U.S. Bombs dropped in 2016

How incredible is this…

The United States is technically not at war with any country right now but dropped more than 26,000 bombs in just 2016 and this under a “anti-war” President.

We have an entire generation of Americans who have lived only under a system of “perpetual war”.

The time is long overdue to redefine these issues.

Map of the US bombed states in 2016 with the number of dropped bombs


By Ben Swann

2017-01-06

Source: Ben Swann FB

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U.S. Special Operations Forces Deploy To 138 Nations, 70% Of The World’s Countries

They could be found on the outskirts of Sirte, Libya, supporting local militia fighters, and in Mukalla, Yemen, backing troops from the United Arab Emirates.  At Saakow, a remote outpost in southern Somalia, they assisted local commandos in killing several members of the terror group al-Shabab.  Around the cities of Jarabulus and Al-Rai in northern Syria, they partnered with both Turkish soldiers and Syrian militias, while also embedding with Kurdish YPG fighters and the Syrian Democratic Forces.  Across the border in Iraq, still others joined the fight to liberate the city of Mosul.  And in Afghanistan, they assisted indigenous forces in various missions, just as they have every year since 2001.

For America, 2016 may have been the year of the commando.  In one conflict zone after another across the northern tier of Africa and the Greater Middle East, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) waged their particular brand of low-profile warfare.  “Winning the current fight, including against the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and other areas where SOF is engaged in conflict and instability, is an immediate challenge,” the chief of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), General Raymond Thomastold the Senate Armed Services Committee last year.

SOCOM’s shadow wars against terror groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (also known as ISIL) may, ironically, be its most visible operations.  Shrouded in even more secrecy are its activities — from counterinsurgency and counterdrug efforts to seemingly endless training and advising missions — outside acknowledged conflict zones across the globe.  These are conducted with little fanfare, press coverage, or oversight in scores of nations every single day.  From Albania to Uruguay, Algeria to Uzbekistan, America’s most elite forces — Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets among them — were deployed to 138 countries in 2016, according to figures supplied to TomDispatch by U.S. Special Operations Command.  This total, one of the highest of Barack Obama’s presidency, typifies what has become the golden age of, in SOF-speak, the “gray zone” — a phrase used to describe the murky twilight between war and peace.  The coming year is likely to signal whether this era ends with Obama or continues under President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.

America’s most elite troops deployed to 138 nations in 2016, according to U.S. Special Operations Command.  The map above displays the locations of 132 of those countries; 129 locations (blue) were supplied by U.S. Special Operations Command; 3 locations (red) — Syria, Yemen and Somalia — were derived from open-source information. (Nick Turse)

“In just the past few years, we have witnessed a varied and evolving threat environment consisting of: the emergence of a militarily expansionist China; an increasingly unpredictable North Korea; a revanchist Russia threatening our interests in both Europe and Asia; and an Iran which continues to expand its influence across the Middle East, fueling the Sunni-Shia conflict,” General Thomas wrote last month in PRISM, the official journal of the Pentagon’s Center for Complex Operations.  “Nonstate actors further confuse this landscape by employing terrorist, criminal, and insurgent networks that erode governance in all but the strongest states… Special operations forces provide asymmetric capability and responses to these challenges.”

In 2016, according to data provided to TomDispatch by SOCOM, the U.S. deployed special operators to China (specifically Hong Kong), in addition to eleven countries surrounding it — Taiwan (which China considers a breakaway province), Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, India, Laos, the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan.  Special Operations Command does not acknowledge sending commandos into Iran, North Korea, or Russia, but it does deploy troops to many nations that ring them.

SOCOM is willing to name only 129 of the 138 countries its forces deployed to in 2016. “Almost all Special Operations forces deployments are classified,” spokesman Ken McGraw told TomDispatch.  “If a deployment to a specific country has not been declassified, we do not release information about the deployment.”

SOCOM does not, for instance, acknowledge sending troops to the war zones of SomaliaSyria, or Yemen, despite overwhelming evidence of a U.S. special ops presence in all three countries, as well as a White House report, issued last month, that notes “the United States is currently using military force in” Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, and specifically states that “U.S. special operations forces have deployed to Syria.”

According to Special Operations Command, 55.29% of special operators deployed overseas in 2016 were sent to the Greater Middle East, a drop of 35% since 2006.  Over the same span, deployments to Africa skyrocketed by more than 1600% — from just 1% of special operators dispatched outside the U.S. in 2006 to 17.26% last year.  Those two regions were followed by areas served by European Command (12.67%), Pacific Command (9.19%), Southern Command (4.89%), and Northern Command (0.69%), which is in charge of “homeland defense.”  On any given day, around 8,000 of Thomas’s commandos can be found in more than 90 countries worldwide.

U.S. Special Operations forces deployed to 138 nations in 2016.  Locations in blue were supplied by U.S. Special Operations Command.  Those in red were derived from open-source information.  Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia are not among those nations named or identified, but all are at least partially surrounded by nations visited by America’s most elite troops last year. (Nick Turse)

The Manhunters

“Special Operations forces are playing a critical role in gathering intelligence — intelligence that’s supporting operations against ISIL and helping to combat the flow of foreign fighters to and from Syria and Iraq,” said Lisa Monaco, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, in remarks at the International Special Operations Forces Convention last year.  Such intelligence operations are “conducted in direct support of special operations missions,” SOCOM’s Thomas explained in 2016.  “The preponderance of special operations intelligence assets are dedicated to locating individuals, illuminating enemy networks, understanding environments, and supporting partners.”

Signals intelligence from computers and cellphones supplied by foreign allies or intercepted by surveillance drones and manned aircraft, as well as human intelligence provided by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has been integral to targeting individuals for kill/capture missions by SOCOM’s most elite forces.  The highly secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), for example, carries out such counterterrorism operations, including drone strikesraids, and assassinations in places like Iraq and Libya.  Last year, before he exchanged command of JSOC for that of its parent, SOCOM, General Thomas noted that members of Joint Special Operations Command were operating in “all the countries where ISIL currently resides.”  (This may indicate a special ops deployment to Pakistan, another country absent from SOCOM’s 2016 list.)

“[W]e have put our Joint Special Operations Command in the lead of countering ISIL’s external operations.  And we have already achieved very significant results both in reducing the flow of foreign fighters and removing ISIL leaders from the battlefield,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter noted in a relatively rare official mention of JSOC’s operations at an October press conference.

A month earlier, he offered even more detail in a statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee:

”We’re systematically eliminating ISIL’s leadership: the coalition has taken out seven members of the ISIL Senior Shura… We also removed key ISIL leaders in both Libya and Afghanistan… And we’ve removed from the battlefield more than 20 of ISIL’s external operators and plotters… We have entrusted this aspect of our campaign to one of [the Department of Defense’s] most lethal, capable, and experienced commands, our Joint Special Operations Command, which helped deliver justice not only to Osama Bin Laden, but also to the man who founded the organization that became ISIL, Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi.”

Asked for details on exactly how many ISIL “external operators” were targeted and how many were “removed” from the battlefield by JSOC in 2016, SOCOM’s Ken McGraw replied: “We do not and will not have anything for you.”

When he was commander of JSOC in 2015, General Thomas spoke of his and his unit’s “frustrations” with limitations placed on them.  “I’m told ‘no’ more than ‘go’ on a magnitude of about ten to one on almost a daily basis,” he said.  Last November, however, the Washington Post reported that the Obama administration was granting a JSOC task force “expanded power to track, plan and potentially launch attacks on terrorist cells around the globe.”  That Counter-External Operations Task Force (also known as “Ex-Ops”) has been “designed to take JSOC’s targeting model… and export it globally to go after terrorist networks plotting attacks against the West.”

SOCOM disputes portions of the Post story.  “Neither SOCOM nor any of its subordinate elements have… been given any expanded powers (authorities),” SOCOM’s Ken McGraw told TomDispatch by email.  “Any potential operation must still be approved by the GCC [Geographic Combatant Command] commander [and], if required, approved by the Secretary of Defense or [the president].”

“U.S. officials” (who spoke only on the condition that they be identified in that vague way) explained that SOCOM’s response was a matter of perspective.  Its powers weren’t recently expanded as much as institutionalized and put “in writing,” TomDispatch was told.  “Frankly, the decision made months ago was to codify current practice, not create something new.”  Special Operations Command refused to confirm this but Colonel Thomas Davis, another SOCOM spokesman, noted: “Nowhere did we say that there was no codification.”

With Ex-Ops, General Thomas is a “decision-maker when it comes to going after threats under the task force’s purview,” according to the Washington Post’s Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Dan Lamothe.  “The task force would essentially turn Thomas into the leading authority when it comes to sending Special Operations units after threats.”  Others claim Thomas has only expanded influence, allowing him to directly recommend a plan of action, such as striking a target, to the Secretary of Defense, allowing for shortened approval time.  (SOCOM’s McGraw says that Thomas “will not be commanding forces or be the decision maker for SOF operating in any GCC’s [area of operations].”)

Last November, Defense Secretary Carter offered an indication of the frequency of offensive operations following a visit to Florida’s Hurlburt Field, the headquarters of Air Force Special Operations Command.  He noted that “today we were looking at a number of the Special Operations forces’ assault capabilities.  This is a kind of capability that we use nearly every day somewhere in the world… And it’s particularly relevant to the counter-ISIL campaign that we’re conducting today.”

In Afghanistan, alone, Special Operations forces conducted 350 raids targeting al-Qaeda and Islamic State operatives last year, averaging about one per day, and capturing or killing nearly 50 “leaders” as well as 200 “members” of the terror groups, according to General John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in that country.  Some sources also suggest that while JSOC and CIA drones flew roughly the same number of missions in 2016, the military launched more than 20,000 strikes in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria, compared to less than a dozen by the Agency. This may reflect an Obama administration decision to implement a long-considered plan to put JSOC in charge of lethal operations and shift the CIA back to its traditional intelligence duties. 

World of Warcraft

“[I]t is important to understand why SOF has risen from footnote and supporting player to main effort, because its use also highlights why the U.S. continues to have difficulty in its most recent campaigns — Afghanistan, Iraq, against ISIS and AQ and its affiliates, Libya, Yemen, etc. and in the undeclared campaigns in the Baltics, Poland, and Ukraine — none of which fits the U.S. model for traditional war,” said retired Lieutenant General Charles Cleveland, chief of U.S. Army Special Operations Command from 2012 to 2015 and now a senior mentor to the chief of staff of the Army’s Strategic Studies Group.  Asserting that, amid the larger problems of these conflicts, the ability of America’s elite forces to conduct kill/capture missions and train local allies has proven especially useful, he added, “SOF is at its best when its indigenous and direct-action capabilities work in support of each other. Beyond Afghanistan and Iraq and ongoing CT [counterterrrorism] efforts elsewhere, SOF continues to work with partner nations in counterinsurgency and counterdrug efforts in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.”

SOCOM acknowledges deployments to approximately 70% of the world’s nations, including all but three Central and South American countries (Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela being the exceptions). Its operatives also blanket Asia, while conducting missions in about 60% of the countries in Africa.   

A SOF overseas deployment can be as small as one special operator participating in a language immersion program or a three-person team conducting a “survey” for the U.S. embassy.  It may also have nothing to do with a host nation’s government or military.  Most Special Operations forces, however, work with local partners, conducting training exercises and engaging in what the military calls “building partner capacity” (BPC) and “security cooperation” (SC).  Often, this means America’s most elite troops are sent to countries with security forces that are regularly cited for human rights abuses by the U.S. State Department.  Last year in Africa, where Special Operations forces utilize nearly 20 different programs and activities — from training exercises to security cooperation engagements — these included Burkina FasoBurundiCameroonDemocratic Republic of CongoDjiboutiKenyaMaliMauritaniaNigerNigeriaTanzania, and Uganda, among others.

In 2014, for example, more than 4,800 elite troops took part in just one type of such activities — Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) missions — around the world.  At a cost of more than $56 million, Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and other special operators carried out 176 individual JCETs in 87 countries.  A 2013 RAND Corporation study of the areas covered by Africa Command, Pacific Command, and Southern Command found “moderately low” effectiveness for JCETs in all three regions.  A 2014 RAND analysis of U.S. security cooperation, which also examined the implications of “low-footprint Special Operations forces efforts,” found that there “was no statistically significant correlation between SC and change in countries’ fragility in Africa or the Middle East.”  And in a 2015 report for Joint Special Operations University, Harry Yarger, a senior fellow at the school, noted that “BPC has in the past consumed vast resources for little return.”

Despite these results and larger strategic failures in IraqAfghanistan, and Libya, the Obama years have been the golden age of the gray zone.  The 138 nations visited by U.S. special operators in 2016, for example, represent a jump of 130% since the waning days of the Bush administration.  Although they also represent a 6% drop compared to last year’s total, 2016 remains in the upper range of the Obama years, which saw deployments to 75 nations in 2010, 120 in 2011, 134 in 2013, and 133 in 2014, before peaking at 147 countries in 2015.  Asked about the reason for the modest decline, SOCOM spokesman Ken McGraw replied, “We provide SOF to meet the geographic combatant commands’ requirements for support to their theater security cooperation plans.  Apparently, there were nine fewer countries [where] the GCCs had a requirement for SOF to deploy to in [Fiscal Year 20]16.”

The increase in deployments between 2009 and 2016 — from about 60 countries to more than double that — mirrors a similar rise in SOCOM’s total personnel (from approximately 56,000 to about 70,000) and in its baseline budget (from $9 billion to $11 billion).  It’s no secret that the tempo of operations has also increased dramatically, although the command refused to address questions from TomDispatch on the subject.

“SOF have shouldered a heavy burden in carrying out these missions, suffering a high number of casualties over the last eight years and maintaining a high operational tempo (OPTEMPO) that has increasingly strained special operators and their families,” reads an October 2016 report released by the Virginia-based think tank CNA.  (That report emerged from a conference attended by six former special operations commanders, a former assistant secretary of defense, and dozens of active-duty special operators.)

A closer look at the areas of the “undeclared campaigns in the Baltics, Poland, and Ukraine” mentioned by retired Lieutenant General Charles Cleveland. Locations in blue were supplied by U.S. Special Operations Command.  The one in red was derived from open-source information. (Nick Turse)

The American Age of the Commando

Last month, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Shawn Brimley, former director for strategic planning on the National Security Council staff and now an executive vice president at the Center for a New American Security, echoed the worried conclusions of the CNA report.   At a hearing on “emerging U.S. defense challenges and worldwide threats,” Brimley said “SOF have been deployed at unprecedented rates, placing immense strain on the force” and called on the Trump administration to “craft a more sustainable long-term counterterrorism strategy.”  In a paper published in December, Kristen Hajduk, a former adviser for Special Operations and Irregular Warfare in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict and now a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, called for a decrease in the deployment rates for Special Operations forces.

While Donald Trump has claimed that the U.S. military as a whole is “depleted” and has called for increasing the size of the Army and Marines, he has offered no indication about whether he plans to support a further increase in the size of special ops forces.  And while he did recently nominate a former Navy SEAL to serve as his secretary of the interior, Trump has offered few indications of how he might employ special operators who are currently serving. 

“Drone strikes,” he announced in one of his rare detailed references to special ops missions, “will remain part of our strategy, but we will also seek to capture high-value targets to gain needed information to dismantle their organizations.”  More recently, at a North Carolina victory rally, Trump made specific references to the elite troops soon to be under his command.  “Our Special Forces at Fort Bragg have been the tip of the spear in fighting terrorism. The motto of our Army Special Forces is ‘to free the oppressed,’ and that is exactly what they have been doing and will continue to do. At this very moment, soldiers from Fort Bragg are deployed in 90 countries around the world,” he told the crowd.

After seeming to signal his support for continued wide-ranging, free-the-oppressed special ops missions, Trump appeared to change course, adding, “We don’t want to have a depleted military because we’re all over the place fighting in areas that just we shouldn’t be fighting in… This destructive cycle of intervention and chaos must finally, folks, come to an end.”  At the same time, however, he pledged that the U.S. would soon “defeat the forces of terrorism.”  To that end, retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, a former director of intelligence for JSOC whom the president-elect tapped to serve as his national security adviser, has promised that the new administration would reassess the military’s powers to battle the Islamic State — potentially providing more latitude in battlefield decision-making.  To this end, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Pentagon is crafting proposals to reduce “White House oversight of operational decisions” while “moving some tactical authority back to the Pentagon.”   

Last month, President Obama traveled to Florida’s MacDill Air Force Base, the home of Special Operations Command, to deliver his capstone counterterrorism speech.  “For eight years that I’ve been in office, there has not been a day when a terrorist organization or some radicalized individual was not plotting to kill Americans,” he told a crowd packed with troops.  At the same time, there likely wasn’t a day when the most elite forces under his command were not deployed in 60 or more countries around the world.

“I will become the first president of the United States to serve two full terms during a time of war,” Obama added.  “Democracies should not operate in a state of permanently authorized war.  That’s not good for our military, it’s not good for our democracy.”  The results of his permanent-war presidency have, in fact, been dismal, according to Special Operations Command.  Of eight conflicts waged during the Obama years, according to a 2015 briefing slide from the command’s intelligence directorate, America’s record stands at zero wins, two losses, and six ties.

The Obama era has indeed proven to be the “age of the commando.”  However, as Special Operations forces have kept up a frenetic operational tempo, waging war in and out of acknowledged conflict zones, training local allies, advising indigenous proxies, kicking down doors, and carrying out assassinations, terror movements have spread across the Greater Middle East and Africa.

President-elect Donald Trump appears poised to obliterate much of the Obama legacy, from the president’s signature healthcare law to his environmental regulations, not to mention changing course when it comes to foreign policy, including in relations with ChinaIranIsrael, and Russia.  Whether he will heed advice to decrease Obama-level SOF deployment rates remains to be seen.  The year ahead will, however, offer clues as to whether Obama’s long war in the shadows, the golden age of the gray zone, survives.


2017-01-05

About the author:

Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch, a fellow at the Nation Institute, and a contributing writer for the Intercept. His book Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa received an American Book Award in 2016.  His latest book is Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan. His website is NickTurse.com.

First published in TomDispatch.com

Copyright 2017 Nick Turse

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When Terrorism becomes Counter-terrorism: The State Sponsors of Terrorism are “Going After the Terrorists”

US foreign  policy has nurtured Al Qaeda, a creation of the CIA for more than 35 years, with the support of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and Saudi Arabia’s  infamous  General Intelligence Presidency (GIP).  Lest we forget Osama bin Laden was recruited in 1979 by the CIA at the outset of the Soviet- Afghan war.  

A complex network of Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organizations overseen by US and allied intelligence agencies has unfolded, extending across the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, Western China, South and South East Asia. 

Rand Corporation  Report 2012

While mainstream analysis regarding CIA covert  support of “jihadist” terrorist entities is a taboo, the Western media (quoting expert opinion) will often place the blame on the intelligence agencies of America’s closest allies including Pakistan’s ISI  and Saudi Arabia’s GIP, i.e. for supporting terrorist entities (in defiance of the US). According to the Rand Corporation:

“Pakistan poses a particular challenge. As America’s relationship with Pakistan deteriorates, how long will the United States be able to pressure a state whose intelligence service [i.e Pakistan’s ISI which is in close liaison with the CIA] has ties with some of al Qaeda’s allies, such as the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba?” (Set Jones, Resurgence of Al Qaeda,  Rand Corporation  Report 2012)

The Islamic State Caliphate:  A Project of US Intelligence

Today’s Al Qaeda most recent “affiliate”, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) based in Raqqa, Northern Syria is not only protected by the US and its allies, it is trained and financed by US-NATO, with the support of Turkey, Israel and Washington’s Persian Gulf allies.

In a bitter irony, the caliphate project as an instrument of propaganda has been on the drawing board of US intelligence for more than ten years.  In December 2004, under the Bush Administration, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) predicted that in the year 2020 a New Caliphate extending from the Mediterranean to Central Asia and South East Asia would emerge, threatening Western democracy and Western values.

The “findings” of the National Intelligence Council were published in a 123 page unclassified report entitled “Mapping the Global Future”.

“A New Caliphate provides an example of how a global movement fueled by radical religious identity politics could constitute a challenge to Western norms and values as the foundation of the global system”  (emphasis added)

The NIC 2004 report borders on ridicule; it is devoid of intelligence, let alone historical and geopolitical analysis. It has the features of an internal propaganda construct intended to sensitize  government officials. Its objective is to provide a justification to America’s “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT).

Source: “Mapping the Global Future”. NIC 2020 Project

Nonetheless,  it also confirms the contour of a diabolical military-intelligence agenda with new “jihadist” terror brigades (largely integrated by mercenaries) emerging in numerous geographical locations (Eurasia and Africa, See map above). This agenda of creating a new “jihad” was confirmed  by a Debka File (Israeli  intelligence and security news) report in August 2011:

NATO headquarters in Brussels and the Turkish high command are meanwhile drawing up plans for their first military step in Syria, which is to arm the rebels with weapons…

Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011, emphasis added)

This report (published 4 years ago) confirms what today has become glaringly obvious, namely the central role of the Turkish government and military in liaison with NATO as a “State sponsor of terrorism”.

“U Turn”: The State of Sponsors of Terrorism Engage in Counterterrorism. The Role of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan

And now in an unusual about turn, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has configured a coalition of 34 mainly Muslim countries “to go after the Islamic state”.  In a bitter irony, the key protagonists of this counterterrorism initiative endorsed by the “international community” are Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Turkey, i.e. countries which have relentlessly supported “Islamic terrorism” from the very outset in close liaison with Washington. In the words of Hillary Clinton in her declassified Emails: “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

Counter terrorism by the state sponsors of terrorism? A  New Normal? The propaganda campaign appears to have reached an impasse. According to the official statement:

“The [34] countries here mentioned have decided on the formation of a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism, with a joint operations centre based in Riyadh to co-ordinate and support military operations,”

Arab News December 2015

This “military alliance” will work in liaison with Obama’s counter-terrorism bombing campaign involving a coalition of some 20 countries initiated against the Islamic State in August-September 2014. The evidence, however, confirms that the bombing raids have avoided targeting the ISIL, which is integrated by mercenaries including special forces, who are in permanent liaison with US-NATO.

Screen shot, Daily Mail

KSA Defense Minister Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, confirmed (December 14, 2015) that the campaign “would co-ordinate efforts to fight terrorism” specifically in Iraq and Syria in coordination  ”with major powers and international organisations”, i.e NATO, the US, the EU.

In an unusual twist, the State sponsors of terrorism are now indulging in counterterrorism. The Islamic State in the Arabian peninsula, namely the House of Saud which is predicated on the tenets of Wahhabism is going after the Islamic State (ISIL) in Northern Syria. 

Known and documented, Saudi Arabia has played a key strategic role in promoting and financing terrorism on behalf of Washington. Moreover, Saudi weapons purchases from the US and Canada are also being used to equip and arm various “opposition” rebel groups in Syria including the ISIL and Al Nusrah.

It is worth noting: recruited by America’s ally, a large number of ISIS mercenaries are convicted criminals released from Saudi prisons on condition they join the ISIL. Saudi death row inmates were recruited to join the terror brigades.  (January 23, 2013)

Screen Shot

Britain, France and the US have welcomed the Saudi initiative. John Kerry says it is constructive. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon unequivocally praised  Saudi Arabia “for its constructive efforts and leadership”.

It’s a theater of the absurd. It’s like asking Al Capone to lead a coalition of Chicago criminal syndicates to go after organized crime. In this case, the criminal syndicate based in Riyadh is acting on behalf of its Western sponsors.

And the media applauds in chorus without acknowledging several of their own reports which confirm that Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Qatar, Jordan, et al.  have been involved in recruiting, training and financing Islamic terrorists. The practice of beheading civilians by ISIS operative in Syria emanates from Saudi Arabia.  In the words of an earlier Daily Telegraph report (April 2014):

“We should not be blind to the fact that there is a project out there to destroy [Syria’s]  rich, pluralist, and unbelievably intricate culture and replace it with a monochrome version of Wahhabi Islam”.

What the mainstream media invariably fails to mention is that Saudi Arabia is a “go-between” and that Wahhabi Islam is being used and applied by Washington. In turn, the public is led to believe that this is a bona fide war of religion and that Muslims are waging war against Western civilization.

This “version of Wahhabism” has nothing to with Islam, it’s “Made in America”, its a diabolical tool of US foreign policy, which consists in applying and manipulating the ideology of Wahhabism as a means of recruiting and indoctrinating terrorists to wage a “jihad” on behalf of Uncle Sam.  US-NATO’s war without borders goes unnoticed; World public opinion is led to believe that Islam is waging a war against the West and that US-NATO are acting in “self-defense” against an elusive outside enemy based in the Middle East.

Politicians, journalists  and intelligence analysts are lying to themselves. Everybody knows that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are behind the terrorists and we also know that the US is behind Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The US is the main architect of this terrorist undertaking which consists in sponsoring terrorists with a view to destabilizing and destroying sovereign countries in defiance of international law.

In 2013, the European Parliament published a detailed report (excerpt below) confirming the role of Saudi Arabia in spreading Wahhabi-Salafist ideology to terror groups in a large number of countries. The report, however, failed to acknowledge that these actions were conducted as part of a US foreign policy and intelligence agenda. (Excerpt (screenshot), p. 7 below)

 Screenshot, p. 7 of European Parliament Report


About the author:

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research.  He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO’s war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at crgeditor@yahoo.com

“Collateral Damage” From America’s De-Stabilizing, Endless, Post-911 “Wars On Terror”

“Show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad. I still don’t care.” – Popular conservative Sun (a British daily newspaper) commenting on the homeless war refugees from war-torn Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc. who are fleeing their militarily de-stabilized and devastated countries after their homes and homelands had been reduced to bloody rubble by soldiers obeying orders from their commanders (including NATO and American “interventionism” in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc, etc).

Hopkins appears to be in good company. But she was probably just paraphrasing what she had been hearing from a multitude of ultra-nationalist xenophobic racists around the world have been saying. Many of them are revealing their true colors these days. There certainly seems to be an abundance of them among the 16 remaining Republican presidential candidates here in the US. It is instructive to note that the candidacy of Donald Trump has elicited the endorsement of fascist groups like Storm Front, the neo-Nazi group that appreciates his vehement, albeit delusional, anti-immigration agenda.

Fascism Keeps Rearing its Ugly Head (both in England, America and Around the World)

The spirit of the infamous British fascist leader, Oswald Mosely, seems to periodically raise its ugly head in England. Mosely, back in the 1920s, had been the youngest member of Britain’s Conservative Party to be elected to Parliament. An admirer of Adolph Hitler, he started the British Union of Fascists (BUF) in the 1930s. That group gloried in their Black Shirt uniforms until the BUF was abolished when Great Britain declared war on Germany. However, celebrities like Hopkins, even though they will deny that they are fascists, are decidedly right-wing extremists that meet many of the characteristics of fascism. The latest incarnation of the BUF is the New British Union Party, and they are proud of it. Here is one of their recent posters:

Many nations around the world have had and are continuing to have within their borders fascist movements. Remember Vidkun Quisling who led the Nazi puppet government in Norway? And then recall Quisling’s modern day incarnation, the mass murderer of innocent progressive-minded kids, Anders Behring Breivik and his fascist manifesto?

Look at the list of the hundreds of defunct, hibernating and/or active fascist movements around the world by googling “list of fascist movements by country”. For much more on the 14 characteristics of fascism, which should be tested against the beliefs and actions of every political and economic leader, google “George W. Bush and the 14 characteristics of fascism”.

American Fascism Through the Years

Of course, America has had its share of active and hibernating fascist movements, but our high school history textbooks have typically ignored that unpleasant part of our history. According to Wikipedia, there have been at least 31 very public fascist political parties in the US since 1920. The Southern Poverty Law Center has investigated hundreds and hundreds of fascist and racist sects that are currently active.

One of the largest was the Silver Legion of America, commonly known as the Silver Shirts (Brown and Black Shirt uniforms had been spoken for in Germany.). The Silver Shirts’ political party was called the Christian Party, and founder William Dudley Pelley, son of a protestant minister, ran for president in 1936 against Roosevelt. Pelley, an avowed racist, anti-Semite and. ultranationalist hated FDR, as have most conservative groups ever since the 1930s. They hated him because of the New Deal, which saved middle and lower class Americans at the expense of the wealthy elite 1 %. The New Deal set back corrupt crony capitalism’s agendas a couple of generations or so, and their spiritual progeny in the Republican Party are still fuming about it.

Pelley’s Silver Shirts had initially been a secret group of right-wing extremists, but its existence was finally made public on April 30, 1933, the very day that German President Paul von Hindenberg finally yielded to the right-wing German political parties and Germany’s ruling elites and appointed Adolf Hitler Chancellor of Germany.

Interestingly, the headquarters of the Silver Shirts was located in Asheville, North Carolina, which has evolved into a very politically progressive community. Pelley later moved his organization to Indiana, a historical hotbed of American right-wing extremism, including the Ku Klux Klan.

A few days after the Silver Shirts came up from the underground (early in May 1933), Nazi Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess gave German Nazi Party member (and legal immigrant) Heinz Spanknöbel authority to form a Nazi Party organization in America. Its national headquarters was in New York City, with a large contingent of Bund members active in Chicago. It was called the German American Bund, aka Friends of New Germany (FONG).

Interestingly – for those of us who live in the so-called progressive heartland of America – one of the Bund’s American Nazi training camps was located in Grafton, Wisconsin. Grafton had previously been called Hamburg, reflecting the German heritage of many eastern Wisconsin communities such as Milwaukee, the beer capital of America. The infamous 1950s-era Republican Senator Joe McCarthy’s hometown was nearby Appleton, Wisconsin, which still is, not surprisingly, the headquarters of the John Birch Society. JBS members dearly loved Tail-gunner Joe and his poisonous neo-fascist McCarthyism.

What Does PNAC Have to do With the Drowned Syrian Toddler?

There has been a massive amount of confusing and self-contradicting propaganda concerning the Middle East crises ever since the Cheney/Bush administration chose to invade the oil-rich, opium-rich and lithium-rich region shortly after 9/11/01. One of the important points that needs emphasis is that there is a tight connection (albeit not a straight line connection) between what guilty perps made happen on 9/11/01 and what happened to the drowned Syrian toddler pictured above.

9/11/01 is now well understood by scholars (and real investigative journalists) to have been a false flag operation, orchestrated by nefarious, as-yet unindicted persons and right-wing think tanks, groups that have been funded by billionaires and American-based trans-national corporations. Those entities have long-term business plans for domination of extractable resources, finances and territory anywhere on the globe.

Those plans had been clearly out-lined by arguably the right-wing’s most important think tank, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). PNAC’s manifesto had already been proposed to (and rejected by) the Clinton administration in the 1990s, but it was accepted by the Cheney and Bush after many of its members (17 to be precise) officially joined the Cheney/Bush administration. America’s military de-stabilization of the Middle East closely followed the propaganda-inspired false assumption that Middle Eastern foreigners, and not US government insiders, expertly planted the explosive charges in WTC Towers 1, 2 & 7 over weeks and months prior to their explosive pulverization into fine dust.

It is now established that the two jet planes caused only brief, self-extinguishing, low-temperature fires in towers 1 & 2, temperatures that were incapable of melting, much less suddenly transecting, all of the core steel columns in sequence. The only rational explanation for what happened that day is that computer-controlled demolitions dropped all three skyscrapers into their footprints on 9/11/01.

PNAC, the Real Conspiratorial Group that Needs to be Subpoenaed to Testify, Under Oath, About 9/11/01

PNAC was an outgrowth of the nefarious NeoConservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, which continues to promote the economic agendas of any number of anti-democratic, obscenely wealthy, multinational corporations that continue to pay the generous salaries of its high profile stable of “fellows”.

Among other things, the purpose of PNAC was and still is to increase military spending, subvert the United Nations, ensure planetary domination by US corporate (and military) interests and spread (anti-democratic) capitalism around the world (through the barrel of a gun if necessary), thus enriching PNAC’s corporate sponsors. Hidden from the public view was the precise identity of PNAC’s paymasters, which surely must include this list of One Percenters: the multi-millionaire politicians, multimillionaire corporate lobbyists, multi-billionaire war-profiteers, multi-billionaire Wall Street executives, oath-taking militarists and the corporate-controlled media.

The original members of PNAC (a few of whom are pictured below) admitted that their goals of American military and economic domination would be difficult to implement “without a catastrophic catalyzing event such as ‘a new Pearl Harbor’”. Viola! After Bush was elected, PNAC member and Vice President Dick Cheney acquired immense power in the White House, as did Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon. Within a year the desired “New Pearl Harbor” was successfully orchestrated.

The False Flag 9/11 Reichstag Fire – What Really Happened

The false flag events of 9/11/01 were the perfect Pearl Harbor, the perfect Reichstag Fire (google “The 9/11 Reichstag Fire – What Really Happened”), the perfect Krystallnacht. the perfect Operation Northwoods, the perfect Gulf of Tonkin Incident, etc, etc.

Each of those “catalyzing events” have been proven to be false flag operations (or events that were allowed to happen). (NOTE: A false flag operation is a governmental conspiracy to “stage” a secret operation that pretends that their nation is being attacked by a targeted enemy in order to elicit public outrage and then claim that that enemy drew first blood and therefore deserves to be attacked “in retaliation”. Considerable propaganda (especially in the “fog of war”) needs to accompany the event for the Big Lie Bamboozle to work on naïve, ignorant, partisan or uber-patriotic citizens. )

A scary list of some of the nefarious, hard right-wing ruling class elites who signed on to the PNAC’s statement of principles can be found by googling “Old American Century – PNAC”. Following is a sobering photo of ten of them (including GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush). Those pictured were protected from testifying under oath by the 911 Commission, despite the fact that it was on their watch that America was led, by Big Lie propaganda, into the disastrous, perpetual “Wars on Terrorism”.

Those wars of aggression and the subsequent – and inevitable – atrocities met the definition of international war crimes and crimes against humanity, but no prosecution has yet come to pass, even though the US lost both the Gulf Wars. And, of course the perpetual wars led directly or indirectly to the current war refugee crises in Europe and the Middle East, including the drowning of the innocent Syrian toddler, Aylan Kurdi and most of his family The PNAC perps need to take some responsibility for the loss of innocent lives.

Even this partial list of PNAC members should make American anti-fascists, anti-imperialists, and Occupy member’s skin crawl. (Google “PNAC Archives – 911 Truth” for more about PNAC). Those lists include Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld, Gary Bauer, John Bolton, Richard Perle, William Kristol (founder and chairman), James Wolsey, Elliot Abrams, Eliot Cohen, Dan Quayle, Donald Kagan, William J. Bennett, Scooter Libby, Vin Weber, Norman Podhoretz, Steve Forbes and others after the fraudulent election of 2000.

Despite their roles in leading America into the illegal and unconstitutional wars for oil (which have resulted in millions of innocent Muslim men, women and children dead, wounded, starving and homeless), none but Scooter Libby has spent any time in jail. Go figure.

The politicians, billionaire war-profiteers, Wall Street financiers, oath-taking militarists and the corporate-controlled media (that also must take some responsibility for the war refugee crisis) are composed of groups of conscienceless operatives from the infamous, chronically conspiratorial military/industrial/congressional/media complex, subgroups of which were certainly among the planners and/or orchestrators of the controlled demolitions of the three World Trade Center buildings.

There are a lot of traitorous elites who have been knowingly and secretly usurping American democracy by, post-911, helping to prevent truly independent investigations from happening. Those cunning manipulations have kept Americans from hearing the testimony about the multiple bomb explosions from eye-witnesses who were ready to reveal the obvious truth: that the official White House conspiracy theories about 9/11 were fraudulent. If real investigations would have been allowed to occur right away, the horrific slaughter of the innocents in the Middle East would have been averted – and the drowned Syrian toddler would be alive today.

The 9/11 Truth Movement’s Assertions are not ”Theories” Anymore

All the existing evidence that has been accrued over the past 14 years proves that there were any number of guilty people and groups, and most of them are hiding in plain sight, hopefully shaking in their boots for fear that a powerful grassroots movement will arise and effectively demand justice for their treasonous crimes. All the evidence of their treason has been accumulated, and it is court-of-law-worthy.

The prime suspects that need to be brought to justice as co-conspirators are surely some or all of the folks in the PNAC. So far, they have been protected from being subpoenaed to giving public testimony under oath. They have a lot to lose and therefore have been working hard to avoid indictment, trying to remain in positions of economic or (un-elected) political power. Many of many of them are still deeply involved in US foreign policy and domestic politics.

Conclusion

For any truthful, open-minded person with an IQ above 90 (and who also isn’t an obedient, political hack with ulterior motivations to lie for their political party), understanding why 9/11 was a false flag operation is a no-brainer: All one has to do is study a couple of the powerful, unassailably truthful documentaries on YouTube (see below).

If real investigative journalists – who already knew something was fishy on 9/11/01 – had been allowed to do their jobs and question the unbelievable official theories, justice would have been done before the dogs of war were relesed. Even our co-opted and conflicted politicians might have been able to comprehend that the three WTC Towers 1, 2 & 7 could only have been brought down by pre-planted demolition charges.

And if a real search for the real culprits had been done – as promised by President.Bush – that investigation would have revealed that it is impossible for jet planes to bring down modern, non-flammable steel-reinforced skyscrapers. So, in conclusion, it was the demolitions – and not the “attacks” – that were responsible for the deaths of most of the 3000 civilians that would otherwise have been rescued shortly after the office fires self-extinguished. Planes hitting skyscrapers that were designed to withstand direct hits from Boeing 707s would not incite a nation to go to war – because the buildings would have been left standing. It was therefore necessary to destroy the incriminating evidence: perhaps of a drone plane or two, or the still missing black boxes, or the lack of passengers, etc. That all had to be rubbed out by the demolitions and the total destruction from 3 months-long red-hot smoldering fires from the heat producing incendiaries that were capable of melting steel, like thermite, thermate, military-grade nano-thermite or other high explosives.

So if justice had been done immediately after 9/11, neither Afghanistan nor Iraq would have been illegally invaded and immorally de-stabilized, and all those targeted Middle Eastern nations in the region, including Syria, would not have experienced the chaos of experiencing millions of Iraqi war refugees crossing over the border in the mass movements of internally and externally displaced civilian war refugees like the Syrian toddler.

Important Research Opportunities

Among the many fine documentaries on the subject that are capable of totally disproving the White House Big Lie, the one that has the best historical context is “Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup”. In my opinion, the documentary with the best science behind it is “9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out” from Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

Real patriots, if they want to be on the right side of history, need to watch them both and then adjust their politics.

To do so will place in proper perspective the sufferings and deaths of the millions of war refugees like Alyan Kurdi, his sibling and his mother, all of whom drowned on the same day.


About the author:

Dr. Gary G. Kohls is a retired physician who writes a weekly column for the Reader Weekly, an alternative newsweekly published in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. Many of his columns are archived at http://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn.

The Syrian Crisis Is Part Of A War Waged On Russia By The West

It seems clear now that the West wants to defeat Russia in Syria at all costs. This latest protracted confrontation in the Middle East can be understood as a proxy war of the US and NATO against Putin’s resurgent Russia. But Syria is just one zone of engagement in a much wider war against Russia that has been taking place since Putin started to stand up to the West. The same confrontation also occurs in Ukraine and formerly in Georgia, where Russia successfully halted, albeit temporarily, the Western advance. This amounts to a new Cold War or an undeclared war where East and West are once more in global confrontation.

To date the policy to unseat Assad has failed miserably despite the West’s imposition of punishing economic sanctions, its bombing of the country and the sponsoring, financing and training of what are little more than terrorist mercenaries. It is virtually impossible to distinguish the moderate rebels from the Islamist fanatics of ISIS (Islamic State).

In reality the root of the current refugee crisis in Syria lies in the strategy of “regime change” adopted by the West over many years. After its failure to effect regime change in Syria, the West now appears intent on ruthlessly exploiting the misery of the Syrian people that the West itself has contributed towards creating in the first place, using the human desperation as the latest leverage to weaken and inflict a final defeat on a country that has been outside its control for decades.

From this perspective the generous German ‘offer’ to take in 500 thousand Syrian refugees a year can be interpreted as a cynical strategic ploy to persuade the Syrian population to break their attachment to Russia’s last remaining ally in the Middle East; thus bribing a desperate people weakened by years of conflict. Such an enticement to escape from increasingly intolerable conditions will effectively decant Syria of the most able-bodied members of its population, who will be vital to help rebuild its economy in the future.

This new tactic seems to be working where sanctions and sponsoring terrorism have failed. Many of the refugees now fleeing the conflict are apparently former members of the Syrian armed forces who have simply become exhausted and had enough of the relentless fighting; this reduction in military personnel is seriously depleting Assad’s ability to resist ISIS.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry has threatened Russia for its alleged military ‘build up’ in Syria and NATO has inevitably echoed Kerry’s concerns. These accusations of an increased Russian military presence in the country conveniently ignores the longstanding cooperation between Moscow and Damascus and flagrantly dismisses the significant role that Russia is playing in assisting Syria to combat the advance of ISIS, which is supposedly the main rationale for the current US-led military operations in Syria.

Perhaps we must conclude that the West is not very serious about defeating ISIS or at least that it sees removing Assad as the top priority irrespective of the consequences. Washington does not even have a plausible puppet government-in-waiting to take the reins of power should Assad be toppled; the political vacuum is much more likely to be filled by ISIS.

Surely the West’s policy advisers understand this is the all too likely outcome.

Tightening the noose on Russia and Syria, EU states Bulgaria and SYRIZA-led Greece are now denying Russia the use of vital airspace to supply Syria, which is clearly a further calculation designed to weaken Damascus – although Iran has offered Russia an alternative flight route.

Furthermore, it needs to be stressed that, as has been widely reported, the so-called “moderate rebels” so assiduously promoted by the US are actually linked to Al-Qaeda, which makes for an unholy alliance if ever there was one. The end result of the conflict in Syria could be that ISIS will come to rule and it could even eventually head a pro-Western state. This outcome is not really so farfetched if one considers the repressive nature of some of the West’s other long-term allies in the region and around the world. Washington and the European powers have never really had a problem in dealing with dictators despite all their high-minded talk of human rights in this and in other contexts. Human rights discourse is simply another weapon in a strategic power game.

Another front in the war against Russia is Ukraine, which has been transformed into one of the most anti-Russian regimes in Europe and sees the extension of NATO right up to Russia’s border. NATO has been broadening its presence in Ukraine for some time but is making this new military relationship more formal with an official visit to Kiev by its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who was to take part in the Ukrainian Security Council. At the same time, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry indicated that the opening of the very first NATO office in Ukraine is planned. Furthermore, Mikhail Saakashvili, the virulently Russophobe former president of Georgia, who is already the governor of Odessa, is now even being touted to become a future Prime Minister of Ukraine; which can only be interpreted in Moscow as a gross provocation.

Elsewhere, NATO member Turkey seeks to smash the Kurds who are not only officially branded as terrorists by the EU and US, but are seen as suspiciously socialist and subversive of the existing neoliberal order.

Turkey has been allowed to launch bombing raids on PKK camps in Northern Iraq, which the UN Secretary General has defended on the basis of the country’s right to self-defence. It needs recalling that Turkey was supposed to be joining the US-led campaign against ISIS but instead it preferred to use the occasion in an opportunistic manner to attack the PKK which it sees as its main enemy, while it has been accused of aiding ISIS advances, particularly in the case of the Kurdish border city of Kobane which had come under sustained attack from ISIS.

Ironically, it speaks volumes that the US is remaining largely silent and uncritical in face of the mounting death toll arising from Erdogan’s decision to abandon his rapprochement with the Kurds in favour of what increasingly looks like escalating into an all-out civil war. The West seems none too bothered about this outcome. We hear only muted complaints, for instance, when independent journalists are picked up and deported by Turkey.

In marked contrast to the criminalisation of the Kurdish movement in Turkey, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq, which has always been tenaciously pro-Western, was fulsomely praised in Parliament by PM David Cameron on 7 September during the debate on Britain’s policy shift on taking in Syrian refugees in the wake of the outcry at the death of the Kurdish boy washed up on the shores of Bodrum, in Turkey. This praise for the KRG is meant to teach the PKK and its affiliates in Syria a hard lesson: they are being warned, ‘embrace our ideology and you will prosper, defy us and Turkish aggression will be mercilessly unleashed and we won’t help you’. The social confrontation now raging across Turkey has seen violent attacks on Kurdish organisations such as the burning of offices of the HDP, which led one commentator from Turkish Daily News to describe it as an impending Turkish ‘Kristallnacht’.

The conflict now raging in Turkey was initiated by President Erdogan after his failure to achieve a much sought absolute majority for his AKP in the country’s June election. Frustrated by the election outcome, he has since sought to find a means to reverse the setback setting his sights on the HDP whose surprise 14 percent in the poll denied Erdogan the victory which he virtually believed was in his grasp as a destiny. Hence, his increasingly erratic, manic and messianic approach to politics. This has laid the basis for an unnecessary conflict that might easily have been averted given the potential to build on all the efforts that had been put into the peace process with the Kurds. Sadly, a magnanimous and more imaginative politician who was truly concerned for the entire nation’s welfare rather than narrow party interest might have achieved a historic breakthrough. Tragically wise counsel from Turkey’s allies seems not to have been made available or at least what had been attempted has proved to be ineffective in deterring Erdogan from his destructive trajectory.

There are fears that a deal had been struck between US President Obama and Erdogan to allow Turkey to sort out its Kurdish problem by force in exchange for permitting the US use of Incirlik airbase to bomb Syria.

If the assumption that this is what was agreed is correct, the responsibility for the renewed conflict would lie not with Ankara alone. Not only will this be another ‘great betrayal’ of the Kurds by the Western powers, it will amount to a huge miscalculation in that the Kurdish social movement cannot simply be eradicated by employing force, however brutal that might be. This bloody course of action will simply contribute towards the further destabilisation of an extremely unstable region. The social conflicts inside Turkey will not easily be healed, but, in fact, they may well last for generations, significantly weakening the country in the meantime.

Incidentally, it might also be mentioned that some of the Gulf States, who are ‎generally backing the “opposition” to Assad financially and diplomatically, are also seeking to gain an economic foothold into Ukraine by buying up tracks of fertile agricultural land, of which the country is plentiful, to obtain vital food resources to satisfy the needs of their own growing populations.

In addition, Qatar has recently played host to a conference of the so-called Iraqi opposition – with US support- one aim of which was to unite former Baathists and pro-ISIS groups in Iraq in a bid to change the government in Baghdad. This is yet one more zone of engagement in the wider confrontation.

The US has also found it impossible to renege on the Iran nuclear deal, but lobbied by its traditional allies in the region, Washington still seeks to contain any possible expansion of Tehran’s influence.

UK leaders demonstrate a similar negative attitude to Iran reflected in their reluctance to condone its involvement in any deal to resolve the conflict in Syria. Thus, replying in the Parliamentary debate to a call by Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn for an international conference on the Syrian crisis that would include Iran and Russia, Cameron was quick to remind MPs that Iran remains disqualified because of its alleged continued support for “terrorist” organisations such as Hezbollah in Lebanon.

This casual and routine repudiation of any proposals for peace talks to resolve the conflict only works to prolong the misery of the Syrian people whom the likes of Berlin and Brussels are currently proclaiming to offer a place of refuge. There is a certain contradiction here and the hypocrisy is quite nauseating.

Syria, Ukraine, Turkey, Iraq and Iran. These are seemingly separate conflicts with different causes and their own self-contained solutions, but underlying them there is a grand plan which is to exert control over a strategically vital region and by so doing gain possession of its rich resources. These conflicts are related zones of engagement within this overarching conflict. It amounts to an undeclared world war.

The roots of the current Syrian refugee crisis lie in the adoption of regime change as a key plank of US and NATO foreign policy. The suffering inflicted on the people of Syria by Assad is actually as nothing compared to the collateral damage that has been inflicted in the campaign to topple him and achieve strategic advantage against Moscow.


Sun 13th Sep 2015

Originally published at: http://londonprogressivejournal.com/article/view/2288/the-syrian-crisis-is-part-of-a-war-waged-on-russia-by-the-west

The History of the CIA

When I began reading the work of Douglas Valentine about six years ago, I had not read his books, only the articles that the US online journal Counterpunch had published. In fact I only began reading Counterpunch because of the accident of having been introduced to the two original editors of what was then only a printed newsletter. Later I was even able to publish a few pieces in that journal before its more famous founding editor’s demise. Why do I preface a book review with such personal observations? To that question I will return later.

After reading numerous articles I went to Douglas Valentine’s website and as I frequently do—even today—I asked him questions about things he had written. This began a conversation that has continued. Of course I could not hope to conduct a serious conversation with someone about their ideas without having read what they had already committed to paper. Hence I began with The Phoenix Program (1990). I then read both of his books on the US government’s drug organisations and was pleased to review them online. When Open Roads, under the direction of Mark Crispin Miller, re-published The Phoenix Program as the first in its e-book series “Forbidden Books”, I had the opportunity to review it as well. In other words although I have only known Douglas Valentine for a few years, I believe I am very well acquainted not only with his writing but I also know what makes it unique in the landscape.

His latest book, The CIA as organised crime, is not new. Nor is it intended to be. This book attempts something very difficult: compressing the essentials of nearly 30 years of intensive research, insight and implicit social theory into a volume accessible to readers with rapidly deteriorating attention spans who have been conditioned to what I would call “journalism as pornography” (I will return to that too.) Before I explain what I mean, permit me to briefly explain the structure of the book.

After introducing the reader to the “luck” he had in gaining access to the sources which made the book possible, Valentine presents revised interviews that explain the core information in The Phoenix Program (Part I) and the two-volume “Wolf/ Pack” study of US drug law enforcement (Part II). Then in part III he uses previous interviews and articles to explain the interrelationships between the CIA business and the DEA business and how they led to the Homeland Security business. Part IV is devoted to the various ways in which everything known from parts I – III are ignored, trivialised, distorted or censored so that such knowledge has virtually no impact in public consciousness. Here there might be a certain detectable irony since Valentine writes a book that concludes by saying that the means for acting on the information presented is already precluded—pre-empted rather than prohibited.

The book’s principle subject is the Central Intelligence Agency. For the historically challenged it may be useful to recall that the Central Intelligence Agency is an organisation of the US regime created by the National Security Act of 1947. Most history books will tell an average US citizen (or someone schooled with US curricular materials) that the act adopted by the US Congress on 29 July of that year was designed to consolidate the several branches of the military under a Department of Defence, for budgetary reasons, to restrain historic inter-service rivalries, and to create a more modern and efficient armed forces.

What is not said is that in 1945, the US government had demobilised its military and having emerged from the Second World War unscathed was trying to determine how to save its economy from a return to the pre-war depression. The intellectual elite of the US regime has already begun to warn that both domestic stability and US dominance in the world would be jeopardised if the regime did not maintain at least the level of armaments expenditure required during the war that had just ended. However there was no publicly defensible reason for permanent wartime footing. There were no more Native Americans to annihilate; despite the abolition of slavery Negroes were still well under control. The only country even approaching the US in military strength—the USSR—had been so devastated by the war that it would be decades before it could pose a genuine competitive threat. In other words, having pacified the world with atomic weapons and the blood of 30 million Soviet citizens, the US elite had no honest justification for the policy they were about to undertake.

The National Security Act of 1947 created the National Security Council, the Central Intelligence Agency, and what was first called the “National Military Establishment”—later renamed the Department of Defence. Given the fact that the international criminal court constituted to try war crimes in Nuremberg proclaimed the commencement of a war of aggression to be the ultimate war crime under international law, it ought to be clear that the legislation passed by the Congress in July of 1947 was tantamount to the establishment of a permanently organised war crimes establishment in the United States of America. The creation of the three executive instruments by which the US corporate elite in Congress assembled delegated the powers to declare war under their own charter (aka US Constitution) made the entire US regime an organised criminal conspiracy because the permanent state of war thus created in and of itself was an act of aggression in the very form condemned at Nuremberg—and for which those not particularly favoured by that regime were hanged or imprisoned.

It is within this legislatively mandated criminal enterprise that one has to understand the origins, purpose and function of the Central Intelligence Agency. The 1947 legislation chartered the CIA as an instrument of the National Security Council. On the tacit assumption that the US regime is in a permanent state of war—despite occasional suggestions to the contrary—the National Security Council constitutes something like a permanent war cabinet. The war cabinet has its weapons of mass destruction (the armed forces) but because this “cabinet” is composed of bureaucrats, academics, professional politicians, businessmen and assorted charlatans in the train of the reigning president there is need for an espionage organisation which in theory tells these ministers when, where and how to wage war most advantageously. That is the official reason why the criminal cabinet needs spies. According to the Act:

(d) For the purpose of coordinating (subordinating) the intelligence activities (spying) of the several Government departments and agencies in the interest of national security (waging war), it shall be the duty of the Agency, under the direction of the National Security Council (permanent war cabinet)—

(1) To advise the National Security Council in matters concerning such intelligence activities (spying) of the Government departments and agencies as relate to national security (waging war);

(2) To make recommendations to the National Security Council for the coordination (subordination) of such intelligence activities (spying) of the departments and agencies of the Government as relate to the national security (waging war);

The ostensible function described is that of a consultancy, an almost academic organisation. However there are some other duties specified in the Act.

(3) To correlate and evaluate intelligence relating to the national security (waging war), and provide for the appropriate dissemination (helping other government spies) of such intelligence within the Government using where appropriate existing agencies and facilities: PROVIDED, That the Agency shall have no police, subpoena, law-enforcement powers, or internal-security functions (This would be called a non-competition clause in commercial law. It was adopted to protect the right of the FBI and other domestic instruments of state terror from encroachments by the federal agency.): PROVIDED FURTHER, That the departments and other agencies of the Government shall continue to collect, evaluate, correlate, and disseminate departmental intelligence (no spying monopoly): AND PROVIDED FURTHER, That the Director of Central Intelligence shall be responsible for protecting intelligence sources and methods from unauthorized disclosure (preventing the public or victims of spying from defending themselves);

(4) To perform, for the benefit of the existing intelligence agencies (all the military spies, police spies, and implicitly sanctioned corporate spying organisations), such additional services of common concern as the National Security Council determines can be more efficiently accomplished centrally (any other criminal activity for which the Agency is better equipped or has more benefit);

(5) To perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence (covert action) affecting the national security (waging of war) as the National Security Council may from time to time direct.

The conspicuous crime for which the Central Intelligence Agency was created was spying, an offence punishable under Title 18 of the United States Code which incorporates the provisions of the 1917 Espionage Act. Of course one could argue that it is not a crime to spy on the enemy when at war. However officially at least the US has not been at war since 1945—at least not within the conventional interpretation of the war powers in the US Constitution, i.e. a resolution adopted by the US Congress declaring a state of war between the US and another country.  But even allowing executive liberty with the definition of a “state of war”, the Espionage Act also makes it a crime to spy on the “friends” of the United States—which of course has been standard operating procedure since the CIA was founded.

However the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency has another history, its genealogy. The CIA claims two inspirational heroes: Nathan Hale and William “Wild Bill” Donovan. Nathan Hale is heralded as the first or at least most famous colonial spy to be hanged by the British Army during the American War of Independence.Surely a bit of folklore, he was to have said before the noose did its work that he only regretted “that I have but one life to lose for my country”. William Donovan was a white shoe lawyer who persuaded US President Franklin Roosevelt to authorise the founding of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) from whose ranks many of the most renowned CIA executive management came.Nathan Hale’s place in the CIA pantheon is certainly no more than the vanity of its white elite founders. William Donovan is far closer to the true tradition from which the CIA arose.

Repeatedly CIA cadres make reference to the OSS as if it were the core of its “regimental history”. The myth intended is that the Office of Strategic Services was created in wartime (the last time the US was officially at war) and all those boys who joined the OSS were heroic soldiers fighting more or less covertly in the “good war”. Thus the CIA is the descendant of that band of heroic elite soldiers and patriots who quietly served their country under conditions that at least theoretically could lead them to share the fate of Nathan Hale. The truth however is quite different. William Donovan’s qualifications for the OSS were not his Medal of Honor awarded in the Great War but his political connections in New York. These political connections and his success as a lawyer enabled him to overcome the WASP barriers, which an Irish Catholic would generally face until one John Kennedy was elected for a visit to the White House.

Donovan was not only a lawyer and politician in Roosevelt’s home state, he was part of that community of corporate law firms whose specialties included organising covert action to defend US corporations abroad. Probably the most notorious in this league of private mercenary law firms was Sullivan & Cromwell—the firm in which John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles were partners.Prior to the creation of the CIA, there were law firms like Sullivan & Cromwell and the US Marines. After 1945, gentlemen like the Dulles brothers agreed that while it was not always opportune or good marketing to send the Marines, it was also very risky for US corporations and their law firms to intervene in foreign countries as they had done routinely prior to the Second World War.

There was a need for protecting corporations from the very real risks of de-colonisation and economic nationalism, which unfortunately had been given new impetus by colonised peoples who took the UN Charter seriously. Not only was it recognised by this segment of the US elite that a permanent war economy was essential for continued wealth accumulation and domestic peace but lip service had to be paid to the ideals of the UN Charter and the United Nations organisations (esp. since the admission of non-whites was inevitable).

The inspiration for the CIA came from precisely this class of white—mainly Protestant—descendants of the New England theocrats and Yankee slave traders whose entire identity was based on white supremacy and capitalism—both as a religious ideal and an enrichment strategy. It is one of the legacies of the US Civil War that overt violence, i.e. the armed forces, is dominated by the elites of the South while covert violence, i.e. finance and the secret police, is primarily managed by the elites of the North. So while 1945 brought the defeat of Ford’s, Bush’s and Dulles’ friends in Berlin and the disappointment of Soviet victory, there was still potential to exploit racism and domestic fears to create the illusions needed for a permanent war economy with all the trappings of a wartime police state.

This could not be done overtly because it could jeopardise markets in countries where US corporations hoped to replace European colonial competitors. There was also a domestic threat to be suppressed. After four years of telling US citizens that they were defending democracy and self-determination and opposing racism (although that actually was not a part of the WWII myth in the US until the 1970s), it was necessary to teach US corporate vassals (dictators) to at least walk and talk like US politicians. There had to be alternatives to the tried and true method of sending the Marines when the leaders in a foreign capital misbehaved. The people of “Wild Bill” Donovan’s class knew the methodology and understood the problem—but what they now needed was “official cover”. Nobody would believe—either in the UN General Assembly or any other public forum—that United Fruit supported or opposed governments based on democratic convictions. On the other hand, no one could (would dare) challenge the actions of the US government abroad to assist a government it declared to be democratic. Moreover if United Fruit broke the law, the local government could punish it, even by expropriation. But no local government would dare take such action against the United States itself—that could mean even war.

Hence the CIA was invented in the National Security Act not simply as an advisory and coordinating instrument for spying but as a criminal organisation to cover for the fundamental criminal activity of US corporations and those who own them. It was invented by those whose primary qualification for “government service” was their experience as mercenaries or mercenary managers for the corporations and wealthy families that own the United States government. Its leadership and cadre were and are drawn from the “families” who historically either own or defend the wealth concentrated in the US upper class. They are the essence of “organised crime”.

That brings me back to Valentine’s book: The CIA as organised crime. The subtitle of the book is “How illegal operations corrupt America and the World”. The title is fashioned like those of many typical exposés or what some might call “muckraking” journalism. If this title gets more readers than the means justifies the end. Yet I think the title is in fact a juxtaposition of two contrary perspectives of his subject. For Valentine’s book to be an exposé it would have to reveal something previously hidden. In fact Valentine concludes his book with the entirely justifiable assertion that what he has described is in fact in plain sight—not hidden at all. A “muckraking” story would take an otherwise tidy state of affairs and show that “beneath it all” it is really very ugly and dirty. However, no later than the Church and Pike Committee investigations of the 1970s and the Iran-Contra hearings of the late 1980s, it has been a matter of official record that the Central Intelligence Agency organises and perpetrates crimes as a matter of policy and that it does so with virtual impunity—in the interests of “national security” (waging war). So is Valentine’s book a revelation about the CIA?

No. Nor do I believe that he intended it to be.

The most important part of the book is in fact part IV: Manufacturing Complicity: Shaping the American Worldview. I see it as an act of self-defence that this part is not overtly the central part of the book. With respect for that I would like to point out why this self-defence is by no means trivial and at the same time I would like to take the risk or the liberty of elaborating why I believe self-defence is appropriate.

Valentine’s most important observations about the nature and structure of CIA action are:

  1. The CIA is a class-based organisation. Its membership and its mission are dedicated to defending the dominance of the predominantly US corporate elite, based on the ideology of capitalism and white supremacy.
  2. The CIA limits its scope of action to the extent that such action may be plausibly denied and is of benefit to its clients.
  3. The CIA does not recognise any barriers to action except those imposed by its clients or by the force of its opponents—i.e. it is beyond what most of us call the law. This does not mean that it is omnipotent.
  4. The CIA relies for much if not all of its tacit support upon the willing collaboration of the Establishment and the Counter-Establishment in all its forms and factions. The means for maintaining this collaboration are mastery of language and propaganda and an enormous capacity to reward support (witting or unwitting) and punish opposition.
  5. All of the above are attainable because of the degree of organisation and organisational discipline: class-based, bureaucratic and military in nature.

The CIA as organised crime is a compilation of examples drawn from his detailed case studies. It should motivate the reader to go back and read The Phoenix Program, The Strength of the Wolf and The Strength of the Pack. If this happens then the book will have been a success. If the reader is waiting for a daring revelation, he may be disappointed. Valentine does not trade in sensationalism. He is not a muckraker either. That is apparent from careful reading of the first two introductory chapters. On the contrary Douglas Valentine has written books, which prove that there are no real secrets for people who bother to ask the right questions and who listen to or read carefully the answers. The CIA as organized crime is another such book.

Here the reader of this review might object that of course there were secrets: the Phoenix Program was a secret. Without “Freedom of Information Act” (FOIA) searches and a lucky access to high-ranking CIA officials Valentine would never have discovered the truth, which was hidden from us all. Of course there are secrets. And of course it is the free press and heroic journalists like Seymour Hersh or Glen Greenwald and whistle-blowers like Daniel Ellsberg and Edward Snowden (the list of journalists or “whistle-blowers” is by no means inclusive) that make sure that no matter how dreadful the people in Langley are, the truth will be discovered.

I think here it is important to distinguish between critical research published by a writer in periodical literature (journals) and journalistic pornography. The exposé is not accidentally connotative of striptease. As everyone knows who has at least thought about it, if not actually attended, the point of striptease is not the final nudity but the gradual and redundant suggestion of nudity. Pornography is literally not the graphic depiction of sexual acts but the graphic depiction of the activity of prostitutes. In this sense while it is conventional to identify prostitutes with those engaged in sex for remuneration, the reluctance to call people whose marriages result in monetary gain prostitutes has shifted the emphasis away from mere sex for money. This has given rise to such neologisms as “presstitute”—a journalist who prostitutes him or herself in his profession. The term “yellow journalism” was given to types of writing in the last century considered egregiously biased and aggressive. The tendency is to identify this kind of journalism with the “tabloids” or “boulevard press”.

The US journalist I.F. Stone, beatified in the US by many who call themselves “liberal” or “left”, knew that propaganda and “yellow journalism” was not a market cornered by the tabloids. His Hidden History of the Korean War is full of examples to show how the war in Korea was not reported, ill reported, or falsely reported by the so-called “quality press”. Douglas McArthur was just as successful at manipulating the Press as the generals and admirals that came after him. The collaboration of the media during the war against Korea was so effective that even forty years later, a documentary film about the war produced in the UK was censored in the US as a precondition to its being aired at all.

Those of us old enough to remember Morley Safer reporting from Vietnam on CBS might wonder at the story he told in 2010 to a select gathering of journalist veterans of that war about his relationship with then CIA station chief William Colby.Seymour Hersh is regularly trotted out by S.I. Newhouse’s New Yorker magazine as a critical journalist—also a Vietnam “veteran”. Hersh is given credit for bringing the My Lai massacre to the attention of the US public—an event Colin Powell did his best to help conceal while he was stationed in Vietnam. But Hersh did not make a name for reporting about the Phoenix Program (just as Morley Safer did not). The Vietnamese knew about Phoenix and they knew what kind of operation Lt. Calley was leading. Yet at no time during the trial of Calley was there ever any mention of the CIA or the campaign against the VCI of which Calley was just one tiny part. Instead we were all fed with nightly stories about how bad the war was and under what duress a young lieutenant was serving his country—that regrettable and even condemnable his acts may be but they were mere incidents of war. In fact Calley was acting in compliance with standard operating procedures and official policy of the CIA whose war Vietnam was.

The purpose of our press corps was and is to serve as part of the combined weapons deployed against the civilian population, esp. those in the “homeland” who have to be persuaded daily of the morality violated every day. On the one hand the population must be constantly reassured that that old disgusting Puritan morality remains the foundation of US society. On the other hand the prurient interest in breaches of that morality must be satisfied. Hence US Americans relish the hymns of praise for their Press that come from invidious comparisons with the media in the rest of the world (esp. the Soviet Union/ Russia). They need the titillation that comes from being told occasionally that elected officials patronise brothels, judges receive bribes and non-whites in foreign lands are tortured and assassinated. Even the most obscene acts perpetrated by CIA officers or their comrades in other branches of the State apparatus become delectable if served by those whose reporting respects the aesthetic dogma.

Bernardo Bertolucci directed a film Last Tango in Paris with Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider. A number of recent articles about the film focus on the non-consensual use of butter as a lubricant for the illusion of an anal sex rape scene. The film was rated as practically pornographic when it was released in the 1972. When I saw the film I was surprised that so much was written about the explicit sex. For me there was only one serious message in the film and it was very clearly articulated—regardless of whatever artistic pretensions Bertolucci may have intended. For the greater part of the film the characters played by Brando and Schneider meet and have unrestricted sex in an otherwise vacant Paris flat. The only rule throughout is that no names are to be asked or given.

As the film draws to a close this rule is breached and Schneider’s character is given a name for the man with whom she has had sex for such a long period. Shortly thereafter she borrows a pistol, meets the man in the flat and kills him. The moral of the story is simple. As long as we cannot name something that is bothering us, we have an enormous if not insurmountable impediment to action. The capacity for titillation, for erotic stimulation even with simultaneous pain, is enhanced by suspension of belief or cognition. This is what pornography does and it is also the function of compatible journalism.

The compatible Left enjoys journalistic pornography.Like sex pornography there are also different classes or grades of journalistic pornography, sensationalism, voyeurism, exposés, so-called “inside reports”. The quality usually depends on who is funding it and what audience is targeted. The main thing is that it is either exciting or something good for fund-raising, although sometimes it is enough to be good gossip. In other words, plot and character development or accurate dialogue are unimportant in comparison to that orgasm inducing “revelation”—an erection out of context. “Did you see that?” or “Did you hear that?” ejaculates from the stimulated consumer. Moreover the compatible Left believes just as strongly in American “exceptionalism” as the Establishment. The counter-establishment claims to be a victim of Establishment mistakes. The blind support given to Barack Obama derives in large part from the embarrassment felt that George W. Bush made people dislike the United States—not that people could dislike the policies and actions of the United States—not that people could object to the permanent war crimes establishment in Washington and New York.

To go beyond ejaculations—or even to dispense with them—one has to be willing to concentrate on the whole story, not just what appeared in today’s broadcasts or papers but what happened before that? Where did all that happen? Who are the people involved and with whom are they involved? These are the details of chronology, geography and genealogy.

History occurs in a context not of minutes but years, decades, even centuries. When angry Iranians seized the US embassy in Teheran in the wake of their revolution, none of the respectable media explained that the Shah had been installed by the CIA in 1954 or that US spies were still operating out of the US embassy when the seizure occurred. Even a media outlet generally assigned to the US Left produced a report on the anniversary of the Iranian revolution that omitted information it had reported at the time of the embassy seizure. Zbigniew Brzezinski’s creation of what are now called the Taliban, under President Jimmy Carter, to wage war against the Soviet Union is another fact conveniently omitted when deceptively comparing the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan with the US war against Vietnam.It is important to follow the timeline in its entirety, not just the segment served in the news bulletin.

When people in the US who do not know where the state of West Virginia is located are called “geographically challenged”, then it is all the more apparent that checking a map is a good thing to do before believing anything reported about a foreign place (meaning also any place one has never visited).

The Phoenix Program was developed by people who came from very specific professional backgrounds and biographies. When the program was up and running, the US Foreign Service was training whole classes of its employees to become Phoenix advisers in Vietnam. People like Richard Holbrooke and John Negroponte were working in rural pacification in Vietnam as 20-year-olds.Even if were it credible that the Phoenix Program was “terminated” when the US withdrew from Vietnam, there is an entire generation of cadre in the Foreign Service and military who began their careers learning how to manage the kidnapping, torture and assassination of unarmed civilians. Are these the people you would expect to run a proper democracy? Given that untold numbers of ex-servicemen join the police forces, one should not be surprised at how comfortable they feel in Ferguson, Los Angeles, Oakland, New York, Chicago, and New Orleans when they get to use military grade equipment.

There is nothing titillating about the routines of Homeland Security or the organisation of the US gulag. People like Jeremy Scahill do not need to masturbate in Iraq to find assassinations.They are the bread and butter business of the police and drug enforcement offices in every major US city. And torture—well that is celebrated in the endless hours of cop shows that even people beyond the US borders have to endure as standard TV and cinema fare.

I began this review with some personal observations—how I came to read and later to review the work of Douglas Valentine. Over the course of the past six years I have observed what I consider to be a steadily diminishing willingness to see the obvious and draw at least more obvious conclusions from those observations. Instead there has been an unceasing proliferation of opinion and chatter pretending to be debate. The US comedian Stephen Colbert used to parody this condition by portraying a person who always said in essence “truth for me is what I feel is true without any regard for the facts, or even despite them”. Unfortunately by the time the last editions of the Colbert Report were aired on Comedy Central, it was impossible to see the parody any more. There are innumerable examples of distortion in the public sphere—the substitution of spectacle for substance. Colbert never claimed to be a journalist but there are innumerable journalists who are in fact indistinguishable from their comedian imitators. A page from my grade school speller contained the aphorism “It is easier to be critical than correct.” It is easier to be a celebrity than a person with conviction.

The CIA as organized crime is not a book of opinion. Although there are interviews these were not for talk shows. The interview format—even with critical and informed interviewers—is problematic because of the need to make a dialogue out of material that requires individual intensity and focussed attention. Since Valentine is an experienced interviewer (as anyone can establish by listening to his Phoenix tapes), he makes the best out of a restrictive format. In doing so he does not tell us so much about asking questions as how we must learn to work with answers. Valentine’s book is also an exercise in giving critical questions, esp. from those who are less knowledgeable or experienced, the serious answers they deserve. That is one very important approach in teaching history, to restoring substance. Valentine is an excellent history teacher and there are simply not enough like him.


Fall of the Arab Spring: From Revolution to Destruction

From Libya and Egypt to Syria and Yemen, the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region is undergoing unprecedented tumult and chaos. To understand the current breakdown of states and society, examining the so-called Arab Spring of 2011 that laid the groundwork for this ongoing regional anarchy is indispensable.

Global Research brings to the attention of its readers the newly released book by Christopher L. Brennan.  Fall of the Arab Spring: From Revolution to Destruction (available here), propounds an incisive and timely analysis. The book views this widespread Arab upheaval, not as authentic grass roots movements for democracy, but as a US-engineered destabilization. Below are excerpts largely from the introduction. 

*        *       *  

From 2011 to around early 2014, the so-called “Arab Spring” encompassing the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region came to the forefront of international political affairs. In the words of Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, it was “frequently referred to as the most remarkable episode in the international life of the new 21st century.” The authoritarian regimes of the Arab world have been fragile systems. This is especially true more recently in their relationship with burgeoning youthful populations. Arab historian Said K. Aburish argues that these various regimes all lack modern political legitimacy—from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states to Egypt, from military cliques to monarchies. [1]

This lack of modern political legitimacy—coupled with decades of political repression, world economic crises, and unresolved grievances such as the unmitigated oppression of the Palestinian people—creates potential for massive political awakening. This dynamic was particularly pronounced because of the region’s marked demographic ‘youth bulge.’ Historically, youth cohorts are receptive to new ideas, eager to challenge the status quo, and active in times of political crisis. Indeed, it was the age 25 and under demographic that spearheaded the MENA mass protests. Using what is referred to as ‘civilian-based power,’ Western powers exploited and guided this massive potential for political awakening to advance Western and Israeli geopolitical imperatives. These eruptions were followed closely by covert and overt military intervention.

Fall of the Arab Spring: From Revolution to Destruction examines modern imperialism vis-à-vis the so-called ‘Arab Spring.’ This widespread Arab upheaval takes place in the context of a period when the restructuring of the world order—from unipolarity (uncontested world hegemony) toward multipolarity (multiple centers of power)—converges with aggravated economic breakdown. This provides the lens from which this study is viewed. The focus of this analysis is the underlying themes, methods, and most prevalent aspects of the MENA uprisings. Particular focus is given to Egypt and Libya as highly instructive case studies. Egypt demonstrates an effective utilization of ‘civilian-based power,’ while Libya provides one of the most palpable displays of the empire’s ruthless stewardship of the “Arab Spring” to smash a recalcitrant Arab state.

In his study The Sorrows of Empire, author Chalmers Johnson, professor emeritus of the University of California, San Diego, categorizes modern imperialists into two groups: “those who advocate unconstrained, unilateral American domination of the world (couched sometimes in terms of following in the footsteps of the British Empire) and those who call for imperialism devoted to ‘humanitarian’ objectives…. The complex issue at the heart of liberal imperialism is ‘humanitarian intervention’ … ‘the responsibility to protect’”[2]  as a pretext for military intervention.

‘Liberal imperialism’ has continued to evolve. A more novel method for modern imperialism includes the use of the ‘color revolution.’ Adherents of this method, such as Peter Ackerman of the Albert Einstein Institute (AEI) and Carl Gershman of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) (See Chapter II), argue unfriendly regimes can be toppled by mobilizing swarms of discontented adolescents, via mass communication media such as SMS, Facebook and Twitter. Illustrating its appeal to the Obama team, this later tactic of ‘civilian-based power’ was utilized as the initial driving force of the so-called ‘Arab Spring,’ and was later superseded by direct military intervention and America’s newest unconventional model of warfare.

Despite evidence to the contrary, the mainstream narrative is that the wave of uprisings against the status quo autocratic Arab regimes were entirely organic. Additionally, a narrative sometimes found in alternative media is that these uprisings were initially organic, but were subsequently hijacked or diverted by the West and Gulf state monarchies. The latter narrative is given credence through the West’s direct military intervention to topple Muammar Qaddafi’s government in Libya. Both of these notions are specious. The idea that romantic Arab youth activists alone initiated the attempt to topple their autocratic regimes is a myth. The objective of Fall of the Arab Spring is to shatter this prevailing mythology.

In truth, the so-called “Arab Spring”which swept through the MENA region was a wave of destabilizations sponsored by Washington and launched through ‘civilian-based power’ techniques. It was American imperialism of the most modern form. With the onset of multipolarity—with many of Washington’s vassals looking to resurgent power centers such as Moscow and Beijing—the US moved pre-emptively for ‘regime change’ against the independence of ‘enemy’ states and erstwhile clients. Additionally, the ‘Arab Spring’ offensive was given impetus by the imperative to accelerate the regional process of what Bernard Lewis, perhaps the most influential British Arabist, termed “Lebanonization” as a self- fulfilling prophecy. [3] This refers to the far-reaching balkanization, societal breakdown, and explosion of sectarian conflicts following the attenuation or collapse of the state—the model of Somalia.

For the casual outside observer, especially those imbibing the corporate controlled media’s narrative, the complex and covert nature of the destabilization meant its intrinsic imperialism was not immediately discernable. The initial lack of overt military offensives gave the empire’s use of ‘civilian-based power’ the verisimilitude of meritorious organic grassroots movements for change.

While it is important to acknowledge and support the aspirations of peoples toward accountable and democratic forms of governance, it is unacceptable to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign states during this process. This principle is enshrined in the charter of the United Nations and that of natural law. In a non-Hobbesian world it would be recognized that is not for any state to dictate another’s government for their own selfish aggrandizement or hegemonic interests. It would be recognized that every nation has the right to determine its future independently, without outside interference. Alas, rather than this notion as a guiding principle, the Post-Cold War era unleashed a state of uncontested world hegemony by a single power: the United States. In this single world power framework its own interests and ideology are regarded as paramount.

Although it is commonly thought to have gradually faded following World War II, imperialism continues via neo-colonialism.The actions of the West, with its leading state the US at the forefront, have followed an imperialist tendency throughout the Arab uprisings. As we shall see, the West’s ongoing involvement in the “Arab Spring” is part of a larger offensive to maintain the status quo of Western and Israeli hegemony. This was done—not through the crude and direct means of the Bush II regime—but more indirectly and via a sustained synergy of hard and soft power: so-called ‘smart power.’ This was supplemented and spearheaded through the techniques of the ‘color revolution.’ Thus, although a new cadre emerged with the onset of the Obama regime, the status quo imperative to secure Israel remained, and Obama administration introduced new techniques of projecting power. Whereas the second Bush administration was blunt and bellicose, the Obama regime acted more indirectly and surreptitiously, often relying on local proxies and ambitious regional powers such as Qatar and Turkey. This approach can be aptly labeled ‘imperialism on the cheap.’ It has been the defining foreign policy strategy of the Obama presidency.

The excessive reliance on ‘hard power,’ overt military and economic means to project power, during the George W. Bush presidency, generated widespread discourse on its imperial nature.[4]  In contrast, the presidency of Obama was rarely, if ever, characterized in similar terms in its early stage. On the contrary, it was often branded as a radical departure from the aggressive tendencies of the Bush II regime. ‘Soft power’ is defined as “the ability to obtain the outcomes one wants through attraction rather than using the carrots and sticks of payment or coercion.”[5] After President Bush put US standing in a compromised position—with allies antagonized and a military and populace demoralized—the American establishment opted to shift to a more emphatically ‘soft power’ approach, as advanced by theoreticians such as Joseph Nye, Jr. and Zbigniew Brzezinski of the elite Trilateral Commission. The new strategy rejected an outright bellicose use of ‘hard power,’ the proclivity of the Bush II regime. Instead, ‘hard power’ was used more selectively and from the standpoint of ‘leading from behind.’ This means encouraging allies (or vassals) to engage in geopolitical initiatives for the US, which provides necessary military aid covertly.

During the MENA uprisings, as the Trilateral Commission’s Joseph Nye had suggested even before Obama was elected, the US used “a smart strategy that combines hard- and soft-power resources—and that emphasizes alliances and networks that are responsive to the new context of a global information age.” Or, as articulated by Obama State Department apparatchik Susanne Nossel, a strategy of “enlisting others on behalf of U.S. goals, through alliances, international institutions, careful diplomacy, and the power of ideals.”This encapsulates US strategy to topple and destabilize non-compliant states during the ‘Arab Spring.’

Reacting to a waning American empire and a need to ensure the security of Israel, this synergy of ‘soft power,’ alliances, and ‘hard power’ came to characterize US strategy. In Libya—where direct military intervention took place—humanitarian imperialism was carried out with these as guiding principles. Fall of the Arab Spring outlines the synergy between this array of methods including the use of information and irregular warfare. In the final outcome, for the Arab world, the romantic illusions of ‘democracy’ and ‘dignity’—platitudes sold by the West—were shattered, and much of the region degenerated into the breakdown of the state and society.


About the author:

Christopher L. Brennan is an independent political analyst and author of Fall of the Arab Spring: From Revolution to Destruction. He has previously written articles under his pseudonym “Chris Macavel.”

Notes:

[1] Said K. Aburish. A Brutal Friendship: The West and the Arab Elite, (New York: St. Martin’s Press), 13.

[2] Chalmers Johnson, The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic, (New York: Metropolitan Books), 67.

[3] “Another possibility, which could even be precipitated by fundamentalism, is what has of late become fashionable to call ‘Lebanonization.’ Most of the states of the Middle East—Egypt is an obvious exception—are of recent and artificial construction and are vulnerable to such a process. If the central power is sufficiently weakened, there is no real civil society to hold the polity together, no real sense of common national identity or overriding allegiance to the [nation-state]. The state then disintegrates—as happened in Lebanon—into a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions and parties.” Bernard Lewis, “Rethinking the Middle East,” Foreign Affairs, Fall 1992, http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/48213/bernard-lewis/rethinking- the-middle-east

[4] See, for example, Michael Cox. “Empire, Imperialism and the Bush Doctrine.” Review of International Studies 30, no. 4 (2004): 585-608. http://searchproquest.com/docview/204970875?accountid=12387; Lewis H. Lapham, Pretensions to Empire: Notes on the Criminal Folly of the Bush Administration (New York: New York Press), 2007; Madeline Bunting “Beginning of the end: The US is ignoring an important lesson from history – that an empire cannot survive on brute force alone.” The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/feb/03/usa. comment; Johnson, Empire, 322-323.

[5] Harvard’s Joseph Nye, Huffington Post, “Barack Obama and Soft Power,” June 2008, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-nye/barack-obama-and-soft-pow_b_106717.html

The original source of this article is Global Research: http://www.globalresearch.ca/fall-of-the-arab-spring-from-revolution-to-destruction/5497764

World Conquest: The United States’ Global Military Crusade (1945- )

GR Editor’s Note

The following article by professor Eric Waddell was first published twelve years ago by Global Research in December 2003 in the immediate wake of the invasion and occupation of  Iraq by US and British forces, with a postscript added in 2007.  The article provides an incisive historical perspective on America’s “long war” against humanity, which is being carried out under a fake humanitarian mandate.

Let us be under no illusions as to the intent of the US and its allies.

We are dealing with World Conquest under the disguise of a “Global War on Terrorism”. 

Michel Chossudovsky, December 24, 2015


World Conquest: The United States’ Global Military Crusade (1945- )

by Prof. Eric Waddell

The United States has attacked, directly or indirectly, some 44 countries throughout the world since August 1945, a number of them many times. The avowed objective of these military interventions has been to effect “regime change”. The cloaks of “human rights” and of “democracy” were invariably evoked to justify what were unilateral and illegal acts.

The aim of the United States is to protect and reinforce national interests rather than to create a better world for all humankind. It is an “imperial grand strategy” of global dimensions designed to ensure unlimited and uninhibited access, notably to strategic resources, notably energy, and to markets. Rather than to establish a direct colonial presence, the preferred strategy is to create satellite states, and this requires constant, and often repeated, military interventions in countries around the world, irrespective of their political regime.

Democratically elected governments are as much at risk as dictatorships. In recent years, the tendency has been for such direct interference to increase since less of these countries are prepared to act as willing allies. Indeed, events of 2003 would suggest that the number of unconditional and powerful U.S. allies is now reduced to three: Great Britain, Australia and Israel. The US strategy is characterised, wherever possible, by invasion and the setting up of friendly (puppet) governments. Attention is focussed, by preference, on relatively small and weak countries, the aim being to achieve rapid victory.

Historically, this process of US domination of the World has been characterized by:

(i) direct military intervention with nuclear or conventional bombs and missiles,

(ii) direct military intervention with naval or ground forces,

(iii) indirect military intervention through command operations and

(iv) the threat of recourse to nuclear weapons.

Broadly speaking, three historical phases can be identified:

1945-49: The U.S.-Soviet struggle for European domination, terminating with the stabilisation of the frontier between the two blocs and the creation of NATO;

1950-89: The Cold War proper and, in the context of it, the emergence of the non-aligned group of nations;

1990 on: The post-Cold War

The first period was characterized by a significant degree of US military intervention in Europe, the second by a concern to confine the Communist bloc within its frontiers and to prevent the emergence of pro-communist regimes elsewhere in the world, and the third, focused on gaining control over the former Soviet republics and in the oil-rich Middle East. The Middle East, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean/Central America reveal themselves to be Regional Theaters of concern throughout the post-2nd World War period.

The non-negotiable defense and promotion of “the American way of life” through global military interventions took form in the closing months of the 2nd World War and it came at great cost to much of the rest of the World’s population. Although Germany capitulated in May 1945 and the United Nations was created in the following month, the U.S. nevertheless chose to use nuclear weapons to bring Japan to its feet.

The dropping of two atomic bombs, respectively on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of that year resulted in some 150,000 immediate deaths and tens of thousands of wounded. Such nuclear terrorism was quickly denounced by the international scientific community and no other nation has resorted to the use of such weapons of mass destruction. However the U.S.A. regularly brandishes the threat of recourse to them, while under Bush they have been reinstated as an integral part of national discourse. But the story does not end with nuclear weapons, for the U.S.A. has also, over the past half century, used chemical and biological weapons in its quest for global domination with, for example, recourse to Agent Orange in Viet Nam and blue mold, cane smut, African swine fever, etc. in Cuba. All such weapons of mass destruction are an integral part of the country’s arsenal.

In this context, the map of U.S. Military Interventions since 1945 only tells a part of the story. While the country’s global reach is apparent, the scale of military violence is not fully revealed. Up to 1,000,000 people were killed in the CIA command operation in Indonesia in1967, in what was, according to the New York Times, “one of the most savage mass slayings of modern political history”. Another 100,000 were killed in Guatemala, in the CIA-organized coup. And the map makes no mention of military interventions where the U.S. played a support (e.g. Rwanda and the Congo in the 1990s) as distinct from a lead role, or where U.S. arms were used by national military forces, as in East Timor where, in the hands of the Indonesian military, they were responsible for the death of some 200,000 people from 1967 on.

Interestingly, with regards to the international arms trade, it was President Reagan who announced, in 1981, that “The U.S. views the transfer of conventional weapons… as an essential element of its global defence posture and an indispensable component of its foreign policy.”

The U.S. Empire knows no limits. Its aim is political and military domination of the world. Under the US system of global capitalism, the demand for energy and other vital resources is unlimited.

America’s “Road Map to Empire” was not formulated by the Bush administration as some critics are suggesting. In fact, there is little that is “new” about the “Project for a New American Century”. It is just that the post-war rhetoric of human rights and social and economic development has diminished, to be replaced by the primary concern with global supremacy through military force. The imperial project was outlined in the immediate wake of the 2nd World War. It was part of the “Truman Doctrine” formulated in 1948 by George Kennan, Director of Policy and Planning at the U.S. State Department:

“We have 50 percent of the world’s wealth but only 6.3 percent of its population…. In this situation we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will allow us to maintain this position of disparity. We should cease to talk about the raising of living standards, human rights and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better.”

Postscript 2007

In one sense little has changed since 2003. The next target for military intervention has already been clearly identified. It is Iran which so happens, according to the most recent US Government official energy statistics, to rank third among the world’s oil-rich nations, and to be the one with the largest increase in proven oil reserve estimates over the period 2005-2006.

In another sense however a new portrait is beginning to emerge, where a war-weary and increasingly vulnerable United States is moving to the creation of a Fortress North America which embraces its northern neighbour. Once again the logic is clear. Canada now ranks second, ahead of Iran and Iraq but behind Saudi Arabia, in terms of world oil reserves, thanks notably to the tar sands of Alberta. A minority government in Ottawa, dominated by Albertan interests, is consciously taking Canada into both the US energy and the military and strategic fold. In so doing, the country is joining the ranks of the United Kingdom and Australia as an unflinching US ally.

If global reach is becoming a too costly and hazardous endeavour then fortress North America becomes an increasingly attractive alternative, particularly when the minor partner is consenting and docile.


Author: Eric Waddell is a distinguished author and professor of Geography based in Quebec City.

ANNEX:  

MAP, for larger view click link below and enlarge

http://www.globalresearch.ca/audiovideo/USA_intervention_bleu.gif

The Ku Klux Klan: America’s Long History of Accepting White Terrorist Organizations

Thursday marked the 150th anniversary of the founding of America’s deadliest terrorist organization: the Klu Klux Klan.

Since September 11, extremists associated with various far-right wing ideologies, including the KKK and Jewish extremists, have killed far more people in the United States than extremists motivated by radical Islam.

One centuries’ old example of US government double standards when it comes to terrorism, is the infamous Klu Klux Klan. The Klan has terrorized and killed far more Americans than Islamic terrorists ever have; and despite being America’s oldest terrorist organization, the US government does not officially consider the KKK a terrorist organization, classifying it merely as a “hate group”.

By classifying the KKK’s actions as hate rather than terror, the US government allows the Klan, unlike ISIS, to freely hold rallies in America, fundraise, and even appear on TV to promote their ideology. Recently Franc Ancona, a KKK leader, appeared on national television and threatened “lethal force” against black protestors.

The KKK was founded just days after slavery was abolished in America; and ever since then, bombings, lynchings, tar-and-featherings, and other violent forms of terrorism on those challenging white supremacy have always been the hallmark of the Klan. At its peak in the 1920’s, Klan membership exceeded the equivalent of 8 million Americans nationwide.

The simple fact that, to this day, the U.S. Government refuses to designate the KKK as a domestic terrorist organization speaks volumes about the nation’s commitment to combating terrorism and promoting racial equality.

The deadliest terrorist attack on US soil, prior to 9/11, was the Oklahoma City bombing, which was masterminded by Timothy McVeigh, a man who had deep ties to far-right Nazi militant circles. In 2011, Kevin Harpham, who was a war veteran, placed a bomb along the route of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade. In 2012, Wade Michael Page killed six innocent people in a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Page was a member of a white supremacist band and associated with the Hammerskins, a violent neo-Nazi group. A few months ago an Imperial Grand Wizard of the KKK from Kansas, went on a killing spree whilst shouting “Heil Hitler”, in which a fourteen-year-old boy was among the dead.

Despite the growing number of mass shootings and terrorist attacks by the far right, the media chooses to focus almost exclusively on the lesser threat of radical Islam. Media pundits routinely demand that moderate Muslims condemn acts of violence perpetrated by Muslims. When was the last time that you have seen white priests being pressured to go on television to denounce violence by white supremacists in order to show that “not all Christians” are like that? How long would a Muslim group, with as violent a record as the KKK, be allowed to operate freely before it was shut down by Homeland Security? Clearly racism, as much as oil, fuels the War on Terror.

The threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism has been largely manufactured so that the so-called War on Terror can promote profitable militarism abroad and erode civil liberties at home.

Fourteen years after 9/11, al Qaeda has not successfully conducted another attack inside the United States. According to a recent Harvard University report, named The Exaggerated Threat of Home Grown Terror:

“… since 2001, despite warnings by public officials and terrorism analysts, there is little evidence that the risk of terrorist attacks in the United States by American Muslims is especially serious or growing.”

So why then has the United States spent over $6 trillion dollars on the War on Terror?

FBI data from 1980 to 2005 show that Jewish terrorists committed 7 percent of the acts of terrorism within the United States, which was more than the 6 percent committed by Islamist extremists. This statistic is made even more remarkable by the fact that the FBI drastically undercounts instances of terrorism perpetrated by Jewish extremists because of institutional racial double standards. How many Americans can name the Jewish Defense League or Jewish Armed Resistance, both terror groups that have committed more acts of terror than their Muslim counterparts?

The infamous Jewish Defense League has been operating in the U.S. for over half a century. A Department of Energy report on terror threats to nuclear facilities notes:

“…for more than a decade, the Jewish Defense League has been one of the most active terrorist groups in the United States.”

Unbeknown to many Americans, these Jewish extremists have mail-bombed police, targeted UN ambassadors, and firebombed civilians at a Symphony Orchestra performance.

If the U.S. Government is serious about combating domestic terror and mass shootings, the FBI’s statistics suggest that it should be aggressively surveilling white males. The simple fact that U.S. law enforcement has not infiltrated and spied on conservative Christian or Jewish communities to disrupt violent rightwing extremism confirms what Muslims in America know in their bones: to worship Allah is to be a suspect.

Muslim-Americans increasingly feel as though they are living in a totalitarian police state with worsening harassment, profiling, and surveillance by the state. Researcher, Arun Kundnani, has shown how the FBI has 1 counterterrorism spy for every 94 Muslims in the US, which approaches totalitarian East Germany’s infamous spy agency Stasi’s ratio of 1 spy for every 66 citizens.

White Christians and Jews don’t have to worry that an undercover agent or informant has infiltrated their churches, student groups, or social clubs.

For centuries, white terrorists in America have been allowed ample breathing room to spread their ideology and to plan and orchestrate their attacks, which explains both the greater relative lethality of white supremacist terrorism, and also the much lower rate of indictment for white perpetrators.

In America Brown and Black people are reflexively considered terrorists, thugs and gangbangers, deserving of society’s derision, whereas white people who commit terrorist attacks are simply “mentally disturbed” loners who were in need of society’s help.

Society’s decision to call a particular act of violence ‘terrorism’ indicates that the act belongs to a more widespread pattern that needs consideration beyond normal crime fighting. Calling mass shootings by white supremacists merely “hate” or murder, rather than terrorism, downplays the significant role of the perpetrator’s racist motives and avoids tough questions about the prevalence of racism in American society.

Recently, James Holmes shot over 80 people in a movie theatre but he was brought in alive by law enforcement and the media refused to call his actions terrorism, focusing instead on portraying Mr. Holmes as an “awkward” and tender “loner”. Similarly, white supremacist Dylan Roof massacred nine black churchgoers in Charlestown and not only was Roof brought in alive by law enforcement, but also the police described Roof at the time of his arrest as “very quiet, very calm … not problematic.” The police even went so far as to buy Mr. Roof lunch at Burger King, moments after he unleashed terror on innocent churchgoers. Contrasted with the police’s countless modern day lynchings of innocent and often unnamed black boys and men, it is clear that US law enforcement is as tolerant of white terrorism as it is institutionally racist to its core.

Clearly, there is a costly and unhealthy obsession among U.S. society and law enforcement, with preventing violence perpetrated by American Muslims, one that ignores both the real threat of white terrorism and the ongoing terrorism by police towards Black American citizens.


About the author: Garikai Chengu is a scholar at Harvard University. Contact him on garikai.chengu@gmail.com

The Dirty War on Syria: Washington Supports the Islamic State (ISIS)

“It is always difficult to play a double game: declaring a fight against terrorists and simultaneously trying to use some to place pieces on the Middle Eastern chess board to pursue their own interests … [but do the] so-called moderate bandits behead people moderately?” – Vladimir Putin (2015)

Reports that US and British aircraft carrying arms to ISIS were shot down by Iraqi forces (Iraqi News 2015) were met with shock and denial in western countries. Yet few in the Middle East doubt that Washington is playing a ‘double game’ with its proxy armies in Syria. A Yemeni AnsarAllah leader says ‘Wherever there is U.S. interference, there is al Qaeda and ISIS. It’s to their advantage’ (al-Bukaiti 2015). However key myths remain important, especially to western audiences. Engaging with those myths calls for reason and evidence, not just assertion.

There is no doubt that the Arab and Muslim peoples of the Middle East hate the terrorist monstrosity called ISIS, ISIL or DAESH. Polling by the Washington-based Pew Research Centre found that 99% of Lebanese, 94% of Jordanians and 84% of Palestinians had an ‘unfavourable’ view of ISIS. As Lebanon’s constitutional system requires sectarian identification it was also found that 98% of Lebanese Sunni Muslims rejected ISIS (Poushter 2015). That latter finding discredits the common western assertion that ISIS somehow springs from Sunni communities. Less than 1% in Lebanon, 3% in Jordan and 6% in Palestine viewed the banned terrorist group favourably. The remainder did not express an opinion. Of all Syria’s neighbours, Turkey had the lowest ‘unfavourable’ view of ISIS, at 73%; the favourable score was 8% (Poushter 2015). The aim of this chapter is to help clarify what role Washington has had in creating or turning loose this Frankenstein’s monster.

Washington maintains two closely linked myths as regards terrorism in the Middle East. Then there is a ‘fall-back’ story. The first ‘existential myth’ is that, from 2014, the US became engaged in a war against extremist terrorists, in both Iraq and Syria. This followed several years of trying to topple the Syrian Government by backing illegal armed groups, which it calls ‘moderate’. Through this myth the US claims to be playing a protective role for the benefit of the peoples of the region. The second myth is that there is a significant difference between the ‘moderate rebels’ the US arms, finances and trains, and the extremist terrorists (DAESH or ISIS) it claims to be fighting.

These claims represented a shift in the rationale for the war on Syria, from one of ‘humanitarian intervention’ to a revival of the Bush era ‘war on terror’. The ‘fall back’ story, advanced by some of Washington’s domestic critics, is that US practice in the region has created a climate of resentment amongst orthodox Sunni Muslim communities, and the extremist groups emerged as a type of ‘organic reaction’ from those communities to repeated US interventions. This story hides the more damaging conclusion that Washington and its allies directly created the extremist groups.

However there is little point in simply asserting that last version, without evidence. The ‘existential myth’ of a western war on terrorism is so insistent and pervasive, and backed by such a commitment in political capital, arms and finance, that it is very difficult for western audiences to accept this new ‘war’ might be a charade. Further, diplomacy requires that stated policy positions be pursued to their logical conclusions, and that the aims be tested. For these reasons I suggest we should document the key elements of evidence, on Washington’s relationship with the sectarian terrorists. After that we can draw better informed conclusions.

It is certainly true that prominent ISIS leaders were held in US prisons. The Afghan recruiter for ISIS, Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost, spent three years in the US prison at Guantanamo (Bienaimé 2015). ISIS leader, Ibrahim al-Badri (aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) is said to have been held for between one and two years at Camp Bucca in Iraq (Giovanni 2014). In 2006, as al-Baghdadi and others were released, the Bush administration announced its plan for a ‘New Middle East’, a plan which would employ sectarian violence as part of a process of ‘creative destruction’ in the region (Nazemroaya 2006). While there have been claims that al-Baghdadi is a CIA or Mossad trained agent, these have not yet been backed up with evidence.

Nevertheless, according to Seymour Hersh’s article, ‘The Redirection’, the US planned to make use of ‘moderate Sunni states’, in particular the Saudis, to contain alleged ‘Shiia gains’ in Iraq brought about by the 2003 US invasion. These ‘moderate Sunni’ forces would carry out clandestine operations to weaken Iran and Hezbollah, key enemies of Israel (Hersh 2007). This plan brought the Saudis and Israel closer as, for somewhat different reasons, both fear Iran.

In mid-2012, US intelligence reported two important facts about the violence in Syria. Firstly, most of the armed ‘insurgency’ was being driven by extremist al Qaeda groups, and second, the sectarian aim of those groups was ‘exactly’ what the US and its allies wanted. The DIA wrote:

‘The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria … There is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers [The West, Gulf monarchies and Turkey] to the [Syrian] opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime’ (DIA 2012).

The US also observed (and certainly did not stop) the channelling of arms from Benghazi in Libya to ‘al Qaeda groups’ in Syria, in August 2012. These arms were detailed as including 500 Sniper rifles, 100 RPG launchers with 300 rounds and 400 howitzers missiles, of 125mm and 155mm calibre, all shipped to the Ports of Banias and Borj Islam, in Syria (Judicial Watch 2015). According to Michael Flynn, the former head of the DIA, and consistent with that intelligence, President Obama made a ‘wilful decision’ to support al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and other ‘jihadist’ groups (Newman 2015). This all confirms motive, complicity and consistency of the process, from the early days of the Syrian conflict, building on former President Bush’s ‘New Middle East’ plan. Washington covertly approved the arming of al Qaeda groups in Syria, seeing its own advantage in that.

Probably the most convincing confirmation of US complicity with its terrorist ‘enemy’ has been the admissions from several senior officials that their main regional allies have financed ISIS. Those officials include the US Vice-President, the head of the US Armed Forces and the Chair of the US Armed Forces Committee. In September 2014 General Martin Dempsey, head of the US military, told a Congressional hearing ‘I know major Arab allies who fund [ISIS]’ (Rothman 2014). Senator Lindsey Graham, of the Armed Services Committee, responded with a justification, ‘They fund them because the Free Syrian Army couldn’t fight [Syrian President] Assad, they were trying to beat Assad’ (Rothman 2014; Washington’s Blog 2014). These were honest, if criminal, admissions.

The next month, US Vice President Joe Biden went a step further, explaining that Turkey, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia ‘were so determined to take down Assad … they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad … [including] al Nusra and al Qaeda and extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world … [and then] this outfit called ISIL’ (RT 2014; Usher 2014). Once again, these were consistent and credible admissions, except that Biden sought to exempt the US from this operation by blaming key allies. That caveat is simply not credible. The Saudis in particular are politically dependent on Washington and could not mount any major initiative without US approval. Not only that, the US systematically controls, by purchase contract and re-export license, the use of its weapons (Export.Gov 2015).

Washington’s relationship with the Saudis, as a divisive sectarian force in the region against Arab nationalism, goes back to the 1950s, when Winston Churchill introduced the Saudi King to President Eisenhower. More recently, British General Jonathan Shaw acknowledged the contribution of Saudi Arabia’s extremist ideology: ‘this is a time bomb that, under the guise of education. Wahhabi Salafism is igniting under the world really. And it is funded by Saudi and Qatari money’, Shaw said (Blair 2014). He was right.

Other evidence undermines western attempts to maintain a distinction between what came to be called the ‘moderate rebels’, by 2013 openly armed and trained by the US, and supposedly more extreme groups such as Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS. While there has indeed been some rivalry, the absence of real ideological difference is best shown by cooperation and mergers. For example the collection of US-backed groups called the ‘Free Syrian Army’ fought alongside ISIS and against the Syrian Army for several months in 2013, to gain control of Syria’s Menagh air base, near Aleppo (Paraszczuk 2013). Hoff points out that one of the ISIS commanders in the Menagh operation, Chechen Abu Omar al Shisani, ‘received American military training as part of an elite Georgian army unit in 2006’ and continued to receive US support in 2013, through his FSA alliance (Hoff 2015).

Long term cooperation between these ‘moderate rebels’ and the foreign-led Jabhat al-Nusra was seen around Daraa in the south, along the mountainous Lebanese border, in Homs-Idlib, along the Turkish border and in and around Aleppo. The words Jabhat al Nusra actually mean ‘support front’, that is, foreign support for the Syrian Islamists. Back in December 2012, as Jabhat al Nusra was banned in various countries, 29 of these groups reciprocated the solidarity in their declaration: ‘We are all Jabhat al-Nusra’ (West 2012). Soon after the 29 group signatories became ‘more than 100’ (Zelin 2012). There was never any real ideological difference between these sectarian anti-government groups.

The decline of the ‘Free Syrian Army’ network and the renewed cooperation between al Nusra and the string of reinvented US and Saudi backed groups (Dawud, the Islamic Front, the Syrian Revolutionary Front, Harakat Hazm) helped draw attention to Israel’s support for al Nusra, around the occupied Golan Heights. Since 2013 there have been many reports of ‘rebel’ fighters, including those from al Nusra, being treated in Israeli hospitals (Zoabi 2014). Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even publicised his visit to wounded ‘rebels’ in early 2014. That led to a public ‘thank you’ from a Turkey-based ‘rebel’ leader, Mohammed Badie (Israel Today 2014). Semi-covertly, Israel backed all the armed groups against Syria, occasionally assisting them with its own missile attacks (Kais 2013).

The UN peacekeeping force based in the occupied Golan reported its observations of the Israeli Defence Forces ‘interacting with’ al Nusra fighters at the border (Fitzgerald 2014). At the same time, Israeli arms were captured by Syrian forces from the extremist groups (Kais 2012; Winer 2013). In November 2014 members of the Druze minority in the Golan protested against Israeli hospitals being used to help wounded al Nusra and ISIS fighters (Zoabi 2014). This led to questions by the Israeli media, as to whether ‘Israel does, in fact, hospitalize members of al-Nusra and Daesh [ISIS]’. A military spokesman’s reply was hardly a denial: ‘In the past two years the Israel Defence Forces have been engaged in humanitarian, life-saving aid to wounded Syrians, irrespective of their identity’ (Zoabi 2014). In fact, not even a humble farmer gets across the heavily militarised Occupied Golan border to retrieve a stray goat. ‘Humanitarian’ treatment for al Qaeda terrorists is different.

The artificial distinction between ‘rebel’ and ‘extremist’ groups has been mocked by multiple reports of large scale defections and transfer of weapons, to the extremists. In July 2014 one thousand armed men in the Dawud Brigade defected to ISIS in Raqqa (Hamadee and Gutman 2014; Ditz 2014). In November defections to Jabhat al Nusra from the US-backed Syrian Revolutionary Front were reported (Newman 2014; Sly 2014).

In December, Adib Al-Shishakli, representative at the Gulf Cooperation Council of the exile ‘Syrian National Coalition’, said ‘opposition fighters’ were ‘increasingly joining’ ISIS ‘for financial reasons’ (Zayabi 2014). In that same month, the Al Yarmouk Shuhada Brigades, backed and trained for two years by US officers, were reported as defecting to ISIS, which had by this time began to establish a presence in Syria’s far south (OSNet 2014). Then, over 2014-2015, three thousand ‘moderate rebels’ from the US-backed ‘Harakat Hazzm’ collapsed into Jabhat al Nusra, taking a large stock of US arms including anti-tank weapons with them (Fadel 2015a). Video posted by al-Nusra showed these weapons being used to take over the Syrian military bases, Wadi Deif and Hamidiyeh, in Idlib province (Bacchi 2015). Debka File, a site linked to Israeli intelligence, says the heavy weaponry provided to the Syrian ‘opposition’ by the USA, Israel, the Saudis, Jordan, Turkey and Qatar includes tanks, armoured vehicles, rockets launchers, machine-guns, anti-aircraft weapons and ‘at least four types of anti-tank weapons’ (Debka 2015). The scale and consistency of the ‘defections’ strongly suggests management to channel these arms, along with fighters, to make ISIS the best equipped group. A similar conclusion was noted by US Senator John Kiriakou (Sputnik 2015b).

Recruitment of fighters for ISIS was certainly a heavily financed affair, and not an ‘organic’ drift of resentful ‘Sunni’ youth. In late 2014 the Afghan Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost was said to be ‘leading efforts in northern Pakistan to recruit fighters for ISIS’ (Bienaimé 2015). Soon after this report, Syrian jihadist Yousaf al Salafi, arrested in Pakistan, said he had been hired to recruit young men in Pakistan to fight with ISIS in Syria. He says he received $600 for each fighter he sent, working with a Pakistani sheikh and using US money (Variyar 2015). Who knows what the middle-men took, but this sum is several times the salary of an average Syrian soldier. As with Jabhat al Nusra, recruits came from a wide range of countries. Cuban journalists interviewed four captured ISIS jihadists from Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. They were recruited in a larger group which had passed freely through Turkey and across the border into Syria. They were assisted to participate in this ‘holy war’ by offers of a house, a good salary and a bride. More than 300 people were killed by their car bombs (PL 2015).

ISIS had US weapons by various means in both Iraq and Syria when, in late 2014, a ‘non-aggression pact’ was reported in the southern area of Hajar al-Aswad between ‘moderate rebels’ and ISIS, as both recognised a common enemy in Syria: ‘the Nussayri regime’, a sectarian way of referring to Alawi Muslims. Some reported ISIS had purchased weapons from the ‘rebels’ (AFP 2015).

With ‘major Arab allies’ directly backing ISIS and a steady stream of fighters and arms passing to ISIS from the collapsing US-backed ‘moderate rebel’ groups, it is a small leap to recognise that US and ‘coalition’ flights to ISIS areas (supposedly to ‘degrade’ the extremists) might also have become covert supply lines. That is precisely what senior Iraqi sources began saying, in late 2014 and early 2015 (Iraq News 2014). In mid-2014 ISIS began seizing US weapons, but this was put down to incompetence on the part of the Iraqi Army (Sharma and Nestel 2014).

However, soon after that, US air drops of arms were seized by ISIS troops on the ground. Was this US incompetence or US planning? As reported by both Iraqi and Iranian media, Iraqi MP Majid al-Ghraoui said in January that ‘an American aircraft dropped a load of weapons and equipment to the ISIS group militants at the area of al-Dour in the province of Salahuddin’ (Sarhan 2015). Photos were published of ISIS retrieving the weapons. The US admitted seizures of its weapons but said this was a ‘mistake’ (MacAskill and Chulov 2014). Then in February Iraqi MP Hakem al-Zameli said the Iraqi army had shot down two British planes which were carrying weapons to ISIS in al-Anbar province. Again, photos were published of the wrecked planes. ‘We have discovered weapons made in the US, European countries and Israel from the areas liberated from ISIL’s control in Al-Baqdadi region’, al-Zameli said (FNA 2015a).

The Al-Ahad news website quoted Head of Al-Anbar Provincial Council Khalaf Tarmouz saying that a US plane supplied the ISIL terrorist organization with arms and ammunition in Salahuddin province (FNA 2015b). Also in February an Iraqi militia called Al-Hashad Al-Shabi said they had shot down a US Army helicopter carrying weapons for ISIL in the western parts of Al-Baqdadi region in Al-Anbar province. Again, photos were published (FNA 2015a). After that, Iraqi counter-terrorism forces were reported as having arrested ‘four foreigners who were employed as military advisors to the ISIL fighters’, three of whom were American and Israeli (Adl 2015). Israel’s link to ISIS seems to have passed well beyond its border areas. In late 2015 an Israeli Colonel Yusi Oulen Shahak was said to have been arrested with an ISIS group in Iraq.

The Iraqi Government linked militia said Shahak, from the Golani brigade, was a colonel who ‘had participated in the Takfiri ISIL group’s terrorist operations’ (FNA 2015c). Six senior Iraqi officials have been cited detailing US weaponry and intelligence support for ISIS. Captured ISIS fighters said the US had provided ‘intelligence about the Iraqi forces’ positions and targets’ (FNA 2015d). The western media avoided these stories altogether, because they are very damaging to Washington’s ‘existential myth’ of a ‘War on ISIS’. However they certainly help explain why Baghdad does not trust the US military.

In Libya in 2015 a key US collaborator in the overthrow of the Gaddafi government announced himself the newly declared head of the ‘Islamic State’ in North Africa (Sputnik 2015a). Abdel Hakim Belhaj was held in US prisons for several years, then ‘rendered’ to Gaddafi’s Libya, where he was wanted for terrorist acts. As former head of the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, then the Tripoli-based ‘Libyan Dawn’ group, Belhaj was, in the past, defended by Washington and praised by US Congressmen John McCain and Lindsey Graham (Sputnik 2015a).

Evidence of the covert relationship between Washington and ISIS is substantial and helps explain what Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mikdad called Washington’s ‘cosmetic war’ on ISIS (SANA 2015). The terrorist group was herded away from the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq but allowed to operate freely in Eastern Syria, against the Syrian Army (Fadel 2015b). The extremist group is used to justify a foothold Washington keeps in the region, weakening both Syria and Iraq. But Washington’s ‘war’ on ISIS has been ineffective. Studies by Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgent database showed that ISIS attacks and killings in Iraq increased strongly in the months after US air attacks began (Lestch 2014). The main on-the-ground fighting has been carried out by the Syrian Army, with its allies, and the Iraqi armed forces, with support from Iran (Lister 2015).

All this has been reported perversely in the western media. The same channels that prominently report (virtually celebrating) the ISIS killing of Syrian soldiers have also claimed the Syrian Army was avoiding or ‘not fighting’ ISIS (Richter 2014; Vinograd and Omar 2014). That alleged ‘unwillingness’ was part of the justification for US bombing inside Syria, another false pretext. While it is certainly the case that Syrian priorities remained in the heavily populated west, multiple media reports make it clear that, well before the strikes by the Russian air force in October 2015, the Syrian Arab Army was the major force engaged with ISIS (YNet 2014; al Arabiya 2014; Reuters 2015), as also suffering the worst casualties from that terrorist group (Webb 2014). When it comes to avoiding ISIS, the reverse has been the case. The evidence tells us that Washington’s lack of will against ISIS is linked to the fact that the terrorist group remains a key tool against the Syrian Government. That also explains why the US refuses to coordinate with the Syrian Army against ISIS (King 2015). This is consistent with the central ongoing aim of ‘regime change’ in Damascus or, failing that, dismemberment of the country. Such an aim was rejected by the US and others at a Vienna conference (Daily Star 2015); but US practice speaks louder than its words.

The contradictions of the US position – of claiming to fight ISIS while covertly protecting it – were thrown into sharp relief when in late September 2015 Russia decided to add air power to the Syrian Army’s efforts, against all the terrorist groups. When the US refused to cooperate with Russia, Washington’s media and NGO cheer squads immediately shifted their chorus of Syrian Government ‘killing civilians’ to that of Russia ‘killing civilians’. That had little effect on matters. At the time of writing, with that powerful Russian assistance, ISIS and the others are retreating and the Syrian Arab Army and its allied militia are gradually reclaiming areas that have been occupied for some time (AFP 2015).

Closer cooperation between Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon’s Hezbollah threaten to seriously degrade US dominance in the region. In the Iraqi military’s recent offensive on ISIS-held Tikrit, the Iranian military emerged as Iraq’s main partner. Washington was sidelined, causing consternation in the US media. General Qasem Suleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Force was said to have been a leading player in the Tikrit operation (Rosen 2015). Not least amongst the new developments has been the creation of an intelligence centre based in Baghdad and shared by Russia, Syria, Iraq and Iran plus Hezbollah (4+1). This signals a new measure of independence for the Baghdad government, long thought to be a puppet captured by Washington (Boyer and Scarborough 2015).

This article has presented sufficient evidence for us to safely draw these conclusions.

First, Washington planned a bloody wave of regime change in its favour in the Middle East, getting allies such as the Saudis to use sectarian forces in a process of ‘creative destruction’.

Second, the US directly financed and armed a range of so-called ‘moderate’ terrorist groups against the sovereign state of Syria while its key allies the Saudis, Qatar, Israel and Turkey financed, armed and supported with arms and medical treatment every anti-Syrian armed group, whether ‘moderate’ or extreme.

Third, ‘jihadists’ for Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS were actively recruited in many countries, indicating that the rise of those groups was not due to a simple anti-western ‘Sunni’ reaction within the region.

Fourth, NATO member Turkey functioned as a ‘free transit zone’ for every type of terrorist group passing into Syria.

Fifth, there is testimony from a significant number of senior Iraqi officials that US arms have been delivered directly to ISIS.

Sixth, the ineffective, or at best selective, US ‘war’ against ISIS tends to corroborate the Iraqi and Syrian views that there is a controlling relationship. In sum we can conclude that the US has built a command relationship with all of the anti-Syrian terrorist groups, including al Nusra ISIS, either directly or through its close regional allies, the Saudis, Qatar, Israel and Turkey. Washington has attempted to play a ‘double game’ in Syria and Iraq, using its old doctrine of ‘plausible deniability’ to maintain the fiction of a ‘war on terrorism’ for as long as is possible.

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Author: Prof. Tim Anderson

NATO: Seeking Russia’s Destruction Since 1949

In 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, U.S. president George H. W. Bush through his secretary of state James Baker promised Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev that in exchange for Soviet cooperation on German reunification, the Cold War era NATO alliance would not expand “one inch” eastwards towards Russia. Baker told Gorbachev: “Look, if you remove your [300,000] troops [from east Germany] and allow unification of Germany in NATO, NATO will not expand one inch to the east.”

In the following year, the USSR officially dissolved itself. Its own defensive military alliance (commonly known as the Warsaw Pact) had already shut down. The Cold War was over.

So why hasn’t NATO also dissolved, but instead expanded relentlessly, surrounding European Russia? Why isn’t this a central question for discussion and debate in this country?

NATO: A Cold War Anti-Russian Alliance 

Some challenge the claim that Bush’s pledge was ever given, although Baker repeated it publicly in Russia. Or they argue that it was never put in writing, hence legally inconsequential. Or they argue that any promise made to the leadership of the Soviet Union, which went out of existence in 1991, is inapplicable to subsequent U.S.-Russian relations. But it’s clear that the U.S. has, to the consternation of the Russian leadership, sustained a posture of confrontation with its Cold War foe principally taking the form of NATO expansion. This expansion hardly receives comment in the U.S. mass media, which treats the entry of a new nation into NATO much as it does the admission of a new state into the UN—as though this was altogether natural and unproblematic.

But recall the basic history. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in April 4, 1949, initially consisting of the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Portugal, as a military alliance against the Soviet Union, and principally the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.

It was formed just four years after the Soviets stormed Berlin, defeating the Nazis. (As you know, Germany invaded Russia six months before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor;  the U.S. and USSR were World War II allies versus the fascists; the key victories in the European war—Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk—were Soviet victories over the Nazis; that U.S. soldiers only crossed the Rhine on March 22 as the Red Army was closing in on Berlin, taking the city between April 16 and May 2 at a cost of some 80,000 Soviet dead. If you don’t know these things, you’ve been denied a proper education.)

In the four-year interim between Hitler’s suicide and the formation of NATO, the two great victors of the war had divided Europe into spheres of influence. The neighboring Soviet Union had contributed disproportionately to the fascist defeat: over eight million military and over 12 million civilians dead, as compared to the far-off U.S., with losses of around 186,000 dead in the European theater and 106,000 in the Pacific.

It might seem strange that the lesser hero in this instance (in this epochal conflict against fascism) gets all the goodies in the battle’s aftermath: the U.S. created a bloc including Britain, France, Italy, most of Germany, the Low Countries, Portugal, and most of Scandinavia, while the Soviets asserted hegemony—or tried to—over their generally less affluent client states. But the Soviets were not in any case interested primarily in drawing the richest nations into their fold; were that the case, they would not have withdrawn their troops from Austria in 1955.

Rather Russia, which had historically been invaded many times from the west—from Sweden, Lithuania, Poland, France, and Germany multiple times—wanted preeminently to secure its western border. To insure the establishment of friendly regimes, it organized elections in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and elsewhere. (These had approximately as much legitimacy as elections held under U.S. occupation in Iraq or Afghanistan in later years, or at any point in Latin America). They brought the Eastern European “people’s republics” into existence.

The U.S. and British grumbled about the geopolitical advances of their wartime ally. In March 1946 former British Prime Minister Churchill while visiting the U.S. alluded to an “iron curtain” falling across Europe. (Perhaps he was unwittingly using the expression that Josef Goebbels had used just thirteen months earlier. The German propaganda minister had told a newspaper that “if the German people lay down their weapons, the Soviets…would occupy all of Europe…An iron curtain would fall over this enormous territory…”) Very scary.

But the U.S. was working hard at the time to consolidate its own bloc in Europe. In May 1947 the U.S. CIA forced the Italian and French governments to purge Communist members of cabinets formed after electoral successes the previous year. (The U.S. had enormous clout, bought through the $ 13 billion Marshall Plan begun in April 1947, designed to revive European capitalism and diminish the Marxist appeal.)

The CIA station chief in Rome later boasted that “without the CIA,” which funded a Red Scare campaign and fomented violent, even fatal clashes at events, “the Communist Party would surely have won the [Italian] elections in 1948.” (Anyone who thinks Soviets rigged elections while the U.S. facilitated fair ones as a matter of principle is hopelessly naïve.)

Meanwhile—before the establishment of NATO in April 1949—the U.S. and Britain had been fighting a war in Greece since 1946 on behalf of the monarchists against the communist-led forces that had been the backbone of the anti-fascist movement during the World War II. The Communists had widespread support and may well have won the civil war if the Soviets had only supported them. But observing the understanding about spheres of influence agreed to at Yalta and Potsdam, Stalin refused appeals for Soviet aid from the Greek (and Yugoslav) Communists. The Greek partisans surrendered in Oct. 1949, six months after the formation of NATO. (But NATO was in fact not deployed in this military intervention in Greece, seen as the first Cold War U.S. military operation under the broadly anticommunist “Truman Doctrine.”)

Just a month after NATO was formed, the pro-U.S. leaders in west Germany unilaterally announced the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany. (The pro-Soviet German Democratic Republic was declared only six months later. As in Korea, the Soviets promoted reunification of occupied sectors. But the U.S. was intent on establishing client states, and dividing nations if necessary to stem Soviet inroads. This was also the case with Vietnam.)

Four months after the creation of NATO the Soviets conducted their first successful nuclear test. The Cold War was underway in earnest.

NATO was thus formed to aggressively confront the USSR and exploit fears of a supposed threat of a westward Soviet strike (to impose the Soviet social system on unwilling peoples). That threat never materialized, of course. The Soviets cordoned off East Berlin from the west by the Berlin Wall in 1961 to prevent embarrassing mass flight.  But they never invaded West Germany, or provoked any clash with a NATO nation throughout the Cold War. (Indeed, in light of the carnage visited on Europe since 1989, from civil wars in the Balkans and Caucasus to terrorist bombings in London, Madrid and Paris to the neo-fascist-led putsch in Ukraine last year, the Cold War appears in retrospect as a long period of relative peace and prosperity on the continent.)

Comparing U.S. and Russian/Soviet Aggression during the Cold War

NATO expanded in 1952,  enlisting the now-pacified Greece and its historical rival, Turkey. In 1955 it brought the Federal Republic of Germany into the fold. Only then—in May 1956, seven years after the formation of NATO—did the Soviets establish, in response, their own defensive military alliance. The Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation, and Mutual Assistance (Warsaw Pact) included a mere eight nations (to NATO’s 15): the USSR, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Albania.

Warsaw Pact forces were deployed only once during the Cold War, to crush the reform movement in Czechoslovakia in 1968. (They were not used during the suppression of the “Hungarian Revolution” of 1956, occurring five months after the founding of the alliance. That operation was performed by Soviet troops and loyalist Hungarian forces.) The Czechoslovakian intervention occasioned Albania’s withdrawal from the pact, while Romania protested it and refused to contribute troops. Thus practically speaking, the Warsaw Pact was down to six members to NATO’s 15. The western alliance expanded to 16 when Spain joined in 1982.

Between 1945 and 1991 (when the Warsaw Pact and the USSR  both dissolved themselves), the U.S. had engaged in three major wars (in Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf); invaded Grenada and Panama; and intervened militarily in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Cuba, Cambodia, Laos, Nicaragua, Haiti and other countries.

During that same period, the Soviets invaded eastern European nations twice (Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968), basically to maintain the status quo. Elsewhere, there was a brief border conflict with China in 1969 that killed around 150 soldiers on both sides. And the Soviets of course invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to shore up the secular regime faced with Islamist opposition. That’s about it. Actually, if you compare it to the U.S. record, a pretty paltry record of aggression for a superpower.

That Islamist opposition in Afghanistan, as we know, morphed into the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and the group founded in Iraq by one-time bin Laden rival Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that’s now called ISIL or the Islamic State. Referred to—almost affectionately—by the U.S. press in the 1980s as the “Mujahadeen” (“those engaged in jihad”), these religious militants were lionized at the time as anti-communist holy warriors by Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski.

Brzezinski told the president six months before the Soviets sent in troops that by backing the jihadis the U.S. could “induce a Soviet military intervention.” The U.S., he declared, had “the opportunity of giving the USSR its Vietnam War” and could now “bleed” the Soviets as they had bled the U.S. in Vietnam.

(Linger for a moment on the morality here. The Soviets had helped the Vietnamese fight an unpopular, U.S.-backed regime and confront the horrors of the U.S. assault on their country. Now—to get back, as Brzezinski out it—the U.S. could help extreme Islamists whose minds are in the Middle Ages to “induce” Soviet intervention, so as to kill conscript Soviet boys and prevent the advent of modernity.)

The anti-Soviet jihadis were welcomed to the White House by President Ronald Reagan during a visit in 1985. Reagan, perhaps already showing the signs of Alzheimer’s disease, trumpeted them as “the moral equivaent of America’s founding fathers.” This is when the great bulk of U.S. (CIA) aid to the Mujahadeen was going into the coffers of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a vicious warlord now aligned with the Taliban. One of many former U.S. assets (Saddam Hussein included) who had a falling-out with the boss, he was the target of at least one failed CIA drone strike in 2002.

Thus the Soviets’ one and only protracted military conflict during the Cold War, lasting from December 1979 to February 1989 and costing some 14,000 Soviet lives, was a conflict with what U.S. pundits have taken to calling “Islamist terrorism.”

The Soviets were surely not facing anticommunists pining for “freedom” as this might be conceptualized in some modern ideology. The enemy included tribal leaders and clerics who objected to any changes in the status of girls and women, in particular their dress, and submission to patriarchal authority in such matters as marriage.

The would-be Soviet-backed revolutionaries faced religious fanatics ignorant about women’s medical needs, hostile to the very idea of public clinics, and opposed to women’s education, (In fact the Soviets were able to raise the literacy rate for women during the 1980s—a feat not matched by the new occupiers since 2001—but this was mainly due to the fact that they maintained control over Kabul, where women could not only get schooling but walk around without a headscarf.)

Those days ended when the Soviet-installed regime of Mohammad Najibullah was toppled by Northern Alliance forces in April 1992.  Things only became worse. Civil war between the Pastun Hekmatyar and his Tajik rivals immediately broke out and Hekmatyar’s forces brutally bombarded the capital—something that hadn’t happened during the worst days of the Soviet period.

As civil war deepened, the Taliban emerged, presenting itself as a morally upright, Sharia-based leadership. Acquiring a large social base, it took Kabul in September 1996. Among its first acts was to seize Najibullah, who had taken refuge in the UN compound in the city three years earlier, castrate him, and hang him publicly, denying him a proper Muslim burial.

Just as the neocons were crowing about the triumph of capitalism over communism, and the supposed “end of history,” the Frankenstein’s monster of Islamism reared up its ugly head. There were no tears shed in western capitals for Najibullah. But the Taliban were viewed with concern and distaste and the UN seat remained with the former Northern Alliance regime controlling just 10% of the country.

How the Cold War Encouraged “Radical Islam”

Surely the U.S.—which had packed up and left after the Soviet withdrawl, leaving the Pakistanis with a massive refugee problem and Afghanistan in a state of chaos—had bled the Soviets, and anyone daring to ally with them. And surely this experience contributed to the realization of Brzezinski’s fondest wish: the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But it also produced Islamist terrorism, big time, while the U.S.—having once organized the recruitment and training of legions of jihadis from throughout the Muslim world to bleed the Soviets—was and is now obliged to deal with blow-back, and in its responses invariably invites more terror.

Is it not obvious that U.S. military actions against its various “terrorist” targets in the “Greater” Middle East, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya have greatly swelled the ranks of al-Qaeda branches as well as ISIL?

And does not the course of events in Afghanistan—where the Kabul government remains paralyzed and inept, warlords govern the provincial cities, the Supreme Court sentences people to death for religious offenses, much of the countryside has been conceded to the Talibs and the militants are making inroads in the north—convince you that the U.S. should not have thrown in its lot with the jihadis versus the Soviet-backed secular forces thirty-five years ago?

In a 1998 interview by Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn Brzezinski was asked if he regretted “having given arms and advice to future [Islamist] terrorists.”

Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

Brzezinski: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.

In other words, winning the contest with Russia—bleeding it to collapse—was more important than any risk of promoting militant Islamic fundamentalism. It is apparent that that mentality lingers, when, even in the post-9/11 world, some State Department officials would rather see Damascus fall to ISIL than be defended by Russians in support of a secular regime.

NATO to the Rescue in the Post-Cold War World

Since the fall of the USSR, and the disappearance of the Warsaw Pact, what has NATO been up to? First of all, it moved to fill a power vacuum in the Balkans. Yugoslavia was falling apart. It had been neutral throughout the Cold War, a member of neither NATO nor the Warsaw Pact. As governments fell throughout Eastern Europe, secessionist movements in the multiethnic republic produced widespread conflict. U.S. Secretary of State  Baker worried that the breakup of Yugoslavia’s breakup would produce regional instability and opposed the independence of Slovenia.

But the German foreign minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, and Chancellor Helmut Kohl—flushed with pride at Germany’s reunification and intent on playing a more powerful role in the world—pressed for Yugoslavia’s dismantling. (There was a deep German historical interest in this country. Nazi Germany had occupied Slovenia from 1941 to 1945, establishing a 21,000-strong Slovene Home Guard and planting businesses. Germany is now by far Slovenia’s number one trading partner.) Kohl’s line won out.

Yugoslavia, which had been a model of interethnic harmony, became torn by ethnic strife in the 1990s. In Croatia, Croatians fought ethnic Serbs backed by the Yugoslav People’s Army; in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs quarreled over how to divide the land. In Serbia itself, the withdrawal of autonomy of the provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina produced outrage among ethnic Albanians. In 1995 images of emaciated Bosniak men and boys in Serb-constructed prison camps were widely publicized in the world media as Bill Clinton resolved not to let Rwanda (read: genocide!) happen again. Not on his watch. America would save the day.

Or rather: NATO would save the day! Far from being less relevant after the Cold War, NATO, Clinton claimed, was the onlyinternational force capable of handling this kind of challenge. And thus NATO bombed, and bombed—for the first time ever, in real war—until the Bosnian Serbs pleaded for mercy. The present configuration of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a dysfunctional federation including a Serbian mini-republic, was dictated by U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher and his deputy Richard Holbrooke at the meeting in Dayton, Ohio in November 1995.

Russia, the traditional ally of the Serbs, was obliged to watch passively as the U.S. and NATO remapped the former Yugoslavia. Russia was itself in the 1990s, under the drunken buffoon Boris Yeltsin, a total mess. The economy was nose-diving; despair prevailed; male longevity had plummeted.  The new polity was anything but stable. During the “Constitutional Crisis” of September-October 1993, the president had even ordered the army to bombard the parliament building to force the legislators to heed his decree to disband. In the grip of corrupt oligarchs and Wild West capitalism, Russians were disillusioned and demoralized.

Then came further insults from the west. During Yeltsin’s last year, in March 1999, the U.S. welcomed three more nations into: Czechoslovakia (later the Czech Republic and Slovakia), Hungary, and Poland. These had been the most powerful Warsaw Pact countries aside from the USSR and East Germany. This was the first expansion of NATO since 1982 (when Spain had joined) and understandably upset the Kremlin. What possible reason is there to expand NATO now? the Russians asked, only to be assured that NATO was not against anybody.

The Senate had voted to extend membership to Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia in 1998. At that time, George Kennan—the famous U.S. diplomat who’d developed the cold war strategy of containment of the Soviet Union—was asked to comment.

I think it is the beginning of a new cold war,” averred the 94-year-old Kennan. “I think the Russians will gradually react quite adversely and it will affect their policies. I think it is a tragic mistake. There was no reason for this whatsoever… It shows so little understanding of Russian history and Soviet history. Of course there is going to be a bad reaction from Russia, and then [the NATO expansion advocates] will say that we always told you that is how the Russians are–but this is just wrong. 

NATO Versus Serbia

In that same month of March 1999, NATO (including its three new members) began bombing the Serbian capital of Belgrade, the first time since World War II that a European capital was subjected to bombardment. The official reason was that Serbian state forces had been abusing the Albanians of Kosovo province; diplomacy had failed; and NATO intervention was needed to put things right. This rationale was accompanied by grossly exaggerated reports of Serbian security forces’ killings of Kosovars, supposedly amounting to “genocide.”

This was largely nonsense. The U.S. had demanded at the conference in Rambouillet, France, that Serbia withdraw its forces from Kosovo and restore autonomy to the province. Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic had agreed. But the U.S. also demanded that Belgrade accept NATO forces throughout the entire territory of Yugoslavia—something no leader of a sovereign state could accept. Belgrade refused, backed by Russia.

A “senior State Department official” (likely U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright) boasted to reporters that at Rambouillet “we intentionally set the bar too high for the Serbs to comply. . . . The Serbs needed a little bombing to see reason.”Henry Kissinger (no peacenik) told the press in June: “The Rambouillet text, which called on Serbia to admit NATO troops throughout Yugoslavia, was a provocation, and excuse to start bombing. Rambouillet is not a document that an angelic Serb could have accepted. It was a terrible diplomatic document that should never have been presented in that form.”

The U.S. had obtained UN approval for the NATO strikes on Bosnia-Herzegovina four years before. But it did not seek it this time, or try to organize a UN force to address the Kosovo problem. In effect, it insisted that NATO be recognized as the representative of “the international community.”

It was outrageous. Still, U.S. public opinion was largely persuaded that the Serbs had failed to negotiate peace in good faith and so deserved the bombing cheered on by the press, in particular CNN’s “senior international correspondent,” Christiane Amanpour, a  State Department insider who kept telling her viewers, “Milosevic continues to thumb his nose at the international community”—because he’d refused a bullying NATO ultimatum that even Kissinger identified as a provocation!

After the mass slaughter of Kosovars became a reality (as NATO bombs began to fall on Kosovo), and after two and a half months of bombing focused on Belgrade, a Russian-brokered deal ended the fighting. Belgrade was able to avoid the NATO occupation that it had earlier refused. (In other words, NATO had achieved nothing that the Serbs hadn’t already conceded in Rambouillet!)

As the ceasefire went into effect on June 21, a column of about 30 armored vehicles carrying 250 Russian troops moved from peacekeeping duties in Bosnia to establish control over Kosovo’s Pristina Airport. (Just a little reminder that Russia, too, had a role to play in the region.)

This took U.S. NATO commander Wesley Clark by surprise. He ordered that British and French paratroopers be flown in to seize the airport but the British General Sir Mike Jackson wisely balked. “I’m not going to have my soldiers start World War III,” he declared.

I think it likely this dramatic last minute gesture at the airport was urged by the up-and-coming Vladimir Putin, a Yeltsin advisor soon to be appointed vice-president and then Yeltsin’s successor beginning in December 1999. Putin was to prove a much more strident foe of NATO expansion than his embarrassing predecessor.

Cooperation Meets with Provocation

Still, recall how two years later—after 9/11, 2001, when the U.S. invoking the NATO charter called upon its NATO allies to engage in war in Afghanistan—Putin offered to allow the alliance to transport war material to Afghanistan through Russian territory. (In 2012 Foreign Minister Lavrov offered NATO the use of a base in Ulyanovsk to transport equipment out of Afghanistan.) This Afghan invasion was only the third actual deployment of NATO forces in war, after Bosnia and Serbia, and Moscow accepted it matter-of-factly. It even muted its concerns when the U.S. established military bases in the former Soviet Central Republics of Uzbekistan and Kirghizia.

But in 2004, NATO expanded again—to include Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, all of which had been part of the USSR itself and which border Russia. At the same time Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia were admitted, along with Slovakia, which had become separate from the Czech Republic. Russians again asked, “Why?”

In 2007 the U.S. began negotiating with the Poles to install a NATO missile defense complex in Poland, with a radar system in the Czech Republic. Supposedly this was to shoot down any Iranian missiles directed towards Europe in the future!  But Moscow was furious, accusing the U.S. of wanting to launch another arms race. Due largely to anti-militarist sentiment among the Poles and Czechs, these plans were shelved in 2009. But they could be revived at any time.

In 2008, then, the U.S. recognized its dependency Kosovo, now hosting the largest U.S. Army base (Camp Bondsteel) outside the U.S., as an independent country. Although the U.S. had insisted up to this point that it recognized Kosovo as a province of Serbia (and perhaps even understood its profound significance as the heartland of Serbian Orthodoxy), it now (through Condoleezza Rice) proclaimed Kosovo a “sui generis” (one of a kind) phenomenon. So forget about international law; it just doesn’t apply.

In this same year of 2008, NATO announced boldly that Georgia and Ukraine “will become members of NATO.” ThereuponGeorgia’s comical President Mikheil Saakasvili bombarded Tskhinvali, capital of the self-declared Republic of South Ossetia that had resisted integration into the current Republic of Georgia since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. In this instance Russia defended South Ossetia, invading Georgia. It then recognized the independence, both of South Ossetia and of the Republic of Abkhazia, from Georgia. (This may be seen as a tit-for-tat response to the U.S.’s decision to recognize Kosovo’s independence from Serbia six months earlier.)

It was a six-day war, resulting in about 280 military fatalities (including 100 on the South Ossetian-Russian side) and about 400 civilian deaths. And there has been no Russian war since. Crimea was not “invaded” last year but simply seized by Russian forces in place, with general popular support. And there’s little evidence that the regular Russian military is confronting Ukrainian state forces; ethnic Russians are doing so, receiving no doubt support from cousins across the historically changeable border. But the charge of a “Russian invasion of Ukraine” is a State Department talking point—propaganda automatically parroted by the official press sock-puppet pundits, not a contemporary reality.

Georgia’s Saakasvili perhaps expected the U.S. to have his back as he provoked Moscow in August 2008. But while he received firm support from Sen. John McCain, who declared “We are all Georgians now,” he received little help from the George W. Bush State Department wary of provoking World War III. Georgia was not yet a NATO member able to cite the NATO charter’s mutual defense clause

Saakasvili left office in 2010 and is now under indictment by the Georgian courts for abuses in office. After a brief stint at the Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy in 2014, he acquired Ukrainian citizenship—losing his Georgian citizenship as a result—and (as one of many examples of how crazy the current Kiev leadership including Yatsenyev and Poroshenko can be) was appointed governor of Odessa last May!

Given the debacle of 2008, countries such as Germany are unlikely to accept Georgian admission any time soon. They do not see much benefit in provoking Russia by endlessly expanding the Cold War “defensive” alliance. Still, Croatia and Albania were added to NATO in 2009, in the first year of the Obama administration—just in time to participate in NATO’s fourth war, against Libya.

Again there was no reason for a war. Colonel Gadhafy had been downright cordial towards western regimes since 2003, and closely cooperated with the CIA against Islamist terrorism. But when the “Arab Spring” swept the region in 2011, some western leaders (headed by French president Nicolas Sarkozy, but including the always hawkish Hillary Clinton) convinced themselves that Gadhafy’s fall was imminent, and so it would be best to assist the opposition in deposing him and thus get into the good graces of any successors.

The UN Security Council approved a resolution to establish a no-fly zone for the protection of civilians from Gadhafy’s supposedly genocidal troops. But what NATO unleashed was something quite different: a war on Gadhafy, which led to his brutal murder and to the horrible chaos that has reigned since in Libya, now a reliable base for al-Qaeda and ISIL. Russia and China both protested, as the war was still underway, that NATO had distorted the meaning of the UN resolution. It’s unlikely that the two Security Council permanent members will be fooled again into such cooperation.

We can therefore add the failed state of Libya to the dysfunctional states of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Afghanistan, to our list of NATO achievements since 1991. To sum up: Since the collapse of the USSR,  the U.S. and some allies (usually in their capacity as NATO allies) have waged war on Bosnian Serbs, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, while striking targets in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere with impunity. Russia has gone to war precisely once: for eight days in August 2008, against Georgia.

And yet every pundit on mainstream TV news tells you with a straight face that Putin’s the one who “invades countries.”

What Is the Point of NATO Expansion?

So while NATO has expanded in membership, it has showing a growing proclivity to go to war, from Central Asia to North Africa. One must wonder, what is the point?

The putative point in 1949 was the defense of “Western Europe” against some posited Soviet invasion. That rationale is still used; when NATO supporters today speak in favor of the inclusion of Lithuania, for example, they may state that, if Lithuania had remained outside the alliance—the Russians would surely have invaded by now on the pretext of defending ethnic Russians’ rights, etc.

There is in fact precious little evidence for Russian ambitions, or Putin’s own ambitions, to recreate the tsarist empire or Soviet Union.  (Putin complained just a few days ago, “We don’t want the USSR back but no one believes us.” He’s also opined that people who feel no nostalgia for the Soviet Union—as most citizens of the former USSR young enough to remember it say they do—have no heart, while those who want to restore it have no brains.)

As NATO expanded inexorably between 1999 and 2009, Russia responded not with threats but with calm indignation.

Putin’s remarks about the dissolution of the Soviet Union being a “geopolitical tragedy,” and his occasional words addressing the language and other rights of Russians in former SSRs, do not constitute militarist threats. As always the neocons cherry-pick a phrase here and there as they try to depict Putin as (yet) “another Hitler.” In fact the Russians have, relatively speaking, been voices of reason in recent years, Alarmed at the consequences of U.S. actions in the Middle East, they have sought to restrain U.S. imperialism while challenging Islamist terrorism.

In August 2013 Obama threatened to attack Syria, ostensibly to punish the regime for using chemical weapons against its people. (The original accusation has been discredited by Seymour Hersh among others.) Deft intervention by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and the refusal of the British House of Commons to support an attack (insuring it would not, like the Iraq War, win general NATO endorsement), and domestic opposition all helped avert another U.S. war in the Middle East.

But it’s as though hawks in the State Department, resentful at Russia’s success in protecting its Syrian ally from Gadhafy’s fate, and miffed at its continued ability to maintain air and naval facilities on the Syrian coast, were redoubling their efforts to provoke Russia. How better to do this than by interfering in Ukraine, which had not only been part of the Soviet Union but part of the Russian state from 1654 and indeed was the core of the original Kievan Rus in the tenth century?

NATO had been courting Ukraine since 1994—five years before the alliance expanded to include Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Kiev signed the NATO Membership Action Plan in 2008 when Viktor Yushchenko was president, but this was placed on hold when Viktor Yanukovych was elected in 2010. Enjoying the solid support of the Russian-speaking east, Yanukovich won what international observers called a free and fair election.

Yanukovich did not want Ukraine to join NATO: he wanted a neutral Ukraine maintaining the traditional close relationship between the Ukraine and Russia. This infuriated Victoria Nuland, the head of the Eurasia desk at the State Department, who has made it her life’s project to pull Ukraine into NATO. This would be NATO’s ultimate prize in eastern Europe: a country of 44 million well-educated people, the size of France, strategically located on the Black Sea historically dominated by the Russian Black Sea Fleet. An ethnically divided country, with a generally pro-Russian and Russian-speaking east, and a more western-oriented Ukrainian-speaking west with an unusually vigorous and fiercely anti-Russian neofascist movement—just there waiting to be used.

Nuland, a former Cheney aide whose neocon worldview drew Hillary Clinton’s favorable attention, resulting in her promotion, is the wife of neocon pundit and Iraq War cheerleader Robert Kagan. (Kagan was a founding member of the notorious Project for a New American Century “think tank”.)  The couple represents two wings of incessant neocon plotting: those who work to destroy Russia, and those who work to destroy the Middle East, consciously using lies to confuse the masses about their real goals.

At the National Press Club in December 2013, Nuland boasted that the U.S. (through such “NGOs” as the National Endowment for Democracy) had spent $ 5 billion in Ukraine in order to support Ukraine’s “European aspirations.”  This deliberately vague formulation is supposed to refer to U.S. support for Kiev’s admission into the European Union. The case the U.S. built against Yanukovich was not that he rejected NATO membership; that is never mentioned at all. She built the case on Yanukovich’s supposed betrayal of his people’s pro-EU aspirations in having first initialed, and then rejected, an association agreement with the trading bloc, fearing it would mean a Greek-style austerity regime imposed on the country from without.

From November 2013 crowds gathered in Kiev’s Maidan to protest (among other things) Yanukovich’s change of heart about EU membership. The U.S. State Department embraced their cause. One might ask why, when the EU constitutes a competing trading bloc, the U.S. should be so interested in promoting any country’s membership in it. What difference does it make to you and me whether Ukraine has closer economic ties to Russia than to the EU?

The dirty little secret here is that the U.S. goal has merely been to use the cause of “joining Europe” to draw Ukraine into NATO, which could be depicted as the next natural step in Ukraine’s geopolitical realignment.

Building on popular contempt for Yanukovich for his corruption, but also working with politicians known to favor NATO admission and the expulsion of Russian naval forces from the Crimean base they’ve had since the 1780s, and also including neo-fascist forces who hate Russia but also loath the EU, Nuland and her team including the ubiquitous John McCain popped up at the Maidan passing out cookies and encouraging the crowd to bring down the president.

It worked, of course. On Feb. 22, within a day of signing a European-mediated agreement for government reforms and new election, and thinking the situation defused, Yanukovich was forced to flee for his life. The neofascist forces of Svoboda and the Right Sector served as storm troops toppling the regime. Nuland’s Machiavellian maneuverings had triumphed; a neocon Jew had cleverly deployed open anti-Semites to bring down a regime and plant a pro-NATO one in its place.

It seemed as though, after 14 years of expansion, NATO might soon be able to welcome a huge new member into its ranks, complete the encirclement of Russia and, booting out the Russian fleet, turn the Black Sea into a NATO lake.

Alas for the neocons and “liberal interventionists”—the new regime of Nuland’s chosen Arseniy Yatsenyuk and his Svoboda Party allies immediately alienated the eastern Russian-speaking population, which remains up in arms making the country ungovernable, even as its economy collapses; and the notion of expelling the Russians from Sevastopol has become unimaginable.

But what do NATO planners want? Where is all the expansion and reckless provocation heading?

Russia:  an “Existential Threat”?

First of all, the NATO advocates, however often they repeat that “We’re not against Russia, this isn’t about Russia,” do indeed posit an enduring Russian threat. Thus General Sir Adrian Bradshaw, the most senior British officer in NATO, stated last February that Russia poses “an obvious existential threat to our whole being.” Gen. Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Special Operations Command told the Aspen Security Forum in July that “Russia could pose an existential threat to the United States.”

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) warned Obama to sign a military appropriations bill because Russia poses “an existential threat” to the U.S.  Philanthropist George Soros (who likes to finance “color revolutions”) wrote in the New York review of Books in October that “Europe is facing a challenge from Russia to its very existence.”

These are wild, stupid words coming from highly placed figures. Isn’t it obvious that Russia is the one being surrounded, pressured and threatened? That its military budget is a fraction of the U.S.’s, its global military presence miniscule in relation to the U.S. footprint?

But anyone watching the U.S. presidential candidates’ debates—and who can perceive the prevalence of paranoia about Russia, the unthinking acceptance of the “Putin as Hitler” theme, and the obligatory expression of determination to make America more “strong”—can understand why the expansion of NATO is so horribly dangerous.

People who do not think rationally or whose minds are twisted by arrogance can look at the maps of NATO expansion and think proudly, “This is how it should be! Why would anyone question the need for nations to protect themselves by allying with the United States? It’s alliances like NATO that preserve peace and stability in the world.”

(Some are able to believe that, perhaps, but the fact is the world has become less peaceful and far less stable than it was during the Cold War when the two superpowers checked one another’s moves. Thereafter the U.S. emerged as what a French diplomat has called an “hyper-puissance” or hyper-power intervening with impunity in multiple countries and producing new, often ugly forms of resistance.)

People looking at the NATO map of Europe can mentally color in Montenegro too. A tiny republic on the Adriatic with under 650,000 people, it was formally invited by NATO to submit its membership application on December 2. What other countries have yet to sign?

As mentioned, in 2008 NATO announced that Georgia and Ukraine would join. But their cases actually seem to be on hold. Belarus, wedged between Poland and Russia, has been under the self-styled “authoritarian” President Alexander Lukashenko since 1994. The regime, considered close to Moscow, was targeted by an abortive U.S.-funded “color revolution” in March 2006. The U.S. favored Mikhail Marynich, a former ambassador to Latvia and proponent of NATO membership. (He participated in a closed-door NATO “War and Peace” conference in Riga in November 2006.)

Then there is Moldova, the former Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic located between Rumania and Ukraine. To its east is the breakaway republic of

Transnitria, where ethnic Moldovans are a minority and Russians and Ukrainians make up almost 60% of the population. It is a “frozen conflict” zone. The neocon dream is to ultimately change all their regimes and draw them all into the warm embrace of NATO.

One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them

One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

in the Land or Mordor where the shadows lie

What do you do after you complete the western encirclement of Russia? Why, you destabilize the country itself, hoping to slice it up! Russia remains a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural nation. There are tensions and secessionist movements to exploit in the Caucasus particularly, but also on the Karelian Peninsula and in Siberia.

If Russia is an existential threat, its own existence is a threat, right? So why not cut it up?

Doesn’t the logic of NATO expansion require an enemy, and doesn’t America lead the world in defeating enemies?

Or if not, isn’t NATO itself the real threat?  (After all, didn’t it, in its last major project, totally wreck the modern state of Libya, and as a result destabilize Mali?)

Shouldn’t we welcome tensions within NATO, and failures of member states to devote the required 2% of GDP to military expenses? Shouldn’t we welcome resistance to further expansion, complaints about U.S. arm-twisting, and calls for cooperation with Russia rather than confrontation and destruction?


About the author:

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

Declassified Documents Reveal Pentagon’s 1950s Planned Nuclear Holocaust

GR Editor’s Note

Publicly available military documents confirm that pre-emptive nuclear war is still on the drawing board  of the Pentagon.

Compared to the 1950s, the nuclear weapons are more advanced. The delivery system is more precise. In addition to China and Russia, Iran, Syria and North Korea are targets for pre-emptive nuclear war.  

Let us be under no illusions, the Pentagon’s plan to blow up the planet using advanced nuclear weapons is still on the books. 

Should we be concerned?  Blowing up the planet through the use of nuclear weapons is fully endorsed by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who believes that nuclear weapons are instruments of peace-making. Her campaign is financed by the corporations which produce WMDs. 

Scientists on contract to the Pentagon have endorsed the use of tactical nuclear weapons: they are “harmless to civilians because the explosion is underground.”

The people at the highest levels of government who make the decision regarding the use of nuclear weapons haven’t  the foggiest idea as to the implications of their actions. 

Michel Chossudovsky, December 27, 2015

*        *       *

Recently-declassified nuclear targeting documents from 1959 describe how Washington planned to obliterate the capital cities of what are now America’s NATO allies in Eastern and Central Europe. The revelation casts doubt on Washington’s Cold War commitment to the protection of what it referred to as «captive nations» in Europe. The documents are contained in a report titled, «SAC (Strategic Air Command) Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959».

The US Air Force study called for the «systematic destruction» of such major population centers as Warsaw, East Berlin, Prague, Bucharest, Tallinn, and others, as well as Peiping (Beijing), Leningrad (St. Petersburg), and Moscow.

Excerpt of list of 1200 cities targeted for nuclear attack in alphabetical order

Atomic bombs eight times to destructive force of that dropped by the United States on Hiroshima were trained on a number of targets in Moscow and St. Petersburg. There were 179 «designated ground zeros» for atomic bombs in Moscow and 145 in St. Petersburg.

US atomic weapons would have laid waste to Wittstock, just upwind of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hometown of Templin in Brandenburg in the former East Germany. It is most certain that had the US launched an atomic attack on Europe, Merkel, her parents Horst and Herlind Kasner, and brother Marcus would have been vaporized in the massive pre-targeted strike on East Berlin and the regions surrounding it.

Budapest would have been completely destroyed after the US hit the Tokol military airfield on the banks of the Danube River with one of its «city-busting» nuclear weapons. The blast would have rendered the Danube a radioactive drainage ditch and anyone exposed to the poisonous Danube waters downriver would have succumbed to an agonizing death from radiation sickness. Adding to the misery of anyone living alongside the Danube was the fact that Bratislava, also on the banks of the Danube, was also targeted for nuclear annihilation. The first major urban center casualties outside of Hungary and then-Czechoslovakia from the radioactive Danube would have been in Belgrade, the capital of neutral Yugoslavia.

The nuclear targeting of Vyborg on the Finnish border would have brought death and destruction to the border region of neutral Finland. Four atomic bombs were targeted on the former Finnish city: Koyvisto, Uras, Rempeti airfield, and Vyborg East.

Nuclear weapons, as the United States knew in 1959 and very well knows today, are not «precision-guided munitions».

For all of its propaganda beamed to Eastern Europe on Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, the United States was willing to sacrifice the very peoples it proclaimed to want to «free» from the Soviet bloc. America’s «mutually assured destruction» policy was based on increasing the «mega-death» count around the world by having the ability to hit the enemy with more nuclear «throw weight».

Increasing the mega-death count was why the United States targeted such large population centers as Peiping (Beijing), Shanghai, Mukden (Shenyang), and Tientsin in China. The pummeling of metro Moscow with atomic bombs was also designed to increase body count. The formerly Top Secret nuclear targeting document lists the following areas of Moscow for nuclear bombardment: Bykovo airport, central Moscow, Chertanovo, Fili, Izmaylovo, Khimki, Kuchino, Lyubertsy, Myachkovo airport, Orlovo, Salarevo, Shchelkovo, and Vnukovo airport.

Eighteen nuclear targets were programmed for Leningrad: Central Leningrad (including the historic Hermitage), Alexandrovskaya, Beloostrov, Gorelovo, Gorskaya, Kamenka North, Kasimovo, Kolomyagi, Kolpino, Krasnaya Polyana, Kudrovo, Lesnoy, Levashovo, Mishutkino, Myachkovo, Petrodvorets, Pushkin, Sablino, Sestroretsk, Tomilino, Uglovo, and Yanino.

Bucharest, Romania, was the target for three city busters aimed at Baneasa, Otopeni airport, and Pipera. Ulan Bator, the capital of the present America-idolizing Mongolia, would not have been spared. The Pentagon nuclear target list does not even list Mongolia as a separate country. The entry for the nuclear strike reads: «Ulaan Baatar, China».

Two uncomforting facts stand out from the disclosure of the targeting list. First, the United States remains as the only country in history that used nuclear weapons in warfare – hitting the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Second, some Pentagon officials, notably Air Force Chief of Staff Curtis LeMay and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Lyman Lemnitzer, called for a nuclear first strike on the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies. In fact, while the USSR, China, and France rejected the first use of nuclear weapons, NATO and the United States, on the other hand, chiseled in stone the first use of tactical nuclear weapons in the event of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe. But, as seen with the wishes of LeMay, Lemnitzer, and others, a massive pre-emptive nuclear strike on the Soviet Union and its allies, including China, was on the wish list of the Pentagon’s top brass.

Because the Soviet Union had virtually no intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in 1959 and hinged its nuclear warfare capabilities on strategic bombers, the Pentagon brass wanted to hit the Soviet Union in a pre-emptive strike before they reached missile parity with the United States. At the heart of the crazed Pentagon reasoning was what the nuclear warfare champions called the «missile gap».

There is not much of a leap from the «black comedy» nuclear Armageddon film «Dr Strangelove» to actual Cold War era meetings on pre-emptive nuclear strikes held in the White House and Pentagon. Attorney General Robert Kennedy walked out of one such meeting in disgust while Secretary of State Dean Rusk later wrote: «Under no circumstances would I have participated in an order to launch a first strike». In 1961, President John F Kennedy questioned the motives of his generals and admirals after one such nuclear war pep talk from the Pentagon brass by stating, «And we call ourselves the human race».

Kennedy and his brother Robert had every reason to be fearful that the Pentagon would circumvent civilian authority and launch a nuclear strike either against Cuba, the Soviet Union, or both during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. According to Nikita Khrushchev’s memoirs, Robert Kennedy told Soviet ambassador to Washington Anatoly Dobrynin during the height of the crisis that «the President is not sure that the military will not overthrow him and seize power. The American military could get out of control».

Today, the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe continue having their love affair with NATO and the Americans. Yet, it was the same NATO and the forefathers of the present gung ho military interventionists in Washington who once wanted to rain nuclear fire upon the cities of Warsaw (six ground zeroes: Ozarow, Piastow, Pruszkow, Boernerowo, Modlin, and Okecie), Prague (14 designated ground zeroes at Beroun, Kladno, Kralupy nad Vltavou, Kraluv Dvor, Neratovice, Psary, Radotin, Roztoky, Slaky, Stechovice, Velvary, Kbely, Ryzyne, and Vodochody), Budapest, Bucharest, Sofia (three ground zeroes: Bozhurishte, Kumaritsa, and Vrazhdebna),  Bratislava, Kiev (three nuclear targets: Bortnichi, Post-Volynskiy airport, and Svyatoshino airport), Leipzig (where seven atomic bombs were targeted on Altenhain, Boehlen, Delitzsche, Grimma, Pegau, Wurzen, and Brandis), Weimar, and Wittenberg.

Also not to be spared nuclear annihilation were Potsdam, Vilnius (five nuclear ground zeroes: Novo Vilnya, Novaya Vileyka, Vilnyus (Center), Vilnyus East, and Vilnyus Southwest), Lepaya (Latvia), Leninakan (Gyumri) in Armenia, Alma Ata (Kazakhstan), Poznan, Lvov (three ground zeroes: Gorodok, Lvov Northwest, and Sknilov), Brno, Plovdiv in Bulgaria, Riga (four ground zeroes: Salaspils, Skirotava, Spilve, and Riga West), Ventspils in Latvia (two targets: Ventspils South and Targale), Tallinn (two ground zeroes: Lasnamae and Ulemiste), Tartu, Tirana, Vlone (Albania), Berat/Kucove (Albania), Kherson (Ukraine), Baku/Zabrat, Birobidzhan in the Jewish Autonomous Republic, Syktyvkar in the Komi Autonomous Republic, Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic on the Iranian border, Osh in Kyrgyzstan, Stalinabad (Dushanbe) in Tajikistan, Tashkent in Uzbekistan, and Tbilisi (seven ground zeroes at: Tbilisi central, Agtaglya, Orkhevi, Sandar, Sartichala, Soganlug, and Vaziani).

NATO and neo-conservative propagandists continue to paint Russia as an enemy of the peoples of central and eastern Europe. However, it was not Russia that had nuclear weapons once trained on the cities of the Eurasian land mass but the United States. Had the Pentagon generals and admirals had their way, today the eastern front of a rapidly expanding NATO would have been nothing more than a smoldering and radioactive nuclear wasteland, all courtesy of Uncle Sam’s nuclear arsenal.


Targeting Key Individuals, Stifling Free Speech, Arbitrary Detention, Withdrawing Rights

The Conservative party released its plan to scrap the Human Rights Act if it won the General Election. Secretary of State Chris Grayling said they’d also be prepared to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, unless they were allowed to veto judgements from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

They won and the plan is going ahead.

Included in the Human Rights Act are fundamental rights and freedoms that all individuals within the UK have access to – such as the right to life, the freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to a fair trial. But those rights extend much deeper than most people think.

After World War II, the UK was instrumental in devising a list of rights – along with representatives from the 47 other countries that comprise the United Nations – that everybody across the world should enjoy. This became the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was created with the aim of never letting the atrocities of the Second World War happen again. A few years later, these rights were used to form the basis of the European Convention of Human Rights, which was drafted by the Council of Europe – the continent’s 47-strong human rights watchdog. This was led by a British MP and lawyer. This led to the establishment of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and gave ordinary people a legal framework to work within, if they felt their rights had been violated.

Amnesty said “Any attack on the Human Rights Act poses a real threat to the freedoms we enjoy in this country – it must be defended.”

“Human rights are for everyone,” explains Sanchita Hosali, deputy director at the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR). “They’re not only for certain groups. They protect all of us. Relating human rights to specific groups is wrong. They’re for everyone. They’re for the people we like and the people we don’t like – that’s what it means to live in a democratic society where we have a rule of law and we have respect for life.”

The Act helps us hold the government to account. Without it, the government would be free to do as it pleased. And it is doing exactly that – doing as it pleases

In the speech launching the party’s manifesto, David Cameron made it clear that he isn’t worried about anything as petty as civil liberties. He said: “Other parties might be wary of causing offence, or of being criticised by those who see every single measure as an affront to their civil liberties.” That’s why he is promising to dismantle the powers of the individual against the state – something he’s been working on for the last five years, such as through cuts to legal aid, making the right to a fair trial something only for those who can afford it.

Now, workplace rights are under threat as well. Unite, the workers union urged the government just last week to abandon its Trade Union bill, warning that the legislation heralds a new era of divisive industrial relations ill-befitting a modern economy. Further, it would tilt power in an increasingly unequal Britain still further towards the rich and big business.

Condemned as ‘not fit for purpose’ by its own advisors, the bill has attracted widespread criticism from human rights’ organisations saying it will contaminate decades of work to improve industrial relations, forcing employers and trade unions into longer, more bitter disputes.

Meanwhile, the state has become more pervasive than ever when it comes to policing, therefore advancing its agenda. The Metropolitan Police claim an investigation into the possibility of prosecuting journalists for their role in publishing secrets leaked by Edward Snowden will be kept secret. The revelation that information won’t be disclosed due to a “possibility of increased threat of terrorist activity” follows the relentless demands for information from journalists at The Intercept.

In July 2013 GCHQ turned up at The Guardian’s HQ and demanded the complete destruction of hard-drives that may contain any of Edwards Snowden’s encrypted files. As The Guardian themselves said “This extraordinary moment was half pantomime, half Stasi. But it was not yet the high tide of British official heavy-handedness. That was still to come”.

Julian Assang has never been charged in Sweden or the UK. The US Department of Justice is trying to prosecute him for “espionage”. This is the reason he was given asylum by Ecuador. He has been confined to the premises of Ecuador’s embassy in London, unable to see his family, because the UK refuse him safe passage to Ecuador. Julian Assange, like Edward Snowden is a whistleblower and there is no evidence that either divulged state secrets that we didn’t need to know. Policing the embassy costs £10,000 a day. And their human rights?

Straight after the Conservative election in May some who attended demonstrations against more austerity accused police of using violent tactics and of keeping peaceful protesters and even tourists caught up in the melee “kettled” for several hours.

“I have never experienced such extreme force of police violence,” said Daphne Wikken. “For me what is particularly scary is the fact that the government is already cracking down on dissent so badly just days after the general election.”

Staffordshire Police were accused of making a “heavy-handed” intervention during a protest outside an Israeli arms factory organized to mark the anniversary of last year’s Gaza conflict. An activist with London Palestine Action, told RT that the demonstration was meant to be a “fun, creative” experience, but was met with “aggressive and forceful police tactics.”

Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. This is a right closely linked to the right to freedom of expression. It provides a means for public expression and is one of the foundations of a democratic society. Or it used to be.

In Britain today, members of student unions are being told to sign gagging orders preventing any public criticism of the university. In other incidents student are threatened with the police for even taking about a protest and are arrested for being in one.

Where universities were historically places of free expression, for students, that now comes in the form of a crackdown on dissent.

Of course dissent is something that Britain’s home secretary, Theresa May, is an expert on. She recently won the backing of MPs for her controversial plan to strip British terror suspects of their UK passports. One should mention the salient word ‘suspected’.

Meanwhile, May insists that the UK isn’t a surveillance state, but she can’t tell you why, because revealing the secrets of the UK surveillance state might put the public at risk! She’s been pushing strongly for outlawing thought crimes, which would allow her to prevent people from sharing their views on the internet or at events, if she deems them to inappropriate. With new laws being enacted through parliament,  if government doesn’t like you or what you believe, you will be silenced.

It is terrifying to read Theresa May’s speech delivered to the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism conference. Given the audience, perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising that May would go off the deep end of Orwellian absurdity.

“Time and again we are seeing what we are now up against: the powerful allure of propaganda pumped out by ISIL and others to recruit and brainwash British men and women, the access social media and modern communications give terrorists to vulnerable people, and the desire of those terrorists to poison others against our values and our way of life”.

At the end of the speech, she says that the best way to counter this threat is to highlight the “positive vision” of the UK and its “values.”

The idea that the way to counter Isis and its on-line propaganda through censorship, surveillance, threats, arrests and stripping citizens of passports, rather than direct engagement seems to confuse the message of claiming the UK is about “values”, freedom and democracy.

The Conservative party is promising to strip us of our freedoms and our rights, promising to snoop, investigate and scrutinise our lives in minute detail and crack down on non-violent protest and on the speakers allowed in colleges and universities.

The remaining ability of those on low or middle incomes to access legal rights and services are plainly being stripped away.

This crack-down extends to the broadcasters.

The definition of non-violent extremism will likely be formulated according to Theresa May’s assessment of ‘British values’. Suddenly, the home secretary is wielding a de-facto veto over who may appear in British current affairs programmes. Where would this end? Anti-terrorism laws brought in by labour 15 years ago are now being used to hunt down unpaid speeding and parking fines, dog fouling and even under age sun-bed use and smoking bans.

She is planning on granting herself powers to tell places of learning who they may or may not invite to speak. Amid the crisis of free speech on campus – both from students themselves and from authorities – the government’s only response is to worsen the situation and join the ranks of those who would limit thought and debate.

We have just witnessed Britain’s first cases of extra-judicial assassinations – irrespective of your thoughts on the two misguided individuals involved – these killings were illegal and brings the basis of democracy into question.

The powers of the individual against the state are being dismantled right before our eyes by a neoliberal party hell bent on a command and control vision of Britain.


Graham Vanbergen – TruePublica

First appeared at: http://truepublica.org.uk/united-kingdom/targeting-key-individuals-stifling-free-speech-arbitrary-detention-withdrawing-rights/

Donald Trump: We created chaos, we should not have attacked Serbia!

Donald Trump, influential billionaire and a candidate for the president of United States, back in the 1999, as a guest of the famous host Larry King on CNN, spoke about that time ongoing topic of the bombing of Serbia.

Asked by Larry King, what does he think and what would he do if he was in Clinton’s place, Trump criticized the decision to bomb Serbia.

“So, I would do something different and I know it will sound ghastly to everybody. But, look at the chaos which we created in Kosovo. I think, we can say that we lost only few people. Of course, we were in the airplanes 75 hundreds of meters above the ground and we were throwing bombs. But, look what we did to that country, to those people and how much death and suffering we have caused” said Trump.

“We should have gone there with the troops. There would be killings probably even then, but less. We would not have that chaos which we have now” said the influential republican.

“I am not sure if that is considered as our success, but I would not call that successful” explains Trump, condemning the bombing of Serbia.

“People are being expelled from their land, from the whole territory, everyone is running away from there, and nobody knows what is happening. There are thousands of dead” said Donald Trump.

We remind, Trump is against most of the US military actions, he criticized bombing and aggression against Serbia on many occasions.

Donald Trump wants to change the course of foreign affairs of the US and highlights that he would be a friend with president Putin, which sparkled great attention by the American public.


07-09-2015

Source: South Front

Before Columbus: How Africans Brought Civilization to America

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2014.

On Monday [October 13 2014], America’s government offices, businesses, and banks all grind to a halt in order to commemorate Columbus Day. In schools up and down the country, little children are taught that a heroic Italian explorer discovered America, and various events and parades are held to celebrate the occasion.

It has now become common knowledge amongst academics that Christopher Columbus clearly did not discover America, not least because is it impossible to discover a people and a continent that was already there and thriving with culture. One can only wonder how Columbus could have discovered America when people were watching him from America’s shores?

Contrary to popular belief, African American history did not start with slavery in the New World. An overwhelming body of new evidence is emerging which proves that Africans had frequently sailed across the Atlantic to the Americas, thousands of years before Columbus and indeed before Christ. The great ancient civilizations of Egypt and West Africa traveled to the Americas, contributing immensely to early American civilization by importing the art of pyramid building, political systems and religious practices as well as mathematics, writing and a sophisticated calendar.

The strongest evidence of African presence in America before Columbus comes from the pen of Columbus himself. In 1920, a renowned American historian and linguist, Leo Weiner of Harvard University, in his book, Africa and the discovery of America, explained how Columbus noted in his journal that Native Americans had confirmed that “black skinned people had come from the south-east in boats, trading in gold-tipped spears.”

One of the first documented instances of Africans sailing and settling in the Americas were black Egyptians led by King Ramses III, during the 19th dynasty in 1292 BC. In fact, in 445 BC, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote of the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs’ great seafaring and navigational skills. Further concrete evidence, noted by Dr. Imhotep and largely ignored by Euro-centric archaeologists, includes “Egyptian artifacts found across North America from the Algonquin writings on the East Coast to the artifacts and Egyptian place names in the Grand Canyon.”

In 1311 AD, another major wave of African exploration to the New World was led by King Abubakari II, the ruler of the fourteenth century Mali Empire, which was larger than the Holy Roman Empire. The king sent out 200 ships of men, and 200 ships of trade material, crops, animals, cloth and crucially African knowledge of astronomy, religion and the arts.

African explorers crossing the vast Atlantic waters in primitive boats may seem unlikely, or perhaps, far fetched to some. Such incredible nautical achievements are not as daunting as they seem, given that numerous successful modern attempts have illustrated that without an oar, rudder or sail ancient African boats, including the “dug-out,” would certainly have been able to cross the vast ocean in a matter of weeks.

As time allows us to drift further and further away from the “European age of exploration” and we move beyond an age of racial intellectual prejudice, historians are beginning to recognize that Africans were skilled navigators long before Europeans, contrary to popular belief.

Of course, some Western historians continue to refute this fact because, consciously or unconsciously, they are still hanging on to the 19th-century notion that seafaring was a European monopoly.

After all, history will tell you that seafaring is the quintessential European achievement, the single endeavor of which Europeans are awfully proud. Seafaring allowed Europe to conquer the world. The notion that black Africans braved the roaring waters of the Atlantic Ocean and beat Europeans to the New World threatens a historically white sense of ownership over the seas.

When most people think about ancient Mexico, the first civilizations that come to mind are the Incas, Aztecs and the Maya. However, during the early 1940′s archeologists uncovered a civilization known as the Olmecs of 1200 BC, which pre-dated any other advanced civilization in the Americas.

The Olmec civilization, which was of African origin and dominated by Africans, was the first significant civilization in Mesoamerica and the Mother Culture of Mexico.

Olmecs are perhaps best known for the carved colossal heads found in Central Mexico, that exhibit an unmistakably African Negroid appearance. Ancient African historian Professor Van Sertima has illustrated how Olmecs were the first Mesoamerican civilization to use a written language, sophisticated astronomy, arts and mathematics and they built the first cities in Mexico, all of which greatly influenced the Mayans and subsequent civilizations in the Americas. “There is not the slightest doubt that all later civilizations in [Mexico and Central America], rest ultimately on an Olmec base,” once remarked Michael Coe, a leading historian on Mexico.

Africans clearly played an intricate role in the Olmec Empire’s rise and that African influence peaked during the same period that ancient Black Egyptian culture ascended in Africa.

A clear indicator of pre-Columbus African trans-Atlantic travel is the recent archeological findings of narcotics native to America in Ancient Egyptian mummies, which have astounded contemporary historians. German toxicologist, Svetla Balabanova, reported findings of cocaine and nicotine in ancient Egyptian mummies. These substances are known to only be derived from American plants. South American cocaine from Erythroxylon coca and nicotine from Nicotiana tabacum. Such compounds could only have been introduced to Ancient Egyptian culture through trade with Americans.

Similarities across early American and African religions also indicate significant cross-cultural contact. The Mayans, Aztecs and Incas all worshipped black gods and the surviving portraits of the black deities are revealing. For instance, ancient portraits of the Quetzalcoatl, a messiah serpent god, and Ek-ahua, the god of war, are unquestionably Negro with dark skin and wooly hair. Why would native Americans venerate images so unmistakably African if they had never seen them before? Numerous wall paintings in caves in Juxtlahuaca depict the famous ancient Egyptian “opening of the mouth” and cross libation rituals. All these religious similarities are too large and occur far too often to be mere coincidences.

Professor Everett Borders notes another very important indication of African presence, which is the nature of early American pyramids. Pyramid construction is highly specialized. Ancient Egypt progressed from the original stepped pyramid of Djosser, to the more sophisticated finished product at Giza. However, at La Venta in Mexico, the Olmecs made a fully finished pyramid, with no signs of progressive learning. Olmecian and Egyptian pyramids were both placed on the same north-south axis and had strikingly similar construction methods. Tellingly, all of these pyramids also served the same dual purpose, tomb and temple.

Ancient trans-Atlantic similarities in botany, religion and pyramid building constitute but a fraction of the signs of African influence in ancient America. Other indicators include, astronomy, art, writing systems, flora and fauna.

Historically, the African people have been exceptional explorers and purveyors of culture across the world. Throughout all of these travels, African explorers have not had a history of starting devastating wars on the people they met. The greatest threat towards Africa having a glorious future is her people’s ignorance of Africa’s glorious past.

Pre-Columbus civilization in the Americas had its foundation built by Africans and developed by the ingenuity of Native Americans. Sadly, America, in post-Columbus times, was founded on the genocide of the indigenous Americans, built on the backs of African slaves and continues to run on the exploitation of workers at home and abroad.

Clearly, Africans helped civilize America well before Europeans “discovered” America, and well before Europeans claim to have civilized Africa. The growing body of evidence is now becoming simply too loud to ignore. It’s about time education policy makers reexamine their school curriculums to adjust for America’s long pre-Columbus history.


About the author:

Garikai Chengu is a scholar at Harvard University. Contact him on garikai.chengu@gmail.com

Chomsky: NATO Is A U.S.-Run Intervention Force

How did Russia and the West slip back into what seems like the Cold War all over again? How dangerous is the current confrontation? Should the world be ready to face a nuclear war? We ask somebody who’s renowned for his insights. World-famous academic, linguist, philosopher and political commentator Noam Chomsky is on Sophie&Co today.

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Sophie Shevardnadze: World-renowned academic Noam Chomsky, Professor Noam Chomsky, welcome to the show, it’s a great pleasure to have you with us today. Now, today U.S.-Russia relations are at a Cold War low. Rhetoric resembles what we heard in the 80-s. What is the worst-case scenario we could see this turn into? Can the Cold War turn hot? Does U.S. want war?

Noam Chomsky: The worst-case scenario, of course, would be a nuclear war, which would be terrible. Both states that initiate it will be wiped out by the consequences. That’s the worst-case. And it’s come ominously close several times in the past, dramatically close. And it could happen again, but not planned, but just by the accidental interactions that take place – that has almost happened. It’s worth remembering that just one century ago, the First World War broke out through a series of such accidental interchanges. The First World War was horrifying enough, but the current reenactment of it means the end of the human race.

SS: President Obama came to power promising to work towards complete global nuclear disarmament. Well, now there are plans to spend one trillion dollars on nuclear arms in the next 30 years.With major powers only acquiring more nukes, it’s only obvious that others will want to as well, so could we see the nuclear non-proliferation regime crumble in the near future?

NC: We can think back as far as 1955, when Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein produced an appeal, a joint appeal to the people of the world, in which they said to all of us, you have a choice that is stark, unavoidable, the question is, will you eliminate war or will you eliminate human race? These are your choices. And we’ve come awfully close, several times since: the missile crisis in 1962 was described by Kennedy’s close associate, historian Arthur Schlesinger, as “the most dangerous moment in human history”, and he was quite right, we came very close to a nuclear war. There have been many cases, not that serious, but pretty close, where human intervention with a few-minutes choice has prevented a nuclear war. You can’t guarantee that’s going to continue. It may not be a high probability each time, but when you play a game like that, with low probability risks of disaster over and over again, you’re going to lose. And now, especially in the crisis over Ukraine, and so-called missile-defense systems near the borders of Russia, it’s a threatening situation.

SS: Professor, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said the U.S. needs to deal with “Russia’s army on NATO’s doorstep”. But as you yourself put it: “America’s redlines are firmly placed at Russia’s borders”. What are American redlines doing on Russian borders?

NC: Well, this statement was interesting. Of course, it’s correct. But NATO’s borders have been expanded to reach Russia’s borders. This takes us back to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, there was an agreement between Gorbachev and President Bush, Bush number one, that NATO would not expand one inch to the east. That meant to East Germany, that was the agreement. As soon as the agreement was made, NATO was expanded to East Germany, Gorbachev was naturally infuriated, but he was informed by President Bush and his Secretary of State, James Baker, that this was only a verbal agreement, there was nothing on paper, which is true, there was nothing on paper. And Gorbachev had no choice, but to accept it. President Clinton came along, the next president, and in a couple of years they expanded NATO even further. In fact, one might ask why NATO even continued to exist. The official justification for NATO was that its purpose was to defend Western Europe from Russian hordes who might attack Western Europe. Can’t ask how plausible that explanation was, but that at least that was the official explanation. Well, 1990-1991 – no Russian hordes. Natural conclusion – ok, let’s disband NATO. The opposite happens – NATO expanded. Its mission changed. The official mission of NATO became to control the international, the global energy system, pipelines. That means, to control the world. Of course, its U.S.-run intervention force, as in Kosovo and Serbia in 1999 – it was a U.S.-run intervention force. That’s the new NATO and it did expand to Russian borders, so Hagel is correct, Russia is on NATO’s borders, but it’s as if the Warsaw Pact had expanded to Mexico and Canada, and then the Russian premier said, well, the United States is on the Warsaw Pact’s borders, which would have been true, but it would be misleading.

SS: You know, watching and reading the U.S. media, it’s hard not to be surprised at the calls for war in one form or another. I mean, there are wordings like “red lines”, “no options off the table”, “lethal aid”, “troops on the ground”, and all this is presented like it’s no big deal. And not only in press, but by the government officials as well. Now, you are a scientist of words, of mind, you are a political activist, what do you make of it? Why are the Americans apparently so ready to go to war?

NC: Well, I don’t think they are ready to go to war, but the commitment to sort of control the world is very strong. And pretty natural. After all, this is one global super-power. And this all goes a way back. So, the peak of American power in history was around 1945. In 1945 the United States literally had half the world’s wealth. And very naturally American leaders wanted to design and organize a world system, which would benefit primarily domestic centers of power that essentially means U.S. corporate system. The origins of multi-national corporations began to develop at that time… And there were detailed plans for assigning to every part of the world, what was called, a function within the global system. That began to collapse very quickly. There is a lot of talk these days about American decline, which is correct, but it’s rarely recognized that the decline began at once. In 1949 there was a serious blow to the U.S. global hegemony – China’s independence. There’s a name for that in U.S. history and Western history. It is called “the loss of China”. Just think about this phrase for a minute. “Loss of China”. I mean, I can lose my computer, I can’t lose your computer, right? I can only lose what I own. And the assumption, the tacit assumption is – we own China, we own the world.So, if any part of it becomes independent, there’s the loss of China, or the loss of Indo-China, the loss of the Middle East, and so on. However it is worth recognizing, going back to your comment, that there is criticism of this in very prestigious places. So, the leading establishing journal in the United States is “Foreign Affairs”, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, that’s as central to the ruling establishment as you can get. In their last issue, the lead article advertised on the front page, was an article by a well-known international relations specialist, John Mearsheimer, with the headline, something like “The West is Responsible for the Crisis in Ukraine”. And it’s a critic of U.S. and Western policy that has driven things to the point where there is a serious crisis in Ukraine, the crisis that, as Mearsheimer points out, has serious effects on Russian geostrategic concerns and would do so, no matter who was in charge in Russia, just because of the geostrategic nature of the circumstances. That’s right in the main establishing journal, the lead article so it’s not like this is going on without critical discussion. There’s some. Not enough I think. But some.

SS: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin says the West can’t isolate Russia through confrontation and sanctions. What do you think, is he right?

NC: It can’t isolate Russia, but it could cause serious harm to Russia, but what it’s likely to do and is beginning to do – I’m not the only one to point this out, it’s obvious – what it’s doing, it’s driving Russia towards the East, towards closer relations with China. There’s plenty of hostility way back between China and Russia, but there are also some common interests, and the sanctions and other pressure against Russia are almost compelling Russia to move towards closer relations with China. China is the center of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a very substantial international system based on China, which includes India, includes Russia, includes Pakistan, includes the Central Asian States – Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and others – it’s a big international system. Current Western policies are driving Russia towards closer interaction with this Chinese-based system. In this interaction Russia is actually the weaker partner, so it’s making concessions, but the U.S. is openly creating a system of power, which could significantly diminish U.S. domination in the world. This a confrontation, it’s part of Obama’s pivot to Asia.There is a Trans-Pacific Partnership, so-called, a huge commercial treaty, designed to incorporate the Asian countries, not China, but the other Asian countries, crucially not China, including Japan, Australia, India, the southern hemisphere, Chile, Brazil and so on. An enormous trade pact, exactly, what it is we don’t know, it is kept secret. These things are negotiated in secret, then given to the Parliaments to sign – yes or no, meaning yes. No discussion, no choices. So it’s not a sure thing by any means. But that’s the plan and it’s the kind of economic counterpart to the military pivot to Asia, and the sanctions on Russia are helping to create a counter-course based on Shanghai Cooperation Organization, or an extension of it, which would include Russia, and may begin to move across Eurasia, the whole Eurasian region, first to Turkey, then to parts of Western Europe, which have their own close relations with Russia and the East, Germany in particular. Those are the things that are developing recently, and the sanctions are part of it.

SS: Professor, I want to talk about crisis around ISIS a little bit. You’ve said that the appearance of ISIS and the spread of extremism is a natural consequence of U.S. actions in Iraq. But the emergence of ISIS seemed a surprise to all, how did U.S. intelligence miss it?

NC: I suggest that you look up on the Internet a recent article by Graham Fuller. He is a very highly regarded commentator on Middle Eastern affairs, coming straight out of the U.S. establishment with a long background in the CIA, a highly respected, very knowledgeable commentator. What he says is and I’m quoting him: “The United States created ISIS”. And then he goes on to say: “The U.S. didn’t plan ISIS of course”. These conspiracy tales have no basis. But the U.S. actions in region, including the invasion, have created the circumstances, under which ISIS emerged, and I think he is correct. What happened is the U.S. basically hit Iraq with a kind of sledgehammer. U.S. forces instantly instituted a governmental structure, which was sectarian in nature, they designed a system with particular participation by Shiites and Sunnis in various proportions, but they had to be divided that way. That, along with the counter-insurgency operations – there was of course resistance to the invasion – counter-insurgency operations are always very brutal and destructive. All of this came together to create sectarian conflicts, which had not existed before. If you look back at Bagdad in 2000, Shiites and Sunnis were intermarried, living in the same areas, they often didn’t even know who’s a Sunni and who’s Shia, it’s kind of like knowing which Protestant sect your neighbor belongs to, you may not know and you may not care. If you look at Bagdad ten years later, five years later, it’s broken up into separate regions, walled off from one another, brutal military conflicts, much of the population expelled. That has since expanded, and now it’s tearing the whole region apart. Syria is one element of it. Iran-Saudi confrontation is another aspect. And out of this emerged ISIS. Graham Fuller is quite correct.

SS: You just quoted a man that you respect a lot, who said, it’s the United States who involuntarily actually created ISIS, so if it’s the United States actions that brought about ISIS, isn’t it only fair that the United States should lead the fight against it today? I mean, it’s only obvious that political and diplomatic means to solve this mess aren’t there. So, do you support the U.S.-led bombing campaign?

NC: There are ways to respond diplomatically, one conceivable possibility, conceivable, is to act in accordance with the law. There is a reign of international law, that’s in principal. It debars the use of force or the threat of force in international affairs, except under authorization by the UN Security Council. A law-abiding state would go to the Security Council, ask for a declaration by the Security Council of a threat to peace, and request the Security Council to organize direct response to it. And that could be done. The U.S. could then participate in it, but so could Iran. Remember, look at the Iraqi Foreign Office, what they want is for Iran to become involved. It’s a major military force. If it did enter it would probably wipe out ISIS in no time. But the U.S. won’t permit that. The U.S.-run coalition, which is in violation of basic international law, excludes Iran, excludes the PKK and its affiliates, which apparently are doing the ground-fighting – according to the U.S., they are terrorist group. Turkey, which is closest U.S. ally, is opposed to them. The central U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia – that’s been the source of funding, the main source of the funding of ISIS, but also it’s the ideological source. It’s the Wahabi-Salafi extremists, that’s radical Islamic doctrines, which are kind of a fringe of Islam in Saudi Arabia, a fringe of that radical doctrine is ISIS. So, this coalition is kind of a meaningless coalition, apart from being illegal. There would be ways of handling, at least approaching the problem legally, which could work.

SS: And just my final question, on a different topic. The FBI is now looking into an apparent second Edward Snowden, but previous whistleblower revelations have failed to make any real dent in the system. Why would this be any different? Talking about NSA spying isn’t stopping NSA spying.

NC: It’s not stopping NSA spying, it’s not stopping the spying being done by Britain, the spying being done by France, the spying being done by other countries, I’m sure Russia’s doing it. States are very resistant to interference with their powers. Of course, the NSA system, U.S. is far and away the technologically most advanced country in the world, so it’s more extensive in the United States, but it’s duplicated in China, Britain, Russia, no doubt, other countries. And, yes, you’re right, it hasn’t stopped, now in fact it’s expanding. It’s a real major attack on human rights. And the major threat is if it becomes sort of passively accepted, because of the fact that it’s not stopped, this is just going to go on, go on to the point where there are literally tiny drones, fly-size drones, that can be on the ceiling of your living room, listening to what you’re saying and sending it back to the central government office. There are no limits to this. Already, if you have a cellphone, even if it’s off, you can be tracked by NSA and other technologies. So this is a really dangerous development. Snowden made a major contribution by exposing it, but there’s a long way to go. There has to be a citizen reaction, which would put an end to this practice.

SS: Professor Chomsky, thank you so much for this interview. We were talking to world-renowned academic, American linguist, thinker, activist Noam Chomsky.We were talking about what’s in store for Russia-U.S. relations, also the crisis around ISIS, and if the next whistleblower scandal is going to be any different from the one around Edward Snowden. Thanks a lot for this interview. That’s it for this edition of Sophie&Co, see you next time.


07-11-2014

Source: www.rt.com

New Strategic Calculus For The Balkans

The Balkans have returned to the forefront of European geopolitics as a result of the New Cold War, with the US and Russia facing off in a proxy war over the planned Balkan Stream pipeline through the region. The geopolitical circumstances have evolved since the 1990s, when all of the former Yugoslavia was lumped together as the Western Balkans. In order to accommodate for the changing strategic reality in the region, it’s necessary to carve the Central Balkans out of the idea of the former, and the new division of the Balkans into Western, Central, and Eastern regions simplifies the analysis of contemporary developments and provides a strategic trajectory to follow in monitoring their future development.

The research will focus on the Western and Central Balkans, since the latter is now the object of geopolitical competition between the unipolar and multipolar worlds. The Eastern Balkans are already integrated into NATO and do not play as much of a part over the Central Balkans as the Western portion does, although their evolving role in NATO’s newly unveiled umbrella of regional blocs will certainly be expounded upon in a forthcoming piece. Additionally, Greece occupies a special role because it abuts the Western, Central, and Eastern Balkans and has a unique identity and history separate from the other Balkan countries, although due to its larger geopolitical disposition, it’s grouped together with the Central Balkans in the context of this piece. Nonetheless, it does deserve its own separate article in the future, although the author did touch upon this topic in an earlier interview.

Shifting back to the current piece, Part I begins with an explanation for the reconceptualization of the Balkans and then chronicles how this change in thinking came about. Afterwards, Part II examines the key characteristics of the Central Balkans before offering some proposed solutions for their security and expedited integration into the multipolar world.

The Reconceptualization

The Balkans have moved past their traditional division into Western and Eastern parts with the creation of the Central Balkans strategic concept. Here is what’s meant by the proposed idea:

Traditional:

The customary categorization of the Balkans lumps all of the former Yugoslavia into the Western half and Romania and Bulgaria into its Eastern one, leaving Albania and Greece largely undefined and understood simply as “the Balkans”. The justification for this delineation is that most of the former Yugoslavia was undergoing the same process of violent fragmentation during the 1990s, while Romania and Bulgaria escaped these events relatively unscathed (but not without their own unique domestic challenges). At the time, there was no need to draw a geographic distinction between the former Yugoslav Republics, but NATO’s formal and de-facto encroachment into most of the geographic span of the former Yugoslavia, as well as the diametrically divergent foreign policy tracts of some of its former members, formed the impetus in adapting to the new reality and revising the former Western Balkans notion.

Reconceived:

For the reasons previously stated, the concept of the Western Balkans has to be reconceived and updated to accommodate for the changing geopolitical and strategic nature of the region. Here’s what the author suggests:

* Western Balkans

This encompasses the NATO states of Slovenia, Croatia, and Albania, as well as NATO protectorate Bosnia and de-facto NATO member Montenegro. Looking at a map, one can see that it literally compasses the western edge of the Balkan Peninsula. When compared to its central counterpart, the Western Balkans are the bastion of unipolarity in the region and directly conflict with their ‘prodigal’ multipolar siblings. This was the case during World War II, the 1990s, and into the present day, with Croatia and Albania continuing to behave as the North-South Lead From Behind agitators on behalf of their patrons.

* Central Balkans

Serbia, Macedonia, and Greece comprise the newest category of Balkan strategic thinking, and this new bloc runs through the geographic center of the region along a critical North-South route. Due to its amenable geopolitical positioning as compared to its Western and Eastern counterparts, it holds the promising possibility of forming a North-South corridor (the Balkan Silk Road) that can connect the Eastern Mediterranean with Central Europe and beyond. Russia’s Balkan Stream project forms the critical spine of this new entity (henceforth referred to as the Balkan Corridor) around which further integrational development is expected to gravitate, and accordingly, Moscow is encouraging its partners’ multipolar pursuits and deepening its support for their policies.

Anomalies:

The West-Central division of the Balkans carries with it two very important geopolitical anomalies that must be addressed:

* Republika Srpska

This entity appeared as a legacy of the early 1990s dissolution of Yugoslavia and the 1994 Dayton Agreement, and it provides Serbia with strategic depth, but also strategic vulnerability vis-à-vis a potential Bosnian breakdown and/or Croatian or Bosnian Croatian provocation. The existence of Republika Srpska can thus be understood as a double-edged sword, however, its emotional significance means that it will never be abandoned by Serbia and must accordingly be considered as a de-facto extension of the Central Balkans into conventional Western Balkan territory (Bosnia).

* Kosovo

The Serbian Province of Kosovo is currently occupied by Western forces (the US’ Camp Bondsteel is one of the largest American military bases in Europe) and illegally seceded from Serbia in 2008 with Western support. It functions as a Western outpost smack dab in the middle of the Central Balkans, of which it’s geographically (but no longer de-facto politically) a part. Of the two, the occupied Serbian Province of Kosovo is more directly under the control of the West and a more heavily fortified forward-operating post for unipolar aggression than Republika Srpska is for Serbia and the Central Balkans’ multipolar defense.

Chronological Progression Of The West-Central Balkan Division

The strategic concept of the Central Balkans wasn’t formed overnight, and it’s informative to highlight the key events that led to its logical conceptualization. The catalyst for its creation was the unipolar world’s efforts to shrink Serbia and politically shackle it and Macedonia to the EU as backwater political and economic appendages (‘New Bulgarias’), while Greece has always found itself outside the European ‘mainstream’ and has historically behaved as a bridge between East and West. The coupling of Serbian and Macedonian resistance with the Greek identity’s incompatibility to enforced ‘Europeanization’ (nowadays manifested as severe austerity) provided the perfect mix for these states’ secession from the unipolar Western Balkans and strategic incorporation into their own multipolar Central Balkans category arranged around Balkan Stream.

The following timeline focuses on the geopolitical violence related to Serbia and Macedonia, since the dramatic events that occurred there set in motion the foreign policy decisions that would eventually lead to their partnership with Russia and alignment towards the multipolar world:

Pre-1991:

Serbia constituted the center of gravity for Yugoslavia, and thus, the entire Western Balkans.

1991-1994:

Yugoslavia began to formally disintegrate this year, with Croatia serving as the Lead from Behind proxy for accelerating this process. The ethnic cleansing and genocide of Serbians in Croatia and Bosnia led to the diminishment of Serbian-populated territory, and subsequently, such lands were retained by their associated former Yugoslav Republics and not incorporated into Serbia proper. Areas that could have become conceptually incorporated into the Central Balkans (from the sense of being Serbian-populated) remained in their geographic Western Balkan zones for later formal or de-facto incorporation into NATO, thus setting the stage for part of the West-Central Balkan split.

1994:

The Dayton Accords represented a temporary cessation of the campaign to split Serbia, but in the meanwhile, its leadership was demonized and plans were made for the next step of the destabilization; the formal redrawing of its internationally recognized borders and the testing of a new regime change technology, Color Revolutions.

1999:

NATO launched its formal aggression against Serbia (then still known as Yugoslavia) in order to steal Kosovo, the cradle of its civilization, and set up a strategic base in the heart of the Central Balkans. It’s around this time that Croatia passed the torch of anti-Serbian destabilization to its Albanian partner and Tirana became the US’ primary Lead From Behind regional ally. The US also demonstrated for the first time that it would use force in order to create Greater Albania, a politically convenient client state and an anticipated anchor of unipolarity in the Balkans.

2000:

The US overthrew Slobodan Milosevic by successfully testing the first Color Revolution (the “Bulldozer Revolution”), a political technology that would later be perfected in various other theaters and boomeranged back to the Balkans 15 years later for deployment in Macedonia.

2001:

Albanian destabilization in Macedonia culminated in a ‘soft’ NATO intervention and the implementation of the Ohrid Agreement, which while guaranteeing the Albanian minority the world’s most generous minority privileges, also made them susceptible to being manipulated by Western political forces. The Western expectation at the time was that this would create a lever of deep indefinite influence that they could use to hijack Macedonia’s independence and steer it towards unipolar submission.

2006:

Montenegro votes for independence from Serbia (then still called Yugoslavia) and becomes the last constituent member of the Western Balkans pro-American constellation.

2008:

The occupied Serbian Province of Kosovo unilaterally declares independence as directed to do so by its Western occupiers, in a move that was meant to ‘legitimize’ their presence in the region and perpetually keep Serbia and Macedonia in check. It also represented the formalization of the unipolar Western Balkans’ penetration into the heart of the Central Balkans.

2009:

The US’ two most prominent Lead From Behind partners in the Balkans, Albania and Croatia, both join NATO in what is the military bloc’s most recent formal expansion and certainly not a coincidence. The US was rewarding both of its allies for their destabilization of Serbia, the former core of the Western Balkans, and protecting them with mutual defense guarantees for any future provocative actions they take against Serbia (or in the Albania’s case, also against Macedonia).

2000s-2010s:

Belgrade and Skopje stated their formal wish to be integrated into the EU and NATO, however, Serbia and Macedonia’s respective proud refusals in refusing to recognize the illegally enacted ‘independence’ of Kosovo and in changing its constitutional name kept them on the periphery of these processes and stalled their Euro-Atlantic ambitions. This in turn caused them to reconsider their strategic trajectories and eventually made them susceptible to the multipolar pivot that they enacted when they agreed to partner with Russia in building Balkan Stream. The lesson to be learned is that the West’s disrespect for both countries’ domestic legislation, sovereignty, and independence led to what may in hindsight be considered the first ‘revolt’ against the EU. These two countries are the only ones to stand by their identity in refusing to be bullied by Brussels, as all current EU members (including the ‘revolting’ ones such as Greece) had to at one time sacrifice their self-conception in order to become part of the larger European ‘whole’.

2015:

After being charged with a coup attempt in January, Zaev reacted by initiating his Color Revolution attempt in Macedonia. Later on in April, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama formally declared his intention to create a Greater Albania, and by the end of the month, the small Macedonian town of Gosince was the scene of a test-run terrorist attack by the Kosovo Liberation Army separatist terrorist group. A few days later, a terrorist attack surprised the Republika Srpska city of Zvornik, likely staged as a means of sending an indirect threatening signal to Serbia. A little over a week later, the northern Macedonian town of Kumanovo was the scene of deadly terrorist violence by the KLA that represented the first strike in an American-directed Greater Albania campaign against the country’s pragmatic government and Russia’s Balkan Stream pipeline plans.

3 Key Characteristics Of The Central Balkans

Since the general idea and genesis behind the Central Balkans have been discussed, it’s now time to turn towards their three most important strategic characteristics:

Lead From Behind Agitators:

Like it was mentioned earlier, newly crowned NATO members Albania and Croatia continue to pose the greatest threat to the Central Balkans. Croatia used to be the primary vehicle for unipolar military activity in the region during the 1990s, but this role was ultimately transferred to Albania for dual deployment against both Serbia and Macedonia. As it stands, Croatia appears to be suitably prepared for returning to its Lead From Behind anti-Serbian role, which one can clearly see by its election of a former high-level NATO information officer as President. Although a largely ceremonial post, it’s symbolic in underscoring the affiliation that the country’s political elite have with Euro-Atlanticism (unipolarity), and with the US’ current support of ultra-nationalist governments and neo-fascist movements, it shouldn’t really stun anyone that Croatia’s new leader is now openly paying tribute to pro-Nazi World War II collaborators. The nightmare scenario for Serbia’s international security is for Albania and Croatia to coordinate any forthcoming destabilizations against the country, and unrest in Serbia or along its borders could also impede the construction of Balkan Stream, at the very least of its consequences.

Triggers:

There are two triggers that can most strongly undermine the stability of Serbia and Macedonia:

* Bosnia

Per the earlier explanation of Republika Srpska’s security significance to Serbia, any provocations inside or along its borders would tangentially also present a threat to Serbia itself. A constitutional crisis over internal power arrangements and federative sovereignty inside of Bosnia could be the catalyst for drawing Repubilka Srpska, and by extension (whether direct or indirect), Serbia, into a larger conflict (the ‘Reverse Brzezinski’ as applied to Belgrade). Not only that, but an externally directed terrorist war could be cooked up (just like in Macedonia) to inflame identity tension between Bosnia’s constituent members, which would then usher in the national crisis purposefully constructed to temptingly invite some form of Serbian response and/or involvement, thereby sucking it into an American-planned trap.

* Greater Albania

The most pressing threat to Serbia and Macedonia’s security and the issue with the greatest potential to destabilize the entire region is the looming specter of Greater Albania. Serbia fell victim to having the most emotionally integral part of its country stolen from it, occupied, and turned into a weapon against the rest of the rump state the last time this was attempted, and it remains a distinct possibility that something similar can happen to Macedonia as regards its entire western and most of its northern periphery.

Additionally, Serbia also faces a new threat from Greater Albania, and that’s ethnic violence in the Albanian-populated Presevo Valley and Sandzak regions, with the first-mentioned being intentionally stoked by a ‘spill over’ from northern Macedonia. Kumanovo just so happens to be close to this region, hence why the terrorists selected it as their base in the event that the order was given to split their forces north and simultaneously attack Serbia on 17 May (the day the Macedonia Color Revolutionaries and Unconventional Warriors were to symbolically unite in their regime change aggression).

Taking it further, even the Greek region of Northern Epirus could potentially be brought into the tumult of Greater Albania, thereby destabilizing all three Central Balkan countries, but potentially providing an urgent impetus to expedite their multipolar integration with one another in standing united against this threat.

Balkan Stream:

Perhaps the most critical characteristic strategically uniting the Central Balkan states is the Balkan Stream project, which implicitly aims at promoting multipolarity in the region and potentially even taking it as deep as the heart of the EU itself. Should the project reach fruition and the US’ current destabilization plans fail (the Color Revolution attempt in Macedonia and the provocations to incite a regional war around the idea of Greater Albania [just as Greater Kurdistan is being primed for deployment in the Mideast]), then the logical consequence would be that the Central Balkan countries serve as the springboard for multipolarity’s expansion into the European continent.

Balkan Stream is thus more than just a pipeline – it’s a strategic concept of sub-regional integration that’s meant to defy the unipolar dictates of the US’ EU proxy and achieve the long-term goal of liberating Europe from unipolar hegemony. Due to the fact that the Central Balkan countries are the physical vanguard of this far-reaching and profound vision, the US is prioritizing its latest destabilization attempts against each and every one of them, hoping that at least one of its plots takes root after having desperately sowed so many seeds of chaos in the past couple of months (capitalizing off of existing factors) to offset this relatively unexpected multipolar counter-offensive.

Multipolar Solutions

The Central Balkans are currently the latest front in the New Cold War between the US and Russia, or better put, between the unipolar and multipolar world visions. Washington has recently redirected its external meddling activities in order to focus on destabilizing this particular sub-region and sabotaging its march to multipolarity, owing to the previously overlooked vulnerability that the Balkan Stream provides in countering unipolar control all throughout the continent. It is thus of the utmost importance that appropriate defensive policies be implemented in order to reinforce the Central Balkans’ resistance to the US’ aggression and secure the multiopolar counter-offensive currently taking place in the region.

The following are the proposed solutions for solidifying the multipolar vision of Balkan Stream:

Clearly Elucidate Multipolar Aims:

The Central Balkans and their strategic Russian and Chinese partners must publicly articulate their multipolar vision for the region, as such a strong and unified voice would send a global message about the intentions of the non-West. It’s not to suggest that the actors must openly call for overthrowing American control over Europe, but rather to highlight that there are non-EU development trajectories and partnerships that can be just as, if not more, beneficial than working with Brussels. It may even come to pass that the Central Balkans becomes the first flank in a wider European revolt against unipolarity, but in order for this to happen and for the region to serve as a rallying point for the rest of the continent, its anti-hegemony message must be clearly expressed. Political pragmatism and multipolar partnership, not unipolar partisanship and chaotic division, are central themes in conveying this concept.

Institutionalize And Intensify The Balkan Corridor:

The complementary Russian and Chinese infrastructure projects running through the region form the basis around which the Balkan Corridor can be constructed, and the first step towards its formalization is to unveil a multilateral framework between its members. This would serve as an organizational mechanism for coordinating integrational policies between Russia and China on one hand, and Serbia, Macedonia, and Greece on the other, and it could possibly be expanded to include Hungary and Turkey as observer members, if not full-fledged participants. The key purpose is to bring together policy and decision makers, security specialists, and economic actors in hammering out joint details for further cooperation and the intensification of their multilateral partnerships.

Unite The Central Balkans Against Greater Albania:

As much of a threat that Greater Albania is, it also provides an historic opportunity to unite the Central Balkan countries in opposing its terroristic actualization. The existential danger that this US-supported irredentism poses for Macedonia rightfully incites fear in both Belgrade and Athens, as neither of them want a partitioned and failed state along their borders, to say nothing of their own domestic vulnerabilities to the ethnic terrorism directed by Tirana. The US and Albania have clearly demonstrated that they’re taking concrete action in agitating for Greater Albania, so it’s appropriate for the targeted states to tighten their military and strategic ties in defending against it. While Greece’s NATO membership may pose an obstacle in this regard, Serbia and Macedonia aren’t constrained by this limitation and can thus work as closely as they deem necessary in countering this threat. Not only that, but they can also expand their de-facto military alliance to include Russia, which could then provide military, political, and technical support to their countries’ anti-terror and counter-Color Revolution operations in the same manner as it’s been proudly doing for Syria over the past four years.

Emphasize Russia’s Connections To The Region:

Russia has deep cultural, linguistic, religious, and historical connections to the Balkans that it can capitalize upon in promoting Balkan Stream and gaining soft power inroads in Serbia, Macedonia, and Greece. These unique asymmetrical factors perpetually tether the Central Balkans to Russia, but more work must be done in order to strengthen these bonds and make the ‘Russia factor’ a significant part of those countries’ national identity and psyche. The deepening of emotional ties can enhance the effectiveness of multilateral soft power expressions between Russia and its Central Balkan partners, thereby providing a stable foundation for the future expansion of their relations and increasing their larger strategic cohesion.

Concluding Thoughts

Great Power competition over the Balkans has historically served as one of the engines of European politics and has been among its most widely recognized features for centuries. Back then, multiple empires were jostling for influence and counter-balancing one another, but the situation has remarkably simplified in the current day. Nowadays only one empire remains and that’s the United States and its unipolar allies, which have been doing all they can to completely swallow the region over the past two and a half decades. Serbia and Macedonia are the only two regional holdouts remaining, and they form the core of a reconceptualized Balkan region, the Central Balkans, that’s partnering with Russia in staging a multipolar counter-offensive against this aggression. The geopolitical liberation that Balkan Stream would bring to the region, and quite possibly all of Europe, makes it one of the most globally impactful projects currently under construction, and it’s arguably central to Russia’s grand strategy in dismantling unipolarity.

The conceptualized creation of the Central Balkans assists one in more easily understanding the regional geopolitical arrangement in the context of the latest round of the New Cold War. Additionally, it holds the exciting possibility of evolving from an intangible concept to a concrete reality by serving as an organizational platform for energizing closer integration between its members. The institutionalization of the Balkan Corridor and its accelerated strategic unification in resisting the threat of Greater Albania is expected to facilitate the creation of a critical mass of multipolarity that can flip the regional initiative against the destabilizing unipolar forces. Thus, because it signifies the first step in a larger counter-offensive against the American occupation of Europe, Russia’s support of the Central Balkans and their strategic convergence into an integrated entity is arguably one of the most pivotal multipolar processes in the world today, and it could potentially transform into a battering ram for breaching the US’ unipolar citadel in Western Eurasia.


About the author:

By Andrew KORYBKO (USA)

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Originally published at: Oriental Review in May 2015

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The Age Of Imperial Wars: From Regional War, “Regime Change” To Global Warfare

2015 has become a year of living dangerously.

Wars are spreading across the globe. 

Wars are escalating as new countries are bombed and the old are ravaged with ever greater intensity.

Countries, where relatively peaceful changes had taken place through recent elections, are now on the verge of civil wars.

These are wars without victors, but plenty of losers; wars that don’t end; wars where imperial occupations are faced with prolonged resistance.

            There are never-ending torrents of war refugees flooding across borders.  Desperate people are detained, degraded and criminalized for being the survivors and victims of imperial invasions.

            Now major nuclear powers face off in Europe and Asia:  NATO versus Russia, US-Japan versus China.  Will these streams of blood and wars converge into one radiated wilderness drained of its precious life blood?

Living Dangerously: The Rising Tide of Violent Conflicts

            There is no question that wars and military threats have replaced diplomacy, negotiations and democratic elections as the principal means of resolving political conflicts.  Throughout the present year (2015) wars have spread across borders and escalated in intensity.

            The NATO allies, US, Turkey and the EU have openly attacked Syria with air strikes and ground troops.  There are plans to occupy the northern sector of that ravaged country, creating what the Erdogan regime dubs a ‘buffer zone’ cleansed of its people and villages.

            Under the pretext of ‘fighting ISIS’, the Turkish government is bombing Kurds (civilians and resistance fighters) and their Syrian allies.  On Syria’s southern border, US Special Forces have accelerated and expanded operations from their bases in Jordan on behalf of the mercenary terrorists – funded by the monarchist Gulf States.

            Over 4 million Syrians have fled their homes as refugees and over 200,000 have been killed since the US-EU-Turkey-Saudi-sponsored war against the secular Syrian government was launched four years ago.

            Dozens of terrorist, mercenary and sectarian groups have carved up Syria into rival fiefdoms, pillaged its economic and cultural resources and reduced the economy by over ninety percent.

            The US-EU-Turkish military intervention extends the war into Iraq, Lebanon and…. Turkey – attacking secular governments, ethnic minority groups and secular civil society.

The feudal, monarchist Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have invaded Yemen with tanks, launching air strikes against a country without any air defenses.  Major cities and towns are devastated.  Saudi ground troops and armored carriers are killing and wounding thousands – mostly civilians.   The brutal Saudi air and sea blockade of Yemen’s ports have led to a humanitarian crisis, as ten million Yemenis face starvation deliberately imposed by a grotesque and obscenely rich monarchy.

The Yemeni resistance fighters, driven out of the major cities, are preparing for prolonged guerrilla warfare against the Saudi monsters and their puppets.  Their resistance has already spread across the frontiers of the absolutist Saudi dictatorship.

The brutal Israeli occupation troops, in collaboration with armed ‘settler’ colonists, have accelerated their violent seizure of Palestinian lands.  They have stepped up the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, Bedouins, Druze and Christian inhabitants replacing their communities with racist ‘Jews-only’ colonial settlements.

Daily assaults against the huge ‘concentration camps’ of Gaza accompany an armed blockade of land, air and water, preventing the reconstruction of the tens of thousands of homes, schools, hospital, factories and infrastructure, destroyed by last year’s Israeli blitzkrieg.

Israel’s continued annexation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinian territory precludes any diplomatic process; colonial wars have been and continue to be Israel’s policy of choice in dealing with its Arab neighbors and captive populations.

Africa’s wars, resulting from earlier US-EU interventions, continue to ravage-the Continent.  Somalia, Sudan, Kenya, Libya are riven by bloody conflicts between US-EU backed regimes and armed Islamic and nationalist resistance movements.

Throughout North and Sub-Sahara Africa, US-EU backed regimes have provoked armed upheavals in Libya, Nigeria (Boko Harem), Egypt (ISIS, Moslem Brotherhood et al), Chad, Niger, South Sudan, Somalia and elsewhere.

Imperial client Egyptian and Ethiopian dictators rule with iron fists – financed and armed by their EU and US sponsors.

Imperial wars rage throughout the Middle East and South Asia.  Hundreds of experienced Baathist Iraqi military officers, who had been expelled or jailed and tortured by the US Occupation army, have now made common cause with Islamist fighters to form ISIS and effectively occupy a third of Iraq and a strategic swath of Syria.

There are daily bombings in Baghdad undermining its US client.  Strategic advances by ISIS are forcing the US to resume and escalate its direct combat role

The US-Baghdad retreat and the defeat of the US-trained Iraqi military in the face of the Baathist-Islamist offensive is the opening salvo of a long-term, large-scale war in Iraq and Syria.  The Turkish air-war against the Kurds in Iraq will escalate the war in Northern Iraq and extend it into southeast Turkey.

Closer to ‘home’, the EU-US-backed coup (‘regime change’) in Kiev and the attempt to impose dictatorial-pro-West oligarchic rule in Ukraine have detonated a prolonged civil-national war devastating the country and pitting NATO’s proxies against Russian-backed allies in the Donbas.

US, England, Poland and other NATO powers are deeply committed to pushing war right up to Russia’s borders.

There is a new Cold War, with the imposition of wide-ranging US-EU economic sanctions against Russia and the organizing of major NATO military exercises on Russia’s doorsteps.  It is no surprise that these provocations are met with a major counter-response – the Russian military build-up.  The NATO power grab in Ukraine, which first led to a local ethnic war, now escalates to a global confrontation and may move toward a nuclear confrontation as Russia absorbs hundreds of thousands of refugees from the slaughter in Ukraine.

The US puppet regime in Afghanistan has faced a major advance of the Taliban in all regions, including the capital, Kabul.

The Afghan war is intensifying and the US-backed Kabul regime is in retreat.  US troops can scarcely advance beyond their bunkers.

As the Taliban military advances, its leaders demand total surrender of the Kabul puppets and the withdrawal of US troops.  The US response will be a prolonged escalation of war.

Pakistan, bristling with US arms, faces a major conflict along its borders with India and permanent war in its semi-autonomous Northwest frontier states with Islamist and ethnic Pashtu guerrilla movements backed by mass regional political parties.  These parties exercise de facto control over the Northwest region providing sanctuary and arms for Taliban militants operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Armed ethno-religious conflicts persist in western China, Myanmar and northern India. There are large-scale popular resistance movements in the militant northeast Thailand opposed to the current military-monarchist dictatorship in Bangkok.

In the 21st century, in South and Southeast Asia, as in the rest of the world, war and armed conflicts have become central in resolving ethnic, social, tribal and regional differences with central states: diplomacy and democratic elections have been rendered obsolete and inefficient.

Latin America – On the Verge

Burgeoning violent extra-parliamentary right-wing movements, intent on overthrowing or ‘impeaching’ elected center-left Latin American governments face major confrontations with the state and its mass supporters.

In Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil, US-backed opposition groups are engaged in violent demonstrations, directed toward ousting the elected regimes.  In the case of Ecuador, ‘popular sectors’, including some indigenous leaders and sectors of the trade union movement, have called for an ‘uprising’ to oust President Correa.   They seem oblivious of the fact that the hard-right oligarchs who now control key offices in the three principal cities (Guayaquil, Quito and Cuenca) will be the real beneficiaries of their ‘uprisings’.

The resurgent Right envisions violent ‘regime change’ as the first step toward ‘wiping the slate clean’ of a decade of social reforms, independent regional organizations and independent foreign policies.

Civil war’ may be too strong a word for the situation in Latin America at this time – but this is the direction which the US-backed opposition is heading.  Faced with the mess and difficulty of dislodging incumbent regimes via elections, the US and its local proxies have opted for the choreography of street violence, sabotage, martial law and coups – to be followed by sanitized elections – with US-vetted candidates.

War and violence run rampant through Mexico and most of Central America.  A US-backed military coup ousted the popularly elected, independent President Zelaya in Honduras.  The ensuing US-proxy regime has murdered and jailed hundreds of pro-democracy dissidents and driven thousands to flee the violence.

The 1990’s US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ in El Salvador and Guatemala effectively blocked any agrarian reform and income redistribution that might have led to the rebuilding of their civil societies.  This has led to over two decades of mass disaffection, the rise of armed ‘gangs’ numbering over 100,000 members and an average of six to ten thousand homicides a year with El Salvador becoming the ‘murder capital of the hemisphere’ on a per capita basis.  The annual murder toll under the US-brokered ‘Peace Accords’ now exceeds those killed each year during the civil war.

The real ‘carnage capital’ of the hemisphere is Mexico.  Over 100,000 people have been murdered during the decade-long, US-backed ‘war on drugs’ – a war which has become a state-sponsored war on the Mexican people.

The internal war has allowed the Mexican government to privatize and sell the crown jewels of the national economy – the petroleum industry. While thousands of Mexicans are terrorized and slaughtered, the US and EU oil companies are curiously shielded from the drug lords.  The same Mexican government, its police, officials and military, who collaborate with the drug lords in dividing up the billions of drug dollars, protect foreign oil companies and their executives.  After all, narco-dollars are laundered by banks in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and London to help fuel the speculation!

From Regional to Nuclear Wars

Regional and local wars spread under the shadow of a looming world war.  The US moves its arms, planes, bases and operations to the Russian and Chinese borders.

Never have so many US troops and war planes been placed in so many strategic locations, often less than an hour drive from major Russian cities.

Not even during the height of the Cold War, did the US impose so many economic sanctions against Russian enterprises.

In Asia, Washington is organizing major trade, military and diplomatic treaties designed to exclude and undermine China’s growth as a trade competitor.  It is engaged in provocative activities comparable to the boycott and blockade of Japan which led to the Second World War in Asia.

Open ‘warfare by proxy’ in Ukraine is perhaps the first salvo of the Third World War in Europe.  The US-EU-sponsored coup in Kiev has led to the annexation of Western Ukraine.  In response to the threat of violence toward the ethnic Russian majority in Crimea and the loss of its strategic naval base on the Black Sea, Russia annexed Crimea.

In the lead-up to the Second World War, Germany annexed Austria.  In a similar manner the US-EU installed a puppet regime in Kiev by violent putsch as its own initial steps toward major power grabs in Central Asia.  The military build-up includes the placement of major, forward offensive military bases in Poland.

Warsaw’s newly elected hard-right regime of President Andrzej Duda has demanded that Poland become NATO’s central military base of operation and the front line in a war against Russia.

Wars and More Wars and the Never-ending Torrents of Refugees

The US and EU imperial wars have devastated the lives and livelihoods of scores of millions of people in South Asia, North and Sub-Sahara Africa, Central America, Mexico, the Balkans and now Ukraine.

Four million Syrian refugees have joined millions of Afghan, Pakistani, Iraqi, Yemeni, Somali, Libyan, Palestinian and Sudanese refugees fleeing US-EU bombs, drones and proxy mercenaries ravaging their countries.

Millions of war refugees escape toward safety in Western Europe, joining the millions of economic refugees who have fled free market destitution in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, the Balkans and other EU satellites.

Panic among the civilian population of Western Europe sets in as hundreds of thousands cross the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Balkans.

Droves of refugees perish each day.  Tens of thousands crowd detention centers.  Local labor markets are saturated.  Social services are overwhelmed.

The US builds walls and detention camps for the millions trying to escape the harsh consequences of imperial-centered free markets in Mexico, narco-terror and the fraudulent ‘peace accord’-induced violence in Central America.

As Western wars advance, the desperate refugees multiply.  The poor and destitute clamber at the gates of the imperial heartland crying: ‘Your bombs and your destruction of our homelands have driven us here, now you must deal with us in your homeland’.

Fomenting class war between the refugees and ‘natives’ of the imperial West – may not be on the agenda . . . for now, but the future for ‘civil’ society in Europe and the US is bleak.

Meanwhile, more and even bigger wars are on the horizon and additional millions of civilians will be uprooted and face the choice of starving, fleeing with their families or fighting the empire.  The ranks of seasoned and infuriated resistance fighters are swelling in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Ukraine and elsewhere.

The US and EU are becoming armed fortresses.  US police deal with the marginalized citizenry as an occupying army, assaulting African-Americans, immigrants and dissidents – while looting poor communities . . . and protecting the rich…

Conclusion

War is everywhere and expanding:  No continent or region, big or small, is free from the contagion of war.

Imperial wars have spawn local wars . . . igniting mass flights in a never-ending cycle.  There are no real diplomatic success stories!  There are no enduring, viable peace accords!

Some pundits may protest this analysis:  They point to the recent US – Cuba rapprochement as a ‘success’.  They conveniently forget that the US is still subverting Cuba’s biggest trading partner, Venezuela; that Washington’s major regional proxies are demanding regime change among Cuba’s allies in Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia and that Washington is increasingly threatening Cuba’s alternative markets in Russia and China.  The vision of the US flag flapping in the breeze outside its embassy in Havana does little to cover Washington’s iron fist threatening Cuba’s allies.

Others cite the US – Iran peace accord as a major ‘success’.  They ignore that the US is backing the bloody Saudi invasion of neighboring Yemen and the massacre of Shiite communities; that the US has provided Israel with a road map detailing Iran’s entire defense system and that the US and EU are bombing Iran’s Syrian ally without mercy.

As for the US – Cuba and Iranian agreements– are they enduring and strategic or just tactical imperial moves preparing for even greater assaults?

The war epidemic is not receding.

War refugees are still fleeing; they have no homes or communities left.

Disorder and destruction are increasing, not decreasing; there is no rebuilding the shattered societies, not in Gaza, not in Fallujah, not in the Donbas, not in Guerrero, not in Aleppo.

Europe feels the tremors of a major conflagration.

Americans still believe that the two oceans will protect them.  They are told that placing NATO missiles on Russia’s borders and stationing warships off China’s shores and building electrified walls and laying barbed wire along the Rio Grande will protect them.  Such is their faith in their political leaders and propagandists.

What a packet of lies!  Inter-continental missiles can ‘rain down’ on New York, Washington and Los Angeles.

It is time to wake up!

It is time to stop the US – EU headlong race to World War III!

Where to start?  Libya has been irrevocably destroyed; it is too late there!  Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are aflame.  We are being plunged deeper into war while being told we are withdrawing!  Ukraine sucks in more guns and more troops!

Can we really have peace with Iran if we cannot control our own government as it dances to the Israelis tune?  And Israel insists on war – our waging war for them!  As the Israeli war criminal General and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon once told some worried American Zionists: “Trouble with the US?  We lead them by the nose…!” 

Just look at the terrified families fleeing carnage in the Middle East or Mexico.

What is to be done?

When will we cut our losses and shake off the bonds of these war makers – foreign and domestic?


By Prof. James Petras

2015-08-22

The Geopolitics Of American Global Decline: Washington Versus China In The 21st Century

For even the greatest of empires, geography is often destiny. You wouldn’t know it in Washington, though. America’s political, national security, and foreign policy elites continue to ignore the basics of geopolitics that have shaped the fate of world empires for the past 500 years. Consequently, they have missed the significance of the rapid global changes in Eurasia that are in the process of undermining the grand strategy for world dominion that Washington has pursued these past seven decades.

A glance at what passes for insider “wisdom” in Washington these days reveals a worldview of stunning insularity. Take Harvard political scientist Joseph Nye, Jr., known for his concept of “soft power,” as an example. Offering a simple list of ways in which he believes U.S. military, economic, and cultural power remains singular and superior, he recently argued that there was no force, internal or global, capable of eclipsing America’s future as the world’s premier power.
For those pointing to Beijing’s surging economy and proclaiming this “the Chinese century,” Nye offered up a roster of negatives: China’s per capita income “will take decades to catch up (if ever)” with America’s; it has myopically “focused its policies primarily on its region”; and it has “not developed any significant capabilities for global force projection.” Above all, Nye claimed, China suffers “geopolitical disadvantages in the internal Asian balance of power, compared to America.”

Or put it this way (and in this Nye is typical of a whole world of Washington thinking): with more allies, ships, fighters, missiles, money, patents, and blockbuster movies than any other power, Washington wins hands down.

If Professor Nye paints power by the numbers, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s latest tome, modestly titled World Order and hailed in reviews as nothing less than a revelation, adopts a Nietzschean perspective. The ageless Kissinger portrays global politics as plastic and so highly susceptible to shaping by great leaders with a will to power. By this measure, in the tradition of master European diplomats Charles de Talleyrand and Prince Metternich, President Theodore Roosevelt was a bold visionary who launched “an American role in managing the Asia-Pacific equilibrium.” On the other hand, Woodrow Wilson’s idealistic dream of national self-determination rendered him geopolitically inept and Franklin Roosevelt was blind to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s steely “global strategy.” Harry Truman, in contrast, overcame national ambivalence to commit “America to the shaping of a new international order,” a policy wisely followed by the next 12 presidents.

Among the most “courageous” of them, Kissinger insists, was that leader of “courage, dignity, and conviction,” George W. Bush, whose resolute bid for the “transformation of Iraq from among the Middle East’s most repressive states to a multiparty democracy” would have succeeded, had it not been for the “ruthless” subversion of his work by Syria and Iran. In such a view, geopolitics has no place; only the bold vision of “statesmen” and kings really matters.

And perhaps that’s a comforting perspective in Washington at a moment when America’s hegemony is visibly crumbling amid a tectonic shift in global power.

With Washington’s anointed seers strikingly obtuse on the subject of geopolitical power, perhaps it’s time to get back to basics. That means returning to the foundational text of modern geopolitics, which remains an indispensible guide even though it was published in an obscure British geography journal well over a century ago.

Sir Halford Invents Geopolitics

On a cold London evening in January 1904, Sir Halford Mackinder, the director of the London School of Economics, “entranced” an audience at the Royal Geographical Society on Savile Row with a paper boldly titled “The Geographical Pivot of History.” This presentation evinced, said the society’s president, “a brilliancy of description… we have seldom had equaled in this room.”

Mackinder argued that the future of global power lay not, as most British then imagined, in controlling the global sea lanes, but in controlling a vast land mass he called “Euro-Asia.”  By turning the globe away from America to place central Asia at the planet’s epicenter, and then tilting the Earth’s axis northward just a bit beyond Mercator’s equatorial projection, Mackinder redrew and thus reconceptualized the world map.

His new map showed Africa, Asia, and Europe not as three separate continents, but as a unitary land mass, a veritable “world island.”  Its broad, deep “heartland” — 4,000 miles from the Persian Gulf to the Siberian Sea — was so enormous that it could only be controlled from its “rimlands” in Eastern Europe or what he called its maritime “marginal” in the surrounding seas.

Mackinder’s Concept of the World Island, From The Geographical Journal (1904)

The “discovery of the Cape road to the Indies” in the sixteenth century, Mackinder wrote, “endowed Christendom with the widest possible mobility of power… wrapping her influence round the Euro-Asiatic land-power which had hitherto threatened her very existence.” This greater mobility, he later explained, gave Europe’s seamen “superiority for some four centuries over the landsmen of Africa and Asia.”

Yet the “heartland” of this vast landmass, a “pivot area” stretching from the Persian Gulf to China’s Yangtze River, remained nothing less than the Archimedean fulcrum for future world power. “Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island,” went Mackinder’s later summary of the situation. “Who rules the World-Island commands the world.” Beyond the vast mass of that world island, which made up nearly 60% of the Earth’s land area, lay a less consequential hemisphere covered with broad oceans and a few outlying “smaller islands.”  He meant, of course, Australia and the Americas.

For an earlier generation, the opening of the Suez Canal and the advent of steam shipping had “increased the mobility of sea-power [relative] to land power.” But future railways could “work the greater wonder in the steppe,” Mackinder claimed, undercutting the cost of sea transport and shifting the locus of geopolitical power inland. In the fullness of time, the “pivot state” of Russia might, in alliance with another power like Germany, expand “over the marginal lands of Euro-Asia,” allowing “the use of vast continental resources for fleet-building, and the empire of the world would be in sight.”

For the next two hours, as he read through a text thick with the convoluted syntax and classical references expected of a former Oxford don, his audience knew that they were privy to something extraordinary. Several stayed after to offer extended commentaries. For instance, the renowned military analyst Spenser Wilkinson, the first to hold a chair in military history at Oxford, pronounced himself unconvinced about “the modern expansion of Russia,” insisting that British and Japanese naval power would continue the historic function of holding “the balance between the divided forces… on the continental area.”

Pressed by his learned listeners to consider other facts or factors, including “air as a means of locomotion,” Mackinder responded: “My aim is not to predict a great future for this or that country, but to make a geographical formula into which you could fit any political balance.” Instead of specific events, Mackinder was reaching for a general theory about the causal connection between geography and global power.  “The future of the world,” he insisted, “depends on the maintenance of [a] balance of power” between sea powers such as Britain or Japan operating from the maritime marginal and “the expansive internal forces” within the Euro-Asian heartland they were intent on containing.

Not only did Mackinder give voice to a worldview that would influence Britain’s foreign policy for several decades, but he had, in that moment, created the modern science of “geopolitics” — the study of how geography can, under certain circumstances, shape the destiny of whole peoples, nations, and empires.

That night in London was, of course, more than a long time ago.  It was another age. England was still mourning the death of Queen Victoria.  Teddy Roosevelt was president.  Henry Ford had just opened a small auto plant in Detroit to make his Model-A, an automobile with a top speed of 28 miles per hour.  Only a month earlier, the Wright brothers’ “Flyer” had taken to the air for the first time — 120 feet of air, to be exact.

Yet, for the next 110 years, Sir Halford Mackinder’s words would offer a prism of exceptional precision when it came to understanding the often obscure geopolitics driving the world’s major conflicts — two world wars, a Cold War, America’s Asian wars (Korea and Vietnam), two Persian Gulf wars, and even the endless pacification of Afghanistan.  The question today is: How can Sir Halford help us understand not only centuries past, but the half-century still to come?

Britannia Rules the Waves

In the age of sea power that lasted just over 400 years — from 1602 to the Washington Disarmament Conference of 1922 — the great powers competed to control the Eurasian world island via the surrounding sea lanes that stretched for 15,000 miles from London to Tokyo.  The instrument of power was, of course, the ship — first men-o’-war, then battleships, submarines, and aircraft carriers. While land armies slogged through the mud of Manchuria or France in battles with mind-numbing casualties, imperial navies skimmed over the seas, maneuvering for the control of whole coasts and continents.

At the peak of its imperial power circa 1900, Great Britain ruled the waves with a fleet of 300 capital ships and 30 naval bastions, bases that ringed the world island from the North Atlantic at Scapa Flow through the Mediterranean at Malta and Suez to Bombay, Singapore, and Hong Kong.  Just as the Roman Empire enclosed the Mediterranean, making it Mare Nostrum (“Our Sea”), British power would make the Indian Ocean its own “closed sea,” securing its flanks with army forces on India’s Northwest Frontier and barring both Persians and Ottomans from building naval bases on the Persian Gulf.

By that maneuver, Britain also secured control over Arabia and Mesopotamia, strategic terrain that Mackinder had termed “the passage-land from Europe to the Indies” and the gateway to the world island’s “heartland.” From this geopolitical perspective, the nineteenth century was, at heart, a strategic rivalry, often called “the Great Game,” between Russia “in command of nearly the whole of the Heartland… knocking at the landward gates of the Indies,” and Britain “advancing inland from the sea gates of India to meet the menace from the northwest.” In other words, Mackinder concluded, “the final Geographical Realities” of the modern age were sea power versus land power or “the World-Island and the Heartland.”

Intense rivalries, first between England and France, then England and Germany, helped drive a relentless European naval arms race that raised the price of sea power to unsustainable levels. In 1805, Admiral Nelson’s flagship, the HMS Victory, with its oaken hull weighing just 3,500 tons, sailed into the battle of Trafalgar against Napoleon’s navy at nine knots, its 100 smooth-bore cannon firing 42-pound balls at a range of no more than 400 yards.

In 1906, just a century later, Britain launched the world’s first modern battleship, the HMS Dreadnought, its foot-thick steel hull weighing 20,000 tons, its steam turbines allowing speeds of 21 knots, and its mechanized 12-inch guns rapid-firing 850-pound shells up to 12 miles. The cost for this leviathan was £1.8 million, equivalent to nearly $300 million today. Within a decade, half-a-dozen powers had emptied their treasuries to build whole fleets of these lethal, lavishly expensive battleships.

Thanks to a combination of technological superiority, global reach, and naval alliances with the U.S. and Japan, a Pax Britannica would last a full century, 1815 to 1914. In the end, however, this global system was marked by an accelerating naval arms race, volatile great-power diplomacy, and a bitter competition for overseas empire that imploded into the mindless slaughter of World War I, leaving 16 million dead by 1918.

Mackinder’s Century

As the eminent imperial historian Paul Kennedy once observed, “the rest of the twentieth century bore witness to Mackinder’s thesis,” with two world wars fought over his “rimlands” running from Eastern Europe through the Middle East to East Asia.  Indeed, World War I was, as Mackinder himself later observed, “a straight duel between land-power and sea-power.” At war’s end in 1918, the sea powers — Britain, America, and Japan — sent naval expeditions to Archangel, the Black Sea, and Siberia to contain Russia’s revolution inside its “heartland.”

Reflecting Mackinder’s influence on geopolitical thinking in Germany, Adolf Hitler would risk his Reich in a misbegotten effort to capture the Russian heartland as Lebensraum, or living space, for his “master race.” Sir Halford’s work helped shape the ideas of German geographer Karl Haushofer, founder of the journal Zeitschrift für Geopolitik, proponent of the concept of Lebensraum, and adviser to Adolf Hitler and his deputy führer, Rudolf Hess. In 1942, the Führer dispatched a million men, 10,000 artillery pieces, and 500 tanks to breach the Volga River at Stalingrad.  In the end, his forces suffered 850,000 wounded, killed, and captured in a vain attempt to break through the East European rimland into the world island’s pivotal region.

A century after Mackinder’s seminal treatise, another British scholar, imperial historian John Darwin, argued in his magisterial survey After Tamerlane that the United States had achieved its “colossal Imperium… on an unprecedented scale” in the wake of World War II by becoming the first power in history to control the strategic axial points “at both ends of Eurasia” (his rendering of Mackinder’s “Euro-Asia”). With fears of Chinese and Russian expansion serving as the “catalyst for collaboration,” the U.S. won imperial bastions in both Western Europe and Japan. With these axial points as anchors, Washington then built an arc of military bases that followed Britain’s maritime template and were visibly meant to encircle the world island.

America’s Axial Geopolitics

Having seized the axial ends of the world island from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in 1945, for the next 70 years the United States relied on ever-thickening layers of military power to contain China and Russia inside that Eurasian heartland. Stripped of its ideological foliage, Washington’s grand strategy of Cold War-era anticommunist “containment” was little more than a process of imperial succession.  A hollowed-out Britain was replaced astride the maritime “marginal,” but the strategic realities remained essentially the same.

Indeed, in 1943, two years before World War II ended, an aging Mackinder published his last article, “The Round World and the Winning of the Peace,” in the influential U.S. journal Foreign Affairs.  In it, he reminded Americans aspiring to a “grand strategy” for an unprecedented version of planetary hegemony that even their “dream of a global air power” would not change geopolitical basics. “If the Soviet Union emerges from this war as conqueror of Germany,” he warned, “she must rank as the greatest land power on the globe,” controlling the “greatest natural fortress on earth.”

When it came to the establishment of a new post-war Pax Americana, first and foundational for the containment of Soviet land power would be the U.S. Navy. Its fleets would come to surround the Eurasian continent, supplementing and then supplanting the British navy: the Sixth Fleet was based at Naples in 1946 for control of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea; the Seventh Fleet at Subic Bay, Philippines, in 1947, for the Western Pacific; and the Fifth Fleet at Bahrain in the Persian Gulf since 1995.

Next, American diplomats added layers of encircling military alliances — the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1949), the Middle East Treaty Organization (1955), the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (1954), and the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty (1951).

By 1955, the U.S. also had a global network of 450 military bases in 36 countries aimed, in large part, at containing the Sino-Soviet bloc behind an Iron Curtain that coincided to a surprising degree with Mackinder’s “rimlands” around the Eurasian landmass. By the Cold War’s end in 1990, the encirclement of communist China and Russia required 700 overseas bases, an air force of 1,763 jet fighters, a vast nuclear arsenal, more than 1,000 ballistic missiles, and a navy of 600 ships, including 15 nuclear carrier battle groups — all linked by the world’s only global system of communications satellites.

As the fulcrum for Washington’s strategic perimeter around the world island, the Persian Gulf region has for nearly 40 years been the site of constant American intervention, overt and covert. The 1979 revolution in Iran meant the loss of a keystone country in the arch of U.S. power around the Gulf and left Washington struggling to rebuild its presence in the region. To that end, it would simultaneously back Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in its war against revolutionary Iran and arm the most extreme of the Afghan mujahedeen against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

It was in this context that Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, unleashed his strategy for the defeat of the Soviet Union with a sheer geopolitical agility still little understood even today. In 1979, Brzezinski, a déclassé Polish aristocrat uniquely attuned to his native continent’s geopolitical realities, persuaded Carter to launch Operation Cyclone with massive funding that reached $500 million annually by the late 1980s. Its goal: to mobilize Muslim militants to attack the Soviet Union’s soft Central Asian underbelly and drive a wedge of radical Islam deep into the Soviet heartland. It was to simultaneously inflict a demoralizing defeat on the Red Army in Afghanistan and cut Eastern Europe’s “rimland” free from Moscow’s orbit. “We didn’t push the Russians to intervene [in Afghanistan],” Brzezinski said in 1998, explaining his geopolitical masterstroke in this Cold War edition of the Great Game, “but we knowingly increased the probability that they would… That secret operation was an excellent idea. Its effect was to draw the Russians into the Afghan trap.”

Asked about this operation’s legacy when it came to creating a militant Islam hostile to the U.S., Brzezinski, who studied and frequently cited Mackinder, was coolly unapologetic. “What is most important to the history of the world?” he asked. “The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?”

Yet even America’s stunning victory in the Cold War with the implosion of the Soviet Union would not transform the geopolitical fundamentals of the world island. As a result, after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Washington’s first foreign foray in the new era would involve an attempt to reestablish its dominant position in the Persian Gulf, using Saddam Hussein’s occupation of Kuwait as a pretext.

In 2003, when the U.S. invaded Iraq, imperial historian Paul Kennedy returned to Mackinder’s century-old treatise to explain this seemingly inexplicable misadventure. “Right now, with hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops in the Eurasian rimlands,” Kennedy wrote in the Guardian, “it looks as if Washington is taking seriously Mackinder’s injunction to ensure control of ‘the geographical pivot of history.’” If we interpret these remarks expansively, the sudden proliferation of U.S. bases across Afghanistan and Iraq should be seen as yet another imperial bid for a pivotal position at the edge of the Eurasian heartland, akin to those old British colonial forts along India’s Northwest Frontier.

In the ensuing years, Washington attempted to replace some of its ineffective boots on the ground with drones in the air. By 2011, the Air Force and the CIA had ringed the Eurasian landmass with 60 bases for its armada of drones. By then, its workhorse Reaper, armed with Hellfire missiles and GBU-30 bombs, had a range of 1,150 miles, which meant that from those bases it could strike targets almost anywhere in Africa and Asia.

Significantly, drone bases now dot the maritime margins around the world island — from Sigonella, Sicily, to Icerlik, Turkey; Djibouti on the Red Sea; Qatar and Abu Dhabi on the Persian Gulf; the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean; Jalalabad, Khost, Kandahar, and Shindand in Afghanistan; and in the Pacific, Zamboanga in the Philippines and Andersen Air Base on the island of Guam, among other places. To patrol this sweeping periphery, the Pentagon is spending $10 billion to build an armada of 99 Global Hawk drones equipped with high-resolution cameras capable of surveilling all terrain within a hundred-mile radius, electronic sensors that can sweep up communications, and efficient engines capable of 35 hours of continuous flight and a range of 8,700 miles.

China’s Strategy

Washington’s moves, in other words, represent something old, even if on a previously unimaginable scale.  But the rise of China as the world’s largest economy, inconceivable a century ago, represents something new and so threatens to overturn the maritime geopolitics that have shaped world power for the past 400 years. Instead of focusing purely on building a blue-water navy like the British or a global aerospace armada akin to America’s, China is reaching deep within the world island in an attempt to thoroughly reshape the geopolitical fundamentals of global power. It is using a subtle strategy that has so far eluded Washington’s power elites.

After decades of quiet preparation, Beijing has recently begun revealing its grand strategy for global power, move by careful move. Its two-step plan is designed to build a transcontinental infrastructure for the economic integration of the world island from within, while mobilizing military forces to surgically slice through Washington’s encircling containment.

The initial step has involved a breathtaking project to put in place an infrastructure for the continent’s economic integration.  By laying down an elaborate and enormously expensive network of high-speed, high-volume railroads as well as oil and natural gas pipelines across the vast breadth of Eurasia, China may realize Mackinder’s vision in a new way.  For the first time in history, the rapid transcontinental movement of critical cargo — oil, minerals, and manufactured goods — will be possible on a massive scale, thereby potentially unifying that vast landmass into a single economic zone stretching 6,500 miles from Shanghai to Madrid. In this way, the leadership in Beijing hopes to shift the locus of geopolitical power away from the maritime periphery and deep into the continent’s heartland.

“Trans-continental railways are now transmuting the conditions of land power,” wrote Mackinder back in 1904 as the “precarious” single track of the Trans-Siberian Railway, the world’s longest, reached across the continent for 5,700 miles from Moscow toward Vladivostok. “But the century will not be old before all Asia is covered with railways,” he added. “The spaces within the Russian Empire and Mongolia are so vast, and their potentialities in… fuel and metals so incalculably great that a vast economic world, more or less apart, will there develop inaccessible to oceanic commerce.”

Mackinder was a bit premature in his prediction. The Russian revolution of 1917, the Chinese revolution of 1949, and the subsequent 40 years of the Cold War slowed any real development for decades.  In this way, the Euro-Asian “heartland” was denied economic growth and integration, thanks in part to artificial ideological barriers — the Iron Curtain and then the Sino-Soviet split — that stalled any infrastructure construction across the vast Eurasian land mass. No longer.

Only a few years after the Cold War ended, former National Security Adviser Brzezinski, by then a contrarian sharply critical of the global views of both Republican and Democratic policy elites, began raising warning flags about Washington’s inept style of geopolitics.  “Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago,” he wrote in 1998, essentially paraphrasing Mackinder, “Eurasia has been the center of world power. A power that dominates ‘Eurasia’ would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions… rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent.”

While such a geopolitical logic has eluded Washington, it’s been well understood in Beijing.  Indeed, in the last decade China has launched the world’s largest burst of infrastructure investment, already a trillion dollars and counting, since Washington started the U.S. Interstate Highway System back in the 1950s. The numbers for the rails and pipelines it’s been building are mind numbing. Between 2007 and 2014, China criss-crossed its countryside with 9,000 miles of new high-speed rail, more than the rest of the world combined. The system now carries 2.5 million passengers daily at top speeds of 240 miles per hour. By the time the system is complete in 2030, it will have added up to 16,000 miles of high-speed track at a cost of $300 billion, linking all of China’s major cities.

China-Central Asia Infrastructure Integrates the World Island (Source: Stratfor)

Simultaneously, China’s leadership began collaborating with surrounding states on a massive project to integrate the country’s national rail network into a transcontinental grid. Starting in 2008, the Germans and Russians joined with the Chinese in launching the “Eurasian Land Bridge.” Two east-west routes, the old Trans-Siberian in the north and a new southern route along the ancient Silk Road through Kazakhstan are meant to bind all of Eurasia together. On the quicker southern route, containers of high-value manufactured goods, computers, and auto parts started travelling 6,700 miles from Leipzig, Germany, to Chongqing, China, in just 20 days, about half the 35 days such goods now take via ship.

In 2013, Deutsche Bahn AG (German Rail) began preparing a third route between Hamburg and Zhengzhou that has now cut travel time to just 15 days, while Kazakh Rail opened a Chongqing-Duisburg link with similar times. In October 2014, China announced plans for the construction of the world’s longest high-speed rail line at a cost of $230 billion.  According to plans, trains will traverse the 4,300 miles between Beijing and Moscow in just two days.

In addition, China is building two spur lines running southwest and due south toward the world island’s maritime “marginal.” In April, President Xi Jinping signed an agreement with Pakistan to spend $46 billion on a China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.  Highway, rail links, and pipelines will stretch nearly 2,000 miles from Kashgar in Xinjiang, China’s westernmost province, to a joint port facility at Gwadar, Pakistan, opened back in 2007.  China has invested more than $200 billion in the building of this strategic port at Gwadar on the Arabian Sea, just 370 miles from the Persian Gulf. Starting in 2011, China also began extending its rail lines through Laos into Southeast Asia at an initial cost of $6.2 billion. In the end, a high-speed line is expected to take passengers and goods on a trip of just 10 hours from Kunming to Singapore.

In this same dynamic decade, China has constructed a comprehensive network of trans-continental gas and oil pipelines to import fuels from the whole of Eurasia for its population centers — in the north, center, and southeast. In 2009, after a decade of construction, the state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) opened the final stage of the Kazakhstan-China Oil Pipeline. It stretches 1,400 miles from the Caspian Sea to Xinjiang.

Simultaneously, CNPC collaborated with Turkmenistan to inaugurate the Central Asia-China gas pipeline. Running for 1,200 miles largely parallel to the Kazakhstan-China Oil Pipeline, it is the first to bring the region’s natural gas to China. To bypass the Straits of Malacca controlled by the U.S Navy, CNPC opened a Sino-Myanmar pipeline in 2013 to carry both Middle Eastern oil and Burmese natural gas 1,500 miles from the Bay of Bengal to China’s remote southwestern region. In May 2014, the company signed a $400 billion, 30-year deal with the privatized Russian energy giant Gazprom to deliver 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually by 2018 via a still-to-be-completed northern network of pipelines across Siberia and into Manchuria.

Sino-Myanmar Oil Pipeline Evades the U.S. Navy in the Straits of Malacca (Source: Stratfor)

Though massive, these projects are just part of an ongoing construction boom that, over the past five years, has woven a cat’s cradle of oil and gas lines across Central Asia and south into Iran and Pakistan. The result will soon be an integrated inland energy infrastructure, including Russia’s own vast network of pipelines, extending across the whole of Eurasia, from the Atlantic to the South China Sea.

To capitalize such staggering regional growth plans, in October 2014 Beijing announced the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. China’s leadership sees this institution as a future regional and, in the end, Eurasian alternative to the U.S.-dominated World Bank. So far, despite pressure from Washington not to join, 14 key countries, including close U.S. allies like Germany, Great Britain, Australia, and South Korea, have signed on. Simultaneously, China has begun building long-term trade relations with resource-rich areas of Africa, as well as with Australia and Southeast Asia, as part of its plan to economically integrate the world island.

Finally, Beijing has only recently revealed a deftly designed strategy for neutralizing the military forces Washington has arrayed around the continent’s perimeter. In April, President Xi Jinping announced construction of that massive road-rail-pipeline corridor direct from western China to its new port at Gwadar, Pakistan, creating the logistics for future naval deployments in the energy-rich Arabian Sea.

In May, Beijing escalated its claim to exclusive control over the South China Sea, expanding Longpo Naval Base on Hainan Island for the region’s first nuclear submarine facility, accelerating its dredging to create three new atolls that could become military airfields in the disputed Spratley Islands, and formally warning off U.S. Navy overflights. By building the infrastructure for military bases in the South China and Arabian seas, Beijing is forging the future capacity to surgically and strategically impair U.S. military containment.

At the same time, Beijing is developing plans to challenge Washington’s dominion over space and cyberspace.  It expects, for instance, to complete its own global satellite system by 2020, offering the first challenge to Washington’s dominion over space since the U.S. launched its system of 26 defense communication satellites back in 1967. Simultaneously, Beijing is building a formidable capacity for cyber warfare.

In a decade or two, should the need arise, China will be ready to surgically slice through Washington’s continental encirclement at a few strategic points without having to confront the full global might of the U.S. military, potentially rendering the vast American armada of carriers, cruisers, drones, fighters, and submarines redundant.

Lacking the geopolitical vision of Mackinder and his generation of British imperialists, America’s current leadership has failed to grasp the significance of a radical global change underway inside the Eurasian land mass. If China succeeds in linking its rising industries to the vast natural resources of the Eurasian heartland, then quite possibly, as Sir Halford Mackinder predicted on that cold London night in 1904, “the empire of the world would be in sight.”


Alfred W. McCoy, a TomDispatch regular, holds the Harrington Chair in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is the editor of Endless Empire: Spain’s Retreat, Europe’s Eclipse, America’s Decline and the author of Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State, among other works.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa, and Tom Engelhardt’s latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.

Copyright 2015 Alfred McCoy

2015-06-07

Source: http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176007/tomgram%3A_alfred_mccoy%2C_washington%27s_great_game_and_why_it%27s_failing_

The USA Has Been At War 93% Of The Time (222 Out Of 239 Years – Since 1776)

The U.S. Has Only Been At Peace For 21 Years Total Since Its Birth

In 2011, Danios wrote:

Below, I have reproduced a year-by-year timeline of America’s wars, which reveals something quite interesting: since the United States was founded in 1776, she has been at war during 214 out of her 235 calendar years of existence.  In other words, there were only 21 calendar years in which the U.S. did not wage any wars.

To put this in perspective:

* Pick any year since 1776 and there is about a 91% chance that America was involved in some war during that calendar year.

* No U.S. president truly qualifies as a peacetime president.  Instead, all U.S. presidents can technically be considered “war presidents.”

* The U.S. has never gone a decade without war.

* The only time the U.S. went five years without war (1935-40) was during the isolationist period of the Great Depression.

*  *  *

Here is a graphic depiction of U.S. wars:

And here is the year-by-year timeline of America’s major wars:

****

Year-by-year Timeline of America’s Major Wars (1776-2011)

1776 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamagua Wars, Second Cherokee War, Pennamite-Yankee War

1777 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Second Cherokee War, Pennamite-Yankee War

1778 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1779 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1780 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1781 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1782 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1783 – American Revolutionary War, Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War

1784 – Chickamauga Wars, Pennamite-Yankee War, Oconee War

1785 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1786 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1787 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1788 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1789 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1790 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1791 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1792 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1793 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1794 – Chickamauga Wars, Northwest Indian War

1795 – Northwest Indian War

1796 – No major war

1797 – No major war

1798 – Quasi-War

1799 – Quasi-War

1800 – Quasi-War

1801 – First Barbary War

1802 – First Barbary War

1803 – First Barbary War

1804 – First Barbary War

1805 – First Barbary War

1806 – Sabine Expedition

1807 – No major war

1808 – No major war

1809 – No major war

1810 – U.S. occupies Spanish-held West Florida

1811 – Tecumseh’s War

1812 – War of 1812, Tecumseh’s War, Seminole Wars, U.S. occupies Spanish-held Amelia Island and other parts of East Florida

1813 – War of 1812, Tecumseh’s War, Peoria War, Creek War, U.S. expands its territory in West Florida

1814 – War of 1812, Creek War, U.S. expands its territory in Florida, Anti-piracy war

1815 – War of 1812, Second Barbary War, Anti-piracy war

1816 – First Seminole War, Anti-piracy war

1817 – First Seminole War, Anti-piracy war

1818 – First Seminole War, Anti-piracy war

1819 – Yellowstone Expedition, Anti-piracy war

1820 – Yellowstone Expedition, Anti-piracy war

1821 – Anti-piracy war (see note above)

1822 – Anti-piracy war (see note above)

1823 – Anti-piracy war, Arikara War

1824 – Anti-piracy war

1825 – Yellowstone Expedition, Anti-piracy war

1826 – No major war

1827 – Winnebago War

1828 – No major war

1829 – No major war

1830 – No major war 

1831 – Sac and Fox Indian War

1832 – Black Hawk War

1833 – Cherokee Indian War

1834 – Cherokee Indian War, Pawnee Indian Territory Campaign

1835 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Second Creek War

1836 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Second Creek War, Missouri-Iowa Border War

1837 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Second Creek War, Osage Indian War, Buckshot War

1838 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars, Buckshot War, Heatherly Indian War

1839 – Cherokee Indian War, Seminole Wars

1840 – Seminole Wars, U.S. naval forces invade Fiji Islands

1841 – Seminole Wars, U.S. naval forces invade McKean Island, Gilbert Islands, and Samoa

1842 – Seminole Wars

1843 – U.S. forces clash with Chinese, U.S. troops invade African coast

1844 – Texas-Indian Wars

1845 – Texas-Indian Wars

1846 – Mexican-American War, Texas-Indian Wars

1847 – Mexican-American War, Texas-Indian Wars

1848 – Mexican-American War, Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War

1849 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians

1850 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Yuma War, California Indian Wars, Pitt River Expedition

1851 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, Yuma War, Utah Indian Wars, California Indian Wars

1852 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Yuma War, Utah Indian Wars, California Indian Wars

1853 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Yuma War, Utah Indian Wars, Walker War, California Indian Wars

1854 – Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians

1855 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Cayuse War, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Yakima War, Winnas Expedition, Klickitat War, Puget Sound War, Rogue River Wars, U.S. forces invade Fiji Islands and Uruguay

1856 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, California Indian Wars, Puget Sound War, Rogue River Wars, Tintic War

1857 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, California Indian Wars, Utah War, Conflict in Nicaragua

1858 – Seminole Wars, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Mohave War, California Indian Wars, Spokane-Coeur d’Alene-Paloos War, Utah War, U.S. forces invade Fiji Islands and Uruguay

1859 Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, California Indian Wars, Pecos Expedition, Antelope Hills Expedition, Bear River Expedition, John Brown’s raid, U.S. forces launch attack against Paraguay, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1860 – Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Paiute War, Kiowa-Comanche War

1861 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign

1862 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign, Dakota War of 1862,

1863 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Southwest Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign, Colorado War, Goshute War

1864 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Cheyenne Campaign, Colorado War, Snake War

1865 – American Civil War, Texas-Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Colorado War, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War

1866 – Texas-Indian Wars, Navajo Wars, Apache Wars, California Indian Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Red Cloud’s War, Franklin County War, U.S. invades Mexico, Conflict with China

1867 – Texas-Indian Wars, Long Walk of the Navajo, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Red Cloud’s War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War, U.S. troops occupy Nicaragua and attack Taiwan

1868 – Texas-Indian Wars, Long Walk of the Navajo, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Snake War, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Red Cloud’s War, Comanche Wars, Battle of Washita River, Franklin County War

1869 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War

1870 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War

1871 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Franklin County War, Kingsley Cave Massacre, U.S. forces invade Korea

1872 – Texas-Indian Wars, Apache Wars, Utah’s Black Hawk War, Comanche Wars, Modoc War, Franklin County War

1873 – Texas-Indian Wars, Comanche Wars, Modoc War, Apache Wars, Cypress Hills Massacre, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1874 – Texas-Indian Wars, Comanche Wars, Red River War, Mason County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1875 – Conflict in Mexico, Texas-Indian Wars, Comanche Wars, Eastern Nevada, Mason County War, Colfax County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1876 – Texas-Indian Wars, Black Hills War, Mason County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1877 – Texas-Indian Wars, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Black Hills War, Nez Perce War, Mason County War, Lincoln County War, San Elizario Salt War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1878 – Paiute Indian conflict, Bannock War, Cheyenne War, Lincoln County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1879 – Cheyenne War, Sheepeater Indian War, White River War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1880 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1881 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1882 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1883 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1884 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1885 – Apache Wars, Eastern Nevada Expedition, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1886 – Apache Wars, Pleasant Valley War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1887 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1888 – U.S. show of force against Haiti, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1889 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1890 – Sioux Indian War, Skirmish between 1st Cavalry and Indians, Ghost Dance War, Wounded Knee, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1891 – Sioux Indian War, Ghost Dance War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1892 – Johnson County War, U.S. forces invade Mexico

1893 – U.S. forces invade Mexico and Hawaii

1894 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1895 – U.S. forces invade Mexico, Bannock Indian Disturbances

1896 – U.S. forces invade Mexico

1897 – No major war

1898 – Spanish-American War, Battle of Leech Lake, Chippewa Indian Disturbances

1899 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1900 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1901 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1902 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1903 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1904 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1905 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1906 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1907 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1908 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1909 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1910 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1911 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1912 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars

1913 – Philippine-American War, Banana Wars, New Mexico Navajo War

1914 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico

1915 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico, Colorado Paiute War

1916 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico

1917 – Banana Wars, World War I, U.S. invades Mexico

1918 – Banana Wars, World War I, U.S invades Mexico

1919 – Banana Wars, U.S. invades Mexico

1920 – Banana Wars

1921 – Banana Wars

1922 – Banana Wars

1923 – Banana Wars, Posey War

1924 – Banana Wars

1925 – Banana Wars

1926 – Banana Wars

1927 – Banana Wars

1928 – Banana Wars

1930 – Banana Wars

1931 – Banana Wars

1932 – Banana Wars

1933 – Banana Wars

1934 – Banana Wars

1935 – No major war

1936 – No major war

1937 – No major war

1938 – No major war

1939 – No major war

1940 – No major war

1941 – World War II

1942 – World War II

1943 – Wold War II

1944 – World War II

1945 – World War II

1946 – Cold War (U.S. occupies the Philippines and South Korea)

1947 – Cold War (U.S. occupies South Korea, U.S. forces land in Greece to fight Communists)

1948 – Cold War (U.S. forces aid Chinese Nationalist Party against Communists)

1949 – Cold War (U.S. forces aid Chinese Nationalist Party against Communists)

1950 – Korean War, Jayuga Uprising

1951 – Korean War

1952 – Korean War

1953 – Korean War

1954 – Covert War in Guatemala

1955 – Vietnam War

1956 – Vietnam War

1957 – Vietnam War

1958 – Vietnam War

1959 – Vietnam War, Conflict in Haiti

1960 – Vietam War

1961 – Vietnam War

1962 – Vietnam War, Cold War (Cuban Missile Crisis; U.S. marines fight Communists in Thailand)

1963 – Vietnam War

1964 – Vietnam War

1965 – Vietnam War, U.S. occupation of Dominican Republic

1966 – Vietnam War, U.S. occupation of Dominican Republic

1967 – Vietnam War

1968 – Vietnam War

1969 – Vietnam War

1970 – Vietnam War

1971 – Vietnam War

1972 – Vietnam War

1973 – Vietnam War, U.S. aids Israel in Yom Kippur War

1974 – Vietnam War

1975 – Vietnam War

1976 – No major war

1977 – No major war

1978 – No major war

1979 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan)

1980 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan)

1981 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), First Gulf of Sidra Incident

1982 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), Conflict in Lebanon

1983 – Cold War (Invasion of Grenada, CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), Conflict in Lebanon

1984 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua), Conflict in Persian Gulf

1985 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua)

1986 – Cold War (CIA proxy war in Afghanistan and Nicaragua)

1987 – Conflict in Persian Gulf

1988 – Conflict in Persian Gulf, U.S. occupation of Panama

1989 – Second Gulf of Sidra Incident, U.S. occupation of Panama, Conflict in Philippines

1990 – First Gulf War, U.S. occupation of Panama

1991 – First Gulf War

1992 – Conflict in Iraq

1993 – Conflict in Iraq

1994 – Conflict in Iraq, U.S. invades Haiti

1995 – Conflict in Iraq, U.S. invades Haiti, NATO bombing of Bosnia and Herzegovina

1996 – Conflict in Iraq

1997 – No major war

1998 – Bombing of Iraq, Missile strikes against Afghanistan and Sudan

1999 – Kosovo War

2000 – No major war

2001 – War on Terror in Afghanistan

2002 – War on Terror in Afghanistan and Yemen

2003 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, and Iraq

2004 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2005 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2006 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2007 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen

2008 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2009 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2010 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen

2011 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen; Conflict in Libya (Libyan Civil War)

In most of these wars, the U.S. was on the offense. Danios admits that some of the wars were defensive.   However, Danios also leaves out covert CIA operations and other acts which could be considered war.

Let’s update what’s happened since 2011:

2012 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen

2013 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen

2014 – War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria and Yemen; Civil War in Ukraine

2015 – War on Terror in Somalia, Somalia, Syria and Yemen; Civil War in Ukraine

So we can add 4 more years of war. That means that for 222 out of 239 years – or 93% of the time – America has been at war. (We can quibble with the exact numbers, but the high percentage of time that America has been at war is clear and unmistakable.)

Indeed, most of the military operations launched since World War II have been launched by the U.S.

And American military spending dwarfs the rest of the world put together.

No wonder polls show that the world believes America is the number 1 threat to peace.


“Je Suis CIA”

Note: This article was first published in January 2015.

Since 9/11, the imperial playbook has consisted of a favorite and time-tested tactic: the false flag operation.

Carry out or facilitate a spectacular atrocity. Blame it on the enemy of choice. Issue a lie-infested official narrative, and have the corporate media repeat the lie. Rile up ignorant militant crowds, stoke the hatred, and war-mongering imperial policy planners and their criminal functionaries get what they want: war with the public stamp of approval.

Here we are again.

The Charlie Hebdo incident is being sold as “the French 9/11”. It certainly is, in all of the most tragic ways: France, like the United States on 9/11, has been used. The masses of the world have been deceived, and march in lockstep to NATO’s drumbeat again.

All signs lead from French intelligence back to Washington—and Langley, Virginia—directly and indirectly. Red herrings and deceptions comprise the official narrative.

The Al-Qaeda narrative, the classic CIA deception, gets fresh facelift. The fact that Al-Qaeda is CIA-created Anglo-American military-intelligence is ignored. The agenda behind the ISIS war—a massive and elaborate regional CIA false flag operation—registers even less.

The Charlie Hebdo terrorists have ties to Anglo-American intelligence and the Pentagon that the masses do not bother to think about. They are also tied to the (conveniently dead) 9/11-connected Al-Qaeda mastermind/CIA military-intelligence asset Anwar Al-Awlaki. These and other obvious connections to Washington and the CIA do not raise alarm bells among the ardent ones waving Je Suis Charlie signs (which “magically” appeared, and seem to have been mass-produced in advance).

Signs of an inside job and a still unfolding cover-up are significant, from pristine, undamaged passports found on scene to the convenient suicide of Helric Fredou, the Paris police commissioner in charge of the Hebdo investigation.

The Kouachi brothers and Amedy Coulibaly were not only well known by French authorities, French intelligence and the CIA. The Kouachis were tracked and monitored—guided—over the course of many years, arrested many times, yet were allowed to continue training and plotting with fellow Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, etc. These are telltale signs of a guided military-intelligence operation. A blatantly obvious terror cell, known to authorities, “drops out of sight”, and then set loose at an appropriate moment. And then executed.

None of these things, which alarm seasoned observers, registers among the emotional masses; the lemmings who willfully refuse to address its real source: the architects of Anglo-American war policy.

Only the NATO war agenda benefits from any of this.

“France’s 9/11” is more accurately France’s latest Operation Gladio. As noted by Paul Craig Roberts, there is a reason why the Charlie Hebdo attacks took place when it did:

France is suffering from the Washington-imposed sanctions against Russia. Shipyards are impacted from being unable to deliver Russian orders due to France’s vassalage status to Washington, and other aspects of the French economy are being adversely impacted by sanctions that Washington forced its NATO puppet states to apply to Russia.

This week the French president said that the sanctions against Russia should end (so did the German vice-chancellor).

This is too much foreign policy independence on France’s part for Washington. Has Washington resurrected “Operation Gladio,” which consisted of CIA bombing attacks against Europeans during the post-WW II era that Washington blamed on communists and used to destroy communist influence in European elections? Just as the world was led to believe that communists were behind Operation Gladio’s terrorist attacks, Muslims are blamed for the attacks on the French satirical magazine.

Now France is militarized, just as the US was in the wake of 9/11. And the French right-wing has newfound cache.

The hostile takeover of the public mind

Notice that the last two false flag operations in recent months—the false flagging of North Korea over Sony and the film The Interview, and the Charlie Hebdo deception—both revolve around the ideas of “free speech” and “free expression”.

This is a phantom battle, choreographed by those who could not care less for “freedoms”. In fact, the masses are being manipulated towards supporting war and mass murder, and police state agendas that specifically curtail freedoms.

What more creative way to take away freedoms than to make people give them up voluntarily?

The hordes of American citizens that supported the “war on terrorism” to “defend freedom” got the Patriot Act, which gutted what liberties they had; the Constitution and the Bill of Rights will not be restored. This process continues all over the world. Ask the average uninformed French citizen today suffering from post-traumatic stress, and they will gladly give up their rights, anything so that “terrorists” are stopped.

Note how the powers that be have taken to inserting their pro-war messages even more forcefully where the ignorant public spends the majority of its time: in popular entertainment. In Hollywood products, in their cartoons, in their magazines, in their celebrities.

Let George Clooney, Seth Rogen and James Franco transmit the messages of war for the CIA and the Pentagon.

Weaponize stupid movies like The Interview and crude magazines like Charlie Hebdo, and watch people become bloodthirsty, vengeful, unthinking and war-loving.

It is the CIA’s ongoing mission to plant its assets and its propaganda into the media and the arts, controlling the perception of culture as well as framing all debate. It is making a huge push at the moment, relishing the speed and effectiveness of technology and social media.

Hundreds and thousands of innocent lives have been lost in this endless, brutal and criminal war. Yet its architects and functionaries remain untouched.

Je Suis Langley

No Anglo-American war of conquest, no Charlie Hebdo massacre.

No CIA, no Militant Islam, no Al-Qaeda, no ISIS, no Charlie Hebdo massacre.

No 9/11, no “war on terrorism”, no ISIS deception, no Charlie Hebdo massacre.

No war against Russia, no Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Je Suis Charlie? No.

To the naïve ones who believe the lies and march on the streets carrying the signs, you are the victims, the gullible, the dupes, the pawns.

Tu es CIA.

Tu es NATO.


Putin Is Defeating More Than ISIS In Syria

Russia and its President, Vladimir Putin, a little more than a year ago, in July 2014 were the focus of attention in Europe and North America, accused, without a shred of forensic evidence, of shooting down an unarmed civilian Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine. The Russians were deemed out to restore the Soviet Union with their agreement to the popular referendum of Crimean citizens to annex into the Russian Federation and not Ukraine. Western sanctions were being thrown at Russia by both Washington and the EU. People spoke of a new Cold War. Today the picture is changing, and profoundly. It is Washington that is on the defensive, exposed for the criminal actions it has been doing in Syria and across the Middle East, including creating the recent asylum crisis in Germany and large parts of the EU.

As a student of international politics and economics for most of my adult life, I must say the emotional restraint that Vladimir Putin and the Russian government have shown against tasteless ad hominem attacks, from people such as Hillary Clinton who likened Putin to Adolf Hitler, is remarkable. But more than restraint is required to bring our world from the brink or some might say, the onset of a World War III. Brilliant and directed action is essential. Here something extraordinary has taken place in the very few days since President Vladimir Putin’s September 28, UNGA speech in New York.

What he said…

What Putin said to the UN General Assembly must be noted to put what he and Russia did in the days immediately following into clear focus. First of all he made clear what the international law behind the UN Charter means and that Russia is scrupulously abiding by the Charter in actions in Syria. Russia, unlike the US, has been formally asked by the legitimate Syrian government to aid its war against terror.

To the UN delegates and heads of state Putin stated, “The decisions debated within the UN are either taken in the form of resolutions or not. As diplomats say, they either pass or they don’t. Any action taken by circumventing this procedure is illegitimate and constitutes a violation of the UN Charter and contemporary international law.”

He continued, “We all know that after the end of the Cold War the world was left with one center of dominance, and those who found themselves at the top of the pyramid were tempted to think that, since they are so powerful and exceptional, they know best what needs to be done and thus they don’t need to reckon with the UN, which, instead of rubber-stamping the decisions they need, often stands in their way.”

Putin followed this with a clear message to Washington and NATO governments on the subject of national sovereignty, something anathema to many who embrace the Nirvana supposed to come from globalization, homogenization of all to one level: “What is the meaning of state sovereignty, the term which has been mentioned by our colleagues here?” Putin rhetorically asked. “It basically means freedom, every person and every state being free to choose their future. By the way, this brings us to the issue of the so-called legitimacy of state authorities. You shouldn’t play with words and manipulate them. In international law, international affairs, every term has to be clearly defined, transparent and interpreted the same way by one and all.”

Putin added, “We are all different, and we should respect that. Nations shouldn’t be forced to all conform to the same development model that somebody has declared the only appropriate one. We should all remember the lessons of the past. For example, we remember examples from our Soviet past, when the Soviet Union exported social experiments, pushing for changes in other countries for ideological reasons, and this often led to tragic consequences and caused degradation instead of progress. “

Those few words succinctly point to what is fundamentally wrong in the international order today. Nations, above all the one proclaiming herself Sole Superpower, Infallible Hegemon, the USA, have arrogantly moved after the collapse of the main adversary, the Soviet Union in 1990, to create what can only be called a global totalitarian empire, what G.H.W. Bush in his September 11, 1991 address to Congress called a New World Order. I believe with conviction that borders do matter, that respect for different cultures, different historical experiences is essential in a world of peace. That is as much true with nations as with individual human beings. We seem to have forgotten that simple notion amid all the wars of the past decades. Vladimir Putin reminds us.

Then the Russian president goes to the heart of the matter. He lays bare the true activities of the Obama Administration in Syria and the Middle East in arming and training “moderate” Islamist terrorists to attack Washington’s bête noire, Syria’s duly-elected and recently re-elected President, Bashar al Assad.

Putin states, “instead of learning from other people’s mistakes, some prefer to repeat them and continue to export revolutions, only now these are “democratic” revolutions. Just look at the situation in the Middle East and Northern Africa…problems have been piling up for a long time in this region, and people there wanted change. But what was the actual outcome? Instead of bringing about reforms, aggressive intervention rashly destroyed government institutions and the local way of life. Instead of democracy and progress, there is now violence, poverty, social disasters and total disregard for human rights, including even the right to life.”

Then in a remark addressed to Washington and their NGO Color Revolutions known as the Arab Spring, Putin pointedly asks,“I’m urged to ask those who created this situation: do you at least realize now what you’ve done?

Putin, without naming it, addresses the US and NATO role in creating ISIS, noting with precision the curious anomaly that the sophisticated new US Treasury unit to conduct financial sanctions against terrorist organizations, has utterly ignored the funding sources of ISIS, their oil sales facilitated by the Turkish President’s own family to name just one. The Russian President stated, “…the Islamic State itself did not come out of nowhere. It was initially developed as a weapon against undesirable secular regimes. Having established control over parts of Syria and Iraq, Islamic State now aggressively expands into other regions. It seeks dominance in the Muslim world and beyond…The situation is extremely dangerous. In these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make declarations about the threat of terrorism and at the same time turn a blind eye to the channels used to finance and support terrorists, including revenues from drug trafficking, the illegal oil trade and the arms trade.

And what Putin is doing…

Russia in the last weeks has completely out-maneuvered the diabolical, and they are diabolical, agenda of the Obama Administration not only in Syria but also in the entire Middle East and now in the EU with unleashing the flood of refugees. He openly reached out to invite Obama in their New York September 30 meeting to cooperate together in defeating ISIS. Obama stubbornly insisted that first Assad must go, despite the fact that Christine Wormuth, the Pentagon Undersecretary responsible for the Syrian war, confirmed Russian statements about Assad’s essential role today in any defeat of ISIS. She told the US Senate that Assad’s military “still has considerable strength,” adding, “it’s still the most powerful military force on the ground. The assessment right now is the regime is not in imminent danger of falling.”

Now come the howls of protest from neo-con warhawks, like the ever-ready-for-war Senator John McCain, chairman of the NGO International Republican Institute of the democratic revolution exporting US-backed NGO, National Endowment for Democracy. Or we hear flaccid protests from President Obama. This is because Washington finds itself deeply exposed to the light of world scrutiny for backing terrorists in Syria against a duly-elected state leader and government. The US warhawks accuse Russia of hitting “the moderate opposition” or civilians.

Emperor’s New Clothes

Russia’s Putin is playing the role ever so elegantly, even gracefully, of the small boy in the Hans Christian Anderson classic fairy tale from 1837, The Emperor’s New Clothes. The boy stands with his mother amid thousands of other villagers in the crowd outside the vain Emperor’s palace balcony, where the disassociated king struts around the balcony naked, thinking he is wearing a magnificent new suit of clothes. The boy shouts, to the embarrassment of all servile citizens who pretend his clothes are magnificent, “Mother, look the Emperor has no clothes!”

What do I mean? In the first four days of precision bombing of select sites in Syria Russian advanced fighter jets firing Kh-29L air-to-surface laser-guided missiles that strike targets with a precision less than two meters, managed to destroy key ISIS command centers, munitions depots and vital infrastructure. According to the Russian Defense Ministry official reports, with photos, Su-34 bombers attacked an ISIS special training camp and munition depot near Al-Tabqa, Ar-Raqqah province,” a critical ISIS outpost captured in August, 2014 after bitter battles. “As a result of explosion of the munition depot, the terrorist training camp was completely destroyed,” the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman stated. Russian Su-25 jets have also attacked training camp of the Islamic State in the Syrian Idlib, destroying a workshop for explosive belt production.

Moscow states its air force has “engaged 3 munition, fuel and armament depots of the illegal armed groups. KAB-500 aviation bombs detonated the munition and armament,” and they used BETAB-500 concrete-piercing bombs to destroy four command posts of the ISIS armed groups. The facilities with terrorists are completely destroyed,” the Moscow spokesman added. Russia’s aviation conducted 20 flights and carried out 10 airstrikes against facilities of the Islamic State (ISIL) terrorist group in the past 24 hours. Then Moscow announced they had also hit key outposts of other terror groups such as the Al Qaeda-franchise, Al Nusra Front.

These are the so-called “moderates” that McCain and the Washington warhawks are weeping over. Washington has been creating what it calls the “New” Syrian Forces (NSF), which they claim is composed of “moderate” terrorists, euphemistically referred to as “rebels.” Imagine how recruitment talks go: CIA recruiter, “Mohammed, are you a moderate Islamist? Why yes, my dear CIA trainer. Please take me, train me and arm me in the fight against the ruthless dictator Assad and against ISIS. I’m on your side. You can trust me…”

In late September it was reported that Major Anas Obaid a.k.a. Abu Zayd, on completing his CIA training in Turkey, defected from the train-and-equip program to join Jabhat al-Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) immediately on entering Syria. Incredibly, US officials admit that Washington does not track or exercise command-and-control of its Jihadist proxies once they enter Syria. Abu Zayd’s defection after being trained in advanced warfare techniques by the US, is typical. Other elements of the New Syrian Forces directly handed all their weapons to Nusra upon entering Syrian territory at the town of Atareb at the end ofSeptember.

These latest “moderate” defections to join Al Qaeda’s Al-Nusra Front affiliate in Syria come less than two weeks after Gen. Lloyd Austin III, head of the US “war against ISIS,” during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Syria, admitted that the US military program that intended produce 5,400 trained fighters a year has so far only resulted in “four or five” who still remain on the ground and active in combat. The rest have all joined ISIS or Al Nusra Front of Al Qaeda, the US-backed “moderate opposition” to ISIL.

What the successful Russian precision airstrikes have done is expose in all its ugly nakedness the Emperor’s New Clothes. For more than one year, the Obama Administration claims it has committed the most awesome airpower on the planet allegedly to destroy ISIS, which has been described as a “ragtag band of militants running around the desert in basketball shoes.”

Curiously, until last week, ISIS has only expanded its web of power in Syria and Iraq under US bombings. Now, within 72 hours, the Russian military, launching only 60 bombing runs in 72 hours, hitting more than 50 ISIS targets, has brought the ISIS combatants into what the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman described as a state of “panic” where more than 600 have deserted. And, according to Moscow, the fight is only beginning, expected, they say to last three to four months.

The Obama Administration has been training terrorists of Al Qaeda/Al Nusra, allegedly to fight ISIS, much like the disgraced General David Petraeus did in Iraq and Afghanistan along with Obama’s special ISIS coordinator, the just-resigned General John Allen. The US-trained “moderate” terrorists were being readied, it’s now clear to all the world, in reality, to battle Assad and open the way for a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Syria and a real plunge into darkness for the world if that were to succeed.

Now, with the truth in the open, exposed by the remarkable successes of a handful of Russian fighter jets in four days against ISIS, accomplishing more than the US “anti-ISIS coalition” in more than one year, it is clear to the world Washington has been playing a dirty double game.

Now that hypocritical Obama Administration mask has been blown off with the precision hit of a Russian laser-guided Kh-29L missile. As German and other EU governments have admitted, much to the strong objection of Washington, Putin has demonstrated that Russia is the essential part of any peaceful resolution of the Syria war. That in turn has a huge bearing on the current asylum-seeker crisis in Germany and other parts of the EU. It also has a huge bearing on prospects for world peace. The Norwegian Parliament’s Nobel Peace Prize Committee, rather than consider John Kerry, might consider Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister, Sergey Shoygu, for the prize.


2015-10-15

About the author:

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.


First appeared:http://journal-neo.org/2015/10/15/putin-is-defeating-more-than-isis-in-syria/

Is Barack Obama Actually Trying To Start World War III?

Why has Barack Obama airdropped 50 tons of ammunition into areas that “moderate rebels” in Syria supposedly control? This is essentially the equivalent of poking the Russians directly in the eyes. Much of this ammunition will end up in the hands of those that the Russians are attempting to bomb into oblivion, and so to Russia it appears that we are attempting to make their job much harder. And of course the truth is that there aren’t really any “moderate rebels” in Syria at all. Nearly all of the groups that are fighting are made up primarily of radical jihadists and/or hired mercenaries. Personally, I don’t see anyone over there that you could call “the good guys”. At the end of the day, the U.S. supports just about anyone that wants to get rid of the Assad regime, and the Russians are working very hard to keep Assad in power. Just like the civil war in Ukraine, the conflict in Syria is in great danger of being transformed into a proxy war between the United States and Russia, and many fear that these conflicts could eventually be setting the stage for World War III.

The ferocity of Russian airstrikes in Syria has surprised observers all over the planet, and over the past couple of days these airstrikes have been extended to include some new areas…

Russian Air Forces have extended the range of their airstrikes on Islamic State positions in Syria to four provinces, focusing primarily on demolishing fortified installations and eliminating supply bases and the terrorists’ infrastructure.

Over the last 24 hours Russian aircraft have attacked terrorist positions in the Hama, Idlib, Latakia and Raqqa provinces of Syria. In total, 64 sorties targeted 63 Islamic State installations, among them 53 fortified zones, 7 arms depots, 4 training camps and a command post.

When I read reports like this, I am deeply troubled. The Obama administration claims that it has been bombing ISIS positions in Syria for over a year. So why in the world do these targets still exist?

Was the U.S. military incapable of finding these installations?

That doesn’t seem likely.

So why weren’t they destroyed long ago?

Did the Obama administration not want them destroyed for some reason?

What seems abundantly clear is that the Russians are doing what the Obama administration was either unwilling or unable to do. There is now mass panic among ISIS fighters, and thousands of them are fleeing the country…

An estimated 3,000 Islamic State fighters as well as militants from other extremist groups have fled Syria for Jordan fearing a renewed offensive by the Syrian army in addition to Russian airstrikes, a military official has told RIA news agency.

“At least 3,000 militants from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), al-Nusra and Jaish al-Yarmouk have fled to Jordan. They are afraid of the Syrian army having stepped up activities on all fronts and of Russian airstrikes,” the RIA source said.

The mainstream media in the United States is not talking much about this, are they?

But the U.S. media is reporting on this latest airdrop of ammunition to rebel groups in Syria. For example, the following comes from CNN…

U.S. military cargo planes gave 50 tons of ammunition to rebel groups overnight in northern Syria, using an air drop of 112 pallets as the first step in the Obama Administration’s urgent effort to find new ways to support those groups.

Details of the air mission over Syria were confirmed by a U.S. official not authorized to speak publicly because the details have not yet been formally announced.

C-17s, accompanied by fighter escort aircraft, dropped small arms ammunition and other items like hand grenades in Hasakah province in northern Syria to a coalition of rebels groups vetted by the US, known as the Syrian Arab Coalition.

If you were the Russians, how would you feel about this?

I know how I would feel.

And just as Joe Biden has previously admitted, the “moderate middle” in Syria simply does not exist. The following is an extended excerpt from a piece that was originally written by investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed…

The first Russian airstrikes hit the rebel-held town of Talbisah north of Homs City, home to al-Qaeda’s official Syrian arm, Jabhat al-Nusra, and the pro-al-Qaeda Ahrar al-Sham, among other local rebel groups. Both al-Nusra and the Islamic State have claimed responsibility for vehicle-borne IEDs (VBIEDs) in Homs City, which is 12 kilometers south of Talbisah.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reports that as part of “US and Turkish efforts to establish an ISIS ‘free zone’ in the northern Aleppo countryside,” al-Nusra “withdrew from the border and reportedly reinforced positions in this rebel-held pocket north of Homs city”.

In other words, the US and Turkey are actively sponsoring “moderate” Syrian rebels in the form of al-Qaeda, which Washington DC-based risk analysis firm Valen Globals forecasts will be “a bigger threat to global security” than IS in coming years.

Last October, Vice President Joe Biden conceded that there is “no moderate middle” among the Syrian opposition. Turkey and the Gulf powers armed and funded “anyone who would fight against Assad,” including “al-Nusra,” “al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI),” and the “extremist elements of jihadis who were coming from other parts of the world”.

In other words, the CIA-backed rebels targeted by Russia are not moderates. They represent the same melting pot of al-Qaeda affiliated networks that spawned the Islamic State in the first place.

It has been well documented that many of these so-called “moderate rebel groups” in Syria have fought alongside ISIS and have sold weapons to them. So this false dichotomy that Barack Obama keeps trying to sell us on is just a giant fraud. The following comes from a recent Infowars report…

In September, 2014 a commander with the FSA admitted cooperating with ISIS and the al-Nusra Front.

“We are collaborating with the Islamic State and the Nusra Front by attacking the Syrian Army’s gatherings in … Qalamoun,” Bassel Idriss said. “Let’s face it: The Nusra Front is the biggest power present right now in Qalamoun and we as FSA would collaborate on any mission they launch as long as it coincides with our values.”

In July of 2014 a report in Stars and Stripes documented how the 1,000 strong Dawud Brigade, which had previously fought alongside the FSA against al-Assad, had defected in its entirety to join ISIS.

The same month factions within the FSA — including Ahl Al Athar and Ibin al-Qa’im — pledged services to the Islamic State.

Members of the Islamic State claim to cooperate with the FSA and buy weapons provided by the U.S.

“We are buying weapons from the FSA. We bought 200 anti-aircraft missiles and Koncourse anti tank weapons,” ISIS member Abu Atheer told al-Jazeera. “We have good relations with our brothers in the FSA. For us, the infidels are those who cooperate with the West to fight Islam.”

U.S. anti-tank weapons are playing a critical role in the Syrian conflict. As reported by the Washington Post, U.S.-made anti-tank missiles are being used by the rebels to destroy lots of Russian-made tanks that are being used by the Syrian army…

So successful have they been in driving rebel gains in northwestern Syria that rebels call the missile the “Assad Tamer,” a play on the word Assad, which means lion. And in recent days they have been used with great success to slow the Russian-backed offensive aimed at recapturing ground from the rebels.

Since Wednesday, when Syrian troops launched their first offensive backed by the might of Russia’s military, dozens of videos have been posted on YouTube showing rebels firing the U.S.-made missiles at Russian-made tanks and armored vehicles belonging to the Syrian army. Appearing as twirling balls of light, they zigzag across the Syrian countryside until they find and blast their target in a ball of flame.

Like I said earlier, this is looking more and more like a proxy war between the United States and Russia.

Could that be what Obama actually wants?

Obama is poking China in the eyes lately too. CNN is reporting that U.S. warships may soon be sailing into territorial waters around the Spratly Islands. These are islands that the Chinese government claims ownership over, but the U.S. government disputes that claim, and Obama seems determined to flex his muscles in the area…

The United States (US) may soon deploy war ships near China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea.

It wants to send a message that it does not recognize China’s territorial claims over the area.

This is according to a Financial Times report quoting a senior U.S. official who said its ships will sail within 12-nautical-mile zones that China claims as its territory around the Spratly Islands within the next two weeks.

If Obama sends warships into that area, there is a very real chance that they could get shot at. According to Newsweek, the Chinese are saying that they will not permit U.S. ships to violate those territorial waters under any circumstances…

“We will never allow any country to violate China’s territorial waters and airspace in the Spratly Islands, in the name of protecting freedom of navigation and overflight,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in response to a question about possible U.S. patrols. “We urge the related parties not to take any provocative actions, and genuinely take a responsible stance on regional peace and stability.”

Such exchanges appear to be moving China and the U.S. toward a much feared, yet long expected, military confrontation. Just as unsettling, both sides seem confident they can prevail.

Over the past couple of years our relations with China have really gone downhill very rapidly, and if the trading relationship between the two largest economies on the planet breaks down, that would have massive implications for the entire global economy.

In addition to everything above, the civil war in Ukraine continues to rage on. The United States funded, equipped, trained and organized the forces that violently overthrew the democratically-elected government in Ukraine, and then once those thugs (which actually included some neo-Nazis) took power, the Obama administration immediately recognized them as the legitimate government of Ukraine.

The Russians were absolutely infuriated by this, and they have been providing soldiers, equipment and supplies to the rebel groups that are fighting back against this new government. Of course the Russians deny that they are doing this, but it is exceedingly obvious that they are.

The rebel groups that the Russians have been backing have been doing very well and have been steadily taking ground, and this is not how the power brokers in D.C. envisioned things playing out in Ukraine. So in a desperate attempt to shift the momentum of the conflict, a bill is going through Congress that would provide “lethal military aid” to the government in Kiev. Initially the bill would have provided 200 million dollars in lethal aid, but now it has been upped to 300 million dollars. There are some that believe that the final figure will be significantly higher.

Once this bill gets passed, it will be an extremely important event. For the Russians, it will mean crossing a red line that never should have been crossed. You see, the truth is that Ukraine is Russia’s most important neighbor. Just imagine how we would feel if the Russians helped overthrow Canada’s government and then start feeding weapons to the new pro-Russian government that they helped install. That is exactly how the Russians view our meddling in Ukraine.

Earlier this year, I wrote an article in which I discussed an opinion poll that showed that 81 percent of all Russians now view the United States negatively, and only 13 percent of Russians have a positive view of this nation. Not even during the height of the Cold War were the numbers that bad.

The stage is being set for World War III, but most Americans are completely and totally oblivious to all of this because they are so wrapped up in their own little worlds.

Most Americans still seem to assume that the Russians and the Chinese are our “friends” and that any type of conflict between major global powers is impossible.

Well, the truth is that conflict has already begun in Ukraine and Syria, and tensions are rising with each passing day.

It won’t happen next week or next month, but we are on the road to World War III.

So what will the end result be? Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…


By Michael Snyder

Source: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/is-barack-obama-actually-trying-to-start-world-war-iii

America’s Hegemonic Ambitions: The US “International Dictatorship”, Its Friends, Its Enemies

In a speech delivered in the southern suburbs of Beirut on October 23, 2015, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, a resistance organization rooted in Lebanon’s Shia community, presented a description of US imperialism that largely comports with that of secular leftwing anti-imperialists in the West.

Hezbollah was established in the early 1980s to end Israel’s occupation of Lebanon. With Israel’s withdrawal in 2000, and a subsequent Israeli incursion in 2006 repulsed by Hezbollah fighters, the resistance organization remains on the qui vive against future Israeli aggressions. It is now assisting the Syrian Arab Army in its death struggle against extreme sectarian Sunni Islamists, among them ISIS and Jabhat al Nusra. These al-Qaeda offshoots pose an existential threat to the Shia community in Lebanon, explaining why Hezbollah has chosen to enter the conflict.

The following (in italics) is a distillation of Nasrallah’s remarks [1].

The United States wants the Middle East to be under its political, military, security, economic and cultural domination.

Washington uses Israel as a tool to promote this agenda.

Israel depends for its existence on the United States. If the financial, economic and military support that Washington grants Tel Aviv stops, Israel will cease to exist.

The victims of Israel are the Palestinians and the Lebanese, both of whom have suffered occupation and massacres at Israel’s hands.

Blame for Israeli actions, then, lies more with Washington, Israel’s master, than with Netanyahu and his terrorist army.

Therefore, Palestinians and Lebanese are the primary victims of the US domination project in the Middle East.

US foreign policy is aimed at plundering the region’s oil, gas and riches. It is driven by the owners of oil and weapons companies, not by human rights organizations.

Indeed, all of Washington’s talk about human rights and democracy is meaningless. The biggest dictatorships in the region are sponsored by the United States. These dictatorships violate human rights and disdain elections (a reference to US allies Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain).

US allies in the region are nothing but local administrations headed by a king or a president answerable to Washington. The decisions of war, peace, foreign policy and markets are in the hands of their master, the United States.

The punitive aspects of US foreign policy are aimed at anyone who refuses to submit to US domination, which is to say, refuses to become local extensions of the US government (and by implication, of the large oil and weapons companies that dominate it.) He who takes his own decision on the basis of his country’s interests is unacceptable to the United States.

For example, all of Washington’s hostility to Iran is traceable to the latter’s wanting to be a free and independent country that owns and controls its own economy and preserves the dignity of its people. This rejects US hegemony and therefore is unacceptable to Washington.

Washington launches proxy wars against those countries that seek to become independent and strong. The United States is waging a proxy war in the Middle East on everyone who refuses to submit to US domination. The proxies are the extreme sectarian Sunni Islamist jihadists, or takfiris, (including ISIS and the Nusra Front, both progeny of al-Qaeda, and the latter now reframed deceptively by US propagandists as “moderate” rebels.) The real leader and coordinator of the takfiris is the United States, assisted by its regional allies (a reference to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.)

Today, Washington tells us that we will either be slaves of the United States or it will besiege us and send suicide bombers.

The ongoing war is not for the sake of reforms, democracy, human rights, elimination of poverty or countering ignorance, but for subjugating those who reject the United States’ hegemonic ambitions.

Nasrallah calls Israel “an executive tool in implementing US hegemony” in the Middle East. This calls to mind an observation made by the Palestinian scholar Walid Khalidi: “To many Arabs, Israel is the beachhead of US imperialism in the Middle East and its executor,” a not unreasonable understanding given the evidence.

Nasrallah describes US foreign policy as predicated on a universalist model of US leadership that leaves little room for other countries to define and follow their own path. At least one person close to US foreign policy acknowledges that this view is accurate. Ana Montes, who on the eve of 9/11 was the top Cuba analyst at the Pentagon, denounced US foreign policy for having “never respected Cuba’s right to make its own journey towards its own ideals of equality and justice,” [2] paralleling Nasrallah’s complaint that Washington is unwilling to allow Iran to “be a free and independent country” that owns and controls its economy and preserves the dignity of its people, and that it punishes countries “that seek to become independent and strong.”

Montes struggled unsuccessfully to understand why Washington continued “to dictate how the Cubans should select their leaders, who their leaders cannot be, and what laws are appropriate in their land,” as much as many Syrians must struggle to understand, in Washington’s insistence that their president step aside, why the United States dictates how they should select their leaders and who their leaders cannot be.

“Why,” Montes wondered, “can’t we let Cuba pursue its own internal journey, as the United States has been doing for over two centuries?”

And why can’t Washington let Syria and Iran do the same?

The answer, from Nasrallah’s analysis, is clear. Neither Syria nor Iran, anymore than Cuba, can be allowed to own and control their own economies because this conflicts with the aspirations of the corporate elite that dominates policy-making in the United States.

Troubled by the absence in Washington of “tolerance and understanding for the different ways of others”, Montes followed her conscience. She fed Cuban authorities intelligence on the eavesdropping platforms that US spies had secretly installed in Cuba to help undermine Cuba’s right to make its own journey.

For her efforts to impede an injustice, she was sentenced to almost 25 years in prison for espionage. She has been called “the most important spy you’ve never heard of” [3] but is also among the most important prisoners of conscience you’ve never heard of, and one Amnesty International, a purported champion of prisoners of conscience, won’t touch. This simply adds to the tally of lapses on the side of US imperialism that the compromised human rights organization has become infamous for, including:

• Criticizing Wikleaks for leaking US secrets; [4]

• Propagating without evidence the claim that Iran has a nuclear weapons program; [5]

• Disappearing US sanctions against North Korea—the most comprehensive and longstanding program of economic warfare ever carried out in human history–in a report on the country’s “crumbling health care system.” Instead, Amnesty attributed North Korea’s health care difficulties solely to decisions taken by Pyongyang, roughly equivalent to blaming the death of numberless Iraqi children during the 1990s on Saddam Hussein, and not the US-led sanctions regime; [6]

• Appointing US State Department official Suzanne Nossel to the post of executive director of Amnesty International USA, a woman who supported the illegal US invasion of Iraq as well as a military option to coerce Iran into relinquishing its right under international law to process uranium for peaceful purposes; [7]

• Confining its criticism of US military aggressions to the question of whether they are conducted in compliance with the rules of war and not whether they are initiated in violation of international law. [8] This prioritizes the concept of jus in bello (justice in how a war is conducted) and fails to address altogether the concept of jus ad bellum (the justness of a war), a strategy which spares Amnesty from calling out the most egregious crimes of the United States and its allies, since Washington’s wars, and those of its subalterns, almost invariably fail to meet jus ad bellum standards;

• Calling for an international arms embargo on the Syrian government but not on the rebels who are supplied by the United States and its allies, among which is Saudi Arabia, a human rights abomination. [9]

While Amnesty was critical of the human rights record of apartheid South Africa, it alone among human rights organizations refused to denounce apartheid itself. [10] The organization also refused to condemn the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia [11], even though it was an exercise in imperial predation that denied the rights of many innocent Yugoslavs to life, security of the person and employment. Amnesty excused its inaction on grounds that it is not an antiwar organization, as if war and human rights are not often inextricably bound. But Amnesty’s most egregious service to the propaganda requirements of US foreign policy came in 1991, when the rights group released a report in the run-up to the Gulf War claiming that Iraqi soldiers had thrown Kuwaiti babies from incubators. This was a hoax, perpetrated by the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, orchestrated by the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton, which had been hired to launch a propaganda campaign to galvanize public support for a US war on Iraq. When US President George H.W. Bush appeared on television to announce that he was readying for war on Iraq, he had a copy of the Amnesty report in his hands. [12]

Washington promoted human rights in the 1980s as a cudgel with which to wage a propaganda war against the Soviet Union. It has been used since to extend the war to countries that refuse to submit to Washington’s hegemonic ambitions. Is it not predictable that a Western-based human rights organization, which apparently sees nothing amiss in appointing a former US State Department official to head its US branch, should take center stage in prosecuting this propaganda battle?

The United States and its allies are, according to the preferred narrative—and one largely supported by Amnesty—champions of human rights whose aggressions abroad are aimed at enemies of human rights, and therefore, are valid, and even laudable. The idea that US foreign policy is inspired by human rights, as Nasrallah shows, is complete nonsense. An accurate description of the instrumental role played by human rights in US foreign policy is provided by a senior US State Department official:

“The countries that cooperate with us get at least a free pass (on human rights), whereas other countries that don’t cooperate, we ream them as best we can.” [13]

The Amnesty-ignored prisoner of conscience Ana Montes remains defiant, despite her decade and a half of incarceration in the highest security women’s prison in the United States. “Prison is one of the last places I would have ever chosen to be in,” Montes says, “but some things in life are worth going to prison for.” [14]

How pathetically weak-kneed and addled is the imperialist-friendly Amnesty against the honest analysis and courage of Ana Montes; how contemptible is its collusion with imperialism against the defiance of Nasrallah and the countless other opponents of the international dictatorship of the United States and the bankers, billionaire investors, oil companies and weapons manufacturers in whose service it operates and who hold sway over it.

David Rovic’s Song for Ana Belen Montes.

Notes

1. “Zeinab Essa, “Sayyed Nasrallah vows from Sayyed Shudadaa Complex: We’re to defeat ‘Israel”, US-Takfiri scheme,” Alahed, October 24, 2015.

2. Montes statement, October 16, 2002, The Centre for Counter-Intelligence and Security Studies, The Ana Belen Montes Case, , Latinamericanstudies.org, Studieshttp://www.latinamericanstudies.org/espionage/montes-articles.pdf

3. Jim Popkin, “Ana Montes did much harm spying for Cuba. Chances are, you haven’t heard of her,” The Washington Post Magazine, April 18, 2013.

4. John F. Burns and Ravi Somaiya, “WikiLeaks founder on the run, trailed by notoriety”, The New York Times, October 23.

5. Joe Emersberger, “Debating Amnesty about Syria and Double Standards”, MRZine, July 6, 2012.

6. Stephen Gowans, “2010 Amnesty International botches blame for North Korea’s crumbling healthcare,” what’s left, July 20, 2010.

7. Emersberger.

8. Daniel Kovalick “Amnesty International and the Human Rights Industry,” counterpunch.org, November 8, 2012.

9. Emersberger.

10. Francis A. Boyle and Dennis Bernstein, “Interview with Francis Boyle. Amnesty on Jenin”, Covert Action Quarterly, Summer, 2002. http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/php/art.php?aid=4573

11. Alexander Cockburn, “How the US State Dept. Recruited Human Rights Groups to Cheer On the Bombing Raids: Those Incubator Babies, Once More?” Counterpunch, April 1-15, 1999.http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/articles/article0005098.html

12. Boyle and Bernstein.

13. Craig Whitlock, “Niger rapidly emerging as a key U.S. partner,” The Washington Post, April 14, 2013.

14. Popkin.


By Stephen Gowans

Source: http://www.globalresearch.ca/americas-hegemonic-ambitions-the-us-international-dictatorship-its-friends-its-enemies/5484606

Time Is Running Out For Pax Americana’s Apologists

The paradox of the current global crisis is that for the last five years, all relatively responsible and independent nations have made tremendous efforts to save the United States from the financial, economic, military, and political disaster that looms ahead. And this is all despite Washington’s equally systematic moves to destabilize the world order, rightly known as the Pax Americana (“American peace”).

Since policy is not a zero-sum game, i.e., one participant’s loss does not necessarily entail a gain for another, this paradox has a logical explanation. A crisis erupts within any system when there is a discrepancy between its internal structure and the sum total of available resources (that is, those resources will eventually prove inadequate for the system to function normally and in the usual way).

There are at least three basic options for addressing this situation:

  1. Through reform, in which the system’s internal structure evolves in such a way as to better correspond to the available resources.
  2. Through the system’s collapse, in which the same result is achieved via revolution.
  3. Through preservation, in which the inputs threatening the system are eliminated by force, and the relationships within the system are carefully preserved on an inequitable relationship basis (whether between classes, social strata, castes, or nations).

The preservation method was attempted by the Ming and Qing dynasties in China, as well as the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan. It was utilized successfully (in the 19th century) prior to the era of capitalist globalization. But neither of those Eastern civilizations (although fairly robust internally) survived their collision with the technologically more advanced (and hence more militarily and politically powerful) European civilization. Japan found its answer on the path of modernization (reform) back in the second half of the 19th century, China spent a century immersed in the quagmire of semi-colonial dependence and bloody civil wars, until the new leadership of Deng Xiaoping was able to articulate its own vision of modernizing reforms.

This point leads us to the conclusion that a system can be preserved only if it is safeguarded from any unwanted external influences, i.e., if it controls the globalized world.

The contradiction between the concept of escaping the crisis, which has been adopted the US elite, and the alternative concept – proposed by Russia and backed by China, then by the BRICS nations and now a large part of the world – lay in the fact that the politicians in Washington were working from the premise that they are able to fully control the globalized world and guide its development in the direction they wish. Therefore, faced with dwindling resources to sustain the mechanisms that perpetuate their global hegemony, they tried to resolve the problem by forcefully suppressing potential opponents in order to reallocate global resources in their favor.

If successful, the United States would be able to reenact the events of the late 1980s – early 1990s, when the collapse of the Soviet Union and the global socialist system under its control allowed the West to escape its crisis. At this new stage, it has become a question of no longer simply reallocating resources in favor of the West as a collective whole, but solely in favor of the United States. This move offered the system a respite that could be used to create a regime for preserving inequitable relationships, during which the American elite’s definitive control over the resources of power, raw materials, finance, and industrial resources safeguarded them from the danger of the system’s internal implosion, while the elimination of alternative power centers shielded the system from external breaches, rendering it eternal (at least for a historically foreseeable period of time).

The alternative approach postulated that the system’s total resources might be depleted before the United States can manage to generate the mechanisms to perpetuate its global hegemony. In turn, this will lead to strain (and overstrain) on the forces that ensure the imperial suppression of those nations existing on the global periphery, all in the interests of the Washington-based center, which will later bring about the inevitable collapse of the system.

Two hundred, or even one hundred years ago, politicians would have acted on the principle of “what is falling, that one should also push” and prepared to divvy up the legacy of yet another crumbling empire. However, the globalization of not only the world’s industry and trade (that was achieved by the end of the 19th century), but also global finance, caused the collapse of the American empire through a policy that was extremely dangerous and costly for the whole world. To put it bluntly, the United States could bury civilization under its own wreckage.

Consequently, the Russian-Chinese approach has made a point of offering Washington a compromise option that endorses the gradual, evolutionary erosion of American hegemony, plus the incremental reform of international financial, economic, military, and political relations on the basis of the existing system of international law.

America’s elite have been offered a “soft landing” that would preserve much of their influence and assets, while gradually adapting the system to better correspond to the present facts of life (bringing it into line with the available reserve of resources), taking into account the interests of humanity, and not only of its “top echelon” as exemplified by the “300 families” who are actually dwindling to no more than thirty.

In the end, it is always better to negotiate than to build a new world upon the ashes of the old. Especially since there has been a global precedent for similar agreements.

Up until 2015, America’s elite (or at least the ones who determine US policy) had been assured that they possessed sufficient financial, economic, military, and political strength to cripple the rest of the world, while still preserving Washington’s hegemony by depriving everyone, including (at the final stage) even the American people of any real political sovereignty or economic rights. European bureaucrats were important allies for that elite – i.e., the cosmopolitan, comprador-bourgeoisie sector of the EU elite, whose welfare hinged on the further integration of transatlantic (i.e., under US control) EU entities (in which the premise of Atlantic solidarity has become geopolitical dogma) and NATO, although this is in conflict with the interests of the EU member states.

However, the crisis in Ukraine, which has dragged on much longer than originally planned, Russia’s impressive surge of military and political energy as it moved to resolve the Syrian crisis (something for which the US did not have an appropriate response) and, most important, the progressive creation of alternative financial and economic entities that call into question the dollar’s position as the de facto world currency, have forced a sector of America’s elite that is amenable to compromise to rouse itself (over the last 15 years that elite has been effectively excluded from participation in any strategic decisions).

The latest statements by Kerry  and Obama which seesaw from a willingness to consider a mutually acceptable compromise on all contentious issues (even Kiev was given instructions “to implement Minsk “) to a determination to continue the policy of confrontation – are evidence of the escalating battle being fought within the Washington establishment.

It is impossible to predict the outcome of this struggle – too many high-status politicians and influential families have tied their futures to an agenda that preserves imperial domination for that to be renounced painlessly. In reality, multibillion-dollar positions and entire political dynasties are at stake.

However, we can say with absolute certainty that there is a certain window of opportunity during which any decision can be made. And a window of opportunity is closing that would allow the US to make a soft landing with a few trade-offs. The Washington elite cannot escape the fact that they are up against far more serious problems than those of 10-15 years ago. Right now the big question is about how they are going to land, and although that landing will already be harder than it would have been and will come with costs, the situation is not yet a disaster.

But the US needs to think fast. Their resources are shrinking much faster than the authors of the plan for imperial preservation had expected. To their loss of control over the BRICS countries can be added the incipient, but still fairly rapid loss of control over EU policy as well as the onset of geopolitical maneuvering among the monarchies of the Middle East. The financial and economic entities created and set in motion by the BRICS nations are developing in accordance with their own logic, and Moscow and Beijing are not able to delay their development overlong while waiting for the US to suddenly discover a capacity to negotiate.

The point of no return will pass once and for all sometime in 2016, and America’s elite will no longer be able to choose between the provisions of compromise and collapse. The only thing that they will then be able to do is to slam the door loudly, trying to drag the rest of the world after them into the abyss.


2015-11-11

About the author:

Rostislav Ischenko is the President of Centre for System Analysis and Forecasting (Kiev) currently living in Moscow.

Source: http://orientalreview.org/2015/11/11/time-is-running-out-for-pax-americanas-apologists/

The “Serb Question” And Its final Solution In Euro-Croatia

On September 10th, 2015 a City Council of Croatia’s capital Zagreb decided to promote a war criminal General Ante Gotovina to “honorable citizen of the City of Zagreb” for his “contribution to the defending of Croatia’s independence and territorial integrity”. The General, however, as a Commander-in-Chief of Croatia’s army, is directly responsible for a brutal ethnic cleansing and war crimes committed by Croatia’s army, police forces and state authorities over the Serbs during the SS-punishment-style military-police operation “Storm” (Oluja) in August 1995 when around 3000 ethnic Serbs in the Krajina region were killed and 250.000 expelled from their homes. That was the biggest and most terrible ethnic cleansing and genocide committed after the WWII in Europe. The promotion of Gotovina, nevertheless, shows that present-day Croatia is founded on the basis of the WWII Nazi-Ustashi-regime’s Independent State of Croatia (the NDH) that had as its crucial political task to solve the “Serb Question” within its borders (Croatia, Dalmatia, Srem, Slavonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina) according to the German-Nazi pattern of solving the “Jewish Question” during the WWII.

A “Serb Question” and its Nazi solution in Croatia

A question of the Serb existence on the “ethnohistorical” lands of the Croat nation was at least during the last hundred years a very fundamental element of any ultraright Croat ideology, party, organization or movement, but above all of the Ustashi, as the Orthodox Serb were seen and declared as the most dangerous “natural enemy” to both Croatia and the Croat people. The Anti-Serbism became, however, the main cornerstone of making the Croat national unity and gathering all Croats around a common focus of ethnopolitical coherence.[1] The Serbs were accused for the territorial expansionism, occupation of the Croat land and its exploitation at the time of the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (1918−1929), the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1929−1941) and the Socialist Yugoslavia (1945−1991) as all of these three multiethnic states were proclaimed as a Greater Serbia. The Serbs and Serbia were seen as the main cause of all Croatia’s misfortunes and above all as the only obstacle for Croatia’s independence.[2] The Croatia’s Government together with other right-wing nationalistic structures tried from the very beginning of the preparations for the proclamation of the new independence of Croatia in 1991 (the second Independent State of Croatia) formally, but unsuccessfully, to convince the Serbs and Serbia that there was no real “Serb Question” in Croatia and that the Serbs had nothing to fear in independent and democratic post-Yugoslav Croatia. However, for the majority of Serbs from both sides of the Drina River it was completely clear that a new independent Croatia will be just a replica of the WWII Nazi-Ustashi Independent State of Croatia in regard to the “Serb Question” just covered by declarative and formal democracy. It was visible for them either from the practical rehabilitation of the NDH in Tudjman’s Croatia and the harsh anti-Serb rhetoric by the officials or from the very fact that no one political party or official in Croatia did not want to discuss with the Serbs about their cultural and/or political autonomy.

A policy of opposing and hating the Serbs in the HDZ’s Croatia[3] had political, confessional and moral connotation. To fight “natural enemies” was all the time one of the fundamental requirements of any nationalistic ideology. Hence, the national education system has to be rearranged on this way to teach the nation who, and why, is the national enemy and how the nation has to struggle against the enemy. In the case of Tudjman’s Croatia, the main national enemy ware proclaimed to be the Serbs. Subsequently, the Serb traces in Croatia had to be erased by different techniques including the ban of Cyrillic alphabet or cleansing Croatia’s libraries from the Serb authors. Nevertheless, a public vilification of the Serbs as a nation in Croatia had and its own racial dimension as it was exactly during the existence of the WWII NDH. Probably the most racist MP from the HDZ – Shime Djodan, made a very abusing remark on the Serb physiognomy during his speech in the Parliament. Usually, the Serbs were considered as a racially inferior having the “Byzantine” or/and “Turkish” blood as it was noticed, for instance in 1995, by the HDZ’s member Anton Vrdoljak, head of Croatia’s Radio Television (the HRT).[4] The political consequences of a Croat nationalistic picturing of the Serbs as a root of all evil in Croatia lead the nationalists to require the maximal restriction of political rights of the Serbs in Croatia including and the right to citizenship and therefore to vote. Such calling for political discrimination on the ethnic basis was, however, formally not presented in the official party’s statutes in which there was a proclamation of no discrimination on the basis on the national identity, as it was the case, for instance, with the HSP.[5] A leader of this party, Ante Djapic was quite clear about the position of the Serbs in the post-Yugoslav Croatia: “[the Serbs should] either bow down or get out of the way”.[6] Subsequently, all Croat nationalists firmly opposed any kind of political negotiations with Croatia’s (Krajina) Serbs, rejected their representation in the Parliament and arguing that the Serb Orthodox Church in Croatia has to be abolished and instead of it the Orthodox Church of Croatia should be established (like in the WWII NDH). Since the Croat military-police operation “Oluja” (Storm) of ethnic cleansing of the Krajina Serbs in August 1995, all Croat nationalistic parties, including above all the ruling HDZ, did everything in order to prevent the return of the Serb refugees (about 250,000)[7] to their homes. In order to achieve this goal, usually three methods were used:

  1. Demolition of the Serb houses.
  2. Public announcing the Serb names as wanted war criminals.
  3. Physical attacking, or even killing, the Serb refugees.

Nevertheless, either the HDZ or other right-wing Croat parties never recognized the mass exodus of Krajina Serbs from Croatia in August 1995 as the ethnic cleansing as for them it was rather a free choice of homeland as it was officially stated by the President Franjo Tudjman. The official Croatia as well never recognized the existence of the concentration camps for the Serbs in the 1990s on the territory of Croatia like it was in the Pakrac poljana, around Gospic, and in Sisak.[8] According to the Croat nationalists, the problem of depopulated parts of Croatia (once inhabited by the Serbs) after August 1995, should be solved by housing the ethnic Croat diaspora and the Croat refugees. That was exactly the best option of the final solution of the “Serb Question” in Croatia which mostly satisfied Franjo Tudjman who when he took his “freedom train” on August 26th, 1995 from Zagreb to Split via depopulated Krajina region said that the Serbs: “had disappeared ignominiously, as if they had never populated this land. We urged them to stay, but they didn’t listen to us and, well bon voyage”.[9] Regardless that the HSP urged the Government to introduce a special legislation on restricting the return of the Serb refugees, it was, nevertheless, activated a law according to which the refugees had right to reclaim their property during the three-month period. That was a legal mechanism used in order not to create real conditions for the Serb refugees to return back. Therefore, the “Serb Question” in Tudjman’s Croatia was solved on the way that today there are only 4 percent of the Serbs out of total Croatia’s population in comparison to 12 percent according to the 1991 census.[10] The task from 1991, when Croatia’s governmental forces started the war against their own citizens of the Serb origin,[11] was finally realized in August 1995: the Serbs who remained in Croatia became politically not dangerous and under complete governmental control and served as a proof to the international community that Croatia is formally multiethnic society.

Against the western liberalism for conservative order  

The Croat ultranationalistic parties and other organizations expressed a visible form of anomaly in their ideological and programmatic concepts as on the one hand promoted an idea of protection of the West European culture and civilization but at the same time, on the other hand, expressed a great extent of suspicion and even hostility towards the western liberalism.[12] The western liberalism, in their opinion, was speaking in the favor of an individual, his/her freedom, rights and prosperity but not in the favor of a nation and national interest. As for all ultranationalists, a nation was über alles and therefore any ideology that was not speaking primarily in the favor of a nation was not acceptable and even seen as destructive since only the particularity of the nation is giving a real meaning to the life of the individual. A destructive nature of the western liberalism was primarily seen in regard to the liberal approach toward the family question as the ultranationalists reject the liberal emphasis on individual freedom of choice and rights and on personal benefits from such choice. What they support instead of liberal ideology of personal free choice is an ideology which is advocating the promotion of welfare of the nation and realization of the national state policy. As for the Croat ultranationalists the main problem and obstacle for prosperity of Croatia and Croats were the Serbs, their requirement for demographic renewal of the Croat nation was politically pointed against the Serbs. Basically they adopted a demographic (boom) policy of Kosovo Albanians after the WWII in their fight against the local Serbs. For the Croat ultraright parties, a family structure has to be framed within the conservative-patriarchal order as the best way to biologically increase the population of the ethnic Croats as, for instance, Franjo Tudjman stated in one of his speeches in the Parliament.[13] Subsequently, in order to ensure a higher rate of the ethnic Croat population growth, the abortion was seen as a national suicide. Such clear calling for national duties instead of individual right of free choice was a direct rejection of the West European liberal political foundation of the society and state.

The HDZ’s economic policy was as well framed for the sake to subordinate state economy to state-building task. For that reason, the members of HDZ supported an idea and practice of significant state ownership that was also in odd to the western liberalism. However, in the HDZ’s Croatia a process of corruption and taycoonization of economic resources and infrastructure by well-placed HDZ’s political leaders was well-known practice which led to their personal and family enrichment.

As a part of anti-liberal policy, the liberal-democratic notion of the citizenship was crucially challanged by the HDZ’s rulling authority as the voting rights for the state and the other public officials became based on the ethnic (Croat) background rather than on the residence criteria. Therefore, it was practically reserved twelve seats in Croatia’s Parliament for the ethic Croat diaspora for the very reason that the HDZ was and is traditionally supported by the Croat diaspora especially from Bosnia-Herzegovina. The citizenship law was also changed in the favor of the ethnic Croat diaspora as Croatia was proclaimed as the motherland of all ethnic Croats.[14] However, a similar ethno-citizenship/voting law in Miloshevic’s Serbia was never introduced at least for the very political reason that the Serb diaspora in the West opposed his policy as anti-Serbian. In the other words, Miloshevic’s Serbia was seen, by the Constitution, as a homeland of all her inhabitants, rather than only of all ethic Serbs wherever they live.

Probably, the HDZ’s deny of any kind of the regional autonomy in Croatia was the expression of the policy of anti-liberal democracy concept of minority rights. Therefore, the regional parties of Istria, (the Serb populated) Krajina and Dalmatia suffered mostly from such policy of a brutal centralization of Croatia. However, in Miloshevic’s Serbia, two regions of Vojvodina and Kosovo-Metochia enjoyed at least ethno-cultural regional autonomy if not political one as it was fixed at the time of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia according to the 1974 Constitution (up to 1989).

In general, the Croat ultranationalists were against the basic values of the western liberalism but also and against many segments of the western culture especially of the U.S. as they perceived such culture as an attempt to destroy the authentic values of the Croat nation. The West became accused and for the attempts to undermine the independence of Croatia and even to recreate some form of the Yugoslav (or Balkan) confederation with the Serbs and Serbia. Therefore, the U.N.’s UNPROFOR’s detachments, deployed on the territory of the Republic of Serb Krajina (as the U.N.’ protection zone) were called to be removed from the territory of Croatia as the main obstacle for her territorial reunification. Nevertheless, Croatia became finally reunited within the borders of a Greater Croatia of Josip Broz Tito after the WWII when Croatia’s military and police reoccupied the territory of Krajina in August 1995 under the blessing of both the U.S.’s administration and the UNPROFOR’s command. Therefore, for the Croat ultranationalists the suspicions of possible Western designs to recreate a form of Yugoslavia disappeared after the operation “Storm” but their suspicions to the Western political liberalism and cultural and social values of the liberal ideology are present up today.

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

globalpol@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirovic 2015

Endnotes:

 

[1] The same ethnopolitical role of national coherence played anti-Semitism in the ideology of the Nazi Germany. In the Croat case, the anti-Semitism was not important factor in the ultranationalist ideology, at least up to the WWII.

[2] For instance, see: J. Jareb, Pola stoljeća hrvatske politike: Povodom Mačekove autobiografije, Zagreb: Institut za suvremenu povijest, 1995, V−X.

[3] The HDZ = A Croat Democratic Union, a political ruling party of Franjo Tudjman.

[4] Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Daily Report: Eastern Europe, 1995-08-10.

[5] Temeljna načela i statut, Hrvatska stranka prava, 1991-02-24.

[6] Interview with Ante Djapic, Glas Slavonije, 1995-08-19.

[7] В. Ђ. Мишина (уредник), Република Српска Крајина: Десет година послије, Београд: Добра воља, 2005, 48.

[8] J. Guskova, Istorija jugoslovenske krize (1990−2000), 1, Beograd: Izdavački grafički atelje “M”, 2003, 223.

[9] J. A. Irvine, “Ultranationalist Ideology and State-Building in Croatia, 1990−1996”, Problems of Post-Communism, July/August 1997, 40. It is clear from the transcripts of the meeting between Croatia’s Government and military officials at Brioni just before the operation “Storm” started that Tudjman’s requirement was that the Serbs have to disappear from Croatia [http://www.nspm.rs/dokumenti/tudjmanovi-brionski-transkripti-udariti-srbe-da-nestanu.html].

[10] On the present-day territory of Croatia there were 24 percent of the Serbs before the WWII.

[11] That Croatia’s Government launched the war against the Serbs in 1991 in order to provoke them is confirmed by Tudjman’s first minister of police, Josip Boljkovac in his interview in 2014 [http://www.jugoslavologija.eu/2014/12/24/tudmanov-ministar-priznao-prvi-smo-napali-srbe-da-bi-poceo-rat/].

[12] On the western liberalism, see [L. Mises, Liberalism in the Classical Tradition, San Francisco, California: Cobden Press, 1985; E. Fawcett, Liberalism: The Life of an Idea, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014; M. Freeden, Liberalism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2015].

[13] F. Tudjman, S vjerom u samostalnu Hrvatsku, Zagreb: Narodne novine, 1995, 79−90.

[14] On the concept of citizenship, see: W. Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 1995; R. Bellamy, Citizenship: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2008; É. Balibar, Citizenship, Cambridge, UK−Malden, USA: Polity Press, 2015. The same citizenship concept, for example, is accepted by all three Baltic States after the collapse of the Soviet Union: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

The US And China Can Avoid A Collision Course – If The US Gives Up Its Empire

The problem is America’s global hegemony comes with insistence on maintaining military and economic dominance right in China’s backyard.

To avoid a violent militaristic clash with China, or another cold war rivalry, the United States should pursue a simple solution: give up its empire.

Americans fear that China’s rapid economic growth will slowly translate into a more expansive and assertive foreign policy that will inevitably result in a war with the US. Harvard Professor Graham Allison has found: “in 12 of 16 cases in the past 500 years when a rising power challenged a ruling power, the outcome was war.” Chicago University scholar John Mearsheimer has bluntly argued: “China cannot rise peacefully.”

But the apparently looming conflict between the US and China is not because of China’s rise per se, but rather because the US insists on maintaining military and economic dominance among China’s neighbors. Although Americans like to think of their massive overseas military presence as a benign force that’s inherently stabilizing, Beijing certainly doesn’t see it that way.

According to political scientists Andrew Nathan and Andrew Scobell, Beijing sees America as “the most intrusive outside actor in China’s internal affairs, the guarantor of the status quo in Taiwan, the largest naval presence in the East China and South China seas, [and] the formal or informal military ally of many of China’s neighbors.” (All of which is true.) They think that the US “seeks to curtail China’s political influence and harm China’s interests” with a “militaristic, offense-minded, expansionist, and selfish” foreign policy.

China’s regional ambitions are not uniquely pernicious or aggressive, but they do overlap with America’s ambition to be the dominant power in its own region, and in every region of the world.

Leaving aside caricatured debates about which nation should get to wave the big “Number 1” foam finger, it’s worth asking whether having 50,000 US troops permanently stationed in Japan actually serves US interests and what benefits we derive from keeping almost 30,000 US troops in South Korea and whether Americans will be any safer if the Obama administration manages to reestablish a US military presence in the Philippines to counter China’s maritime territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Many commentators say yes. Robert Kagan argues not only that US hegemony makes us safer and richer, but also that it bestows peace and prosperity on everybody else. If America doesn’t rule, goes his argument, the world becomes less free, less stable and less safe.

But a good chunk of the scholarly literature disputes these claims. “There are good theoretical and empirical reasons”, wrote political scientist Christopher Fettweis in his book Pathologies of Power, “to doubt that US hegemony is the primary cause of the current stability.” The international system, rather than cowering in obedience to American demands for peace, is far more “self-policing”, says Fettweis. A combination of economic development and the destructive power of modern militaries serves as a much more satisfying answer for why states increasingly see war as detrimental to their interests.

International relations theorist Robert Jervis has written that “the pursuit of primacy was what great power politics was all about in the past” but that, in a world of nuclear weapons with “low security threats and great common interests among the developed countries”, primacy does not have the strategic or economic benefits it once had.

Nor does US dominance reap much in the way of tangible rewards for most Americans: international relations theorist Daniel Drezner contends that “the economic benefits from military predominance alone seem, at a minimum, to have been exaggerated”; that “There is little evidence that military primacy yields appreciable geoeconomic gains”; and that, therefore, “an overreliance on military preponderance is badly misguided.”

The struggle for military and economic primacy in Asia is not really about our core national security interests; rather, it’s about preserving status, prestige and America’s neurotic image of itself. Those are pretty dumb reasons to risk war.

There are a host of reasons why the dire predictions of a coming US-China conflict may be wrong, of course. Maybe China’s economy will slow or even suffer crashes. Even if it continues to grow, the US’s economic and military advantage may remain intact for a few more decades, making China’s rise gradual and thus less dangerous.

Moreover, both countries are armed with nuclear weapons. And there’s little reason to think the mutually assured destruction paradigm that characterized the Cold War between the US and the USSR wouldn’t dominate this shift in power as well.

But why take the risk, when maintaining US primacy just isn’t that important to the safety or prosperity of Americans? Knowing that should at least make the idea giving up empire a little easier.


By John Glaser

2015-06-02

Source: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/28/conflict-us-china-not-inevitable-empire

Paul Craig Roberts’ Address To The International Conference On The European/Russian Crisis Created By Washington

Paul Craig Roberts’ address to the Conference on the European/Russian Crisis, Delphi, Greece, June 20-21, 2015


Paul Craig Roberts, formerly Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy, Associate Editor, Wall Street Journal, Senior Research Fellow, Stanford University, William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

The United States has pursued empire since early in its history, but it was the Soviet collapse in 1991 that enabled Washington to see the entire world as its oyster

The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in the rise of the neoconservatives to power and influence in the US government. The neoconservatives have interpreted the Soviet collapse as History’s choice of “American democratic capitalism” as the New World Order.

Chosen by History as the exceptional and indispensable country, Washington claims the right and the responsibility to impose its hegemony on the world. Neoconservatives regard their agenda to be too important to be constrained by domestic and international law or by the interests of other countries. Indeed, as the Unipower, Washington is required by the neoconservative doctrine to prevent the rise of other countries that could constrain American power.

Paul Wolfowitz, a leading neoconservative, penned the Wolfowitz Doctrine shortly after the Soviet collapse. This doctrine is the basis of US foreign and military policy.

The doctrine states:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

Notice that Washington’s “first objective” is not peace, not prosperity, not human rights, not democracy, not justice. Washington’s “first objective” is world hegemony. Only the very confident so blatantly reveal their agenda.

As a former member of the Cold War Committee on the Present Danger, I can explain what Wolfowitz’s words mean. The “threat posed formerly by the Soviet Union” was the ability of the Soviet Union to block unilateral US action in some parts of the world. The Soviet Union was a constraint on US unilateral action, not everywhere but in some places. Any constraint on Washington is regarded as a threat.

A “hostile power” is a country with an independent foreign policy, such as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have proclaimed. Iran, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba, and North Korea also proclaim an independent foreign policy.

This is too much independence for Washington to stomach. As Russian President Vladimir Putin recently stated, “Washington doesn’t want partners. Washington wants vassals.”

The Wolfowitz doctrine requires Washington to dispense with or overthrow governments that do not acquiesce to Washington’s will. It is the “first objective.”

The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in Boris Yeltsin becoming president of a dismembered Russia. Washington became accustomed to Yeltsin’s compliance and absorbed itself in its Middle Eastern wars, expecting Vladimir Putin to continue Russia’s vassalage.

However at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy, Putin said: “I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world.”

Putin went on to say:
“We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law, and independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?”

When Putin issued this fundamental challenge to US unipower, Washington was preoccupied with its lack of success with its invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Mission was not accomplished.

By 2014 it had come to Washington’s attention that while Washington was blowing up weddings, funerals, village elders, and children’s soccer games in the Middle East, Russia had achieved independence from Washington’s control and presented itself as a formidable challenge to Washington’s uni-power. Putin blocked Obama’s planned invasion of Syria and bombing of Iran. The unmistakable rise of Russia refocused Washington from the Middle East to Russia’s vulnerabilities.

Ukraine, long a constituent part of Russia and subsequently the Soviet Union, was split off from Russia in the wake of the Soviet collapse by Washington’s maneuvering. In 2004 Washington had tried to capture Ukraine in the Orange Revolution, which failed to deliver Ukraine into Washington’s hands. Consequently, according to neocon Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, Washington spent $5 billion over the following decade developing Ukrainian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that could be called into the streets of Kiev and in developing Ukrainian political leaders willing to represent Washington’s interests.

Washington launched its coup in February 2014 with orchestrated demonstrations that, with the addition of violence, resulted in the overthrow and flight of the elected democratic government of Victor Yanukovych. In other words, Washington destroyed democracy in a new country with a coup before democracy could take root.

Ukrainian democracy meant nothing to Washington. Washington was intent on seizing Ukraine in order to present Russia with a security problem and also to justify sanctions against “Russian aggression” in order to break up Russia’s growing economic and political relationships with Europe. Washington feared that these relationships could undermine Washington’s hold on Europe.

Sanctions are contrary to Europe’s interests. Nevertheless European governments accommodated Washington’s agenda. The reason was explained to me several decades ago by my Ph.D. dissertation committee chairman who became Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. I had the opportunity to ask him how Washington managed to have foreign governments act in Washington’s interest rather than in the interest of their own countries. He said, “money.” I said, “you mean foreign aid?” He said, “no, we give the politicians bags full of money. They belong to us. They answer to us.”

Recently, the German journalist Udo Ulfkotte wrote a book, Bought Journalists, in which he reported that every significant European journalist functions as a CIA asset.

This does not surprise me. The same is the situation in the US.

As Europe is an appendage of Washington, a collection of vassal states, Europe enables Washington’s pursuit of hegemony even to the extent of being driven into conflict with Russia over a “crisis” that is entirely a propaganda creation of Washington’s.

The media disguises the reality. During the Clinton regime, six mega-media companies were permitted to acquire 90% of the US print, TV, radio, and entertainment media, a concentration that destroyed diversity and independence. Today the media throughout the Western world serves as a Propaganda Ministry for Washington. The Western media is Washington’s Ministry of Truth. Gerald Celente, the trends forecaster, calls the Western media “presstitutes,” a combination of press prostitutes.

In the US Putin and Russia are demonized around the clock. Every broadcast alerts us to “the Russian threat.” Even Putin’s facial expressions are psychologically analyzed. Putin is the New Hitler. Putin has ambitions to recreate the Soviet empire. Putin invaded Ukraine. Putin is going to invade the Baltic states and Poland. Putin is a threat on the level of ebola and the Islamic State. US Russian experts, such as Stephen Cohen, who state the facts are dismissed as “Putin apologists.” Any and every one who takes exception to the anti-Putin, anti-Russian propaganda is branded a “Putin apologist,” just as 9/11 skeptics are dismissed as “conspiracy theorists.” In the Western world, the few truth-tellers are demonized along with Putin and Russia.

The world should take note that today, right now, Truth is the most unwelcome presence in the Western world. No one wants to hear it in Washington, London, Tokyo, or in any of the political capitals of Washington’s empire.

The majority of the American population has fallen for the anti-Russian propaganda, just as they fell for “Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction,” “Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people,” Iranian nukes,” the endless lies about Gaddafi, 9/11, shoe bombers, underwear bombers, shampoo and bottled water bombers. There is always a new lie to keep the fear factor working for Washington’s endless wars and police state measures that enrich the rich and impoverish the poor.

The gullibility of the public has enabled Washington to establish the foundation for a new Cold War or for a preemptive nuclear strike on Russia. Some neoconservatives prefer the latter. They believe nuclear war can be won, and they ask, “What is the purpose of nuclear weapons if they cannot be used?”

China is the other rising power that the Wolfowitz Doctrine requires to be constrained. Washington’s “pivot to Asia” creates new naval and air bases to control China and perpetuate Washington’s hegemony in the South China Sea.

We come to the bottom line. Washington’s position is not negotiable. Washington has no interest in compromising with Russia or China. Washington has no interest in any facts. Washington’s deal is this: “You can be part of our world order as our vassals, but not otherwise.”

European governments and, of course, the lapdog UK government, are complicit in this implicit declaration of war against Russia and China. If it comes to war, Europeans will pay the ultimate price for the treason of their leaders, such as Merkel, Cameron, and Hollande, as Europe will cease to exist.

War with Russia and China is beyond Washington’s capability. However, if the demonized “enemy” does not succumb to the pressure and accept Washington’s leadership, war can be inevitable. Washington has launched an attack. How does Washington back off? Don’t expect any American regime to say, “we made a mistake. Let’s work this out.” Every one of the announced candidates for the American presidency is committed to American hegemony and war.

Washington believes Russia can be isolated from the West and that this isolation will motivate those secularized and westernized elements in Russia, who desire to be part of the West, into more active opposition against Putin. The Saker calls these Russians “Atlanticist integrationists.”

After two decades of Russia being infiltrated by Washington’s NGO Fifth Columns, the Russian government has finally taken action to regulate the hundreds of Western-financed NGOs inside Russia that comprise Washington’ subversion of the Russian government. However, Washington still hopes to use sanctions to cause enough disruption of economic life within Russia to be able to send protesters into the streets. Regime change, as in Ukraine, is one of Washington’s tools. In China the US organized the Hong Kong “student” riots, which Washington hopes will spread into China, and Washington supports the independence of the Muslim population in the Chinese province that borders Kazakhstan.

The problem with a government in the control of an ideology is that ideology and not reason drives the action of the government. As the majority of Western populations lack the interest to search for independent explanations, the populations impose no constraint on governments.
To understand Washington, go online and read the neoconservative documents and position papers. You will see an agenda unconstrained by law, by morality, by compassion, by common sense. You will see an agenda of evil.

Who is Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for the Ukrainian part of the world? It is the neoconservative Victoria Nuland who organized the Ukrainian coup, who put in office the new puppet government, who is married to the even more extreme neoconservative, Robert Kagan.

Who is Obama’s National Security advisor? It is Susan Rice, a neoconservative.

Who is Obama’s Ambassador to the UN? It is Samantha Power, a neoconservative.

Now we turn to material interests. The neoconservative agenda of world hegemony serves the powerful military/security complex whose one trillion dollar annual budget depends on war, hot or cold.

The agenda of American hegemony serves the interests of Wall Street and the mega-banks. As Washington’s power and influence spreads, so does American financial imperialism. So does the reach of American oil companies and American agribusiness corporations such as Monsanto.

Washington’s hegemony means that US corporations get to loot the rest of the world.

The danger of the neoconservative ideology is that it is in perfect harmony with powerful economic interests. In the US the left-wing has made itself impotent. It believes all the foundational government lies that have given America a police/warfare state incapable of producing alternative leadership. The American left, what little remains, for emotional reasons believes the government’s 9/11 story. The anti-religious left-wing believes the threat posed to free thought by a Christian Russia. The left-wing, convinced that Americans are racists, believes the government’s account of the assassinations of Martin Luther King.

The left-wing accepts the government’s transparent 9/11 fable, because it is emotionally important to the American left that oppressed peoples strike back. For the American left, it is emotionally satisfying that the Middle East, long oppressed and exploited by the French, British and Americans, struck back and humiliated the Unipower in the 9/11 attack.

This emotional need is so powerful for the left that it blinds the left-wing to the improbability of a few Saudi Arabians, who could not fly airplanes, outwitting not merely the FBI, CIA, and NSA, which spies on the entire world, but as well all 16 US intelligence agencies and the intelligence agencies of Washington’s NATO vassal states and Israel’s Mossad, which has infiltrated every terrorist organization, including those created by Washington itself.

Somehow these Saudis were able to also outwit NORAD, airport security, causing security to fail four times in one hour on the same day. They were able to prevent for the first time ever the US Air Force from intercepting the hijacked airliners. Air traffic control somehow lost the hijacked airliners on radar. Two airliners crashed, one into the Pennsylvania country side and one into the Pentagon without leaving any debris. The passport of the leader of the attack, Mohammed Atta was reported to be found as the only undamaged element in the debris of the World Trade Center towers. The story of the passport was so preposterous that it had to be changed.

This implausible account did not raise any eyebrows in the tame Western print and TV media.

The right-wing is obsessed with immigration of darker-skinned peoples, and 9/11 has become an argument against immigration. The left-wing awaits the oppressed to strike back against their oppressors. The 9/11 fable survives as it serves the interests of both left and right.

I can tell you for a fact that if American national security had so totally failed as it is represented to have failed by the official explanation of 9/11, the White House, the Congress, the media would have been screaming for an investigation. Heads would have rolled in agencies that permitted such massive failure of the national security state. The embarrassment of a Superpower being so easily attacked and humiliated by a handful of Arabs acting independently of any intelligence agency would have created an uproar demanding accountability.

Instead, the White House resisted any investigation for one year. Under pressure from the 9/11 families who lost family members in the World Trade Center Towers, the White House created a political commission consisting of politicians managed by the White House. The commission sat and listened to the government’s account and wrote it down. This is not an investigation.

In the United States the left-wing is focused on demonizing Ronald Reagan, who had nothing whatsoever to do with any of this. The left-wing hates Reagan because he had to use anti-communist rhetoric in order to keep his electoral basis while he strove to end the Cold War in the face of the powerful opposition of the military/security complex.

Is the left-wing more effective in Europe? Not that I can see. Look at Greece for example. The Greek people are driven into the ground by the EU, the IMF, the German and Dutch banks and the New York hedge funds. Yet, when presented with candidates who promise to resist the looting of Greece, the Greek voters give the candidates a mere 36% of the vote, enough to form a government, but not enough to have any clout with creditors.

Having hamstrung their government with such low electoral support, the Greek people further impose impotence on their government by demanding to remain in the EU. If leaving the EU is not a realistic threat, the Greek government has no negotiating power.

Obviously, the Greek population is so throughly brainwashed about the necessity of being part of the EU that the population is willing to be economically dispossessed rather than to leave the EU. Thus Greeks have forfeited their sovereignty and independence. A country without its own money is not, and cannot be, an independent country.

Once European intellectuals signed off on the EU, they committed nations to vassalage, both to the EU bureaucrats and to Washington. Consequently, European nations are not independent and cannot exercise an independent foreign policy.

Their impotence means that Washington can drive them to war. To fully understand the impotence of Europe look at France. The only leader in Europe worthy of the name is Marine Le Pen. Having said this, I am immediately denounced by the European left as a fascist, a racist, and so forth. This only shows the knee-jerk response of the European left.

It is not I who shares Le Pen’s views on immigration. It is the French people. Le Pen’s party won the recent EU elections. What Le Pen stands for is French independence from the EU. The majority of French see themselves as French and want to remain French with their own laws and customs. Only Le Pen among European politicians has stated the obvious: “The Americans are taking us to war!”

Despite the French desire for independence, the French will elect Le Pen’s party to the EU but will not give it the vote to be the government of France. The French deny themselves their independence, because they are heavily conditioned by brainwashing, much coming from the left, and are ashamed to be racists, fascists, and whatever epithets have been assigned to Le Pen’s political party, a party that stands for the independence of France.

The European left-wing, once a progressive force, even a revolutionary one, has become a reactionary force. It is the same in the US. I say this as one of CounterPunch’s popular contributors.

The inability even of intellectuals to recognize and accept reality means that restraints on neoconservatives are nowhere present except within Russia and China. The West is impotent to prevent Armageddon. It is up to Russia and China, and as Washington has framed the dilemma, Armageddon can only be prevented by Russia and China accepting vassal status.

I don’t believe this is going to happen. Why would any self-respecting people submit to the corrupt West?

The hope is that Washington will cause its European vassals to rebel by pushing them too hard into conflict with Russia. The hope that European countries will be forced into an independent foreign policy also seems to be the basis of the Russian government’s strategy.

Perhaps intellectuals can help to bring this hope to fruition. If European politicians were to break from Washington’s hegemony and instead represent European interests, Washington would be deprived of cover for its war crimes. Washington’s aggressions would be constrained by an independent European foreign policy. The breakdown of the neoconservative unipower model would be apparent even to Washington, and the world would become a safer and better place.


By Paul Craig Roberts

Source: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/06/19/paul-craig-roberts-address-international-conference-europeanrussian-crisis-created-washington/

Will Washington Kill Us All?

Did you know that Washington keeps 450 nuclear ICBMs on “hair-trigger alert”? Washington thinks that this makes us “safe.” The reasoning, if it can be called reason, is that by being able to launch in a few minutes, no one will try to attack the US with nuclear weapons. US missiles are able to get on their way before the enemy’s missiles can reach the US to destroy ours.

If this makes you feel safe, you need to read Eric Schlosser’s book, Command and Control.

The trouble with hair-triggers is that they make mistaken, accidental, and unauthorized launch more likely. Schlosser provides a history of almost launches that would have brought armageddon to the world.

In Catalyst, a publication of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Elliott Negin tells the story of Soviet Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov. Just after midnight in 1983 the Soviet Union’s early warning satellite system set off the alarm that 5 US ICBMs were headed for the Soviet Union.

Col. Petrov was supposed to inform the Soviet leader, who would have 8 to 10 minutes to decide whether to launch in retaliation. Who knows what he would have decided. Instead Col. Petrov used his judgment. There was no reason for the US to be attacking the Soviet Union. Moreover, Petrov reasoned that an American attack would involve hundreds of ICBMs, possibly thousands. He checked whether Soviet ground-based radar had detected incoming ICBMs, and it had not. Petrov decided it was a false alarm, and sat on it.

It turned out that the early warning system had mistaken a pattern of sunlight reflection on clouds as missiles. This was a close call, but Negin reports that “a failed computer chip, and an improperly installed circuit card are some of the culprits” that could initiate nuclear war. In other words, the sources of false alarms are numerous.

Fast forward to today. Imagine an American officer monitoring the US early warning system. This officer has been listening to 15 years of war propaganda accompanied by US invasions and bombings of 8 countries. Terrorist warnings and security alerts abound, as do calls from American and Israeli politicians for nuking Iran. The media has convinced him that Russia has invaded Ukraine and is on the verge of invading the Baltics and Poland. American troops and tanks have been rushed to the Russian border. There is talk of arming Ukraine. Putin is dangerous and is threatening nuclear war, running his strategic bombers close to our borders and holding nuclear drills. The American officer has just heard a Fox News general again call for “killing Russians.” The Republicans have convinced him that Obama is selling out America to Iran, with Senator Tom Cotton warning of nuclear war as a consequence. We will all be killed because there is a Muslim in the White House.

Why isn’t anyone standing up for America, the patriotic American officer wonders, just as the alarm goes off: Incoming ICBMs. Are they Russian or Iranian? Was Israel right after all? A hidden Iranian nuclear weapons program? Or has Putin decided that the US is in the way of his reconstruction of the Soviet Empire, which the American media affirms is Putin’s goal? There is no room for judgment in the American officer’s mind. It has been set on hair-trigger by the incessant propaganda that Americans call news. He passes on the warning.

Obama’s Russophobic neocon National Security Advisor is screaming: “You can’t let
Putin get away with this!” “It might be a false alarm,” replies the nervous and agitated president. “You liberal pussy! Don’t you know that Putin is dangerous!? Push the button!”

And there goes the world.

Considering the extreme Russophobia being created among Americans by the Ministry of Propaganda, the demonization of Vladimir Putin–the “new Hitler,” Vlad the Impaler– the propagandistic creation of “the Russian threat,” the crazed neocon desire for US world hegemony, the hatred of Russia and China as rising rivals capable of exercising independent power, the loss of American Uni-power status and unconstrained unilateral action. In the midst of these emotions and minds swayed not by facts but by propaganda, hubris, and ideology, there is a great chance that Washington’s response to a false alarm will bring the end of life on earth.

How much confidence do you have in Washington? How many times has Washington–especially the crazed neocons–been wrong?

Remember the 3-week “cakewalk” Iraq war that would cost $70 billion and be paid out of Iraqi oil revenues? Now the cost is $3,000 billion and rising, and after 12 years the radical Islamic State controls half of the country. To pay for the wars the Republicans want to “privatize,” that is, take away, Social Security and Medicare.

Remember “Mission Accomplished” in Afghanistan? Twelve years later the Taliban again control the country and Washington, after murdering women, children, funerals, weddings, village elders, and kids’ soccer games, has been driven out by a few thousand lightly armed Taliban.

The frustrations of these defeats have mounted in Washington and in the military. The myth is that we lost because we didn’t use our full force. We were intimidated by world opinion or by those damn student protesters, or blocked from victory by some gutless president, a liberal pussy who wouldn’t use all of our power. For the right-wing, rage is a way of life.

The neocons believe fervently that History has chosen America to rule the world, and here we are defeated by Vietnamese guerrillas, by Afghan tribesmen, by Islamist fundamentalists, and now Putin has sent his missiles to finish the job.

Whoever the White House fool is, he will push the button.

The situation is deteriorating, not improving. The Russians, hoping for some sign of intelligence in Europe, contradict Washington’s anti-Russian lies. Washington calls truthful contradiction of its own propaganda to be Russian propaganda. Washington has ordered the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a US government agency, headed by Andrew Lack, a former chairman of NBC news, to counteract an alleged, but non-existent, “Kremlin Troll Army” that is outshouting the Western prostitutes and “perpetuating a pro-Russian dialogue” on the Internet. In case you don’t remember, Lack is the idiot who declared RT to be a “terrorist organization.” In other words, in Lack’s opinion, one that he can enforce, a truth-teller is a terrorist.

Lack epitomizes well Washington’s view of truthful reporting: If it doesn’t serve Washington’s propaganda, it is not true. It is terrorism.

Lack hopes to control RT with intimidation: In effect, he has told RT to shut up and say what we want or we will close you down as a terrorist organization. We might even arrest your American employees as aiders and abettors of terrorism.

To counteract a Revanchist Russia and its Internet Troll Army, the Obama regime is handing $15,400,000 to the insane Lack to use to discredit every truthful statement that emerges from the English language versions of Russian media. This amount, of course, will rise dramatically. Soon it will be in the billions of dollars, while Americans are evicted from their homes and sent to prison for their debts.

In his budget request, Lack, who seems to lack every aspect of humanity, including intelligence, integrity, and morality, justified his request, which will be granted, for the hard-earned money of Americans, whose standard of living is falling, with the wild assertion that Russia “threatens Russia’s neighbors and, by extension, the United States and its Western allies.”

Lack promises to do even more: “The US international media is now set forth to refute Russian propaganda and influence the minds of Russians and Russian-speakers in the former Soviet Union, Europe and around the world.” Lack is going to propagandize against Russia inside Russia.

Of course, the CIA organizations–the National Endowment for Democracy and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty–will be enriched by this anti-Russian propaganda campaign and will support it wholeheartedly.

Therefore, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ call for cooperation with Russia to take ICBMs off hair-trigger status is unlikely to occur. How can nuclear tensions be reduced when Washington is building tensions as fast as it possibly can? Washington’s Ministry of Propaganda has reconstructed Putin as Osama bin Laden, as Saddam Hussein, demonized figures, bogymen who evoke fear from the brainwashed American sheeple. Russia is transformed into al Qaeda lusting for another attack on the World Trade Center and for the Red Army (many Americans think Russia is still communist) to roll across Europe.

Gorbachev was a trick. He deceived the old movie actor. The deceived Americans are sitting ducks, and here come the ICBMs. The crazed views of the American politicians, military, and people are unable to comprehend truth or to recognize reality.

The propagandistic American “media” and the crazed neoconservatives have set humanity on the path to destruction.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, of which I am a member, need to come to their senses. It is impossible to work out a reduction in nuclear threat as long as one side is going all out to demonize the other. The demonization of Russia and its leader by the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Fox News, and the rest of the American Propaganda Ministry, by almost the entirety of the House and Senate, and by the White House makes reducing the threat of nuclear war impossible.

The American people and the entire world need to understand that the threat to life on earth resides in Washington and that until Washington is fundamentally and totally changed, this threat will remain as the worse threat to life on earth. Global Warming can disappear instantly in Nuclear Winter.


About the author:

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.
2015-04-15
Source: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2015/04/15/will-washington-kill-us-paul-craig-roberts/

Genocide And The Thanksgiving Myth

Note: We are republishing this essay by S. Brian Willson describing the true history of genocide in the United States which stands in stark contrast to the myth of Thanksgiving because of its popularity with readers and its educational value.

The Defining and Enabling Experience of Our “Civilization” 

As we again plan to celebrate what US “Americans”call Thanksgiving, let us pause for a moment of reflection. Let us recognize that accounts of the first Thanksgiving are mythological, and that the holiday is actually a grotesque celebration of our arrogant ethnocentrism built on genocide.

Native Americans in the Caribbean greeted their 1492 European invaders with warm hospitality. They were so innocent that Genoan Cristoforo Colombo wrote in his log, They willingly traded everything they owned . . . They do not bear arms . . . They would make fine servants . . . They could easily be made Christians . . . With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want. This meeting set in motion a 500+-year plunder of the Western Hemisphere, which then spread to the remainder of the globe. And it has not stopped!

Historian Hans Köning concludes that what sets the West apart is its persistence, its capacity tostop at nothing. Cultural historian Lewis Mumford declared, Wherever Western man went, slavery, land robbery, lawlessness, culture-wrecking, and the outright extermination of both wild beasts and tame men went with him.

Jump 129 years to 1621, year of the supposed “first Thanksgiving.” There is not much documentation of that event, apparently a three-day feast, but surviving Indians do not trust the myth. Natives were already dying like flies thanks to European-borne diseases. The Pequot tribe in today’s Connecticut reportedly numbered 8,000 when the Pilgrims arrived, but disease had reduced their population to 1,500 by 1637, when the first, officially proclaimed, all-Pilgrim “Thanksgiving” took place. At that feast, the whites of New England celebrated their massacre of the Pequots in the Connecticut Valley where the Mystic River meets the sea. The Indians were in fact celebrating their annual green corn dance ceremony. But it was to be their last.

William Bradford, the former Governor of Plymouth and one of the chroniclers of the supposed 1621 feast, was on hand for the unspeakable massacre of 1637. He described it thus in his History of the Plymouth Plantation (1647):

Those that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire…horrible was the stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave praise thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory.

The rest of the white folks thought so, too. This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots, read Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop’s proclamation. The authentic proclaimed Thanksgiving Day was born. Few Pequots survived.

The English commander John Mason declared that the attack against the Pequot was the act of a God who “laughed his Enemies and the Enemies of his People to scorn making [the Pequot] as a fiery Oven . . . Thus did the Lord judge among the Heathen, filling [Mystic] with dead Bodies.” The Narragansett and Mohegan warriors with the English were horrified by the actions and “manner of the Englishmen’s fight . . . because it is too furious, and slays too many men.” The Narragansett returned home and no longer participated in the war. This image is courtesy of forquignon.com.

Most historians believe about 700 Pequots were slaughtered at Mystic. Many prisoners were executed, and surviving women and children sold into slavery in the West Indies. Pequot prisoners that escaped execution were parceled out to Indian tribes allied with the English. The Pequot were thought to have been extinguished as a people.

But, the epitaph was premature. Enough survived such that today the Pequots own the Foxwood Casino and Hotel, in Ledyard, Connecticut, larger in size than the Pentagon, with gaming revenues in the billions.

Moving 158 years further, we discover a ruthless campaign conducted in central New York in 1779 during our “noble” Revolutionary War. The Continental Congress was furious that a majority of the Iroquois Indians (those who coined the Seventh Generation philosophy) were siding with the British against the colonialists who were rapidly settling their lands. The booming capital town of the Seneca Nation was Kanadesaga at the head of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region. In the summer of 1779, the Continental Congress instructed its Army’s commanding general to take care of the Indian problem. George Washington complied. He ordered General John Sullivan to lay waste . . . that the country . . . be . . . destroyed, instilling terror among the Iroquois Indians in central New York; General Sullivan affirmed that the Indians shall see that there is malice enough in our hearts to destroy everything that contributes to their support. Washington declared, Our future security will be in their inability to injure us…and in the terror with which the severity of the chastizement they receive will inspire them [Richard Drinnon, Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian Hating & Empire Building (New York: Schocken Books, 1990), pp. 331-32].

General John Sullivan was selected by George Washington to deal with the tribes who had sided with the British during the Revolutionary War. This included; the Mohawks, Cayuga, Onondagas and Seneca tribes. It was named the Sullivan Campaign and General Sullivan took no mercy destroying at least 40 villages, including burning their crops and homes. This destruction lead to over 5,000 Iroquois displaced and many starved or froze to death during the winter months.

The culminating day of “victory” was September 7, 1779. Total destruction of Kanadesaga and the forty other Seneca towns was accomplished by 4,500 troops, nearly one-third of the entire force of the Continental Army. The only major military campaign of that year, it was one of the most vicious scorched-earth campaigns in history. All orchards and food crops were destroyed, all buildings were looted, then burned. Many of the escaping Senecas were scalped and butchered: After the battle . . . Indian warriors . . . were scalped; Lieutenant William Barton amused himself by skinning two Indians from the hips down to make two pairs of leggings, one pair for himself, the other a present for his major [Morris Bishop, “The End of the Iroquois,” American Heritage, October 1969, p. 78].

Jump 162 years to 1941, when I was born in Kanadesaga, renamed Geneva by our European ancestors. As a young boy I blissfully collected hundreds of Seneca arrowheads, storing them in a special protected box in my bedroom. A chapter in my seventh grade history textbook taught that, The Iroquois were the Indian Masters of the State, but due to their destructive attacks on the frontier settlements, George Washington decided to send an army to crush the Indians . . . The Six Nations never recovered from this blow. Europeans onward and upward!

The New Republic was formed in 1789, its 1787 Constitutional Convention having been conducted in enforced secrecy, never submitted to a popular vote. The third U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809) described his vision of an “empire of liberty,” with expanded commercial enterprises and territory. And without any Constitutional authority he quickly doubled the area of the young country by acquiring vast Louisiana from France’s Napoleon for $15 million.

In 1807 he advocated preventive war: If the English do not give us the satisfaction we demand, we will take Canada, which wants to enter the Union; and when, together with Canada, we shall have the Floridas, we shall no longer have any difficulties with our neighbors; and it is the only way of preventing them [William Appleman Williams, The Contours of American History (Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1961), p. 192]. Others openly talked of expansion into Spanish America and Canada for planter and merchant prosperity in new markets, saying that the patriotic and virtuous “wise framers” of the Constitution had “too much wisdom to restrict Congress to defensive war” [Ibid., p. 194].

Twenty-one missions were built from San Diego to Sonoma on the most fertile land by slaves of the Catholic missionaries. Friars and soldiers captured Chumashes and put them on the missions. Once they were baptized, they were tied to the mission and the authority of friars who only gave them food and clothes. Many were malnourished and there were more deaths than births.

After moving to Humboldt County in northern California in the early 2000s, I carefully examined its history as well. The 1849 gold rush brought a large influx of white miners and settlers to California, leading to near virtual wipeout of California Indians by 1865-70. Between 1853 and 1861 there were at least fourteen wars waged against the Indians of California, with paramilitary campaigns continuing into the late 1860s. The population, once thought to have been as high as 700,000, was estimated to be 100,000 in 1849 partly due to grueling enslavement in the Catholic Missions starting in 1769. From 1849 to 1860 the population decreased by 65 percent to 35,000, due to systematic killings [Russell Thorton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History Since 1492 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987), p. 109]; a detailed list of atrocities committed against Indians in California, including many in what is now Humboldt County, can be found in Sherburne F. Cook’s The Conflict Between the California Indian and White Civilization (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976)].

From 1857 to 1860, U.S. author/poet Bret Harte wrote for the Northern Californian and theHumboldt Times. Bret was privy to the white massacre of 188 Wiyot Indians on Indian Island in Humboldt Bay near Eureka on February 25, 1860, in which it was reported only one Wiyot child survived. Harte’s story, entitled “Indiscriminate Massacre of Indians, Women and Children Butchered,” included this account: “Little children and old women were mercilessly stabbed and their skulls crushed by axes. When the bodies were landed in Union [present day Arcata] a more shocking and revolting spectacle never was exhibited to the eyes of a Christian and civilized people. Old women, wrinkled and decrepit, lay weltering in blood, their brains dashed out and dabbed with long grey hair. Infants sparce a span long, with their faces cloven with hatchets and their bodies ghastly wounds. . . .” [Northern Californian, Vol. 2, Issue 9 (February 29, 1960), p. 1]. Barte fled as whites sought to lynch him.

In California as elsewhere, hordes of white frontier settlers, speculators, surveyors and other opportunists were establishing permanent settlements as they moved westward from the Atlantic Coast colonies, especially following cessation of the Seven Years War in 1763. Thousands of murders of Indigenous were proudly admitted by settlers and investors/speculators engaged in activities the equivalent of today’s paramilitary death squads operating outside “official” channels, i.e., acting parallel to or outside the jurisdiction of federal troops.

As US Empire spread beyond Manifest Destiny of the continent, the US war in the Philippines was an early victim. General Jacob H. Smith’s infamous order in 1901 “Kill Everyone Over Ten” was the caption in the New York Journal cartoon on May 5, 1902. The Old Glory draped an American shield on which a vulture replaced the bald eagle. The caption at the bottom proclaimed, “Criminals Because They Were Born Ten Years Before We Took the Philippines” Gen. Smith ordered “I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn; the more you kill and burn, the better it will please me… The interior of Samar must be made a howling wilderness…” Estimates of deaths in this massacre range from 2,000 to 50,000.

Preventive war using terror against civilians as ordered by thegovernment carried out by young male troops orparamilitary forces are “all-American” values. Such policies have been witnessed time and again in U.S. history, rationalized by our sense of being “exceptional” people. We remain in denial about our arrogant, racist and genocidal origins. More redeeming values have been exhibited, such as civil disobedience and waves of progressive political movements. But the prevailing political and economic structures remain intransigently oligarchic. In simple terms, we remain a white male supremacy society of plutocrats supported by massive numbers of obedient consumers and laborers.

By revealing our social secrets (an oligarchy committed to selfish exploitation) and realizing that those secrets have masked our social myth (a democracy committed to equal justice), we can help catalyze a revolution of consciousness. Recognizing that obedience to our system is killing us and the Planet’s capacity to host us, is a grand initial step for triggering the imaginative forces necessary to enable rapid movement toward a society based on mutual aid in which sustainable communities are built and nourished at the local level.

We have yet to come to grips with the original holocaust that continues to serve as the defining and enabling experience of our “civilization.” Embracing this “shadow” can ironically enable sudden and radical shifts as we are freed from expending the incredible unconscious energy needed to conceal our shame. Sharing our grief for what we have done to others, and ultimately to ourselves, will be experienced as tremendous relief.


About the author:

After serving in the Vietnam War, S. Brian Willson became a radical, nonviolent peace activist and pacifist.

28-11-2014

Source: www.globalresearch.ca

America’s Secret Planned Conquest Of Russia

The U.S. government’s plan to conquer Russia is based upon a belief in, and the fundamental plan to establish, “Nuclear Primacy” against Russia — an American ability to win a nuclear war against, and so conquer, Russia.

This concept became respectable in U.S. academic and governmental policymaking circles when virtually simultaneously in 2006 a short-form and a long-form version of an article endorsing the concept, which the article’s two co-authors there named “nuclear primacy,” were published respectively in the world’s two most influential journals of international affairs, Foreign Affairs from the Council on Foreign Relations, and International Security from Harvard. (CFR got the more popular short version, titled “The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy”, and Harvard got the more scholarly long version, which was titled “The End of MAD?”.)

This article claimed that the central geostrategic concept during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, Mutually Assured Destruction or “MAD” — in which there is no such thing as the U.S. or the U.S.S.R. conquering the other, because the first of the two to attack will itself also be destroyed by the surviving nuclear forces of the one responding to that attack — will soon be merely past history (like the Soviet Union itself already is); and, so, as the short form of the article said, “nuclear primacy remains a goal of the United States”; and, as the long form said, “the United States now stands on the cusp of nuclear primacy.” In other words: arms-control or no, the U.S. should, and soon will, be able to grab Russia (the largest land-mass of any country, and also the one richest in natural resources).

Neither version of this article mentioned the key reason why nuclear victory is exceedingly dangerous even under the most favorable conditions, which reason is the concept (and the likely reality in the event of nuclear war between the two superpowers) “nuclear winter” — the scientific studies showing that a resulting sudden sharp cooling of the atmosphere after all those enormous explosions would produce a global die-off.

America’s aristocracy and its vassal-aristocracies controlling the U.S.-allied nations (billionaires, centi-millionaires, and their top agents in both the public and private sectors) are buying and building deep-underground nuclear shelters for themselves, but they wouldn’t be able to stay underground and survive on stored feedstuffs forever. (As for everybody else, those other people are not involved in geostrategic decisionmaking, and so are being ignored.) However, many of America’s (and associated) elite are paying those bomb-shelter expenses, but none of the West’s elite are condemning the path toward nuclear war that their governments are on. So: buying or building nuclear-war shelters is more acceptable to them than is stopping America’s planned conquest of Russia. The higher priority is to conquer Russia.

A far less influential scholarly journal, China Policy, published later in 2006 a critical article arguing against nuclear supremacy, but that article has had no impact upon policymaking. Its title was “The Fallacy of Nuclear Primacy” and it argued that, “American nuclear supremacy removes the root source of stability from the nuclear equation: mutual vulnerability.” It presented a moral argument: “U.S. leaders might try to exploit its nuclear superiority … by actually launching a cold-blooded nuclear attack against its nuclear rival in the midst of an intense crisis. The professors discount significantly the power of the nuclear taboo to restrain U.S. leaders from crossing the fateful threshold. If crisis circumstances grow dire enough, the temptation to try to disarm their nuclear adversaries through a nuclear first-strike may be too strong to resist, they argue.” The concept of “nuclear winter” wasn’t even so much as just mentioned (much less dealt with) in this article, just as it was ignored in the two that it was arguing against.

The co-authors of (both versions of) the article that had proposed and endorsed nuclear primacy, then published in 2007 (this one also in International Security), a response to that critical article. This reply’s title was “U.S. Nuclear Primacy and the Future of the Chinese Deterrent”. But it had no more impact than did the obscure article it was arguing against.

Thus, nuclear primacy has become U.S. policy, and MAD no longer is U.S. policy (though it remains Russian policy). The U.S. government is planning to take over Russia (basically, to install a puppet-regime there). That’s the reality.

Central to the nuclear-primacy concept is that of what’s variously called a “Ballistic Missile Defense” (BMD) or “Anti Ballistic Missile” (ABM) system: a system to disable or knock out Russia’s retaliatory nuclear weapons so that a U.S. blitz nuclear attack won’t be able to be met by any nuclear counter-attack.

As “The End of MAD?” put it: “Russia has approximately 3,500 strategic nuclear warheads today, but if the United States struck before Russian forces were alerted, Russia would be lucky if a half-dozen warheads survived.”

In other words: America’s aristocracy aren’t necessarily hoping to protect all of the U.S. population from a counter-attack, but are willing to sacrifice perhaps a few million Americans here and there, in order to achieve the intended result: conquest of Russia.

That article then says that a BMD-ABM system wouldn’t necessarily indicate America’s determination to pursue nuclear primacy against Russia, because it could instead be intended purely and authentically defensively, to protect against nuclear attack from Iran, North Korea or some other country. However: “Other U.S. nuclear programs are hard to explain with any mission other than a nuclear first strike on a major power adversary. For example, the decision to upgrade the fuse of many SLBM warheads (the W76s) to permit ground bursts makes sense only if the mission is destroying hundreds of hardened silos. One might argue that ground bursts could be useful for a variety of other missions, such as destroying North Korean WMD bunkers or remote cave complexes housing terrorist leaders. The United States, however, already has a large number of highly accurate, similar-yield warheads that would be ideal for these purposes.”

The article even notes that: “Other analysts have noted that the current U.S. nuclear force looks surprisingly like an arsenal designed for a nuclear first strike against Russia or China.” And, “A group of RAND analysts agrees: ‘What the planned force appears best suited to provide beyond the needs of traditional deterrence is a preemptive counterforce capability against Russia and China. Otherwise, the numbers and the operating procedures simply do not add up.’” So: the co-authors here are claiming to be merely giving a name, “nuclear primacy,” to America’s existing strategic military policy — not to be inventing or creating it. They are, above all, saying that this is the reality now in U.S. policy-making circles; that MAD no longer is.

And their article has, indeed, described the guiding strategic-planning objective not only of the George W. Bush Administration, but also of Barack Obama’s — as will now be documented.

U.S. President Obama has always been saying that the reason why America is installing anti-ballistic missiles (“ABM”s, otherwise known as ballistic-missile defense or “BMD”) in Romania, Poland, and other nations that border (or are near to) Russia, is in order to protect Europe against Iranian missiles that might be aimed against Europe. He says that this is purely defensive, not aggressive, and that what it’s defending from is Iran, not Russia — so, Russia has no reason for complaint about it.

But then, Obama reached his nuclear deal with Iran; and this deal ended, for at least ten years, any realistic possibility that Iran would develop any nuclear-weapons capability — Obama himself emphasized that this was the case; he wasn’t denying it.

So: Obama’s claimed reason for installing ABMs in Europe was now, quite simply, gone. (Not that it had been credible anyway, since Iran didn’t have any nuclear weapons. It was merely a pretext, not honestly a reason.)

Here is how Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, stated the matter, at that time, during the meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club, on 22 October 2015:

The use of the threat of a nuclear missile attack from Iran as an excuse, as we know, has destroyed the fundamental basis of modern international security – the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The United States has unilaterally seceded from the treaty. Incidentally, today we have resolved the Iranian issue and there is no threat from Iran and never has been, just as we said.

The thing that seemed to have led our American partners to build an anti-missile defence system is gone. It would be reasonable to expect work to develop the US anti-missile defence system to come to an end as well. [But] What is actually happening? Nothing of the kind, or actually the opposite – everything continues.

Recently the United States conducted the first test of the anti-missile defence system in Europe. What does this mean? It means we were right when we argued with our American partners. They were simply trying yet again to mislead us and the whole world. To put it plainly, they were lying. It was not about the hypothetical Iranian threat, which never existed. It was about an attempt to destroy the strategic balance, to change the balance of forces in their favour not only to dominate, but to have the opportunity to dictate their will to all: to their geopolitical competition and, I believe, to their allies as well. This is a very dangerous scenario, harmful to all, including, in my opinion, to the United States.

The nuclear deterrent lost its value. Some probably even had the illusion that victory of one party in a world conflict was again possible – without irreversible, unacceptable, as experts say, consequences for the winner, if there ever is one.

He called Obama there  a “liar,” and that’s a blatantly truthful characterization of the situation. But Putin missed there saying what’s even more basic for an understanding of what Obama was doing in this matter — and which makes that “lie” from Obama particularly heinous: Putin missed saying that an anti-missile system can be at least as important as an aggressive weapon as it is as a defensive one, because if a first-strike attacker wants to eliminate the defender’s ability to strike back from the attacker’s first-strike attack, then an anti-missile system is the weapon to do that, by eliminating the defender’s missiles before those strike-back missiles can reach their targets.

It nullifies the other side’s defense — and to do this is enormously aggressive; it strips the victim’s retaliation. The whole distinction between offensive and defensive can thus be pure propaganda, nothing having to do actually with aggressive and defensive. Whether the use will be defensive, or instead offensive, won’t be known until the system is in actual battlefield use. Only the propaganda is clear; the weapon’s use is not.

So, Putin understated the heinousness, and the danger to Russians, that was actually involved in Obama’s tricks. All that Putin did was to vaguely suggest an aggressive possibility: “It was about an attempt to destroy the strategic balance, to change the balance of forces in their favour not only to dominate, but to have the opportunity to dictate their will to all.” Most people don’t relate to such abstractions as “strategic balance.”

Obama and other agents of the U.S. aristocracy know that their public have been trained for decades, to hate, fear, and despise, Russians, and especially the Russian government, as if it were the Soviet Union, and as if its Warsaw Pact and communism still existed and Russia hadn’t ended its hostility to the U.S. in 1991 (though the U.S. continued its hostility to Russia — that rump remaining country from the former communist empire — and during Obama’s second term the hostility soared). So, for example, at the conservative website Breitbart, when that statement quoted here from Putin was posted as part of an honestly written and presented article titled “Vladimir Putin: U.S. Missile Defense System Threatens Russia”, almost none of the reader-comments indicated any ability or inclination of the readers to sympathize with the plight for Russians that Putin had just expressed. Instead, to the extent that the comments there were relevant, they were generally hostile, such as:

“Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he has concerns that the

U.S. ballistic missile defense system threatens Russia’s nuclear

capability.”

Vlad, its supposed to, its called defense. The only way it could harm your nukes is if they were shot down…………….after you launched them!

and

How can a defense system threaten anything? Like Obama would attack Russia. That is laughable.

Most people’s minds are straightjacketed in bigotries of various sorts, preconceptions such as that a “missile defense” system, and a “Defense” Department, can’t be aggressive — even extremely aggressive and war-mongering. The first thought that comes to mind about anything that’s ‘defensive’ is that something else must be ‘aggressive’ or ‘offensive’, and that whatever is ‘defensive’ (such as an ABM) is therefore good and even necessary.

That’s thinking, and receiving the term “defense,” like thinking just one move ahead in a chess-game, but this is the mental limit for most people, and every propagandist (such as the people who professionally design propaganda or PR slogans and campaigns) do precisely what Obama and the rest of the aristocracy and their agents do in order to deceive their gulls: they phrase things for one-move-ahead-limit thinkers, like that. The cardinal rule in the deception-professions is therefore, first, to find people with the desired prejudices, and then to play them as that, with one-move-ahead-limit sales-pitches, which are directed to precisely those prejudices. This report at the Breitbart site was instead presenting a high-quality news-report, to a low-quality audience, and so the reader-comments it generated were few, and generally hostile.

Obama is a master at deception. Another good example of this was 26 March 2012, during Obama’s campaign for re-election, when he confidentially told Dmitry Medvedev, “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for him [the incoming President Putin] to give me space. … This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.” Obama was privately communicating to Putin (through Medvedev) that Obama was pushing the ABM installations only so as not to be politically vulnerable to charges from the knee-jerk Russia-haters, Republicans, and that Obama’s fakery regarding the supposed ABM-target’s being Iran was only in order to appeal to yet another Republican bigotry (against Iran), and so Obama was intending to back away from supporting the ABM system during his second term.

But actually, Obama had had Russia in his gunsights even prior to his coming into office. Two specific objects in focus were Moscow-friendly leaders of nations: Assad of Syria, and Yanukovych of Ukraine. America’s strategy, ever since 24 February 1990, has been to strip Russia of allies and friends — to leave Russia increasingly isolated and surrounded by enemies. When Obama entered the White House on 20 January 2009, there already was a plea in the pipeline from the Syrian government for urgently needed food-aid to address the all-time-record drought there, which had decimated Syrian agriculture. Obama’s Administration never even answered it. Well before the Arab Spring demonstrations in 2011, Obama was hoping for turmoil in Syria and the overthrow of Assad — lots of starving Syrians would be just the thing.

Moreover, the planning for the February 2014 coup to overthrow the Moscow-friendly democratically elected President of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, started in the U.S. State Department by no later than 2011.

So: when Obama told Medvedev and Putin, on 26 March 2012, not to worry about Obama’s intentions toward Russia, he was lying. He wanted his intended victim to be off-guard, unprepared for what was soon to come.

On Obama’s way out the door, he did two things that significantly advanced America’s ABM-BMD threat against Russia.

On 10 December 2016, ‘Defense’ Secretary Ashton Carter stated, burying it in a speech he gave in Bahrain — site of a major U.S. military base — “just this week, we reached an agreement for Qatar to purchase a 5,000-kilometer early-warning radar to enhance its missile defenses,” and he said nothing more about it, as if this announcement weren’t the bombshell it actually was. Alex Gorka headlined about that at Strategic Culture, “US-Qatar Deal Threatens Russia: Reading News Between the Lines” and he explained that this system “is designed to be used as an early warning system against strategic offensive assets – something Iran does not possess.” Near the start of Carter’s speech, Carter had said that he would be talking about “checking Iranian aggression and malign influence, and helping defend our friends and allies,” including Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia. Gorka noted, “The announced range of 5,000km (3,100mi) by far exceeds the requirement to counter a missile threat coming from Iran,” and, “There is no other reasonable explanation for the choice, except the fact that the AN/FPS-132 can monitor large chunks of Russian territory,” the objective being “to surround the Russian Federation with BMD sites and neutralize its capability to deliver a retaliatory strike if attacked.”

One of Obama’s last actions as the U.S. President was to sign into law a bill that had been quietly passed in Congress, which included a key change in U.S. law that would enable the government to spend unlimited funds on realizing former President Ronald Reagan’s dream of a space-based ABM system, “Star Wars.” On December 22nd, David Willman of the Los Angeles Times, headlined “Congress scrapped this one word from the law, opening the door to a space arms race”, and he reported that the eliminated word was “limited.” Willman explained that, “The nation’s homeland missile defense system is designed to thwart a small-scale, or ‘limited,’ attack by the likes of North Korea or Iran. As for the threat of a large-scale strike by China or Russia, the prospect of massive U.S. retaliation is supposed to deter both from ever launching missiles.” He noted: “The bill awaits action by President Obama. The White House has not said what he will do.” Willman also noted that on an earlier occasion, “the Obama administration criticized the changes in the Senate bill, saying it ‘strongly objects’ to removing ‘limited’ and to placing anti-missile weaponry in space. The statement stopped short of threatening a veto.” But then, the next day, on December 23rd, Willman bannered, “President Obama signs defense bill that could spur new space-based arms race”. Whereas Obama’s public rhetoric portrayed himself as being the type of person who had deserved to win the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, almost all of his actual decisions in office were the exact opposite — and here was a superb example of that.

Whether Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, will continue with that longstanding (ever since 24 February 1990) plan to conquer Russia, or instead finally end the Cold War on the U.S. side (as it already had ended in 1991 on the U.S.S.R.’s), isn’t yet clear.

This is what happens when what President Eisenhower called “the military-industrial complex” takes over the country, and everything (including the ‘news’ media) serves it, rather than the military-industrial complex’s serving the public.

It fits in with the massive data which indicates that the U.S. government is run by an aristocracy or “oligarchy”, instead of run by people who represent the public — a “democracy.” Obama as President fit right in.


2016-12-29

About the author:

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

Trolling Russia

The edifice of the post-1991 world order is collapsing right before our eyes. President Putin’s decision to give a miss to the Auschwitz pilgrimage, right after his absence in Paris at Charlie festival, gave it the last shove. It was good clean fun to troll Russia, as long as she stayed the course. Not anymore. Russia broke the rules.

Until now, Russia, like a country bumpkin in Eton, tried to belong. It attended the gathering of the grandees where it was shunned, paid its dues to European bodies that condemned it, patiently suffered ceaseless hectoring of the great powers and irritating baiting of the East European small-timers alike. But something broke there. The lad does not want to belong anymore; he picked up his stuff and went home. Just when they needed him to kneel in Auschwitz.

The Auschwitz gathering is an annual Canossa of the Western leaders where they bewail their failure to protect the Jews and swear their perennial obedience to them. This is a more important religious rite in our days, the One Ring to rule them all, established in 2001, when the Judeo-American empire reached the pinnacle of its power. The Russian leader duly attended the events. This year, they will have to do without him. Israeli ministers already have expressed their deep dissatisfaction for this although it was Russia’s Red Army that saved the Jews in Auschwitz. Absence of Russia turns the Holocaust memorial day into a parochial, West-only, event. Worse, Russia’s place will be taken by Ukraine, with its Nazi-glorifying regime.

This comes after the French Charlie demo, also spurned by Russia. The West hinted that Russia’s sins would be forgiven, up to a point, if she joined, first the demo, and later, the planned anti-terrorist coalition, but Russia did not take the bait. This was a visible change, for previously, Russian leaders eagerly participated in such events and voted for West-sponsored resolutions. In 2001, Putin fully supported George Bush’s War on Terrorism in the UN and on the ground. As recently as 2011, Russiaagreed with sanctions against North Korea and Iran. As for coming to a demonstration, the Russianscould always be relied upon. This time, the Russians did not come, excepting the token presence of the foreign minister Mr. Lavrov. This indomitable successor of Mr. Nyet had left the event almost immediately and went – to pray in the Russian church, in a counter-demonstration, of sorts, against Charlie. By going to the church, he declared that he is not Charlie.

For the Charlie Hebdo magazine was (and probably is) explicitly anti-Christian as well as anti-Muslim. One finds there some most obnoxious cartoons offending the Virgin and Christ, as well as the pope and the Church. (They never offended Jews, somehow). A Russian blogger who’s been exposed to this magazine for the first time, wrote on his page: I am ashamed that the bastards were dealt with by Muslims, not by Christians. This was quite a common feeling in Moscow these days. The Russians could not believe that such smut could be published and defended as a right of free speech. People planned a demo against that Charlie, but City Hall forbade it.

Remember, a few years ago, that Pussy Riot profaned the St Saviour of Moscow in the way that Femen had profaned some great European cathedrals, from Notre Dame de Paris to Strasbourg. The Russian government did not wait for vigilante justice being meted upon the viragos, but had given them up to two years of prison. At the same time, the Russian criminal law has been changed to include ‘sacrilege’ among ordinary crimes, by general consent. The Russians do feel about their faith more strongly than what EC rulers prescribe.

In Charlie’s France, Hollande’s regime frogmarched the unwilling people into a quite unnecessary gay marriage law, notwithstanding one-million-strong demonstrations of Catholics. The Femen despoiling the churches were never punished; but a church warden who tried to prevent that, was heavily fined. France has a long anti-Christian tradition, usually described as “laic”, and its grand anti-Church coalition of Atheists, Huguenots and Jews coalesced in the Dreyfus Affair days. Thus Lavrov’s escape to the church was a counter-demonstration, saying: Russia is for Christ, and Russia is not against Muslims.

While the present western regime is anti-Christian and anti-Muslim, it is pro-Jewish to an extent that defies a rational explanation. France had sent thousands of soldiers and policemen to defend Jewish institutions, though this defence antagonises their neighbours. While Charlie are glorified for insulting Christians and Muslims, Dieudonné has been sent to jail for annoying Jews. Actually, Charlie Hebdodismissed a journalist for one sentence allegedly disrespectful for Jews. This unfairness is a source of aggravation: Muslims were laughed out of court when they complained against particularly vile Charlie’s cartoons, but Jews almost always win when they go to the court against their denigrators. (Full disclosure: I was also sued by LICRA, the French Jewish body, while my French publisher was devastated by their legal attacks).

The Russians don’t comprehend the Western infatuation with Jews, for Russian Jews are well assimilated and integrated in general society. The narrative of Holocaust is not popular in Russia for a simple reason: so many Russians of every ethnic background lost their lives in the war, that there is no reason to single out Jews as supreme victims. Millions died at the siege of Leningrad; Belarus lost a quarter of its population. More importantly, Russians feel no guilt regarding Jews: they treated them fairly and saved them from the Nazis. For them, the Holocaust is a Western narrative, as foreign as JeSuisCharlie. With drifting of Russia out of Western consensus, there is no reason to maintain it.

 

This does not mean the Jews are discriminated against. The Jews of Russia are doing very well, thank you, without Holocaust worship: they occupy highest positions in the Forbes list of Russia’s rich, with a capital of $122 billion, while all rich ethnic Russians own $165 billion, according to the Jewish-owned resource. Jews run the most celebrated media shows in prime time on the state TV; they publish newspapers; they have full and unlimited access to Putin and his ministers; they usually have their way when they want to get a plot of land for their communal purposes. And anti-Semitic propaganda is punishable by law – like anti-Christian or anti-Muslim abuse, but even more severely. Still, it is impossible to imagine a Russian journalist getting sack like CNN anchor Jim Clancy or BBC’s Tim Willcox for upsetting a Jew or speaking against Israel.

Russia preserves its plurality, diversity and freedom of opinions. The Pro-Western Russian media – Novaya Gazeta of oligarch Lebedev, the owner of the British newspaper Independent – carries the JeSuis slogan and speaks of Holocaust, as well as demands to restore Crimea to the Ukraine. But the vast majority of Russians do support their President, and his civilizational choice. He expressed it when he went to midnight Christmas mass in a small village church in far-away province, together with orphans and refugees from the Ukraine. And he expressed it by refusing to go to Auschwitz.

Neither willingly nor easily did Russia break the ranks. Putin tried to take Western baiting in his stride: be it Olympic games, Syria confrontation, gender politics, Georgian border, even Crimea-related sanctions. The open economic warfare was a game changer. Russia felt attacked by falling oil prices, by rouble trouble, by rating downgrades. These developments were considered acts of hostility, rather than the result of “the hidden hand of the market”.

Russians love conspiracies, as James Bond used to say. They do not believe in chance, coincidence nor natural occurrences, and are likely to consider a falling meteorite or an earthquake – a result of hostile American action, let alone a fall in the rouble/dollar exchange rate. They could be right, too, though it is hard to prove.

Regarding oil price fall, the jury is out. Some say this is an action by the Saudis aimed at Americanfracking companies, or alternatively a Saudi-American plot against Russia. However, the price of oil is not formed by supply-and-demand, but by financial instruments, futures and derivatives. This virtual demand-and-supply is much bigger than the real one. When hedge funds stopped buying oil futures, the price downturn became unavoidable, but were the funds directed by politicians, or did they act so because Quantitative Easing ended?

The steep fall of the rouble could be connected to the oil price downturn, but not necessarily so. The Rouble is not involved in forming oil prices. It could be an action by a very big financial institution. Soros broke the back of the British pound in 1991; the Korean won, Thai bhat and Malaysian ringgit suffered similar fates in 1998. In each case, the attacked country lost about 40% of its GDP. It is possible that Russia was attacked by financial weapons directed from New York.

The European punitive sanctions forbade long-term cheap credit to Russian companies. The Russian state does not need loans, but Russian companies do. The combination of these factors put a squeeze on Russian pockets. The rating agencies kept downgrading the Russian rating almost to junk level, for political reasons, I was told. As they were deprived of credit, state companies began to hoard dollars to later pay their debts, and they refrained from converting their huge profits to roubles, as they had done until now. The rouble fell dramatically, probably to levels much lower than necessary.

This is not pinpoint sanctions aimed at Putin’s friends. This is a full-blown war. If the initiators expected Russians will be mad at Putin, they miscalculated. The Russian public is angry with the American organisers of this economic warfare, not with its own government. The pro-Western opposition tried to demonstrate against Putin, but very few people joined them.

Ordinary Russians kept a stiff upper lip. They did not notice the sanctions until the rouble staggered, and even then they rather shopped like mad than protested. In face of shrinking money, they did not buy salt and sugar, as their grandparents would. Their battle cry against hogging was “Do not take more than two Lexus cars per family, leave something for others!”

Perhaps, the invisible financiers went too far. Instead of being cowed, the Russians are preparing for a real long war, as they and their ancestors fought – and won. It is not that they have a choice: though Americans insist Russia should join their War-on-Terrorism-II, they do not intend to relinquish their sanctions.

The Russians do not know how to deal with the financial attack. Without capital restrictions, Russia will be cleaned out. The Russian Central Bank and Treasury people are strict monetarists, capital restrictions are anathema for them. Putin, being a liberal himself, apparently trusts them. Capital flight took huge proportions. Unless Russia will use the measures successfully tried by Mohammad Mahathir of Malaysia, it will continue. Meanwhile, we do not see signs for change.

This could be the incentive for Putin to deal with Ukraine. If the Russians do not know how to shuffle futures and derivatives, they are expert in armour movements and tank battles. The Kiev regime is also spoiling for a fight, apparently pushed by the American neocons. It is possible that the US will get more than what it bargained for in the Ukraine.

One can be certain that Russians will not support the Middle Eastern crusade of NATO, as this military action was prepared at the Charlie demo in Paris. It is far from clear who killed the cartoonists, but Paris and Washington intend to use it for reigniting war in the Middle East. This time, Russia will be in opposition, and probably will use it as an opportunity to change the uncomfortable standoff in the Ukraine. Thus supporters of peace in the Middle East have a reason to back Russia.

The New World Order est mort. Vive the Future!


About the author:

Israel Shamir works in Moscow and Jaffa; he can be reached on adam@israelshamir.net

Source: http://orientalreview.org/2015/01/23/trolling-russia/

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Does Not Prosecute War Criminals

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established to prosecute culpable individuals for crimes of war, against humanity and genocide.

Its mandate calls for “end(ing) impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern.”

US and Israeli officials are guilty of the highest of high crimes. Yet none of their officials ever were held accountable – not by their own courts or the ICC.

The international body operates on the principle of complementarity. It can only prosecute when governments won’t or can’t – even against officials of non ICC-member countries like America and Israel.

On December 31, 2000, Bill Clinton signed the Rome Statute of the ICC. Over 130 other countries are members. Clinton lied saying “(t)he US has a long history of commitment to the principle of accountability…and for bringing to justice perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.”

America commits these crimes and others against one country after another, as well as persecuting its own most disadvantaged people in violation of international and constitutional laws.

It partners with the high crimes of key allies like Israel. When Bush succeeded Clinton, his Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton stripped off the mask of US accountability by unsigning the Rome Statute – an unprecedented political act.

More followed, including enactment of the American Service-Members Protection Act (the so-called Hague Invasion Act).

It prohibits providing funds to the ICC and authorized the president to use “all necessary measures (including force) to protect United States military personnel and other elected and appointed officials of the United States government against criminal prosecution by an international criminal court to which the United States is not party.”

At the same time, over 100 other nations were pressured to sign Bilateral Immunity Agreements assuring they’d never surrender a US official or soldier to the ICC.

The court functions as an imperial tool. It targets officials of Western designated states like Sudan’s Omar Hassan al-Bashir, former Libya leader Muammar and his son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.

Or special Western tribunals are established to accomplish the same thing – against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Yugoslavia’s Slobodan Milosevic, and Liberia’s Charles Taylor among others.

The principle of universal jurisdiction (UJ) holds that certain crimes are too grave to ignore – including genocide, crimes of war and against humanity.

Under UJ, nations nations may investigate and prosecute foreign nationals when their country of residence or origin won’t, can’t or hasn’t for any reason.

Israel used it to prosecute, convict and execute Adolph Eichmann. A US court sentenced Charles Taylor’s son, Chuckie, to 97 years in prison.

Britain used a Spanish court provisional warrant to apprehend Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, hold him under house arrest for 18 months, and set a precedent, making other heads of state and top officials potentially vulnerable.

Pinochet’s bogus ill health claim sent him home – damaged, disgraced but unaccountable. No one deserve impunity for high crimes demanding accountability. Article 7 of the Charter of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal states:

“The official position of defendants, whether as Head of State or responsible officials in Government departments, shall not be considered as freeing them from responsibility or mitigating punishment.”

Following through is another matter entirely – never against Western or Israeli officials so don’t expect justice now.

On April 1, Palestine joined the ICC. Months earlier, a court prosecutor began a preliminary investigation of violations “in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem since June 13, 2014″ – focusing on Israel’s 2014 summer Gaza war (Operation Protective Edge).

It’s strictly procedural with no commitment for further action. Palestine intends filing crimes of war and against humanity charges against Israel at the ICC on or about June 25 – over last summer’s Gaza war and illegal settlements.

ICC investigators are working to determine if Israeli crimes were committed warranting prosecution. A court statement said:

“As part of its preliminary examination activities, the Office of the Prosecutor conducts field visits as it has done in the past with other situations under preliminary examinations.”

“From the outset, the prosecutor has consistently made clear that the situation in Palestine will not be treated any differently from the others.”

“Therefore, the office as per normal practice, is considering a visit to the region during the course of its preliminary examination. Contrary to media reports, no date has been confirmed and further planning is required.”

UN Security Council members can delay ICC action up to two years. Russia and China indicated they’ll veto efforts to do so.

The Monday released UN Commission of Inquiry (COI) report and earlier independent investigations clearly proved grave Israeli high crimes against peace during last summer’s Gaza war.

It bears repeating. The ICC is a notorious imperial tool. Expect Palestinians denied justice like always. Expect no Israeli officials convicted of high crimes they committed demanding accountability.


About the author:

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Original source of the article: http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/

The US Independence Day

The 4th of July is Independence Day for the United States of America and commemorates the 4 July 1776 Declaration of Independence for America, the key passage of which is “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Unfortunately American racism has grossly violated the proposition that “all men are created equal” and the worst form of racism involves invasion of other countries. The US has invaded about 70 countries since its inception and has invaded a total of about 50 countries since 1945.

Ukraine: Fascist Dictatorship Masquerading As Democracy

For the first time since WW II, overt fascists hold real power in Europe. Radicalized ultranationalists. Anti-Semites. Hate-mongers. 

Cold-blooded killers. Whitewashing high crimes. A puppet regime. America’s newest colony.

Mocking democratic values. Violating fundamental rule of law principles. Unaccountably.

Western leaders won’t explain. Nor will the media. Hard truths are buried.

Ukraine’s government usurped power forcibly. Putschist rule has no legitimacy.

Especially regimes waging war on their own people. Murdering them in cold blood. Committing horrendous human rights abuses.

Tolerating no opposition. Ruling by intimidation. Force-feeding neoliberal harshness on impoverished people. Making life unbearable overall. More on this below.

On December 4, Wall Street Journal editors published illegitimate/oligarch Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko’s op-ed headlined ”A Year Later, a New Ukraine.”

Legitimate editors wouldn’t touch this rubbish. Journal editors featured it. Beginning-to-end misinformation. Deception. Big Lies.

WSJ editorials and op-eds reinvent history. Poroshenko’s rant is Exhibit A, saying:

“For the first time since Ukraine’s independence in 1991, the nation has the opportunity to evolve into a true European democracy, thanks to the recent election of a pro-European constitutional majority to Parliament. A pro-reform and pro-European Parliament and government are now in place, and a politically reset Ukraine has been empowered to make permanent changes that have been long awaited by the Ukrainian people and by the international community.”

Fact: Ukrainian-style democracy is none at all. Pure fantasy.

Fact: Presidential and parliamentary elections were farcical. Illegitimate by any standard.

Fact: Whole families won parliamentary seats.

Fact: Poroshenko’s son, Oleksiy, represents Vinnitsa region’s No. 12 precinct.

Fact: The same one his father represented years earlier. Bequeathed to his son.

Itar Tass commented earlier, saying:

“…Ukraine’s political class is built on the foundation of nepotism and cronyism, as all the political forces display the tradition of nominating candidates on the grounds of kinship. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said parliamentary elections “were marked by an unprecedented number of gross violations of basic international standards for democratic elections, which were recorded during the election campaign, election day and vote counting. A year passed since” Maidan protests, said Poroshenko. Followed by “the Revolution of Dignity,” he claimed.

“Ukrainians were opting for freedom, not fear, choosing democracy, not dictatorship, and believing in the future, not the past. The idea of a new Ukraine was born. We had the courage to fight for it. Now we have the institutional powers to implement it.”

Fact: Right Sector neo-Nazis murdered Kiev residents and police.

Fact: Ousted President Viktor Yanukovych was wrongfully blamed.

Fact: Fascist snipers used automatic weapons. Fired from Philharmonic Hall’s rooftop and windows. Overlooking the Maidan. Clear evidence proved it.

Fact: Washington orchestrated what happened. Putschists practically lived at its embassy. It was coup d’etat headquarters.

Fact: Reuters discovered “serious flaws” in Kiev’s investigation. Including “missing evidence.” Regime officials “played roles in supporting the uprising.”

Ukrainians want democratic freedoms. Responsible governance. Verboten notions for fascists. Ruling by brute force.

Poroshenko’s governance is more deform than reform. Saying “Ukraine is finally ready to build a robust state” denies reality.

So is claiming a Moscow threat. None whatever exists. No evidence suggests otherwise.

“On the external front, we are united in fighting for our freedom and for our future as an independent nation – a fight that has implications for all of Europe and global security,” said Poroshenko.

Fascists deplore freedom. Crushing it for unchallenged control.

Ukrainian independence was lost. Washington controls its newest colony.

Poroshenko its puppet leader. Presiding over a police state apparatus. Ruling by intimidation.

Serving at America’s discretion. Remaining president as long as he remembers who’s boss.

Truth is polar opposite his Big Lies. Russia’s White Book documented hard truths. Revealing serious human rights violations. Including:

(1) Violations of human rights.

(2) Interference by the European Union and United States.

(3) Weapons and violent methods used by protesters.

(4) Restrictions on basic freedoms and crackdown on dissidents.

(5) Discrimination based on ethnic background.

(6) Religious persecution.

According to Moscow’s press service, content is “based on reports in the Russian and Western media, as well as statements by representatives of the current Kiev authorities and their supporters, eyewitness testimon(ies), observations and on-site interviews collected by Russian nongovernmental organizations.”

A second White Book covers the period April through July 2014. Calling conditions “aggravated in all areas.” Worse than ever.

Including illegitimate fascist rule. Brazen pressure and threats. Severe repression. Physical violence. Suppressing press freedom.

Terrorizing independent journalists. Harassing and beating them. No-holds-barred brutality. Like Nazi Germany.

History has a disturbing way of repeating. Core elements are unchanged. Ukrainians were betrayed. Expect worse ahead, not better.

Kiev’s dirty war continues. Without mercy. Against Donbas residents. Wanting real democracy. Rejecting fascist rule.

Putting their lives on the line for freedom. A testimony to courage. Deserving universal support.

Their liberating struggle continues. Largely on their own. Russia the only nation providing vitally needed humanitarian aid.

Kiev wanting millions of Donbas residents isolated. Denied what people need to survive. Attacked with heavy weapons. Illegal ones.

According to Russia’s Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights Konstantin Dolgov:

“For the first time, Human Rights Watch clearly recognized that the Ukrainian military are using multiple-launch missile systems and banned weapons against civilians in Donbas. This confirms the data contained in the White Book released by the Russian Foreign Ministry. Rights activists must put pressure on the West and on Kiev authorities to prevent further crimes.”

Russia’s updated White Book (its 3rd edition) contains documented evidence of new crimes and abuses.

Especially “social and economic strangling” of Donbas residents. Noting neo-Nazi mass marches.

“Why does this happen in Europe of the 21st century,” asked Dolgov? “What is happening presents a major threat to the entire international community.”

According to Russia’s updated White Book, “Ukrainian government forces used phosphorus and cluster bombs, Grad and Uragan multiple rocket launchers and Tochka-U ballistic missiles against the population in the south-east of the country.”

“Along with heavy weapons and warplanes, Ukrainian authorities used such ammunition as incendiary, phosphorous and cluster bombs, howitzer artillery and 240-mm mortar systems.”

Dolgov called Kiev’s actions serious war crimes, saying:

“Certainly, all such facts can be taken as nothing but war crimes which were committed and are still being committed against civilians.”

Mass graves discovered contained hundreds bodies of Nazi-style extrajudicial executions.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry urged international organizations and media to report non-politicized assessments of what’s ongoing.

As a way to help stop outrageous abuses. Its Ministry saying:

“We are convinced that distraction from reality and attempts to conceal it from the international community or to manipulate public opinion are a hypocritical and dead-locked path.”

Kiev caused Donbas area catastrophic conditions. Up to 60% of homes were destroyed or seriously damaged.

Regime authorities tried blocking Russian aid. Convoys of mercy. “The fundamental position of the Russian Federation remains unchanged,” its Foreign Ministry said.

“(I)n favor of strict observance of the Minsk agreement on both sides.”

“Kiev’s time to finally stop the reckless attempts to solve the problem of relations with the south-east of the country with tanks, guns and other military ways, renounce violence and to negotiate with the representatives proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics. No other way, and this without talking heads of Ukraine and their foreign patrons of the establishment of Ukrainian democracy is absurd.”

Moscow has verifiable information of unjustifiable political imprisonments.

“The period under review was characterized by the rapid degradation of the situation in the field of freedom of expression and restrict the activities of undesirable Kiev government media,” according to its updated White Paper.

“International News Safety Institute has recognized Ukraine as the most dangerous country in the world for journalists.”

Political censorship is rife. All popular Russian TV channels are blocked.

“The rapidly developing practice of political persecution and widespread persecution of the politicians supporting an approach different from Kiev held a cynical course,” Russia’s White Book says.

“For this purpose, (it notes) the murder of political opponents, the fabrication of criminal cases, illegal searches, confiscation of property, assault and bullying banal tricks such as ‘junk lustration’ and other illegal methods of influence, contrary to the principle of the rule of law and democratic standards. According to the Russian Federal Migration Service, November 20, the total number of Russian citizens are in Ukraine is 831,085 thousand people. In Russia there is deployed 795 temporary accommodation centers in which there are 38,643 people, including 12,046 children up to 18 years. 486,233 citizens of Ukraine in the territorial bodies of Russia have applied to the Russian Foriegn Ministry Service to determine their legal status. 243,141 of them apply for temporary asylum in Russia and 5,721 submitted applications for recognition as a refugees. All crimes committed during the Ukrainian crisis must be objectively, fairly and effectively investigated.”

Especially killing, terrorizing and imprisoning journalists. Maidan killings. The Odessa massacre.

Using force disproportionately. Murdering civilians. Targeting children. Downing MH17. Mass graves with extrajudicially executed victims. Use of prohibited weapons. Other war crimes too serious to ignore.

“It is crucial that the Ukrainian authorities stop the ‘bandaging’ and begin an independent, impartial, effective and transparent investigation,” Russia’s White Book said.

Accountability is long overdue. So is honest MSM journalism. Reporting hard truths.

Explaining fascist ruthlessness in Europe’s heartland. Unbridled brutality defines it. Preventing regional peace and security.

Risking the unthinkable. War without end. Spilling cross-border.

Open conflict with Russia. Nuclear war with America involved.

Risking humanity’s survival. Lunatics in Washington make anything possible.

A Final Comment

Last month, a Ukrainian citizen emailed the following comments, saying:

“Dear Mr. Lendman,

Thank you a lot (for) tell(ing) the truth. I live in Ukraine, Izmail (city in the Southwest of the country). My relatives live in Donbas. After USA brought ‘the democracy’ to Ukraine, we here cannot even tell what we’re thinking. There is really fascist power here now.”

Vladimir (I am sorry. I’m afraid to sign my last name)”


About the author:

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.  His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 
7-12-2014
Original source of the article: author’s personal blog

The New Global Economy: Rise Of China And Decline Of USA

There is a limit to economic manipulations by empires. All empires have perished due to economic hardships. The Ottoman, Soviet and the British empires were no exception in the past century. Waste was the key product of these empires. Whether the only empire – the US – understands it or not, the fact is that its economy is being undermined due to its wasteful policies, living beyond its means and by dictating it’s economic and foreign policies on free nations and by treating them as satellites. The US has used economic sanctions (strangulation) against countries to gain an advantage but these are failing. In the latest round against Russia, the US has used the instrument of oil to apply sanctions in partnership with the Europeans who themselves are in economic hardships while China has agreed to partner with Russia to thwart the objective. On 15 January 2015 a Singapore’s newspaper reported that on 22 December 2014 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated that though China is willing to help Russia if needed, it has the ability to overcome the current economic problems. China, a founding member of the BRICS, is lining up the bloc and that of the SCO – and their currencies – to support Russia in need.

The rise of the United States economy in the 70’s and 80’s was mainly due to the gold standard being abolished during Richard Nixon’s Presidency. This event was historic as it allowed the green back to be infinitely printed. In an effort to prop up the value of the dollar, Nixon negotiated a deal with Saudi Arabia that in exchange for arms and protection they would denominate all future oil sales in U.S. dollars. Subsequently, the other OPEC countries (primarily the Arabs and Iran under the Shah) agreed to similar deals thus ensuring a global demand for U.S. dollars and allowing the U.S. to export some of its inflation. It is only a matter of time when that partnership with Saudi Arabia may collapse.

The American debt can no longer be used to sustain GDP growth. After World War 2 the American economy was creating approximately $2.50 worth of economic growth for each dollar of debt that was being generated. By the 70’s that growth declined by 80% (or $0.50) and currently it is a meagre $0.05 for every dollar of debt. Jim Rickards author of the New York Times bestseller Currency Wars wrote: “Currency wars are one of the most destructive and feared outcomes in international economics. At best, they offer the sorry spectacle of countries’ stealing growth from their trading partners. At worst, they degenerate into sequential bouts of inflation, recession, retaliation, and sometimes actual violence.” Rickards blames the US Federal Reserve economic policies of printing trillions of dollars to stimulate the American economy.

In an article published by International Clearing House Peter Koenig wrote that “the US is able to maintain pressure on other currencies, currently the ruble, only as long as the petro dollar remains the major world reserve currency. This is the main reason why Washington gets away with a seven-fold indebted dollar (i.e. total outstanding and uncovered commitments are currently more than 7 times higher than the US GDP (US$ 17.6 trillion, 2014 est. – vs. US$ 128 trillion of unmet obligations –unfunded liabilities); making the US worldwide the most indebted country – by far”. But “Once the demand for the (petro) dollar fades – as hydrocarbons are no longer dealt in dollars – the value of the dollar will decline and at worst may result in hyperinflation in the dollar economies, including those closely linked to the US economy.”

China is a fast rising economic power in direct competition with the US having overtaken it in only the past 2 decades. There are several factors which will enable China to overtake the US as the major economic power, some of those being:

THE CURRENCY WAR

In April 2013, Australia had joined the ranks of several Southeast Asian countries to trade directly with China in the renminbi (yuan). These SE Asian countries were South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Australia’s banks, superannuation funds and financial houses will be even better placed to help in the growth of China’s service economy. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard had said: “This is good news for the Chinese economy and good news for the Australian economy.” Australia now exports more goods to China than any other country, and trade between the countries has been growing.

In October 2013, China and European Union agreed to a currency swap deal to boost trade and investment amounting to 350 billion yuan and €45 billion. This was the first currency deal between China and a non-Asian trading partner. In June, China had struck a similar agreement with the Bank of England worth up to 200 billion yuan.

Chinas-top-10-trading-partners

On 8 November 2014 Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada announced in China that the two countries have joined the ranks of several countries which have inked agreements with China to deal directly in their respective currencies. This basically removes the middle currency, the US dollar. Canadian exporters doing business with China had to use the US dollar resulting in higher currency exchange costs and longer wait to close deals. Not so any longer. Trade between Canada and China is expected to double and triple in the coming years.

The renminbi had a market share of less than 1% in 2009 but that share has been steadily growing where it has now reached a market share of 18% by mid-2014. In comparison the market share of the US dollar is nearly 65%. In early 2013, the renminbi had ranked 12th place but by March 2014, the renminbi had climbed to seventh, behind the dollar, euro, pound, yen, and the Australian and Canadian dollars when ranked by value of payments made in that currency. Another measurement of the renminbi’ s acceptance is the number of global financial institutions doing business in the yuan. It has grown from a meagre 1000 in 2010 to over 10,000 in 2014. These numbers reflect the yuan gains as the Chinese economy continues to grow and more countries continue to sign agreements in currency trades.

Chinese currency manipulation and the clandestine gold purchases by China (and now Russia) is likely to aggravate the currency war looming on the horizon.

BREAKING THE CONNECTIVITY BOTTLENECK IN ASIA

The business of America has always been business. The US has played the role of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice willing to extract the pound of flesh. The business of China is also business but without extracting the pound of flesh. Whereas China has been extending its global influence through friendship, the US has been extending its global influence through submission by using its huge arsenal of weapons. US, along with the western European nations, has been extracting its pound of flesh through the World Bank, IMF and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The financial assistance provided by these institutions does not come without strings that exclusively benefit the sponsors and much less to the recipients.

China has been more interested in extending its influence in Asia mainly through development of infrastructure projects. In late 2013, China first announced the founding of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with a registered capital of $50 billion and then doubling it to $100 billion in mid-2014. The financing of the infrastructure projects will lead China to play an extended role in regional economic growth and political influence. 21 countries including Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, Mongolia, Myanmar, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan signed up as founding members and recognizing AIIB.

On 8 November 2014, Chinese President Xi Jingping announced that China would contribute $40 billion towards a new Silk Road fund designed to improve trade and transport links in Asia. This is above and beyond the AIIB fund. In a meeting in Beijing with leaders from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar and Tajikistan, State media Xinhua reported Xi stating that the goal of the fund is to “break the connectivity bottleneck” in Asia.

In one of my previous articles titled “Middle East: The Regional Chessboard“, I’d mentioned about several strategic alliances and relations, one among which was regarding Pakistan and China. China has built the 1300 km Karakoram highway which together with the Indus highway provides a direct link to Gwadar port. The port would serve as a direct link for China to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. Whereas major powers Britain, Soviet Union and the US have failed to gain access to the warm waters through military adventures, China has succeeded through friendship to gain access to the Indian Ocean.

Untitled28

China is aspiring to build land and sea routes to facilitate trade and finance from Asia to the Mediterranean and Europe. The two key sea routes would be established through Myanamar and Pakistan. The map shows the land routes in red and the sea routes in blue. To achieve the sea route goal China plans to invest $20 billion on a BOT (Build, Operate, Transfer) basis to link Myanmar’s Kyauk Phyu port on the Bay of Bengal by 800 km high speed rail to Mu Se near China’s border connecting Beijing and other cities facilitating that ships will no longer need to sail through Malacca strait.

TRADE COMPETITION

The USA is the largest and most important economy in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). THE USA GDP accounted for US$ 16 trillion or 19% of the global GDP. In 2012, US imports and exports accounted for US$3,985 billion with imports of US$2,375 billion and exports of US$ 1,610 billion with trade deficit of US $765 billion.

China is the second largest and most important economy behind US in terms of GDP. China’s GDP accounted for US$ 12 trillion or 14% of the global GDP. In 2012, China’s import and export totaled US$ 4,200 billion. China’s import was US$ 2,000 billion, and its export was US$ 2,200 billion with trade surplus of US$ 259.75 billion. China is the world’s second largest trading nation behind the US – leading the world in exports and coming in second for imports.

China and S. Korea have recently agreed in principle for a free trade agreement (FTA). S. Korea is China’s second largest trading partner where trade between the two countries amount to $230 billion. The announcement came on the sidelines of the 2014 Asia Pacific Economic Conference in Beijing.

What is most interesting between the economies of the two giants is the share of the economic structures in terms of agriculture, industries and services. The US agriculture, industries and services comprises 1.2%, 19.1% and 79.7% respectively while that of China is 10.1%, 45.3% and 44.6%.

THE STRATEGIES FOR ECONOMIC DOMINANCE

China has clearly locked in upon strategic economic partnership with Asian countries, Australia and Canada similar to what the US has with its G-7 partners. Currently the G-7 countries dominate the global trade along with their respective global convertible currencies- the US$, C$, Yen and Euro.

In closing, I reiterate that Chinese currency manipulation and the clandestine gold purchases by China (and now Russia) are likely to aggravate the currency war looming on the horizon. This will certainly lead to the decay of the US economic and political domination and the emergence of new economies dominated by a basket of international currencies to purchase oil replacing the dominance of the Petrodollar. The combined policies of US Federal Reserve and the US Treasury are leading the nation towards an economic and national security precipice. Jim Rickards said in a US Treasury meeting that “The Fed and the Treasury are the greatest threats to national security, not Al- Qaeda.” Jim Rickards in his book The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System published in April 2014 wrote that: “our biggest economic competitors—China, Russia, and the oil producing nations of the Middle East—are doing everything possible to end U.S. monetary hegemony.”

In the coming years, the world will most likely be divided into West and East – the Western hemisphere will continue to be influenced (not dominated) by the US economic and political policies and the East by China through a partnership with Muslim nations, BRICS and SCO countries. It will be the currencies, US Dollar and the Chinese Yuan that will play the dominant roles in the hemispherical division.

About the author:

Gulam Asgar Mitha is a retired Techinal Safety Engineer. He has worked with several N. American and International oil and gas companies. He has worked in Libya, Qatar, Pakistan, France, Yemen and UAE. Currently Gulam lives in Calgary, Canada and enjoys reading and keeping in tune with current global political issues. Exclusive for ORIENTAL REVIEW. The views expressed do not necessarily coincide with the Editorial’ ones.

25-01-2015

Source: http://orientalreview.org/2015/01/25/the-new-global-economy-rise-of-china-and-decline-of-usa/

Kosovo – Mafia – Fascism – Jihad

Hiding Genocide in Kosovo: A Crime against God and Humanity is not a typical book of the current events or international affairs genre. Nor is it a journalistic exposé. It is simply a book of stories, true stories of what has taken place in Kosovo since the end of the 1999 war: shooting, beheading, burning, bomb attack, maiming, rape, abduction, torture, desecration, theft, mutilation, and harassment. While Western policymakers (the U.S., EU, UN, NATO, OSCE, etc.) delude themselves that they are buying the goodwill of the Muslim world by the sacrifice of a small Christian community in Kosovo, the perpetrators know this is yet another step toward Islamic dominance of all Europe. This is a struggle for the soul and future not just for Kosovo, not just for Serbia, but for an entire continent.

The monster of Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci…Hashim Thaci, Prime Minister of Kosovo and head of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, is the former leader of the terrorist organization which the US and NATO trained and called the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, or in Albanian, UCK. In Kosovo crime circles he is known as Hashim “The Snake” for his personal ruthlessness against opponents.In 1997, President Clinton’s Special Balkans Envoy, Robert Gelbard described the KLA as, “without any question a terrorist group.” It was far more. It was a klan-based mafia, impossible therefore to infiltrate, which controlled the underground black economy of Kosovo. Today the Democratic Party of Thaci, according to European police sources, retains its links to organized crime. Thaci was a personal protégé of Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during the 1990s, when he was a mere 30-year old gangster. The KLA was supported from the outset by the CIA and the German BND. During the 1999 war the KLA was directly supported by NATO.

Hiding genocide in Kosovo…Ever since NATO aggression in 1999, there has been systematic destruction of any traces of Serbian monuments and Christianity in Kosovo. Some 150 Serbian Orthodox churches and medieval monasteries have been destroyed, originating from as early as 13th and 14th centuries, including some from the UNESCO List of World Heritage. According to Human Rights Watch, 250,000 Serb civilians have been driven out of Kosovo.Serbia remains the country with the highest number of refugees and displaced persons in the whole of Europe…. In 1994 in Lebanon, a radical Sunni Muslim group, Takfir wal Hijra, attempted to blow up a convoy of Serbian priests who were on their way Koura. The priests avoided death when the suicide bomber detonated the explosive device prematurely. This attempt on the lives of Serbian priests preceded a more ambitious plan. At the 18th Islamic conference, Al-Jama’ah al-Islaiyyah, held in Pakistan (October 23-25, 1998), Albanian separatism in Kosovo and Metohija was characterized as a Jihad. The same definition was given to Muslim battles in India (Kashmir), Israel (Palestine) and Eritrea. By defining armed battles as a “holy war” or Jihad, an obligation is placed on the Muslim world to do everything in its power – economically, politically and diplomatically – to aid the fight for freedom in occupied Muslim territories”. This gave legitimacy to terrorist acts carried out by Allah’s holy warriors. ..http://www.balkanstudies.org/articles/jihadist-green-corridor-balkans

Serb cemeteries, memorials desecrated in Kosovo.The Province of Kosovo and Metohija is the birth place of Serbian nation, culture, religion and state. Thousands of Serbian medieval monuments witness to this. There are two large communities living in the Province – Kosovo Serbs, who are Orthodox Christians, and Kosovo Albanians, the great majority of whom are Moslems. Before the beginning of the Second World War Serbian population in the Province were majority. Today, Serbs make less than 10 percent of the total population of the Province. The drastic change in national structure was due to the policy of ethnic cleansing of Serbs occupation for about 500 years, then by fascist-Nazi occupation forces (1941 – 1945) of over decades if not centuries – first by Turkish Empire which kept the Province under Mussolini and Hitler and finally by NATO aggression and occupation which continues up to these days.

Serb cemeteries, memorials desecrated in Kosovo Albanians destroying Serbian monuments. After the terrorist attack on a Serb civilian bus (Feb 17, 2001) in which 11 people were killed (two of them children) and 40 wounded a few Kosovo Albanian suspects have been arrested by UN police. The main suspect Florim Ejupi is direcly linked to the circles of Kosovo Albanian organized crime. Despite all security measures Ejupi ran away from the American detention facility in Camp Bondsteel. British Sunday Times reveals in its article by Bob Graham (July 29: British troops’ error led to bus bomb) that “UN sources believe that Florim Ejupi had been working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). His trial would have been a serious embarrassment, they claim” In Goraždevac, near Peć, western Kosmet, a memorial service was held, dedicated to Serb boys Ivan Jovović (19) and Pantelija Dakić (12), who were killed when Albanian terrorists opened fire at a group of Serb children who were swimming in the Bistrica river. Ivan Jovović and Pantelija Dakić were killed with automatic weapons and their friends Đorde Ugrenović (20), Bogdan Bukumirić (14), Marko Bogićević (12) and Dragana Srbljak (13) were seriously wounded. The rifles were fired from the direction of the village of Zahač, inhabited by Kosovo Albanians. The terrorists fired 90 bullets at the children. In late 2010, Eulex closed the investigation into the case due to alleged lack of evidence.

Life of Serbs In the 80ies Life of Kosovo Serb was a nightmare under constant threat of Albanian terrorists. FROM THE TIME OF THE ARRIVAL OF INTERNATIONAL FORCES TO KOSOVO THROUGH AUGUST 23RD 2003, ALBANIAN TERRORIST PERPETRATED THE TOTAL OF 5,962 ON SERBS…. IN THE SAME PERIOD, 1,206 PERSONS WERE KILLED AND. THE FATE OF 846 PERSONS, OUT OF 1,156 KIDNAPPED PERSONS, IS NOT KNOWN.IN THE ATTACKS IN 2003, ALBANIAN TERRORISTS CARRIED OUT 338 TERRORIST ATTACKS ON THE SERBS. Radical Islam is one of the biggest dangers for Kosovo.In the past decade, Middle Eastern charities have invested some $800 million in Kosovo….”What I saw during the past 10 years was a strong infiltration of Saudi money,” says Flaka Surroi, owner of the independent Koha Media. “They brought in the mosques, they brought in their dogma and ideology at the same time. They identified the poorest people in the communities, they offered them a steady salary every month just so they take over the ideology and start wearing the veil.”

Bali i Kombetar was a volunteer Kosovo Albanian Nazi organization formed in 1939 and reported of by Himmler to Hitler as the most elite of Kosovo Albanian Nazis that have killed and expelled thousands of Serbs and Jews in WWII. Today, this Albanian Nazi organization is freely flourishing under the protection of NATO troops.


2015-02-20

Full text with photos and videos at: http://max-balkanboy.blogspot.nl/2013/01/blog-post.html

What About Apologizing To Ukraine, Mrs. Nuland?

Yesterday’s leak of the flagrant telephone talk between the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt has already hit the international media headlines. In short, it turned out that the US officials were coordinating their actions on how to install a puppet government in Ukraine.

In this flagrant telephone talk between the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt agreed to nominate Bat’kyvshchina Party leader Arseniy Yatseniuk as Deputy Prime Minister, to bench Udar Party leader Vitaly Klitschko off the game for a while and to discredit neo-Nazi Svoboda party chief Oleh Tiahnybok as “Yanukovych’s project”. Then Mrs. Nuland informed the US Ambassador that the Washington’s hand by the UN Secretary General, Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman had already instructed Ban Ki-moon to send his special envoy to Kyiv this week “to glue the things”. Touching the European role in managing Ukraine’s political crisis, she was matchlessly elegant: “Fuck the EU”.

In a short while, after nervious attempts to blame Russians in fabricating (!) the tape (State Department: “this is a new low in Russian tradecraft”), Mrs. Nuland brought her apologies to the EU officials. Does it mean that the Washington’s repeatedly leaked genuine attitude towards the “strategic Transatlantic partnership” is much worthy of apology than the direct and clear interference into the internal affairs of a sovereign state and violation of the US-Russia-UK agreement (1994 Budapest memorandum) on security assurances for Ukraine? Meanwhile this document inter alia reads as follows:

The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act, to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.

The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defense or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the CSCE Final Act, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind.

Back to the latest Mrs. Nuland’s diplomatic collapse made public, it is hardly an unwilling and regretful fault. Andrey Akulov from Strategic Culture Foundation has published a brilliant report (Bride at every wedding [1]) a couple of days ago depicting a blatant lack of professionalism and personal intergity of Mrs. Nuland. He described in details her involvement in misinforming the US President and nation on the circumstances of the assasination of the US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens in Benghazi in September 2012 and her support of the unlawful US funding of a number of the Russian “independent” NGOs seeking to bring a color revolution to Russia.

Her diplomatically unacceptable behavior on the Ukrainian track, which culminated on YouTube this week (video and full transcript are available below), suggests that Mrs. Nuland is perhaps a wrong person in a wrong position for protecting American interests in Eurasia.

* * *

Full transcript of the telephone talk between the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt (posted on YouTube on Feb 6, 2014):

Victoria Nuland (V.N.): What do you think?

Geoffrey R. Pyatt (G.P.): I think we are in play. The Klitchko piece is obviously the most complicated electron here, especially the announcement of him as Deputy Prime Minister. You have seen my notes on trouble in the marriage right now, so we are trying to get a read really fast where he is on the staff. But I think your argument to him which you’ll need to make, I think that’s the next phone call that you want to set up is exactly the one you made to Yats (Yatsenuk’s nickname). I’m glad you put him on the spot. <…> He fits in this scenario. And I am very glad he said what he said.

V.N.: Good. I don’t think Klitsch (Klitschko’s nickname) should be in the government. I don’t think it’s necessary, I don’t think it’s a good idea.

G.P.: Yeah, I mean, I guess… In terms of him not going into the government… I’d just let him stay out and do his political homework. I’m just thinking, in terms of sort of the process moving ahead, we want to keep the moderate democrats together. The problem is gonna be with Tyahnibok and his guys. And, you know, I am sure that is part of what Yanukovych is calculating on all this.

V.N.: I think Yats is the guy. He has economic experience and governing experience. He is the guy. You know, what he needs is Klitsch and Tyahnibok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week. You know, I just think if Klitchko gets in, he’s going to be at that level working for Yatsenuk, it’s just not gonna work…

G.P.: Yeah, yeah, I think that’s right. Ok, good. Would you like us to set up a call with him as the next step?

V.N.: My understading from that call that you tell me was that the big three were going into their own meeting and that Yats was gonna offer in this context, you know, a «three plus one» conversation or a «three plus two» conversation with you. Is that not how you understood it?

G.P.: No. I think that was what he proposed but I think that knowing the dynamic that’s been with them where Klitchko has been the top dog, he’ll show up for whatever meetings they’ve got and he’s probably talking to his guys at this point. So, I think you reaching out directly to him, helps with the personality management among the three. And it also gives you a chance to move fast on all this stuff and put us behind it, before they all sit down and he explains why he doesn’t like it.

V.N.: Ok. Good. I am happy. Why don’t you reach out to him and see if he wants to talk before or after.

G.P.: Ok, I will do it. Thanks.

Nuland-YouTube V.N.: I can’t remember if I told you this or if I only told Washington this: when I talked to Jeff Feltman this morning he had a new name for the UN guy – Robert Serry. I wrote you about it this morning.

G.P.: Yeah, I saw that.

V.N.: Ok. He’s gotten now both Serry and Ban ki-Moon to agree that Serry will come on Monday or Tuesday. That would be great I think to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, if you like, fuck the EU.

G.P.: No, exactly. And I think we’ve got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude that the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it. And again the fact that this is out there right now, I am still trying to figure out in my mind why Yanukovych <…> that. In the meantime there is a Party of Regions faction meeting going on right now and I am sure there is a lively argument going on in that group at this point. But anyway, we could land jelly side up on this one if we move fast. So let me work on Klitschko and if you can just keep… I think we just want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. The other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych but we probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things start to fall into place.

V.N.: So on that piece, Jeff, when I wrote the note Sullivan’s come back to me V.F.R., saying you need Biden and I said probably tomorrow for an atta boy and to get the details to stick. So, Biden’s willing.

G.P.: Ok. Great, thanks.

* * *

Transcript of the telephone talk between the Deputy Secretary General EE AS External Service Helga M. Schmid (H.S.) and Jan Tombinsky (J.T.), EU Ambassador to Ukraine (rendering, starting 0:04:13 on the tape):

Helga M. Schmid: Jan, it’s Helga once again. I’d like to tell you one more thing, it’s confidential. The Americans are beating about the bush and saying that our stand is too soft. They believe we should be stronger and apply sanctions. I talked to Cathy (Cathrene Ashton – OR) and she agrees with us on the matter we were discussing last time. We will do it but we must arrange everything in a clever way.

Jan Tombinsky: You know we have other instruments.

H.S.: The journalists are already talking that the EU stand is “too soft”. What you should really know is that we are very angry that the Americans are beating about the bush. Maybe you tell the US Ambassador and draw his attention to the fact that our stand is not soft, we’ve just made a hard-line statement and took a tougher stance… I want you to know that it would be detrimental to our interests if we see in the newspapers that «The European Union does not support freedom». Cathy will not like it.

J.T.: Helga, we do not compete in a race. We should demonstrate that this situation is not a competition in diplomatic toughness. I’ve just heard about the opposition’s new proposal to the president. I’ll write Cathy about it right now.

H.S.: Ok.

Awkward attempts to question “morality” is such revelations sound especially hypocritical from a global spying power that monitors and controls most of the mobile phone and internet users activities, taps the phone lines of world leaders, and oversees the world’s most far-reaching wire-tapping program.

Endnote:

[1] US Assistant Secretary Nuland Visits Ukraine – Some Thoughts to Share, by Andrei Akulov, Part I and Part II, Strategic Culture Foundation, 5 and 6 February 2014.


07-02-2014

Source: http://www.voltairenet.org/article182064.html

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Contribution To The 20th Annual Conference Of Central European Political Science Association

Vilnius, a capital of Lithuania, is a host of The 20th Annual Conference of Central European Political Science Association: “Security Architecture in CEE: Present Threats and Prospects for Cooperation”. The conference place is at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University, from September 25 to 26, 2015. It is organized by the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University and the Lithuanian Political Science Association. The conference sponsors are the Lithuanian Research Council, the Ministry of National Defence of the Republic of Lithuania, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, and the Lithuanian Political Science Association. The number of participants with their own research papers is more than 30.

Unfortunately, our research paper proposal (abstract), submitted to the conference organizers before the deadline was rejected without a specific explanation of the reasons. Nevertheless, we are using this opportunity to participate to the conference online presenting both the abstract and the text of the research paper bellow:

The Post-Cold War NATO’s World Order and The Russian National Security

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirović
Institute of Political Sciences, Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania
Email: vsotirovic@mruni.eu

Abstract

This presentation investigates the Russian foreign politics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the time of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) World Order as a new global hegemonic power. The particular stress is put on relations between pro-Western and pro-Orthodox approaches of the Russian national interests among the Russian domestic political scene and their attitudes towards the West. The research results are based on critical analyzes of the scientific literature and prime historical sources available for the author at the moment on the topic of the paper. A special stress is put on the internal Russia’s debates on national policy after the Cold War between the pro-western and pro-traditional forces. However, the main research part of the presentation is on Russia’s relations with the West at the time of the post-Cold War NATO’s World Order in regard to the Russian national security and the foreign policy interest.

Keywords – NATO, World Order, Russia, foreign policy, international relations, global politics, Pax Americana, Atlantic Empire

The Post-Cold War NATO’s World Order and The Russian National Security

Research paper

It is a pure historical fact that “in a sharp reversal of its withdrawal from Europe after 1918, after the end of World War II Washington employed all available tools of public and cultural diplomacy to influence the hearts and minds of Europeans”[1] as a strategy of the US-led Cold War policy against the USSR,[2] and after 1991 against Russia up today. Undoubtedly, the US succeeded after 1990 to transform herself into a sole global military-political hegemonic power – an unprecedented case in the world history.[3]

A Post-Cold War Global Politics

By the NATO’s globally aggressive policy and its eastward enlargement after the official end of the Cold War (1949−1989), the Russian state’s security question, reemerged as one of the major concerns in Russia.[4] However, in fact, for the NATO and its motor-head in the face of the USA, the Cold War is still on agenda of the global arena as after 1990 the NATO’s expansion and politics are directly directed primarily against Russia[5] but in perspective against China as well. Nevertheless, a fact that the NATO was not dissolved after the end of the Soviet Union (regardless on all official explanations why) is the crucial argument for the opinion that the Cold War is still reality in the world politics and the international relations.

It has to be noticed that the USSR was simply dissolved by one man-decision – a General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, who, concerning this matter, made a crucial deal in October 1986 with the US administration at two days bilateral meeting with the US President Ronald Reagan in Reykjavik in Iceland.[6] It is a matter of fact that the USSR was the only empire in the world history which became simply dissolved by its own government as the rest of the world empires were destroyed either from the outside after the lost wars or from the inside after the bloody civil wars or revolutions.[7]

There are in our opinion three main hypothetical reasons for Gorbachev’s decision to simply dissolve the Soviet Union:

  1. Personal bribing of Gorbachev by the western governments (the USA and the EC).
  2. Gorbachev’s wish, as the first and the only ethnic Russian ruler of the USSR to prevent a further economic exploitation of the Russian federal unit by the rest of the Soviet republics that was a common practice since the very beginning of the USSR after the Bolshevik (anti-Russian) Revolution and the Civil War of 1917−1921.
  3. Gorbachev’s determination to transform Russian Federation, which will firstly get rid of the rest of the Soviet tapeworm republics, into economically prosperous and well-to-do country by selling its own Siberia’s natural resources (gas and oil) to the West according to the global market prices.

In order not to spoil very good business relations with the West the Russian foreign policy during the last 23 years, up to the 2014 Ukrainian Crisis, was totally soft and even subservient to the West to whose mercy Moscow left the rest of the world including and the ex-Soviet republics with at least 25 million of the ethnic Russian population outside the motherland. For the matter of comparison, Belgrade in 1991 also left all other Yugoslav republics to leave the federation free of charge, at least for the second hypothetical Gorbachev’s reason to dissolve the USSR, but with one crucial difference in comparison with the Russian case in the same year: the ethnic Serbs outside Serbia were not left at mercy, at least not as free of charge, to the governments of the newly (anti-Serb and neo-Nazi) proclaimed independent states emerged on the wreck of (anti-Serb and dominated by Croatia and Slovenia) ex-Yugoslavia.[8] That was the main sin by Serbia in the 1990s and for that reason she was and still is sternly fined by the West.[9]

Russia’s Post-Cold War National Identity and State’s Security

Russia’s security and foreign policy after the dissolution of the USSR is a part of a larger debate over Russia’s “national interest” and even over the Russian new identity.[10] Since 1991, when her independence was formalized and internationally recognized, Russia has been searching for her national identity, state’s security and foreign policy.

The intellectual circles in Russia have debated very much over the content of the Russian national self-identity for centuries:

  1. On the one hand, there were/are those who believe that the Russian culture is a part of the European culture and as such the Russian culture can accept some crucial (West) European values in its development, especially from the time of the emperor Peter the Great (1672−1725).[11] This group, we could call them as the “Westernizers”, have never negated the existence of Russia’s specific characteristics as an Eurasian country, but have always believed that staying within the framework of the “Russian spectrum” is equivalent to the national suicide (a “fear of isolation” effect).
  2. However, on the other hand, there are those who have tried to preserve all traditional Russian forms of living and organizing, including both political and cultural features of the Russian civilization, not denying at the same time that Russia is a European country too. This, we can name them as the “patriotic” group, or the “Patriots”, of the Slavic orientation, partly nationalistically oriented, have believed and still believes that the (West) European civilizational and cultural values can never be adjusted to the Russian national character and that it is not necessary at all for the Russian national interest (a “fear of self-destruction” effect).

A confrontation of these two groups characterizes both the Russian history and the present-day political and cultural development. Very similar situation is, for instance, in Serbia today as the society is sharply divided into the so-called “First” (“patriotic”) and the “Second” (“western”) Serbia supporters.

At the moment, the basic elements of the Russian national identity and state’s policy are:

  1. The preservation of Russia’s territorial unity.
  2. The protection of Russia’s interior integrity and its external (state’s) borders.
  3. The strengthening of Russia’s statehood particularly against the post-Cold War NATO’s Drang nach Osten policy.
  4. The protection of the Russian diaspora at the territory of ex-USSR in order not to experience a destiny of the Serbs outside Serbia after the violent destruction of ex-Yugoslavia by the West and their inner clients.

The post-Soviet Russia (the Gazprom Republic of the “Power of Siberia”) rejected, at least for the time of the 2014 Ukrainian Crisis, the most significant element in her foreign policy that has historically been from the time of the emperor Ivan the Terrible (1530−1584) the (universal) imperial code – constant expansion of its territory or, at least, the position of a power that cannot be overlooked in the settlement of strategic global matters.[12] Therefore, after the Cold War Russia accepted the US’ global role of the new world Third Rome[13] and the US as the only global hegemonic power.[14] For the matter of illustration, the US has today 900 military bases in 153 countries around the world. A (Yeltsin’s) Russian servant position to the West was clearly proved during the NATO’s barbaric destruction of Serbia in 1999 – a fact which simply legitimized the NATO’s policy of the US global imperialism.

From historical point of view, it can be said that the US’ imperialism started in 1812 when the US’ administration proclaimed the war to Great Britain in order to annex the British colony of Canada.[15] However, the protagonists of a “Hegemonic stability theory” argue that “a dominant military and economic power is necessary to ensure the stability and prosperity in a liberal world economy. The two key examples of such liberal hegemons are the UK during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the USA since 1945”. [16]

At the post-Cold War’s stage of Russia’s history, characterized by very harmonious (symphonic) economic and political relations with the West, at least up to the 2014 Ukrainian Crisis, especially with Germany, Russia in fact became a political colony of the West which is seen in Moscow eyes only as a good source for making money. The results of such kind of Russia-West relations from 1991 to 2014 were the Russian tourists all over the world, an impressive Russian state’s gold reserves (500 billion €), buying real estate properties all over the Mediterranean littoral by the Russians, huge Russian financial investments in Europe and finally, the Russian authorization of the NATO’s and the EU’s aggressive foreign policy at the Balkans, the Middle East and the Central Asia.

Russia’s Post-Cold War’s Foreign Policy

Russia’s foreign policy is surely a part of her national and cultural identity as for any other state in history. From 1991 up to 2014, Moscow accepted the western academic and political propaganda as a sort of the “new facts” that:

  1. Russia is reportedly no longer a global super or even military power, although its considerable military potential is undeniable and very visible.
  2. Russia allegedly has no economic power, although it has by very fact an enormous economic potential.
  3. Russia, as a consequence, cannot have any significant political influence which could affect the new international relations established after 1991, i.e. the NWO (the NATO’s World Order), or better to say – the Pax Americana.[17]

It made Russia a western well paid client state as in essence no strategic questions can be solved without Russian permission, however for certain sum of money or other way of compensation. For instance, the Kosovo status was solved in 2008 between Russia and the NATO/EU on exactly this way as Russia de facto agreed to Kosovo self-proclaimed independence (as the US’s client territory or colony) for in turn the western also de facto agreement to the South Ossetia’s and Abkhazia’s self-proclaimed independence as in fact the Russian protected territories.[18]

Since Russia formally has lost all the attributes of a super power after the dissolution of the Soviet Union (up to 2014), her political elite has in the early 1990s become oriented towards closer association with the institutional structures of the West – in accordance with her officially general drift towards liberal-democratic reform (in fact towards the tycoonization of the whole society and politics, like in all East European transitional countries). Till 1995 Russia had become a member of almost all structures of the NATO, even of the “Partnership for Peace Programme” what is telling the best about the real aims of the Gazprom Russia’s foreign policy up to 2014 when Russia finally decided to defend her own national interest, at least at the doorstep (i.e., in the Eastern Ukraine) of her own home. In May 1997 Russia signed the “NATO’s−Russia Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security”, what meant de facto that she accepted the NATO as the core of the Euro-Atlantic system of security.

For the matter of comparison with the USA, in October 1962, at the height of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union came to the brink of a real nuclear war over the placement of the USSR’s missiles in the island of Cuba – a courtyard (not even a doorstep) of the USA. It was the closest moment the world ever came to unleashing the WWIII.[19] In the other words, during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis the US’ Kennedy’s administration was ready to invade the independent state of Cuba (with already the US’ military base on the island) and even to go to the WWIII against the USSR if necessary as Washington understood Cuba as a courtyard of the USA.

Whether or not the ruling structures in Russia had expected a more important role for their country in its relations with the new partners, since 1995 there has been certain stagnation in the relations with the West, accompanied by the insistence on the national interests of Russia. In practice, this was manifested in the attempts to strengthen the connections with the Commonwealth of the Independent States (the CIS) with which Russia had more stable and secure relations. However, the state of relations within the CIS, accompanied with a very difficult economic and politically unstable situation in some of the countries in the region, prevented any organizational or other progress in this direction. Still, the CIS has remained the primary strategic focus for Russia, especially when it comes to the insolent expansion of the NATO towards these countries (the NATO’s Drang nach Osten).

Conclusions

At the end we will express several basic conclusions in relations to the topic of contemporary Russian relations with the NATO, or better to say, to the debate of the main issue of the present-day Russian foreign policy – between the West and herself:

  1. The post-Soviet Russia was at least until 2014 Ukrainian Crisis politically very deeply involved in the western system of international relations and cultural values that was basically giving to Moscow a status of the western client partner on the international scene of the NATO’s World Order.
  2. A full victory of the Russian “Westernizers” up to 2014 allow them to further westernize Russia according to the pattern of the Emperor Peter the Great with the price of Russia’s inferiority and even servility in the international relations. For that reason, the West already succeeded (at least up to 2014) to encircle Russia with three rings of Russia’s enemies: the NATO at the West, the Muslim Central Asian states at the South and China at the South-East.
  3. The West was buying Russia’s inferiority at the international scene by keeping perfect economic relations with Moscow that was allowing Russia, especially Russia’s tycoons, to become enormously reach. These harmonious West-Russia political-economic relations are going to be broken in the future only under two circumstances: I. If the Russian “Patriots” with take political power in Kremlin (after the military putsch or new revolution?), or II. If the West will introduce any kind of serious (real) economic-political sanctions against Russia (i.e. to restrict importing Russian gas and oil or to limit business operations of the Russian oil and gas companies outside Russia).
  4. Up to now, concerning Europe, the South-East Europe experienced a full degree of the Washington-led NATO’s World Order policy as it is totally left to the western hands by Moscow and the region is already incorporated into the NATO’s World Order as a part of the western (the NATO & the EU) post-Cold War concept of the Central and East Europe as a buffer zone against Russia.[20] Nowadays, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is on agenda of the US’s punishment for any closer relations with Russia (the “Turkish Stream”). As it was in the case of Serbia in 1999, the US sponsored regional Albanians (exactly from Kosovo) are the instrument of destabilization, in this case, of Macedonia as an overture to the territorial secession of the Albanian-populated West Macedonia which is going to be put, like Kosovo, under the NATO’s total occupation.

Prof. Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic

www.global-politics.eu/sotirovic

globalpol@global-politics.eu

© Vladislav B. Sotirovic 2015

____________________

Endnotes:

[1] A. Stephan (ed.), The Americanization of Europe. Culture, Diplomacy, and Anti-Americanism after 1945, New York−Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2006, 1.

[2] D. Junker (ed.), The United States and Germany in the Era of the Cold War, 1945−1990: A Handbook, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

[3] D. P. Forsythe, P. C. McMahon, A. Wedeman (eds.), American Foreign Policy in a Globalized World, New York−London: Routledge, 2006, 1.

[4] About history of the Cold War, see in [J. Lewis, The Cold War: A New History, New York: Penguin Books, 2005; M. V. Zubok, A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev, The University of North Carolina Press, 2007].

[5] K. W. Thompson, NATO Expansion, University Press of America, 1998.

[6] J. G. Wilson, The Triumph of Improvisation: Gorbachev’s Adaptability, Reagan’s Engagement, and the End of the Cold War, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014; K. Adelman, Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours That Ended The Cold War, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2014.

[7] About the end of the USSR, see in [S. Plokhy, The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union, New York: Basic Books, 2014].

[8] About different opinions on the nature of Yugoslavia, see in [J. B. Allcock, Explaining Yugoslavia, New York: Columbia University Press, 2000; R. Sabrina, The Three Yugoslavias: State-Building and Legitimation, 1918−2005, Indiana University Press, 2006].

[9] About the wars of Yugoslavia’s succession in the 1990s, see in [S. Trifunovska (ed.), Yugoslavia Through Documents: From its creation to its dissolution, Dordrecht-Boston-London: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1994; S. L. Woodward, Balkan Tragedy: Chaos and Dissolution after the Cold War, Washington, D. C.: The Brookings Institution, 1995; R. H. Ullman, (ed.), The World and Yugoslavia’s Wars, New York: A Council on Foreign Relations, 1996; D. Oven, Balkan Odyssey, London: Indigo, 1996; B. Marković, Yugoslav Crisis and the World: Chronology of Events: January 1990−October 1995, Beograd, 1996; J. Guskova, Istorija jugoslovenske krize, I−II. Beograd: Izdavački grafički atelje „M“, 2003; V. B. Sotirović, Emigration, Refugees and Ethnic Cleansing: The Death of Yugoslavia, 1991−1999, Saarbrücken: LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing, 2013].

[10] M. Laruelle (ed.), Russian Nationalism, Foreign Policy, and Identity Debates in Putin’s Russia: New Ideological Patterns After the Orange Revolution, Stuttgart: ibidem-Verlag, 2012.

[11] About Peter the Great and his reforms in Russia, see in [L. Hughes, Russia in the Age of Peter the Great, New Haven−London: Yale University Press, 2000; J. Cracraft, The Revolution of Peter the Great, Cambridge, Mass.−London, England: Harvard University Press, 2003; J. Anisimov, Rusijos istorija nuo Riuriko iki Putino. Žmonės. Įvykiai. Datos, Vilnius: Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos centras, 2014, 203−229].

[12] About the idea of the Holy Russia as a Third Rome, see in [M. R. Johnson, The Third Rome: Holy Russia, Tsarism and Orthodoxy, The Foundation for Economic Liberty, Inc., 2004].

[13] About the US’ post-Cold War imperialism and global hegemony, see in [G. V. Kiernan, America, The New Imperialism: From White Settlement to World Hegemony. London: Verso, 2005; J. Baron, Great Power Peace and American Primacy: The Origins and Future of a New International Order, London−New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

[14] N. Chomsky, Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance, New York: Penguin, 2004.

[15] H. B. Parks, Istorija Sjedinjenih Američkih Država, Beograd: Izdavačka radna organizacija „Rad“, 1986, 182−202.

[16] A. Heywood, Global Politics, London−New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011, 229.

[17] About the Pax Americana, see in [G. Dorrien, Imperial Designs: Neo Conservatism and The New Pax Americana, London−New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2004; A. Parchami, “The Pax Americana Debate”, Hegemonic Peace and Empire: The Pax Romana, Britanica and Americana, London−New York: Routledge, 2009; A. Roncallo, The Political Economy of Space in The Americas: The New Pax Americana, London−New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2014. On the remaking of the World Order, see [S. P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilization and The Remaking of World Order, London: The Free Press, 2002; H. Kissinger, World Order, Penguin Press HC, 2014]. On the post-Cold War’s US-Russia’s relations up to the 2014 Ukrainian Crisis, see in [A. E. Stent, U.S.−Russian Relations in the Twenty-First Century, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014].

[18] About the “Kosovo precedent” and the ethnopolitical conflicts in the Caucasus, see in [A. Hehir (ed.), Kosovo, Intervention and Statebuilding: The International Community and the Transition to Independence, London-New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2010; V. B. Sotirović, “Kosovo and the Caucasus: A Domino Effect”, Српска политичка мисао (Serbian Political Thought), 41 (3), Belgrade: Institute for Political Studies, 2013, 231−241.

[19] R. F. Kennedy, Thirteen Days: A Memoir of The Cuban Missile Crisis, W. W. Norton & Company, 1999; D. Munton, D. A. Welch, The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Concise History, Oxford−New York: Oxford University Press, 2006; M. Dobbs, One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on The Brink of Nuclear War, Borzoi Book, 2008; B. L. Pardoe, Fires of October: The Planned US Invasion of Cuba During The Missile Crisis of 1962, Fonthill Media Limited−Fonthill Media LLC, 2013.

[20] About the post-Cold War western supremacy in the global politics and international relations, see in [S. Mayer, NATO’s Post-Cold War Politics: The Changing Provision of Security, London−New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014; K. Pijl, The Discipline of Western Supremacy: Modes of Foreign Relations and Political Economy, III, London−New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014]. About a typical example of the western (the US’) colony in the region, Kosovo-Metohija as a part of the Pax Americana, see in [H. Hofbauer, Eksperiment Kosovo: Povratak kolonijalizma, Beograd: Albatros Plus, 2009]. On the relations between the NATO and the European Union, see in [L. Simon, Geopolitical Change, Grand Strategy and European Security: The EU−NATO Conundrum, London−New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013]. About the history of a greater concept of the East Europe between the Germans and the Russians, see in [R. Bideleux, I. Jeffries, A History of Eastern Europe. Crisis and Change, London−New York: Routledge, 1999; A. C. Janos, East Central Europe in the Modern World. The Politics of the Borderlands from Pre- to PostCommunism, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000].

Note:

Complete article published as: “The NATO’s World Order, the Balkans and the Russian National Interest”, International Journal of Politics & Law Research, Sciknow Publications Ltd., Vol. 3, № 1, 2015, New York, NY, USA, ISSN 2329-2253 (print), ISSN 2329-2245 (online), pp. 10−19 (www.sciknow.org)

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