trump has won a presidential election, he has secured concessions from some countries but he has alienated regional and diplomatic allies. Trump claims he is making America strong, but he has undermined lucrative strategic multi-lateral trade agreements.

US 'Global Power' does not prosper with bully-tactics. Projections of power alone, have failed – they require recognition of realistic economic limitations and the losses from regional wars.

alexander , says: May 5, 2019 at 1:41 pm GMT

This is a fine synopsis but it leaves out the most fundamental of issues.

The American People don't want to be an Empire, .never asked to be an Empire and despise, to the core, our ruling elites who defrauded us into becoming one.

We do live in an Empire now, to our chagrin, but it is (in truth) a malevolent empire .an Empire of Fraud, Belligerence .. and Heinous
F#cking Debt .

Show me one American, anywhere, who is happy about it .

Our ruling elites have "lied" us into multiple wars of "never ending" criminal aggression ..wars which have all but exterminated the solvency of the nation and reaped untold carnage and misery on tens of millions of people who never attacked us (and never intended to).

This "War Fraud", foisted upon us , has been a catastrophic disaster for our country and the world.

A "mind -bending, catastrophic, . disaster".

Every single belligerent "oligarch" , "plutocrat" and "establishment elite", who conspired to defraud us into these "illegal wars", should be rounded up and thrown in federal prison Every single penny of their assets should be seized to pay down the cost of wars they lied us into.

This is , hands down, the most meaningful step we could take, as a nation.

Not only would it change the direction of the world, almost overnight, but it would lay the groundwork for the United States to rebuild itself.

Once we make "Accountability for War Fraud" our nations highest priority, we can repair and rebuild.

If we don't, we won't and(tragically) might never be able to.

[May 03, 2019] Sanctions are just a tool in preparation for the war

May 03, 2019 | www.unz.com

Randy , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:32 pm GMT

@Digital Samizdat

Sanctions are the foreign policy equivalent of obstruction of justice traps. Sanctions are initiated in the hope the sanctioned country then commits some actionable trepidation, a Casus belli. They say the first casualty of war is the truth but that casualty comes way before war starts and continues long after war ends.

[May 03, 2019] Trump lost anti-war right. Forever.

Notable quotes:
"... Trump *escalated* US-Iran and US-Venezuela conflicts and intensified the sabre rattling towards both countries, according to all analysts. For the first time a POTUS openly said direct US invasion to Venezuela "is on the table" and his Adelson bought appointment for USNSA Bolton publicly showed in a notebook the writing "5000 troops to Colombia" openly suggesting a direct invasion was imminent. For the first time the White House asked the Pentagon to draw up options for military strikes against Iran. ..."
"... Trump's administration declared a whole branch of the Iran armed forces (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation. This is an escalation and according to most analysts, considered an act of war. ..."
"... Trump administration heavily increased sanctions to Iran, Russia and Venezuela and in the latter case even instigated a failed uprising and coup d'etat, going as far as to declare a virtual political Venezuelan nobody the "official" president of the country, which is in itself unbelievable and has no historic precedent. Another act of war actually. ..."
"... Trump administration also escalated the tensions with China, ordered the arrest and de facto kidnapping of Chinese corporate executives and openly used the US legal apparatus to attack and hinder a foreign corporation. ..."
"... Trump has been, objectively, the most neocon Israel-firster POTUS in US history. ..."
"... Friendly reminder that voting for Republicans and expecting US Jewish lobby/Corporate America promoted policies such as open borders and US imperialist interventions to stop is moronic beyond belief. Republicans are the most pro corporate pro US Jewish lobby of the two parties by far. At least there is talk and critique about how the Israel Lobby owns the USG in the Dem party. Nothing of the sort going on in the GOP. ..."
May 03, 2019 | www.unz.com

Scalper , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT

@A123 You Trump shills are chutzpah personified:

The U.S. missile strike on Shayrat Airbase on 7 April 2017 was the first time the U.S. became a deliberate, direct combatant against the Syrian government and marked the start of a series of deliberate direct military actions by U.S. forces against the Syrian government and its allies in May -- June 2017 and February 2018.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/06/trump-syria-missiles-assad-chemical-weapons

Trump *escalated* the war from covert support to insurgents to direct intervention and official *invasion* in Syria. This is the equivalent of going from financing and supporting a faction in a so called proxy war in say Vietnam to leading the US to go full Iraq WMD and become a warring and invading faction in the conflict. Again, this is an escalation.

The number of boots on the ground vs Obama's is data you just took out of your bottom. Sources for your cheap PR shilling? You don't have any because this statement of yours is a blatant lie.

Trump *escalated* US-Iran and US-Venezuela conflicts and intensified the sabre rattling towards both countries, according to all analysts. For the first time a POTUS openly said direct US invasion to Venezuela "is on the table" and his Adelson bought appointment for USNSA Bolton publicly showed in a notebook the writing "5000 troops to Colombia" openly suggesting a direct invasion was imminent. For the first time the White House asked the Pentagon to draw up options for military strikes against Iran.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/13/white-house-asked-pentagon-plans-strike-iran

Trump's administration declared a whole branch of the Iran armed forces (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation. This is an escalation and according to most analysts, considered an act of war.

Trump's administration ended the Iran deal without any objective reasons, ie Obama's effort to deescalate the Israel firsters driven Iran-US conflict

Trump administration heavily increased sanctions to Iran, Russia and Venezuela and in the latter case even instigated a failed uprising and coup d'etat, going as far as to declare a virtual political Venezuelan nobody the "official" president of the country, which is in itself unbelievable and has no historic precedent. Another act of war actually.

Trump administration declared Golan Heights part of Israel brought US embassy to Jerusalem, increasing the tensions and animosity towards the US in the ME.

Trump administration will declare Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, increasing the animosity from Arab countries in the ME to unbelievable levels. This includes non Arab country Turkey also, a traditional ally until neocon Trump took power.

Trump administration also escalated the tensions with China, ordered the arrest and de facto kidnapping of Chinese corporate executives and openly used the US legal apparatus to attack and hinder a foreign corporation.

Trump has been, objectively, the most neocon Israel-firster POTUS in US history.

Friendly reminder that voting for Republicans and expecting US Jewish lobby/Corporate America promoted policies such as open borders and US imperialist interventions to stop is moronic beyond belief. Republicans are the most pro corporate pro US Jewish lobby of the two parties by far. At least there is talk and critique about how the Israel Lobby owns the USG in the Dem party. Nothing of the sort going on in the GOP.

Immigration restrictionism is a traditional pro working class, leftist policy.

Non intervention and "pacifist" policies the same. How many GOP supporters were against the Vietnam and Iraq war? Not many yeah.

Johnny Walker Read , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:20 pm GMT
@A123 Here's your numbers TROLL.

Trump has dropped more bombs and missiles on Middle Eastern countries in a comparable period of time than any modern U.S. President. Presidents Bush, Obama and now [2017] Trump have dropped nearly 200,000 bombs and missiles on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Trump's rate of bombing eclipses both Bush and Obama; and Trump is on a pace to drop over 100,000 [180,000 to be precise] bombs and missiles on Middle Eastern countries during his first term of office -- which would equal the number of bombs and missiles dropped by Obama during his entire eight-year presidency.

Here's more perspective:

The United States Government, under the Trump administration, reportedly drops a bomb every 12 minutes, which means that 121 bombs are dropped in a day, and 44,096 bombs per year. The Pentagon's data show that during George W. Bush's eight years he averaged 24 bombs dropped per day, that is, 8,750 per year. Over the course of Obama's time in office, his military dropped 34 bombs per day, 12,500 per year. This shows that even though American presidents are all war criminals, Trump is the most vicious of them all.

Yes, Trump is dropping almost FOUR TIMES MORE BOMBS than Barack Obama and over FIVE TIMES MORE BOMBS than G.W. Bush -- which included military invasions of two countries.

We also know that Trump expanded America's wars in Afghanistan and Syria (and, no, he is NOT bringing U.S. troops home from Syria) and is ramping up America's war machine against Venezuela, Iran, China and Russia. And this does not even take into account the way Trump has given Benjamin Netanyahu's raunchy racist regime the green light to expand its wars against the Palestinians, Lebanon, Syria and Iran or the U.S./Israeli proxy war (with Saudi Arabia taking the lead) in Yemen.

Then there is Somalia:

In the age of Donald Trump, wasn't that [the Battle of Mogadishu -- Black Hawk Down] a million presidencies ago? Honestly, can you even tell me anymore what in the world it was all about? I couldn't have, not without looking it up again. A warlord, starvation, U.S. intervention, 18 dead American soldiers (and hundreds of dead Somalis, but that hardly mattered) in a country that was shattering. President Clinton did, however, pull out those troops and end the disastrous mission -- and that was that, right? I mean, lessons learned. Somalia? Africa? What in the world did it all have to do with us? So Washington washed its hands of the whole thing.

And now, on a planet of outrageous tweets and murderously angry white men, you probably didn't even notice, but more than two years into the era of Donald Trump, a quarter-century after that incident, American airstrikes in yep, Somalia, are precipitously on the rise.

Last year's 47 strikes, aimed at the leaders and fighters of al-Shabaab, an Islamist terror outfit, more than tripled the ones carried out by the Obama administration in 2016 (themselves a modest increase from previous years). And in 2019, they're already on pace to double again, while Somali civilians -- not that anyone (other than Somali civilians) notices or cares -- are dying in significant and rising numbers.

And with 500 troops back on the ground there and Pentagon estimates that they will remain for at least another seven years, the U.S. military is increasingly Somalia-bound, Congress hasn't uttered a peep on the subject, and few in this country are paying the slightest attention.

So consider this a simple fact of the never-ending Global War on Terror (as it was once called): the U.S. military just can't get enough of Somalia. And if that isn't off the charts, what is? Maybe it's even worth a future book (with a very small print run) called not Black Hawk Down II but U.S. Down Forever and a Day.

And now that I've started on the subject (if you still happen to be reading), when it comes to the U.S. military, it's not faintly just Somalia. It's all of Africa.

After all, this country's military uniquely has a continent-wide Africa Command (aka AFRICOM), founded in 2007. As Nick Turse has often written for TomDispatch, that command now has its troops, thousands of them, its planes, and other equipment spread across the continent, north to south, east to west -- air bases, drone bases, garrisons, outposts, staging areas, you name it. Meanwhile, AFRICOM's outgoing commanding general, Thomas Waldhauser, only recently told Congress why it's bound to be a forever outfit -- because, shades of the Cold War, the Ruskies are coming! ("Russia is also a growing challenge and has taken a more militaristic approach in Africa.")

And honestly, 600-odd words in, this wasn't meant to be a piece about either Somalia or Africa. It was meant to be about those U.S. wars being off the charts, about how the Pentagon now feeds eternally at the terror trough, al-Shabaab being only a tiny part of the slop it regularly digests.

And, while America's wars are way up, according to Gallup, church attendance in America is way down:

As Christian and Jewish Americans prepare to celebrate Easter and Passover, respectively, Gallup finds the percentage of Americans who report belonging to a church, synagogue or mosque at an all-time low, averaging 50% in 2018.

U.S. church membership was 70% or higher from 1937 through 1976, falling modestly to an average of 68% in the 1970s through the 1990s. The past 20 years have seen an acceleration in the drop-off, with a 20-percentage-point decline since 1999 and more than half of that change occurring since the start of the current decade.

Most interesting is this Gallup observation:

Although the United States is one of the more religious countries, particularly among Western nations, it is far less religious than it used to be. Barely three-quarters of Americans now identify with a religion and only about half claim membership in a church, synagogue or mosque.

The rate of U.S. church membership has declined sharply in the past two decades after being relatively stable in the six decades before that. A sharp increase in the proportion of the population with no religious affiliation, a decline in church membership among those who do have a religious preference, and low levels of church membership among millennials are all contributing to the accelerating trend.

Obviously, America's Jewish and Muslim populations pale compared to its Christian population. The vast decline of attendance to religious services, therefore, primarily means church attendance. Notice, also, that this steep decline commenced at the beginning of this century (2000) -- when G.W. Bush became President of the United States.

I tried to warn readers -- and listeners to my nationwide radio talk show -- that due to his insatiable war fever, G.W. Bush was going to forever warp the perception in people's minds of Christianity. And, sadly, I was absolutely right. After eight years of the warmongering G.W. Bush in the White House, millions of Americans came to associate Christianity with wars of aggression. As a result, the exodus out of America's churches began in earnest.

Enter Donald Trump.

As noted above, Trump has expanded Bush's war fever exponentially. But Trump has done more than that: He has aggressively put the United States smack dab in the middle of Israel's wars. It could even be argued that Donald Trump has turned the U.S. military into a proxy army for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Don't get me wrong: I am very cognizant of the fact that G.W. Bush's "war on terror" was nothing more than a proxy war for Israel. But the Israeli connection was covert and completely covered up. Not anymore. Donald Trump is unabashedly and explicitly partnering the mission of the U.S. military with that of the IDF. No wonder Benjamin Netanyahu promises to name a community in the Israel-seized, Israel-occupied Golan Heights after Donald Trump. (Trumplinka would fit Netanyahu's concentration-style occupation nicely.)

So, not only are millions of Americans now associating Christianity with G.W. Bush's wars of aggression, they are associating Christianity with Donald Trump's wars of aggression for the racist apartheid State of Israel. The result: the steepest decline in church attendance and church affiliation in U.S. history.

The longer evangelical Christians continue to support Donald Trump's radical pro-Israel, pro-war agenda, the deeper America will plunge into an anti-Christian country.

The good news is that all over America, people are waking up to the Israel deception. Support for the erroneous doctrine of dispensational eschatology is in a giant free fall; the myth of Zionist Israel being a resurrected Old Testament Israel is being repeatedly exposed; the attempts by Israel's toadies to characterize people whose eyes are open to the truth of Zionism as being "anti-Semitic" is losing more and more credibility by the day; and more and more people are becoming aware of the utter wickedness of the Zionist government in Israel. Plus, more and more people are beginning to understand the plight of the persecuted people (including Christian people) in the Israeli-occupied territories of Palestine.

Ron, maybe your shipmates on the USS LIBERTY didn't die in vain after all.

From an historical perspective, overextended wars are the downfall of any empire; from a financial perspective, warfarism is the precursor to an economically depressed middle class; and from a Scriptural/spiritual perspective, God cannot and will not bless a warmongering nation.

Let's be clear: God is not building a "Greater Israel." God is not building a third Jewish temple. God is not speaking through phony prophets who are attributing some sort of divine calling to Trump's pro-Israel warmongering. God is not blessing America because we are blessing Zionist Israel. Just the opposite: The more America aligns itself with Israel's belligerence, bullying and bombing of innocent people, the more God will deliver us over to becoming an antichrist country. After all, one cannot idolize and partner with antichrists without becoming one himself.

After Trump finishes this term in office, two-thirds of this young century will have seen a "Christian" warmonger in the White House. It is no coincidence that during this same period of time, wars are way up and church attendance is way down.
https://chuckbaldwinlive.com/Articles/tabid/109/ID/3866/Americas-Wars-Are-Way-Up-Church-Attendance-Is-Way-Down.aspx

Anonymous [102] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:23 pm GMT
Burning down the house. Driving like a madman on the road to nowhere has put the nation on a path to its own demise. Our foreign policy is a disaster that does nothing to promote democracy anywhere in the world. Our military has provided nothing but instability in the world since the end of world war 2. Ask yourself, why are we involved in so many useless wars that don't make the world a better place?
Don't you feel like we are being used by war hawks who see every skirmish as a threat to our national security? Why can't we cut out all the military BS and just trade with with nations that want to trade, and ignore those who want to kill each other. Let them figure it out on their own. Social Capitalism is the only policy we should be supporting.
Johnny Walker Read , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:36 pm GMT
America's foreign policy since the end of WWII. End of story.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/O66UKjCwmTw?feature=oembed

EliteCommInc. , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:50 pm GMT
"All statements of Trump do not count. All Trump statements are results from stress of torture by Democrats, and deep state."

When this president stated during the campaign,

that christians don't have to forgive their enemies, I rolled my eyes stated he wrong, and understood well he doesn't know what christianity means and supported him anyway

that he supported same sex marriage, I rolled my eyes, rebuffed the the silliness of his comments and understood, he is not a conservative and beyond that he doesn't know what christianity means

when it was uncovered that he had in fact had relations outside of marriage, I rolled my eyes, and understood that alone could be a disqualifying factor in light of the competition and supported him anyway

when some of the most respected departments of government leaders said he colluded with Russians, based on the evidence, I said "poppycock" and supported him anyway

when media swirled with tales of Russian bath houses and carousings abounded, I thought nonsense and supported hum anyway

when the rumors of underage girls and same sex parties and orgies seped into the main, I rolled my eyes and supported him anyway . . .

when he spouted off about Charlottesville prematurely, I supported him anyway . . .

when became clear he actually advocated torture, I choked, spat and supported him anyway, afterall he's not schooled in international relations and the consequences for our service personnel, much less apparently the basics of tortures effectiveness, especially in large scale strategies such as the US is engaged in

when it came to light he was completely ignorant of how our criminal justice system gets it wrong as exampled by the Cen 5 case, I supported him anyway . . .

I supported him in spite of his comments about the poor and people like me who supported him

There's a long list of tolerance is support of this president based on his advocacy regarding turning the attention to the US welfare . . .

And when he actually agreed that the Russians had sabotaged the US elections and even engaged in murder in the states of our European allies -- I knew, that in all liklihood the turn inward was dead.

Here' a man who beat all the odds because of stalwart support of people like me, who repeatedly bit the sides of our cheeks in the understanding that the returns would exceed the price only to discover that the man who beat the odds doesn't seem to have a spine to stand on ideologically which were the foundations of my advocacy: national security, less reckless spending, holding business and financial organizations accountable for misbehavior, investing in the US citizen, restructuring our trade deals to benefit the US, not merely shooting up tarrifs that would in turn be priced to the citizens the supposed tarrifs were intended to protect, tax cuts that actually gave middle americans less, no evidence of a draw down in our careless ME behaviors, i even gave him some room to deal with israel as perhaps a new way forward -- it's a new way alright – no pretense of acting as honest brokers – that's new, Immigration is worse and by worse he might as well be serving tea and crumpets at the border welcoming illegals . . .

If the man you elected to turn the corner actually becomes the vehicle for of what you elected him to reject and change, eventually one has to acknowledge that fact. he beat the deep state, he just either had not the courage, the integrity, or the ability, perhaps all three to withstand the victory and do the work. Of course he had opposition and not much of it very fair and nearly all of it damaging to the country. But he had support to stand against it -- he chose an easier path.

And while I support him still, I have no intention of pretending that he is fulfilling the mandate for which he was elected. I would be lying to myself and doing a disservice to him.

I have not changed, I knew he was a situational leader, I knew what that meant, but I voted for a particular agenda, he left the reservation on his own accord and the "deep state", the establishment", the democrats, the liberals, the libertarians, can only be held to blame for so much --

But several weeks ago, on top of a complete failure to ensure US order security, the armed forces paid homage to Mexicans on US territory by relinquishing their weapons and surrendering -- and given the tenure thus far -- - it devastatingly fitting that this occurred under this admin.

And in the midst of all this, he is pandering to those engaged in same sex behavior -- – deep state my eye . . .

the path of least resistance. I cling to the belief that having voting for any of the other candidates -- matters would have been far worse.

I make no apologies for being a conservative and Christian and holding a loyalty to the US.

I reject your whine, it had legs and even some salience still, but a