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Nato expansion

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Broken Promise NATO Expansion and the End of the Cold War

Some have tried to debunk the view that the West implicitly or explicitly promised Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand east after German reunification and dissolution of the Warsaw Pact). These claims are misleading and obfuscate the historical record of at least a clear understanding, if not promise that there should be no NATO expansion eastward in any way, shape or form. At the very least the West made a implied commitment not to expand NATO east. It is more precise to say, however, that the West gave an explicit verbal, that is, unwritten guarantee not to expand NATO beyond a united Germany; something both sides understood. This broken promise or understanding and the expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders has led now to the misnamed ‘new cold war.’

One commentator, for example, argues there was no promise, claiming the discussions only touched on NATO deployments to the territory of what would become the former GDR after German reunification. But the writer obfuscates the meaning of a recent Gorbachev statement in making his claim. He quotes Gorbachev from an RBTH interview this way: “‘The topic of ‘NATO expansion’ was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years. … Another issue we brought up was discussed: making sure that NATO’s military structures would not advance and that additional armed forces would not be deployed on the territory of the then-GDR after German reunification. Baker’s statement was made in that context… Everything that could have been and needed to be done to solidify that political obligation was done. And fulfilled'”.

To be sure, Pifer acknowledges that Gorbachev also said that NATO’s expansion beyond Germany was “a violation of the spirit of the statements and assurances made to us in 1990”. The vagueness lies in the fact, as Gorbachev notes, that NATO expansion per se was never explicitly discussed. How can something that was not discussed be considered a violation of a trust when it later happens? Because it was assumed by all sides and implied by various Western statements that the West understood that USSR was opposed to NATO expanding to the former GDR’s territory, no less its expanding much farther east, and that per the 1990 discussions it was implicitly understood that NATO would not expanding to GDR territory or anywhere further east.

This becomes evident in reading a more precise rendering of the Baker-Gorbachev exchange than the one Pifer presents, and RBTH managed to get Gorbachev to expound on. In reality, new archival documents show that Baker said to Gorbachev: “Would you prefer to see a unified Germany outside of NATO, independent and with no U.S. forces, or would you prefer a unified Germany to be tied to NATO, with assurances that NATO’s jurisdiction would not shift one inch eastward from its present position?” As one author notes: “Baker’s phrasing of the second, more attractive option meant that NATO’s jurisdiction would not even extend to East Germany, since NATO’s ‘present position’ in February 1990 remained exactly where it had been throughout the Cold War: with its eastern edge on the line still dividing the two Germanies. In other words, a united Germany would be, de facto, half in and half out of the alliance. According to Baker, Gorbachev responded, ‘Certainly any extension of the zone of NATO would be unacceptable.’ This means that their discussion implied an assumption that the discussion was about any kind of expansion anywhere to the east, whether in Germany or elsewhere. Other statements and discussions further suggest that the assumption was there should be no NATO expansion eastward in any way. That assumption means a tacit agreement was reached.

An Assumed and Implied Promise Broken

At a minimum, the West certainly gave the impression during talks on Germany’s reunification in early 1990 that it was promising Moscow that NATO at the least for some time would not take in any new members besides reunified Germany or take advantage of the disappearance of the Warsaw Pact in any way. This approximates the position of then US Ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock. Western diplomats’ language in discussions with Soviet officials, moreover, resembled full-fledged promises not to expand NATO beyond Germany, and it is no surprise the Soviets perceived it that way. For all intents and purposes, there was a de facto promise not to expand NATO after united Germany’s incorporation into the Atlantic alliance. The sum of the discussions at the time makes this clear.

On 9 November 1990, for example, US Secretary of State James Baker told Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in the Kremlin’s St. Catherine Hall that NATO would not expand beyond reunified Germany “one inch in the eastern direction” if NATO even maintained its presence in Germany after reunification. He added: “We think that consultations and discussions within the framework of the mechanism ‘Two Plus Four’ should give a guarantee that the unification of Germany will not lead to the spreading of the military organization NATO to the East” (Yevgenii Primakov, Gody v Bolshoi Politike (Moscow: Sovershenno Sekretno, 1999), pp. 231-32 and Uwe Klussman, Matthias Schepp, and Klaus Wiegrefe, “NATO’s Eastward Expansion: Did the West Break Its Promise to Moscow?,” Der Spiegel, 26 November 2009). Baker now claims he never made any such promise. However, West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher’s chief of staff, Frank Elbe, has written that when he met with Baker on 2 February 1990, the two agreed that there was to be no NATO expansion to the East and this would be communicated to the Soviets to facilitate their acceptance of reunified Germany’s entrance into the alliance (Klussman, Schepp, and Wiegrefe, “NATO’s Easteward Expansion: Did the West Break Its Promise to Moscow?”). In his 1995 memoir, Gorbachev remembers Baker asking him: “Assuming that (German) reunification takes place, what is preferable for you: a united Germany outside NATO, fully independent without American troops, or a united Germany preserving ties to NATO but under a guarantee that NATO jurisdiction and troops will not spread to the east from today’s position.” Gorbachev says that although he did not commit to either of these at that time, “the latter part of Baker’s phrase became the nucleus of the formula on the basis of which compromise on Germany’s military-political status was later reached.” (Mikhail Gorbachev, Zhizni i reform, Kniga 2, Moscow, Novosti, 1995, p. 167).

According to declassified German documents, on 10 February 1990, FRG Foreign Minister Genscher told his Soviet counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze: “We are aware that NATO membership for a unified Germany raises complicated questions. For us, however, one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east” (James M. Goldgeier and Michael McFaul, Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy Toward Russia After the Cold War, Washington, D.C., Brookings Institution Press, 2003, pp. 184-5). Videos of Genscher’s and Baker’s 1990 statements to the press promising NATO would not expand beyond Germany are readily available (“Abmachung 1990: ‘Keine Osterweiterung der NATO’ – Aussenminister Gensher & Baker,” Antikrieg TV, 6 July 2014). However, weeks later Baker was claiming he already was getting signals that “Central European countries wanted to join NATO,” to which Genscher responded that they “should not touch this at this point.” The exchange seems to suggest that at least Genscher did not necessarily see the commitment not to expand NATO as permanent or one encompassing the east outside the GDR (Klussman, Schepp, and Wiegrefe, “NATO’s Eastward Expansion: Did the West Break Its Promise to Moscow?”). Although some, perhaps all of these pledges came in discussions of a possible NATO expansion to the former GDR’s territory as part of the FRG after reunification, the assumption at the time was that expansion beyond the GDR was unthinkable. Since Western and Soviet leaders were agreeing that a unified Germany could join NATO, the promises not to expand to the east had to mean not to do so anywhere beyond the GDR.

In other discussions explicit pledges appear to have been made not to expand NATO beyond the GDR. In his memoir, the late former Russian Foreign Minister (January 1996 – September 1998), Prime Minister (September 1998 – September 1999), and perestroika-era Politburo and Presidential Council member Yevgenii Primakov quotes Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry archival documents from various meetings, showing Baker, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, British Prime Minister John Major, and French President Francois Mitterand all telling Gorbachev in February and March 1990 that former Soviet bloc countries of Eastern Europe would not become NATO members. In addition, British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd told Soviet Foreign Minister Alexander Bessmertnykh in March that there “were no plans” to expand NATO beyond united Germany (Primakov, Gody v Bolshoi Politike, pp. 231-33). Finally, in June 1991, NATO Secretary General Manfred Worner said publicly that granting NATO membership to former Warsaw Pact members “would be a serious obstacle to reaching mutual understanding with the Soviet Union” (TASS, June 16, 1991).” Thus, again, what seems clear is that there was at least a joint assumption and informal agreement that NATO would not expand to the east beyond the GDR.

Many Russians, including Primakov, would later harshly criticize Gorbachev with justification (and hindsight’s advantage) for failing to codify this in a signed agreement (Primakov, Gody v Bolshoi Politike, p. 233). Claiming this was possible, none of them can produce evidence they proposed this to Gorbachev or his inner circle. These were heady days of rapprochement and hopes for peace in a ‘common European home’ from Paris to Vladivostok. Some would say they were days of naivete` soon trumped by cynicism. In memoirs Gorbachev’s closest advisor, Georgii Shakhnazarov, lamented the Warsaw Pact’s dissolution without “achieving the liquidation of NATO.” He added: “This is just a question of time. One should not regret the end of the military blocs. They are Europe’s yesterday. In (Europe), security should, of course, be built on a rational, collective basis” (Georgii Shakhnazarov, Tsena Svobody: Reformatsiya Gorbacheva glazami ego pomoshnika, Moscow, Rissika-Zevs, 1993, p. 128).

With the decision made to expand without Russia, American hubris was communicated to Moscow in no uncertain terms by Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, whom President Barack Obama dubbed “one of the giants of American foreign policy” after the former’s passing in 2010 (Robert D. McFadden, “Strong American Voice in Diplomacy and Crisis,” New York Times, 13 December 2010). At a Washington conference in 1997, Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Yuli Vorontsov reported how Holbrooke and other U.S. officials repeatedly and sometimes abruptly rejected queries regarding Russia’s possible entry into NATO: “When the decision was originally floated, I came to the State Department and had a long talk with the then assistant secretary of state, Mr. Holbrooke. I said, ‘Have you thought about Russia while you were putting forward this idea of enlargement of NATO?’ And his answer was very honest. He said, ‘No, not at all; you have nothing to do with that.’ ‘Aha,’ I said, ‘that is very interesting, and what about an invitation for Russia to join the enlarged NATO?’ He said, ‘Anybody but Russia! No’. That was a nice beginning of our conversations about enlargement of NATO in the State Department and later on in the corridors of power in Washington. And from all quarters I received that kind of answer: ‘Anyone but Russia. Not you!’” (Yuli Vorontsov, “NATO Enlargement Without Russia: A Mistake on Four Counts,” The NATO-Russian Charter and the Emerging Relationship, Russia and NATO International Panel, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., February 1997.

The Implications of Promise Broken: Maximal Distrust

The increasingly cynical realism of Russian foreign policy as successive rounds of NATO expanded to Russia’s borders as well as the hyper-cynicism of much of Putin’s foreign policy at present have their roots in Russian disenchantment that resulted from NATO expansion. The most crucial contingent cause of the present Russo-West and Ukrainian crises was NATO expansion without the inclusion of Russia. From its outset, post-Soviet Russia was a potential threat to its neighbors and the West, especially if not integrated into the West. That potential, however, needed to be actualized to become an actual or kinetic threat. Potential’s actualization was contingent on policies—whether Western or Russian—that isolated and/or alienated Russia from the West. The expansion of Western institutions, especially NATO – world history’s most powerful military-political bloc – to Russia’s borders without Russia’s inclusion in the bloc gradually actualized the Russian threat. Moreover, NATO expansion without Russia institutionalized and reinforced the geopolitical and civilizational divides Mackinderians, Huntingtonians, and neo-Eurasianists on both sides of the Atlantic perceived.

There were several aspects of the 1993-95 discussion, the 1995 decision and 1997 implementation of the first round of NATO expansion that brought Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary into the military alliance which altered the Soviet-American and Russian-American early post-Cold War honeymoon. First, the decision to expand NATO eastward broke the trust and implied if not explicit promise not to so expand and thus take advantage of the Warsaw Pact’s dissolution. Second, the U.S. policy made no extra effort to entice Russia into NATO commensurate with the country’s great power status. To the contrary, policymakers appear to have discouraged, if not outright rejected Russian overtures. Third, NATO enlargement shifted the correlation of forces in Russian domestic politics from support for, to opposition against Westernization and democratization. Fourth, NATO expansion undermined Russian national security vis-à-vis NATO. This not only further alienated the Russian power ministries or siloviki from the West and Russia’s pro-Western leadership, it humiliated Russia’s proud military and national security establishment. This was all the more so, since NATO’s more forward-leaning configuration required adjustments to Russian force structure, defense procurement, and military and national security doctrines, many of which Moscow was in no position to carry out because of the dire economic depression into which the collapse of the USSR had plunged the country.

The idealistic and naïve Russians of the democratic perestroika generation learned a harsh lesson from the partner they hoped for in the United States. The lone superpower, increasingly hubristic hegemon, ‘victor in the Cold War’ – the United States – demonstrated that Russian national security, even domestic stability placed a distant second when it came not just to America’s maintenance of its position as world leader but also to the unlimited enhancement of U.S. power globally and especially within Russia’s traditional sphere of influence.

One can discount the promise, implied promise, assumed promise to one’s liking. But more than the spirt of statements and assurances was broken along with the ‘promise’. The spirit of that minimal trust that Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and then General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev had built up between our two countries’ elites and peoples was gravely undermined. It would be fatally undermined with each successive round of NATO expansion.

gordonhahn.com


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Old News ;-)

[Apr 19, 2021] Browder's grandfather is Earl Browder, General Secretary of the Communist Party USA. Now freely admitted that he held that post on the payroll of FBI and Office of Naval Intelligence. Bill merely continues the family business of damaging Russia by any means possible.

Apr 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

oldhippie , Apr 19 2021 18:42 utc | 19

Bill Browder is mentioned in b's top post.

Browder's grandfather is Earl Browder, General Secretary of the Communist Party USA. Now freely admitted that he held that post on the payroll of FBI and Office of Naval Intelligence. Bill merely continues the family business of damaging Russia by any means possible.

Yes, Russophobia is a very durable policy.

[Apr 03, 2021] Is that you Bill Browder?

Apr 03, 2021 | www.unz.com
Anon [367] Disclaimer , says: April 1, 2021 at 3:19 am GMT • 2.7 days ago

ugghhhh the propaganda channel – thesaker – continues unabated

"Putin single-handedly "resurrected" Russia in an amazingly short time"

just LOL @ single-handedly

" Putin turned Russia into the strongest military power on the planet and he completely reshaped the Russian perception of themselves and of Russia"

strongest? zvezda channel posting youtube videos doesn't make you the strongest military power

completely reshaped? so much that still all the young Russians want to emigrate

"the country which created the best vaccine on the planet "

the best vaccine? only 4% of Russians got vaccinated, that's 6 million out of 144 millions
so much about Russians trusting Putin, LOL

-- -- -

Andrei Raevsky, do you even re-read what BS you write?!
you aren't fooling anyone but a handful of braindead followers you got there on your blog
in the real world – no one gives a shyt about Putin

the West doesn't hate Putin, they just want to loot Russia or get a cut from the loot of Russia.
Russian oligarchs want to loot Russia for themselves without giving a cut/tribute to Western oligarchs.
Putin is a non-issue, a nobody, he just follows orders of the Russian oligarchs.

But there is a real hate @ Putin – that because he is a fake, only a carefully prepared media
image. And you Andrei Raevsky are part of that propaganda effort. Putin is no savior, Putin
is not working for the betterment of Russians or humanity as a whole. He is just a facade for
Russian oligarchs. And that is what we hate . And the more you and the likes of you push
that fake image of Putin, the more the pushback and hate from us.
So go on – continue.

I was a believer in Putin. Then I saw the light. Now I would have no quarrel putting a bullet in
Putin's head. Analyze this!

[Feb 15, 2021] EU - Russia Conflict Deepens

Feb 15, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Virgile , Feb 12 2021 17:38 utc | 2

Last week. during a visit by the EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov slapped down the EU's sanctimonious interference in Russia's internal policies.

Back in Brussels, Borrell, who was criticized by some EU hardliners for not directly rebuffing Lavrov's talk, set down to write a blog post in which again attacked Russia over the latest Navalny stunt:

I have just returned from a very complicated visit to Moscow, on which I had embarked to discuss the fraught state of EU-Russia relations. They have been low for a number of years, and deteriorated even further after recent developments linked to the poisoning, arrest, and sentencing of Alexei Navalny as well as the related mass arrests of thousands of demonstrators. The purpose of this mission was to express directly the EU's strong condemnation of these events and to address, through principled diplomacy, the process of a rapid worsening of our relationship with Russia, and to help prepare the forthcoming European Council discussions on EU-Russia relations.

Borrell is delusional. Hardly anyone in Russia believes the nonsensical poisoning story for which the 'west' could provide exactly zero evidence:

Brett Harris @BrettHar123 - 18:41 UTC · Feb 7, 2021

Only 15% in Russia believe the Navalny poisoning was the Govt trying to eliminate an opponent, and the 15% based this opinion from Telegram and the Internet and were mostly 18-24. The rest think it was staged, a Western false flag, personal or opposition: https://levada.ru/2020/12/24/...

The whole Navalny poisoning was obviously some secret service operation to bash Russia. His lavish living in in a 5 bed room luxurious apartment in Germany after he was released from hospital was paid by the libertarian oligarch Evgeny Chichvarkin . Chichvarkin, who lives in London, is probably an MI6 cutout. It is still not known who paid the multimillion production costs for the fake 'Putin palace' video. The studio renting for the video was requested by a company in Los Angeles. Some U.S. involvement is thereby assured.

Poland and other NATO countries are now openly pressing Navalny and other traitors like him to continue their regime change attempts:

Cont. reading: EU - Russia Conflict Deepens

Posted by b at 17:14 UTC | Comments (120)

This confrontation was predictable. There is a limit to what Russia can accept. Even after the russophobic UK departure from the EU, the mood is the same.
Therefore a frank confrontation may either be a wake-up call for Europe that they may lose totally Russia as a partner or in the contrary bring them more apart.
What the EU fails to realize is that without Russia , it may end up become the puppet of the USA and the UK
Time will tell



james , Feb 12 2021 17:39 utc | 3

thanks b.... you're correct borrell is delusional and a perfect representative for a delusional europe.... i am glad lavrov said what he did.. i just wish russia would throw the shit back at them by making a parallel with the wests treatment of assange... it really highlights the outrageous-ness of the west at this point...

and someone on the open thread posted about mh17 and trying to access more info contained in boxes on the rear part of the plain that might lead to a different conclusion... as i see it mh17, skripal, navalny and etc. etc - are all frame ups to take down russia... it has reached a level of insanity and borrell is the perfect delusional character to represent it all here..

throw the shit back at them russia... call the west out on their endless bullshit... the time for diplomacy is long gone and this appears to be the conclusion that russia is indeed coming to, however slowly....

jayc , Feb 12 2021 18:02 utc | 6
Borrell - "The strategic choices we make now will determine international power dynamics in the 21st century, and notably whether we will advance towards more cooperative or more polarised models, based on closed or on freer societies."

He answers his own question - the EU (and "partners") will advance towards a more polarized international model, based on their own self-serving definitions of "closed" or "freer" societies. This self-generated dichotomy will be used to mask the true nature of this perceived crossroad: "they" can live with us, but "we" can't live with them.

Beibdnn , Feb 12 2021 18:07 utc | 7
In a video posted earlier today, 12/02/2021 Alexander Mercuoris of The Duran analysed the reaction of Germany's politicians to Lavrov's comments.
Basically even Heiko Maas the anti-Russian foreign minister shit his pants at the though of Russia abandoning Europe and therefore jeapordizing Germany a significant percentage of it's energy supply.
When all is said and done, the E.U. will suffer far worse than Russia if Moscow abandons Europe.
The technocrats know this. However the level of maturity required to overcome their hubris is patently lacking and to re-orientate themselves idealogically will be viery difficult as can be seen by the reaction of 70 mental retards who pose as M.E.P.s in a letter they signed calling for Borrell's resignation and a tougher stance on Russia.

Interesting times ahead.

Carlos , Feb 12 2021 18:11 utc | 8

Until a few years ago, Russia did not have an alternative for purchases of many items other than from the West. It now has China to supply most needs. When China finally solves the problems caused by the US sanctions to semiconductor factories (it will take roughly a decade to develop its own photolithography and design, the most critical tools of advanced semiconductor processing), China will be able to provide everything that Russia needs except for warm climate fruits and vegetables (maybe Turkey?). This new paradigm seems to be behind Russia's new assertiveness. Europe should make peace with Russia before it fully tilts towards the East.

AriusArmenian , Feb 12 2021 18:14 utc | 9

In 1990 at the what I then thought end of Cold War there seemed an opening to the coalescing of a northern hemisphere zone of peace - but that vision has come to nothing. What an idiot I was! How could I ever have thought that the best of the inheritance of Western civilization would lead in the West. The plowing, plundering, grasping, murdering and scheming for profit psychos in the West stabbed that vision in the heart. I am sure now another opening will not come in my lifetime - the West will make sure of that.

If I was younger I would leave the US but now can only hunker down and stay out of the way of the juggernaut of rampaging psychos lurching from one failure to another. The only relief from the deepest moments of despair is looking to the East and others that are building and working together to build a new world. Obviously Russia and China, along with Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and others. It is a strange world for me turned upside down when I even include North Korean resistance to the US Empire of Mendacity as contributing to the building of that new world.

Hoyeru , Feb 12 2021 19:56 utc | 14

the Reality is NOT quite right the way b has present it. EU together with US, Canada CAN and WILL hurt Russia deeply if they slap severe economic sanctions on Russia's energy sector. And Russia knows that and EU knows that Russia knows it.
The West's game is very simple: cut Russia from the Western world, by denying it access to any type of new tech, economic loans and any type of ties with the West. (this worked quite well with the Soviet Union, so it WILL work again) And this WILL hurt Russia deeply economically, no question about it. And before you tell me about China and the supposed Russia-China's ties, let me inform you that the ties are merely economic and both still don't trust each other. The Russians are well aware of CHina's claims over Siberia. They don't really work together, most of those ties are imaginary and dont really exist.
Putin has made several mistakes, and he is too dependent on the Rich Russian millionaires. The threat of sanctions made him freeze when the West went after Ukraine and Putin didn't act to save it. Russia will cry bloody tears over this in the very near future. This is only the overture of things to come. There will be another fake false flag even in the Azov sea after which USA will demand Russia be boycotted. Ys that will hurt EU also, but the Eu are masochists who love getting their asses fucked by US.
Russia better get prepared and get their supply ass grease ready, they will be getting serious ass fucking very very soon. And they wont be able to do anything about it. Good going, Putin!

karlof1 , Feb 12 2021 19:58 utc | 15

AriusArmenian @9--

I commiserate as we're in the same boat. I watch like a hawk because forewarned is forearmed!

/////

Published at the right moment given events is this Strategic-Culture Editorial : "NATO's Road To Perdition With Ukraine." It omits the Borrell incident to focus on the recent meeting between NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg hosted Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shymhal at the organization's headquarters in Brussels:

"At a joint press conference, both men were upbeat about Ukraine joining NATO. Stoltenberg admitted that the former Soviet Republic has been eyed for membership of the alliance since 2008, a timescale which puts more recent conflict over the past nearly seven years in perspective. He also confirmed that NATO forces have been building up their presence in the Black Sea in coordination with Ukrainian counterparts. In recent weeks, three US warships have been training with Ukrainian naval vessels in order to counter what Stoltenberg says is 'Russian aggression'."

So, there's much more in the stew than it appears:

"It is interesting to speculate why Stoltenberg – a former Norwegian premier and nominal civilian head of NATO – this week appeared to give new impetus to Ukraine's ambitions. Could it be related to the change of administration in the United States? Senior members of the Biden administration have publicly stated during Senate hearings a willingness to increase military support for the Kiev government in its conflict with pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine. American and European envoys at the UN Security Council this week reiterated strident accusations against Russia claiming that Moscow was responsible for prolonging the conflict in Ukraine . Russia's envoy Vassily Nebenzia countered that it was the Kiev regime and its Western allies who have not implemented the previously agreed Minsk peace accord signed in 2015." [My Emphasis]

Bald-faced lies in public forums that began with Clinton/Gore have steadily escalated and clearly aren't a product of any one administration but a continuity of the War Party's attempt at Full Spectrum Domination that keeps slipping further away from any possibility of occurring, thus its desperation. Yesterday, I provided this link to The Saker's latest analysis and called it a Must Read. Within he links to several reports from Russian media and military sources that those watching closely need to read. Yesterday, Putin met with his Security Council ostensibly about arms control but I think the conversation went well beyond that, although I have no confirmation. The Solovyov-Lavrov transcript isn't complete yet, but what's there is incredible! As Lavrov said, "Well, this is some kind of a kingdom of crooked mirrors." If what Lavrov said of Borrell's position, we should have some pity for him being put into such an impossible position--but then, he's well paid to do his duty.

Brendan , Feb 12 2021 20:22 utc | 18

Patrick Armstrong wrote yesterday about the consequences of the Navalny brothers' scam in 2012 against Yves Rocher:

NAVALNIY. The story continues. The theory that he's being fitted up for a treason charge was given a boost when Zakharova said he should be called an "agent of influence" rather than a politician. His suspended sentence for fraud was lifted and he's off to prison. Read Yves Rocher's statement; sounds to me as if the company believes he did swindle them. The fact that there's now a campaign against the company suggests my deduction is correct.
https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2021/02/11/russian-federation-sitrep-11-february-2021/
That contains a couple of links giving more details of the case.

Armstrong also links to this tweet by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs of a video showing many examples of police brutality in the West and also violence by protesters against police in Russian (the opposite of what is shown in Western media).
https://twitter.com/mfa_russia/status/1356674233464729609

karlof1 , Feb 12 2021 20:23 utc | 19

Stonebird @12--

Several days ago on the 10th, I posted this link and commented about what I deemed the notable words spoken by Lavrov on Diplomats' Day. IMO, it's a martial pep-talk given his peroration followed by this paragraph:

"Russia's attempts to become an independent state, to uphold its right to an independent foreign policy and to protect international law are coming against increasingly harsh resistance of our Western colleagues, who would like to teach 'obedience' to us. They would like us to accept the highly questionable interpretation of common human values, an interpretation that contradicts Russia's cultural and civilisational traditions. They would like Russia to become a 'convenient' territory for promoting their own security, economic, social and political interests. We can see that these are becoming ever more aggressive with every passing day. We must actively apply our efforts, knowledge and experience, based on the wisdom of our predecessors, to consistently promote the foreign policy course formulated by President Vladimir Putin."

How else do you prepare your diplomatic corp for war?

If you've followed Lavrov closely for many months as I have, the change in his demeanor is quite marked; yet as Paco notes, he still maintains his professionalism. Lavrov's perplexity about how consensus is supposed to function was well put--we know several nations disagree with the policy yet go along with it--WHY?--the united front undercuts your own interests. In Putin's latest conversation with his Energy Minister, there was no mention of Nord Stream 2's situation. Given all the sanctions and lack of pushback by the EU nations most dependent on it, IMO Russia is willing to sacrifice it as it didn't bear all the costs and has plenty of potential customers for its hydrocarbons. So, I wouldn't at all be surprised if Russia stopped short of finishing, said it would fulfill its existing contracts, but no more would be negotiated until conditions drastically change. Hardball is just that--Hardball.

alaff , Feb 12 2021 21:14 utc | 24
Only 15% in Russia believe the Navalny poisoning was the Govt trying to eliminate an opponent, and the 15% based this opinion from Telegram and the Internet and were mostly 18-24. The rest think it was staged, a Western false flag, personal or opposition:
https://levada.ru/2020/12/24/chto-rossiyane-dumayut-ob-otravlenii-alekseya-navalnogo/

Levada is considered a [pro-]Western sociological service (there are links with Soros) in Russia and the results of its polls, let's say, cause a certain skepticism. 15% of those who believe in "poisoning"... I would say figures of 5-8 (maximum 10) percent look much more realistic.
It is still not known who paid the multimillion production costs for the fake 'Putin palace' video.

Well, I would look for sources in names like Khodorkovsky or/and Browder .
Both scammers are longtime haters of Russia.

The Kremlin later said that some media misrepresented Lavrov's remarks but essentially confirmed his stand

According to Russian legislation, the country's foreign policy is determined directly by the president. The Foreign Ministry is essentially just a repeater, although of course it introduces its own peculiarities. Therefore, there is no doubt that Lavrov's words were coordinated with (and approved by) Putin. Peskov, as usual, in his own manner, tried to somewhat "smooth out"/"embellish" Lavrov's directness and rigidity, which, however, does not negate the essence of the statements themselves.

Today Navalny was back in court for publicly insulting a World War II veteran. The EU will certainly make remarks about that. But only a few days ago police in Scotland arrested someone because he typed a mean tweet about a British veteran of that war.

Here I can only support the British, who massively stood up for the offended veteran Sir Thomas Moore.
Citizens wrote mass appeals, statements to the police demanding to bring to justice the degenerate who insulted the memory of the war hero.

Unfortunately, Russian society often lacks such civic initiative. Yes, the authorities will do their job, and a piece of shit named Navalny, who slandered the war veteran, will be punished. But besides the actions of the authorities, it would be nice to see also the "demand of the people", you know.

Stonebird , Feb 12 2021 21:18 utc | 25

karlof1 | Feb 12 2021 20:23 utc | 19

And I have been following you, following Lavrov.....

The Nordstream II is a question mark. It is being finished by the Russians, with their own ships. The Germans have also realised that their own interests are tied up there. The "Threatening situation" (from the west) does not come from either one.

My conclusion is that EU policy is being dictated from outside , the secondary question is "by whom". Unfortunately I suspect that the main driving force is the same one that "enabled" Biden, Enabled the ousting of socialist candidates in many countries. (Corbyn, and in S. America generally), and generally assume they are the top of the top.

Is this force based on "nationality" or on "interests", call them Religious nuts, Extreme militarists OR Financial Fascists? Alternatively are they a mixture of all three***.

One explanation for Lavrov's coldness is that IF the EU was an independent representative body (which it isn't) then certain actions to improve the lot of the populace would have been taken. That they are not means that they lack the ability to deviate from what they have been ordered. By way of an explanation, the Media will lie, because they cannot do otherwise having been "bought" in some way. Lavrov has certainly changed. Because he probably knows what is "supposed" to happen, and the EU miasma do not understand that they too will be in the forefront of any battleground. (Since that includes me, I am not too happy about the situation either).

Aside; *** They could be mixture of all three tendencies. ie. 9/11 had operatives from the Saudis, Israel, and the Pentagon, with three different motivations. Religious (Saudis), Suprematist (Israel) and monetary (Pentagon and it's "lost" trillions, and profitability by insiders).

uncle tungsten , Feb 12 2021 21:20 utc | 26

The stalker zone has a good take on it:

As the head of the Soviet intelligence service, Leonid Shebarshin, an extremely well-informed man, once said: "The west wants only one thing from Russia -- that it does not exist".
karlof1 , Feb 12 2021 22:24 utc | 30

Stonebird @25--

Thanks for your reply! You wrote:

"One explanation for Lavrov's coldness is that IF the EU was an independent representative body (which it isn't) then certain actions to improve the lot of the populace would have been taken ." [My Emphasis]

Now what current ideology supports such a policy--that the lot of the masses isn't supposed to be improved; rather, they are to have their wealth wrung out, then be tossed aside and used as manure. Hint: It was famously announced as Trickle-down Economics, which was lambasted as Voodoo Economics.

If you read Hudson, then you know where the power center lies within the Outlaw US Empire and its network of vassals--The privately held Central Banks and those that control them and many other key corporations thanks to interlocking boards of directors--the same basic cabal that failed to assassinate FDR and oust him via a coup but succeeded with JFK, RFK, MLK, and so many others: millions when adding in their terrorists and their Death Squads.

To rid Europe of its Central Bank, the EU would need to be disbanded. But to gain complete sovereignty, NATO would need to die also. Currently, Europe is essentially occupied by a force every bit as immoral as the Nazis. It's not by accident that Lavrov, Putin and others invoke the Great Patriotic War and the events that led to it as recurring.

I would not be surprised to see Russia actually perform the deeds it's accused of, like actually invade and subdue Ukraine. It it did so, realistically what would change? Nuland famously gave the answer Russia would now echo--Fuck the EU. As with the Republic's Trade Federation secretly aligning with the Sith, the EU will come to regret playing dummy to the Outlaw US Empire as it gets barred from gaining any benefits from being in the Eurasian Bloc and China's BRI Combo.

_K_C_ , Feb 12 2021 22:45 utc | 31

I don't really follow the Navalny situation anymore because as soon as I see Russia mentioned in any Western media I assume it's an "intelligence community" psyop or just plain old propaganda. But something piqued my curiosity regarding this alleged mansion of Putin's.

Strategic culture provided two links to YouTube videos in their articles, one of which to my knowledge isn't subtitled so I don't know what was being said in Russian. In this video a group of guys made the trip to the site of this mansion compound and showed the place in disrepair, looking like exterior had aged quite a bit.

The other is to Navalny's own video which alleges to explain that the reason for the current state of the project is that the original design/construction were faulty and that a serious mold problem, as well as leaking roofs, had caused them to strip out the entire interior ostensibly to rebuild from scratch (and allegedly tossing "billions" of rubles worth of marble and other fancy construction materials). He also says that the original photos and video which show the place in pristine condition, were from 6 years ago before the teardown.

Leaving aside the obvious fake photos (like the one in Moscow times which was a photoshopped Putin swimming in his new mansion, lol) and the situation in general (i.e., whether Putin has anything to do with this structure at all), can anyone square this circle for me? Is it disproven that the place was indeed built a while back and later stripped down due to the leaking roofs and mold? If so is there a source in the English language that explains the situation?

Thanks to anyone who can help.

Kiza , Feb 12 2021 22:52 utc | 32

There is a strong whiff of desperation of the EuroCrapsters and their US masters to grab what Russia has (resources) and thus delay own economic collapse. All these crapsters are freezing their asses off right now whilst dreaming of profits from pillaged Russian energy. The most precarious is the Western pension system, which with ZIRP and NIRP interest rates has stopped existing. There is no source of funding in this World that could feed that hungry monster with ageing population. The Western printing presses are overheating and this is only a delaying solution for the deeply debalanced system. Absolutely the only way out for the West is to bring down Russian government and pillage. If Russia did not have nuclear weapons this would have happened a while ago. The Russians understand this perfectly.

Will the sick West run into a desperate confrontation against a bee with a big sting? It must be unusually frustrating for the AngloAmerican crapsters not to be able to just take what they want and need from the World as they have been doing over the past couple if centuries. They have the big sting but their mark has an even bigger (hypersonic) sting. What a profound change in world affairs - pillaging from now on to come at the huge cost. And Putin appears prepared to prevent pillaging of not only Russia.

The calculation is fairly clear - either they will feed, cloth and keep warm the Western elderly and others using Russian resources or there will be no pensioners after a nuclear Holocaust. Either way problem solved.

JB , Feb 13 2021 0:58 utc | 41
would like to know, in concrete terms, what is the benefit from constant denigration and provocation of Russia, and who benefits, in precisely what ways. I do know, however, who does not benefit. The vast majority of Europeans, the Russians and generally the majority of humanity.
-Pushing Russia around and away is counter productive for the EU and Europe as whole. It is a big, peaceful, neighbouring country willing to cooperate on the basis of mutual respect and interest. Russia has put foreward many constructive proposals, all of which have been rejected
- There is no rational basis for the long-lasting and escalating pressure on Russia. If that is correct, the goals and actions of the West, and the the EU in particular, are irrational from the perspective of the real life interests of the majority of European citizens and welfare and wellbeing of the majority of people in the world.
- I hope that Russia does not abandon its orientation towards Europe, because it is a European state. It should be part of European integration projects, albeit not on the present model of the EU. That does not clash, but accords, with its Asian relations and projects.
- The EU should radically change its policies towards Russia, and welcome it as an important partner in all fields.
- The qeustion is - who is going to stop the race into the abys that the European leaders are accelarating? I don't see anyone or anything on the European scene considering, capable of and willing to put an end to this utter madness. I do see who is paying the price and who will pay even more dearly in the future. The majority of European citizens.Deeply depressing and very scary.
J W , Feb 13 2021 0:59 utc | 42
Truest words that has ever been spoken at the EU.
S.P. Korolev , Feb 13 2021 4:57 utc | 54

AntiSpin @33, gm @39

The Bulletin article doesn't really delve into the issues around the US' new low-yield 'tactical' nukes, it concentrates on a new big 'strategic' ICBM system, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD). It seems to be basically an attempt to resurrect the capabilities of the Reagan era MX 'Peacekeeper' that was scrapped under the START treaties as it was optimised to carry a large number of warheads and the US preferred to keep a larger number of Minuteman III missiles with single warheads.

Although it probably won't be quite as large as the MX, it will be better suited than the Minuteman for carrying multiple hypersonic glide vehicles like the Russian 'Avangard' system. The Russians have an initial operating capability on their SS-19/UR-100N ICBM (similar in payload to the Minuteman) but will soon deploy their much larger RS-28 Sarmat which will allow multiple hypersonic gliders to be carried.

The article describes a typically corrupt US procurement process, with the big three arms companies (Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman) fighting it out for the mountain of $. Northrop Grumman managed to win out by buying up the only manufacturer of the large solid rocket motors that the contract required the contractors to use. Solid rocket motors were one of the only aspects of space technologies where the US was unequivocally in the lead, with 4 or 5 companies producing them. By the time of the GBSD contract only one company remained after the orgy of mergers and buyouts, Orbital ATK. ATK was the successor to Thiokol Corp, whose product doomed the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger (being basically a big 'light it and stand the f*** back' firework solid motors are not a great option for crewed spaceflight, but well suited to ICBMs).

By buying up ATK, Northrop Grumman threatened to massively cut into the profits of any other company bidding, ensuring a clear run to the contract for itself. Many analysts had suspected that Boeing would be given the GBSD contract to compensate for their losses on the 737Max, but Northrop's maneuvers and Boeing's terrible recent track record in space made that impossible. Boeings SLS moon rocket failed its crucial static-fire test in Jan 2021 and is 5 years behind schedule despite it being basically a Space Shuttle tank with Shuttle engines bolted to the bottom (early 70s tech). Its Starliner Space Station ferry also failed its uncrewed flight test last year due to a plethora of software errors, one of which was discovered with minutes to spare and would have killed a crew by crashing the service module into the crew module moments after the modules seperated for reentry into the atmosphere.

With all that in mind I don't think the Russians are too troubled by the US's prowess in space or financial technology. Whatever Frankenstein's Rocket emerges from the GBSD program will be most unlikely to rival the RS-28 (known to NATO as 'Son of Satan'), and by that time the 'Grandson of Satan' will probably be flying.

Gravel Rash , Feb 13 2021 12:19 utc | 70

The problem with armchair strategists is of course they don't know all the facts, those at hand to the actual players. Some leaks into the real world but far too much is hidden.

All we know is that Russia appears to have stopped its subservient position and have started with the EU, not the US. Is that because they believe they are now finally powerful enough for a military conflict? Or perhaps as they believe one is coming anyway? Or are there other hidden factors in play?

One thing of interest is that it hasn't taken long for the NATO/Russian situation to escalate quickly since Trumps removal, anyone still doubt he was removed? Also of note the US general now stating nuclear war is possible, more fear to add or just introducing the idea to us as something that may "have" to be done to save the world for democracy?

How much does one believe in coincidence? Karmically there is no such thing. Many big issues going on in the world now from covid with its fascist responses to Big Resets, massive world debt, and now increasing military tension with Russia and perhaps China as well soon. All interlinked?

Eighthman , Feb 13 2021 15:14 utc | 83

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/vladimir-putin-real-lessons-75th-anniversary-world-war-ii-162982

Putin created a document about lessons from WW2. Even if you disagree with him or just hate him, ask yourself if Trump, Biden, Pelosi or any other elderly US leaders could reason at this level or offer this depth of thought. That's my take away...

pretzelattack , Feb 13 2021 16:02 utc | 88

navalny is apparently the ramon guaido of russia, the designated front man for a us coup operation.

bevin , Feb 13 2021 18:22 utc | 97

The problem with Navalny is not that he is a 'traitor' to Russia but that he is an agent of the Empire, on the payrolls of the Five Eyes security complex. Which makes him a traitor to humanity.

[Jan 25, 2021] An American neoliberal ideological project

Jan 25, 2021 | www.rt.com

McFaul cautions against what he refers to as "Putin's ideological project" as a threat to the neoliberal international order. Yet he is reluctant to recognize that the neoliberal international order is an American ideological project for the post-Cold War era.

With no sign of US returning to fold, Russia is preparing to withdraw from 'Open Skies' treaty - Foreign Ministry READ MORE: With no sign of US returning to fold, Russia is preparing to withdraw from 'Open Skies' treaty - Foreign Ministry

After the Cold War, neoliberal ideologues advanced what was seemingly a benign proposition – suggesting that neoliberal democracy should be at the center of security strategies. However, by linking neoliberal norms to US leadership, neoliberalism became both a constitutional principle and an international hegemonic norm.

NATO is presented as a community of neoliberal values – without mentioning that its second largest member, Turkey, is more conservative and authoritarian than Russia – and Moscow does not, therefore, have any legitimate reasons to oppose expansionism unless it fears democracy. If Russia reacts negatively to military encirclement, it is condemned as an enemy of democracy, and NATO has a moral responsibility to revert to its original mission as a military bloc containing Russia.

Case in point: there was nobody in Moscow advocating for the reunification with Crimea until the West supported the coup in Ukraine. Yet, as Western "fact checkers" and McFaul inform us, there was a "democratic revolution" and not a coup. Committed to his ideological prism, McFaul suggests that Russia acted out of a fear of having a democracy on its borders, as it would give hope to Russians and thus threaten the Kremlin. McFaul's ideological lens masks conflicting national security interests, and it fails to explain why Russia does not mind democratic neighbors in the east, such as South Korea and Japan, with whom it enjoys good relations.

Defending the peoples

States aspiring for global hegemony have systemic incentives to embrace ideologies that endow them with the right to defend other peoples. The French National Convention declared in 1792 that France would "come to the aid of all peoples who are seeking to recover their liberty," and the Bolsheviks proclaimed in 1917 "the duty to render assistance, armed, if necessary, to the fighting proletariat of the other countries."

The American neoliberal international order similarly aims to liberate the people of the world with "democracy promotion" and "humanitarian interventionism" when it conveniently advances US primacy. The American ideological project infers that democracy is advanced by US interference in the domestic affairs of Russia, while democracy is under attack if Russia interferes in the domestic affairs of US. The neoliberal international system is one of sovereign inequality to advance global primacy.

READ MORE Putin says American presence in Afghanistan is beneficial to Moscow's interests, rubbishes claims of 'Russian bounties to Taliban' Putin says American presence in Afghanistan is beneficial to Moscow's interests, rubbishes claims of 'Russian bounties to Taliban'

McFaul does not consider himself a Russophobe, as believes his attacks against Russia are merely motivated by the objective of liberating Russians from their government, which is why he advocates that Biden "distinguish between Russia and Russians – between Putin and the Russian people." This has been the modus operandi for regime change since the end of the Cold War – the US supposedly does not attack countries to advance its interests, it only altruistically assists foreign peoples in rival states against their leaders such as Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin etc.

McFaul and other neoliberal ideologues still refer to NATO as a "defensive alliance," which does not make much sense after the attacks on Yugoslavia in 1999 or Libya in 2011. However, under the auspices of neoliberal internationalism, NATO is defensive, as it defends the people of the world. Russia, therefore, doesn't have rational reasons for opposing the neoliberal international order.

McFaul condemns alleged efforts by Russia to interfere in the domestic affairs of the US, before outlining his strategies for interfering in the domestic affairs of Russia. McFaul blames Russian paranoia for shutting down American "non-governmental organizations" that are funded by the US government and staffed by people linked to the US security apparatus. He goes on to explain that the US government must counter this by establishing new "non-government organizations" to educate the Russian public about the evils of their government.

The dangerous appeal of ideologues

Ideologues have always been dangerous to international security. Ideologies of human freedom tend to promise perpetual peace. Yet, instead of transcending power politics, the ideals of human freedom are linked directly to hegemonic power by the self-proclaimed defender of the ideology. When ideologues firmly believe that the difference between the current volatile world and utopia can be bridged by defeating its opponents, it legitimizes radical power politics.

Consequently, there is no sense of irony among the McFauls of the world as US security strategy is committed to global dominance, while berating Russia for "revisionism." Raymond Aaron once wrote: "Idealistic diplomacy slips too often into fanaticism; it divides states into good and evil, into peace-loving and bellicose. It envisions a permanent peace by the punishment of the latter and the triumph of the former. The idealist, believing he has broken with power politics, exaggerates its crimes."

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


Ghanima223 2 days ago 22 Jan, 2021 09:36 AM

In short, the tables have turned since the end of the Cold War. It is no longer communist ideologues that try to export revolution and chaos while the western world would promote stability and free markets. Now it's western ideologues that are trying to export revolutions and chaos while clamping down on free markets with Russia, as ironically as it sounds, being a force for stability and a strong proponent for the free exchange of goods and services around the world. The west will lose just as the USSR has lost.
US_did_911 Ghanima223 1 day ago 23 Jan, 2021 01:01 AM
The Dollar is the only fake reason that still keeps US afloat. The moment that goes, it loss will be a lot worse then of USSR.
US_did_911 Ghanima223 1 day ago 23 Jan, 2021 12:58 AM
That happened not exactly after the end of the cold war. It was about even for a decade after that. The real u-turn happened after the 9/11 false flag disaster.
Amvet 2 days ago 22 Jan, 2021 10:00 AM
Foreign dangers are necessary to keep the attention of the American people away from the 20 ton elephant in the room--the fact that 9/11 was not a foreign attack. Should any of the main stream media suddenly turn honest and report this in detail, things will get interesting.
King_Penda 2 days ago 22 Jan, 2021 09:11 AM
I wouldn't worry too much. At the same time Biden will be purging the US military of any men of capability and replacing them trans and political appointments. The traditional areas where the military recruited it's grunts are falling as they are waking up to the hostility of the state to their culture and way of life. The US military will end up a rump of queerss, off work due to stress or perceived persecution and fat doughballs sat in warehouses performing drone strikes on goats.
Fjack1415 King_Penda 1 day ago 23 Jan, 2021 01:20 PM
Yes, you point to a paradox. While the globalists are using the US as their military arm for global domination, they are at the same time destroying the country that supports that military. Perhaps the US military will be maintained by dint of its being the only employer for millions of unemployed young men in the American heartland, doughballs or not.
Ghanima223 King_Penda 2 days ago 22 Jan, 2021 09:39 AM
Ideologues will always be more concerned with having political reliable military leadership as opposed to actually qualified leaders. It took the Russians 2 decades to purge their own military of this filth of incompetent 'yes' men within their military.
UKCitizen 2 days ago 22 Jan, 2021 09:09 AM
'The Liberal International Order' - yes, that seems a fair description. Led by what might be termed 'liberal fundamentalists'.
far_cough 1 day ago 23 Jan, 2021 07:01 AM
the military industrial complex and the various deep state agencies along with the major corporations need russia as an adversary so that they can milk the american people and the people of the western world of their money, rights, freedoms, etc etc...
roby007 2 days ago 22 Jan, 2021 09:54 AM
I'm sure Biden will pursue "peaceful, productive coexistence" just as his friend Obama did, with drones and bombs.
Paul Citro 2 days ago 22 Jan, 2021 09:16 AM
I hope that Russian leaders fully realize that they are dealing with a country that is the equivalent of psychotic.
Fjack1415 Paul Citro 1 day ago 23 Jan, 2021 01:26 PM
True, the ruling party and MSM mouthpieces and their readers and followers are now truly INSANE. Beyond redemption. Staggering in the depth and power of the subversion of so many people, including many with high IQs (like my ex girlfriend and housemate in the US).
Anastasia Deko 2 days ago 22 Jan, 2021 10:57 AM
US security strategy is committed to global dominance
Absolutely. Biden has filled up his admin with "progressive realists," which when it comes to foreign policy, is just a euphuism for neocons and their lust for world empire. So expect an unleashing of forces in the coming two years that will finally humble America's war machine.
tyke2939 Anastasia Deko 2 days ago 22 Jan, 2021 01:07 PM
They are desperate for a war with someone but it must be someone they can beat convincingly. It certainly will not be Russia or China and I suspect Iran will be a huge battle even with Israel s backing. More than likely they will invade some country like Venezuela as Syria has Russia covering its back. What a dilemma who to fight.
9/11 Truther Anastasia Deko 2 days ago 22 Jan, 2021 11:24 AM
The "American war machine" has been humbled from Saigon, Vietnam 1975 to Kabul, Afghanistan.
Salmigoni 2 days ago 22 Jan, 2021 09:25 AM
They are not really liberals. They are blood thirsty parasitic neoconservative fascist war mongers working for the Pentagon contractors. General Eisenhower warned us about these evil people. A lot of Americans still do not get it.

[Jan 25, 2021] Politically Navalny is zero. May be even less then zero. And he understands that.

Notable quotes:
"... many of the demonstrators are paid one way on another by the West ..."
Jan 25, 2021 | www.unz.com

Beckow , says: Next New Comment January 24, 2021 at 4:32 pm GMT • 6.4 hours ago

@annamaria or wish it well – and everyone knows that.

He must know this. He must also know that his electoral prospects are nil – even if he was allowed to compete and given access. Short of a revolution he is done, and revolution is not coming, too soon. That is not a good place to be. He is in theory protected by his sponsors, but that may not amount to much if things get hot. At best he would get exchanged. Or he can quietly slip away after a few years if he is lucky.

Mulatto did his job, now mulatto can go. A single-use politician who is endlessly promoted, celebrated, and then discarded and forgotten, only to be listed on a sad list of names to demonise the enemy. That enemy is his own country, is that really heroism?

Robjil , says: January 24, 2021 at 5:52 pm GMT • 5.1 hours ago
@annamaria by them.

He is a nationalist like the Maiden. Maiden in power promoted with violence anti-Russian hysteria. This action created a civil war since a large part of Ukraine are Russian speakers.

Navalny, if in power, would do something similar as in Ukraine. Act as a Nationalist of only the Russians in the Russian Federation. Get all the other peoples of the Russian Federation to break away or stir up a civil war.

Within a few years, put in place Zion/USA puppets like Poroshenko and Zelensky. Look at the recent Ukrainegate Impeachment trial, almost everyone supporting Ukrainegate trial was Jewish, even the Ukrainians in this sham trial. .

TheIdiot , says: Next New Comment January 24, 2021 at 6:36 pm GMT • 4.3 hours ago

This is not about bringing down Putin but about dismembering Russia and ending its sovereignty

The easiest proxy here is the 1990s campaign against Milosevic (the campaign) as a tool to dismember Yugoslavia

Russia is too rich, too week and is refusing to surrender, hence it will be divided between and

Absorbed on one side by China and on the other side/s by USA and EUSA

The initial planning for disintegration of Russia was drafted in the NSC directive in 1948

West of Russia to Urals will be absorbed by EU/(Germany)
East of Russia to Yenisei will be controlled by US/(Japan)
China will take over hte greatest price – everything between Urals and Yenisei

Putin with his United Russia/One Russia Party is a major obstacle to the master plan and
will therefore
be eliminated
whether one likes it or not

annamaria , says: Next New Comment January 24, 2021 at 7:03 pm GMT • 3.9 hours ago
@Beckow s.
After being a popular dissident for some time, Mr. Khdorkovsky is finally looked upon as a crook and murderer. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-khodorkovsky-arrest/russia-wants-khodorkovsky-arrested-abroad-on-murder-charges-idUSKBN0U60PO20151223 .
Mr. Khodorkovsky, a very wealthy Jewish man, is accused of crimes committed during the lawless years of Yeltsin's regime. By supporting Mr. Navalny and Mr. Khodorskovsky, the western presstituting apparatus reminds the world about the fate of Julian Assange, imprisoned by the western injustice system for honest journalism.
Beckow , says: Next New Comment January 24, 2021 at 9:52 pm GMT • 1.1 hours ago
@annamaria from his sponsors are of little use in his current situation.

I find the Western coverage of this affair absurdly propagandistic. A few things are never mentioned:

– what was Navalny convicted off – fraud

– that he is not by any stretch of imagination the "opposition" leader – his party has not reached even 5% required to be represented in the parliament

There is also an omission of why Russia claims "interference" – because US Embassy published the routes for the demos. And many of the demonstrators are paid one way on another by the West – if the situation was reversed, liberals would call for a war (as they basically did with Trump's allegations).

Assange for Navalny would be a win-win.

[Jan 19, 2021] I am especially proud to be the first president in decades who has started no new wars

Jan 19, 2021 | www.rt.com

banallwars 1 hour ago 19 Jan, 2021 04:32 PM

What a lie. The bombs being dropped from the U.S. made jets the Saudi pilots fly over Yemen killing civilians leaves blood all over his hands not to mention shaking the hand of the Saudi that murdered a journalist before selling him weapons to kill Yemen's civilians.
Waryaa Moxamad 48 minutes ago 19 Jan, 2021 05:36 PM
1) False flag chemical attack on Syria. 2) killing Soleimani in a sovereign country he was invited to 3) Guaido 4) Bolivia. 5) continuing the wars predecessors started.

Who is being fooled that U.S. presidency has any say in America's imperialism?

Debra***** Waryaa Moxamad 40 minutes ago 19 Jan, 2021 05:46 PM
Who really pushed for General Soleimani to be killed and has the most personal and intense vendetta against Soleimani? Mike Pompeo. Trump did not give the Pentagon and CIA all the wars they wanted, especially in Syria. Now the Pentagon and the CIA have their puppet, Corrupt Biden, who will do what they command him to do. I would expect in one year to see another massive war. Where? Syria. The US mothers will cry when their sons come home in coffins. The Hez in Lebanon will not back down, and they will enter Syria again. Trump did not want young American boys coming back in coffins!!!!!!!

[Jan 19, 2021] Trump was a desperate "Murica must have the biggest dick" imperialist massively triggered by the US decline and trying to save the US Empire. Like a rabid dog that is wounded, he attacked anything that moves, including those who helped him get into power.

Jan 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Passer by , Jan 19 2021 21:57 utc | 36

Posted by: teri | Jan 19 2021 21:31 utc | 33

>>Today, the Trump administration filed an appeal against the UK decision not to extradite Assange. I must imagine that means that Trump has no intention of pardoning Assange.

Trump was a desperate "Murica must have the biggest dick" imperialist massively triggered by the US decline and trying to save the US Empire. Like a rabid dog that is wounded, he attacked anything that moves, including those who helped him get into power.

Anyone who thought that he will help the likes of Russia or Assange does not understand the psychology of elite US WASPs.

These people thought that they and the US should rule the world and that they are the cream of the cream. Anything denying them that would lead to crazed reactions, hysteria, rabid animalistic behavior, and snarling and gnashing of teeth at anything that moves.

Simply put, their decline caused them to go rabid. A rabid dog attacks anything that moves, whether friendly or not. Unfortunately for the likes of Russia and Assange.

[Jan 06, 2021] How Trump 'Appeased' Russia

Jan 06, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao Cheng Ji , Jan 6 2021 18:18 utc | 1

Two years ago we have written about the Trump's relation with Russia:

Putin Asks And Trump Delivers - A List Of All The Good Things Trump Did For Russia

Trump obviously wants better diplomatic relations with Russia. He is reluctant to counter its military might. He is doing his best to make it richer. Just consider the headlines below. With all those good things Trump did for Putin, intense suspicions of Russian influence over him is surely justified.

There followed 34 headlines and links to stories about Trump actions, from closing Russian consulates to U.S. attacks on Russian troops, that were hostile to Russia.

In fact no other U.S. administration since the cold war has been more aggressive towards Russia than Trump's.

But some U.S. media continue to claim that Trump's behavior towards Russia has not been hostile at all. Consider this line in Politico about anti-Russian hawks in the incoming Biden administration:

Nuland and Sherman, who entered academia and the think tank world after leaving the Obama administration, have been outspoken critics of President Donald Trump's foreign policy -- particularly his appeasement of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Where please has Trump 'appeased' Vladimir Putin?

Here are a number of headlines which appeared in U.S. media since we published our first list two years ago. Which of the described actions were designed to 'appease' Putin or Russia?

U.S. to withdraw from nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, raising fears of a new arms race - Washington Post, Feb 1 2019

Putin says U.S.-Russia relations are getting 'worse and worse' - Reuters, Jun 13 2019

Green Berets train Polish, Latvian resistance units in West Virginia - Army Times, Jul 8 2019

Trump Adds to Sanctions on Russia Over Skripals - NYT, Aug 1 2019

INF nuclear treaty: US pulls out of Cold War-era pact with Russia - BBC, Aug 2 2019

US Slaps New Sanctions on Russia for 2018 Nerve Agent Attack - Daily Signal, Aug 2 2019

1000 U.S.Troops Are Headed to Poland - National Interest, Sep 29 2019

U.S. sanctions Russians over attempted interference in 2018 elections - CBS News, Sep 30 2019

US formally withdraws from Open Skies Treaty that bolstered European security - CNN, Nov 22 2020

Nord Stream 2: Trump approves sanctions on Russia gas pipeline - BBC, Dec 21 2019

Trump sanctions Rosneft, Russia's largest oil company, for aiding Maduro in Venezuela - MSN, Feb 19 2020

Russia Says New U.S. Weapon Threatens Nuclear War - Newsweek, Mar 7 2020

Trump Continues to Be Exceedingly Tough on Russia - Townhall, Jul 25 2020

U.S.-Russia Military Tensions Intensify in the Air and on the Ground Worldwide - NYT, Sep 1 2020

White House rejects Putin's proposal to extend last U.S.-Russia nuclear arms treaty - LA Times, Oct 16 2020

U.S., Russian Navies Involved In Brief Confrontation At Sea - NPR, Nov 24 2020

US sanctions NATO ally Turkey over Russian missile defense - AP, Dec 14 2020

Pompeo accuses Russia of sowing 'chaos' in the Mediterranean - Rawstory, Dec 15 2020

Exclusive: U.S. preparing new sanctions to impede Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline - Reuters, Dec 23 2020

As we have written before :

When one adds up all those actions one can only find that Trump cares more about Russia, than about the U.S. and its NATO allies. Only with Trump being under Putin's influence, knowingly or unwittingly, could he end up doing Russia so many favors.

Not.

Posted by b at 18:01 UTC | Comments (3)

Why, you certainly could view most (if not all) of those actions as favors.

People feel attacked, unite, rally around the flag. Internal problems are blamed on the external enemy. The sanctions, the sort the West likes to impose, help develop domestic industries. Etc. Yeah, favors.


arby , Jan 6 2021 18:24 utc | 2

n one of the comments that I read yesterday some Russian told another one who is sanctioned by the US that that is a badge of honour.

Tollef Ås/秋涛乐 , Jan 6 2021 18:43 utc | 3

Point on! Trump was never 'the Russians' bitch'. He was the whore of the Russian émigré mafia that had relocated to the US in south Queens in New York City. A major difference!

Abe , Jan 6 2021 18:51 utc | 4

Well, the logic is to destroy or ad least severely weaken Russia. Yet damn Russia is getting stronger and stronger, hence what ever happened under Trump's watch must have been a favor to Russia.

Competent government would look itself in the mirror and admit it is their own fault and stupidity, but that ship sailed long time ago for US.

[Jan 02, 2021] That's what neoliberals do to the countries that refuse to surrender. They destroy them slowly and make them suffer for refusing to be debt slaves

Jan 02, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

LibertarianMenace 21 minutes ago (Edited)

Remember what Benzion Mileikowsky said:

"If we get caught they will just replace us with persons of the same cloth. So it does not matter what you do, America is a golden calf and we will suck it dry, chop it up, and sell it off piece by piece until there is nothing left but the world's biggest welfare state that we will create and control. Why? Because it is the will of God and America is big enough to take the hit so we can do it again and again and again. This is what we do to countries that we hate. We destroy them very slowly and make them suffer for refusing to be our slaves."

Herdee 9 minutes ago remove link

This is the philosophy that both the CIA and Pompeo used on Trump in order to help destroy him. It actually sounds like something very similar or left over from the Nazi German era from WW2:

https://www.rt.com/russia/511378-american-exceptionalism-foreign-ministry/

[Jan 02, 2021] Russia ready to 'fight off' Western attempts to seize its assets in $50bn battle with oligarchs over collapsed Yukos oil empi

Jan 02, 2021 | www.rt.com

Russia ready to 'fight off' Western attempts to seize its assets in $50bn battle with oligarchs over collapsed Yukos oil empire 29 Dec, 2020 12:43 Get short URL Russia ready to 'fight off' Western attempts to seize its assets in $50bn battle with oligarchs over collapsed Yukos oil empire FILE PHOTO. © Getty Images / serggn 86 147 Follow RT on RT Any hope of a quiet 2021 for Russia has been dashed as one of the country's top officials warns it faces a series of court battles that risk confrontation with the West, including a fight over the world's largest legal bill.

In an interview published by Moscow news agency Interfax on Tuesday, Deputy Justice Minister Mikhail Galperin said that litigation over the collapsed Yukos oil empire and fallout from Russia's 2014 reabsorption of Crimea means that "a tough year" is on the cards.

The long-running dispute over Yukos, once among Russia's leading energy firms and one of the most valuable companies in the world, has been raging for years. However, it now appears to be coming to a head as the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, which claims it has jurisdiction in the case, prepares to hear an appeal from Russia's lawyers. A legal settlement of more than $50 billion, thought to be the largest in history, hangs in the balance.

'It will be a challenging year': Russia's minister of justice talks to RT about legal battle with 'Yukos oligarchs' & 2021 outlook READ MORE: 'It will be a challenging year': Russia's minister of justice talks to RT about legal battle with 'Yukos oligarchs' & 2021 outlook

"Of course, we're not sitting idly, waiting for the Supreme Court's decision," said Galperin. "Every day, we're defending our national interests in this case in different ways. Legal battles related to the Yukos case are taking place not only in the Netherlands, but in other jurisdictions as well."

Those who lost money in the collapse of the Yukos empire insist that the arrest of its CEO on fraud charges and a colossal bill in back-taxes amounted to state appropriation.

Russian authorities argue that previous rulings in foreign courts on the side of the claimants failed to take into account Russia's anti-corruption laws, and claim that the investors weren't "bona fide." Moscow also insists that only Russia's courts have jurisdiction, as the Energy Charter Treaty under which the case is being brought was signed but never ratified.

Galperin added that the country's "main legal argument is that Russia never agreed for the case to be heard by an international court of arbitration, which means that the judges had no mandate to consider the lawsuit Yukos ex-shareholders filed against Russia."

ALSO ON RT.COM Russia can refuse to pay $50 billion bill to Yukos oligarchs, country's top court rules, as international legal battle rages on

Last week, one of Russia's highest judicial authorities ruled that the country should disregard any judgement coming from overseas tribunals. They state that, while the government of the day took steps to join the Energy Charter Treaty in 1994, they did not have the authority to make national laws subject to international agreements, or to "challenge the competence" of Russian courts. Therefore, the jurists conclude, adhering to the Dutch court's demands would be "unconstitutional."

However, if the verdict goes in favor of Yukos' former shareholders, refusing to pay the bill could have substantial repercussions for Russia, with the claimants already calling for the confiscation of the country's assets overseas as collateral.

ALSO ON RT.COM Netherlands rejects Russia's request to suspend enforcement of record-breaking $50 billion awarded in Yukos case

Galperin, however, is confident that Russia could avoid cash and property falling into the hands of the oligarchs who have brought the case. "Since 2014," he said, "they have made multiple unscrupulous attempts to seize not only state property, but also assets that belong to Russian companies in Western Europe. We have successfully repelled all these assaults."

Moscow claims win after US court rejects oligarchs' demand for seizure of Russian assets in $50bn Yukos legal battle READ MORE: Moscow claims win after US court rejects oligarchs' demand for seizure of Russian assets in $50bn Yukos legal battle

"While we can't rule out that in 2021 YUKOS ex-shareholders will continue their legal battle in a number of countries, I can tell you without unnecessary bravado that we are fully prepared to fight off any attempts to seize our property in any country of the world."

The Supreme Court of the Netherlands is expected to hear the case in February next year, while simultaneous battles have also been fought in US and British courts. The row comes at a time when tensions between Russia and the West are growing, with Moscow's diplomats arguing that verdicts against the country have been "politically motivated." In December, Justice Minister Konstantin Chuychenko told journalists that the case is part of a "legal war that has been declared on Russia."

As well as the Yukos case potentially reaching a dramatic climax, Galperin expects that his ministry will have their hands full next year with at least two other international disputes. As early as January, the European Court of Human Rights is expected to announce a decision on a legal fight between Moscow and Kiev over disputed Crimea. There is a further $8 billion claim from a Ukrainian energy firm that insists it lost its assets when the peninsula was reabsorbed into Russia. The same court will also rule on a case brought by Georgia over events in South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008.

[Jan 01, 2021] Russia vs the Biden Administration by The Saker

Jan 01, 2021 | www.unz.com

It sure looks like Biden will take over the White House one way or another, and while Trump and his supporters might still try a few things, the political correlation of forces inside the US ruling classes is clearly against Trump. As for the "deplorables" – they have been neutralized by stealing the election. Which means that Russia will soon face the most rabidly russophobic gang of messianic Neocons in history. So what can the world expect next?

The Dems are not meaningfully different from the Republicans. True, the Dems blame Russia for everything, while the Republicans blame China. Not much of a difference here: it is all about hate and scapegoating. And both of these factions of the oligarchic Uniparty like to blame Iran for, well, being located in the "wrong" part of the world, the Middle-East, which all US politicians (and not to mention their Israeli masters) want to control. As for the Israel Lobby, it has been trying to trigger a US attack on Iran for many decades. Recent US moves of key personnel and bombers might indicate that discussions of an attack on Iran are still very much taking place.

I don't believe that these fundamental directions in US foreign policy will change much.

Why?

Primarily because the AngloZionist Empire and even the US as we knew them are basically dead, which means that irrespective of who is in control of the US, the objective means/capabilities of the Empire and the US will remain the same . In other words, when Biden promises to show Russia how tough and mighty he will be, he will not have any more capabilities to threaten Russia with than Trump had.

So the first thing we can expect is simply "more of the same".

Now, in the Empire of Illusions which the United States has become, appearances matter much more than facts . US politicians have two quasi-reflexive reactions to any problem: use violence or throw money at it. Of course, using violence against Russia (or China and Iran) would be extremely dangerous. So throwing money at a problem is the way chosen by the US political elites (see here for the, rather boring, details).

A lot of that money will also be spent on ideological nonsense like supporting trans-gender rights in Africa, woke-awareness in the Baltic, "critical race theory" in Japan (good luck with that!), "Holocaust studies" in Poland and the like.

What will happen next is that this money will be spread amongst a pretty large US and EU bureaucracy (and its subcontractors) to all sorts of political PR actions aimed at presenting modern Russia as "Putin's Mordor" whose "Nazguls" (scary GRU and/or SVR and/or FSB agents) run around the planet looking for more targets to infect with the totally ineffective, but still scary, "Novichok". In the past, much of that money was spent inside Russia by all sorts of CIA-run NGOs and much of it was also spent on various propaganda efforts outside Russia. Again, this will not change, if anything, expect even more money poured into what are in reality strategic PSYOP operations.

The sad truth is that US politicians know very little about Russia, a country which they hate and fear, but not a country they even begin to understand. In this case, what US politicians will not realize is that Russia herself has changed a great deal in the past years: many new laws and regulation (see machine translated example here ) were adopted which, in essence, "plugged" many political "holes" in the Russian legislation which allowed AngloZionist organizations to have a great deal of influence in Russia. As a result of these reforms, it has become far more difficult for western run NGOs to influence the Russian political scene.

As a direct result of these new rules, I expect that a higher ratio of money will stay allocated to activities situated in the West and less for Russian-based activities. In plain English, this means that more US printed money will be spent on completely useless activities. The only people benefitting from this will be the entire class of pseudo "Russia experts" whose only true expertise is on how to secure grant money. They will produce even more conferences and papers which nobody will care about, but which will allow the US Neocons and their deep state to show how "Biden is firm with Russia". The typical US cocktail of waste, mismanagement and fraud (and let's not forget good old corruption!).

Russia's response to that will also be "more of the same": Russian politicians will continue to express their disgust with their western "partners" (FYI – when Russians speak of "partners" it is understood by all that they mean this only sarcastically). Foreign Minister Lavrov and one of his deputies have recently made statements basically indicating that Russia will not seek any (!) form of dialog with the West, because, frankly, it is pretty clear to them that this is a total waste of time: Russia has nobody in the West to speak to: the only country with real agency (albeit severely limited by its subordination to Israel) would be the US, all the other countries of the West are really colonies and/or protectorates with no sovereignty at all.

What about all the many military provocations the Empire is organizing all around Russia? Do they concern Russia leaders or not?

Well, no and yes.

In purely military terms, US/NATO military capabilities are no real threat to Russia whose military is much smaller, but also much more capable than the western ones. Why? Simply because building a truly powerful military has been a core strategic priority for the Kremlin who needed a military actually capable of a) deterring the West from attacking Russia and b) defeating the West should deterrence fail. In sharp contrast, western militaries have not been training for real wars for decades already: most of what the US/NATO do is using western militaries for all sorts of propaganda purposes (like "sending messages" or "showing determination" etc.) and for counter-insurgency operations, not for fighting a real, major, wars.

Right now the Russian military is much more modern (about 80% of new gear on average across all military branches and services!) and much better trained for real combat operations. In sharp contrast, the US MIC is heavy on hot air (Space Force! Hypersonic missiles! Artificial Intelligence!) and short on any actually deployed and engageable weapon systems. Away from the propaganda machine (aka "corporate legacy ziomedia"), the reality is that the West is about 1.5-2 decades behind Russia in most critical military technologies.

Last, but not least, wars are not won by machines, computers or fancy engineering: they are won by soldiers, real men, who know what they are defending and why. The contrast between the typical Russian soldier (in any service or branch of the military) and his western counterpart could not be greater than it is today. Simply put: no western country can boast that it has soldiers like Russia has and, again, I don't mean the "super dooper" elite Spetsnaz operators, I am talking about your very average, garden variety, infantry soldier, like the ones who saved Russia in the Chechen conflict in spite of operating in truly horrible and totally chaotic circumstances. These guys might not look like much, but as soldiers they are the kind every commander dreams about.

All this is to say that Russians have nothing to fear from all the western sabre-rattling, except maybe one thing: the rogue officer, on either side, who would suddenly decide to open fire (for whatever reason) thereby creating a situation which could escalate into a full-scale war very rapidly.

The other thing which is objectively bad for Russia is the number of key treaties the US has now withdrawn from: these treaties are most needed, especially as confidence building measures. Right now there are very few treaties left and that means that the US is desperate to try to suck Russia into an arms race.

This won't work.

Why?

Putin himself explained it very well when he recently said that while the West throws huge sums of money at any problem, Russia allocates brains, not money. According to Putin, it is the use of brains, rather than wasting money, which allowed Russia to develop all the weapon systems mentioned by Putin for the first time in 2018. This made it possible for Russia to get ahead by a decade or more, while using only a small fraction of the kind of money the US, and other western countries, are allocating on "defense" (while not being threatened by anybody!). In the competition between the US money printing press and the Russian brains, you can be sure that the latter one will always prevail.

The bottom line is this: the US can spend many hundred billion dollars on " countering Russian (or Chinese) influence ", but this will do absolutely nothing to help the objective circumstances and capabilities of the Empire or the US.

So the real question is what will change on the level below direct military confrontation.

In a recent press conference, Putin mentioned something very interesting about the outgoing Trump administration. He said:

"The current administration introduced new sanctions against Russia 46 times – against our legal entities and economic operators. Forty-six times – this has never ever happened before. But at the same time, bilateral trade grew by 30 percent over the previous year, oddly enough, even despite those restrictions."

So if the putatively pro-Russian Trump Administration sanctioned Russia 46 times, it is normal for the Russians to look at Biden with equanimity or even a resigned fatalism: " the West has always hated us, the West still hates us and the West will always hate us " – this truism is all but unanimously accepted amongst Russian politicians.

Still, we can count on Biden and Harris to try to show how "tough" they are on Russia and Putin: they will show their prowess mostly by demanding that their NATO/EU colonies and protectorates continue "send messages" to Russia and show their "unity" and "solidarity" with each other, mostly by parroting self-evidently nonsensical Anglo and German propaganda. Will the bilateral trade between Russia and the US continue to grow? Probably not as the list of corporations and agencies the US declares to be under sanctions will only grow further. But never say never, especially with the comprehensively hypocritical Dems

How about the kind of self-evidently ridiculous stories about Russians using (a clearly ineffective) combat biological agent like the so-called "Novichok", trying to kill irrelevant bloggers and failing to do so, or some variation on "animal Assad" "poisoning his own people"? Will that nonsense also continue? Probably, mainly simply because this is something which the Empire has demonstratively proved that it has the ability to do. So why not continue, especially with a press corps willing to parrot even the most ridiculous nonsense.

The bottom line is this: to get a sense of what any actor could do next, one always has to multiply intentions by capabilities. If there is one thing which the outgoing Maga Administration has shown, is that its declared intentions and actual capabilities are not at all commensurate: hence the long list of countries Trump threatened, but never meaningfully attacked. "Biden" (and I use this term very loosely, meaning "Biden and his real handlers") will inherit the very same geostrategic toolkit Trump had at his disposal for four years and which did not make it possible for him to effectively flex muscles, not even against weak and nearby Venezuela! We can be pretty sure that the rhetoric about Russia will get even more hate-filled and paranoid. Petty harassment (such as arrest of nationals, closures of offices, expulsion from various international events, etc.) will also continue, not so much because they work, but because a lot of people depend on these for their salary.

How likely is a shooting war? In my personal opinion, not very likely at all. I think that the folks at the Pentagon are mostly aware of the real world out there, and they probably recognize that the US armed forces are in no condition to fight any halfway capable opponent.

How likely is it that the US will use a protectorate like the Ukraine or Georgia to reignite another local war? It is not impossible, especially since the US did support SBU infiltration of terrorists into Russia. Keep in mind that the sole goal of such (a, frankly, suicidal) attack would be to provoke Russia into a military response, not to actually achieve anything else. The main problem here is that the regular armed forces of the Ukraine and Georgia are in no condition to fight, and that the (US letter soup controlled) Ukrainian and Georgian special services have already tried this many times, and so far without success, mainly because, unlike all the western countries, Russia has the actual means to lock her borders when needed.

What about the reported plan to destabilize Russia by creating conflicts all along her periphery?

It would take way too long for me here to describe what is taking place in each of these countries right now, but I will offer just the following bullet points:

Southern Military District or the 58th Combined Arms Army in the region). Those who believe that Turkey strengthened its position in the region simply do not understand the outcome of the recent war (especially the very interesting drone war which showed that while Armenia could not deal with them, Russian EW literally destroyed Turkish drones in mid-air (this also happened in Syria, by the way). Central Asia is an inherently unstable region, mainly because these countries never succeeded in effectively transitioning from the Soviet period to full independence. And yes, the US has a great deal of influence in this region. But only Russia can provide effective security guarantees to the leaders of Central Asia, they all know that. Finally, Kazakhstan plays an important "buffer" role for Russia, putting distance between her and her chronically unstable southern neighbors . In the Far East, Russia and China are enjoying a long honeymoon in which their already very deep relationship only gets deeper and their collaboration stronger (in spite of western PSYOPs trying to scare Russians about how China wants to take Siberia, and other silly fairy tales). Russia is now even supplying key strategic defense technologies to China. Last, but most certainly not least, Russia has total superiority in the Arctic, where the West is many decades behind Russia. In fact, Russia is massively expanding her capabilities (civilian and military) in the Russian north, which will give her even more weight on our planet's very rich north.

Now ask yourself: do you see any of that changing in the next 4 years, even assuming a rabidly hostile Biden Administration? I sure don't.

Conclusion:

Yes, the political atmosphere between Russia and the Empire will get worse. Most of the "action" will take place in the public media space. The quasi simultaneous collapse of the Anglo-Zionist Empire and the United States (at least as we knew them before the election steal) will not give much time or energy to western leaders to pursue policies which have already failed in the past and for which they simply do not have the means.

Trump or Biden was never a meaningful choice for Russia (only the Russian court jester Zhirinovskii thought otherwise). It's not much of a choice today either. The most likely consequence of these collapses will be that the world will split in roughly two sections: "Section A" which will include all the countries of the "collective West" and which will be busy trying to survive a crisis which has only begun and "Section B": the rest of the world, which will try hard to decouple itself from the sinking West and try to develop itself in this rather unstable environment.

Also, many Russians remember the gerontocracy which ruled in the last years of the USSR and they know how such gerontocracies act (make no difference if the country is ruled by a Chernenko or a Biden – such rulers are always weak and clueless).

Biden or Trump – no real difference for Russia.

This is why most Russians don't care either way.


Notsofast , says: December 30, 2020 at 3:18 am GMT • 23.6 hours ago

i remember the late 80's when ronald reagan was declared a genius for single handedly spending the ussr into oblivion. when the reagan administration took over (with a little help from daddy bush working a deal with the iranians to hold on to the hostages until after the election) the national debt was $900,000,000,000. when he left office he had tripled that, a small price to pay for taking down the evil empire, they told me. in the 90's clinton and his best friend newt gingrich magically balanced the budget (by raiding the social security trust fund and leaving a rubber iou behind). when the skull and bones division of the neocons seized power the debt was $6,000,000,000,000. twenty years and several wars later we were at $23,000,000,000,000. we are about to reach $30,000,000,000,000 after a bad flu season this year. our military is exhausted, our equipment is so out dated and worn it isn't worth bringing back, (if we ever leave the middle east), the russians and chinese are decades ahead in technological terms. now tell me, who spent who into oblivion?

Felix Keverich , says: December 30, 2020 at 5:03 am GMT • 21.8 hours ago

Russia remains vulnerable to Western efforts at political subversion. And Democrats excel at this. Remember, it was during the presidency of Barack Obama when Putin faced toughest challenge to his rule. I'm talking, of course, about Bolotnaya protests.

These days millions of Russian kids watch political videos, promoted by Youtube, where they are being taught, that their country sucks and there is no hope for their lives whatsoever unless they overthrow Putin. Russian politicians do not use the internet and appear completely oblivious to this danger. They're a bit like Saker to be honest: obsessed with their tank divisions and rockets, dinosaurs preparing for yesterday's war. They risk finding themselves in Lukashenka's position.

Carlton Meyer , says: Website December 30, 2020 at 5:45 am GMT • 21.1 hours ago

Excellent article. Even the US Marine Corps is cutting infantry battalions to fund "information groups". A new video addresses this anti-Russian propaganda:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WqBU8EyPSh8?feature=oembed

mike99588 , says: December 30, 2020 at 6:11 am GMT • 20.7 hours ago

Russia doesn't have the working bodies to be a world hegemon.
CCP China does.
The Russian workers (Moscow, Cyprus) I've seen were indolent compared to Chinese.

Infiltration? Even here, the CCP leaning faction is large.
China appears to be Biden's highest bidder, and largest "investor", so far

Either Trump drops the hammer before Jan 20, or we're fucked on China.
Probably so's Russia, on a longer schedule.

GomezAdddams , says: December 30, 2020 at 6:18 am GMT • 20.6 hours ago

Warsaw Pact was canclled –but NATO grew and grew and grew after Bush stating " We will never expand–honest" and then 911 arrived and Firechief exclaimng "We decided to PULL IT !" but othing had struck it and of course WMD in Iraq -- –

anonymous [400] Disclaimer , says: December 30, 2020 at 6:38 am GMT • 20.2 hours ago

It's improbable that there would be any direct military clash somewhere even though there's always the possibility of a mistake leading to a crisis. The US uses color revolutions, proxy wars, subversion, bribery, economic warfare, sanctions and varying forms of sabotage. It's been pretty successful so far with this all over the world but Russia is too big and self-sufficient to be forced to capitulate.

rhetoric about Russia will get even more hate-filled and paranoid

The US propaganda system always needs a boogeyman to scare the public with. Promotion of fear is an inherent part of the American system of engineering consent.

far more difficult for western run NGOs to influence the Russian political scene.

Big tech collusion in enforcing censorship here in the US has become heavy-handed and omnipresent. But one supposes there'll be complaints about lack of free speech in Russia.
Trump was verbally belligerent but stopped short of starting any new wars, placating the establishment with imposing sanctions, assassinating Soleimani, etc. Biden is a stupid, reckless incompetent who could easily stumble us into conflicts we can't handle. But then, it would be his handlers who actually pull the strings and they seem to be as cretinous as him.

Weston Waroda , says: December 30, 2020 at 6:52 am GMT • 20.0 hours ago

As for the "deplorables" – they have been neutralized by stealing the election.

Neutralized? No way José, the deplorables are mad as hornets about the stolen election and are just getting started. And they have their Second Amendment assets, and it's not even January 20th yet.

Seraphim , says: December 30, 2020 at 7:21 am GMT • 19.5 hours ago
@Felix Keverich

Do you see the 'YouTube' kids starting a revolution, storming the Kremlin, and the 'organs' watching them with arms crossed from the side? Wouldn't they rather send them to develop the Arctic?

goldgettin , says: December 30, 2020 at 7:46 am GMT • 19.1 hours ago
@Felix Keverich

You appear to assume a lot Got a horse in this race?
Curious about your qualifications as well.
Tell us more or, are you a ?

Priss Factor , says: Website December 30, 2020 at 8:45 am GMT • 18.1 hours ago

More kids? Destroy pop culture and hang the pimps & whores.

https://russia-insider.com/en/start-making-babies-or-youll-be-cleaning-chinese-boots-top-russian-priest-smirnov-dying-nation-video

Carlos22 , says: December 30, 2020 at 8:53 am GMT • 18.0 hours ago
@Felix Keverich

Unlike the 80s there is no official ideological differences except that Russia's ideology of national sovereignty, family and strength is in assendence while the US Marxist one of globo homo anti white hate thyself BLM is openly ridiculed by the quiet majority.

It is about the US that people openly talk about being on the verge of civil war not Russia these days.

Most Russians know it's a fight against subjugation there is no other way, defend itself or get eaten.

Besides under the Harris presidency in a year or two it will be white Americans who will be told officially they suck.

Dumbo , says: December 30, 2020 at 9:15 am GMT • 17.6 hours ago

These days millions of Russian kids watch political videos, promoted by Youtube, where they are being taught, that their country sucks and there is no hope for their lives whatsoever unless they overthrow Putin

The cleverest trick the Devil ever invented was to convince young (white) people that Globohomo, Blacks Lives Matter and Immigration are somehow a benefit to them and that they should fight for their own displacement

Ilya G Poimandres , says: December 30, 2020 at 9:24 am GMT • 17.5 hours ago

Biden has a lot of compromat and Harris is basically akin to a wigger in a black gang, who will need to prove her devotion when she takes the reigns after Biden.

Both will be like putty in their handler's hands.

Politicians start wars to make the public look away from domestic or personal crises. Biden already has his corruption probe, and whilst Trump made many errors, he did not fall for the trap of starting a major foreign policy disaster for personal political gain.

Both Biden and Harris would do that in a heartbeat. So whether that would be Iran or Ukraine, or pushing Taiwan too far, I'm pretty confident a war will start.

I always said with Trump the odd's are 80% civil war, 10% world war, 10% peace, whilst Biden is around 50% civil war, 45% world war, 5% peace.

Mikael_ , says: December 30, 2020 at 9:34 am GMT • 17.3 hours ago
@Felix Keverich

Nice display of your brainwashedness, from western propaganda.
You didn't follow Saker's link to the machine translated example , did you?

One would need a bit more than broad, completely unsubstantiated claims by you that Russian kids in large numbers actually believe those YT lies and similar.
And Lukashenko isn't doing so bad, currently.

Let it be... , says: December 30, 2020 at 11:07 am GMT • 15.8 hours ago
@Felix Keverich ng "dusty, dirty" -- a term used in 2nd-millennium BCE texts throughout the Fertile Crescent for people variously described as rebels, outlaws, raiders, mercenaries, bowmen, servants, slaves, and laborers"(Wikipedia).

The 2001 paper "Who are the Hîabiru of the Amarna Letters?" by retired professor (Andrews University) S. Douglas Waterhouse (2001) joined a lot of dots for me. A good stumble on, thanks, Guyénot and others who posted relevant comments etc. (A copy can be found here: https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/jats/vol12/iss1/3/ )

John Hagan , says: Website December 30, 2020 at 11:53 am GMT • 15.0 hours ago
@Carlos22 ashion. Yet that is what the US empire wants. It is hard to imagine the opportunity for satire could be greater.
Here is some preliminary ideas

https://www.youtube.com/embed/noIWQFMskG0?feature=oembed
I also did a satire on Bellingcat called Bellingbat that examines some of the same issues. Of course there is a fair amount of nudity involved as that is the US way when considering if powerful females can be trusted. Unlike Lautrec I was never allowed into the ballerina's dressing rooms even though I was a recognized well respected painter and would seek death should I betray a slack breast or two.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/8Z9pggzVJ68?feature=oembed
Cheers all and have a happy new year.

Schuetze , says: December 30, 2020 at 12:13 pm GMT • 14.7 hours ago

"Last, but not least, wars are not won by machines, computers or fancy engineering: they are won by soldiers, real men, who know what they are defending and why."

Azerbaijan just ate Putin's lunch by crushing Armenia's entire AA systems and their piece by piece destruction of hundreds of T90's and all the Armenian artillery. Azerbaijan accomplished this through Israeli military technology, likely including remote drone piloting services.

Saker wants to pretend that it is the US that has Israel on a leash, but it is clearly the other way around. Israel has already hoovered up all of the US electronics and military patents and clearly any other patents that would be useful in a war, especially a war for Eretz Israel.

Azerbaijan took out all the Armenian armor and air defenses with Israeli drones like the Hovering Artillery Drones and Suicide drones. The amount of live film is staggering, and the T90's were picked off like sparrows sitting on an electric wire. Some of the drones Azerbaijan used were Turkish, but we can be certain that the technology is either licensed from Israel or Israel's gollum the JEWSA.

Added to this complete mastery of the traditional battlespace is the complete Heeb control over the bio-warfare space. Whether Putin allowed Russia to be circumcised while he played along to the Rabbi's Covid rituals, or whether Putin is playing it safe and vaccinating and closing its borders pre-emtively is irrellevant. Russia is being bullied like a lone teenage Swedish boy at muslim majority high school in Malmo.

And of course, Russia still has a Rothschild controlled Central Bank too.

So Putin, just like Biden, is going to do exactly what his Chabad Lubbovitz Rabbi's tell him he has to do. Both are Israel's Shabbez Bitches.

Moi , says: December 30, 2020 at 12:29 pm GMT • 14.4 hours ago
@mike99588

I pray to sweet Lord Jesus for the rise of China.

Tsigantes , says: December 30, 2020 at 12:31 pm GMT • 14.4 hours ago
@Felix Keverich everyone knows that the US and England hate Russia and Putin, thus whatever these 2 countries claim about either is dismissed with a laugh. As for Skripal (where are they now? dead?), Navalny, novichok, Assad gassing his own people ..a child can see through this stuff. Sorry!

Young people in Russia watching US propaganda against their country you honestly think they are going to agree with the country (USA) that has targeted them with missiles and nuclear bombs for 70 years? Do you think we can't see the corruption and stupidity?

But I'm wasting my time here. Facts, logic, is lost on a person so naive and brainwashedas yourself.

yurivku , says: December 30, 2020 at 12:53 pm GMT • 14.0 hours ago
@goldgettin

Tell us more or, are you a ?

he's pretending to be Russian intelligent, which I doubt – not his name nor his thoughts seem to be Russian.
He's right only in one thing – there's quite a big part of our society who think that Putin (despite his obvious achievements) has to go. And those aren't liberasts, but patriots. Putin is very deep in oligarchy swamp and he achieved max he could, i'm afraid.
Now he's just trying to keep the status quo.

Trickster , says: December 30, 2020 at 1:26 pm GMT • 13.4 hours ago
@Felix Keverich

I believe you have a serious problem. When the stork brought you, it must have dropped you on your head. Your comment is sheer nonsense. Do you really believe the shit you have written or do you have a vulgar desire for "replies".

You are either an idiot or an ass wash douche troll. Comment intelligently or not at all and for heavens sake, seek medical attention for the lump on your head ( and the one inside it as well)

Larchmonter420 , says: December 30, 2020 at 1:29 pm GMT • 13.4 hours ago
@John Hagan actors

And, my paraphrase of the above quote:

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own drama . And while you're studying that drama -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new dramas , which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're drama's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Best regards,

Mohamed

Trickster , says: December 30, 2020 at 1:32 pm GMT • 13.3 hours ago
@Tsigantes

Dont be so hard on Felix the cat. He has been hiding under his mother;s bed surrounded by rolls of toilet paper and wearing a mask since March 2020. Self imposed solitary confinement does things to a person more so one who was retarded at birth.

Once he has his operation to remove his head from his ass his IQ should increase by 100% .from 2 to 4 !

[Jan 01, 2021] Weaponized courts- The $50 bn Yukos case may be the final straw for Russia, ending its cooperation with Western 'justice' -- R

Jan 01, 2021 | www.rt.com

Weaponized courts: The $50 bn Yukos case may be the final straw for Russia, ending its cooperation with Western 'justice' 17 Nov, 2020 11:24 Get short URL Weaponized courts: The $50 bn Yukos case may be the final straw for Russia, ending its cooperation with Western 'justice' FILE PHOTOS. © Getty Images / artisteer; © Wikipedia 38 1 Follow RT on RT

Patrick Armstrong spent 30 years as an analyst for the Canadian government, specializing in first the USSR and then Russia. He was a Political Counselor in the Canadian Embassy in Moscow from 1993 to 1996. Given the torrent of anti-Russian sentiment in the West, it's unlikely Moscow would get a fair hearing in legal proceedings overseen by Western courts. And recent hints suggest three decades of engagement may be coming to an end.

A Dutch court has just reversed another earlier Dutch court ruling that reversed an even earlier Dutch court ruling. Russia had been sued by a company representing the shareholders of erstwhile oil giant Yukos. The latest iteration, reversing the reversal and taking us back to the original judgment, demands that Russia pay $50 billion to its shareholders. Yukos was nationalized in the early 2000s, on the grounds of failure to pay tax arrears after the arrest of its CEO for tax evasion.

So, what should Moscow do? It has appealed, but perhaps it should think about whether it still wants to play the game.

Let's look at the behavior of other Dutch courts. In 2001, Slobodan Milošević appeared at the Hague charged with crimes against humanity, genocide – the full package. And, quite rightly, said most Westerners, because had not their media already named him the "butcher of the Balkans" ?

ALSO ON RT.COM Yukos case: Netherlands prepares for hearing in $50 billion plus legal battle over disgraced ex-oligarch's former oil empire

In 2016, the International Court of Justice ruled that maybe he hadn't been as guilty as first assumed. But it was too late: Milošević had died in his prison cell 10 years before, with the trial still rolling on.

The Netherlands is also in charge of the investigation into the destruction of the MH-17 flight over Ukraine in 2014. Again, we had immediate Western news assertions that Putin and Russia were responsible, and the personal assurance of former Secretary of State John Kerry that US intelligence resources had watched the whole thing unfold. And it's been a fact-free Gish gallop ever since.

After several investigations, suspiciously dependent on Ukrainian intelligence sources, social media, and the US-government funded agency Bellingcat, with no one asking where the "we saw it" was, the trial of four individuals began in March 2020 and has been proceeding at the same comfortable pace as the Milošević trial.
In 2018, Ukraine, without the least suspicion of a chain of evidence, produced some parts it claimed were from the surface-to-air missile said to have shot the plane down. The parts had numbers, numbers can be traced, and the missile factory traced them. They were parts of a missile shipped to an anti-aircraft unit in the west of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in December 1986.

ALSO ON RT.COM Investigation launched into claims that employees of ex-oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky's media group took part in 2014 gang rape

The judges decided that the documents were irrelevant because they "may say something about where the missile was between [19]86 and 91, but they say nothing about where the missile was in July 2014." Presumably, a daring raid from Donetsk to an ammo dump in Western Ukraine had happened, which nobody noticed. So, one might ask what Russia can expect from any trial held in the Netherlands except an interminable process until the defendant dies.

Russians might then turn their attention to the practice of the rule of law in other Western countries today. Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, is approaching her third year of house arrest in Canada. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been in a British prison with one of the most severe regimes for the past 18 months and is approaching the second year of his extradition hearing. Maria Butina, convicted in 2018 of acting as an unregistered foreign agent of Russia, was in a US prison for five months, often in solitary confinement, on very questionable charges. Senior French executive Frédéric Pierucci arrested in 2013 and later imprisoned in a US maximum-security facility for unwittingly breaching American bribery laws. Or the US's open-ended Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act – a federal law that, in 2017, imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. Or the huge fine imposed on Russia's Gazprom energy corporation in a Polish court just last month over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Or they might consider that Venezuela stored its national gold reserves in London for safekeeping but can't have it back (although that judgment has recently been reversed – for now). Or that the European Union extended its sanctions on Russia because it couldn't prove its innocence of the latest accusation over Ukraine. Russian observers might be forgiven if they regarded this as not rule of law but war of law – lawfare.

ALSO ON RT.COM Netherlands to take Russia to European Court of Human Rights over 'role' in MH17 crash

Moscow has generally played the game and accepted Western court rulings and, sometimes, they've gone its way: for example, the European Court of Human Rights' ruling of 2011 that the case against Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky had not been politically motivated. But, given the relentless cascade of accusations – redoubled in the past five years – perhaps Moscow should reconsider, on the grounds that Western 'justice' will never give it a fair shake.

Will it do so? Well, there have been some hints. At a conference of the Valdai Discussion Club think tank last month, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia no longer looked to Western Europe as an example and was not going to be its vassal. The constitution was recently amended to make Russian law primary. These would appear to be clues that Moscow is at least pondering the conclusion that Western courts are not an arbiter, but a weapon.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

[Jan 01, 2021] Russia can refuse to pay $50 billion bill to Yukos oligarchs, country's top court rules, as international legal battle rages

Jan 01, 2021 | www.rt.com

Moscow is set for a showdown with Western judges and 1990s Russian oligarchs, over a new ruling enabling the country to refuse to pay what is considered to be the biggest legal settlement in history, over a collapsed oil empire.

The Constitutional Court, one of Russia's highest judicial authorities, ruled on Friday that the decision of an international tribunal in the long-running dispute over the now-dissolved energy giant Yukos is incompatible with Russian law. The case has been heard by a court in The Hague, which claims jurisdiction under the terms of the Energy Charter Treaty, and awarded the company's former shareholders a $50-billion payout from the Russian government earlier this year. Moscow claimed a win in November on the other side of the Atlantic, when a US court, which had been hearing the case simultaneously, decided to throw it out.

However, as Russia signed but never ratified the Treaty, which hands powers to international tribunals, the Constitutional Court has now determined it is not bound by the terms of The Hague judgement. The ruling states that, while the country's government of the day began the process of signing up to the pact in 1994, they did not have the authority to make national laws inferior to international agreements, or to "challenge the competence" of Russian courts. Therefore, the jurists conclude, adhering to the Dutch court's demands would be "unconstitutional."

ALSO ON RT.COM New twist in $50bn Yukos battle as US court sides with Russia over oligarchs & suspends controversial case

The claimants in the case are oligarchs who lost cash when Yukos, once among Europe's largest firms, collapsed. They say that a multi-billion dollar tax bill and the arrest of its CEO and founder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, on fraud charges amounted to state 'appropriation' of its assets. However, Russian authorities insist that the shareholders cannot be considered "legitimate," and that the Dutch judges had steamrolled over the country's laws against corruption and fraud when ruling in their favour.

As far back as July 2014, The Hague ordered Moscow to cough up $50 billion to compensate the plaintiffs. After exhausting the appeals process in February this year, Russia's lawyers asked the Dutch Supreme Court to consider the case and overrule the decision. However, at the start of December, it similarly backed the oligarchs.

Russia has insisted that the judgements are "politically motivated," and in December the country's Justice Minister, Konstantin Chuychenko, told journalists that the case was part of a "legal war that has been declared on Russia." He added that "Russia must adequately defend itself and, sometimes, even attack back."

Now standing at around $50 billion, around the same ballpark as Russia's annual military budget, the colossal settlement is thought to be the largest award in history. If the country now rejects the bill, it would spark one of the most serious impasses in international legal history, and leave Western states deciding whether to respect Russia's constitutional ruling, or to enforce the demands by confiscating assets.

ALSO ON RT.COM Russian justice minister claims $50 billion Yukos case shows West waging 'legal war' on Moscow & says it should fight back

Yukos' former shareholders have already sought to have Western governments take control of Russian property overseas as an insurance policy in case Moscow refuses to pay up. However, in November, a judge in the simultaneous hearing in the US refused that request, saying that "the Russian Federation is a sovereign country with economic tendrils that cross the globe, not an insecure potential debtor that must be required to post security lest there be no assets to seize at a later date."

Not all countries have taken the same approach, however, and in 2015 Russia's diplomats slammed France and Belgium for confiscating state cash in overseas banks, and even buildings, to be held as collateral in the case. Moscow again rejected the court's authority and said their move was "an openly hostile act." Tim Osborne, a British lawyer representing the former shareholders, said at the time that such seizures were necessary because Russia "has no regard for international law or the rule of law."

READ MORE Yukos case: Netherlands prepares for hearing in $50 billion plus legal battle over disgraced ex-oligarch's former oil empire Yukos case: Netherlands prepares for hearing in $50 billion plus legal battle over disgraced ex-oligarch's former oil empire

At its height, Yukos produced 20 per cent of Russia's oil, placing it firmly among the ranks of the world's most valuable enterprises. It had been formed by the privatization of former state assets after the fall of the Soviet Union, with Khodorkovsky acquiring the assets for a fraction of their worth at an auction that one economist, Andrey Illarionov, called "the swindle of the century."

Khodorkovsky claims his arrest on fraud charges and the subsequent collapse of Yukos was tied to his political activism and his personal animosity towards Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin, however, claims that the oligarch, once said to be Russia's wealthiest man, had admitted his guilt to him privately in exchange for a pardon in 2013.

Khodorkovsky insists that he has renounced any claims to his former empire and that, should a settlement be reached in the Yukos case, he would not stand to benefit. However, Russian authorities are said to suspect that a number of claimants have close financial ties to the former oil magnate.

[Dec 28, 2020] Unipolar Vs Multipolar- The Death Of McKinley The Loss Of America's Soul - ZeroHedge

Dec 28, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Unipolar Vs Multipolar: The Death Of McKinley & The Loss Of America's Soul BY TYLER DURDEN SATURDAY, DEC 26, 2020 - 23:30

Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Saker blog,

On December 17, 2020, a new US Maritime strategy was unveiled putting into practice the regressive concepts first outlined in the early National Defense Strategy 2020 doctrine which target China and Russia as the primary enemies of the USA and demanding that the USA be capable to " defeat our adversaries while we accelerate development of a modernized integrated all-domain naval force of the future".

The Pentagon's Advantages at Sea: Prevailing with Integrated All-Domain Naval Power continued by saying "China's and Russia's revisionist approaches in the maritime environment threaten US interests, undermine alliances and partnerships and degrade the free and open international order moreover, China's and Russia's aggressive naval growth and modernization are eroding US institutional advantages."

The document continued to describe that "we must operate more assertively to prevail in day-to-day competition as we uphold the rules-based order and deter our competitors from pursuing armed aggression ready, forward-deployed naval forces will adopt a more assertive posture in day to day operations"

For anyone who has been paying attention to the vast growth of the Pentagon's Full Spectrum containment policy around China's perimeter begun with Obama's Asia Pivot, it may appear as though these words are not new, but just a continuation of American unipolar agenda, Pacific war games, and psychological projection onto perceived enemies, that have been underway for years. While this is certainly true, it must be noted that they are occurring at a time that NATO 2030 has enshrined an anti-China military posture into the Trans Atlantic security doctrine which had formerly channeled most of its hate purely onto Russia.

The fact is those unipolar zombies programmed to think in no other terms but global post-nation state dominance are deathly afraid of the Russia-China bond of survival which has created a uniquely viable foundation for an alternative economic/security architecture for the world. This model is based on a system of finance that defines money not in speculative but rather long-term development of the real economic foundations of life. It also features a strong emphasis on win-win cooperation as opposed to Hobbesian zero-sum logic dominant among western powers, and it also finds itself driven by OPEN system economic practices shaped by unbounded scientific and technological progress that once upon a time guided America's better traditions.

With the obvious threat of nuclear war breaking out between a collapsing unipolar order in the west and an emergent Multipolar alliance, it is important to review what possible latent policy traditions may yet be revived within America's history which certain forces have worked very hard to scrub out of the historical record and memory. This study will take us to the incredible fights that arose over America's identity at the turn of the 20th century during the period of President William McKinley and the treasonous anglophile President of vice, Theodore Roosevelt.

Munroe Doctrine or Empire?

As Martin Sieff eloquently laid out in his recent article , President McKinley himself was an peacemaker, anti-imperialist of a higher order than most people realize. McKinley was also a strong supporter of two complementary policies: 1) Internally, he was a defender of Lincoln's "American system" of protectionism, internal improvements and black suffrage and 2) Externally, he was a defender of the Munroe Doctrine that defined America's anti-imperial foreign policy since 1823.

The Munroe Doctrine's architect John Quincy Adams laid out this principle eloquently on July 4, 1821:

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=830

"After fifty years the United States has, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations, while asserting and maintaining her own.

That the United States does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.

That by involving itself in the internal affairs of other nations, the United States would destroy its own reason of existence; the fundamental maxims of her policy would become, then, no different than the empire America's revolution defeated. It would be, then, no longer the ruler of itself, but the dictator of the world."

America's march is the march of mind, not of conquest.

Colonial establishments are engines of wrong, and that in the progress of social improvement it will be the duty of the human family to abolish them".

It was an aging John Quincy Adams whom a young Abraham Lincoln collaborated with in ending the imperial Mexican-American war under Wall Street stooge James Polk in 1846. When Adams died in 1848, Lincoln picked up the torch he left behind as the London-directed "proto deep state" of the 19th century worked to dissolve the republic from within. The foreign policy conception laid out by Adams ensured that America's only concern was "staying out of foreign imperial entanglements" as Washington had earlier warned and keeping foreign imperial interests out of the Americas. The idea of projecting power onto the weak or subduing other cultures was anathema to this genuinely American principle.

A major battle which has been intentionally obscured from history books took place in the wake of Lincoln's murder and the re-ascension of the City of London-backed slave power during the decades after the Union victory of 1865. On the one hand America's role in the emerging global family of nations was being shaped by followers of Lincoln who wished to usher in an age of win-win cooperation. Such an anti-Darwinian system which Adams called " a community of principle " asserted that each nation had the right to sovereign banking controls over private finance, productive credit emissions tied to internal improvements with a focus on continental (rail/road) development, industrial progress and full spectrum economies. Adherents of this program included Russia's Sergei Witte and Alexander II, Germany's Otto von Bismarck, France's Sadi Carnot, and leading figures within Japan's Meiji Restoration.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/gYeVDjFKpOU

On the other hand, "eastern establishment families" of the USA more loyal to the gods of money, hereditary institutions and the vast international empire of Britain saw America's destiny tied to an imperial global partnership with the Mother country. These two opposing paradigms within America have defined two opposing views of "progress", "value", "self-interest" and "law" which have continued to shape the world over 150 years later.

William Gilpin vs Alfred Mahan: Two Paradigms Clash

A champion of the former traditionally American outlook who rose to the international scene was William Gilpin (1813-1894). Gilpin hailed from a patriotic family of nation builders whose patriarch Thomas Gilpin was a close ally of Benjamin Franklin and leading member of Franklin's Philosophical Society. William Gilpin was famous for his advocacy of America's trans continental railway whose construction he proselytized as early as 1845 (it was finally begun by Lincoln during the Civil War and completed in 1869 as I outlined in my previous paper How to Save a Dying Republic ).

In his thousands of speeches and writings, Gilpin made it known that he understood America's destiny to be inextricably tied to the ancient civilization of China- not to impose opium as the British and their American lackies were want to do, but to learn from and even emulate!

In 1852, Gilpin stated:

"Salvation must come to America from China, and this consists in the introduction of the "Chinese constitution" viz. the "patriarchal democracy of the Celestial Empire". The political life of the United States is through European influences, in a state of complete demoralization, and the Chinese Constitution alone contains elements of regeneration. For this reason, a railroad to the Pacific is of such vast importance, since by its means the Chinese trade will be conducted straight across the North American continent. This trade must bring in its train Chinese civilization. All that is usually alleged against China is mere calumny spread purposefully, just like those calumnies which are circulated in Europe about the United States".

With Lincoln's 1861 presidential victory, Gilpin became Lincoln's bodyguard and ensured the president survived his first assassination attempt en route to Washington from Illinois. During the Civil War, Gilpin was made Colorado's first Governor where he successfully stopped the southern power from opening up a western front during the war of secession (applying Lincoln's greenback system to finance his army on a state level) and winning the " Battle of Glorieta Pass ", thus saving the union.

After the war Gilpin became a leading advocate of the internationalization of the "American system of political economy" which Lincoln applied vigorously during his short-lived presidency. Citing the success of Lincoln's system, Gilpin said:

"No amount of argument will make America adopt old world theories To rely upon herself, to develop her own resources, to manufacture everything that can possibly be manufactured within her territory- this is and has been the policy of the USA from the time of Alexander Hamilton to that of Henry Clay and thence to our own days".

Throughout his speeches Gilpin emphasizes the role of a U.S.-Russia alliance:

"It is a simple and plain proposition that Russia and the United States, each having broad, uninhabited areas and limitless undeveloped resources, would by the expenditure of 2 or 3 hundred millions apiece for a highway of the nations threw their now waste places, add a hundredfold to their wealth and power and influence"

And seeing in China's potential the means to re-enliven the world- including the decadent and corrupt culture of Europe:

"In Asia a civilization resting on a basis of remote antiquity has had, indeed, a long pause, but a certain civilization- although hitherto hermetically sealed up has continued to exist. The ancient Asiatic colossus, in a certain sense, needed only to be awakened to new life and European culture finds a basis there on which it can build future reforms."

In opposition to the outdated British controls of "chock points" on the seas which kept the world under the clutches of the might of London, Gilpin advocated loudly for a system of internal improvements, rail development, and growth of the innate goodness of all cultures and people through scientific and technological progress. Once a global system of mutual development of rail were established, Gilpin stated "in the shipment of many kinds of raw and manufactured goods, it will largely supersede the ocean traffic of Great Britain, in whose hands is now carrying the trade of the world."

Gilpin's vision was most clearly laid out in his 1890 magnum opus "The Cosmopolitan Railway" which featured designs for development corridors across all continents united by a "community of principle".

Echoing the win-win philosophy of Xi Jinping's New Silk Road today, Gilpin stated:

"The cosmopolitan railway will make the whole world one community. It will reduce the separate nations to families of our great nation From extended intercommunication will arise a wider intercourse of human ideas and as the result, logical and philosophical reciprocities, which will become the germs for innumerable new developments; for in the track of intercommunication, enterprise and invention invariably follow and whatever facilitates one stimulates every other agency of progress."

Mahan Derails America's Anti-Imperial Identity

Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914) represented an opposing paradigm which true American statesmen like Lincoln, Secretary of State James Blaine, William Seward, President Grant, William Garfield, and McKinley detested. Sadly, with McKinley's murder ( run by an anarchist ring with ties to British Intelligence ) and the rise of Teddy Roosevelt in 1901, it was not Gilpin's but rather Mahan's worldview which became the dominant foreign policy doctrine for the next 120 years (despite a few brief respites under FDR and JFK).

Mahan is commonly credited for being a co-founder of modern geopolitics and an inspiration for Halford Mackinder. Having graduated from West Point's naval academy in 1859, Mahan soon became renowned as a total failure in actual combat having crashed warships repeatedly into moving and stationary objects during the Civil War. Since reality was not his forte, Mahan focused his post-war career on Ivory tower theorizing gushing over maps of the world and fawning over Britain's power as a force of world history.

His "Influence of Sea Power Upon History 1660-1783 published in the same year that Gilpin published his Cosmopolitan Railway (1890) was a total break from the spirit of win-win cooperation that defined America's foreign policy. According to the Diplomat , this book soon "became the bible for many navies around the world" with the Kaiser of Germany (now released from the influence of the great rail-loving statesman Otto von Bismarck whom he fired in 1890) demanding all of his offers read. Later Teddy Roosevelt ordered copies for every member of Congress. In Mahan's book, the geopolitician continuously asserts his belief that it is America's destiny to succeed the British Empire.

Taking the British imperial definition of "commerce" which uses free trade as a cover for the military dominance of weak nations (open borders and turning off protectionism simply makes a people easier to rob), Mahan attempts to argue that America need not continue to adhere to "outdated" habits like the Munroe doctrine since the new order of world empires demands America stay relevant in a world of sea power and empire. Mahan writes : "The advance of Russia in Asia, in the division of Africa, in the colonial ambitions of France and in the British idea of Imperial Federation, now fast assuming concrete shape in practical combined action in South Africa" demands that the USA act accordingly.

Attempting to refute the "outdated habits" of rail development which consume so many foolish statesmen around the globe, Mahan states: "a railway competes in vain with a river because more facile and copious, water traffic is for equal distances much cheaper and because cheaper, more useful". Like those attacking today's Belt and Road Initiative, the power of railways is that their returns are not measurable by simple monetary terms, but are rather QUALITATIVE. The long-term construction of rail systems not only unite divided people, increase manufacturing and industrial corridors but also induce closer powers of association and interchange between agriculture and urban producers. These processes uplift national productive powers building full spectrum economies and also a culture's capacity for creative thought.

The attempt made to justify sea traffic merely because "larger amounts of goods can be shipped" is purely quantitative and monetaristic sophistry devoid of any science of real value.

While Gilpin celebrates the successful awakening of China and other great nations of the world, in the Problem of Asia (1901) Mahan says:

"It is scarcely desirable that so vast a proportion of mankind as the Chinese constitute should be animated by but one spirit". Should China "burst her barriers eastward, it would be impossible to exaggerate the momentous issues dependant upon a firm hold of the Hawaiian islands by a great civilized maritime power."

Mahan's adherence to social Darwinism is present throughout his works as he defines the political differences of the 3 primary branches of humanity (Teutonic, Slavic and Asiatic) as purely rooted in the intrinsic inferiority or superiority of their race saying: "There are well recognized racial divergencies which find concrete expression in differences equally marked of political institution, of social progress and of individual development. These differences are deep seated in the racial constitution and partly the result of the environment". Mahan goes onto restate his belief that unlike the superior Teutonics "the Oriental, whether national or individual does not change" and "the East does not progress".

Calling China a carcass to be devoured by an American eagle, Mahan writes: "If life departs, a carcass can be utilized only by dissection or for food; the gathering to it of the eagles is a natural law, of which it is bootless to complain the onward movement of the world has to be accepted as a fact."

Championing an Anglo American alliance needed to subdue and "civilize" China as part of the post-Boxer Rebellion, Mahan says " of all the nations we shall meet in the East, Great Britain is the one with which we have by far the most in common in the nature of our interests there and in our standards of law and justice".

In case there was any doubt in the minds of Mahan's readers as to the MEANS which America should assert its dominance onto China, Mahan makes clear his belief that progress is caused by 1) force and 2) war:

"That such a process should be underlain by force on the part of outside influences, force of opposition among the latter themselves [speaking of the colonial European monarchies racing to carve up China in 1901 -ed] may be regrettable, but it is only a repetition of all history Every step forward in the march that has opened in China to trade has been gained by pressure; the most important have been the result of actual war."

A Last Anti-Imperial Push

The chaos induced by the anti-foreigner Boxer Rebellion of 1899 which spread quickly across China resulted a heated battle between imperial and anti-imperial forces in both Russia and the USA. Where Transport Minister Sergei Witte who spearheaded the development of the Trans Siberian rail line (1890-1905) tried to avoid military entanglement, McKinley was busy doing the same.

The boxers soon attacked the Manchurian rail connecting Russia to China by land and Witte succumbed to pressure to finally send in troops. The reformers of China who attempted to modernize with American and Russian assistance under Emperor Kuang Hsu and Li Hung Chang fell from power as total anarchy reigned. The outcome of the Boxer chaos involved the imperial powers of France, Germany and England demanding immense financial reparations, ownership of Chinese territory and mass executions of the Boxers.

While McKinley is often blamed for America's imperial turn, the reality is just the opposite.

The Spanish-American war begun in 1898 was actually launched unilaterally by Anglophilic racist Theodore Roosevelt who used the 4 hour window he had while Undersecretary of the Navy (while the actual Secretary was out of Washington) to send orders to Captain Dewey of the Pacific fleet to engage in a fight with the Spanish over their Philippine territories. McKinley had resisted the war hawks until that point but found himself finally bending to the momentum. In China, McKinley, like Witte worked desperately to reject taking territory resulting in great fears from the British oligarchy that a U.S.-Russia alliance led by McKinley and Witte was immanent.

The assassination of McKinley on September 18, 1901 catapulted Mahan-loving Vice President Teddy Roosevelt into high office, who enmeshed America into a new epoch of Anglo-American imperialism abroad, a growth of eugenics and segregation at home and the creation of an independent police state agency called the FBI .

As Sieff writes :

"Roosevelt devoted his next eight years in the presidency and the rest of his life to integrating the United States and the British Empire into a seamless web of racial imperialist oppression that dominated Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia and that destroyed the cultural history and heritage of the Native North American nations."

In Russia, the 1902 Anglo-Japan Treaty led to the disastrous Japan-Russo war of 1905 which devastated the Russian navy, ended the political career of Sergei Witte and threw Russia into chaos leading to the fall of the Romanovs (Czar Nicholas II was the last statesman occupying high office that this author is aware of to have actively promoted the Bering Strait Tunnel rail connection in 1906 . It wasn't until FDR's Vice President Henry Wallace met with Foreign Minister Molotov in 1942 that the idea resurfaced once more ).

In his Two Peoples One Friendship , Wallace described his discussions with Foreign Minister Molotov in 1942 saying:

" Of all nations, Russia has the most powerful combination of a rapidly increasing population, great natural resources and immediate expansion in technological skills. Siberia and China will furnish the greatest frontier of tomorrow When Molotov [Russia's Foreign Minister] was in Washington in the spring of 1942 I spoke to him about the combined highway and airway which I hope someday will link Chicago and Moscow via Canada, Alaska and Siberia. Molotov, after observing that no one nation could do this job by itself, said that he and I would live to see the day of its accomplishment. It would mean much to the peace of the future if there could be some tangible link of this sort between the pioneer spirit of our own West and the frontier spirit of the Russian East."

While the "open door" rape of the China was attempted by the Anglo-Americans, a fortunate rear guard maneuver orchestrated by another follower of Abraham Lincoln named Sun Yat-sen resulted in a surprise overthrow of the Manchu dynasty in 1911 and the institution of the Republic of China with Sun Yat-sen as the acting President. While Sun Yat-sen sided with Gilpin and Lincoln in opposition to the Mahanists on the issue of rail and industrial development (illustrated in his extraordinary 1920 International Development of China program which called for 160 000 km of rail, water diversion projects, ports and 1.5 million km of paved roads- illustrated below), the intrigues that sank the world into World War I made any hopes of this early development of China impossible in Sun Yat-sen's lifetime.

Expressing his own deep understanding of these top down tactics of world history (and the recognition that the same British imperial forces that orchestrated the US Civil War were planning to do the same to China), Sun Yat-sen wrote in 1912:

"We understand too well that there are certain men of power -- not to include for the present, certain nations -- who would view with a greater or lesser satisfaction an internal rupture in the new Republic [of China]. They would welcome, as a move toward the accomplishment of their own ends and designs, a civil war between the provinces of the North and the South; just as, 50 years ago, there was applause in secret (in certain quarters) over the terrible civil strife in the United States.

Americans of today who were alive in those dark days of the great republic will remember the feelings in the hearts of the people -- the bitter and painful thoughts that arose from the knowledge that foreigners were hoping and praying for the destruction of the American Union.

Had the war been successful from the South's standpoint, and had two separate republics been established, is it not likely that perhaps half a dozen or more weak nations would have eventually been established? I believe that such would have been the result; and I further believe that with the one great nation divided politically and commercially, outsiders would have stepped in sooner or later and made of America their own. I do not believe that I am stating this too forcibly. If so, I have not read history nor studied men and nations intelligently.

And I feel that we have such enemies abroad as the American republic had; and that at certain capitals the most welcome announcement that would be made would be that of a rebellion in China against the constituted authorities.

This is a hard statement to make; but I believe in speaking the truth so that all the world may know and recognize it."

Today's Belt and Road Initiative , and strategic friendship established between Russia and China has re-awoken the forgotten vision of William Gilpin for a world of cooperating sovereign nation states. Does the USA have the moral ability to avoid disintegration by accepting a Russia-U.S.-China alliance needed to revive McKinley's American System or will we slip into a new Great Reset and World War?

[Dec 17, 2020] The deep state just cannot get over losing Russia to Putin and nationalism after they had turned it into their playground in the 1990s. They are hot to trot to take out Russia and make it bend the knee, whatever the risks are.

Highly recommended!
Dec 17, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoyeru , Dec 16 2020 19:24 utc | 1

Since when has USA needed evidence? They blamed Saddam for years that he had "weapons of mass distraction". And back in 1990, they created the famous "Iraq solders took babies out fo incubators " lies. Some of us have lived longer than 30 years and we remember all the lies USA has said.

All part of the plan to cut Russia from the SWIFT in 2021. Once Biden becomes a president, he will call on all "democracies" to stand up to Russia. He and other "Western democracies" will hold a joint meeting sometime in 2021 where they will "condemn Russia for all the malign things Russia has done" and will press Belgium to cut Russia fro the SWIFT.

Whats wore, instead of doing anything, Russia is just sitting and watching them instead of warming Europe that this will mean Europe will freeze their collective asses next winter when they won't be able to get Russia gas. Even Iran is warning Russia that they will be cut off from the SWIFT...

Roger , Dec 16 2020 19:39 utc | 3

@Hoyeru,

I have to agree with you, the deep state just cannot get over losing Russia to Putin and nationalism after the thought that they had turned it into their playground in the 1990s. They are hot to trot to take out Russia and make it bend the knee, whatever the risks are. Would not put it past them to pull the SWIFT option, although that would have huge implications for the Europeans who buy so much oil and gas from Russia.

It could end up as an own goal, as the Europeans join the Russian payments network and start paying in Euros convertible directly into Rubles (especially with Nordstream 2 in place). The Indians and Chinese are already setup for payments in local currencies. Right now China needs Russia as an ally, so they would also probably re-source oil imports to take more from Russia.

Russia has already made itself self sufficient in food etc., and has been working on payments in local currencies. They are not stupid, and see such a move coming.

[Dec 10, 2020] The end of Ostpolitik- Dream of Europe 'whole free' over as Russian-German friendship fades Moscow pivots to Asia

Dec 10, 2020 | www.rt.com

By Fyodor Lukyanov , the editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs, chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and research director of the Valdai International Discussion Club. This Monday marked 50 years since one of the 20th century's most iconic moments, when German Chancellor Willy Brandt fell to his knees in Warsaw, emotionally apologizing for the horrors the Nazis had unleashed on Eastern Europe.

It was one of the milestones of the Neue Ostpolitik – Bonn's policy aimed at normalizing relations with the USSR and its East European satellites. On the day of this anniversary, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote the following: "Unlike Brandt, we no longer have to go via Moscow to talk to our eastern neighbors nowadays. Many partners in Eastern and Central Europe now view Russia very critically – and German foreign policy must take our neighbors' concerns seriously. In addition to offers of dialogue, clear German positions vis-à-vis Moscow are therefore important for maintaining trust in Eastern Europe."

A clear testimony to the fact that, compared to other Eastern European states, Russia is now of secondary importance to Berlin. This is perhaps the first time it's been stated so explicitly.

ALSO ON RT.COM EXCLUSIVE: West working to 'deprive Russia of right to determine its future' & is pushing for 'regime change,' Lavrov tells RT

A day later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made several important statements about relations between Russia and the EU, including the EU's locomotive, Germany. At the annual meeting of the Russian International Affairs Council, Lavrov pointed out that "apparently, the European Union has given up any attempts to become one of the centers in the emerging multipolar world order and is now simply taking its cues from the US. Germany's policy on a number of issues tells us that this is the course Berlin has chosen, as it reaffirms its intention to preserve Germany's undisputed leadership within the EU. France's position is somewhat different. The prevailing notion is that the European Union is now giving up any ambitions of becoming a center of power in a multipolar world. And if France itself decides to compete for this role well, we'll see how it goes."

Lavrov also mentioned the concept of a "sham multiculturalism that the Germans and the French concocted," which they "are promoting, presenting the EU's policies and initiatives to the world as beyond reproach, a shining example for everyone to see."

Right after that, Russia's top diplomat headed to a meeting with members of the Alternative for Germany parliamentary party. Lavrov sent a clear message, basically saying that this visit was his response to the political steps taken by official Berlin. "As for us, we don't have any objections when German politicians communicate with the Russian opposition, and we never get in the way of such contacts. Interestingly, Berlin officials prefer meetings with opposition activists who work outside the system and do not represent parliamentary parties " Obviously, a nod to the red carpet welcome that Alexey Navalny, a comparatively marginal opposition figure back home, received in Germany.

While the meeting with a right-wing German party was more of a symbolic gesture, the Foreign Minister's statement about the EU giving up its independent voice and Germany being the main driver in this process reflected Moscow's official stance. The Kremlin has decided that it no longer has any special relations with Berlin.

There is little hope that this connection will be restored in the foreseeable future, since Angela Merkel's potential successors are even less likely to promote these special ties. The Navalny case was just the last straw, with the Kremlin astonished by the irrational nature of Berlin's actions.

ALSO ON RT.COM EXCLUSIVE: West working to 'deprive Russia of right to determine its future' & is pushing for 'regime change,' Lavrov tells RT

Viewed from Russia, it seemed absolutely unnecessary to go against the pragmatic interests that both countries seemed to have shared in the past. However, the Moscow-Berlin axis, once viewed as something special, began to deteriorate a long time ago. Now it's over, along with Russia's dreams about continental Europe changing its allegiances in the new world order and moving away from its Transatlantic identity towards a more independent role.

And Germany has become the main obstacle for this hypothetical emancipation. That's why France was mentioned, although the remark was also somewhat sarcastic.

Two months ago, Sergey Lavrov said that Russia was prepared to suspend its dialogue with the EU, because it wasn't yielding any results. But he was talking about European institutions, not the continent itself. Now relations with separate European countries are being revised, based on their stance towards Russia and their role within the European Union. This concludes a very important phase in Russia's foreign policy that began after the collapse of the Soviet Union (or, to some degree, even before that) and signifies a transition to a different, probably a lot less Eurocentric, approach.

The dialogue between Russia and the West, with Germany being a major participant, has now reached a dead end – there is nothing of substance left to discuss. All the talk about common values, which has been a focal point ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, has accomplished nothing. Back then it was believed that the whole of Europe, including Russia, was a space of shared values that rested on the foundation of Western liberalism.

Since the 1990s, Russia has been publicly accused of departing from these values, which was interpreted as evidence that Russia is, overall, unprepared for meaningful cooperation with the rest of Europe. There are various assessments of the changes Russian politics has undergone in this period, but it is apparent that it has moved away from the ideological commitments of 30 years ago. And Russia will not go back to them: not just because its own evolution as a state has made this impossible, but because the old value system is growing obsolete and is no longer perceived as universal.

The world has entered a new era, where pluralism of morals and values is becoming the new normal, no matter how the European Union feels about it. International relations can no longer be based on countries demanding their partners to conform to a certain set of values.

In this respect, Russia would gladly return to the time when internal political mechanisms of individual states were not brought up as talking points in negotiations with their foreign partners. Ideally, Russia would want to go back to the start of the Ostpolitik era – the first half of the 1970s, before the Helsinki Accords and its "third basket" provisions, which made respecting human rights and freedoms an integral part of all international discussions. Back then, it was unthinkable for an expensive and strategically important project, such as the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, to be jeopardized because of the personal history of a single political figure – no matter how well regarded he is by Western leaders.

ALSO ON RT.COM US & NATO preparing for 'invasion' of Crimea, warns local parliamentarian, as US-Russia tensions in Black Sea region soar

For 30 years after the end of the Cold War, relations between Russia and the West have been determined (to a lesser and lesser extent with every passing year) by the principles established during the confrontation period – principles that were to be transformed into a new form of international cooperation. However, this project has been abandoned, as have been all attempts to adapt international institutions created in the second half of the 20th century to the realities of the 21st century.

Stability and cooperation in the late Cold War period were dictated primarily by the need to strengthen global security and prevent open confrontation. This was perceived as an absolute priority. Today, Russia and the West no longer attach such importance to their relations (although the perception persisted for a time, on both sides, even after the Cold War).

The EU is now busy dealing with its own issues. The United States also has problems to tend to at home, on top of its efforts to contain China. Thus, Russia needs to redefine its priorities and work out a proper new model of international relations – one that would have Asia at the center and China as Russia's new key partner.

Simplified, the model of Russian-German relations in 2020 looks like this: Germany, as the de-facto leader of the EU, no longer views promoting the 'European model' eastward as a priority. And Russia, which had long viewed its relationship with Western Europe as intrinsically valuable, has ceased to do so and is seeking closer cooperation with the nations of Asia.

So, the specific circumstances that brought about the current crisis are just the trigger, not the underlying causes of the change. Russia and the West are growing increasingly apart in terms of their priorities. This is happening for objective reasons, but is also compounded by subjective perceptions.

All of this does not mean, however, that the trend cannot be reversed. Russia, as the largest country in Eurasia and a bearer of European culture, and Germany, as the strongest European economy and a country that will have to redefine its identity in the coming years, will have need of each other again, some day. But this cannot happen until a new world order is fully formed – one that has little in common with the ways of the last century. The notion of Ostpolitik was an integral part of the old model, and as one faded away into the past, the other followed.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

[Nov 25, 2020] The relationship with Russia, under Trump, is fully under control of Kaganate of Nuland

Nov 25, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Nov 25 2020 0:59 utc | 75

Annoying Russians with a destroyer 10 miles or so from Vladivostok under good old Trump. Apparently, after a series of moves that replaced some top figures in Pentagon. The relationship with Russia, under Trump, is fully under control of Kaganate of Nulandia, or whatever we see on the top of that iceberg -- and try to make a search what it would take to change the course of an iceberg from Antarctics (people were investigating it as a way of bringing fresh water to Arabian peninsula where money is plentiful but water is scarce).

There are two important aspects there. Local trade is more profitable than distant trade when consider in totality, i.e. including the products that you would never make profit after crossing oceans. Second aspect is that Far East is a cultural zone like Europe -- lots of animosities collected over centuries, but even more commonalities in culture. As USA imposes various types of tribute on allies/vassals, centripetal forces in various continents should increase. Among visible costs of vassaldom:

1. paying costs of American presence
2. annoying China beyond the national needs, thus decreasing the national security
3. participating in sanctions imposed by USA, directly and indirectly (through resulting conflicts) reducing profits in economies that are struggling

[Nov 23, 2020] Administrations change but Full Spectrum Dominance Doctine and the desire to portect and emand global neoliberal empire controlled from Washinton is intact. It will eventually banrupt the country much like was the case with the British Empire

Highly recommended!
Neocons still dominate both the State Department and NSC. That's bad.
Nov 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Top Biden Advisors Flournoy & Blinken Promise More Secretive 'Permanent War' Policy - Zero Hedge

Authored by Dan Cohen via TheGrayZone.com,

Throughout his campaign, Joe Biden railed against Donald Trump's 'America First' foreign policy, claiming it weakened the United States and left the world in disarray. "Donald Trump's brand of America First has too often led to America alone," Biden proclaimed.

He pledged to reverse this decline and recover the damage Trump did to America's reputation. While Donald Trump called for making America Great Again, Biden seeks to Make the American Empire Great Again .

Joe Biden: "Tonight, the whole world is watching America. And I believe at our best, America is a beacon for the globe. We will lead not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example."

Among the president-elect's pledges is to end the so-called forever wars – the decades-long imperial projects in Afghanistan and Iraq that began under the Bush administration.

"It's long past time we end the forever wars which have cost us untold blood and treasure," Biden has said.

Yet Biden – a fervent supporter of those wars – will delegate that duty to the most neoconservative elements of the Democratic Party and ideologues of permanent war .

Michele Flournoy and Tony Blinken sit atop Biden's thousands-strong foreign policy brain trust and have played central roles in every U.S. war dating back to the Bill Clinton administration.

During the Trump era, they've cashed in through WestExec Advisors – a corporate consulting firm that has become home for Obama administration officials awaiting a return to government.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

Flournoy is Biden's leading pick for Secretary of Defense and Blinken is expected to be the president's National Security Advisor.

Biden's foxes guard the henhouse

Since the 1990s, Flournoy and Blinken have steadily risen through the ranks of the military-industrial complex, shuffling back and forth between the Pentagon and hawkish think-tanks funded by the U.S. government, weapons companies, and oil giants.

Under Bill Clinton, Flournoy was the principal author of the 1996 Quadrinellial Defense Review, the document that outlined the U.S. military's doctrine of permanent war – what it called "full spectrum dominance."

Flournoy called for "unilateral use of military power" to ensure "uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ivFFZ95EQvY

This video report was originally published at Behind The Headlines . Support the independent journalism initiative here .

As Bush administration officials lied to the world about Saddam Hussein's supposed WMD's, Flournoy remarked that "In some cases, preemptive strikes against an adversary's [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities may be the best or only option we have to avert a catastrophic attack against the United States."

Tony Blinken was a top advisor to then-Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Joe Biden, who played a key role in shoring up support among the Democrat-controlled Senate for Bush's illegal invasion of Iraq.

During the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Biden declared, "In my judgment, President Bush is right to be concerned about Saddam Hussein's relentless pursuit of weapons of mass destruction."

As Iraq was plunged into chaos and bloodshed, Flournoy was among the authors of a paper titled "Progressive Internationalism" that called for a "smarter and better" style of permanent war . The paper chastised the anti-war left and stated that "Democrats will maintain the world's most capable and technologically advanced military, and we will not flinch from using it to defend our interests anywhere in the world."

With Bush winning a second term, Flournoy advocated for more troop deployments from the sidelines.

In 2005, Flournoy signed onto a letter from the neoconservative think tank Project for a New American Century, asking Congress to "increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps (by) at least 25,000 troops each year over the next several years."

In 2007, she leveraged her Pentagon experience and contacts to found what would become one of the premier Washington think tanks advocating endless war across the globe: the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). CNAS is funded by the U.S. government, arms manufacturers, oil giants, Silicon Valley tech giants, billionaire-funded foundations, and big banks.

Flournoy joined the Obama administration and was appointed as under secretary of defense for policy, the position considered the "brains" of the Pentagon. She was keenly aware that the public was wary of more quagmires. In the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, she crafted a new concept of warfare that would expand the permanent war state while giving the appearance of a drawdown.

Flournoy wrote that "unmanned systems hold great promise" – a reference to the CIA's drone assassination program. This was the Obama-era military doctrine of hybrid war. It called for the U.S. to be able to simultaneously wage war on numerous fronts through secret warfare, clandestine weapons transfers to proxies, drone strikes, and cyber-attacks – all buttressed with propaganda campaigns targeting the American public through the internet and corporate news media.

Architects of America's Hybrid wars

Flournoy continued to champion the endless wars that began in the Bush-era and was a key architect of Obama's disastrous troop surge in Afghanistan. As U.S. soldiers returned in body bags and insurgent attacks and suicide bombings increased some 65% from 2009 and 2010, she deceived the Senate Armed Services Committee, claiming that the U.S. was beginning to turn the tide against the Taliban: "We are beginning to regain the initiative and the insurgency is beginning to lose momentum."

Even with her lie that the U.S. and Afghan government were starting to beat the Taliban back, Flournoy assured the senate that the U.S. would have to remain in Afghanistan long into the future: "We are not leaving any time soon even though the nature and the complexion of the commitment may change over time."

Ten years later – as the Afghan death toll passed 150,000 – Flournoy continued to argue against a U.S. withdrawal: "I would certainly not advocate a US or NATO departure short of a political settlement being in place."

That's the person Joe Biden has tasked with ending the forever war in Afghanistan. But in Biden's own words, he'll "bring the vast majority of our troops home from Afghanistan" implying some number of American troops will remain, and the forever war will be just that. Michele Flournoy explained that even if a political settlement were reached, the U.S. would maintain a presence.

Michele Flournoy: "If we are fortunate enough to see a political settlement reached, it doesn't mean that the US role or the international community is over. Afghanistan without outside investment is not a society that is going to survive and thrive. In no case are we going to be able to wash our hands of Afghanistan and walk away nor should we want to. This is something where we're going to have to continue to be engaged, just the form of engagement may change."

In 2011, the Obama-era doctrine of smart and sophisticated warfare was unveiled in the NATO regime-change war on Libya.

Moammar Gaddafi – the former adversary who sought warm relations with the U.S. and had given up his nuclear weapons program – was deposed and sodomized with a bayonet.

Flournoy, Hillary Clinton's State Department, and corporate media were in lockstep as they waged an elaborate propaganda campaign to deceive the U.S. public that Gadaffi's soldiers were on a Viagra-fueled rape and murder spree that demanded a U.S. intervention.

Fox News: "Susan Rice reportedly told a security council meeting that Libyan troops are being given viagra and are engaging in sexual violence."

MSNBC jumped on the propaganda bandwagon, claiming: "New reports emerge that the LIbyan dictator gave soldiers viagra-type pills to rape women who are opposed to the government."

So did CNN.

As the Libyan ambassador to the US alleged "raping, killing, mass graves," ICC Chief Prosecutor Manuel Ocampo claimed: "It's like a machete. Viagra is a tool of massive rapes."

All of this was based on a report from Al Jazeera – the media outlet owned by the Qatari monarchy that was arming extremist militias in Libya to overthrow the government.

Yet an investigation by the United Nations called the rape claims "hysteria." Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch found no credible evidence of even a single rape.

Even after Libya was descended into strife and the deception of Gadaffi's forces committing rape was debunked, Michele Flournoy stood by her support for the war: "I supported the intervention in Libya on humanitarian grounds. I think we were right to do it."

Tony Blinken, then Obama's deputy national security advisor, also pushed for regime change in Libya. He became Obama's point man on Syria, pushed to arm the so-called "moderate rebels" that fought alongside al-Qaeda and ISIS, and designed the red line strategy to trigger a full-on U.S. intervention. Syria, he told the public, wasn't anything like the other wars the U.S. had waging for more than a decade.

Tony Blinken: "We are doing this in a very different way than in the past. We're not sending in hundreds of thousands of American troops. We're not spending trillions of American dollars. We're being smart about this. This is a sustainable way to get at the terrorists and it's also a more effective way."

Blinken added: "This is not open-ended, this is not boots on the ground, this is not Iraq, it's not Afghanistan, it's not even Libya. The more people understand that, the more they'll understand the need for us to take this limited but effective action ."

Despite Blinken's promises that it would be a short affair, the war on Syria is now in its ninth year. An estimated half a million people have been killed as a result and the country is facing famine.

Largely thanks to the policy of using "wheat to apply pressure" – a recommendation of Flournoy and Blinken's CNAS think tank.

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When the Trump administration launched airstrikes on Syria based on mere accusations of a chemical attack, Tony Blinken praised the bombing, claiming Assad had used the weapon of mass destruction sarin. Yet there was no evidence for this claim, something even then-secretary of Defense James Mattis admitted: "So I can not tell you that we had evidence even though we had a lot of media and social media indicators that either chlorine or sarin were used ."

While jihadist mercenaries armed with U..S-supplied weapons took over large swaths of Syria, Tony Blinken played a central role in a coup d'etat in Ukraine that saw a pro-Russia government overthrown in a U.S.-orchestrated color revolution with neo-fascist elements agitating on the ground.

At the time, he was ambivalent about sending lethal weapons to Ukraine, instead opting for economic pressure.

Tony Blinken: "We're working, as I said, to make sure that there's a cost exacted of Russia and indeed that it feels the pressure. That's what we're working on. And when it comes to military assistance, we're looking at it. The facts are these: Even if assistance were to go to Ukraine that would be very unlikely to change Russia's calculus or prevent an invasion."

Since then, fascist militias have been incorporated into Ukraine's armed forces. And Tony Blinken urged Trump to send them deadly weapons – something Obama had declined to do.

But Trump obliged.

The Third Offset

While the U.S. fueled wars in Syria and Ukraine, the Pentagon announced a major shift called the Third Offset strategy – a reference to the cold war era strategies the U.S. used to maintain its military supremacy over the Soviet Union.

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The Third Offset strategy shifted the focus from counterinsurgency and the war on terror to great power competition against China and Russia. It called for a technological revolution in warfighting capabilities, development of futuristic and autonomous weapons, swarms of undersea and airborne drones, hypersonic weapons, cyber warfare, machine-enhanced soldiers, and artificial intelligence making unimaginably complex battlefield decisions at speeds incomprehensible to the human mind. All of this would be predicated on the Pentagon deepening its relationship with Silicon Valley giants that it birthed decades before: Google and Facebook.

The author of the Third Offset, former undersecretary of defense Robert Work, is a partner of Flournoy and Blinken's at WestExec Advisors. And Flournoy has been a leading proponent of this dangerous new escalation .

In June, Flournoy published a lengthy commentary laying out her strategy called " Sharpening the U.S. Military's Edge: Critical Steps for the Next Administration ."

She warned that the United States is losing its military technological advantage and reversing that must be the Pentagon's priority. Without it, Flournoy warned that the U.S. might not be able to defeat China in Asia: "That technological investment is still very important for the United States to be able to offset what will be quantitative advantages and home theater advantages for a country like China if we ever had to deal with a conflict in Asia, in their backyard."

While Flournoy has called for ramping up U.S. military presence and exercises with allied forces in the region, she went so far as to call for the U.S. to increase its destructive capabilities so much that it could launch a blitzkrieg style-attack that would wipe out the entire Chinese navy and all civilian merchant ships in the South China Sea . Not only a blatant war crime but a direct attack on a nuclear power that would spell the third world war.

At the same time, Biden has announced he'll take an even more aggressive and confrontational stance against Russia , a position Flournoy shares: "We need to invest to ensure that we maintain the military edge that we will need in certain critical areas like cyber and electronic warfare and precision strike, to again underwrite deterrence, to make sure Vladimir Putin does not miscalculate and think that he can cross a border into Europe or cross a border and threaten us militarily."

As for ending the forever wars, Tony Blinken says not so fast: "Large scale, open-ended deployment of large standing US forces in conflict zones with no clear strategy should end and will end under his watch . But we also need to distinguish between, for example, these endless wars with the large scale open ended deployment of US forces with, for example, discreet, small-scale sustainable operations, maybe led by special forces, to support local actors In ending the endless wars I think we have to be careful to not paint with too broad a brush stroke."

The end of forever wars?

So Biden will end the forever wars, but not really end them. Secret wars that the public doesn't even know the U.S. is involved in – those are here to stay.

In fact, leaving teams of special forces in place throughout the Middle East is part and parcel of the Pentagon's shift away from counterinsurgency and towards great power competition.

The 2018 National Defense Strategy explains that, "Long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia are the principal priorities" and the U.S. will "consolidate gains in Iraq and Afghanistan while moving to a more resource-sustainable approach."

As for the catastrophic war on Yemen, Biden has said he'll end U.S. support; but in 2019, Michele Flournoy argued against ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia .

Biden pledged he will rejoin the Iran deal as a starting point for new negotiations. However, Trump's withdrawal from the deal discredited the Iranian reformists who seek engagement with the west and empowered the principlists who see the JCPOA as a deal with the devil.

In Latin America, Biden will revive the so-called anti-corruption campaigns that were used as a cover to oust the popular social democrat Brazilian president Lula da Silva.

His Venezuela policy appears little different from Trump's – sanctions and regime change.

In Central America, Biden has presided over a four billion dollar package to support corrupt right-wing governments and neoliberal privatization projects, fueling destabilization and sending vulnerable masses fleeing north to the United States.

Behind their rhetoric, Biden, Flournoy, and Blinken will seek nothing less than global supremacy , escalating a new and even more dangerous arms race that risks the destruction of humanity. That's what Joe Biden calls "decency" and "normalcy."

naughty.boy , 14 hours ago

deep state will bankrupt the USA with forever wars.

Distant_Star , 14 hours ago

Yes. As a bonus neither of these Deep State wretches has even seen a shot fired in anger. They are too "important" to be at risk.

[Nov 15, 2020] "What Syria withdrawal- There was never a Syria withdrawal," Jeffrey said

Notable quotes:
"... "Un hombre sin honor." ..."
Nov 15, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"What Syria withdrawal? There was never a Syria withdrawal," Jeffrey said.


" ... even as he praises the president's support of what he describes as a successful "realpolitik" approach to the region, he acknowledges that his team routinely misled senior leaders about troop levels in Syria.

"We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there," Jeffrey said in an interview. The actual number of troops in northeast Syria is "a lot more than" the roughly two hundred troops Trump initially agreed to leave there in 2019. Defense One

-------------

"We?" Who are "We?"

State Department people? Well, certainly some of those were involved.

But ... IMO it would not have been possible to deceive or mislead the WH and specifically the Commander in Chief without the active cooperation of CENTCOM, the JCS and OSD.

If they had not been participating in the lying, it would have been obvious in any number of interactions with President Trump that the president's understanding of troop numbers in Syria was not correct and that he was being deceived by "we." (whoever that was). That revelation evidently did not happen. The NSC staff should have detected the lack of truth in reported numbers. That it did not tells me that at least some of the NSC staff were disloyal to Trump. Obvious? Yes, but that is worth re-stating.

James Jeffrey is quite proud of his achievement in maintaining a "realpolik" stalemate in Syria, one that stymies both Russia and the Syrian government.

IMO opinion he is revealed by his own words as a treacherous back stabber. "Un hombre sin honor." pl

https://www.defenseone.com/threats/2020/11/outgoing-syria-envoy-admits-hiding-us-troop-numbers-praises-trumps-mideast-record/170012/


Polish Janitor , 14 November 2020 at 10:55 AM

This is exactly the result of Trump's lack of interest in fulfilling his original promise of ending the "forever wars" in the middle east. This is exactly the result of putting opelny-Democrat Jared Kushner (a lifelong member of Chabad-Lubavich network) and his ilk in charge of the middle east geopolitics.

It also clearly proves that the State Dep. is a monsterous autonomous entity with its own permanent objectives and agendas, independent of the WH. No matter what Trump wanted to achieve in the ME, the so-called Blob (or as Col. Lang here has coined as the "BORG") do what they will. You have to also remember that back in '17, career diplomats and high-ranking State Dep. officials sounded the alarm that Rex Tillerson was down-sizing the Department so much and that it was contrary to American interests abroad etc...fast forward to today, it would not have mattered how much down-sizing Tillerson actually managed to do, they (people like Jeffries) were still able to pursue their own agenda and undermine Trump's original promise of ending the forever wars in the middle east.

The liberal elites managed to 'allegedly' manipulate the election against a sitting president in favor of an highly unappealing candidate in Joe Biden. In all honesty, does anyone think the Blob/Borg would NOT undermine the president's agenda and follow their own permanent objectives aboard?

The Twisted Genius , 14 November 2020 at 11:10 AM

Trump should be furious about this. He should be firing everyone involved in the deception. Those involved don't belong in ANY administration. Was convincing Trump that he was getting the Syrian oil part of this despicable con? As you mentioned last night, this deception is probably also going on in Afghanistan. This is a clear sign of a totally dysfunctional nation security apparatus... Trump's national security apparatus. Could Trump find no one he could trust to carry out his orders? Or did he just not even care? He certainly wasn't up to the task.

However, our troop level in Syria has been widely and openly reported to be above the 200 level since Trump's initial announcement of a total pull out in December 2018. I thought it was odd when shortly after that it was announced that more troops were being sent in to facilitate the withdrawal of the 2,000 plus troops already there. We did reduce the level somewhat, but then we brought in mech infantry with their Bradleys to secure the oil fields and later more to counter the Russian patrols in northeast Syria. And isn't counting whatever we have in Tanf.

Fred , 14 November 2020 at 11:32 AM

TTG,

"He should be firing everyone involved in the deception"

He just fired Esper. "Trump's national security apparatus." You mean America's natonal security apparatus, the one that gave us LTC Vindman and that crew of Ambassadors, and the 'whistlebolower' Chief Justice Robert's wouldn't let any senator name nor ask questions about during the impeachment. You remember all that don't you? I'm sure the same cast of characters Biden would bring back if he succeeds in the rigged election would never do that to him.

JM Gavin , 14 November 2020 at 11:45 AM

COL(R) Mark Mitchell stated the following recently, regarding the duties and responsibilities of the SECDEF in response to POTUS directives. The comments were in regard to Acting SECDEF Miller (a longtime friend and colleague of Mitchell), but apply to any Cabinet or sub-Cabinet post:

"He [POTUS] may make decisions that other people disagree with. They have two options: they can do what he directs them to do, or after they've offered their advice, if they find it illegal, immoral, unethical, unadvisable, they can step down," retired Col. Mark Mitchell, who most recently served in the Pentagon as the principal deputy assistant defense secretary for special operations/low-intensity conflict.

Mitchell added that he resented the implication at the defense secretary should be expected to stand up to the president, or in his way, as the duly elected commander in chief.

"You either carry out your lawful orders or you resign," he said. "We don't get the option to 'stand up to him.' "(End of quote)

Unfortunately, President Trump made many poor personnel decisions, and selected people who believed they had the duty and right to work against the President from within the Administration. This has driven me nuts for the last four years, as I have watched senior civilian and uniformed leaders actively undermining the Commander-in-Chief. They weren't subtle about it. For whatever reason, they mostly got away with it.

To be clear, I am not writing this as a Trump supporter. As a career military professional, I have a duty to support the Commander-in-Chief, and obey lawful orders from the Commander-in-Chief.

It is very easy to play shell games with the BOG caps in the war zones.

JMG

Deap , 14 November 2020 at 11:53 AM

Looking forward to a reprise of Trump's former starring role in The Apprentice, and finally uttering yet again his immortal words: You're Fired!

The final days of Trump's first term are going to be awesome. Banish the Borg. BAMN. Put Biden's fingerprints on any re-hiring.

Typically a new CEO will ask for everyone's resignation, and select and cull according to new needs and new directions. Something Trump should have done, but he too was the apprentice in this office when his term began.

Nothing to stop Trump from doing this now in reverse, and finally cleaning out the dross that was dedicated to his administration's destruction. Better late than never. Our country deserves nothing less. These insider traitors deserve to have their termination for cause permanently be part in their career resumes.

j , 14 November 2020 at 12:33 PM

It appears that POTUS Trump once his re-election is affirmed, urgently needs to fire a large percentage of top-level ranks at the Pentagon, fire the CENTCOM CC and his staff, fire the JCS, close down the NSC until it's thoroughly bleached, and charge all of them under the UCMJ. Bust them down to slick-sleeves and show them the door. How many back-stabbing Vindman types remain within the NSC? They need to be fired and prosecuted under the UCMJ as well.

Robert G Spenser , 14 November 2020 at 01:29 PM

As a citizen I am having great difficulty not concluding that the US is showing all the signs of decline like the late Roman Republic.

James Jeffrey along with the rest of the herd that have run one agitprop disinformation scheme after another since the 2016 election are like the roman senators that had the intent to save the Republic but fatally weakened it by killing Caesar at its very center, in the Senate.

Biden's people are openly calling for even more internet censorship and continuing to rush out inherently dangerous mRNA vaccines without proper testing - and may force us to take it. Groups are starting to create a database of Trump supporters to enable censoring them where they work and live - what is this other than terrorism against half the voting population? If just five percent of the 70M that voted for Trump moves together in resistance then the new regime herd will be holding a tiger by is tail and with the election showing the people are split right down the middle I fail to see how we can avoid even much worse chaos the next four years. The American Republic is disintegrating while the herd is having a romp and thinks it is winning while they are its assassins.

I am sick at heart of this and fear for the future of my children whose standard of living opportunities are in free-fall.

JM Gavin , 14 November 2020 at 02:34 PM

Robert G Spenser,

As the saying goes:

Good times create soft men.

Soft men create hard times.

Hard times create hard men.

Hard men create good times.

Rinse, wash, repeat until your civilization starts to outsource the hard men.

JMG

Fredw , 14 November 2020 at 04:06 PM

We are shocked, SHOCKED! that military bureaucrats are acting in the same ways that they always have. Come on now. The job of president is to get all these people to work in concert to an extent adequate for getting things to come out mostly in our favor. None of this is unique to Trump. Nearly every president in my lifetime has had to learn to deal with these aspects of the military. Jimmy Carter trusted them to plan a rescue mission. They used navy pilots for a mission over the desert! With no extra to enable adaptation to events! Ronald Reagan sent a battleship to Lebanon and then found out the brass wouldn't take the risk of actually using it for anything. Not to mention the superbly uncoordinated near simultaneous invasion of Grenada. John Kennedy accepted a duplicitous projection of events for the bay of pigs. Bill Clinton got caught in Somalia. George W. got sucked into a strategically unplanned invasion of Iraq. Obama was told that an 18-month escalation would resolve Afghanistan. He believed it! Boy were they shocked when he actually enforced the deadline. This is not a criticism of any of those presidents. It is normal, however bizarre that may sound. My point is that they mostly get bit once and learn not to trust the military's own estimates of what they can or should do. Then they begin to do the job more adequately. They learn to pay attention to goals and to manage their resources. Trump does not seem capable of this kind of learning. The last months of an administration are not the time to suddenly discover the nature of the organizations you are leading. And in any case, there is no time left for learning how to get actual results.

Deap , 14 November 2020 at 04:54 PM

JFK never should have unionized the government workforce.

Pits existential self-interests against patriotic national interest, should these interests become in conflict. FDR warned against doing this. More attention needs to be paid to this fundamental national turning point.

What ills were cured by this act (EO) and has the cure become worse than the perceived disease. Must like term limits in California - the cure was 100 times worse than the original disease.

Entrenched political personalities come and go; entrenched and corrupted political systems are forever, because in the process they learned to self-perpetuate.

Much like HAL in the movie 2001.

Deap , 14 November 2020 at 04:57 PM

Name your favorite EO to strike down with an counter-mand EO, before a sitting president leaves office:
1. Anchor baby citizenship triggering chain migration
2. Unionized government workforce

Deap , 14 November 2020 at 05:27 PM

2016: Democrat Game Plan:

1. Use Democrat's standard politics of personal destruction to attack and harass any Trump appointments; make working for the Trump administration so undesirable none dare even ask for consideration.

2. Tie up the President's time with endless personal attacks, lies and investigations, so Trump has no time as elected Chief Executive to oversee and clean up valid government operations;

3. Take advantage of Trump's exclusively private sector experience to lull Trump into thinking entrenched government BORGs are loyal government employees, who serve only to help Trump carry out his Executive Office duties;

4. Leak like crazy; make things up if necessary that ensure the Trump administration narrative appears chaotic and dysfunctional. Claim anonymous sources that undermine positive functioning within Trump administration. Make everyone suspicious of everyone else.

5. Obliterate any recognition for the remarkable Trump administration accomplishments that occurred, regardless of all of the above.

6. Pout relentlessly because regardless of the above, the President and the GOP Senate appointed over 200 new federal judge and 3 new SCOTUS members.

7. In full public view, tear up the SOTU address listing remarkable administration accomplishments mouthing - these are all lies -- laying down the gauntlet for all out war.

8. Gin up pandemic hysteria to fill in any and all loopholes not yet covered by all of the above.

Democrat skullduggery may have effectively destroyed an temporal administration, but Trump Judiciary appointments are the equivalent of a very welcomed forever.

President Trump, you are missed already. But I suspect in short order it is you, who will not miss the office. You are enshrined forever - #45 as President of the United States of America. History will treat you far kinder than your current fellow citizens.

You broke up the Democrat plantation. You exposed the dark underbelly of the body politic. Mission accomplished. There is no going back.

J , 14 November 2020 at 07:27 PM

DHS head Chad Wolf is another anti-Trump in sheep's clothing that Trump needs to get rid of ASAP.

https://nypost.com/2020/11/13/dhs-boss-chad-wolf-defies-trump-order-to-fire-cyber-chief-chris-krebs/

james , 14 November 2020 at 08:21 PM

this sounds like the definition of a traitor to me - jeffery.... on the other hand one could say he is working for wall st and the mil complex and has done a good job... which is it??

Yeah, Right , 15 November 2020 at 12:24 AM

I don't understand this. Trump is the Commander in Chief, at any time he could have asked a straight-up question: How. Many. Troops. Do. We. Still. Have. In. Syria?

I find it astonishing that the military leadership would tell a lie to their Commander in Chief when the question itself leaves no wriggle-room.

Heck, Trump could has asked for a list of every single one of those brave 200 boys, and even if it included Name, Rank, and Serial Number that would still fit on a single letter-sized printout.

I can't understand how Jeffrey's and his band of "we's" could get away with this unless Trump wasn't paying any attention at all.

turcopolier , 15 November 2020 at 12:26 AM

Yeah, right

Yes. He trusted people as I would never have done.

Mike C , 15 November 2020 at 12:33 AM

Questions for the committee:

What legal recourse if any is there against Jeffery or his fellow travelers?

How might Trump "put a kink in the hose" to hobble a potential Biden admin from putting us back into these quagmires?

I'm not at all surprised to see MSM sniping now at Col. Macgregor.

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

Nov 08, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

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

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

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

[Nov 07, 2020] Why Trump did not start any new wars? May be the Blob was refusing to give him the authority to launch any original policy of their own

Nov 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ptb , Nov 7 2020 14:58 utc | 49

I would also add Bolton to complete the list of crazy-hawk Trump appointees.

While some credit is due to Trump not starting any wars, I have to think it was unintentional on Trump's part, as evidenced by the same list of ultra aggressive foreign policy advisors he appointed.

More likely, the subpar crop of new wars was the result of the foreign policy apparatus refusing to give his administration the authority to launch any original policy of their own. Venezuela, Iran, Yemen, Syria were continuations of existing policy, and sponsored by "respected" interests (respectively: by the Oil Industry, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and all of the above).

The biggest foreign policy initiative of all, cold war with China, is a long term bipartisan project.

Jackrabbit , Nov 7 2020 15:08 utc | 56

...Trump as peaceful is magical thinking after Trump's belligerent rhetoric and acts of war :

[Nov 07, 2020] Tramp role in Syria and Iraq

Nov 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Nov 7 2020 15:08 utc | 56

RSH's warning that Trump could still start a war should be taken very seriously. Trump has vowed that he will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. Will he leave office without ENSURING that they cannot?

Israel Warns Of Coming War With Iran If Biden Wins As Trump Calls

I don't think for a minute think that Zionist Biden will do anything to upset Israel. But the election of Biden is a convenient excuse for Trump to start a war (probably based on a false flag of some sort) that Biden (or Kamala-Hillary) will "inherit".

!!


Don Bacon , Nov 7 2020 15:14 utc | 57

@ pnyx #43
. . .on Biden. Just think of the warmongering role he played for the Iraq war. The Neocons would have an easier time with Biden than with Tronald
Yes. Biden is a Clintonite, Trump was anti-Clinton.
The US war in Iraq - Operation Iraqi Freedom - with its death, destruction and displacement has been rightly called the worst US foreign policy move ever.
The Clintons started it, and then promoted it with Biden's assistance as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
President Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act into law on October 31, 1998.
On December 16, 1998, President Bill Clinton announces he has ordered air strikes against Iraq because it refused to cooperate with United Nations (U.N.) weapons inspectors.
David , Nov 7 2020 15:35 utc | 66

Trump's foreign policies were remarkably different? How? He assassinated an Iranian general, which nearly had the US enter into a hot war with Iran, bombed Syria twice, put additional sanctions on Iran, Venezuela, Russia and the DPRK. Trump's State Department has successfully enacted regime change in Zimbabwe, Sudan, El Salvador, Chile, Honduras, Bolivia (Mike Pompeo congratulating Luis Arce on his win -- very suspicious), and is trying regime change in Hong Kong, Belarus, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Iran, Eritrea, and Zimbabwe again, and as of late, Nigeria.

You could argue that Trump wants Iran to be somewhat stronger so he can sell more weapons to his MIC buddies and profit that way, therefore he pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, and the weapons import/export sanctions on Iran expired. But that's a different and more brash method of managing Empire. It's different from Biden's "strategic de-escalation" policy with Iran via the Iran nuclear deal, but not that one that necessarily yields better results for Iran in the long term.

dave , Nov 7 2020 15:35 utc | 67

Calm down folks, the elected officials in the US have been puppets of the elite for the entire history of the country.
The problem we're facing is within the elite community and far above any government's control.

They didn't legalize drone striking "terrorists" any where on the globe by accident.
This means the elite are terrified of the fact that the internet and Trump both have exposed them for the morally bankrupt, greedy, mass murdering psychopaths they truly are.

The accidental presidency of Trump made them realize that their useful idiots(elected officials) where more idiots than useful and that they had to use the state sponsored monopolies in the press as well as their privately controlled publicly funded covert community to steer the narrative away from actual reality into their alternative commoditized version of reality.

Trump was never trying to defend America from the elite for the common man. He was trying to exploit the elite who had rejected him and his father for decades as well as cash in on their predicament in order to pay off his debts and start his own reality TV network.

I agree Trump was useful and informative but in the end he, like us is just along for the ride.

Don't do anything rash and don't for one second think a regime change in America is a rare occurrence. Remember the Kennedy's ?

The only way to win is to not become one of the elite's useful idiots by lashing out against another citizen. Poor and middle class only get the illusion they help decide policy.
The policy is decided and auctioned off within the billionaire funded think tanks and sent to the useful idiots in DC to be rubber stamped in order to trick you into thinking the legislative branch is legitimate. These people could f*ck up a two car parade and prove it over and over again.

Stay sane folks, the motives haven't changed in centuries and the elite are far more scared of us than they are the other elite's because they all know they're all cowards.

David , Nov 7 2020 15:37 utc | 69

In addition, considering Trump was supposedly a Russian puppet, Congress under his admin passed a bill which allowed the US to arm Ukraine against Russia even more.

GeorgeV , Nov 7 2020 15:39 utc | 70

Wonderful and thought provoking analysis of current political affairs b. However I would like to add that Biden and Trump are the products of political trends that have deep roots in modern US and world political affairs that have been ongoing for some 100 years or more. Biden and Trump did not occur in a vacuum. Both are products of the two world wars that were fought in the last century. More recently, the US since 1940 and continuing to the present day, has been actively preparing or fighting a major war somewhere on this planet. This development has in turn created a vast military and civilian bureaucracy that constantly needs to be fed a diet of real or imagined threats in order to survive.

[Nov 07, 2020] U.S. Foreign Policy is a Failure, Whoever's President

It is not a failure. It is struggle for Full Spectrum Dominance, whoever is the President.
Nov 06, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

The world recognizes what U.S. elites don't: the utter, total American failure to contain Covid-19 has damaged U.S. standing and will do so until the virus is controlled. Meanwhile, regional powers, China and Russia, cooperate and share resources, particularly vaccines. Cuba provides treatments, but the U.S. turns up its nose at Cuban medicine, even if it means more American covid patients die – this, though Cuba's pharmacopeia for this plague appears superior. China sends doctors and medicines across the globe. Russia opts for sane herd immunity – through vaccination. These countries act like adults. Not a good look for the U.S.

The Obama regime's deplorable trade and military "pivot to China," along with its sanctions against high-ranking Russians and Russian energy, financial and defense firms and the Trump regime's provocations, sanctions and insults aimed at both countries have now born fruit: There is talk of a military alliance between China and Russia. Both countries deny that such is in the offing, but the fact that it is even discussed reveals how effectively U.S. foreign policy has created enemies and united them. Even if they would have drawn closer anyway, China and Russia cannot ignore the advantage of teaming up in the face of U.S. hostility. A more idiotic approach than this hostility is scarcely imaginable. Remember, not too long ago the U.S. had little problem with its chief trading partner, China, and there were even reports some years back of actual military cooperation in Syria between the U.S. and Russia. All that is gone now, dissolved in a fog of deliberate ill-will.

So what are some of the absurd U.S. policies that have reaped this potential whirlwind? An utterly unnecessary trade war with China, with tariffs that were paid, not by China, but by importers and then passed on to American consumers. There is the Trump regime's assault on China's technology sector and its attempt to lockout Huawei from the 5G bonanza. Then there are the attacks on Russian business, like its deal to sell natural gas to Germany, attacks in which the U.S. insists Germany buy the much more expensive U.S. product to avoid becoming beholden to Russia. And of course, there are the constant mega-deals involving sales of U.S. weapons to anyone who might oppose China, Russia, North Korea or Iran.

Aggravating these economic assaults, the U.S. navy aggressively patrols the South China Sea, the Black Sea and more and more the Arctic Ocean, where Russia has already been since forever. Russia has a lengthy Siberian coast, making U.S. talk of Russia's so-called aggressive posture there just plain ludicrous. And now a NATO ally, Turkey, stirs the pot by egging on Azerbaijan in its war against Armenia, which has a defense treaty with Russia. Azerbaijan is famous for the oil fields of Baku.

Never has it been clearer that the U.S. deploys its military might to advance its corporations' interests, international law be damned. As General Smedley Butler wrote of his military service way back in the early 20 th century, he was "a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank Boys to collect revenues in," and on and on. Nothing has changed since them. It's only gotten worse. Indeed now we're in a position where it is Russia that abides by international law, while the U.S. flouts it, instead following something bogus it calls the "rules of the liberal international order."

The biggest and most consequential U.S. foreign policy failure involves nuclear weapons. Here the Trump regime has outdone all its predecessors. It withdrew the U.S. from the Intermediate Range Nuclear treaty, which banned land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and certain missile launchers and which it first signed in 1987. It withdrew from the Open Skies Treaty, inked in 1992. That agreement allowed aircraft to fly over the signatories' territory to monitor missile installations.

Trump has also made clear he intends to deep-six the 2010 New Start Treaty with Russia, which limits nuclear warheads, nuclear armed bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles and missile launchers. The Trump regime has made the ridiculous, treaty-killing demand that China participate in START talks. Why should it? China has 300 nuclear missiles, on a par with countries like the U.K. The U. S. and Russian have 6000 apiece. China's response? Sure we'll join START, as soon as the U.S. cuts its arsenal to 300. Naturally that went over like a lead balloon in Washington.

And now, lastly, the white house has urged nations that signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – which just recently received formal UN ratification – to withdraw their approval. The U.S. spouted doubletalk about the TPNW's dangers, in order to head off international law banning nuclear weapons, just as it has banned – and thus stigmatized – chemical weapons, cluster bombs and germ warfare. Doubtless the Trump regime's panic over the TPNW derives from its desire to "keep all options on the table" militarily, including the nuclear one.

What is the point here? To make the unthinkable thinkable, to make nuclear war easier to happen. The Pentagon appears delighted. Periodically military bigwigs are quoted praising new smaller nuclear missiles, developed not for deterrence, but for use. Indeed, scrapping deterrence policy – which has, insofar as it posits no first use, arguably been the only thing keeping humanity alive and the planet habitable since the dangerous dawn of the atomic era – has long been the dream of Pentagon promoters of "small, smart nuclear weapons" for "limited" nuclear wars. How these geniuses would control such a move from escalating into a wider nuclear war and planetary holocaust is never mentioned.

Before he assumed office, Trump reportedly shocked his advisors by asking, if we have nuclear weapons, why can't we use them? Only someone dangerously ignorant or profoundly lacking in basic human morality could ask such a question. Only someone eager to ditch the human-species-saving policy of no-first-strike nuclear deterrence but willing to risk nuclear extinction could flirt with such madness. Later in his presidency, Trump asserted that he could end the war in Afghanistan easily if he wanted, hinting that he meant nukes, but that he did not incline toward murdering 10 million people. Well, thank God for this shred of humanity.

Some assume a Biden presidency would chart a different course, but they may be counting their chickens before they're hatched. Biden has made very hostile noises about Russia, China and North Korea and has surrounded himself with neo-con hawks. He has so far made no promise to return to the nuclear negotiating table for anything other than START. Would he try to resuscitate the INF and Open Skies treaties? Would he end Trump regime blather aimed at scotching TPNW? Maybe. Or he may have imbibed so much anti-Russia and anti-China poison that he, like Trump, sees the absence of treaties as a green light for nuclear aggression.

Biden's official Foreign Policy Plan says that he regards the purpose of nuclear weapons as deterrence, thus endorsing this at best very flawed compromise for survival. That he, apparently unlike Trump, abjures a nuclear first strike is a huge relief, but how long will it last? The Pentagon has been very persuasive over many decades of center-right rule and there is no reason to assume that it will suddenly adopt a hands-off policy with Biden just because he favors nuclear deterrence. Some military-industrial-complex sachems regard the no-first-use principle as a mistake. Also, remember, Obama okayed a trillion-dollar nuclear arms upgrade. Biden was his vp. What about that? This is no minor, petty concern. Russia is armed to the teeth with supersonic nuclear weapons and China has concluded from U.S. belligerence that it better arm up too. We are in dangerous waters here. Let's hope they don't become radioactive.

Eve Ottenberg is a novelist and journalist. Her latest book is Birdbrain . She can be reached at her website . New from
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[Nov 06, 2020] The EU bureaucracy and individual member states are using any, even the most absurd, reasons to enhance something they call 'containment' of Russia.

Nov 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Nov 5 2020 18:43 utc | 127

In Lavrov's interview with Kommersant which was mostly about the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, he was asked about the US Election and then about the dire state of relations with the EU. Lavrov reiterates Russia's position:

"I repeat once again that Russia will respect the choice of the American people, and that we are ready to establish constructive cooperation with the winner of the race for the White House, regardless of his party affiliation. However, considering the current circumstances, we realistically assess the prospects of bilateral cooperation and do not expect too much. Anyhow, let's wait for the voting results. We don't have long to wait."

Yes, the interview was done prior to the vote counting anarchy. IMO, we can substitute the Outlaw US Empire for the EU in Lavrov's answer about the current crisis in relations:

"Russia's relations with the European Union are in crisis – and it is not our fault. The EU bureaucracy and individual member states are using any, even the most absurd, reasons to enhance something they call 'containment' of Russia.

"New sanctions, illegitimate from the international law perspective, are being imposed. Considering the number of sanctions imposed on our citizens under far-fetched pretexts, the EU is second only to the United States. The European media continue a broad anti-Russia campaign. In trade and economy, the Brussels bureaucracy is stepping up various protectionist policies, violating WTO rules and introducing its openly politicised rules of the game as they go.

"At the same time, we are being told that Russia can "earn" the right to have normal relations with the EU by changing its behaviour. This cynicism is absolutely off the scale."

Lavrov repeats it's up to the EU to alter its behavior:

"[O]ur European colleagues must clearly understand that any interaction is only possible on an honest and equal basis and respect for each other's interests. We will not allow any one-sided games here. There will be no unilateral goodwill gestures on our part. We still hope that a rational approach and common sense will prevail, both in Brussels and in member capitals. We are ready to wait for that as well."

IMO, that wait will last months.

[Nov 06, 2020] Did the Iraq War Cause the Great Recession?'

Highly recommended!
Iran war might be too much for the US economy
Apr 07, 2013 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile ,

April 7, 2013 at 12:46 am
Western hypocrisy revealed 10 years after the event in today's Independent: "Tony Blair and Iraq: The damning evidence" . And they go on and on about those wicked, evil Russians and their tyrannical leader causing death and destruction Syria by their "support" of the Assad government whilst the West arms the "freedom fighters" there.

[Nov 03, 2020] Weaponising Human Rights- Can the Magnitsky Act deny due process- – Arena

Nov 03, 2020 | arena.org.au

WEAPONISING HUMAN RIGHTS: CAN THE MAGNITSKY ACT DENY DUE PROCESS?

William Browder at US senate hearing (screenshot from video)

ARENA ONLINE

LUCY KOMISAR

29 OCT 2020

The Australian parliament seems about to approve a 'human rights' law that would establish the ability to exert arbitrary state power over individuals in other countries who have been accused of human rights violations. Ironically, this law gives the accused no day in court, and no chance to see charges or evidence, confront accusers, present a defence or have a ruling made by an authority other than the prosecution.

The law is called a Magnitsky Act. Kimberley Kitching, a Labor senator from Victoria, has given notice that she will introduce the bill in December. If it's like the other Magnitsky Acts introduced in half a dozen countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, it will itself violate human rights when it is weaponised to target international adversaries. How did Australia come to consider a law that violates human rights? And how does it weaponise 'human rights' to target international adversaries? How come it isn't being critically questioned by the media? How come it enjoys bipartisan support ? Here is the backstory Australians don't know. I call it the Browder Hoax.

In 1998 William Browder, an American investor, gave up his passport to become British, which put him on the US Internal Revenue Service list of ' tax expatriates ', as the United Kingdom, unlike the United States, doesn't tax profits on offshore holdings. This was convenient because from the mid-1990s he invested in Russian shares, becoming, he says, the largest foreign holder of Russian stocks. The shares were moved offshore to tax-free British Virgin Island shells .

In a 2007 scam involving collusive lawsuits ('You cheated me, you must pay'; 'Yes, I agree, I will pay'), Browder's shell companies claimed to the Russian Treasury that they had to pay out all their 2006 profits and requested refunds of all taxes paid in 2006: $230 million. This was known as the tax-refund fraud.

The victim of the scam was the Russian Treasury, though Browder first lied to the Financial Times that his companies had been targeted by crooked Russian officials who were after the companies' assets. This, however, was rather unlikely, as the companies themselves were participants in the scam, and Browder later admitted in a US federal court deposition that his companies had no assets to go after.

Browder would then claim that the shells were stolen by an unrelated criminal operation, but evidence raises questions about that. His trustee, HSBC (as confirmed by the HSBC comptroller in US federal court) , said in July 2007 that it needed $7 million for legal fees to recover stolen companies, but Browder wrote in his book he didn't know that they were stolen till October of that year.

Browder declares that his 'lawyer' Sergei Magnitsky, hired in 2007 (and really his accountant since 1997), discovered the scam and was jailed because of it, and then beaten to death when he wouldn't recant. However, Browder never provided evidence of this, and neither do Magnitsky's pre-arrest testimon i es , which list him as an auditor. In fact, the scam was first revealed in April 2008 by a Russian, Rimma Starova , the figurehead director of a shell company that took over the companies, and reported in July by the New York Times and the Russian paper Vedomosti . Magnitsky didn't allude to it in testimony until October.

Magnitsky was named as a fraud collaborator by the scam's operative, Viktor Markelov, in the Russian trial that sent Markelov to prison.

In fact, the whole Magnitsky hoax was invented two years after the accountant's 2009 death (due to terrible prison medical care) when Browder needed to block the Russians from using Interpol to arrest him and return him for trial over $100,000 in tax evasion (he falsely claimed that he hired the disabled and invested locally) and illicit stock buys of Gazprom, the energy conglomerate whose share sales in Russia were then restricted to Russian citizens (he used cut-out companies with nominee owners). Browder admitted the 'disabled' ruse in his US court deposition.

Browder's public statements to Chatham House , London, and University of San Diego Law School in the two years after Magnitsky's death said nothing about his being beaten. Browder invented the story that Magnitsky was beaten to death by eight riot guards to promote the Magnitsky Act in the United States to block the Russians' tax-evasion pursuit. The Physicians for Human Rights in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to whom he gave all his evidence, contradicts the beating claim, but the 'attack' is nevertheless cited in the US law.

Thus the 2012 US 'Magnitsky Act', formally known as the Russia and Moldova Jackson–Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act 2012, sanctioned dozens of Russians that Browder said, without evidence, were responsible for the death of his claimed 'lawyer' -- that is, his accountant, Magnitsky. They were low-level officials, tax investigators, court officers, and medical and prison staff. It was a stretch to say that investigators looking into tax evasion overseen by an accountant were responsible for his death in detention.

In fact, the European Court of Human Rights ruled last year that, 'The Russians had good reason to arrest Sergei Magnitsky for Hermitage tax evasion'. It said: 'The accusations were based on documentary evidence relating to the payment of taxes by those companies and statements by several disabled persons who had confessed to sham work for the two companies. One of them testified that he had been in contact with Mr Magnitskiy, had received money from him and had assisted him in finding other sham employees. He also said that Mr Magnitskiy had told him what to say if questioned by the authorities and had asked him to participate in a tax dispute as a witness'.

None of the targeted people were given a chance to answer the charges. When former Interior Ministry tax investigator Pavel Karpov brought a defamation case in London against Browder for accusing him of the murder of Magnitsky, the judge ruled that he didn't have standing, because he didn't have a UK reputation to defend. However, the judge said there was no justification for the charge. He said, 'nothing in this judgment is intended to suggest that, if the Defendants were to continue to publish unjustified defamatory material about the Claimant, the Court would be powerless to act'. It was the only time any of the targets had anything close to due process in a court of law.

The US act was expanded to sanction human rights violators in any country of the world. Browder has had it passed in half a dozen countries, and is lobbying for an Australian version. Putting Magnitsky's name on a law builds his wall against Russian justice. But the so-called 'human rights' law has dangerous implications for the civil societies of democratic countries.

It violates due process of the law. People accused of crimes in Australia have the right to hear the charges against them, to have evidence presented in court, to challenge or refute the evidence and if found guilty to be punished according to law. Should people accused of crimes in countries other than Australia be charged here while being denied those rights?

Michael McFaul, US ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014 and a friend of Browder's, writes in his book From Cold War to Hot Peace that before the Magnitsky Act the United States had already put Russians on a sanctions list. 'I was the one that ran that decision-making process in the government. And we did that. And we don't need the Magnitsky Act to deny people visas to come to the United States of America.' But, he said, Browder wanted a more public action: 'He said that wasn't good enough -- we needed to do this publicly' -- with Magnitsky's name on the bill. McFaul went on:

'Bill and I had a philosophical disagreement. I did not believe that the U.S. government should be able to seize individuals' private property without due process. They should have the right to defend themselves in a court of law. Bill disagreed. He vowed to push on with his campaign in Congress. I wished him luck'.

In fact, the Magnitsky Act is not about human rights, which might have made the due-process issue salient. It is the weaponisation of human rights not only to benefit Browder but to attack declared adversaries. The Magnitsky Acts are now added to an arsenal of sanctions that includes economic sanctions against a country for 'crimes' attributed to their governments, though the crimes are not adjudicated by any international tribunals, which would provide due process. Though the Magnitsky Act was devised by Browder to attack Russia, Australian parliamentarians appear to be aiming it at China, which follows the United States' escalating campaign against that nation. Most of the 160 witness statements filed with the foreign affairs subcommittee considering the law came from invited witnesses attacking Beijing. Browder was one of a handful invited to give live testimony. Critics of the bill were not. Later, former senior diplomat Tony Kevin was given a chance to oppose the law in a statement and a hearing . In fact, the Australian parliament did its best to prevent critics of the proposed law from expressing their views even in print. I filed an extensive comment exposing Browder's falsehoods that was largely redacted , with links to documents blocked .

After I responded to a direct attack on me by Browder, the subcommittee refused to post my response.

One must be careful about the models one constructs. This law is aimed only at people in other countries, since Australian law guarantees due process to anyone charged in Australia. How can Australia claim jurisdiction over crimes in other countries? Would it accept other countries claiming jurisdiction over crimes alleged in Australia? This law would deprive people charged in other countries of rights enjoyed in Australia. That challenges Australia's claims to be a country that honours the rule of law. In effect, the proposed law is not aimed at people because they are human rights violators (such as some police in the United States or France) but because they are political enemies (officials in Russia and Iran). This damages the legitimate worldwide human rights movement by allowing targeted governments to dismiss charges as politically motivated. And in many cases, they would be right.

Beyond that, there may be another harmful effect. Authoritarian right-wing political movements are growing in the world. Imagine what any of their governments could do with a Star Chamber law bereft of due process that accuses and punishes political targets. They could say that they are just copying the West. The precedent is poor. Back in 2001, George W. Bush's government pushed the UN General Assembly to adopt a resolution requiring all member states to pass anti-terror laws, and this rapidly became an open invitation for various regimes to bring in oppressive laws, with far-reaching consequences. The Magnitsky Act risks giving more tools to authoritarian regimes.

For more about the Browder hoax, see the 100Reporters investigative website .

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Lucy Komisar is an investigative journalist who writes about the secret underbelly of the global financial system -- offshore banking and corporate secrecy -- and its links to corporate crime; tax evasion by the corporations and the very rich; empowerment of dictators and oligarchs; bribery and corruption; drug and arms trafficking; and terrorism. She was the winner in 2010 of the Gerald Loeb, National Press Club, Sigma Delta Chi, and National Headliner awards in the United States for her exposé of Ponzi-schemer Allen Stanford, which was printed by the Miami Herald . The Loeb award is America's the United States' most prestigious prize for financial journalism. @lucykomisar

More articles by Lucy Komisar

CATEGORISED: ARENA ONLINE

TAGGED: HUMAN RIGHTS , SECURITY

ADD COMMENT

[Oct 26, 2020] as for what happened in Russia during the breaking up of the USSR and the transition of Russia during the 1990's - one could argue the agenda of the Harvard plan for Russia was to exploit russia for it's resource rich territory and install people like yeltsin who would happily go along with this madness

There are now much stronger arguments to believe that both Harvard mafia players and Browder were puppets of certain intelligence agencies.
Notable quotes:
"... Just how much this changed is partly witnessed in the life of bill browder - a person well known to most here... so, clearly russia made changes to try to protect itself from the encouraged kleptocracy that was in full swing in the early 1990s ..."
"... You mention Bill Browder. He is the grandson of Earl Browder, General Secretary of the Communist Party USA from 1930-1945. It is now freely admitted that Earl was always in the employ of the FBI. Bill simply continues the family business, which is Get Russia. The odds that Bill is an independent actor and is not working for .gov are same as odds that Easter Bunny is real. ..."
Oct 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

james , Oct 25 2020 0:16 utc | 35

@ 26 eric... thanks... unfortunately it seems michael hudson hasn't really commented on russia in any significant way unless one goes back 5 years or so... i wonder how things have changed since?? here is a link to the articles that top up using russia as the search term - https://michael-hudson.com/?s=russia

i enjoyed the paul craig roberts - michael hudson article from 2019 on pcr's website... again, i am not informed enough to make an informed comment on pcr's conclusions from march of 2019... he and however much of the article hudson contributed - might be exactly right, especially in the conclusions of the 3rd to last paragraph in the article.. i don't know... thanks for the ongoing conversation..

@ Jen | Oct 24 2020 23:04 utc | 29 / 31.. thanks jen.. i haven't been to marks website in a long time! i recall moscow exile.. is he still posting their?? regarding central banks and nabiullina the head of russias central bank... i am not sure how many know this but the position of being the head of a central bank in any country is not a position that is decided upon by the country itself, or at least not in any democratic way... and the country is supposed to not get involved in the politics of it either as i understand it... instead these people are suggested in some other way - not elected - and while they do have to work with the political leadership - they can't be gotten rid of easily as i understand it.. i think a lot of this has to do with the way the international institutions work and how if a country wants to be a part of this same international system of money, they need to accept the structure as it is opaquely set up as... thus the central banks are under specific guidelines that they have to follow that comes from somewhere outside the actual country.... i would love someone to correct me on all this, but it is my present understanding of how this particular system works... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_bank

As for what happened in Russia during the breaking up of the USSR and the transition of Russia during the 1990's - one could argue the agenda of the Harvard plan for Russia was to exploit russia for it's resource rich territory and install people like Yletsin who would happily go along with this madness..

Just how much this changed is partly witnessed in the life of bill browder - a person well known to most here... so, clearly russia made changes to try to protect itself from the encouraged kleptocracy that was in full swing in the early 1990s ... just how much they have managed to ween themselves off private finance - i have no idea... it sounds like they are in the same boat as the rest of the planet in being beholden to private finance....

Of course private verses public finance is a confusing topic that keeps on getting revisited here at moa and for good reason... i don't really know how all this interfaces with everything else.. i appreciate erics particular vantage and am curious to hear of others viewpoint as well.. thanks jen.. i have some other comments to read now on this topic from H.Schmatz @ 28

oldhippie , Oct 25 2020 3:49 utc | 49
James @ 35

You mention Bill Browder. He is the grandson of Earl Browder, General Secretary of the Communist Party USA from 1930-1945. It is now freely admitted that Earl was always in the employ of the FBI. Bill simply continues the family business, which is Get Russia. The odds that Bill is an independent actor and is not working for .gov are same as odds that Easter Bunny is real.

james , Oct 25 2020 4:42 utc | 51
... ... ..

@ old hippie... yes, i was aware of that - thanks.. if you haven't seen it yet - the movie the Russian guy made on Browder is quite good - worth the watch, but i think you have to pay for it now.. there was a time where you could watch it for free... yes indeed, the son worked or works for the same folks as the father did...here is a link to the movie.. http://magnitskyact.com/

here is an interesting link that i found just looking for a link to the movie... if you haven't watched the movie, this is a good start and covers it from a particular angle..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOx78CBq0Ck

Earl Browder was an interesting dude who led an interesting life..

H.Schmatz , Oct 25 2020 11:33 utc | 63
I have not yet read the whole transcript of Putin´s long intervention in the Valdai Discussion Club, and thus, I do not know how deep he went about last frenzy on "regime change" intends in the post-Soviet space, but in case he did not put it clear enough, background of the recent explosions of regime change intends in countries surrounding Russia ( Spoiler: it was all there in a 2019 Reand Corporation file...)

US plans to remove Russia from post-Soviet space

[Oct 21, 2020] How Trump Got Played By The Military-Industrial Complex by Akbar Shahid Ahmed

Highly recommended!
Tramp was essentially the President from military industrial complex and Israel lobby. So he was not played. That's naive. He followed the instructions.
Oct 21, 2020 | www.huffpost.com

On March 20, 2018, President Donald Trump sat beside Saudi crown prince Muhammed bin Salman at the White House and lifted a giant map that said Saudi weapons purchases would support jobs in "key" states -- including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and Ohio, all of which were crucial to Trump's 2016 election victory .

"Saudi Arabia has been a very great friend and a big purchaser of equipment but if you look, in terms of dollars, $3 billion, $533 million, $525 million -- that's peanuts for you. You should have increased it," Trump said to the prince, who was (and still is) overseeing a military campaign in Yemen that has deployed U.S. weaponry to commit scores of alleged war crimes.

Trump has used his job as commander-in-chief to be America's arms-dealer-in-chief in a way no other president has since Dwight Eisenhower, as he prepared to leave the presidency, warned in early 1961 of the military-industrial complex's political influence. Trump's posture makes sense personally ― this is a man who regularly fantasizes about violence, usually toward foreigners ― and he and his advisers see it as politically useful, too. The president has repeatedly appeared at weapons production facilities in swing states, promoted the head of Lockheed Martin using White House resources, appointed defense industry employees to top government jobs in an unprecedented way and expanded the Pentagon's budget to near-historic highs ― a guarantee of future income for companies like Lockheed and Boeing.

Trump is "on steroids in terms of promoting arms sales for his own political benefit," said William Hartung, a scholar at the Center for International Policy who has tracked the defense industry for decades. "It's a targeted strategy to get benefits from workers in key states."

In courting the billion-dollar industry, Trump has trampled on moral considerations about how buyers like the Saudis misuse American weapons, ethical concerns about conflicts of interest and even part of his own political message, the deceptive claim that he is a peace candidate. He justifies his policy by citing job growth, but data from Hartung , a prominent analyst, shows he exaggerates the impact. And Trump has made clear that a major motivation for his defense strategy is the possible electoral benefit it could have.

Next month's election will show if the bargain was worth it. As of now, it looks like Trump's bet didn't pay off ― for him, at least. Campaign contribution records, analysts in swing states and polls suggest arms dealers have given the president no significant political boost. The defense contractors, meanwhile, are expected to continue getting richer, as they have in a dramatic way under Trump.

Playing Corporate Favorites

Trump has thrice chosen the person who decides how the Defense Department spends its gigantic budget. Each time, he has tapped someone from a business that wants those Pentagon dollars. Mark Esper, the current defense secretary, worked for Raytheon; his predecessor, Pat Shanahan, for Boeing; and Trump's first appointee, Jim Mattis, for General Dynamics, which reappointed him to its board soon after he left the administration.

Of the senior officials serving under Esper, almost half have connections to military contractors, per the Project on Government Oversight. The administration is now rapidly trying to fill more Pentagon jobs under the guidance of a former Trump campaign worker, Foreign Policy magazine recently revealed ― prioritizing political reasons and loyalty to Trump in choosing people who could help craft policy even under a Joe Biden presidency.

Such personnel choices are hugely important for defense companies' profit margins and risk creating corruption or the impression of it. Watchdog groups argue Trump's handling of the hiring process is more evidence that lawmakers and future presidents must institute rules to limit the reach of military contractors and other special interests.

"Given the hundreds of conflicts of interest flouting the rule of law in the Trump administration , certainly these issues have gotten that much more attention and are that much more salient now than they were four years ago," said Aaron Scherb, the director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, a nonpartisan good-government group.

The theoretical dangers of Trump's approach became a reality last year, when a former employee for the weapons producer Raytheon used his job at the State Department to advocate for a rare emergency declaration allowing the Saudis and their partner the United Arab Emirates to buy $8 billion in arms ― including $2 billion in Raytheon products ― despite congressional objections. As other department employees warned that Saudi Arabia was defying U.S. pressure to behave less brutally in Yemen, former lobbyist Charles Faulkner led a unit that urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to give the kingdom more weapons. Pompeo pushed out Faulkner soon afterward, and earlier this year, the State Department's inspector general criticized the process behind the emergency declaration for the arms.

Red Crescent medics walk next to bags containing the bodies of victims of Saudi-linked airstrikes on a Houthi detention cente MOHAMED AL-SAYAGHI / REUTERS
Red Crescent medics walk next to bags containing the bodies of victims of Saudi-linked airstrikes on a Houthi detention center in Yemen on Sept. 1, 2019. The Saudis military campaign in Yemen has relied on U.S. weaponry to commit scores of alleged war crimes.

Even Trump administration officials not clearly connected to the defense industry have shown an interest in moves that benefit it. In 2017, White House economic advisor Peter Navarro pressured Republican lawmakers to permit exports to Saudi Arabia and Jared Kushner, the president's counselor and son-in-law, personally spoke with Lockheed Martin's chief to iron out a sale to the kingdom, The New York Times found.

Subscribe to the Politics email. From Washington to the campaign trail, get the latest politics news.

When Congress gave the Pentagon $1 billion to develop medical supplies as part of this year's coronavirus relief package, most of the money went to defense contractors for projects like jet engine parts instead, a Washington Post investigation showed .

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"It's a very close relationship and there's no kind of sense that they're supposed to be regulating these people," Hartung said. "It's more like they're allies, standing shoulder to shoulder."

Seeking Payback

In June 2019, Lockheed Martin announced that it would close a facility that manufactures helicopters in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, and employs more than 450 people. Days later, Trump tweeted that he had asked the company's then-chief executive, Marillyn Hewson, to keep the plant open. And by July 10, Lockheed said it would do so ― attributing the decision to Trump.

The president has frequently claimed credit for jobs in the defense industry, highlighting the impact on manufacturing in swing states rather than employees like Washington lobbyists, whose numbers have also grown as he has expanded the Pentagon's budget. Lockheed has helped him in his messaging: In one instance in Wisconsin, Hewson announced she was adding at least 45 new positions at a plant directly after Trump spoke there, saying his tax cuts for corporations made that possible.

Trump is pursuing a strategy that the arms industry uses to insulate itself from political criticism. "They've reached their tentacles into every state and many congressional districts," Scherb of Common Cause said. That makes it hard for elected officials to question their operations or Pentagon spending generally without looking like they are harming their local economy.

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, a Democrat who represents Coatesville, welcomed Lockheed's change of course, though she warned, "This decision is a temporary reprieve. I am concerned that Lockheed Martin and [its subsidiary] Sikorsky are playing politics with the livelihoods of people in my community."

The political benefit for Trump, though, remains in question, given that as president he has a broad set of responsibilities and is judged in different ways.

"Do I think it's important to keep jobs? Absolutely," said Marcel Groen, a former Pennsylvania Democratic party chair. "And I think we need to thank the congresswoman and thank the president for it. But it doesn't change my views and I don't think it changes most people's in terms of the state of the nation."

With polls showing that Trump's disastrous response to the health pandemic dominates voters' thoughts and Biden sustaining a lead in surveys of most swing states , his argument on defense industry jobs seems like a minor factor in this election.

Hartung of the Center for International Policy drew a parallel to President George H.W. Bush, who during his 1992 reelection campaign promoted plans for Taiwan and Saudi Arabia to purchase fighter jets produced in Missouri and Texas. Bush announced the decisions at events at the General Dynamics facility in Fort Worth, Texas, and the McDonnell Douglas plant in St. Louis that made the planes. That November, as Bill Clinton defeated him, he lost Missouri by the highest margin of any Republican in almost 30 years and won Texas by a slimmer margin than had become the norm for a GOP presidential candidate.

President Donald Trump greets then-Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson at the Derco Aerospace Inc. plant in Milwaukee on July MANDEL NGAN VIA GETTY IMAGES
President Donald Trump greets then-Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson at the Derco Aerospace Inc. plant in Milwaukee on July 12, 2019. Trump does not appear to be winning his political bet that increased defense spending would help his political fortunes.

Checking The Receipts

The defense industry can't control whether voters buy Trump's arguments about his relationship with it. But it could, if it wanted to, try to help him politically in a more direct way: by donating to his reelection campaign and allied efforts.

Yet arms manufacturers aren't reciprocating Trump's affection. A HuffPost review of Federal Election Commission records showed that top figures and groups at major industry organizations like the National Defense Industrial Association and the Aerospace Industries Association and at Lockheed, Trump's favorite defense firm, are donating this cycle much as they normally do: giving to both sides of the political aisle, with a slight preference to the party currently wielding the most power, which for now is Republicans. (The few notable exceptions include the chairman of the NDIA's board, Arnold Punaro, who has given more than $58,000 to Trump and others in the GOP.)

Data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that's the case for contributions from the next three biggest groups of defense industry donors after Lockheed's employees.

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One smaller defense company, AshBritt Environmental, did donate $500,000 to a political action committee supporting Trump ― prompting a complaint from the Campaign Legal Center, which noted that businesses that take federal dollars are not allowed to make campaign contributions. Its founder told ProPublica he meant to make a personal donation.

For weapons producers, backing both parties makes sense. The military budget will have increased 29% under Trump by the end of the current fiscal year, per the White House Office of Management and Budget. Biden has said he doesn't see cuts as "inevitable" if he is elected, and his circle of advisers includes many from the national security world who have worked closely with ― and in many cases worked for ― the defense industry.

And arms manufacturers are "busy pursuing their own interests" in other ways, like trying to get a piece of additional government stimulus legislation, Hartung said ― an effort that's underway as the Pentagon's inspector general investigates how defense contractors got so much of the first coronavirus relief package.

Meanwhile, defense contractors continue to have an outsize effect on the way policies are designed in Washington through less political means. A recent report from the Center for International Policy found that such companies have given at least $1 billion to the nation's most influential think tanks since 2014 ― potentially spending taxpayer money to influence public opinion. They have also found less obvious ways to maintain support from powerful people, like running the databases that many congressional offices use to connect with constituents, Scherb of Common Cause said.

"This goes into a much bigger systemic issue about big money in politics and the role of corporations versus the role of Americans," Scherb said.

Given its reach, the defense industry has little reason to appear overtly partisan. Instead, it's projecting confidence despite the generally dreary state of the global economy: Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun has said he expects similar approaches from either winner of the election, arguing even greater Democratic control and the rise of less conventional lawmakers isn't a huge concern.

In short, whoever is in the White House, arms dealers tend to do just fine.

[Oct 19, 2020] New report shows more than $1B from war industry and govt. going to top 50 think tanks

Highly recommended!
Oct 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard Steven Hack , Oct 17 2020 23:20 utc | 76

New report shows more than $1B from war industry and govt. going to top 50 think tanks
Esper's speech demonstrates a confluence of policies, ideas, and funds that permeate through the system, and are by no means unique to a single service, think tank, or contractor.

First, Esper consistently situated his future expansion plans in a need to adapt to "an era of great power competition." CNAS is one of the think tanks leading the charge in highlighting the threat from Beijing.

They also received at least $8,946,000 from 2014-2019 from the U.S. government and defense contractors, including over $7 million from defense contractors like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Huntington Ingalls, General Dynamics, and Boeing who would stand to make billions if the 500-ship fleet were enacted.

It's all about the money. Foreign and domestic policy is always all about the money, either directly or indirectly. Of course, the ultimate goal is power - or more precisely, the ultimate goal is relief of the fear of death, which drives every single human's every action, and only power can do that, and in this world only money can give you power (or so the chimpanzees believe.)

[Oct 19, 2020] The endpoint is to weaken Russia and sabotaging its economy. Less income through oil and gas exports means less money for weapons, which affects Russia's operations beyond its borders, less money for hospitals, education, welfare etc. increasing domestic instability etc.

Oct 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Et Tu , Oct 18 2020 10:48 utc | 111

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

The endpoint is to weaken Russia and sabotaging its economy. Less income through oil and gas exports means less money for weapons, which affects Russia's operations beyond its borders, less money for hospitals, education, welfare etc. increasing domestic instability etc.
Diplomatically Russia is also weakened by having its reputation tarnished, regardless of whether it deserves it or not.

In order to get to the King, the pieces standing in front of it must be either taken out or moved out of the way. Sanctions, informational and economic warfare are the only available pieces on the chess board, short of direct military confrontation.

[Oct 14, 2020] Trump's latest arms sales to Taiwan aimed at winning votes by 'getting tough' on China but risks war -- RT Op-ed

Oct 14, 2020 | www.rt.com

Trump's latest arms sales to Taiwan aimed at winning votes by 'getting tough' on China but risks war Finian Cunningham Finian Cunningham is an award-winning journalist. For over 25 years, he worked as a sub-editor and writer for The Mirror, Irish Times, Irish Independent and Britain's Independent, among others. 14 Oct, 2020 14:56 / Updated 3 hours ago Get short URL Trump's latest arms sales to Taiwan aimed at winning votes by 'getting tough' on China but risks war Five US-made F16 jets fly over the Presidential Office during Taiwan's National Day. 10.10.2020 TAIPEI, TAIWAN © Getty Images / Walid Berrazeg / SOPA Images / LightRocket 17 Follow RT on RT In a reckless provocation to China, the Trump administration has given notice of three major arms deals with Taiwan. The rocket launcher and missiles on offer are advanced attack systems. Beijing is infuriated and vows to respond.

The timing of the weapons deals strongly suggests a calculated move by the Trump White House to deliberately antagonize China. After all, the Republican president and his Democrat rival have been sparring over which one is tougher towards Beijing. Riling up China would therefore play into President Donald Trump's hawkish posturing.

With recent opinion polls showing Trump losing ground to Joe Biden only three weeks from the ballot, it looks like the incumbent is throwing everything including the kitchen sink to boost his re-election chances. Announcing sped-up troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, as well as a touted nuclear arms agreement with Russia (dismissed by Moscow as overblown), seems to be part of a last-gasp effort by the Trump campaign to scrape up votes.

But offensive weapons sales to Taiwan is taking electioneering to recklessly dangerous levels. Trump may be betting that China will huff and puff and then a turn blind eye, thereby permitting him to make political gain without any real damage done – like starting a war.

READ MORE Trump's claim he'll 'make China pay' is more pre-election saber-rattling and he'll up the ante even further over next three weeks Trump's claim he'll 'make China pay' is more pre-election saber-rattling and he'll up the ante even further over next three weeks

It's more precarious than that. The Trump administration has been using Taiwan as a catspaw against China for too long. The latest weapons deals being proposed are just part of a slew of advanced armaments that the Trump White House has overseen in its determination to aggravate Beijing.

The moves by the Trump administration to increase supply of offensive weapons systems to Taiwan are unprecedented. Since Washington formally broke ties with Taiwan in 1979, as part of its One China policy to placate Beijing's territorial claims, previous administrations have limited arms sales to the breakaway island to "defensive" armaments.

Under Trump, however, Washington has signaled it is abandoning its One China policy by explicitly moving towards supporting Taiwan and its separatist position. Selling offensive missiles, torpedoes, anti-ship mines and F-16s to Taiwan over the past year alone is letting China know that the US is threatening to back the island in an armed confrontation with the mainland.

In recent months, the Trump administration has sent the most senior US officials on high-profile visits to Taiwan since 1979. Last month, Kelly Craft, the American ambassador to the UN, declared support for Taiwan to have official representation at the world body. Those high-level state acknowledgements have coincided with Washington sending high-powered military forces to the Taiwan Strait in the form of warships and nuclear-capable B-52 bombers.

ALSO ON RT.COM Zizek: Covid crisis sparked fear of communism & China's rise as superpower. But best way to prevent communism is to FOLLOW China

These provocative moves have been met by China escalating its military forces in a show of strength to underpin its self-declared right to retake Taiwan, which Beijing views as a renegade state since the 1949 civil war when the defeated nationalist faction exiled there.

The anti-China hostility generated in Washington is a bipartisan position adopted by Republicans and Democrats. That means the weapons sales lined up by Trump for Taiwan will likely be voted through, no matter who wins the presidential contest on November 3. There's also at least another four major arms packages reportedly in the works due at a later stage.

READ MORE The Vatican's calculated snub of Mike Pompeo exposes the limits of his evangelical, ideological, China-hating foreign policy The Vatican's calculated snub of Mike Pompeo exposes the limits of his evangelical, ideological, China-hating foreign policy

The US foreign policy establishment and the Pentagon – as seen in several planning documents over recent years – have targeted China as a great power rival. The antagonism that Trump has certainly lent his brash personality to is not going away even if he loses the election next month.

Piling on weapons sales to Taiwan is not merely a reprehensible electioneering ploy which Trump might cynically calculate benefits him. It is part of a growing dynamic of belligerence out of Washington towards Beijing. Whether it's Trump or Biden sitting in the White House, that doesn't alter the disastrous collision course that Washington is charting towards Beijing based on the former's presumed imperialist prerogatives.

It's a foreboding sign of the times when China's President Xi Jinping this week warned combat marines to be prepared for war in defense of the nation's sovereignty.

America's cowardly habit of beating up on other people for its own political ego trips sooner or later goes too far. Washington messing around with China's sovereignty and national security as seen with incorrigible and increasingly offensive weapons sales to Taiwan is playing with fire. A fire that could be just one spark away.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

[Oct 11, 2020] Putin on the US Presidential race and the myth that Trump, one of the most hostile to Russia presidents in history, is somehow a "Putin puppet"

Highly recommended!
The problem with American imperialism that like tiger it can't change its spots. In this sense Trump vs Biden is false dilemma. "Bothe aare worse" as Stalin quipped on the other occasion. Both still profess "Full Spectrum Dominance" doctrine at the expense of the standard of living of the USA people (outside of top 10 or 20%)
The problem with Putin statement is that both candidates are marionette of more powerful forces. Trump is a hostage of Izreal lobby, which in the USA are mostly consist of rabid Russophobes (look art Schiff, Schumer and other members of this gang). Biden is a classic neoliberal warmonger, much like Hillary was, who voted for Iraq war, contributed to color revolution in Ukraine, and was instrumental in the conversion of Dems into the second war party. So there is zero choice in the coming election unless you want to punish Trump for the betrayal of his electorate, which probably is the oonly valid reason to vote for Biden in key states; otherwise you san safely ignore the elections as youn; influence anythng. In a deep sense this is a simply legitimization procedure for the role of the "Deep State", not so much real elections as both cadidates were already vetted by neoliberal establishment
The key problem with voting for Bide is that this way you essentially legitimizing Obama administration RussiaGate false flag operation. But as Putin said, chances for extending the Start treaty might worse this self-betrayal.
Oct 11, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Like much of the American public, the Russian public is no doubt weary of the prior couple years of non-stop 'Russiagate' headlines and wild accusations out of Western press, which all are now pretty much in complete agreement came to absolutely nothing. This is also why the whole issue has been conspicuously dropped by the Biden campaign and as a talking point among the Democrats, though in some corners there's been meek attempts to revive it, especially related to claims of "expected" Kremlin interference in the impending presidential election.

Apparently seeing in this an opportunity for some epic trolling, Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview with Rossiya 1 TV days ago said it was actually the Democratic Party and the Communist Party which have most in common.

Putin was speaking in terms of historic Soviet communism in the recent interview (Wednesday) detailed in Newsweek. "The Democratic Party is traditionally closer to the so-called liberal values, closer to social democratic ideas," Putin began. "And it was from the social democratic environment that the Communist Party evolved."

"After all, I was a member of the Soviet Communist Party for nearly 20 years" Putin added. "I was a rank-and-file member, but it can be said that I believed in the party's ideas. I still like many of these left-wing values. Equality and fraternity. What is bad about them? In fact, they are akin to Christian values."

"Yes, they are difficult to implement, but they are very attractive, nevertheless. In other words, this can be seen as an ideological basis for developing contacts with the Democratic representative."

The Russian president also invoked that historically Russian communists in the Soviet era would have been fully on board the Black Lives Matter movement and other civil rights related causes. "So, this is something that can be seen, to a degree, as common values, if not a unifying agent for us," the Russian president said. "People of my generation remember a time when huge portraits of Angela Davis, a member of the U.S. Communist Party and an ardent fighter for the rights of African Americans, were on view around the Soviet Union."

So there it is: Putin is saying his own personal ideological past could be a basis of "shared values" with a Biden presidency, again, it what appears to be a sophisticated bit of trolling that he knows Biden won't welcome one bit. Or let's call it a 'Russian endorsement Putin style'. The Associated Press and others described it as Putin "hedging his bets", however.

Another interesting part of the interview is where the Russian TV presenter asked Putin the following question:

"The entire world is watching the final stage of the US presidential race. Much has happened there, including things we could never imagine happening before but the one constant in recent years is that your name is mentioned all the time," Zarubin said. "Moreover, during the latest debates, which have provoked a public outcry, presidential candidate Biden called candidate Trump 'Putin's puppy.'"

"Since they keep talking about you, I would like to ask a question which you probably will not want to answer," the interviewer continued. "Nevertheless, here it is: Whose position in this race, Trump's or Biden's, appeals to you more?"

And here's Putin's response:

"Everything that is happening in the United States is the result of the country's internal political processes and problems," Putin said. "By the way, when anyone tries to humiliate or insult the incumbent head of state, in this case in the context you have mentioned, this actually enhances our prestige, because they are talking about our incredible influence and power. In a way, it could be said that they are playing into our hands, as the saying goes."

But on a more serious note Putin pointed out that contrary to the notion some level of sympathy between the Trump administration and the Kremlin, much less the charge of "collusion", it remains that US-Russia relations have reached a low-point in recent history under Trump. The record bears this out.

Putin underscored that "the greatest number of various kinds of restrictions and sanctions were introduced [against Russia] during the Trump presidency."

"Decisions on imposing new sanctions or expanding previous ones were made 46 times. The incumbent's administration withdrew from the INF treaty. That was a very drastic step. After 2002, when the Bush administration withdrew from the ABM treaty, that was the second major step. And I believe it is a big danger to international stability and security," Putin explained.

"Now the US has announced the beginning of the procedure for withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty. We have good reason to be concerned about that, too. A number of our joint projects, modest, but viable, have not been implemented – the business council project, expert council, and so on," he concluded.

But then on Biden specifically Putin said that despite "rather sharp anti-Russian rhetoric" from the Democratic nominee, it remains "Candidate Biden has said openly that he was ready to extend the New START or to sign a new strategic offensive reductions treaty."

"This is already a very significant element of our potential future cooperation," Putin added of a potential Biden presidency.

[Sep 28, 2020] The Empire still refuses to deal with Russia in any other way except insults, bullying, threats, accusations, sanctions, and constant sabre-rattling by The Saker

Sep 28, 2020 | www.unz.com

Oh, but it gets better.

NATO seems to be trying to frighten Russia with maneuvers in Poland and B-52 flights over the Ukraine and the Black Sea ( see here for a full analysis). As for the Poles and Ukronazis, they apparently believe that the Russian bear covered himself in poop and ran away at full speed.

What I am going to say next is not a secret, every military person who looked into this issue knows and understands this: NATO, and I mean the combined power of all NATO member states, simply does not have the hardware needed to wage a war against Russia in Europe. What NATO does have is only sufficient to trigger a serious incident which might result in a shooting war. But once this war starts, the chances of victory for NATO are exactly zero. Why?

Well, for one thing, while coalitions of countries might give a thin veneer of political legitimacy to a military action (in reality, only a UNSC resolution would), in purely military terms you are much better off having a single national military. Not only that, but coalitions are nothing but the expression of an often held delusion: the delusion that the little guy can hide behind the back of the big guy. Poland's entire history can be summarized in this simple principle: strike the weak and bootlick (or even worse !) the powerful. In contrast, real military powers don't count on some other guy doing the heavy lifting for them. They simply fight until they win.

Yes, the Europeans, being the cowards that they are, do believe that there is safety in numbers. But each time these midgets gang up on Russia and start barking (or, to use Putin's expression, start oinking ) all together, the Russians clearly see that the Europeans are afraid. Otherwise, they would not constantly seek somebody to protect them (even against a non-existing threat).

As a direct result of this delusion, NATO simply does not have the equivalent of the First Guard Tank Army in spite of the fact that NATO has a bigger population and much bigger budgets than Russia. Such a tank Army is what it would take to fight a real war in Europe, Russia has such an Army. NATO does not.

The other thing NATO does not have is a real integrated multi-layered air defense system. Russia does.

Lastly, NATO has no hypersonic weapons. Russia does.

(According to President Trump, the US does have super-dooper " hydrosonic " weapons, but nobody really knows what that is supposed to mean).

I would even argue that the comparatively smaller Belarusian military could make hamburger meat of the roughly three times larger Polish armed forces in a very short time (unlike the Poles, the Belarusian are excellent soldiers and they know that they are surrounded by hostile countries on three sides).

As for the "armed forces" of the Baltic statelets, they are just a sad joke.

One more example: the Empire is now sending ships into the Black Sea as some kind of "show of force". Yet, every military analyst out there knows that the Black Sea is a "Russian lake" and that no matter how many ships the US or NATO sends into the Black Sea, their life expectancy in case of a conflict would be measured in minutes.

There is a popular expression in Russia which, I submit, beautifully sums up the current US/NATO doctrine: пугать ежа голой задницей , which can be translated as " trying to scare a hedgehog with your naked bottom ".

The truth is that NATO military forces currently are all in very bad shape – all of them, including the US – and that their only advantage over Russia is in numbers. But as soon as you factor in training, command and control, the ability to operate with severely degraded C3I capabilities, the average age of military hardware or morale – the Russian armed forces are far ahead of the West.

Does anybody sincerely believe that a few B-52s and a few thousand soldiers from different countries playing war in Poland will really scare the Russian generals?

But if not – why the threats?

My explanation is simple: the rulers of the Empire simply hope that the people in the West will never find out how bad their current military posture really is, and they also know that Russia will never attack first – so they simply pretend like they are still big, mighty and relevant. This is made even easier by the fact that the Russians always downplay their real capabilities (in sharp contrast to the West which always brags about "the best XYZ in the world"). That, and the fact that nobody in the Western ruling classes wants to admit that the game is over and that the Empire has collapsed.

... the Empire still refuses to deal with Russia in any other way except insults, bullying, threats, accusations, sanctions, and constant sabre-rattling. This has never, and I mean never, worked in the past, and it won't work in the future. But, apparently, NATO generals simply cannot comprehend that insanity can be defined as " doing the same thing over and over again, while hoping to achieve different results ".

Finally, I will conclude with a short mention of US politicians.

First, Trump. He now declares that the Russians stole the secret of hypersonic weapons from Obama. This reminds me of how the Brits declared that Russia stole their vaccine against the sars-cov-2 virus. But, if the Russians stole all that, why is it that ONLY Russia has deployed hypersonic weapons (not the US) and ONLY Russia has both two vaccines and 2 actual treatments (and not the UK)? For a good laugh, check out Andrei Martyanov's great column " Russia Steal Everything ".

And then there is Nancy Pelosi who, apparently, is considering, yes, you guessed it – yet another impeachment attempt against Trump? The charge this time? Exercising this Presidential prerogative to nominate a successor to Ruth Ginsburg. Okay, Pelosi might be senile, but she also is in deep denial if she thinks impeaching Trump is still a viable project. Frankly? I think that she lost it.

In fact, I think that all the Dems have gone absolutely insane: they are now considering packing both the Supreme Court and the Senate. The fact that doing so will destroy the US political system does not seem to bother them in the least.

Conclusion: quos Deus vult perdere prius dementat !

We live in a world where facts or logic have simply become irrelevant and nobody cares about such clearly outdated categories. We have elevated " doubleplusgoodthinking " into an art form. We have also done away with the concepts of "proof" or "evidence" which we have replaced with variations on the "highly likely" theme. We have also, for all practical purpose, jettisoned the entire corpus of international law and replaced it with " rules-based international order ". In fact, I can only agree with Chris Hedges who, in his superb book the " Empire of illusions " and of the "triumph of spectacle". He is absolutely correct: not only is this a triumph of appearance over substance, and of ideology over reality, it is even the triumph of self-destruction over self-preservation.

There is not big "master plan", no complex international conspiracy, no 5D chess. All we have is yet another empire committing suicide and, like so many before this one, this suicide is executed by this empire's ruling classes.

Lawofkarma , says: September 26, 2020 at 1:34 am GMT

According to the updated Russian military doctrine, any missile fired at Russia would be considered tipped with Nuclear war head. If so, with available Hypersonic weapons, a significant portions of the Empire, including EU would be potentially turned to Radioactive ash within 20 minutes. Does this register at the highest levels of the Empire? I surely hope so.

[Sep 27, 2020] Should Trump be changed as a war criminal along with Obama, Bush, Clinton's, and Dick Cheney

Sep 27, 2020 | www.unz.com

Harold Smith , says: September 26, 2020 at 8:24 pm GMT

@Robert Dolan

"Trump doesn't even have the balls to go after the people who spied on him and tried to remove him from office. This is actually the greatest political scandal in American history, yet nothing will be done about it."

I don't think anyone was actually trying to remove him from office (they could've added his war crimes and violations of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to the impeachment charges if they were serious about removing him). Most likely it's all political theater to fool the people who need and/or want to be fooled.

Biff , says: September 27, 2020 at 12:45 am GMT
@Harold Smith

I don't think anyone was actually trying to remove him from office ( they could've added his war crimes and violations of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations to the impeachment charges if they were serious about removing him). Most likely it's all political theater to fool the people who need and/or want to be fooled.

We are talking about thee most brazen pack of hypocrites, but charging Trump with war crimes with Obama, Bush, Clinton's, and Dick Cheney just standing around just might be a bridge too far.

Harold Smith , says: September 27, 2020 at 5:30 am GMT
@Biff

However, unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct. You cannot have a foreign policy without diplomacy. A superpower understands that caution and restraint are really truly signs of strength."

And as we've seen all of it was a lie. Trump's whole campaign was a calculated bait-and-switch fraud. In order to win the election the con man had to steal votes from antiwar voters such as myself just the same as if he'd rigged voting machines.

Trump is a lying, mass-murdering, psychotic, psychopathic, traitorous, Israel-first, America-last hard core militant zionist extremist.

[Sep 19, 2020] The Twilight of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - CounterPunch.org

Sep 19, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

SEPTEMBER 2, 2020 The Twilight of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization by MELVIN GOODMAN Facebook Twitter Reddit Email

Photograph Source: Bundesarchiv, B 145 Bild-P098967 – CC BY-SA 3.0 de

It is time for the United States to debate the downsizing, if not the dissolution, of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). U.S. national security would be strengthened by the demise of NATO because Washington would no longer have to guarantee the security of 14 Central and East European nations, including the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. European defense coordination and integration would be more manageable without the participation of authoritarian governments in Poland and Hungary. Key West European nations presumably would favor getting out from under the use of U.S. military power in the Balkans, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia, which has made them feel as if they were "tins of shoe polish for American boots."

Russia would obviously be a geopolitical winner in any weakening -- let alone the demise -- of NATO, but the fears of Russian military intervention outside of the Slavic community are exaggerated. The East European and Baltic states would protest any weakening of NATO, but it would be an incentive for them to increase their own security cooperation.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was created seven decades ago as a political and military alliance to "keep the United States in Europe; the Soviet Union out of Europe; and Germany down in Europe." The collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989; the Warsaw Pact and the East European communist governments in 1990; and the Soviet Union in 1991 marked the high water mark for the alliance.

For the past three decades, however, the United States has weakened NATO by forcing a hurried and awkward expansion on the alliance. Most recently in 2020, North Macedonia was admitted as its 30th member, further weakening the integrity of the alliance. Did President Donald Trump actually believe that the presence of North Macedonia as well as 13 other Central European states would strengthen U.S. security?

The enlargement of NATO demonstrated the strategic mishandling of Russia, which now finds the United States and Russia in a rivalry reminiscent of the Cold War. President Bill Clinton was responsible for bringing former members of the Warsaw Pact into NATO, starting in the late-1990s; President George W. Bush introduced former republics of the Soviet Union in his first term. German Chancellor Angela Merkel deserves credit for dissuading Bush from seeking membership for Ukraine and Georgia.

The United States justified the expansion of NATO as a way to create more liberal, democratic members, but this has not been the case for the East European members. Russia, moreover, views the expansion as a return to containment and a threat to its national security. Russia was angered by the expansion from the outset, particularly since President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker assured Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze that the United States wouldn't "leap frog" over Germany if the Soviets pulled their 380,000 troops out of East Germany.

NATO's success from 1949 to 1991 was marked by a common perception of the Soviet threat, which is the key to solidarity in any alliance framework. In 2020, however, the 30 members of NATO no longer share a common perception of the Russian threat in Europe. The United States has one view of Russia; the key nations of West Europe have a more benign view; and the East Europeans perceive a dire threat that the others do not share. The United States has always expressed some dissatisfaction with the asymmetric burden sharing and risk sharing within the alliance, and the Trump administration has threatened to withdraw from NATO over the burden sharing issue.

Turkey has rapidly become the outlier within NATO, and there have been a series of confrontations in the eastern Mediterranean that threaten the integrity of the alliance. Greek and Turkish warships collided in August, creating the first such confrontation between the two navies since 1996, when the Clinton administration mediated the problem. The United States no longer acts in such diplomatic capacities, so French President Emmanuel Macron has stepped into the breach by sending jet aircraft to the Greek island of Crete as well as warships to exercise with the antiquated Greek navy. Greece and Turkey, which joined NATO together in 1952, are rivals over economic zones in the Mediterranean where there are important deposits of oil and natural gas. Greece and Turkey have squabbled since 1974 over the divided island of Cyprus.

Turkey and France have additional differences over Turkey's violations of the UN arms embargo on Libya. The two NATO allies had a confrontation in the Mediterranean when a French warship tried to inspect a Turkish vessel. Last week, France joined military exercises with Greece and Italy in the eastern Mediterranean following a Turkish maritime violation of contested waters. Paris backs Athens in the conflicting claims with Ankara over rights to potential hydrocarbon resources on the continental shelf in the Mediterranean.

President Macron took a particularly tough line in stating that he was setting "red lines" in the Mediterranean because the "Turks only consider and respect a red-line policy," adding that he "did it in Syria" as well. Macron's tough stance is somewhat surprising in view of the concern of France and other European NATO countries regarding Turkey's ability to turn on the refugee spigot, which would cause economic problems in southern Europe. Turkey has been using the refugee issue as leverage since 2015, when huge numbers of refugees in West Europe led to a rightward shift in European politics.

There is also the problem of Turkey's purchase of the most sophisticated Russian air defense system, the S-400, which was developed to counter the world's most sophisticated jet fighter, the U.S. F-35. As a result of the purchase of the S-400 system, the United States reneged on the sale of eight F-35s to Turkey at a loss of $862 million, creating additional problems between Trump and Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey had planned to buy 100 F-35s over the next several years, and had begun pilot training in the United States.

Trump's constant harangues about burden sharing have created more friction within NATO. Trump falsely takes credit for increased European defense spending, but it was the Obama administration that successfully arranged greater Canadian and European defense spending in 2014 in the wake of Russia's seizure of Crimea. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg panders regularly to Trump on the issue of increased defense spending, ignoring Trump's false claims that NATO spending will increase by $400 billion annually. The $400 billion is in fact the increased spending over an eight-year period.

With Trump's drift toward isolationism and unilateralism ("America First"), there is incentive for the European Community to take control of its own "autonomous" defense policy. The Europeans have reason to believe that a second presidential term for Trump could lead to a sudden U.S. withdrawal from NATO. The unilateralist character of U.S. foreign and defense policy strengthens the case for building European defense cooperation along side of an undetermined transatlantic relationship with the United States.

Melvin A. Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a professor of government at Johns Hopkins University. A former CIA analyst, Goodman is the author of Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA and National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism . and A Whistleblower at the CIA . His most recent book is "American Carnage: The Wars of Donald Trump" (Opus Publishing), and he is the author of the forthcoming "The Dangerous National Security State" (2020)." Goodman is the national security columnist for counterpunch.org .

[Sep 18, 2020] West wanted Moscow to open up to international media 30 years ago, now it's discriminating against Russian outlets - FM Lavrov -- RT Russia Former Soviet Union

Sep 18, 2020 | www.rt.com

West wanted Moscow to open up to international media 30 years ago, now it's discriminating against Russian outlets - FM Lavrov 18 Sep, 2020 15:35 Get short URL West wanted Moscow to open up to international media 30 years ago, now it's discriminating against Russian outlets - FM Lavrov FILE PHOTO © REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer 10 Follow RT on RT The West encouraged Russia to launch a new era of transparency during 'perestroika,' yet the very same democracy lecturers are today stigmatizing RT and Sputnik for "state funding" – which its own foreign media outlets rely on.

That's according to Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who pointed out that US broadcaster RFE/RL, which is openly state-run, and British outlet BBC are also financed from public funds.

Two of Russia's broadcasters are facing open discrimination across their countries of accreditation, Lavrov told Sputnik.

RT has been forced to register with the US Justice Department under the 1938 Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Its correspondents have also been barred from attending events hosted by the French president; likewise, RT and Sputnik have faced enormous difficulties while reporting from Baltic nations.

ALSO ON RT.COM Twitter labels RT & Sputnik but NOT BBC, NPR & VOA as it launches blitz on state media staff & govt officials

"We are being presented with the argument that there is state funding [for RT and Sputnik]," Lavrov commented. Nevertheless, there are is media in the West – the BBC and Radio Liberty being prime examples – that also receive government donations and "are considered beacons of democracy."

They also rely on state funding, but for some reason no restrictive measures are being taken against them, including through the internet, where censorship is now openly introduced.

This comes as audiences of both broadcasters are growing and their popularity is on the rise. "I saw the statistics; I can only assume that this is another sign of the fear of competition on the side of those who dominated the global information market until recently," the foreign minister said.

The pressure Western nations pile on Russian media is one reason to wonder if they actually practice what they preach. Lavrov recalled that the West demanded Russia "open up to the world" during the period of perestroika – including by allowing full access "to any kind of information, whether it was based on domestic sources or came from abroad."

Thirty years later, the West is "already even embarrassed" to stick to the same principles when Russia asks "that access to information be respected, including in France with respect to Sputnik and RT," Lavrov stated. France has its own state-funded outlets, such as AFP, Radio France International and France 24.

Double standards, hypocrisy – unfortunately, these are the words to describe their position.

Russia will take these matters to the upcoming ministerial summit of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) this December. "These questions will not disappear anywhere from the agenda, our Western colleagues will have a lot to answer," Lavrov vowed.

Speaking about the pressure put on Russia in general – and often initiated by the media and not among political circles – Lavrov described the current times as "the age of social media, disinformation and fake news." It is fairly easy "to throw any invention into the media domain" and get away with it, he said, adding, "and then no one will read the rebuttal."

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[Sep 17, 2020] Why the Blob Needs an Enemy by ARTA MOEINI

Highly recommended!
Crisis of neoliberal undermines the USA supremacy and the US elite hangs by the stras to the Full Specturm Domionanc edoctrine, whih it now can't enforce and which is financially unsustainable for the USA.
Collapse of neoliberalism means the end of the USA supremacy and the whole political existence on the USA was banked on this single card.
Notable quotes:
"... In America, this unfortunate status quo in support of primacy persists even in the Trumpian Age and within debates around the eccentric and unconventional presidency of Donald Trump. In fact, despite all the talk of political polarization in the United States, it appears that when it comes to naming new threats and enemies to "contain," "deter," and deem "existential," bipartisan consensus is found swiftly and quite readily. ..."
"... In a recent speech delivered in Europe, the U.S. defense secretary and former corporate lobbyist for Raytheon, Mark Esper, unified these two faces of the Janus that embodies the North Atlantic foreign policy establishment. Esper referred to both China and Russia as disruptive forces working to unravel the international order, which "we have created together," and called on the international community to preserve that order by countering both powers. As it stands, we are on the path to a series of cold wars throughout this century, if not a hot conflict between rival great powers that could spiral into World War III. Despite increased calls for realism and restraint in foreign policy, primacy is alive and well. ..."
"... There is, however, a more significant psychosociological reason for the blob's remarkable persistence. When it comes to foreign policy, Western policymakers today suffer from a Manichean worldview, a caustic mindset crystalized during a decades-running Cold War with the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Frozen in this Cold War mindset, the Atlanticist blob has internalized the bipolar moment that followed the Second World War, treating it as a permanent fixture and the normal state of the international system. In fact, the bipolar and unipolar periods we have undergone over the past 75 years are nothing but aberrations and historical anomalies. In truth, the reality of the international system tends toward multi-polarity -- and at long last it appears that the system is self-correcting. The North Atlantic establishment came of age during that time of exception, forming its (liberal) identity through the process of "alterity" and in a nemetic opposition to communism. ..."
"... Not surprisingly then, the North Atlantic elites continue to seek adversaries to demonize and "monsters to destroy" in order to justify their moral universalism and presumed ideological superiority, doing so under the garb of a totalizing and absolutist idea of exceptionalism. ..."
Sep 09, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The international order is no longer bipolar, despite the elites' insistence otherwise. Fortunately there is hope for change.

Despite its many failings and high human, social, and economic costs, American foreign policy since the end of the Second World War has shown a remarkable degree of continuity and inflexibility. This rather curious phenomenon is not limited to America alone. The North Atlantic foreign policy establishment from Washington D.C. to London, which some have aptly dubbed the "blob," has doggedly championed the grand strategic framework of "primacy" and armed hegemony, often coated with more docile language such as "global leadership," "American indispensability," and "strengthening the Western alliance."

In America, this unfortunate status quo in support of primacy persists even in the Trumpian Age and within debates around the eccentric and unconventional presidency of Donald Trump. In fact, despite all the talk of political polarization in the United States, it appears that when it comes to naming new threats and enemies to "contain," "deter," and deem "existential," bipartisan consensus is found swiftly and quite readily.

On the Left, and in the wake of President Trump's election, the Democratic establishment began fixating its wrath on Russia–adopting a confrontational stance toward Moscow and fueling fears of a renewed Cold War. On the Right, the realigning GOP has increasingly, if at times inconsistently, singled out China as the greatest threat to U.S. national security, a hostile attitude further exacerbated in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alarmingly, Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, has recently joined the hawkish bandwagon toward China, even attempting to outflank Trump on this issue and attacking the president's China policy as too weak and accommodating of China's rise.

In a recent speech delivered in Europe, the U.S. defense secretary and former corporate lobbyist for Raytheon, Mark Esper, unified these two faces of the Janus that embodies the North Atlantic foreign policy establishment. Esper referred to both China and Russia as disruptive forces working to unravel the international order, which "we have created together," and called on the international community to preserve that order by countering both powers. As it stands, we are on the path to a series of cold wars throughout this century, if not a hot conflict between rival great powers that could spiral into World War III. Despite increased calls for realism and restraint in foreign policy, primacy is alive and well.

Indeed, the dominant tendency among many foreign policy observers is to overprivilege the threat of rising superpowers and to insist on strong containment measures to limit the spheres of influence of the so-called revisionist powers. Such an approach, coupled with the prospect of ascendant powers actively resisting and confronting the United States as the ruling global hegemon, has one eminent International Relations scholar warning of the Thucydides Trap.

There are others, however, who insist that the structural shifts undermining the liberal international order mark the end of U.S. hegemony and its "unipolar moment." In realist terms, what Secretary Esper really means to protect, they would argue, is a conception of "rules-based" global order that was a structural by-product of the Second World War and the ensuing Cold War and whose very rules and institutions were underwritten by U.S. hegemony. This would be an exercise in folly -- not corresponding to the reality of systemic change and the return of great power competition and civilizational contestation.

What's more, the sanctimony of this "liberal" hegemonic order and the logic of democratic peace were both presumably vindicated by the collapse of the Soviet Union and its totalitarian system, a black swan event that for many had heralded the "end of history" and promised the advent of the American century. A great deal of lives, capital, resources, and goodwill were sacrificed by America and her allies toward that crusade for liberty and universality, which was only the most recent iteration of a radically utopian element in American political thought going back to Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine. Alas, as it had eluded earlier generations of idealists, that century never truly arrived, and neither did the empire of liberty and prosperity that it loftily aimed to establish.

Today, the emerging reality of a multipolar world and alternate worldviews championed by the different cultural blocs led by China and Russia appears to have finally burst the bubble of American Triumphalism, proving that the ideas behind it are "not simply obsolete but absurd." This failure should have been expected since the very project the idealists had espoused was built on a pathological "savior complex" and a false truism that reflected the West's own absolutist and distorted sense of ideological and moral superiority. Samuel Huntington might have been right all along to cast doubt on the long-term salience of using ideology and doctrinal universalism as the dividing principle for international relations. His call to focus, instead, on civilizational distinction, the permanent power of culture on human action, and the need to find common ground rings especially true today. Indeed, fostering a spirit of coexistence and open dialogue among the world's great civilizational complexes is a fundamental tenet of a cultural realism.

And yet, despite such permanent shifts in the global order away from universalist dichotomies and global hegemony and toward culturalism and multi-polarity, there exists a profound disjunction between the structural realities of the international system and the often business-as-usual attitude of the North Atlantic foreign policy elites. How could one explain the astonishing levels of rigidity and continuity on the part of the "blob" and the military-industrial-congressional complex regularly pushing for more adventurism and interventionism abroad? Why would the bipartisan primacist establishment, which their allies in the mainstream media endeavor still to mask, justify such illiberal acts of aggression and attempts at empire by weaponizing the moralistic language of human rights, individual liberty, and democracy in a world increasingly awakened to arbitrary ideological framing?

There are, of course, systemic reasons behind the power and perpetuation of the blob and the endurance of primacy. The vast economic incentives of war and its instruments, institutional routinization and intransigence, stupefaction and groupthink of government bureaucracy, and the significant influence of lobbying efforts by foreign governments and other vested interest groups could each partly explain the remarkable continuity of the North Atlantic foreign policy establishment. The endless stream of funding from the defense industry, neoliberal and neoconservative foundations, as well as the government itself keeps the "blob" alive, while the general penchant for bipartisanship around preserving the status quo allows it to thrive. What is more, elite schools produce highly analytic yet narrowly focused and conventional minds that are tamed to be agreeable so as to not undermine elite consensus. This conveyor belt feeds the "blob," supplying it with the army of specialists, experts, and wonks it requires to function as a mind melding hive, while in practice safeguarding employment for the career bureaucrats for decades to come.

There is, however, a more significant psychosociological reason for the blob's remarkable persistence. When it comes to foreign policy, Western policymakers today suffer from a Manichean worldview, a caustic mindset crystalized during a decades-running Cold War with the Soviet Union. The world might have changed fundamentally with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the bipolar structure of the international system might have ended irreversibly, but the personnel -- the Baby Boomer Generation elites conducting foreign policy in the North Atlantic -- did not leave office or retire with the collapse of the USSR. They largely remain in power to this day.

Every generation is forged through a formative crisis, its experiences seen through the prism that all-encompassing ordeal. For the incumbent elites, that generational crisis was the Cold War and the omnipresent threat of nuclear annihilation. The dualistic paradigm of the international system during the U.S.-Soviet rivalry bred an entire generation to see the world through a black-and-white binary. It should come as no surprise that this era elevated the idealist strain of thought and the crusading, neo-Jacobin impulse of U.S. foreign policy (personified by Thomas Jefferson and Woodrow Wilson) to new, ever-expanding heights. Idealism prizes a nemesis and thus revels in a bipolar order.

Frozen in this Cold War mindset, the Atlanticist blob has internalized the bipolar moment that followed the Second World War, treating it as a permanent fixture and the normal state of the international system. In fact, the bipolar and unipolar periods we have undergone over the past 75 years are nothing but aberrations and historical anomalies. In truth, the reality of the international system tends toward multi-polarity -- and at long last it appears that the system is self-correcting. The North Atlantic establishment came of age during that time of exception, forming its (liberal) identity through the process of "alterity" and in a nemetic opposition to communism.

Not surprisingly then, the North Atlantic elites continue to seek adversaries to demonize and "monsters to destroy" in order to justify their moral universalism and presumed ideological superiority, doing so under the garb of a totalizing and absolutist idea of exceptionalism. After all, a nemetic zeitgeist during which ideology reigned supreme and realism was routinely discounted was tailor-made for dogmatic absolutism and moral universalism. In such a zero-sum strategic environment, it was only natural to demand totality and frame the ongoing geopolitical struggle in terms of an existential opposition over Good and Evil that would quite literally split the world in two.

Today, that same kind of Manichean thinking continues to handicap paradigmatic change in foreign policy. A false consciousness, it underpins and promotes belief in the double myths of indispensability and absolute exceptionality, suggesting that the North Atlantic bloc holds a certain monopoly on all that is good and true. It is not by chance that such pathological renderings of "exceptionalism" and "leadership" have been wielded as convenient rationale and intellectual placeholders for the ideology of empire across the North Atlantic. This sense of ingrained moral self-righteousness, coupled with an attitude that celebrates activism, utopianism, and interventionism in foreign policy, has created and reinforced a culture of strategic overextension and imperial overreach.

It is this very culture -- personified and dominated by the Baby Boomers and the blob they birthed -- that has made hawkishness ubiquitous, avoids any real reckoning as to the limits of power, and habitually belittles calls for restraint and moderation as isolationism. In truth, however, what has been the exceptional part in the delusion of absolute exceptionalism is Pax Americana, liberal hegemony, and the hubris that animates them having gone uncontested and unchecked for so long. That confrontation could begin in earnest by directly challenging the Boomer blob itself -- and by propagating a counter-elite offering a starkly different worldview.

Achieving such a genuine paradigm shift demands a generational sea-change, to retire the old blob and make a better one in its place. It is about time for the old establishment to forgo its reign, allowing a new younger cohort from among the Millennial and post-Millennial generations to advance into leadership roles. The Millennials, especially, are now the largest generation of eligible voters (overtaking the Baby Boomers) as well as the first generation not habituated by the Cold War; in fact, many of them grew up during the "unipolar moment" of American hegemony. Hence, their generational identity is not built around a dualistic alterity. Free from obsessive fixation on ideological supremacy, most among them reject total global dominance as both unattainable and undesirable.

Instead, their worldview is shaped by an entirely different set of experiences and disappointments. Their generational crisis was brought on by a series of catastrophic interventions and endless wars around the world -- chief among them the debacles in Afghanistan and Iraq and the toppling of Libya's Gaddafi -- punctuated by repeated onslaughts of financial recessions and domestic strife. The atmosphere of uncertainty, instability, and general chaos has bred discontent, turning many Millennials into pragmatic realists who are disenchanted with the system, critical of the pontificating establishment, and naturally skeptical of lofty ideals and utopian doctrines.

In short, this is not an absolutist and complacent generation of idealists, but one steeped in realism and a certain perspectivism that has internalized the inherent relativity of both power and truth. Most witnessed the dangers of overreach, hubris, and a moralized foreign policy, so they are actively self-reflective, circumspect, and restrained. As a generation, they appear to be less the moralist and the global activist and more prudent, level-headed, and temperamentally conservative -- developing a keen appreciation for realpolitik, sovereignty, and national interest. Their preference for a non-ideological approach in foreign policy suggests that once in power, they will be less antagonistic and more tolerant of rival powers and accepting of pluralism in the international system. That openness to civilizational distinction and global cultural pluralism also implies that future Millennial statesmen will subscribe to a more humble, less grandiose, and narrower definition of interest that focuses on securing core objectives -- i.e., preserving national security and recognizing spheres of influence.

Reforming and rehabilitating the U.S. foreign policy establishment will require more than policy prescriptions and comprehensive reports: it needs generational change. To transform and finally "rein in" North Atlantic foreign policy, our task today must be to facilitate and expedite this shift. Once that occurs, the incoming Millennials should be better positioned to discard the deep-seated and routinized ideology of empire, supplanting it with a greater emphasis on partnership that is driven by mutual interests and a general commitment to sharing the globe with the world's other great cultures.

This new approach calls for America to lead by the power of its example, exhibiting the benefits of liberty and a constitutional republic at home, without forcibly imposing those values abroad. Such an outlook means abandoning the coercive regime change agendas and the corrosive projects of nation-building and democracy promotion. In this new multipolar world, America would be an able, dynamic, and equal participant in ensuring sustainable peace side-by-side the world's other great powers, acting as "a normal country in a normal time." Reflecting the spirit of republican governance authentically is far more pertinent now and salutary for the future of the North Atlantic peoples than is promulgating the utopian image of a shining city on a hill.

Arta Moeini is research director at the Institute for Peace and Diplomacy and a postdoc fellow at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship. Dr. Moeini's latest project advances a theory of cultural realism as a cornerstone to a new understanding of foreign policy.

The Institute for Peace and Diplomacy will be co-sponsoring "The Future of Grand Strategy in the Post-COVID World," with TAC, tonight at 6 p.m. ET. Register for free here .

[Sep 11, 2020] Will the alleged Alexey Navalny poisoning sink the Nord Stream 2 pipeline- It might, but it shouldn t -- RT Op-ed

Sep 11, 2020 | www.rt.com

Will the alleged Alexey Navalny poisoning sink the Nord Stream 2 pipeline? It might, but it shouldn't 11 Sep, 2020 17:39 / Updated 4 hours ago Get short URL © REUTERS/Stine Jacobsen/File Photo; © AFP/Vasily MAXIMOV 11 Follow RT on RT

By Dr. Karin Kneissl , who works as an energy analyst and book author. She served as the Austrian minister of foreign affairs from 2017-2019. In June, she published her book on diplomacy 'Diplomatie Macht Geschichte' in Germany through Olms, and in early September her book 'Die Mobilitätswende', or 'Mobility in Transition', was released in Vienna by Braumüller. The cacophony of noise generated in the wake of the attack on the Russian opposition figure is drowning out the reality. As Angela Merkel has always maintained, the German-Russian gas deal is purely a commercial project.

Nord Stream has always had the ingredients to drive sober-minded Germans emotional. I remember energy conferences in Germany back in 2006 when already the idea of such a gas pipeline as a direct connection from Russia to Germany provoked deep political rows, not just in Berlin but across the EU.

Conservatives disliked it for the simple reason that it was a "Schröder thing," the legacy of social democrat Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who lost the election of September 2005 to Angela Merkel. Schröder had negotiated the project with his good friend, President Vladimir Putin, and then chaired the company in charge of implementing it.

READ MORE Nord Stream 2 must be completed: Don't politicize Russian energy project over Navalny situation – Merkel Party politics and pipelines

Around that time, I was invited to an energy conference in Munich by the conservative think tank, the Hanns Seidel Foundation, managed by the Bavarian party CSU, the traditional junior partner of the ruling CDU in the government. The bottom-line of the debate on Nord Stream was negative, with the consensus being that the German-Russian pipeline would lead to the implosion of a European common foreign policy and damage the EU's energy ambitions.

I attended many other such events across Germany, from parliament to universities, and listened carefully to all the arguments. The feelings towards Nord Stream were much more benign at meetings held under the auspices of the SPD.

But over the years, the rift between different political parties evaporated, and a consensus emerged which supported enhanced energy cooperation between Berlin and Moscow. Politicians of all shades defended the first pipeline, Nord Stream 1, after it went operational in 2011, bringing Russian gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea.

They also enthusiastically supported the creation of the second, Nord Stream 2, better known by its acronym NS2. This $11bn (£8.4bn) 1,200km pipeline is almost finished and was due to go online next year.

But now, in the very final stage of construction, everything has been thrown in limbo thanks to the alleged poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny.

NS2 has always been controversial. Critics, such as the US and Poland, have argued that it makes Germany too reliant on energy from a politically unreliable partner. President Trump last year signed a law imposing sanctions on any firm that helps Russia's state-owned gas company, Gazprom, finish it. The White House fears NS2 will tighten Russia's grip over Europe's energy supply and reduce its own share of the lucrative European market for American liquefied natural gas.

These sanctions have caused delays to the project. A special ship owned by a Swiss company menaced with sanctions had to be replaced. And prior to that, various legal provisions were brought up by the European Commission that had to be fulfilled by the companies in retrospect.

Now the case of Navalny, currently being treated at a Berlin clinic after being awoken from a medically induced coma, has thrown everything up in the air again. It has triggered a political cacophony that threatens relations between Germany, the EU, Russia, and Washington. And at the center is the pipeline.

READ MORE 'Fraught with consequences for Russian-German relations': Moscow furious with Berlin over lack of cooperation on Navalny

Various German sources, among them laboratories of the armed forces, have alleged that Navalny had been poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) stated in an interview published on Sunday by Bild: " I hope the Russians don't force us to change our stance on Nord Stream 2 – we have high expectations of the Russian government that it will solve this serious crime ." He claimed to have seen " a lot of evidence " that the Russian state was behind the attack. " The deadly chemical weapon with which Navalny was poisoned was in the past in the possession of Russian authorities ," he insisted.

He conceded that stopping the almost-completed pipeline would harm German and broader European business interests, pointing out that the gas pipeline's construction involves "over 100 companies from 12 European countries, and about half of them come from Germany." Maas also threatened the Kremlin with broader EU sanctions if it did not help clarify what happened "in the coming days." Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded by labeling the accusations "groundless" and Moscow has staunchly denied any involvement in the affair.

The whole matter is complicated by domestic political considerations in Germany. CDU politician Norbert Röttgen, who heads up foreign affairs within the ruling party and has demanded that the pipeline should be stopped, is among those conservatives vying to lead the CDU in the run-up to Chancellor Angela Merkel's retirement next year. Meanwhile, Merkel is still trying to strike a balance between the country's legal commitments, her well-known mantra that NS2 is a " purely commercial project, " and what is now a major foreign policy crisis.

The chancellor had always focused on the business dimension. But most large energy projects also have a geopolitical dimension, and that certainly holds true with Nord Stream.

When I was Austria's foreign minister, I saw first-hand the recurring and very harsh criticism of the project by US politicians and officials. I remember the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, in a speech at the margins of the UN General Assembly in September 2018 that focused solely on NS2. I replied by pointing out to him that pipelines are not built to annoy others, but because there is demand. One thing was certain – the US opposition to Nord Stream would not wane and now the Navalny case has given it new impetus. What we are witnessing is a tremendous politicization of the pipeline with a wide range of people all shouting very loudly.

ALSO ON RT.COM Craig Murray: Opposition figure Navalny may possibly have been targeted by Russian state, but Western narrative doesn't add up Diplomatic confrontation instead of solution

So here we are, in a very poisoned atmosphere where it might be difficult to revise positions without losing face. The social democrat Maas, just like the conservative Röttgen and many others, have taken to the media for different reasons. In my observation, it might have to do with their respective desires to take a strong position in order to also mark their upcoming emancipation from the political giant Merkel (she is due to step down next year).

Due to her professional and empathetic handling of the pandemic, she is today much more popular than before the crisis. That makes it difficult for a junior partner, represented by Foreign Minister Maas, and for all those who wish to challenge her inside the party.

What is needed is to get the topic out of the media and out of the to-and-fro of daily petty politics. Noisy statements might serve some, but not the overall interests involved. And there are many at stake. It is not only about energy security in times of transition, namely moving away from nuclear, but much wider matters.

As a legal scholar, I deem the loss of trust in contracts. Vertragstreue, as we call it in German – loyalty to the contract – will be the biggest collateral damage if the pipeline is abandoned for political reasons. This fundamental principle of every civilization was coined as pacta sunt servanda by the Romans – agreements must be kept. Our legal system is based on this. Who would still conclude contracts of such volumes with German companies if politics can change the terms of trade overnight?

ALSO ON RT.COM German FM links Nord Stream 2 to Navalny, threatens sanctions as Moscow accuses Berlin of dragging feet on alleged poisoning probe Remember South Stream

In June 2014, construction sites on the coasts of the Black sea, both in Russia and Bulgaria, were ready for starting the gas pipeline South Stream. After pressure from the European Commission, the work never started. The political reason was the dispute on Ukraine – in particular, the annexation of the Crimea. However, the legal argument was that the tenders for the contracts were in contradiction with EU regulations on competition. Tens of thousands of work permits, which had been issued from Bulgaria to Serbia etc., were withdrawn. The economic consequence was the rise of China's influence in the region. South Stream was redirected to Turkey.

So here we are in the midst of a diplomatic standoff. It is a genuine dilemma, but it could also turn into a watershed. Will contracts be respected or will we move into a further cycle of uncertainty on all levels? Germany is built on contracts, norms (probably much too many) and not on arbitrariness.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

silvermoon 5 hours ago

All these weeks have passed and Germany has still not shown shared actual evidence of their Navalny tests with Russia though. That is the same as saying we found the gun with your finger prints on it but never showing it.

Count_Cash silvermoon 3 hours ago

Correct, Germany has only since 10th September (if confirmed) shared any 'evidence'. That is sufficient intervening time to concoct any test result and associated materials that they want - another Diesel scandal. Indeed people will ask why when you had the patient on 22nd of august, it took you so long to send samples to the OPCW, despite almost immediately yelling Poison!

gainwmn silvermoon 5 hours ago

U stupid sheep: Germany did show it to the OPCW, i.e. the organization RF is the member of, and therefore the latter gets the full access to all the data provided by Germany, as well as any other of 192 members. Kremlin lies and demands in this regard is more than ridiculous, they completely destroy any shred of trust left to all RF governmental structures and regime itself.

Teodor Nitu gainwmn 3 hours ago

Riiight!...Those Russians...not only their chemical weapons are no longer working, but they are no longer capable to choose the proper time to use them, or so the story goes. Think about it; they 'used' novichok to kill the Skripals and they are still alive and well (supposedly), now they (Russians) 'used' novichok again to kill Navalny and he is alive and getting better.

Besides, they chose the absolutely wrong time to do it. With Skripals it was just before the opening of the World Cup in Russia and now, just before the finishing of the North Stream 2 pipeline.

It sounds that they are sabotaging their own interests, aren't they? Are they (Russians) that stup!d? Some 'smart' posters here seem to believe it. But lets get real, one has to be able to see beyond the length of his nose, in order to understand what is really going on.

silvermoon Teodor Nitu 2 hours ago

Russia had all their chemical weapons legally destroyed. Along with hundreds of countries. The US, UK and Israel never did. Navalny the innocent anti Putin. Can't win one way try another.

Pro_RussiaPole gainwmn 2 hours ago

So why is Russia still asking for it? Clearly, something is being withheld. As for the OPCW, their credibility has been shot for years with all their fake Syrian chem weapon attack reports.

seawolf 6 hours ago

Even if there was not Navalny's story, they could invent another to stop the project.

Abraxas79 seawolf 4 hours ago

Exactly. I hope Russia is the one that abandons it. Let Germany be the one that decides to cancel it and go along with it. Concentrate on supplying China and other Asian nations and internal consumption. Forget about Europe. You don't have to turn off the current supply, just charge more for it when the market allows. Looks like the next German leader according to this article is quite the Russophobe, which means relations will only get worse.

Pro_RussiaPole Abraxas79 2 hours ago

If this navalny farce does end up cancelling the NS2 project, Russia should stop all gas transit to western Europe through Poland and Ukraine by spring of next year. Tell those countries that will be cut off that Russia can either sell them LNG, or that they will have to connect to other sources of gas. Because if certain countries are so against Russian gas, then why are they not doing anything against Russian gas going through Poland and Ukraine, and why isn't Trump threatening sanctions on these countries for doing so?

Blue8ball713 RTjackanory 3 hours ago

Its a far longer list and it have the fingerprints of GB secret services all over it.

Reply Gabriel Delpino seawolf 46 seconds ago It is not in the interest of Germany to stop de project. Reply

magicmirror 6 hours ago

Europe should have nothing to do with the USA ....... proved time and time again they cannot be trusted. All they want is markets, resources and consumers. They lie, they cheat, they steal...... (quoting mr Pompeo, I think). A big opportunity to win Europe's independence.

SmellLaRata 5 hours ago

All due respect for Mr. Navalny but since when does an individual fate of one person dictates the fate for millions ? And c' mon Germany. Your hypocrisy is so utterly laughable. You ignore the Assange and Snowden cases, the slaughter of Kashoggi, the brutal beating of yellow vests, the brutal actions against the Catalans ... but Navalni. Not even a hint of a proof of government involvemen. But it fits the agenda, does it? The agenda which is dictated by the deep state agitators who so much flourished under Obama.

gainwmn SmellLaRata 4 hours ago

Even being not a fan (to say the least) of the US foreign and some of the domestic policy, I have to point out that tried by U analogy is largely out of balance: first, the issue in Navalny (as well as in Scripals' and others cases acted on with poisons) case is not so much the assassination attempt on a person's life, as the banned use of chemical weapons, the ban RF's signature has been under since 1993. And that conclusion (Russia's guilt) has not been made by the UK or Germany or any other country alone, but the OPCW - the organization not only RF is the member of, but also 191(!) other countries, out of which not a single country (except RF) rejected that conclusion!; second, the US did not made attempt on either Snowden's or Assange's life, with any kind of weapon, not already mentioning the weapons banned by the international agreements American government(s) signed. This is a large - I would say - decisive difference! As far as Kashoggi's case or other cases sited by U, RF did not react with sanctions against the respective perpetrators either, thus demonstrating the same disregard for the law and order as the US did... therefore making all lies about innocent RF and evil US, foolish, at the least.

Pro_RussiaPole gainwmn 2 hours ago

The US and its lackeys are killing Assange. They are doing it slowly. And many voices going along with a lie does not make the lie true. Because these poisoning allegations are lies. The accused were never allowed to see the evidence or challenge it. And there is the whole issue of politicized reports coming out of the OPCW that contradicted evidence and reality.

Nathi Sibbs 4 hours ago

After completing the pipe and it start running Russia must turn off all Ukraine pipes. No more gas for free from Russia, Ukraine must start importing LNG from thier reliable partner USA. I think imports from USA will be good for Ukrainian Nazi people

Abraxas79 Nathi Sibbs 4 hours ago

How are they going to pay for it? Ukraine's only exports these days are its women to various brothels across Europe and North America.

Hilarous 5 hours ago

The German leaders know very well that the case of Navalny will never be resolved and exists for no other reason than to seize a pretext to demonize Russia and to end Nord Stream 2 in exchange for US freedom gas

magicmirror Hilarous 4 hours ago

freedom gas and handsome presents .....

SandythePole 3 hours ago

This is an excellent account by Dr Karin Kneissl. It is a genuine dilemma for 'occupied' Europe. Its occupying master does NOT want NS2 and will do anything to stop it. Russia suffers sanctions upon sanctions, but still gallantly tries to maintain friendly and honourable business relations with its implacable neighbours. For how much longer is this to continue? Surely there must be some limit to the endless provocations of occupied Europe and its Western master. Perhaps it is time to shut off the oil and gas and leave Germany to sail under its own wind.

dunkie56 3 hours ago

Perhaps Russia should disengage with Germany/EU totally and forge ahead in partnership with China and India and whoever wants to do business. let the EU tie it's ship to the sinking US ship and drown along with it's protection racket partner! Then Russia should build a new iron curtain between itself and all countries who want to align with the EU..in the long run Russia has tried to forge a partnership with the West but it just has not born any fruit and even as pragmatic as Russia is they must be coming to the conclusion they are flogging a dead horse!

Blue8ball713 dunkie56 2 hours ago With 146 million citizen Russia is too small to be a real partner to anyone like China or India. Best fit is the EU, but the EU is controlled or better said occupied by the USA. Its part of their hegemonial system. So Russia is left out in the rain..

micktaketo 5 hours ago

I am not sure if it is the right thing to do but I think Russia should sue the German authorities if this deal is withdrawn and if it is have nothing to do with Germany again along with other corrupt countries that cannot prove or at the least bring forth their evidence to be seen, to be transparent to all even Russia the first, because Russia is the one being accused. These countries must think we the people are all completely stupid and Russia more so. This corruption stinks to high heaven and is obvious to all sane people who love fairness. You cannot trust an entity that believes in getting what they want by hook or by crook. Russia learn your lesson ! So you countries that love whats good for you and your people do not cheat them for they voted for you to help them. Germany do not kick yourself, it will hurt your people. Saying, There is more than one way to skin a cat, they say.

Mutlu Ozer 3 hours ago

There is a simple concept to investigate a crime to find the criminals: Just look at whose benefit the crime is? EU politicians are certainly smart people to know this basic concept of criminal investigation. However, now they are playing a new strategy about how to domesticate(!) not only Russia China as well... Germans are the main actors in the stage of the WW-I and WW-II. I surely claim that Germans would be the main architect of the last war, WW-III.

[Sep 01, 2020] How Democrats and Republicans made deals to pass Magnitsky Act by Lucy Komisar

Highly recommended!
The foreign policy elite dislikes Russia, always has, and will do anything to keep this "adversary" front and center because their prospects for prestige, power and position depend upon the presence of an enemy. As an example see Strobe Talbot and Michael McFaul.
Notable quotes:
"... Ben Cardin agreed to be the cosponsor of a Magnitsky Act in the Senate. He sought a Republican cosponsor, John McCain, a Russophobic senator who never met a war he didn't like. ..."
"... It wasn't the first time McCain helped a fraudster. McCain was one of the corrupt "Keating Five" senators who improperly intervened in 1987 on behalf of Charles H. Keating, Jr., corrupt chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which collapsed in 1989 at a cost of $3.4 billion to the federal government (and thus taxpayers). Many investors lost their life savings. ..."
"... To get to McCain and others, Browder hired lobbyist Juleanna Glover, who had been Vice President Dick Cheney's press secretary and then Attorney General John Ashcroft's senior policy adviser. She went with Ashcroft when he left government to run the Washington office of his law firm, the Ashcroft Group. ..."
"... She got Browder a meeting with McCain who agreed to sponsor the Magnitsky Act. It fit with his Russophobia and friendship with fraudsters. ..."
"... On September 29, 2010, Senators Ben Cardin, John McCain, Roger Wicker (Republican of Mississippi) and Joe Lieberman (Democrat of Connecticut) introduced the bill in the Senate. Anyone involved in the false arrest, torture or death of Sergei Magnitsky, or the crimes he uncovered, would be publicly named, banned from entering the United States, and have their U.S. assets frozen. ..."
"... Remember again that a few months later Browder would tell the San Diego law school he didn't know how Magnitsky died. ..."
"... How the Browder-Magnitsky hoax law got passed in a trade deal ..."
"... Browder got Senator Joe Lieberman, conservative Democrat from Connecticut, to agree to block Jackson-Vanik repeal unless the administration stopped blocking his Magnitsky Act. ..."
"... Lieberman and the other cosponsors of the Magnitsky Act sent a letter to Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. The letter said, "In the absence of the passage of the Magnitsky leg­islation, we will strongly oppose the lifting of Jackson-Vanik." ..."
"... The final count December 6, 2012 was 92-4. Levin and three other Democrats – Bernie Sanders as well as Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, both of Rhode Island – were the only Senators to vote against it. Elizabeth Warren was not yet in the Senate. ..."
"... It was signed by Obama a week later. Read Title IV of the law to see how it is based on the fake claims the chief sponsors would not, could not prove. Including "he was beaten by 8 guards with rubber batons on the last day of his life" based on zero evidence, just Browder's lies. (I also wrote to Cardin's office and got no reply.) ..."
Aug 19, 2020 | www.thekomisarscoop.com

As the Democratic Convention is in progress, it is fitting to look at how Democrats in Congress and the White House, with Republican collaboration, were responsible for the Magnitsky Act , the law that protects tax fraudster William Browder and his henchman Mikhail Khodorkovsky by erecting a wall against their having to face justice for their financial crimes. And ramps up hostility against Russia.

The fraudster William Browder .

This is a half-hour interview about this I did today on this subject for Fault Lines . And a 15-minute interview for The Critical Hour . Here is an expanded version of what I said.

William Browder in the mid-1990s became manager of the Hermitage Fund, set up with $25 million from Lebanese-Brazilian banker Edmond Safra and Israeli mining investor Beny Steinmez to buy shares in Russian companies.

He says he started the fund, but that is a lie. He was brought in to manage other people's money. But after some years, when the two investors either died or confronted major financial problems, Browder gained control.

Browder doesn't like paying taxes.

Browder was an American who traded his citizenship for a UK passport in 1998 so he could avoid paying U.S. taxes on his stock profits. ( CBS called him a tax expatriate.)

He didn't like paying Russian taxes either. In an early rip-off, he and his partners billionaire Kenneth Dart of Dart cups and New York investor Francis Baker bought a majority of Avisma, a titanium company, that produces material used in airplanes. They cheated minority investors and the Russian tax collector of profits by using transfer pricing.

Corrupt Russian "oligarch" Mikhail Khodorkovsky, photo Lucy Komisar.

You sell your production to a fake company at a low price, then your fake company sells it at the world price. You book lower dividends to cheat minority shareholders, report lower taxes to cheat the Russian people.

Browder and partners bought Avisma from infamous oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky on the basis of continuing his transfer pricing scam. It was revealed by documents in a lawsuit when Browder and partners sued another infamous guy, Peter Bond, the Isle of man crook handling the rake-offs for not passing on the full amount of the skim. (No honor among thieves!) The legal documents where Browder admits to the scam are linked in this story .

Browder cheats bigtime on Russia taxes

Browder's next corruption was to cheat the Russians of taxes from his stock buys in Russia, to the tune of about $100million. That included claiming as deductions disabled workers who didn't work for him, local investments he never made, profits from stock buys of Gazprom the Russian energy conglomerate that non-Russians were not allowed to buy in Russia.

Investigations started in the early 2000s for $40 mil in evaded takes and led to legal judgments in 2004. When he refused to pay, in November 2005 he was denied a Russian visa and in 2006 he moved all his assets out of Russia. But the Russian tax evasion investigations continued.

Browder's accountant Sergei Magnitsky was arrested for investigation of the tax evasion in 2008, and the European Commission on Human Rights ruled last year that was correct because of the evidence and because he was a flight risk. Browder's fake narrative was that Magnitsky, who he lied was his lawyer , had been arrested because he blew the whistle on a scheme by Russian officials to embezzle money from the Russian Treasury. In his own U.S. federal court deposition , Browder admits Magnitsky didn't go to law school or have a law license. See his brief video on that.

Browder gives speeches that he didn't know how Magnitsky died

Then Magnitsky died of heart failure exacerbated by stomach disease which forensic reports say was not properly treated. Browder first said (in talks at the British foreign policy association Chatham House , London, a month after he died, and San Diego Law School -- video at minute 6:20 -- a year later) he didn't know how Magnitsky died, but after a few years he invented a story that he had been beaten to death.

Jonathan Winer, who helped Browder with his scam.

That story was developed by Jonathan Winer, a former assistant to Senator John Kerry and then a State Department official. Winer was working for APCO, an international public relations company one of whose major clients was the same Mikhail Khodorkovsky. They correctly assumed the western media would do no research. Or at least would not be allowed to report it. And the mainstream media never did, except much later Der Spiegel in Germany, which the rest of the western press ignored.

The plan was to get a U.S. law that would in effect block the Russians from going after certain Americans who had cheated on taxes. They would be Browder and Khodorkovsky, who is actually named in the law.

Khodorkovsky would spend several hundred thousand dollars to buy Congressional support for the Magnitsky Act, clearly money well spent. He duly reported it as lobbying expenses.

Here is how the Democrats and Republicans colluded in the Browder Magnitsky hoax. Much of this comes from Browder's own writings in his mostly fake book "Red Notice." Note the corruption of both parties.

Magnitsky died in November 2009. Only four months later in March 2010, Browder was plotting his Magnitsky hoax, attacking Russians he would claim were responsible for Magnitsky's death. But the bizarre part of the story is that he continued throughout 2010 to say he didn't know how Magnitsky died, including in a videoed Dec 2010 San Diego law school talk. He obviously assumed U.S. media and politicians would not notice or care about the contradictions.

Ben Cardin, senator who signed on to Browder hoax.

Browder got Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin to send a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in March 2010 urging her to ban visas for 60 people Browder had listed (without evidence) as complicit in Magnitsky's death. (Remember 9 months later in a videoed talk at San Diego Law School Browder says he didn't know how Magnitsky died.)

The letter to Hillary Clinton, written (Browder says in his book) by Browder acolyte Kyle Parker, a staffer at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said, I "urge you to immediately cancel and permanently withdraw the U.S. visa privileges of all those involved in this crime, along with their dependents and family members." Immediately? No due process, not even for children and grandparents? Cousins?

Attached to the letter was the list of the sixty officials Browder accused, without evidence, of involvement in Magnitsky's death and a tax fraud against the Treasury.

Browder's fake tax refund fraud

The tax refund fraud was a scheme in which shell companies were set up to sue Browder's Hermitage companies claiming contract violations and damages of $1billion. The Hermitage companies immediately agreed to pay (no evidence of actual bank transfers), then demanded the Treasury pay a tax refund of $230million because they now had zero profits.

Viktor Markelov, tried and jailed for the scam, said he worked with a Sergei Leonidovich, which is Magnitsky's name and patronymic. Other evidence, including an inexplicable delay of months between Browder learning about the his companies being re-registered in other names and him reporting that as "theft," indicates he was part of the scam too.

Note this: Hermitage trustee HSBC filed a financial document in July 2007 saying it was putting aside $7 million for legal costs that might be required to get back the companies. This was five months before the tax refund fraud occurred. Albert Dabbah, chief financial controller for HSBC, confirmed the document's authenticity in U.S. federal court. But Browder and Magnitsky (in his testimony ) said they didn't learn about the "theft" till October 2007.

Theft of his companies? The best defense is a good offense. Accuse others of the crime you committed.

Senator Cardin was requesting that all sixty of Browder's accused have their U.S. travel privileges permanently revoked.

But Hillary didn't buy it. Then House staffer Parker arranged for Browder to testify about the Magnitsky case May 6 th at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, not an official House body but a pressure group set up in the name of a Russophobic former congressman from Hungary.

Congressman Jim McGovern would not send the evidence he promised, because he couldn't. There wasn't any.

The commission chairman was Massachusetts Democratic congressman Jim McGovern, who runs liberal but is a Russophobe who pretends to be a human rights advocate.

Now what is really interesting is that seven months after this May 6 testimony, on December 6, 2010, Browder was telling the San Diego law school (video 6:20 in) that "they put him in a straight jacket, put him in an isolation room and waited outside the door until he died." Nothing about torture or killing. Had Browder forgotten his dramatic beating story?

McGovern at the Lantos Commission hearing asked for no evidence. He said he would introduce legislation, put the 60 names Browder cited in it, move it to the committee and make a formal recommendation from Congress, then pass it on the floor.

McGovern lies about sending evidence

Kimberly Stanton, who runs a propaganda operation and refused to provide evidence.

In July 2019, almost a decade later, I saw McGovern when he spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations. I asked if he would send me evidence backing the claim that Magnitsky was tortured and killed. He agreed and introduced me to an aide. The aide referred me to Kimberly Stanton, director of the Lantos Commission, who refused in an email to provide any information. And said evidence against targeted people is not required!

I also wrote McGovern's press secretary Matt Bonaccorsi and legislative director Cindy Buhl. They ignored repeated requests, never sent me anything. I conclude that Jim McGovern, who pretends to be a liberal civil rights promoter, is a fake and a fraud.

McGovern introduces a Magnitsky bill in the House.

John McCain, he loved fraudsters and wars.

Ben Cardin agreed to be the cosponsor of a Magnitsky Act in the Senate. He sought a Republican cosponsor, John McCain, a Russophobic senator who never met a war he didn't like.

It wasn't the first time McCain helped a fraudster. McCain was one of the corrupt "Keating Five" senators who improperly intervened in 1987 on behalf of Charles H. Keating, Jr., corrupt chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, which collapsed in 1989 at a cost of $3.4 billion to the federal government (and thus taxpayers). Many investors lost their life savings.

Keating was the target of a regulatory investigation. With powerful senators like McCain advocating his cause, the regulator backed off taking action against Lincoln. Though Keating went to jail. McCain was cited only for exercising "poor judgment." Helping a crook doesn't get you thrown out of the Senate.

To get to McCain and others, Browder hired lobbyist Juleanna Glover, who had been Vice President Dick Cheney's press secretary and then Attorney General John Ashcroft's senior policy adviser. She went with Ashcroft when he left government to run the Washington office of his law firm, the Ashcroft Group.

Juleanna Glover, former aide to Dick Cheney. She can buy you a bill .

She got Browder a meeting with McCain who agreed to sponsor the Magnitsky Act. It fit with his Russophobia and friendship with fraudsters.

On September 29, 2010, Senators Ben Cardin, John McCain, Roger Wicker (Republican of Mississippi) and Joe Lieberman (Democrat of Connecticut) introduced the bill in the Senate. Anyone involved in the false arrest, torture or death of Sergei Magnitsky, or the crimes he uncovered, would be publicly named, banned from entering the United States, and have their U.S. assets frozen.

Remember again that a few months later Browder would tell the San Diego law school he didn't know how Magnitsky died.

Now here is how the law got passed. The Jackson-Vanick amendment put in place in the mid-1970s imposed trade sanctions on the Soviet Union to punish it for not allowing Soviet Jews to emigrate. Well, nobody could emigrate. Eventually 1.5 million Jews were allowed to leave the country.

How the Browder-Magnitsky hoax law got passed in a trade deal

Thirty-seven years later the Soviet Union no longer existed, and everybody could emigrate, but Jackson-Vanik was still on the books. It blocked American corporations from enjoying the same trade benefits with Russia as the world's other WTO members.

So, the U.S. business community said Jackson-Vanik had to go, and the Obama administration agreed. So did John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They needed an act of Congress.

Meanwhile, Kerry opposed the Magnitsky Act which he considered untoward interference in Russia (is that like saying meddling?) and had been delaying bringing it to vote in committee.

Browder got Senator Joe Lieberman, conservative Democrat from Connecticut, to agree to block Jackson-Vanik repeal unless the administration stopped blocking his Magnitsky Act.

Lieberman and the other cosponsors of the Magnitsky Act sent a letter to Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. The letter said, "In the absence of the passage of the Magnitsky leg­islation, we will strongly oppose the lifting of Jackson-Vanik."

John Kerry had good instincts, forced to make bad compromise.

So, Kerry stopped his opposition to the Magnitsky Act.

The two bills were combined. First the bill would be brought up at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to pass Magnitsky, then it would go before the Finance Committee to repeal Jackson-Vanik, and then, it would go before the full Senate for a vote.

Kerry called for a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in June 2012, with the purpose of approving the Magnitsky Act.

At the hearing, Kerry said that America was not a perfect country, and that the people in that room should be "very mindful of the need for the United States not to always be pointing fingers and lecturing and to be somewhat introspective as we think about these things." (Such nuance would obviously not be allowed today.)

He was "worried about the unintended consequences of requiring that kind of detailed reporting that implicates a broader range of intelligence." He didn't have to worry. Reporting? Intelligence? Actual evidence would never be required! The U.S. was setting up a kangaroo court and calling it a human rights tribunal!

The bill passed the House 365 to 43 on November 16, 2012. Voting "No" were 37 Democrats and 6 Republicans. Among them Maxine Waters and Ron Paul. And surprisingly New York Democrat Jerrold Nadler who since then became a Russophobe. Tulsi Gabbard had not yet been elected.

Kyle Parker told Browder, "There are a number of senators who are insisting on keeping Magnitsky global instead of Russia-only." One was Cardin, but also Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan – a political giant who spent many years fighting, holding hearings, about offshore tax evasion and must have known very well how Browder was a poster child for offshore tax-evading crooks. Also Jon Kyl, Republican from Arizona. Of course, Browder wanted "Russia only," because the purpose of the law was to attack Russia, not to promote global human rights. Cardin withdrew his objection, and the bill was "Russia only."

The Senate vote

The final count December 6, 2012 was 92-4. Levin and three other Democrats – Bernie Sanders as well as Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, both of Rhode Island – were the only Senators to vote against it. Elizabeth Warren was not yet in the Senate.

It was signed by Obama a week later. Read Title IV of the law to see how it is based on the fake claims the chief sponsors would not, could not prove. Including "he was beaten by 8 guards with rubber batons on the last day of his life" based on zero evidence, just Browder's lies. (I also wrote to Cardin's office and got no reply.)

It was the first pillar of Russiagate, where Cold Warrior Democrats joined forces with Cold Warrior Republicans. The result would be to build a wall against Russia bringing Browder to justice, including getting Interpol to refuse to issue a red notice that would require other countries to arrest him. He would name his book Red Notice as a jab at the Russians.

And the crooks Browder and Khodorkovsky, protected from the rule of law, laughed all the way to their offshore banks. Here's the link to Browder's Mossack Fonseca (on Panama Papers fame) bank.

(Speaking of the rule of law, it doesn't apply to offshore banks, with secret owners of companies and accounts. They are largely run by western banks that make big profits from laundering the money of the world's crooks. Note on any SEC filing where banks have their subsidiaries: Caymans, Isle of Man, Guernsey, BVI, etc. No local clients, just financial fakery: letterbox companies, tax evasion. It's okay. When there's corruption, only the little people go to jail. In the offshore system, the corrupt financial oligarchy rules.)

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One Response to " How Democrats and Republicans made deals to pass Magnitsky Act "
  1. Pingback: How Democrats and Republicans made deals to pass Magnitsky Act – The Chaos Cat

[Aug 27, 2020] Rand Paul Delivers Blistering Foreign Policy Attack- -Biden Will Choose War Again- -

Aug 27, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Among the most notable highlights at last night's Republican National Convention, Senator Rand Paul delivered a blistering take down of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's foreign policy, which Paul linked to multiple wars under Democrat administrations spanning decades (going back to Clinton's bombing of Serbia).

"I fear Biden will choose war again," Paul asserted . "He supported war in Serbia, Syria, Libya. Joe Biden will continue to spill our blood and treasure. President Trump will bring our heroes home."

"If you hate war like I hate war, if you want us to quit sending $50 billion every year to Afghanistan to build their roads and bridges instead of building them here at home , you need to support President Trump for another term," said Paul, who has long been a fierce critic of former President Obama's foreign policy, including overt intervention in Libya, and covert action toward destabilizing Syria.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1298426809290285057

He slammed Biden as a hawk who has "consistently called for more war" and with no signs anything would be different.

Interestingly, Sen. Paul has also in the recent past led foreign policy push back against President Trump - especially over the two times Trump has bombed Syria following alleged Assad chemical attacks, which Paul along with other anti-interventionists across the aisle like Tulsi Gabbard questioned to begin with.

But it appears Paul is firmly supportive of Trump's newly released 50-point agenda for his second term outlining the Commander-in-Chief will "stop endless war" and ultimately bring US troops "home." The plan still emphasized, however, the administration will "maintain" US military strength abroad while 'wiping' out global terrorism.

"President Trump is the first president in a generation to seek to end war rather than start one. He intends to end the war in Afghanistan. He is bringing our men and women home. Compare President Trump with the disastrous record of Joe Biden, who has consistently called for more war ," Paul said further.

Back during the primaries in 2016, Paul and Trump sparred intensely over national security questions:

https://twitter.com/i/status/1298422787120361472

He also highlighted Biden's unrepentant yes vote to go to war in Iraq .

"I'm supporting President Trump because he believes as I do that a strong America cannot fight endless wars. We must not continue to leave our blood and treasure in Middle East quagmires," Paul concluded.

Elsewhere in the approximately four-minute speech, Paul said Trump will fight "socialists poisoning our schools and burning our cities."


Cluster_Frak , 7 hours ago

Obama was a warmonger and so is Biden. They love war and doing everything possible for the next war to be on the home ground.

Davidduke2000 , 7 hours ago

Obama had skeletons in his closet, he did what the neocons want, Trump gave them the embassy and other shenanigans.

Izzy Dunne , 2 hours ago

And so is Trump. They are all warmongers, because war is what the US does...

Weihan , 7 hours ago

Paul is right.

Biden knows who butters his bread. At least candidate Trump - in principle - stood for opposition to the deep state's monstrous agenda.

Biden, Clinton, Bush, Obama are despicable warmongers. Their administrations were responsible for the slaughter of tens of thousands in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and the list would have gone on and on had it not been for Trump.


Remember Biden's 1992 Wall Street Journal article titled:

"How I Learned to Love the New World Order."

JUICE E SMALL IT EMPIRE , 7 hours ago

Rand was the only guy I watched last night and he was on point. I did not disagree with anything he said.

kulkarniravi , 8/26/2020, 2:33:07 PM

You can diss Obama all you want, but he signed a peace accord with Iran and Trump reneged on it. Iran is not the villain, at least not when compared to the likes of Saudi Arabia. And what's the deal with Cuba?

d_7878 , 6 hours ago

Rand on Trump:

"Are we going to fix the country through bombast and empty blather?

"Unless someone points out the emperor has no clothes, they will continue to strut about, and then we'll end up with a reality TV star as our nominee."

"Donald Trump is a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag"

"Have you ever had a speck of dirt fly into your eye?""[It is] annoying, irritating and might even make you cry.

"If the dirt doesn't go away, it will keep scratching your cornea until eventually it blinds you with all its filth. A speck of dirt is way more qualified to be president."

Trump is a "fake conservative."

mike_1010 , 7 hours ago

Trump might be talking peace, but he has increased US military spending significantly more than previous presidents. He also tore up the US peace agreement with Iran and nearly triggered a US war with Iran by assassinating one of their top generals.

If any president is going to start a war with Iran, then it's Trump. And such a war would dwarf any recent wars USA has fought. Because Iran is three times bigger than Iraq in terms of their population, and they've been preparing for a possible US attack for decades.

Perhaps Biden might start a small war here or there. But Trump goes big on anything he does. If he starts a war, then it's going to be either with China or Iran.

So, neither Biden nor Trump is to be trusted, when it comes to war. But I'd say that Trump is the bigger danger compared to Biden. Because if Trump starts a war, then it might end up being a nuclear war.

Airstrip1 , 6 hours ago

Rand Paul needs to ask himself if the pot is blacker than the kettle.

How can he expect people to believe this disingenuous claptrap ?

The USA is an Empire-building Crime Cartel.

Dims or Reps are just frontmen managers for the Mob.

chopsuey , 7 hours ago

Ron and Rand. The dog and pony show. The alternative. They say what you want to hear.

I say

Phuck OFF Ron and Rand. You had many many years to do something (anything) about the endless "wars" and in reality, they are not really wars. They are ruthless invasions of vulnerable countries whereupon natural resources are contained, the culture and its symbolic treasures are destroyed/stolen and thousands to millions are killed in the name of USA. These unwarranted invasions are justified with lies and fraud and deceit.

Washington DC is the military capital of the world doing the dirty work of the elite. And its soldier are your kids and grandkids.

Wake the Phuck UP people. It will not end until they have achieved their objectives. You are fodder for their cannon.

Dragonlord , 7 hours ago

Biden voted for war in Iraq and supported Obama aggression in Libya, Syria, etc and he is disappointed that Trump did not help Kurd to wage war against Turks for their independence.

ConanTheContrarian1 , 7 hours ago

Not sure. Trump has to play ball with established Deep State interests while he tries (I hope) to set things right. So, yes, questions will abound for some time.

takefive , 7 hours ago

whatever the reason, he is now part of the swamp. and that's why he's in a tough re-election battle with a stiff.

Ex-Oligarch , 3 hours ago

You have it exactly wrong. If Trump were really part of the swamp, they wouldn't be fighting so desperately to prevent his re-election. They wouldn't have spent three years on the Russiagate failed coup, they wouldn't have gone through the ridiculous partisan impeachment exercise, they wouldn't have torpedoed the economy over coronavirus, and we wouldn't have organized race riots in all the democrat strongholds.

LaugherNYC , 3 hours ago

Rand Paul is just about the only grown-up in American politics.

How much bettter off would the USA be with a Paul/Gabbard ticket?

But ANYTHING is better than Joe Biden. Literally ANYTHING.

Well...assuming Hillary were dead or incapacitated,

DaVinciCode , 7 hours ago

It's happening. Yugoslavian girl give dire warning to Americans.

This all happened in her country the same way.

PLEASE LISTEN - it is coming to the USA and the West

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-DSjSEl_CM

(copied from a fellow :-) thanks)

captain noob , 7 hours ago

No

synthetically derived , 5 hours ago

I agree with the Yugoslav girl's premise that the powers that be have been deceptively employing a divide-and-conquer strategy to get the American people to fight among themselves rather than confront their own corrupt government, but I do not buy into the conclusion drawn that the solution lies in trusting the head of the government (in this case Trump) to do right by the people.

As George Carlin famously said, "it's a big club, and you ain't in it!" The American people are not going to be able to fix the problems now confronting them by voting for one uniparty politician over another any more than the Yugoslav people were

wick7 , 7 hours ago

The Democrats will get their regime change war no matter what. If Biden is elected they'll continue the Syrian war that has cost 800,000 innocent lives so far. If Trump is elected they'll try to have one here to take him down.

yojimbo , 7 hours ago

Afghani GDP - $20bn. US military spending - $50bn.

They must have the best services in the world!

yesnomaybe , 7 hours ago

That video clip from the 2016 GOP debate is classic... as Paul questions Trump attacking personal appearances, Trump flat out denies it, and then proceeds to do just that in his next breath.

In all seriousness, Rand is a stand up guy and would make a great president.

Maghreb2 , 7 hours ago

Ru Paul has as much chance of stopping this war as Rand Paul. If he was a threat to the people starting it he would be getting the **** bashed out of him or shot dead by a mad man. Don't see many people talking about auditing the Fed outside of Texas anymore.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Congressional_baseball_shooting

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/15/us/politics/rand-paul-attack.html

He's got a point. Biden's son is in Ukraine milking it high on crack cocaine like a senators son should in the new Roman Emperor. Ukrainian color revolution and CIA long war strategy means he has set up shop there permanently like a little princeling. Same as princess Kushners wonderful tour of the Middle Eastern courts to meet his boyfriends. Old days they would both have be poisoned to death or strangled as children for disrespecting the senate.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/07/08/will-hunter-biden-jeopardize-his-fathers-campaign

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/08/20/politics/kushner-uae-israel-f-35-fighter-jet/index.html

Real rules of Eastern European politics are Nationalist winding up dead in dust bins behind the American Embassy and Russians threatening to switch of the gas and freeze everyone to death every winter. Footage of hard man dictator Lukashenko showing up at opposition protests with an assault rifle is broadcast to school children. I'd like to see Hunter Biden and Jared Kushner show up to something like that.

https://edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2020/08/24/belarus-protests-lukashenko-rifle-fred-pleitgen-live-nr-intl-ldn-vpx.cnn

Truth is Trump is a ******* liar. the Moment they started to shut down Rammenstein airbase they moved forces close to the Belarus border to pull another color revolution right in front of Putin. Trump and the Republicans are just stooges for the Zionist mafia. They are playing war scare but its too piss take for anyone now. Polish and Baltic States are NATO and have their own prerogative. They just push people closer to war.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFKyYOZjFzc

Rand Paul should worry about the Civil War that should come after the election.

Aint no senators sons for that game....

DEDA CVETKO , 5 hours ago

Thank you, Rand, for remembering the little Serbia -- twice (in both World Wars) America's fiercest and most loyal ally, and now a roadkill of the Clinton Foundation and Madeleine Albright, the new owner of Kosovo.

The nations that sadistically massacre and dismember their friends and allies do not have a future, nor the right to claim any.

Scipio Africanuz , 5 hours ago

Again Senator Paul, we don't do self deception..

In almost four years, how many legions have been repatriated home, or how many of the existing wars have been ended?

All we've observed, is an escalation of hybrid wars, reducing in some, kinetism, and increasing death tolls via other means, and in some, increased covert kinetism..

Your candidate brazenly murdered a top general of a nation not at war with the US..

Imagine Senator Paul, if Iran had murdered Petraeus, would the US not have declared war?

That the Iranians didn't significantly escalate, was NOT due to fear, but back channel advocacy and energetic remonstrations by adult folks..

If you believe Biden is worse than your candidate who's done worse, in terms of brazen law abrogation, then why aren't you a candidate, or is it that you'd prefer partisanship to patriotism?

Look within your party for corollary and accomplice warmongers, and leave Biden alone after all, you do have a rabid warmongering Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton as party colleagues, no?

Senator Paul, there's principle, character, and integrity and then there's opportunism, partisanship, and betrayal..

Of nobility..

Anyhow, you're sovereign and thus, fully entitled to your choices, we simply point out inconsistencies between what you espouse, and what you support..

Character, Senator Paul, is destiny..

Cheers...

Anthraxed , 4 hours ago

Trump has dropped more bombs than Obama at the same time in his term.

You're in complete denial if you think Trump has stopped any of the wars. And yes, he is expanding the wars to a much larger country.

Trump's first veto was a bill that would have stopped the Yemen war.

Reality is like Cryptonite for Trumptards.

quanttech , 4 hours ago

lol, 10 minutes ago I was being accused of being Antifa, and now I'm a Trumptard. Definitely doing something right.

Yes, Trump is a war criminal extraordinaire. He dropped a MOAB. He removed controls on civilian casualties. He dropped 7400+ bombs on Afghanistan in 2019.... 60% of the casualties were civilians, mostly children.

He also stupidly listened to his generals when they told him to kill Sulemani. BUT... when the Iranians retaliated (and they DID retaliate, injuring dozens of US soldiers) Trump de-escalated. Similarly, when the Iranians downed a drone, the generals wanted to retaliate - Trump asked how many Iranians would die. The generals said 150. Trump said it didn't make sense to kill 150 people for downing a drone.

Trump is a moron who is completely out of it most of the time. But when he pays attention for a moment, he's against a a war with Iran.

Now, if I'm a Trumptard, then you're a Hillaryhead. My question to you is... where would we be if Hillary was president? Answer: at war with Iran. Another question: where will we be if Biden is president?

Dull Care , 3 hours ago

How much authority do you think Trump has over the foreign policy? Not a rhetorical question but I have yet to see an American president run for office advocating a more interventionist foreign policy yet it doesn't change greatly no matter who is in office. Trump often carries a big stick but he's nowhere near as reckless as his predecessors.

The one thing we know is Trump is hostile to the Chinese government and hasn't turned around relations with Russia.

quanttech , 1 hour ago

"... I have this feeling that whoever's elected president when you win, you go into this smoky room with the twelve industrialists capitalists scum-***** who got you in there. And a big guy with a cigar goes: 'Roll the film.' And it's a shot of the Kennedy Assassination from an angle you've never seen before - It looks suspiciously off the grassy knoll. Then the screen comes up, and they go to the new president: 'Any questions?'"
- Bill Hicks, Rant in E-Minor (1993)

Observer 2020 , 5 hours ago

The spiritual, moral, ethical, philosophical, intellectual and cultural bankruptcy of Biden and his fellow death cult reprobates is depthless. One need know nothing more about them that they have become so detached from reality as to regard abortion, partial birth abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, generational genocide, genocide, of the white race, unremitting sociocultural warfare and the balkanization of this nation as being virtues.

Anyone who would even begin to contemplate supporting Biden or any of his fellow Fifth Columnists should be regarded as being too demented or otherwise Bidenesque to be competent to vote.

12Doberman , 5 hours ago

Biden has a record showing him to be a Neocon...and that's why we see the neverTrumpers supporting him.

Musum , 5 hours ago

And Pompeous is 10X worse than Biden. And he serves as Trump's Sec. of State.

chinoslims , 5 hours ago

Hey Trump is self professed king of Israel

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/08/donald-trump-king-of-israel

Musum , 5 hours ago

Of course, he's just a viceroy serving on behalf of the kosher people.

ted41776 , 8 hours ago

it's not what the president chooses

it's what chooses the president

conraddobler , 8 hours ago

This has lost all it's entertainment value.

Hollywood and the Postman was a more realistic view, in that movie I believe the warlord was a former copier either salesman or technician, can't remember but it's more likely a guy like that would have leadership capabilities than these clowns would.

invention13 , 1 hour ago

It saddens me that people can just go about their business in this country without giving a thought about the men and women who are getting injured and coming home stressed out and addicted to painkillers. Also that the real motive for continued military involvement in the ME is that some people are making tons of money off it. We need our own version of Smedley Butler these days.

It is all decadent beyond belief.

mrjinx007 , 1 hour ago

That MF no good SOB war mongering no good neocon SOB Shawn did everything he could to get RP to agree with him that we need to continue with the policy of regime change.

Rand just basically told him to shut the f up and stop blowing the Neo-cons' erections. It was precious. You know how people like this ******* Hannity get their funding from. Deep state, MIC, and all the f'king Rino's like Tommy Cotton.

gm_general , 2 hours ago

Thanks to Hillary and Obama, Libya is a complete mess and black people are being sold as slaves there. Let that sink in.

[Aug 21, 2020] The deep state "beef" with Trump is that he's rocking the boat

Aug 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

He [Bezos] and people like him are more concerned with maintaining the Dollar as reserve currency in order to facilitate the continued sell-out of Americans for cheap foreign manufactured goods, technology sells to China, and their own personal enrichment.

"The theory that refuses to die is that the US, as the country with "the" global reserve currency, "must have" a large trade deficit with the rest of the world."
https://www.sgtreport.com/2019/07/and-the-us-dollars-status-as-global-reserve-currency/

In both cases, the "beef" with Trump is that he's rocking the boat -- both in terms of his criticism of the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama wars for Israel and the Petrodollar, and in terms of the America First noises he's made. While he's proven to be a fairly reliable Zionist stooge (although he hasn't started any new wars in the Mideast, and been more of a placeholder), he's edging a little too close to America First (with his domestic rhetoric and some of his policies) for comfort.

[Aug 19, 2020] Washington's Supposed Gift to President Putin

Aug 19, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org

< Older Washington's Supposed Gift to President Putin written by brian cloughley tuesday august 18, 2020
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One of the comments made following Trump's decision to relocate some 12,000 troops from Germany was made by retired Admiral James ('Zorba') Stavridis, who in 2009-2013 was US Supreme Allied Commander Europe (the military commander of Nato). He declared that the action, among other things, "hurts NATO solidarity and is a gift to Putin." This was a most serious pronouncement, which was echoed by Republican Senator Mitt Romney, a rich Republican and Mormon cleric, who said the redeployment was a "gift to Russia." These sentiments were well-reported and endorsed by US media outlets which continue to be relentlessly anti-Russia.

Stavridis is the man who wrote that the seven-month bombing and rocketing of Libya by the US-Nato military grouping in 2011 "has rightly been hailed as a model intervention. The alliance responded rapidly to a deteriorating situation that threatened hundreds of thousands of civilians rebelling against an oppressive regime. It succeeded in protecting those civilians and, ultimately, in providing the time and space necessary for local forces to overthrow Muammar al-Gaddafi."

On June 22 Human Rights Watch noted that "over the past years" in Libya their investigators have "documented systematic and gross human rights and humanitarian law violations by armed groups on all sides, including torture and ill-treatment, rape and other acts of sexual violence, arbitrary arrests and detention, forced displacement, unlawful killings and enforced disappearances ." Amnesty International's current Report also details the chaos in the shattered country where Nato conducted its "model intervention."

The Libya catastrophe illustrates the desperation of Nato in its continuing search for international situations in which it might be able to intervene, to try to provide some sort of justification for its existence. And the calibre of its leadership can be judged from the pronouncements of such as Stavridis, who was unsurprisingly considered a possibility for the post of Secretary of State by Donald Trump.

It is not explained how relocation of US troops from Germany could hurt Nato's "solidarity" but Defence Secretary Esper was more revealing about the situation as he sees it, when interviewed by balanced and objective Fox News on August 9. He declared "we basically are moving troops further east, closer to Russia's border to deter them. Most of the allies I've either spoken to, heard from or my staff has spoken to, see this as a good move. It will accomplish all of those objectives that have been laid out. And frankly, look, we still have 24,000 plus troops in Germany, so it will still be the largest recipient of US troops. The bottom line is the border has shifted as the alliance has grown." (It is intriguing that this important policy statement was not covered by US mainstream media and cannot be found on the Pentagon's Newsroom website -- the "one-stop shop for Defense Department news and information.")

No matter the spin from the Pentagon and what is now appearing in the US media, Trump's July 29 decision to move troops from Germany had no basis in strategy. It was not the result of a reappraisal of the regional or wider international situation. And it was not discussed with any of Washington's allies, causing Nato Secretary General Stoltenberg to say plaintively that it was "not yet decided how and when this decision will be implemented."

The BBC reported that "President Donald Trump said the move was a response to Germany failing to meet Nato targets on defence spending." Trump was quoted as telling reporters that "We don't want to be the suckers anymore. We're reducing the force because they're not paying their bills; it's very simple." It could not have been made clearer than that. The whole charade is the result of Trumpian petulance and has nothing to do with military strategy, no matter what is belatedly claimed by the Pentagon's Esper.

The German government was not consulted before Trump's contemptuous announcement, and defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer criticised Washington, saying "Nato is not a trade organisation, and security is not a commodity." But so far as Trump is concerned, security is indeed a commodity that can be traded as he sees fit, irrespective of relevance to national policy or anything other than his ego.

In trying to pick up the pieces following Trump's candid explanation of his orders to "reduce the force" in Germany, the Pentagon has conjured up a jumbled but confrontational plan intended to convince those who are interested (who do not include the German public), that it is all part of a grand scheme to extend the power of the US-Nato alliance. To this end, Esper announced he is "confident that the alliance will be all the better and stronger for it," because the redeployment involves reinforcement of the US military in Poland. He is moving 200 staff of the army's 5 corps to Krakow where, as reported by Military.com on August 5, "In a ceremony Army Chief of Staff General James McConville promoted John Kolasheski, the Army's V Corps commander, to the rank of lieutenant general and officially unfurled the headquarters' flag for the first time on Polish soil."

In addition to Washington's move of the advance HQ of V Corps to Krakow, there is a agreement that Poland will engage in what the Military Times reports as "a host of construction projects designed to support more US troops in that country" and Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Tom Campbell said that the Warsaw government "has agreed to fund infrastructure and logistical support to US forces," which should please the White House.

These initiatives are part of the US-Poland Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement completed on August 3, which Esper stated "will enhance deterrence against Russia, strengthen NATO, reassure our Allies, and our forward presence in Poland on NATO's eastern flank will improve our strategic and operational flexibility." Then on August 15 Secretary of State Pompeo visited Poland to formally ink the accord which was warmly welcomed by Polish President Duda who recently visited Trump in Washington.

Duda's declaration that "our soldiers are going to stand arm-in-arm" is consistent with the existing situation in Poland, where the Pentagon has other elements already deployed, including in Redzikowo, where a base is being built for Aegis Ballistic Missile Defence systems, and the Air Force's 52nd Fighter Wing detachments at Polish Air Force bases at Lask and Miroslawiec, where there is a unit operating MQ-9 attack drones.

Defence Secretary Esper has emphasised that "the border has shifted as the alliance has grown" -- and the border to which he refers is that of US-Nato as it moves more menacingly eastwards. That's the gift that Trump has given Russia.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .

[Aug 18, 2020] Biden's election will show that the Western alliance is no more - Telegraph

Notable quotes:
"... IMO NATO should have ended with the fall of the USSR. It now "confronts" a largely imaginary threat, concocted for the purpose of maintaining the status quo in US government expenditures for defense and supporting the imperial dreams of the neocons. ..."
"... Does anyone really think Russia is going to invade the Baltics? Really? ..."
"... The kind of symmetrical disinterest described in Timothy's article will encourage the end of Atlanticism ..."
Aug 17, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/16/bidens-election-will-show-western-alliance-no/

"There are, then, two ways in which a Biden presidency will remove the Europeans' veil of smug superiority. First, he will follow some Trump-era objectives, because that is what American interests demand, thus showing that Trump was no extremist on China . And second, where he does change approach, he will expose European indifference to the Western Alliance as driven, not by distaste for Trump's policies, but by Europe's own cynicism, short-termism and willingness to freeload off US military budgets.

In both respects, Biden's election will reveal Europe's dirty secret. It was never Donald Trump who stopped the Europeans being their better selves, taking responsibility for the security of their own citizens, and protecting long-term Western interests. It was always Europe itself." Nick Timothy in The Telegraph.

------------

I was struck earlier today by English Outsider's admonition (on SST) directed to ConfusedPonderer (archetype of the Teutons) in which EO said that it was vainglorious and vacuous to bitterly claim that the US "occupies" Germany as it did in 1945 while at the same time relying on US funding of Germany's defense through the USA's enormous military expenditures.

IMO NATO should have ended with the fall of the USSR. It now "confronts" a largely imaginary threat, concocted for the purpose of maintaining the status quo in US government expenditures for defense and supporting the imperial dreams of the neocons.

Does anyone really think Russia is going to invade the Baltics? Really?

The US faces a rapidly escalating political crisis. The losing party in November will undoubtedly go to the federal courts to claim that their opponents cheated in the process. These charges will eventually reach SCOTUS. In this environment US interest in European affairs will decline radically.

The kind of symmetrical disinterest described in Timothy's article will encourage the end of Atlanticism. pl

[Aug 06, 2020] Is War With China Inevitable by J

Notable quotes:
"... "When I analyze the current situation, I understand that this is a rehearsal for biological warfare," ..."
"... "I am not saying that this virus was created by humans... but this is a test of the health system's strength, including the country's biological defense." ..."
"... More sinophobic drivel and propaganda. Is it coming from Bannon, Navarro,Fox News, and the other similar warmongering outfits ? This type of propaganda is irrational but certainly purposeful to whip declining exceptionals into war frenzy. They are correct in one aspect - China is outpacing the US and will eventually in 10-20 years surpass it as #1 in Economic power (already the case) and Technology ..."
"... China is a missile-based military deploying hypersonics. This means the US Navy has to standoff 1000 km from the Chinese naval forces or missiles from mainland will decimate the carrier task forces within that range. ..."
"... More sinophobic drivel and propaganda. Is it coming from Bannon, Navarro,Fox News, and the other similar warmongering outfits ? This type of propaganda is irrational but certainly purposeful to whip declining exceptionals into war frenzy. They are correct in one aspect - China is outpacing the US and will eventually in 10-20 years surpass it as #1 in Economic power (already the case) and Technology ..."
"... China is a missile-based military deploying hypersonics. This means the US Navy has to standoff 1000 km from the Chinese naval forces or missiles from mainland will decimate the carrier task forces within that range. ..."
"... Of course having moved much of our manufacturing base into China and then allowing their students to take up most of the hard engineering class space and lab assistantships while diverting our students to 'studies' programs has been a resounding success. ..."
"... "There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising..." Bush, Obama, Biden, a Triumverate of peacemakers. Remind me who is ordering troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. ..."
"... Of course having moved much of our manufacturing base into China and then allowing their students to take up most of the hard engineering class space and lab assistantships while diverting our students to 'studies' programs has been a resounding success. ..."
"... "There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising..." Bush, Obama, Biden, a Triumverate of peacemakers. Remind me who is ordering troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. ..."
Aug 06, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The rattling of sabres between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the U.S. is becoming louder, and causing many to ponder if World War III is not far off. There are those in the international community increasingly alarmed given the COVID situation, the South China Sea imbroglio, and China's growing threat that they intend to invade and absorb Taiwan into Communist China within a year. These items have led to the belief that World War III is on the horizon.

Just recently, Dr.Leonid Roshal, a noted Moscow physician, hostage negotiator, and advisor to the WHO remarked that the COVID pandemic is a dry run for World War III, and that COVID-19 is practice for future biological warfare. Covid-19 pandemic has functioned as a "rehearsal for biological warfare," Dr. Roshal also believes that the rapidly-spreading virus was a test for the world's healthcare systems.

In an interview with Forbes, Professor Roshal, President of the Research Institute of Emergency Pediatric Surgery and Traumatology, explained that not all nations were ready for a mass influx of patients, and their lack of preparation has been exposed by the pandemic.

"When I analyze the current situation, I understand that this is a rehearsal for biological warfare," he explained. "I am not saying that this virus was created by humans... but this is a test of the health system's strength, including the country's biological defense."

In addition, Hong Kong-based virologist Yan Li-Meng, currently in hiding at an undisclosed location, claims that the COVID-19 coronavirus came from a People's Liberation Army lab, and not from a Wuhan wet market as Beijing has claimed. Speaking on a live stream interview on Taiwan's News Agency Lude Press, she said, "At that time, I clearly assessed that the virus came from a Chinese Communist Party military lab. The Wuhan wet market was just used as a decoy." Yan has been in hiding in the U.S. after fleeing Hong Kong in April.

Chinese PLA Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang stated recently that TAIWAN WILL be reunified with the rest of China - and any attempt by the United States to interfere is futile and dangerous. Senior Colonel Guoqiang is Deputy Director of the Ministry of Defense's Information Office, and Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesman. J


entrybody comment-odd comment-has-avatar">

Well, this is certainly a depressing and frightening post. I can't say, however, that I have been thinking along the same lines. However, since I am basically a nobody, I have tried to assure myself that I am being paranoid. So, it's not helping that some people who are much more knowledgeable have expressed in print some of the fears I have been feeling over these months dealing with the pandemic.

All I can do is pray and hold fast to my faith in God. Perhaps He will lift up the people who can deter us from the predictions of this post. (But are we worthy of being saved?)

Posted by: Diana Croissant , 05 August 2020 at 03:44 PM

Well, this is certainly a depressing and frightening post. I can't say, however, that I have been thinking along the same lines. However, since I am basically a nobody, I have tried to assure myself that I am being paranoid. So, it's not helping that some people who are much more knowledgeable have expressed in print some of the fears I have been feeling over these months dealing with the pandemic.

All I can do is pray and hold fast to my faith in God. Perhaps He will lift up the people who can deter us from the predictions of this post. (But are we worthy of being saved?)

Posted by: Diana Croissant 05 August 2020 at 03:44 PM

entrybody comment-even comment-has-avatar">

J

I don't believe there will be any direct military conflict. However, we can expect some saber rattling from both sides.

Sec.Azhar is leading a US delegation to Taiwan. On another note Taiwan ain't HK. They have an independent government. While they will eventually be overwhelmed in any military conflict with China if no other country intervenes on Taiwan's side, they definitely have the capability to inflict a black eye.

The CCP has been emboldened precisely because the US government has actively abetted their rapaciousness for many decades under both parties. From Clinton's MFN designation to Bush & Obama administrations actively supporting the shuttering of US manufacturing.

Trump is making the first course correction albeit in a limited manner with tariffs. He has however changed the tone in an important manner by no longer just kowtowing to whatever the CCP wants.

This story of ARM China exemplifies CCP long-term policy of requiring JVs to access the Chinese market and once technology and know-how have been successfully transferred, then expropriating it. The west in general and the US in particular have turned a blind eye. Huawei got going by stealing cisco source code and design.
https://www.businessinsider.com/arm-conflict-china-complicates-acquisition-prospects-2020-8

It is high time for the US to make the totalitarian Chinese communists pay a price and directly take the fight to them economically and financially. The CCP must be doing their best to insure a Biden win to return to the status quo or wait another Trump term and hope an establishment Democrat or Republican wins after. They have bought and paid the establishment politicians, entire think-tanks, many in academia and the media.

Posted by: Jack , 05 August 2020 at 03:58 PM

J

I don't believe there will be any direct military conflict. However, we can expect some saber rattling from both sides.

Sec.Azhar is leading a US delegation to Taiwan. On another note Taiwan ain't HK. They have an independent government. While they will eventually be overwhelmed in any military conflict with China if no other country intervenes on Taiwan's side, they definitely have the capability to inflict a black eye.

The CCP has been emboldened precisely because the US government has actively abetted their rapaciousness for many decades under both parties. From Clinton's MFN designation to Bush & Obama administrations actively supporting the shuttering of US manufacturing.

Trump is making the first course correction albeit in a limited manner with tariffs. He has however changed the tone in an important manner by no longer just kowtowing to whatever the CCP wants.

This story of ARM China exemplifies CCP long-term policy of requiring JVs to access the Chinese market and once technology and know-how have been successfully transferred, then expropriating it. The west in general and the US in particular have turned a blind eye. Huawei got going by stealing cisco source code and design.
https://www.businessinsider.com/arm-conflict-china-complicates-acquisition-prospects-2020-8

It is high time for the US to make the totalitarian Chinese communists pay a price and directly take the fight to them economically and financially. The CCP must be doing their best to insure a Biden win to return to the status quo or wait another Trump term and hope an establishment Democrat or Republican wins after. They have bought and paid the establishment politicians, entire think-tanks, many in academia and the media.

Posted by: Jack 05 August 2020 at 03:58 PM

entrybody comment-even comment-has-avatar">

More sinophobic drivel and propaganda. Is it coming from Bannon, Navarro,Fox News, and the other similar warmongering outfits ? This type of propaganda is irrational but certainly purposeful to whip declining exceptionals into war frenzy. They are correct in one aspect - China is outpacing the US and will eventually in 10-20 years surpass it as #1 in Economic power (already the case) and Technology .

There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising Trump. Certainly, US Naval Intel and PACCOM (now INDOPACCOM) brass who would love a grand Coral Sea 2.0 battle to destroy PLAN vessel on the seas. However, no one, except few Marine 4 stars want any land war. The Marines think they can defeat the PLA on some islands. That kind of warfare is for hollywood movies. China is a missile-based military deploying hypersonics. This means the US Navy has to standoff 1000 km from the Chinese naval forces or missiles from mainland will decimate the carrier task forces within that range.

There won't be any war in SE Asia or East Asia. This area now has a circuit breaker, Russia. Russia is building a naval presence, expanding it's aerospace arm, has basing rights in the zone in Vietnam and has long range radars that cover a lot of the zones, and submarines the US is having issues tracking.

The signals from China and Russia to the US military is very clear. You can walk and talk like the Hegemon but the days of regional hegemony are over. ASEAN nations will not accepting accept a return to gunboat diplomacy and colonization. All these nations want prosperity and progress, not western hegemony and military destruction.

This is why the hybrid war of sanctions, trade war, Infowars, cyberwar, proxies in Central Asia (ISIS and AQ), color revolution attempts in Hong Kong, hysterics about Tibet and Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia (Bannon front) are on the front burner. Military action is a losing proposition for the US. They simply cannot win anything anywhere in the Asia Pacific, western Asia or even against near peer powers proxies like Venezuela.

China simply has to do what Russia does and tell the US to pound sand.

Posted by: Horatio , 05 August 2020 at 04:51 PM

More sinophobic drivel and propaganda. Is it coming from Bannon, Navarro,Fox News, and the other similar warmongering outfits ? This type of propaganda is irrational but certainly purposeful to whip declining exceptionals into war frenzy. They are correct in one aspect - China is outpacing the US and will eventually in 10-20 years surpass it as #1 in Economic power (already the case) and Technology .

There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising Trump. Certainly, US Naval Intel and PACCOM (now INDOPACCOM) brass who would love a grand Coral Sea 2.0 battle to destroy PLAN vessel on the seas. However, no one, except few Marine 4 stars want any land war. The Marines think they can defeat the PLA on some islands. That kind of warfare is for hollywood movies. China is a missile-based military deploying hypersonics. This means the US Navy has to standoff 1000 km from the Chinese naval forces or missiles from mainland will decimate the carrier task forces within that range.

There won't be any war in SE Asia or East Asia. This area now has a circuit breaker, Russia. Russia is building a naval presence, expanding it's aerospace arm, has basing rights in the zone in Vietnam and has long range radars that cover a lot of the zones, and submarines the US is having issues tracking.

The signals from China and Russia to the US military is very clear. You can walk and talk like the Hegemon but the days of regional hegemony are over. ASEAN nations will not accepting accept a return to gunboat diplomacy and colonization. All these nations want prosperity and progress, not western hegemony and military destruction.

This is why the hybrid war of sanctions, trade war, Infowars, cyberwar, proxies in Central Asia (ISIS and AQ), color revolution attempts in Hong Kong, hysterics about Tibet and Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia (Bannon front) are on the front burner. Military action is a losing proposition for the US. They simply cannot win anything anywhere in the Asia Pacific, western Asia or even against near peer powers proxies like Venezuela.

China simply has to do what Russia does and tell the US to pound sand.

Posted by: Horatio 05 August 2020 at 04:51 PM

entrybody comment-odd comment-has-avatar">

Bjorn H

... BTW, "J" is a farmer in Oklahoma who served a long time in USAF.

Posted by: turcopolier , 05 August 2020 at 05:04 PM

Bjorn H

... BTW, "J" is a farmer in Oklahoma who served a long time in USAF.

Posted by: turcopolier 05 August 2020 at 05:04 PM

entrybody comment-even comment-has-avatar">

We've been in a war with China for a few decades now, and losing. Of course having moved much of our manufacturing base into China and then allowing their students to take up most of the hard engineering class space and lab assistantships while diverting our students to 'studies' programs has been a resounding success.

Horatio,

"There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising..." Bush, Obama, Biden, a Triumverate of peacemakers. Remind me who is ordering troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

Posted by: Fred , 05 August 2020 at 05:05 PM

We've been in a war with China for a few decades now, and losing. Of course having moved much of our manufacturing base into China and then allowing their students to take up most of the hard engineering class space and lab assistantships while diverting our students to 'studies' programs has been a resounding success.

Horatio,

"There are few viable military options for warmongering chickenhawks advising..." Bush, Obama, Biden, a Triumverate of peacemakers. Remind me who is ordering troops out of Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.

Posted by: Fred 05 August 2020 at 05:05 PM

entrybody comment-odd comment-has-avatar">

The rattling. of sabres between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the U.S.

That line as introduction gives away the article as plain and unsofisticated propaganda. Nobody refers to the USA as the Republican Party, the red scare is a momified bogey..

Posted by: Paco , 05 August 2020 at 05:28 PM

The rattling. of sabres between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the U.S.

That line as introduction gives away the article as plain and unsofisticated propaganda. Nobody refers to the USA as the Republican Party, the red scare is a momified bogey..

Posted by: Paco 05 August 2020 at 05:28 PM

[Aug 04, 2020] Russia never saw Trump as a potential ally or friend by The Saker

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Furthermore, it is pretty obvious to the Russians that while Crimea and MH17 were the pretexts for western sanctions against Russia, they were not the real cause. The real cause of the West's hatred for Russia is as simple as it is old: Russia cannot be conquered, subdued, subverted or destroyed. They've been at it for close to 1,000 years and they still are at it. In fact, each time they fail to crush Russia, their russophobia increases to even higher levels (phobia both in the sense of "fear" and in the sense of "hatred"). ..."
"... I would argue that since at least Russia and the AngloZionist Empire have been at war since at least 2013, when Russia foiled the US plan to attack Syria under the pretext that it was "highly likely" that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against civilians (in reality, a textbook case of a false flag organized by the Brits), This means that Russia and the Empire have been at [Cold] war since at least 2013, for no less than seven years (something which Russian 6th columnists and Neo-Marxists try very hard to ignore). ..."
"... True, at least until now, this was has been 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic, but this is a real existential war of survival for both sides: only one side will walk away from this struggle. The other one will simply disappear (not as a nation or a people, but as a polity; a regime). The Kremlin fully understood that and it embarked on a huge reform and modernization of the Russian armed forces in three distinct ways: ..."
"... While some US politicians understood what was going on (I think of Ron Paul, see here ), most did not. They were so brainwashed by the US propaganda that they were sure that no matter what, "USA! USA! USA!". Alas for them, the reality was quite different. ..."
Aug 04, 2020 | www.unz.com

Truth be told, most Russian politicians (with the notable exception of the official Kremlin court jester, Zhirinovskii) and analysts never saw Trump as a potential ally or friend. The Kremlin was especially cautious, which leads me to believe that the Russian intelligence analysts did a very good job evaluating Trump's psyche and they quickly figured out that he was no better than any other US politician.

Right now, I know of no Russian analyst who would predict that relations between the US and Russia will improve in the foreseeable future. If anything, most are clearly saying that "guys, we better get used to this" (accusations, sanctions, accusations, sanctions, etc. etc. etc.).

Furthermore, it is pretty obvious to the Russians that while Crimea and MH17 were the pretexts for western sanctions against Russia, they were not the real cause. The real cause of the West's hatred for Russia is as simple as it is old: Russia cannot be conquered, subdued, subverted or destroyed. They've been at it for close to 1,000 years and they still are at it. In fact, each time they fail to crush Russia, their russophobia increases to even higher levels (phobia both in the sense of "fear" and in the sense of "hatred").

Simply put -- there is nothing which Russia can expect from the upcoming election. Nothing at all. Still, that does not mean that things are not better than 4 or 8 years ago. Let's look at what changed.

I would argue that since at least Russia and the AngloZionist Empire have been at war since at least 2013, when Russia foiled the US plan to attack Syria under the pretext that it was "highly likely" that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons against civilians (in reality, a textbook case of a false flag organized by the Brits), This means that Russia and the Empire have been at [Cold] war since at least 2013, for no less than seven years (something which Russian 6th columnists and Neo-Marxists try very hard to ignore).

True, at least until now, this was has been 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic, but this is a real existential war of survival for both sides: only one side will walk away from this struggle. The other one will simply disappear (not as a nation or a people, but as a polity; a regime). The Kremlin fully understood that and it embarked on a huge reform and modernization of the Russian armed forces in three distinct ways:

A "general" reform of the Russian armed forces which had to be modernized by about 80%. This part of the reform is now practically complete. A specific reform to prepare the western and southern military districts for a major conventional war against the united West (as always in Russian history) which would involve the First Guards Tank Army and the Russian Airborne Forces. The development of bleeding-edge weapons systems with no equivalent in the West and which cannot be countered or defeated; these weapons have had an especially dramatic impact upon First Strike Stability and upon naval operations.

While some US politicians understood what was going on (I think of Ron Paul, see here ), most did not. They were so brainwashed by the US propaganda that they were sure that no matter what, "USA! USA! USA!". Alas for them, the reality was quite different.

Russian officials, by the way, have confirmed that Russia was preparing for war . Heck, the reforms were so profound and far reaching, that it would have been impossible for the Russians to hide what they were doing (see here for details; also please see Andrei Martyanov's excellent primer on the new Russian Navy here ).

While no country is ever truly prepared for war, I would argue that by 2020 the Russians had reached their goals and that now Russia is fully prepared to handle any conflict the West might throw at her, ranging from a small border incident somewhere in Central Asia to a full-scaled war against the US/NATO in Europe .

Folks in the West are now slowly waking up to this new reality (I mentioned some of that here ), but it is too late. In purely military terms, Russia has now created such a qualitative gap with the West that the still existing quantitative gap is not sufficient to guarantee a US/NATO victory. Now some western politicians are starting to seriously freak out (see this lady , for example), but most Europeans are coming to terms with two truly horrible realities:

Russia is much stronger than Europe and, even much worse, Russia will never attack first (which is a major cause of frustration for western russophobes)

As for the obvious solution to this problem, having friendly relations with Russia is simply unthinkable for those who made their entire careers peddling the Soviet (and now Russian) threat to the world.

But Russia is changing, albeit maybe too slowly (at least for my taste). As I mentioned last week, a number of Polish, Ukrainian and Baltic politicians have declared that the Zapad2020 military maneuvers which are supposed to take place in southern Russia and the Caucasus could be used to prepare an attack on the West (see here for a rather typical example of this nonsense). In the past, the Kremlin would only have made a public statement ridiculing this nonsense, but this time around Putin did something different. Right after he saw the reaction of these politicians, Putin ordered a major and UNSCHEDULED military readiness exercise which involved no less than 150,000 troops, 400 aircraft & 100 ships ! The message here was clear:

Yes, we are much more powerful than you are and No, we are not apologizing for our strength anymore

And, just to make sure that the message is clear, the Russians also tested the readiness of the Russian Airborne Forces units near the city of Riazan, see for yourself:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/2s2V8iPofFs?feature=oembed

This response is, I think, the correct one. Frankly, nobody in the West is listening to what the Kremlin has to say, so what is the point of making more statements which in the future will be ignored equally as they have been in the past.

If anything, the slow realization that Russia is more powerful than NATO would be most helpful in gently prodding EU politicians to change their tune and return back to reality. Check out this recent video of Sarah Wagenknecht, a leading politician of the German Left and see for yourself:

https://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x7uu5fk

The example of Sahra Wagenknecht is interesting, because she is from Germany, one of the countries of northern Europe; traditionally, northern European powers have been much more anti-Russian than southern Europeans, so it is encouraging to see that the anti-Putin and anti-Russia hysteria is not always being endorsed by everybody.

But if things are very slowly getting better in the EU, in the bad old US of A things are only getting worse. Even the Republicans are now fully on board the Russia-hating float (right behind a "gay pride" one I suppose) and they are now contributing their own insanity to the cause, as this article entitled " Congressional Republicans: Russia should be designated state sponsor of terror " shows (designating Russia as a terrorist state is an old idea of the Dems, by the way).

Russian options for the Fall

In truth, Russia does not have any particularly good options towards the US. Both parties are now fully united in their rabid hatred of Russia (and China too, of course). Furthermore, while there are many well-funded and virulently anti-Russian organizations in the US (Neo-cons, Papists, Poles, Masons, Ukrainians, Balts, Ashkenazi Jews, etc.), Russian organizations in the US like this one , have very little influence or even relevance.

Banderites marching in the US

However, as the chaos continues to worsen inside the US and as US politicians continue to alienate pretty much the entire planet, Russia does have a perfect opportunity to weaken the US grip on Europe. The beauty in the current dynamic is that Russia does not have to do anything at all (nevermind anything covert or illegal) to help the anti-EU and anti-US forces in Europe: All she needs to do is to continuously hammer in the following simple message: "the US is sinking -- do you really want to go down with it?".

There are many opportunities to deliver that message. The current US/Polish efforts to prevent the EU from enjoying cheap Russian gas might well be the best example of what we could call "European suicide politics", but there are many, many more.

Truth be told, neither the US nor the EU are a top priority for Russia, at least not in economic terms. The moral credibility of the West in general can certainly be described as dead and long gone. As for the West military might, it is only a concern to the degree that western politicians might be tempted to believe their own propaganda about their military forces being the best in the history of the galaxy. This is why Russia regularly engages in large surprise exercises: to prove to the West that the Russian military is fully ready for anything the West might try. As for the constant move of more and more US/NATO forces closer to the borders of Russia, they are offensive in political terms, but in military terms, getting closer to Russia only means that Russia will have more options to destroy you. "Forward deployment" is really a thing of the past, at least against Russia.

With time, however, and as the US federal center loses even more of its control of the country, the Kremlin might be well-advised to try to open some venues for "popular diplomacy", especially with less hostile US states. The weakening of the Executive Branch has already resulted in US governors playing an increasingly important international role and while this is not, strictly speaking, legal (only the federal government has the right to engage in foreign policy), the fact is that this has been going on for years already. Another possible partner inside the US for Russian firms would be US corporations (especially now that they are hurting badly). Finally, I think that the Kremlin ought to try to open channels of communication with the various small political forces in the US which are clearly not buying into the official propaganda: libertarians, (true) liberals and progressives, paleo-conservatives.

What we are witnessing before our eyes is the collapse of the US federal center. This is a dangerous and highly unstable moment in our history. But from this crisis opportunities will arise. The best thing Russia can do now is to simply remain very careful and vigilant and wait for new forces to appear on the US political scene.

Twilight Patriot , says: • Website July 29, 2020 at 12:26 am GMT

I really agree with you that the “blame Russia” and “blame China” thing has gotten out of hand in US politics. Whether it will turn into a shooting war seems doubtful to me, as the government is still full of people who are looking out for their own interests and know that a full-sized war with Russia, China, Iran or whoever will not advance their interests.

But who would have guessed, a few years ago, that “Russian asset” would become the all-purpose insult for Democrats to use, not just against Republicans, but against other Democrats?

With Republicans I think that “blame China” is stronger. China makes a good scapegoat for the economic situation in the United States. But convincing the working class that China is the source of their problems (and that Mr. MAGA is going to solve those problems by standing up to China) requires ignorance of the crucial facts about the trade relationship between those two countries.

Namely, that the trade deficit exists only because the Federal Reserve chooses to create huge amounts of new dollars each year for export to other countries, and it’s only possible for US exports to fall behind imports so badly (and thus put so many American laborers out of work) because the Fed is making up the difference by exporting dollars. Granted, it isn’t a policy that the US can change without harming the interests of its own upper classes; at the same time, it isn’t a policy that China could force on the US without the people in charge of the United States wanting it.

This is a topic I’ve dealt with a few times on my own blog.

Why I Don’t Fear Chinese Hegemony: https://www.twilightpatriot.com/2020/05/why-i-dont-fear-chinese-hegemony.html

Nobody Will Win The Trade War: https://www.twilightpatriot.com/2019/09/nobody-will-win-trade-war.html

[Aug 02, 2020] The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria signed a deal to market oil to US-based Delta Crescent Energy LLC "with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House."

Aug 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Aug 2 2020 14:35 utc | 2

I put these comments on the open thread about the same time b started this one

https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/1289724554982629377
The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria signed a deal to market oil to US-based Delta Crescent Energy LLC "with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House."

Trump a few months back "We've kept the oil". Well, he hasn't had a problem hanging onto it and getting an American company involved.

Delta Crescent Energy. Formed beginning of 2019 and nothing else on it. I guess Trump and a few mates divvying up the spoils.
https://www.bizapedia.com/de/delta-crescent-energy-llc.html

Laguerre , Aug 2 2020 15:00 utc | 6

The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria signed a deal to market oil to US-based Delta Crescent Energy LLC "with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Aug 2 2020 14:35 utc | 2

Very likely the Kurds were under pressure from Trump, and the act wasn't voluntary. It's not even the Kurds' oil to sign a deal on (except one well). We'll see whether the operation actually succeeds. At the moment, everybody is waiting to see whether Trump is re-elected in November. Signing a piece of paper now is of no significance.

[Jul 30, 2020] It s Official: Pompeo Has Declared Cold War With China It s Official- Pompeo Has Declared Cold War With China - The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Pompeo is a disgusting man. The US Oligarchic Regime is projecting a lot. It is this Regime that does not recognize any other order than its own, and always puts a messianic spin on its discourse. ..."
"... Mike Pompous can be counted upon to do everything possible to torpedo legitimate US interests below the waterline, and then nuke any survivors. ..."
Jul 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Mike Pompeo declared the start of a new Cold War with China last week.

...Pompeo's speech was an expression of this unreasonable and unrealistic view, and it is likely to leave most U.S. allies in East Asia and elsewhere cold. Our allies do not wish for deepening antagonism and strife between the U.S. and China, and if push comes to shove Washington may find itself without much support in the region. Calling for a "new alliance" to oppose China when Trump and Pompeo have done such an abysmal job of managing existing alliances in the region just drives home how divorced from reality the speech was.

... ... ...

The Secretary also relied on a familiar mix of simplistic analysis and threat inflation that he has used so often when talking about Iran: "It's this ideology, it's this ideology that informs his decades-long desire for global hegemony of Chinese communism." Pompeo is falling back on two of the stalest talking points from the Cold War. He interprets the behavior of another state primarily in terms of its official ideology rather than its concrete interests, and he attributes to them a goal of "global hegemony" that they are not pursuing to make them seem more dangerous and powerful than they are. China does seek to be the leading state in its own part of the world, but there is no evidence that they aspire to the global domination that Pompeo claims. A hard-line ideologue and hegemonist himself, Pompeo wrongly assumes that the things that motivate him must also drive the actions of others.

... ... ...

Most of the people on the receiving end of this "engagement" and "empowerment" will likely resent the condescension and interference from a foreign government in their country's affairs. Even if we assume that the vast majority of people in China might wish for a radically different government, they are liable to reject U.S. meddling in what they naturally consider to be their business. But, of course, Pompeo isn't serious about "empowering" the Chinese people, just as he isn't serious about supporting the people of Iran or Venezuela or any of the other countries on Washington's list of official foes. We can see from the economic wars that the U.S. has waged on Iran and Venezuela that the administration is only too happy to impoverish and strangle the people they claim to help. Hard-liners feign concern for the people that they then set out to harm in order to make their aggressive and destructive policies look better to a Western audience, but they aren't fooling anyone these days.

Pompeo's bombastic, caustic style and his personal lack of credibility make him an unusually poor messenger, and the Trump administration is uniquely ill-suited to rally a group of states in common cause. But the main problem with the policy Pompeo promotes is that an intensifying rivalry with China is not in the American interest. The U.S. has found that it is virtually impossible to change the behavior of adversaries when that behavior concerns what they believe to be their core security interests. ...


Fred Bowmana day ago • edited

I was reading the words that Nixon wrote about China that Pompeo quoted and it occurred to me that if you took out the word "China" and replaced it with the "United States" then that statement would be completely accurate in describing how America acts in the world. In OTW, it's "the Pot calling the Kettle black".

daveyl123 Fred Bowmana day ago

I wouldn't enjoin the American people with our out-of-touch, out-of-control and (In the cases of Hillary, Waters, Biden and Pelosi..) out of their minds government.

We're so conditioned to global conflicts now, it's merely a matter of the U.S. population learning how to spell the names of foreign leaders and their capitals marked for "Regime Changes", while crossing our fingers in hopes that our buildings will not again be subjected to airliner collisions and collapses in the wake of this aggression.

It would behoove Americans to start pulling on the reins of our bellicose administrations to confine their authority and actions to benefit our citizens.

KennesawJacka day ago • edited

Your comment that we have coexisted with China for 70 years is not quite accurate. There was this little dust-up called the Korean Conflict as I recall...

kouroi BobPM a day ago

The main purpose of TPP was to force the Chinese to privatize the State Owned Enterprises, likely via Wall Street.

L RNYa day ago

The communist Chinese can control our movie, sports, news and entertainment industries by denying them access to China if they don't show China in a positive light or if they show China in a negative life...

daveyl123 John Achterhof2 hours ago

You define with accuracy the core tenets of Socialists. Once a government expands to the proportions needed to implement that form of socioeconomic leadership, the character of those leaders becomes tyrannical, while they target segments of their populations for reeducation or elimination. (Abortions would fit that scenario nicely..) Obama was just such a leader, and had he somehow been able to ignore term limits, his administration would have resembled those of any Socialist State.

rayray L RNYa day ago

All of the policies you mention above would achieve absolutely nothing while inflaming conflict - thus increasingly the problems you outline. These hawkish responses prove the point...the issue isn't that there are or aren't issues, but that the US has lost the ability to have real discussions of these issues with world players and allies.

Much of that is because Trump patently hasn't the temperament, sophistication, or intelligence for discussion and diplomacy - this was proven again and again in the zero sum ineptitude of his private ventures.

The rot of that malignant ineptitude flows down from the head and into every aspect of government, both domestic and foreign. Thus we see his response to every domestic crisis is to inflame division. And the same in the foreign theater. He cannot be gotten rid of soon enough.

daveyl123 L RNYa day ago • edited

I don't believe our government is so foolish as to contemplate a shooting war with the Chinese. They have nuclear warheads. Their populations are fanatics when it comes to conflicts against them...

L RNY daveyl123 21 hours ago

Men will not fight another war nor will women leave their jobs when the men return from war as they did with WWII. There will be no war in Europe simply because Europe (including Russia) is depopulating at such a rapid rate they cant afford a losing more of their population through conflict. I dont see a shooting war with China either. I think that is the purpose of the tariffs and detachment of economies. US intelligence says that China does not want war with the US either. I don't think there is any country that would jump to a pre-emptive nuclear attack in case of a hot war. They dont have the air force superiority or the Navy or superiority in space yet.

Its not the Chinese way. The Chinese wait until they have superiority then they act otherwise they like to fly below the radar and get away with as much espionage and intimidation as possible. The opium wars came about because of the Chinese culture of trade exporting much but importing little thus creating a trade imbalance and indebting their trading partners.

Chinese culture has many forms of achieving superiority without restoring to conflict. The think tanks and experts are predicting that Xi may be pushed out of power by his competitors in the politburo which could defuse the situation. I don't think it will change detaching the economies. After COVID, countries are shifting focus from lowest cost possible to lowest cost and lowest risk possible.

That's why medical instruments, pharmaceuticals, etc are either moving out of China or moving part of their production to the US or they can win against a declining, an indebted power, an over stretched power, etc. Take a lesson with Russia and the US. Russia did not confront the US directly. It used proxies elsewhere around the world. Russia did not want a war with NATO or with the US. That balance kept the peace. If you want peace with China then there is going to have to be some sort of parity or superiority of China's neighbors via an alliance and/or superiority in trade/technology/economy. If you want war then you pacify and try to avoid war leaving a strategic space where your competitor thinks they can win. To avoid war, you need parity or superiority.

kouroia day ago

Pompeo is a disgusting man. The US Oligarchic Regime is projecting a lot. It is this Regime that does not recognize any other order than its own, and always puts a messianic spin on its discourse.

The US itself is not a democracy, but as B. Franklin put it from the beginning, is a Republic, which from the birth was design to promote and preserve the haves, the existing Oligarchy. While they looked for a balance of power in order to prevent the rise of an autocrat (the other bugbear of Oligarchy), the main fear of the framers was democracy and the threat of the mob voting for re-distribution...

The success of the socialist state of China is an indication of what might have happened if the socialist block in ensemble wouldn't have suffered the containment enforced by the US. Given the ability to engage in normal economic intercourse with the world, China developed and lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty. Vietnam is another example. But look what is happening with Cuba or North Korea or Venezuela. It is not the socialist system per se, but the blockade of those countries and the crushing economic war that ruins them.

Fortunately, Russia has learned from the mistakes of the past.

It is good that the cards are on the table to see that US Oligarchy wants to rule everything, because it is a corrupting way of life and mind. Because of this, the march for more open societies, with more, no less democracy, and people representation and input is halted.

And of course, in this new Cold War, a lot of civil liberties and freedom of speech will be curtailed. In my neck of the woods we have already experienced individuals assaulting people of Chinese ethnicity. Way to go America!

Jeff Dickey kouroi 2 hours ago

Mike Pompous can be counted upon to do everything possible to torpedo legitimate US interests below the waterline, and then nuke any survivors. He, along with Barr, Graham, and the rest of the Trump circus, are a cautionary tale for what happens to governments that let ideologues deliberately divorced from reality run a country. They've turned what was once the United States from a superpower to a failed state in an absurdly short period of time. History will be far less kind to these political Bernie Madoffs than to the original financial exemplar.

daveyl123a day ago

Wars ain't nothing to bandy about among administration subordinates. Pompeo is not supposed to be declaring wars--hot or cold. Wars cost big money, lives and property. Only the most grave threats against our country should prompt our leaders to even consider conflicts, much less initiate them. The American people cannot just sit back and absorb such profound adjustments to our national security posture and defense expenditures being unilaterally decided by Washington. It is also a condition of conflicts that our civil rights will be under increased constraints. I chuckled a little when China was listed as our 'new' foe. We won't fight the Chinese because we'll have another Vietnam War on our hands. Our troops aren't used to our enemies fighting back. They've been deployed into banana wars against poorly trained and ill equipped armies of Middle East camel holes. The U.S. Armed Forces' new culture, consisting of socially-engineered, politically-corrected soldiers-of-tolerance have yet to confront true fanatics. These facts were known waaaaay back during our Korean War Adventure.

I've always said that if the Chinese are good at anything, it's making more Chinese.

Adriana Penaa day ago

Because we did not have enough problems already.

"Eramos pocos y pario la abuela"

hoolya day ago

New Cold War? Bring it on. Competition is good. A strong rival is desired. Instead of a struggle over Ideology, this will be a Civilizational struggle, Western Civilization VS Central Civilization, liberal democracy VS Confucian/Legalist authoritarianism, Euro-America VS the Han Chinese. But this time, is America up to the tast?

During the Cold War we were led by 'Greatest Generation' who lived through the Great Depression and fought in World War II, is today's America of Facebook, Twitter, conspiracy theories, selfies, BLM, safe spaces, Diversity, mass immigration and Woke political correctness run amok up to the task?

While China is a predator, homogeneous, nationalist, revanchist and bent on returning to the glory it thinks it deserves. All I can say is, thank god for nuclear weapons and the Chinese Communist Party for keeping a short leash on the patriotic passions of the Han Chinese.

Myron Hudsona day ago

We had "an alliance of democracies" in the TPP which was developed to counter China. Of course, it handed much of our domestic sovereignty over to multinational corporations, but that's what you can expect from a corporatist like Obama. Still, might have been better than this.

Anton20 hours ago

On point analysis.

Ho Hum14 hours ago

I wonder if the Nixon family knew in advance that Pompeo was going to trash Richard Nixon's greatest legacy?

A war between China and the U.S. would not simply be costly for the US - it could end in the destruction of the world as we know it if it turns nuclear. Trump and Pompeo are sociopathic madman. I would not put it past Trump to use Nukes against China. He is just that stupid and evil.

peter mcloughlinan hour ago

President Nixon's détente with China had an important geopolitical consideration, leverage on Russia. "We're using the China thaw to get the Russians shook", he is quoted to have said. There is much talk among hawks these days of a "new Cold War", with that the confidence it will end like the first one: victory for the west and no nuclear annihilation. But this is a danger illusion: today America is in a hegemonic struggle with China for global dominance. It seems neither side can back down. The present crisis is like the Cold War in one crucial sense – world war must be avoided at all costs. The powers are not heeding the warning of history.
https://www.ghostsofhistory...

[Jul 26, 2020] Patriotic Dissent- How A Working-Class Soldier Turned Against -Forever Wars- -

Jul 26, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Patriotic Dissent: How A Working-Class Soldier Turned Against "Forever Wars"


by Tyler Durden Sat, 07/25/2020 - 00:05 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Steve Early and Suzanne Gordon via Counterpunch.org,

When it comes to debate about US military policy, the 2020 presidential election campaign is so far looking very similar to that of 2016. Joe Biden has pledged to ensure that "we have the strongest military in the world," promising to "make the investments necessary to equip our troops for the challenges of the next century, not the last one."

In the White House, President Trump is repeating the kind of anti-interventionist head feints that won him votes four years ago against a hawkish Hillary Clinton. In his recent graduation address at West Point, Trump re-cycled applause lines from 2016 about "ending an era of endless wars" as well as America's role as "policeman of the world."

In reality, since Trump took office, there's been no reduction in the US military presence abroad, which last year required a Pentagon budget of nearly $740 billion. As military historian and retired career officer Andrew Bacevich notes , "endless wars persist (and in some cases have even intensified ); the nation's various alliances and its empire of overseas bases remain intact; US troops are still present in something like 140 countries ; Pentagon and national security state spending continues to increase astronomically ."

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When the National Defense Authorization Act for the next fiscal year came before Congress this summer, Senator Bernie Sanders proposed a modest 10 percent reduction in military spending so $70 billion could be re-directed to domestic programs. Representative Barbara Lee introduced a House resolution calling for $350 billion worth of DOD cuts. Neither proposal has gained much traction, even among Democrats on Capitol Hill. Instead, the House Armed Services Committee just voted 56 to 0 to spend $740. 5 billion on the Pentagon in the coming year, prefiguring the outcome of upcoming votes by the full House and Senate.

An Appeal to Conscience

Even if Biden beats Trump in November, efforts to curb US military spending will face continuing bi-partisan resistance. In the never-ending work of building a stronger anti-war movement, Pentagon critics, with military credentials, are invaluable allies. Daniel Sjursen, a 37-year old veteran of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan is one such a critic. Inspired in part by the much-published Bacevich, Sjursen has just written a new book called Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War (Heyday Books)

Patriotic Dissent is a short volume, just 141 pages, but it packs the same kind of punch as Howard Zinn's classic 1967 polemic, Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal . Like Zinn, who became a popular historian after his service in World War II, Sjursen skillfully debunks the conventional wisdom of the foreign policy establishment, and the military's own current generation of "yes men for another war power hungry president." His appeal to the conscience of fellow soldiers, veterans, and civilians is rooted in the unusual arc of an eighteen-year military career. His powerful voice, political insights, and painful personal reflections offer a timely reminder of how costly, wasteful, and disastrous our post 9/11 wars have been.

Sjursen has the distinction of being a graduate of West Point, an institution that produces few political dissenters. He grew up in a fire-fighter family on working class Staten Island. Even before enrolling at the Academy at age 17, he was no stranger to what he calls "deep-seated toxically masculine patriotism." As a newly commissioned officer in 2005, he was still a "burgeoning neo-conservative and George W. Bush admirer" and definitely not, he reports, any kind of "defeatist liberal, pacifist, or dissenter."

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Sjursen's initial experience in combat -- vividly described in his first book, Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of The Surge (University Press of New England) -- "occurred at the statistical height of sectarian strife" in Iraq.

"The horror, the futility, the farce of that war was the turning point in my life," Sjursen writes in Patriotic Dissent .

When he returned, at age 24, from his "brutal, ghastly deployment" as a platoon leader, he "knew that the war was built on lies, ill-advised, illegal, and immoral." This "unexpected, undesired realization generated profound doubts about the course and nature of the entire American enterprise in the Greater Middle East -- what was then unapologetically labeled the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)."

A Professional Soldier

By the time Sjursen landed in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, in early 2011, he had been promoted to captain but "no longer believed in anything we were doing."

He was, he confesses, "simply a professional soldier -- a mercenary, really -- on a mandatory mission I couldn't avoid. Three more of my soldiers died, thirty-plus were wounded, including a triple amputee, and another over-dosed on pain meds after our return."

Despite his disillusionment, Sjursen had long dreamed of returning to West Point to teach history. He applied for and won that highly competitive assignment, which meant the Army had to send him to grad school first. He ended up getting credentialed, while living out of uniform, in the "People's Republic of Lawrence, Kansas, a progressive oasis in an intolerant, militarist sea of Republican red." During his studies at the state university, Sjursen found an intellectual framework for his "own doubts about and opposition to US foreign policy." He completed his first book, Ghost Riders , which combines personal memoir with counter-insurgency critique. Amazingly enough, it was published in 2015, while he was still on active duty, but with "almost no blowback" from superior officers.

Before retiring as a major four years later, Sjursen pushed the envelope further, by writing more than 100 critical articles for TomDispatch and other civilian publications. He was no longer at West Point so that body of work triggered "a grueling, stressful, and scary four-month investigation"by the brass at Fort Leavenworth, during which the author was subjected to "a non-publication order." At risk were his career, military pension, and benefits. He ended up receiving only a verbal admonishment for violating a Pentagon rule against publishing words "contemptuous of the President of the United States." His "PTSD and co-occurring diagnoses" helped him qualify for a medical retirement last year.

Sjursen has now traded his "identity as a soldier -- the only identity I've known in my adult life -- for that of an anti-war, anti-imperialist, social justice crusader," albeit one who did not attend his first protest rally until he was thirty-two years old. With several left-leaning comrades, he started Fortress on A Hill, a lively podcast about military affairs and veterans' issues. He's a frequent, funny, and always well-informed guest on progressive radio and cable-TV shows, as well as a contributing editor at Antiwar.com , and a contributor to a host of mainstream liberal publications. This year, the Lannan Foundation made him a cultural freedom fellow.

In Patriotic Dissent , Sjursen not only recounts his own personal trajectory from military service to peace activism. He shows how that intellectual journey has been informed by reading and thinking about US history, the relationship between civil society and military culture, the meaning of patriotism, and the price of dissent.

One historical figure he admires is Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, the recipient of two Medals of Honor for service between 1898 and 1931. Following his retirement, Butler sided with the poor and working-class veterans who marched on Washington to demand World War I bonus payments. And he wrote a best-selling Depression-era memoir, which famously declared that "war is just a racket" and lamented his own past role as "a high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers."

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Sjursen contrasts Butler's anti-interventionist whistle-blowing, nearly a century ago, with the silence of high-ranking veterans today after "nineteen years of ill-advised, remarkably unsuccessful American wars." Among friends and former West Point classmates, he knows many still serving who "obediently resign themselves to continued combat deployments" because they long ago "stopped asking questions about their own role in perpetuating and enabling a counter-productive, inertia-driven warfare state."

Sjursen looks instead to small left-leaning groups like Veterans for Peace and About Face: Veterans Against the War (formerly Iraq Veterans Against the War), and Bring Our Troops Home. US, a network of veterans influenced by the libertarian right. Each in, its own way, seeks to "reframe dissent, against empire and endless war, as the truest form of patriotism." But actually taming the military-industrial complex will require "big-tent, intersectional action from civilian and soldier alike," on a much larger scale. One obstacle to that, he believes, is the societal divide between the "vast majority of citizens who have chosen not to serve" in the military and the "one percent of their fellow citizens on active duty," who then become part of "an increasingly insular, disconnected, and sometimes sententious post-9/11 veteran community."

Not many on the left favor a return to conscription.

But Sjursen makes it clear there's been a downside to the U.S. replacing "citizen soldiering" with "a tiny professional warrior caste," created in response to draft-driven dissent against the Vietnam War, inside and outside the military. As he observes:

"Nothing so motivates a young adult to follow foreign policy, to weigh the advisability or morality of an ongoing war as the possibility of having to put 'skin in the game.' Without at least the potential requirement to serve in the military and in one of America's now countless wars, an entire generation -- or really two, since President Nixon ended the draft in 1973–has had the luxury of ignoring the ills of U.S. foreign policy, to distance themselves from its reality ."

At a time when the U.S. "desperately needs a massive, public, empowered anti-war and anti-imperial wave" sweeping over the country, we have instead a "civil-military" gap that, Sjursen believes, has "stifled antiwar and anti-imperial dissent and seemingly will continue to do so." That's why his own mission is to find more "socially conscious veterans of these endless, fruitless wars" who are willing to "step up and form a vanguard of sorts for revitalized patriotic dissent." Readers of Sjursen's book, whether new recruits to that vanguard or longtime peace activists, will find Patriotic Dissent to be an invaluable educational tool. It should be required reading in progressive study groups, high school and college history classes, and book clubs across the country . Let's hope that the author's willingness to take personal risks, re-think his view of the world, and then work to change it will inspire many others, in uniform and out.

me name=


Justus_Americans , 59 minutes ago

Do we need to be in 160 countries with our military and can we afford it?

Cat Daddy , 1 hour ago

I am all for bringing the troops home except for this one unnerving truth; nature abhors a vacuum, specifically, when we pull out, China moves in. A world dominated by the CCP will be a dangerous place to be. When we leave, we will need to make sure our bases are safely in the hands of our friends.

dogbert8 , 1 hour ago

War is effectively the way the U.S. has done business since the Spanish American War, our first imperial conquests. War is how we ensure big business has the materials and markets they demand in return for their support of political parties and candidates. War is the only area left with opportunities for growth and profit. Don't think for a minute that TPTB will ever let us stop waging war to get what we (they) want.

TheLastMan , 2 hours ago

If you are new to zh all you need to do is study PNAC and the related nature of all parties to understand the criminality of USA militarization and for whose benefit it serves

Anonymous IX , 2 hours ago

I have written many times on this platform the exact same sentiments.

I am most disheartened by the COVID + Antifa/BLM Riots because of the facts this author presents.

We are distracted with emotional and highly volatile MASSIVELY PROPAGANDIZED stories by MSM (I don't watch) while the real problem in the world is as the author describes above.

We are war-mongering nation who needs to bring our troops home and disband over half of our overseas installations and bases.

We have no right to levy economic sanctions to impoverish, sicken, and weaken the citizens of Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, or anywhere else.

Yet, we run around arguing about masks and who can go into a restaurant or toppling statutes and throwing mortar-type fireworks at federal officers. This is what we do instead of facing a real problem which is that we are war-mongering nation with no moral/ethical conscience. These scraggily bearded white Antifas need to WTFU and realize who their true enemy.

Oh, wait. They work for the true enemy! Get it?

Max21c , 1 hour ago

We have no right to levy economic sanctions to impoverish, sicken, and weaken the citizens of Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, or anywhere else.

I don't agree with the economic sanctions nonsense thing as they seem to be more of a crutch for people that are not any good at planning, strategy, analytical thinking, critical thinking, strategic thinking, and lack much in the way of talent or creativity or intellectual acumen or intellectual skills...I believe there's around just shy of 10k economic sanctions by Washington...

But the USA does have the right to receive or refuse to receive foreign Ambassadors and Consuls and to recognize or not recognize other nations governments thus it does have some degrees of the right to not trade or engage in commerce with other nations to a certain extent... per imports and exports... et cetera... though it's not necessarily an absolute right or power

IronForge , 2 hours ago

Sjursen may admire General Butler; but he doesn't seem to know that several of the General's Descendants Served in the US Military.

Sjursen isn't Butler. The General Prevented a Coup in his Time.

The USA are a Hegemony whose KleptOchlarchs overtook the Original Constitutional Republic.

PetroUSD, MIC, Corporate Expansion-Conquest, AgriGMO, and Pharma Interests Span the Globe.

Wars are Rackets; and Societies to Nation-States have waged them over Real Estate, Natural Resources, Trade Routes, Industrial Capacity, Slavery, Suppresive Spite, Religious/Ideological Zeal, Economic Preservation, and Profiteering Greed.

YET, Militaries are still formed by Nation-States to Survive and for Some - Thrive above such Competitive Existenstential Threats.

*****

The Hegemony are running up against New Shifts in Global Power, Systems, and Influences; and are about to Lose their Unilateral Advantages. The Hegemon themselves may suffer Societal Collapses Within.

Sjursen should read up on Chalmers Johnson. Instead of trying to Coordinate Ineffective Peace Demonstrations, the Entire Voting/Political Contribution/Candidacy Schemes should be Separated from the Oligarchy of Plutocrats and Corporate/Political KleptOchlarchs.

Without Bringing the Votes back to the Collective Hands of Citizenry Interests First and Foremost, the Republic are Forever Conquered; and the Ethical may have to resort to Emigration and/or Secession.

Ink Pusher , 2 hours ago

Nobody rides for free,there's always a cost and those who can't pay in bullion will often pay in bodily fluids of one form or another.

Profiteers that create warfare for profit are simply parasitical criminals and should not be considered a "special breed" when weighed upon the Scales of Justice.

gzorp , 2 hours ago

Read 'Starship Troopers' by Robert A Heinlein (1959) pay especial attention to the "History and Moral Philosophy" courses... that's where his predictions for the future course of 'America's' future appear.... rather accurately. Heinlein was a 1930's graduate of Annapolis (Navy for you dindus and nohabs).....

A DUDE , 2 hours ago

t's not just the war machine but the entire system, the corporatocracy, of which the MIC is a part. And there is no way to change the system from within the system because whatever is anti-establishment becomes absorbed and neutered and part of the system.

So why would anyone vote is my question? 11. Trump and Biden Are Far Right of Center and Running to Offenbach Nearly Every Day

sbin , 2 hours ago

Tulsi Gabbard ran on anti interventionism foreign policy.

Look how fast the DNC disappeared her.

Of course destroying Kamala Harris in a debate and going after the ancient evil Hitlery sealed her fate.

BarkingWolf , 2 hours ago

In reality, since Trump took office, there's been no reduction in the US military presence abroad, which last year required a Pentagon budget of nearly $740 billion. As military historian and retired career officer Andrew Bacevich notes , "endless wars persist (and in some cases have even intensified ); the nation's various alliances and its empire of overseas bases remain intact; US troops are still present in something like 140 countries ; Pentagon and national security state spending continues to increase astronomically ."

Now wait just a minute there mister, that sounds like criticism of the Donald John PBUH PBUH PBUH ... you can't do that ... the cult followers will call you a leftist and a commie if you point out stuff like that even if it is objectively true! That's strike one, punk.

An Appeal to Conscience

Even if Biden beats Trump in November, efforts to curb US military spending will face continuing bi-partisan resistance.

November doesn't have anything to do with anything really. The appeal to conscience is wasted. The appeal would be better spent on removing the political class that is on the AIPAC dole and have dual citizenship in a foreign country in the ME while pretending to serve America while they are members of Congress. That's only the tip of the spear ... and that is a nonstarter from the get go.

Sjursen skillfully debunks the conventional wisdom of the foreign policy establishment, and the military's own current generation of "yes men for another war power hungry president."


I don't think Trump is necessarily a war power hungry president. While it is true that we have not withdrawn from Syria and basically stole their oil as Trump has repeated promised he would do, it is also true that Trump has yet to deliver Israels war with Iran and in fact had called back an invasion of Iran ten minutes before a flotilla of US warships was about to set sail to ignite such an invasion leaving Tel Aviv not only aggrieved, but angry as well.

Sjursen has now traded his "identity as a soldier -- the only identity I've known in my adult life -- for that of an anti-war, anti-imperialist, social justice crusader," albeit one who did not attend his first protest rally until he was thirty-two years old. With several left-leaning comrades ...

Okay, this is where you are starting to lose me .... i't like listening to a concert and suddenly the music is hitting sour notes that are off key, off tempo, and don't seem to fit somehow.

Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, the recipient of two Medals of Honor for service between 1898 and 1931. Following his retirement, Butler sided with the poor and working-class veterans who marched on Washington to demand World War I bonus payments. And he wrote a best-selling Depression-era memoir, which famously declared that "war is just a racket" and lamented his own past role as "a high-class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers."

"On July 28, 1932, at the command of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol to launch an attack on World War I veterans. " https://www.stripes.com/news/us/the-veterans-were-desperate-gen-macarthur-ordered-us-troops-to-attack-them-1.480665

Butler was correct, war especially nowadays, is a racket that makes rich people who never seem to get their hands dirty, even richer. As one grunt put it long ago, "it's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it."

That "somebody" is going to be the kids of the little people (the real high-class muscle-men ) who are hated by their political class overlords even as the political class are worshipped as gods.

Sjursen looks instead to small left-leaning groups like Veterans for Peace and About Face: Veterans Against the War (formerly Iraq Veterans Against the War), and Bring Our Troops Home. US, a network of veterans influenced by the libertarian right.

The problem here is that the so-called "left" brand has always been about war and the capitalism of death.

The Democrat party is really the group that started the American civil war for instance, they are the ones behind legacy of Eugenists like Margaret Sanger who was a card carrying Socialist who founded the child murder mill known today as Planned Parenthood that sadly still exists under Trump but has turned into the industrialized slaughter of children ...even after birth so that their organs can be "harvested" for profit.

Sjursen's affinity for "the left" as saintly purveyors of peace, goodness, love, and life strikes me as rather disingenuous. Then he seems to argue if I read the analysis correctly that conscription will somehow be the panacea for the insatiable appetite for war?

One false flag such as The Gulf of Tonkin or 911 or even Perl Harbor or the Sinking of the Lusitania or the assassination of an Arch Duke ... is all that is really needed to arouse the unbridled hoards to march off to battle with almost erotic enthusiasm -the political class KNOWS IT!

Amendment X , 2 hours ago

And don't forget President Wilson (D) who was re-elected on the platform "He kept us out of the war" only to drag U.S. into the hopeless European Monarchary driven WWI.

11b40 , 1 hour ago

Yo! Low class muscle man here, and I have to agree with bringing back the draft. It should never have been eliminated, and is the root of the golbalists abiity to keep us in Afghanistan, and other parts of the ME, for going on 20 years.

Skin in the game. It means literally everything. As noted we now have 2 generations of men who never had to give much thought at all to what's happening around the world, and how America is involved....and look at the results. It would be a much different situation today if all those 18 year olds had to face the draft board with an unforgiving lottery.

Yes, one false falg can whip up the country to a war time fever pitch, but unless there is a real, serious threat, the fever cannot be maintained. The 1969 draft lottery caught me when I stayed out the first semester of my senior year. Didn't want to go, but accepted my fate and did the best job I could to stay alive and keep those around me as safe as possible. In 1966, I was in favor of the war, and was about to go Green Beret on the buddy system. We were going to grease gooks with all the enthusiasm of John Wayne. My old man, an artillery 1st Sgt at the time in Germany, talked me out of it. More like get your *** on a plane back to the States and into college, befroe i kick it up around your shouders. A WW2 & Korea vet, he told me then it was the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

The point is, when kids are getting drafted, Mom's, Dad's, and everyone else concerned with the safety of their friends & relatives, start paying attention and asking hard questions of politicians. Using Afghanistan as an example, we would have been on the way out by the 2004 election cycle, or at max before the next one in 2008. That was 12 years ago, and we are still there.

I addition, the reason we went would have been more closely examined, and there may have been a real investigtion into 9/11. Plus, I am convinced that serving your country makes for a better all around citizen, and God knows, we need better citizens.

Cassandra.Hermes , 2 hours ago

Trump and Pompeo started new cold war with China, but have no way to back up their threats and win it!! When i was in Kosovo peace corps i heard so many stories from Albanian who were blamed to be Russian or American spy because of double cold war against Albania. Trump and Pompeo just gave excuse to Xi to blame anyone who protest as American spy. BBC were showing China's broadcast of the protests in Oregon to Hong Kong with subtitle "Do you really want American democracy?", LMFAO

Max21c , 2 hours ago

Joe Biden has pledged to ensure that "we have the strongest military in the world," promising to "make the investments necessary to equip our troops for the challenges of the next century, not the last one."

The United States shall continue to have a weak military until it starts to fix its foreign policy and diplomacy. You cannot have the strongest military in the world if you lack a good foreign policy and good diplomacy. Brains are a lot more important than battleships, battalions, bullets, barrels, or bombs. Get a frickin' clue you friggin' Washington morons.

Washington is weak because they are dumb. Blind, deaf, and dumb.

Heroic Couplet , 2 hours ago

Too little, too late. Great ad for a book that will be forgotten in a week. Read Bolton's book. The minute Trump tries to reduce troops, Bolton is right there, saying "No, we can't move troops to the perimeter. No, we can't move troops from barracks to tents at the perimeter." Who needs AI?

Erik Prince wrote 3.5 years ago that 4th gen warfare consists of cyberwarfare and bio-weapons. The US military is fooked. There's probably an interesting book to be researched: How do Republicans feel about contracting COVID-19 after listening to Trump fumble?

ChecksandBalances , 3 hours ago

Blame the voters. Run on a platform to reduce military and police spending. See how many of those lose. Probably all of them. You have to stop feeding the beast. This is a slogan Trump correctly said but as usual didn't actually mean. We should cut all military and police spending by 1/2 and then take the remaining money and build a smarter, more efficient military and police force.

Max21c , 3 hours ago

It's not just the "Deep State." It's Washingtonians overall. It's Deep Crazy. They're all Deep Crazy! They're nuts. And the rare exceptions that may know better and have enough common sense to know its wrong to sick the secret police on innocent American civilians aren't going to say anything or do anything to stop it. The few that know better in foreign policy aren't going to say anything or do anything against the new Cold Wars on the Eastern Front against China or on the Western Front against Russia since they're not willing to go up against the Regime. So the Regimists know they have carte blanche to persecute or terrorize or go after any that stand in their way. This is how tyrannies and police states operate. It's the nature of the beast. At a minimum they brow beat people into submission. People don't want to stick their neck out and risk going up against the Regime and risk losing to the Regime, its secret police, and the powers that be. They shy away from anything that would bring the Regime and its secret police and its radicals, extremists, fanatics, and zealots their way.

nonkjo , 4 hours ago

It's okay to be against "forever war" and still not have to be a progressive douchbag.

Sjursen is an unprincipled ******** artist. He leaves Iraq disillusioned as a lieutenant but sticks around long enough for them to pay for his grad school and give him some sweet "resume building" experiences that he can stand on to sell books? FYI, from commissioning time as a second lieutenant to promotion to captain is 3 years...that means Sjusen was so disillusioned that he decided to stick around for 12 more years which is about 9 years longer than he actually needed to as an Academy grad (he only had to serve 6 unless he elected to go to grad school).

The bottom line is Sjusen capitalizes on people not knowing how the military works. That is, that his own self-interest far outweighs his the principles he espouses. Typical leftist hypoctite.

Max21c , 4 hours ago

...the U.S. "desperately needs a massive, public, empowered anti-war and anti-imperial wave ..."

Perhaps the USA just needs a better foreign policy. Though we all know that's not going to happen with the flaky screwballs of Washington and the flaky screwballs in the Pentagon, CIA, State Department, foreign policy establishment, think tanks et cetera.

Minor technical point: the time for the "anti-imperial wave" was before Washingtonians destroyed much of the world and created their strategic blunders and disastrous foreign policy. You folks all went along with this nonsense and now you have your quagmires, forever wars, and numerous trouble spots that have popped up here and there along the way to boot.

Pottery barn rule: you broke it and you own it and it's yours...Ma'am please pay at the register on the way out...Sorry Ma'am there's no more free gluing...though the gluing specialist may be in on the third Thursday this month though it's usually the second Tuesday each month...

Contemporaneously, in the same vein the American public has been brainwashed into going along with the new Cold Wars on the Western Front against Moscow and the even newer Cold War on the Eastern Front against Beijing. It's like P.T. Barnum said "There's a sucker born every minute," and you fools in the American public just keep buying right in to the brainwashing. They're now successfully indoctrinating you into buying into their new Cold Wars with Russia and China. The Cold War on the Eastern Front versus Peking is more getting more fanciful attentions at the moment and the Cold War on the Western Front has temporarily been relegated to the back burner but they'll move the Western Front Cold War from simmer to boil over whenever it suits their needs. It's just a rendition of the Oceania has always been at war with East Asia and Eurasia is our friend are just gameplays right out of George Orwell's 1984.

Most of the quagmires can be fixed to a certain extent by applying some cement and engineering to the quicksand and many of the trouble spots can become more settled and less unstable if not stable in some instances. Even some of the more serious strategic problems like the South China Sea, North Korean nuclear weapons development, and potential Iranian nuclear weapons development can still be resolved through peaceful strategies and solutions.

In re sum, while I won't disparage a peace movement I do not believe it is either necessary nor proper simply because you will not solve anything through a peace movement. The sine qua non or quintessential element is simply to end one of these wars successfully through a peaceful diplomatic solution or solve one of these serious foreign policy problems through diplomacy which is something that hasn't been the norm since the downfall of the Berlin Wall, is no longer in favor, and which is the necessary element to prove that peace can be achieved through strategy and diplomacy and thereby change the course of the country's future.

In foreign affairs the foreign policy establishment has its pattern of behavior and it is that pattern of behavior that has to be changed. It's the mindset of the Washingtonians & elites that has to be changed. Just taking to the streets won't really change their ways or their beliefs for any significant part of the duration. They may pay lip service to peace & diplomacy but it won't win out in their minds in the long run. They are so warped in their views and beliefs that it'll have little or no effect over the long haul. As soon as the protests dissipate they'll be right back at it, back to their bad ways and bad behavior.

Son of Captain Nemo , 4 hours ago

For the past 19 years... And as Anti-War as you will ever get!...

https://action.ae911truth.org/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=11418&killorg=True&loggedOut=True

https://www.ae911truth.org/grandjury

P.S.

Remind 0range $hit $tain ( https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/11/14/trump-im-reopening-911-investigation/ ) that if he makes this a campaign pledge and an issue for debate he maybe can avoid a war crimes tribunal given how much has already been spent on the war machine ( https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/944-trillion-reasons-why-fed-quietly-bailing-out-hedge-funds )!

Hatterasjohn , 4 hours ago

Was it George Carlin that said " if voting made a difference they wouldn't let us do it " ? The only way to stop these forever wars is for people to stop joining the military. Parents should teach their children that joining the military and trotting off to some country to fight a war for the elite is not being patriotic . I was in the military from 1964 -1968. When Lyndon Johnson became president he drug out the Vietnam war as long as he could. Oh ! Lady Byrd Johnson bought Decon Company [ rat poison ] when most people never heard of it. Johnson bought this rat poison , government paid for ,at an inflated price . Sent ship loads of it to Vietnam .Never mind all the Americans and so called enemy killed.. Jane Fonda , Hanoi Jane , was really a hero who helped save countless lives by helping to end the war. Tommy and **** Smothers , Smother Brothers , spoke out against the war . Our government had them black balled from TV. Our government is probably as corrupt as any other country.

No-Go zone , 5 hours ago

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-19/top-us-general-says-american-troops-should-be-ready-die-israel

cowboyted , 7 hours ago

A piece of irony, one of our greatest generals was Dwight Eisenhower, the Allied Supreme Commander in WWII and two term president. He kept the peace for almost 10 years and warned Americans to beware of the "military-industrial complex." Most military men never want war, they just make sure they are ready if it comes. We have had the military industrial complex for way too long, it needs to be reduced and we need more generals to run for president, Gen. Flynn maybe? I'll also take Schwartzkoff.

cowboyted , 7 hours ago

The U.S. should only use our military if we are attacked, period. Otherwise, as Jefferson astutely stated, a standing army is a threat to democracy.

captain noob , 7 hours ago

Capitalism has no morals

Profit is the driving force of every single thing

cowboyted , 7 hours ago

The U.S. should only use our military if we are attacked, period. Otherwise, as Jefferson astutely stated, a standing army is a threat to democracy.

Chief Joesph , 7 hours ago

After what General Smedley Butler had to say and warned us about, here we are, 90 years later, doing the very same thing. Goes to show how utterly dumb, unprogressive, sheepish, and Medieval Americans really are. And you thought this is what makes America Great????

cowboyted , 8 hours ago

The U.S. Constitution provides for a "national defense." Yet, the last time we were attacked by a foreign nation was on Dec. 7, 1941 in which, the Congress declared war on Japan. Yet, in the past 100 years our country's leaders have convinced Americans that we can wage war if the issue concerns our "national INTEREST." This is wrong and needs to be deleted and replaced with our Constitution's language. Also, Congress is the ONLY Constitutional authority to declare war, not the executive branch. Too many countries, including the U.S., spend too much money preparing for war on levels of destruction that are unnecessary. We must attain a new paradigm with leading countries to achieve a mutual understanding that the people of the world are better off with jobs, food, families, peace, and a chance at a better life, filled with hope, faith, and flourishing communities. Things have to change.

transcendent_wannabe , 8 hours ago

I have to agree in sentiment with the author, but the reality of humans on earth almost demands constant war, it is the price we pay for the modern city lifestyle. There are various reasons.

1. Ever since WW1, the country has become citified, and the old peaceful country farm life was replaced with the rat race of industrial production. Without war, there is no need for the level of industrial production required to give full employment to the overpopulated cities. People will scream for war and jingoism when they have no city jobs. How do you deal with that? Sure, War is a Racket, but so far a necessary racket.

2. Every 20 years the military needs a real shooting war to battle test its upcoming soldiers and new equipment. Now the battles are against insurgencies... door-to-door in cities and ghettos, and new tactics need to be field tested. If the military goes more than 20 years without a real shooting war, they lose the real men, the sargeant majors, who just become fat pot bellied desk personel without the adrenaline of a real fight.

3. Humans inately like to fight. Even children, boys wrestle, girls taunt one another. There is no way discovered yet to keep people from turning violent in their attempts to steal what others have, or to gain dominance thru physical intimidation. Without war, gangs will form and fight over territorial boundaries. There is no escaping it.

4. Earth is where the battle field is, Battlefield Earth. There is no fighting allowed in heaven, so Earth is where souls come to fight. Nobody on earth likes it, but fighting and war is here to stay, and you should really use this life to find out how to transcend earth and get to a place where war is not needed or allowed, like heaven or Valhalla.

Tortuga , 8 hours ago

So. He thinks the crooked, grifting, regressive hate US murdering dim pustules aren't the warmongering, globalist, hate US, crooked, grifting, murdering republicrats. What a mo ron.

HenryJonesJr , 8 hours ago

Real conservatives were always against foreign intervention. It was the Left that embraced foreign wars (Wilson / Roosevelt / Truman / Johnson).

messystateofaffairs , 8 hours ago

From my perspective being a professional goon to serve the greater glory of international criminals, is, aside from having to avoid the mirror, way too much hard and dangerous work for the money. As a civilian of a society run by criminals on criminal imperialist principles, I have no literal PTSD type of skin in that filthy game, but like most citizens, knowing and unknowing, I do swim in that sewer everyday, doing my best to avoid bumping into the larger turds. My "patriotism" lies where the turds are fewest, anywhere in the world that might be.

bh2 , 8 hours ago

The threat to US interests is not in the ME (apart from Israel). It's in the Pacific.

NATO was never intended to be a defense arrangement perpetually funded by the US. Once stood up and post-war economies in Europe were restored, it was supposed to be a European defense shield with the US as ultimate backup. Not as a sugar-daddy for wealthy nations. Now that Russia is no longer situated to attack through the Fulda Gap, NATO is a grotesque expression of Parkinson's Law writ large.

China is a real threat to US interests. That's obvious simply by consulting a map. Military assets committed to engagement in theaters that no longer seriously matter is feckless and spendthrift. Particularly when Americans are put in harm's way with no prospect of either winning or leaving.

Worse yet is the accelerating prospect of being drawn into conflict in the South China Sea because fewer than decisive US and allied assets are deployed there.

While nations are now responding to that threat (including Japan, who are re-arming), China must realize a successful Taiwan invasion faces steadily diminishing prospects. They must act soon or give up the opportunity. Moreover, the CCP are loosing face with their own people because of multiple calamities wreaking havoc. The danger of a desperate CCP turning to a hot war to save face is an ever-rising threat. (If Three Gorges Dam fails, that could be the final straw.)

FDR deliberately suckered Japan into attacking the US (but apparently never guessed it would be on Pearl Harbor). It appears modern neo warmongers of all stripes would be delighted if China were tempted into yet another senseless war in the Pacific. And more lives lost on all sides.

While the size of US military and (ineptly named) "intelligence" budgets are vastly out of scale, the short-term cost in money is secondary to risk of long-term cost in blood. Surging the budget may make good sense when guns are all pointing in the wrong direction and political donors don't care as long as it pays well.

Defeating that outrageously wasteful spending is the first battle to be won. Disengaging from stupid, distracting, unwinnable conflicts is an imperative to achieve that goal.

The Judge , 8 hours ago

US. is the real threat to US interests.

DeptOfPsyOps-14527776 , 8 hours ago

An important part of this statue quo is propaganda and in particular neo-con propaganda.

Once it was clear that agitating against the Russian federation had failed, they started agitating against the PRC.

FDR administration wasn't that clever, they just had (((support))). They wanted Imperial Japan unable to strengthen itself against the United Kingdom as it was waging a war against the European Axis, did not realize that the Japanese fleet could reach as far as Hawaii and after Pearl Harbor, believed the West Coast could have been attacked as well.

Hovewer, they likely expected the Japanese to intercept their fleet on the way to the Phillipines after a war between Imperial Japan and the Commonwealth had started.

Salzburg1756 , 8 hours ago

"FDR deliberately suckered Japan into attacking the US (but apparently never guessed it would be on Pearl Harbor)." No, we knew the japs were going to attack Pearl Harbor. We had broken their code. That's why we sent our best battle ships away from Hawaii just before the attack. Most of the ships they sank were old and worthless; our good ships were out at sea.

TheLastMan , 4 hours ago

What constitutes "America's interests"?

the us military is the world community welcome wagon for global multi national Corp chamber of commerce

Do us citizens serve corporations or do corporations serve us citizens?

next ?, who owns / controls corporations?

Alice-the-dog , 8 hours ago

There is a reason why suicide is the leading cause of death among active duty military. They come to realize that what they are doing is perfect male bovine fecal matter. That they are guilty of participating in completely unwarranted death and destruction.

847328_3527 , 9 hours ago

Liberals and "progressives" are traditionally against wars. This new "woke" group of Demorats shows they are NOT liberals or progressives since they support the Establishment War Criminals like Obama and his side kick, demented Biden, and Bloodthirsty Clinton.

[Jul 23, 2020] Egypt approves Libya deployment, risking clash with Turkey - HoustonChronicle.com

Jul 23, 2020 | www.houstonchronicle.com

CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's parliament on Monday authorized the deployment of troops outside the country, a move that could escalate the spiraling war in Libya after the president threatened military action against Turkish-backed forces in the oil-rich country.

A troop deployment in Libya could bring Egypt and Turkey, close U.S. allies that support rival sides in the conflict, into direct confrontation.

[Jul 22, 2020] The west is so fixed on 'getting' Russia that it must simply make things up when it cannot find real reasons for its hatred. Here hired gunds like Browder comes handy

Notable quotes:
"... I seem to recall William "Bill" Browder, AKA "Putin's Number-One Enemy" was briefly detained in Spain on an Interpol warrant or something. ..."
"... And courtesy of today's Independent, the words of that most noble and trustworthy lying cnut Browder as regards "Russian Meddling" in the affairs of my pathetic Motherland: ..."
"... Spoken by a person who changed his citizenship so as to dodge paying tax. What a slimy toad Browder is! ..."
"... Of course, though, Browder is not an oligarch himself. He's an 'investment firm boss'. And naturally he does not himself engage 'basically in intelligence and influence work'. He only single-handedly managed to get the Magnitsky Act on the books, where it will stay forever although the German press is belatedly owning up that Magnitsky was not the pink-faced legal cherub Browder portrayed. If that's not influence, I don't know what is. ..."
"... The west is so fixed on 'getting' Russia that it must simply make things up when it cannot find real reasons for its hatred. You could say that the USA with its marble-this-and-that secret algorithms is making up online traffic and attributing it to Russia, but I'm pretty sure other western countries are not complete oafs themselves in the computer world, and if you know what you're looking for I'm sure that their analysts can separate fantasy-land gifts like 'Kremlin Assassination Plan for American Soldiers' from actual Russian plans. ..."
Jul 22, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

ET AL July 21, 2020 at 4:38 am

I think the only Spanish connection it is a convenient location for whatever they were up to off-shore. We are expected to trust the intelligence services word that Litvinenko/Skripal/whomever were investigating the 'Russian Mafia' in Spain, so in reality it could be anything.

What we do know is that Spain signed an updated SOFA (Status Of Forces Agreement) with the United States in 2012 (Second Amendment) and 2015 (Third Amendment). Why should this be linked to UK Russian assets like Litvinenko & Skripal? Because we know that when the United States wants to do something off the books , i.e. that is techincally illegal for their citizens to do on their soil, the UK more than happy to oblige (sic. the choice of Steele's Orbis company in the UK to peddle lies for the Democrats to say that they only lost the US election because of someone else. Everybody else's fault but not theirs.

MARK CHAPMAN July 21, 2020 at 11:54 am

Also, I seem to recall William "Bill" Browder, AKA "Putin's Number-One Enemy" was briefly detained in Spain on an Interpol warrant or something.

Why, yes; yes, he was, 'way back in the mists of 2018. According to the screeching British press, he was let go because the warrant was expired.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5786099/British-financier-Putin-critic-William-Browder-arrested-Spain-Russias-request.html

I daresay these international japes add spice to his life and put a spring in his step.

MOSCOWEXILE July 20, 2020 at 11:32 pm

And guess who arrives in London today to have discussions with Johnson and Raab?

None other than fat twat bully boy Pompeo!

TROND July 21, 2020 at 9:28 am

Next he is going to Denmark .

To bully them about NS2 .? An inform them that Greenland belongs to Uncle Sam.

MOSCOWEXILE July 21, 2020 at 1:34 am

And courtesy of today's Independent, the words of that most noble and trustworthy lying cnut Browder as regards "Russian Meddling" in the affairs of my pathetic Motherland:

Will the Russia report 'follow the money'?

Russia is operating in the UK through "oligarchs" who "spend their money on highly placed people", according to British investment firm boss Bill Browder.

Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital, who gave evidence for the report, told the BBC said these figures "would basically do intelligence and influence work".

How far will the report delve into the influence of Russian money in British politics? Although this morning's Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) 50-page document is expected to cover political donations from wealthy Russians, reports suggest it won't actually name any names.

Spoken by a person who changed his citizenship so as to dodge paying tax. What a slimy toad Browder is!

I shouldn't have said that: toads are very useful creatures.

See -- or better: do not, see unless you have a vomit bag near at hand:

UK politics news live: Latest updates as long-awaited Russia report to be released today | The Independent

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/uk-politics-news-live-russia-china-hong-kong-dominic-cummings-a9629521.html

MARK CHAPMAN July 21, 2020 at 8:20 am

Of course, though, Browder is not an oligarch himself. He's an 'investment firm boss'. And naturally he does not himself engage 'basically in intelligence and influence work'. He only single-handedly managed to get the Magnitsky Act on the books, where it will stay forever although the German press is belatedly owning up that Magnitsky was not the pink-faced legal cherub Browder portrayed. If that's not influence, I don't know what is.

The west is so fixed on 'getting' Russia that it must simply make things up when it cannot find real reasons for its hatred. You could say that the USA with its marble-this-and-that secret algorithms is making up online traffic and attributing it to Russia, but I'm pretty sure other western countries are not complete oafs themselves in the computer world, and if you know what you're looking for I'm sure that their analysts can separate fantasy-land gifts like 'Kremlin Assassination Plan for American Soldiers' from actual Russian plans.

But they pretend to be fooled. And the best they can come up with is that Russia is behind upsets like the Black Lives Matter movement which are tearing the USA apart. If Russia always had such a mysterious weapon, why did it wait so long to use it when the USA and UK spit in its face every day?

[Jul 19, 2020] A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon you're talking real money

Jul 19, 2020 | crookedtimber.org

Alan White 07.19.20 at 1:21 am

John, what say you about US/global military spending, which if cut and reallocated in the low double digits could transform society? Do you think it's just politically untouchable? If the US cut its military budget by say 25% it would still be formidable, especially given its nuclear deterrent. For the life of me I can never understand why military budgets are sacrosanct. Is it just WW2 and Cold War hangover? Couldn't the obvious effects of climate change and the fragility of the economy subject to natural threats like the pandemic change attitudes about overfunding the military (like the debacle of the F-35 program)?

John Quiggin 07.19.20 at 3:50 am ( 15 )

Alan White @13 Military spending is about 3.4 per cent of US GDP, compared to 2 per cent or less most places. So that's a significant and unproductive use of resources that could be redirected to better effect. But the income of the top 1 per cent is around 20 per cent of total income. If that was cut in half, there would be little or no reduction in the productive services supplied by this group. If you want big change, that's where you need to look.

eg 07.19.20 at 4:08 am ( 16 )

@Alan White #13

I think some of the reluctance to cut military spending in the US is the extent to which it acts as a politically unassailable source of fiscal stimulus and "welfare" in a country where such things are otherwise anathema. Well, that and all of the grift it represents for the donor class.

likbez 07.19.20 at 10:18 am ( 17 )

@John Quiggin 07.19.20 at 3:50 am *15)

Alan White @13 Military spending is about 3.4 per cent of US GDP, compared to 2 per cent or less most places.

GDP is a fake metric in general (due to the size of FIRE sector in the US economy) and especially when we are discussing military spending.

Military spending is 53% of discretionary spending which put the USA in the category of the most militarized countries. https://www.nationalpriorities.org/analysis/2020/militarized-budget-2020/

[Jul 19, 2020] The Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers just jointly agreed in a rare published account of their phone conversation that the Outlaw US Empire " has lost its sense of reason, morality and credibility .

Jul 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jul 18 2020 22:54 utc | 6 4

Does Cancel Culture intersect with Woke? The former's not mentioned in this fascinating essay , but the latter is and appears to deserve some unpacking beyond what Crooke provides.

As for the letter, it's way overdue by 40+ years. I recall reading Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind and Christopher Lasch's Culture of Narcissism where they say much the same.

What's most irksome are the lies that now substitute for discourse--Trump or someone from his admin lies, then the WaPost, NY Times, MSNBC, Fox, and others fire back with their lies. And to top everything off--There's ZERO accountability: people who merit "canceling" continue to lie and commit massive fraud.

The Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers just jointly agreed in a rare published account of their phone conversation that the Outlaw US Empire " has lost its sense of reason, morality and credibility .

Yes, they were specifically referring to the government, but I'd include the Empire's institutions as well. In the face of that reality, the letter is worse than a joke.

[Jul 16, 2020] The UK says Magnitsky was a crackerjack tax lawyer and whistleblower who exposed a gigantic tax fraud by the Russian government. The Russian government says Magnitsky was a crooked accountant who masterminded a tax-cheat scheme to help a western crook set up tax shelters and buy Gazprom stock at the price accorded to nationals only.

Jul 16, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

ET AL July 6, 2020 at 2:20 am

And here to make it even more farcical.

al-Beeb s'Allah: UK sanctions regime to target human rights abuser
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-53303100

The UK will later impose sanctions independently for the first time on dozens of individuals accused of human rights abuses around the world.

Dominic Raab will name the first violators to have their assets frozen as part of a new post-Brexit regime.

These are expected to include Russian officials thought to be implicated in the death of Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.

The whistleblower's maltreatment while in custody has been condemned by the European Court of Human Rights.

In the past, the UK has almost always imposed sanctions collectively as a member of the United Nations or European Union but, after its departure from the EU in January, a new framework is being put in place in UK law .
####

MARK CHAPMAN July 6, 2020 at 8:16 am

The UK is sanctimonious to a fault. The UK says Magnitsky was a crackerjack tax lawyer and whistleblower who exposed a gigantic tax fraud by the Russian government. The Russian government says Magnitsky was a crooked accountant who masterminded a tax-cheat scheme to help a western crook set up tax shelters and buy Gazprom stock at the price accorded to nationals only. The UK has been caught in lie after lie after lie, and the scenarios it has constructed for wrongdoing by Russia on its own soil will barely withstand critical thinking by alcoholics and farmyard animals. Who's got form here?

[Jul 15, 2020] The real Bill Browder story (part one)- What US-UK media won t tell you about billionaire lobbyist s dubious narrative by John Ryan

Bill is the primary suspect for killing Magnitsky. He has incentive, methods and means.
Jul 15, 2020 | www.rt.com

By John Ryan, Ph.D . – Retired Professor of Geography and Senior Scholar, University of Winnipeg, Canada

If anyone has proven the adage that "a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on it shoes," it's Bill Browder. The mega-rich vulture capitalist has been spinning a yarn for years.

Intriguingly, after Germany's leading news magazine kiboshed his fake narrative, Anglo-American media ignored the revelations.

Browder's narrative suits the US/UK establishment as it provides a convenient excuse to sanction Russia, but the story has more holes than Swiss cheese.

The billionaire vulture capitalist has been a figure of some prominence on the world scene for the past decade. A few months back, Der Spiegel published a major exposé on him and the case of Sergei Magnitsky, but the US/UK mainstream media failed to follow it up and so, aside from Germany, few people are aware of Browder's background.

Browder had gone to Moscow in 1996 to take advantage of the privatization of state companies by then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Browder founded Hermitage Capital Management, a Moscow investment firm registered in offshore Guernsey in the Channel Islands. For a time, it was the largest foreign investor in Russian securities. Hermitage Capital Management was rated as extremely successful after earning almost 3,000 percent in its operations between 1996 and December 2007.

During the corrupt Boris Yeltsin years, with his business partner's US$25 million, Browder amassed a fortune. Profiting from the large-scale privatizations in Russia from 1996 to 2006, his Hermitage firm eventually grew to $4.5 billion.

When Browder encountered financial difficulties with Russian authorities, he portrayed himself as an anti-corruption activist and became the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act, which resulted in economic sanctions aimed at Russian officials. However, an examination of Browder's record in Russia and his testimony in court cases reveal contradictions with his statements to the public and Congress, and raises questions about his motives in attacking corruption in Russia.

ALSO ON RT.COM Russia to impose reciprocal sanctions on UK following publication of 'Magnitsky List'

Although he has claimed that he was an 'activist shareholder' and campaigned for Russian companies to adopt Western-style governance, it has been reported that he cleverly destabilized companies he was targeting for takeover. Canadian blogger Mark Chapman has revealed that after Browder would buy a minority share in a company, he would resort to lawsuits against this company through shell companies he controlled. This would destabilize the company with charges of corruption and insolvency. To prevent its collapse, the Russian government would intervene by injecting capital into it, causing its stock to rise -- with the result that Browder's profits would rise exponentially.

Later, through Browder's Russian-registered subsidiaries, his accountant Magnitsky acquired extra shares in Russian gas companies such as Surgutneftegaz, Rosneft and Gazprom. This procedure enabled Browder's companies to pay the residential tax rate of 5.5 percent instead of the 35 percent that foreigners would have to pay.

However, the procedure to bypass the Russian presidential decree that banned foreign companies and citizens from purchasing equities in Gazprom was an illegal act. Because of this and other suspected transgressions, Magnitsky was interrogated in 2006 and later in 2008. Initially he was interviewed as a suspect and then as an accused. He was then arrested and charged by Russian prosecutors with two counts of aggravated tax evasion committed in conspiracy with Bill Browder in respect of Dalnyaya Step and Saturn, two of Browder's shell companies to hold shares that he bought. Unfortunately, in 2009, Magnitsky died in pre-trial detention because of a failure by prison officials to provide prompt medical assistance.

Browder has challenged this account and for years he has maintained that Magnitsky's arrest and death were a targeted act of revenge by Russian authorities against a heroic anti-corruption activist.

It's only recently that Browder's position was challenged by the European Court of Human Rights, which in its ruling on August 27, 2019 concluded that Magnitsky's "arrest was not arbitrary, and that it was based on reasonable suspicion of his having committed a criminal offence." And as such, "The Russians had good reason to arrest Sergei Magnitsky for Hermitage tax evasion."

"The Court observes that the inquiry into alleged tax evasion, resulting in the criminal proceedings against Mr Magnitskiy, started in 2004, long before he complained that prosecuting officials had been involved in fraudulent acts."

Prior to Magnitsky's arrest, because of what Russia considered to be questionable activities, Browder had been refused entry to Russia in 2005. However, he did not take lightly his rebuff by the post-Yeltsin Russian government under Vladimir Putin. As succinctly expressed by Professor Halyna Mokrushyna at the University of Ottawa:

[Browder] began to engage in a worldwide campaign against the Russian authorities, accusing them of corruption and violation of human rights. The death of his accountant and auditor Sergei Magnitsky while in prison became the occasion for Browder to launch an international campaign presenting the death as a ruthless silencing of an anti-corruption whistleblower. But the case of Magnitsky is anything but.

Despite Browder's claims that Magnitsky died as a result of torture and beatings, authentic documents and testimonies show that Magnitsky died because of medical neglect – he was not provided adequate treatment for a gallstone condition. It was negligence typical at that time of prison bureaucracy, not a premeditated killing. Because of the resulting investigation, many high-level functionaries in the prison system were fired or demoted.

For the past 10 years, Browder has maintained that Magnitsky was tortured and murdered by prison guards. Without any verifiable evidence he has asserted that Magnitsky was beaten to death by eight riot guards over 1 hour and 18 minutes. This was never corroborated by anybody, including by autopsy reports. It was even denied by Magnitsky's mother in a video interview.

Nevertheless, on the basis of his questionable beliefs, he has carried on a campaign to discredit and vilify Russia and its government and leaders.

In addition to the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, Browder's basic underlying beliefs and assumptions are being seriously challenged. Very recently, on May 5, 2020, an American investigative journalist, Lucy Komisar, published an article with the heading Forensic photos of Magnitsky show no marks on torso :

On Fault Lines today I revealed that I have obtained never published forensic photos of the body of Sergei Magnitsky, William Browder's accountant, that show not a mark on his torso. Browder claims he was beaten to death by prison guards. Magnitsky died at 9:30pm Nov 16, 2009, and the photos were taken the next day.

READ MORE UK sanctions head of Russian investigative committee, following US lead

Later in her report she states:

I noted on the broadcast that though the photos and documents are solid, several dozen U.S. media – both allegedly progressive and mainstream -- have refused to publish this information. And if that McCarthyite censorship continues, the result of rampant fear-inducing Russophobia, I will publish it and the evidence on this website.

Despite evidence such as this, till this day Browder maintains that Sergei Magnitsky was beaten to death with rubber batons. It's this narrative that has attracted the attention of the US Congress, members of parliament, diplomats and human rights activists. To further refute his account, a 2011 analysis by the Physicians for Human Rights International Forensics Program of documents provided by Browder found no evidence he was beaten to death.

In his writings, as supposed evidence, Browder provides links to two untranslated Russian documents. They were compiled immediately after Magnitsky died on November 16, 2009. Recent investigative research has revealed that one of these appears to be a forgery. The first document, D309, states that shortly before Magnitsky's death: "Handcuffs were used in connection with the threat of committing an act of self-mutilation and suicide, and that the handcuffs were removed after thirty minutes." To further support this, a forensic review states that while in the prison hospital, "Magnitsky exhibited behavior diagnosed as 'acute psychosis' by Dr. A. V. Gaus at which point the doctor ordered Mr. Magnitsky to be restrained with handcuffs."

The second document, D310, is identically worded to D309 except for a change in part of the preceding sentence. The sentence in D309 has the phrase "special means were" is changed in D310 to "a rubber baton was."

As such, while D309 is perfectly coherent, in D310 the reference to a rubber baton makes no sense whatsoever, given the title and text it shares with D309. This and other inconsistencies, including signatures on these documents, make it apparent that D310 was copied from D309 and that D310 is a forgery. Furthermore, there is no logical reason for two almost identical reports to have been created, with only a slight difference in one sentence. There is no way of knowing who forged it and when, but this forged document forms a major basis for Browder's claim that Magnitsky was clubbed to death.

The fact that there is no credible evidence to indicate that Magnitsky was subjected to a baton attack, combined with forensic photos of Magnitsky's body shortly after death that show no marks on it, provides evidence that appears to repudiate Browder's decade-long assertions that Magnitsky was viciously murdered while in jail.

With evidence such as this, it repeatedly becomes clear that Browder's narrative contains mistakes and inconsistencies that distort the overall view of the events leading to Magnitsky's death.

Despite Magnitsky's death, the case against him continued in Russia and he was found guilty of corruption in a posthumous trial. Actually, the trial's main purpose was to investigate alleged fraud by Bill Browder, but to proceed with this they had to include the accountant Magnitsky as well. The Russian court found both of them guilty of fraud. Afterwards, the case against Magnitsky was closed because of his death.

After Browder was refused entry to Russia in November of 2005, he launched a campaign insisting that his departure from Russia resulted from his anti-corruption activities. However, the real reason for the cancellation of his visa that he never mentions is that in 2003, a Russian provincial court had convicted Browder of evading $40 million in taxes. In addition, his illegal purchases of shares in Gazprom through the use of offshore shell companies were reportedly valued at another $30 million, bringing the total figure of tax evasion to $70 million.

ALSO ON RT.COM Bill Browder points finger at Bernie Sanders on Magnitsky Act vote, but the real story is his own corruption

It's after this that the Russian federal government next took up the case and initially went after Magnitsky, the accountant who carried out Browder's schemes.

But back in the US, Browder portrayed himself as the ultimate truth-teller, and embellished his tale by asserting that Sergei Magnitsky was a whistleblowing "tax lawyer," rather than one of Browder's accountants implicated in tax fraud. As his case got more involved, he presented a convoluted explanation that he was not responsible for bogus claims made by his companies. This is indeed an extremely complicated matter and as such only a summary of some of this will be presented.

The essence of the case is that in 2007, three shell companies that had once been owned by Browder were used to claim a $232 million tax refund based on trumped-up financial loses. Browder has stated that the companies were stolen from him, and that in a murky operation organized by a convicted fraudster, they were re-registered in the names of others. There is evidence, however, that Magnitsky and Browder may have been part of this convoluted scheme.

Browder's main company in Russia was Hermitage Capital Management, and associated with this firm were a large number of shell companies, some in the Russian republic of Kalmykia and some in the British Virgin Islands. A law firm in Moscow, Firestone Duncan, owned by Americans, did the legal work for Browder's Hermitage. Sergei Magnitsky was one of the accountants for Firestone Duncan and was assigned to work for Hermitage.

An accountant colleague of Magnitsky's at Firestone Duncan, Konstantin Ponomarev, was interviewed in 2017 by Komisar, who said:

According to Ponomarev, the firm – and Magnitsky -- set up an offshore structure that Russian investigators would later say was used for tax evasion and illegal share purchases by Hermitage the structure helped Browder execute tax-evasion and illegal share purchase schemes.

He said the holdings were layered to conceal ownership: The companies were 'owned' by Cyprus shells Glendora and Kone, which, in turn, were 'owned' by an HSBC Private Bank Guernsey Ltd trust. Ponomarev said the real owner was Browder's Hermitage Fund. He said the structure allowed money to move through Cyprus to Guernsey with little or no taxes paid along the way. Profits could get cashed out in Guernsey by investors of the Hermitage Fund and HSBC.

Ponomarev said that in 1996, the firm developed for Browder 'a strategy of how to buy Gazprom shares in the local market, which was restricted for foreign investors.'

READ MORE Anti-Russian sanctions based on fraudster's tales? Spiegel finds Magnitsky narrative fed to West by Browder is riddled with lies

In the course of their investigation, on June 2, 2007, Russian tax investigators raided the offices of Hermitage and Firestone Duncan. They seized Hermitage company documents, computers and corporate stamps and seals. They were looking for evidence to support Russian charges of tax evasion and illegal purchase of shares of Gazprom.

In a statement to US senators on July 27, 2017, Browder stated that Russian Interior Ministry officials "seized all the corporate documents connected to the investment holding companies of the funds that I advised. I didn't know the purpose of these raids so I hired the smartest Russian lawyer I knew, a 35-year-old named Sergei Magnitsky. I asked Sergei to investigate the purpose of the raids and try to stop whatever illegal plans these officials had."

Contrary to what Browder claims, Magnitsky had been his accountant for a decade. He had never acted as a lawyer, nor did he have the qualifications to do so. In fact, in 2006, when questioned by Russian investigators, Magnitsky said he was an auditor on contract with Firestone Duncan. In Browder's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017, he claimed Magnitsky was his lawyer, but in 2015, in his testimony under oath in the US government's Prevezon case, Browder told a different story, as will now be related.

On Browder's initiative, in December 2012, he presented documents to the New York District Attorney alleging that a Russian company, Prevezon, had "benefitted from part of the $230 million dollar theft uncovered by Magnitsky and used those funds to buy a number of luxury apartments in Manhattan." In September 2013, the New York District Attorney's office filed money-laundering charges against Prevezon. The company hired high-profile New York-based lawyers to defend themselves against the accusations.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?creatorScreenName=RT_com&dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=true&id=1018928646755581952&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.rt.com%2Frussia%2F494802-browder-story-what-uk-wont-tell%2F&siteScreenName=RT_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=9066bb2%3A1593540614199&width=550px

As reported by Der Spiegel, Browder would not voluntarily agree to testify in court, so Prevezon's lawyers sent process servers to present him with a subpoena, which he refused to accept and was caught on video literally running away. In March 2015, the judge in the Prevezon case ruled that Browder would have to give testimony as part of pre-trial discovery. Later, while in court and under oath and confronted with numerous documents, Browder was totally evasive. Lawyer Mark Cymrot spent six hours examining him, beginning with the following exchange:

ALSO ON RT.COM Russian court orders arrest of UK investor Bill Browder over organization of criminal network

Cymrot asked: Was Magnitsky a lawyer or a tax expert?

He was "acting in court representing me," Browder replied.

And he had a law degree in Russia?

"I'm not aware he did."

Did he go to law school?

"No."

How many times have you said Mr. Magnitsky is a lawyer? Fifty? A hundred? Two hundred?

"I don't know."

Have you ever told anybody that he didn't go to law school and didn't have a law degree?

"No."

Critically important, during the court case, the responsible US investigator admitted during questioning that his findings were based exclusively on statements and documents from Browder and his team. Under oath, Browder was unable to explain how he and his people managed to track the flow of money and make the accusation against Prevezon. In his 2012 letter that launched the court case, Browder referred to "corrupt schemes" used by Prevezon, but when questioned under oath, he admitted he didn't know of any. In fact, to almost every question put forth by Mark Cymrot, Browder replied that he didn't know or didn't remember.

(Read the next part of The Real Bill Browder story on Thursday, here on RT)

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[Jul 13, 2020] Those weapons aren't going to sell themselves!

Jul 13, 2020 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

ET AL July 6, 2020 at 9:47 am

Sky Nudes:

https://news.sky.com/story/suspected-killers-of-jamal-khashoggi-and-sergei-magnitsky-included-on-new-uk-sanctions-list-12022458

.They include:

20 Saudi nationals involved in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi;

25 Russian nationals involved in the mistreatment and death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered widespread corruption;

two high-ranking Myanmar generals involved in violence against Rohingya people and other ethnic minorities

Two organisations involved in forced labour, torture and murder in North Korea's gulags have also been listed

The new autonomous regime will allow the UK to work independently with allies such as the US, Canada, Australia and the EU

####

But not Mohammed Bin Salman, obvs. Those weapons aren't going to sell themselves!

Can the UK government put itself on the list for arbitary detention and expulsion of Brits born in Jamaica but resident in the UK for decades and asked to come to the UK due to the shortage of national labor, aka the Windrush scandal? The latest news on that is there is no automatic redress for those screwed over by Theresa May+. They have to prove they that they had been unfairly targeted!

Anger As Windrush Victims Told To Prove Case 'Beyond Reasonable Doubt' To Get Compensation
https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/windrush-compensation-beyond-reasonable-doubt_uk_5efcaf12c5b612083c55c7cf

MARK CHAPMAN July 6, 2020 at 12:53 pm

'Suspected' killers. That's good enough for sanctions these days. Hopefully the rest of the EU will take Brexit as an opportunity to break with the Russophobic policies of the loony UK and its crackpot big brother, and re-orient its economy on a separate trajectory from theirs. We're already going to end up with two distinct trading blocs who operate largely outside one another, to the detriment of both but much more so to the United States. We don't need three. I'm watching in appalled fascination to see what happens to the American airliner market when it doesn't get any more Chinese orders. Once I would have said it was impossible that Boeing would go under, but now I'm not so sure.

Speaking of Boeing, no more 747's will be built after the current order backlog is completed, about 13 more planes. That'll be it for four-engine airliners – too expensive to run. Twin-engine planes can achieve almost the same range for less outlay. And economy is going to have to be the watchword of the aviation industry for awhile if it is to survive: air travel in the USA is down about 80% in the past week. Of course Boeing stock rose, though, because the investor class lives in a different reality.

I can't help noting that this will mean Boeing will rely even more heavily on the 737.

https://www.barrons.com/articles/us-regulators-complete-test-flights-on-boeing-737-max-01593642305

[Jul 11, 2020] UPRISING- Trump, Tulsa the Rise of Military Dissent by Danny Sjursen

Jul 11, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

Danny Sjursen goes undercover in Trumplandia and comes back with this reflection on the U.S. president's loss of loyalty among soldiers and veterans.

...As both the Covid-19 crisis and the militarization of the police in the streets of American cities have made clear, the imperial power that we veterans fought for abroad is the same one some of us are now struggling against at home and the two couldn't be more intimately linked. Our struggle is, at least in part, over who gets to define patriotism.

Should the sudden wave of military and veteran dissent keep rising, it will invariably crash against the pageantry patriots of Chickenhawk America who attended that Tulsa rally and we'll all face a new and critical theater in this nation's culture wars. I don't pretend to know whether such protests will last or military dissent will augur real change of any sort. What I do know is what my favorite rock star, Bruce Springsteen, used to repeat before live renditions of his song "Born to Run":

William H Warrick MD , July 10, 2020 at 13:21

oBOMBa destroyed the Anti-War Movement. When he got in the White House all of them began going to Brunch instead of Peace/Anti-War marches.

[Jul 09, 2020] U.S. UK intensify campaign against Russia; UK harks back to first pillar of new Cold War, the Magnitsky hoax – The Komisar Scoop

Notable quotes:
"... Browder testimony to Senate Judiciary Committee ..."
"... claimed that Magnitsky was beaten to death by 8 riot guards ..."
"... Browder's Hermitage Fund in 2009 put out press release noting Starova's complaint to police. See last graph. Browder deleted it when his narrative changed, but the Wayback Machine preserved it. ..."
"... She says there has been a violation of Article 165 of the criminal code. ..."
"... Browder translates that into Starova accusing his companies of the theft of state funds. She talks about involvement of Viktor Markelov, who organized the fraud. In his testimony , Markelov said he got documents from a "Sergei Leonidovich." Magnitsky's full name was Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky. ..."
"... Magnitsky's body on a cot in the hospital ward. ..."
"... Script: The position of the corpse of Mr. S. L. Magnitsky. ..."
"... Script: The situation in the [hospital] ward, viewed towards the door. ..."
"... Magnitsky face shoulders on hospital-bed ..."
"... Script: Chest image of Mr. S. L. Magnitsky. ..."
"... Browder doctored report claims a section illegible, third line. ..."
"... Russian document shows nothing is illegible. ..."
"... Dr. Robert Bux ..."
"... They do exist, but Browder did not give them to PHR. ..."
"... Forensic photos of bruises on Magnitsky's hands and knee ..."
"... Forensic schematic drawings showing marks of injuries show no injuries. ..."
"... closed craniocerebral injury ..."
"... No signs of a violent death detected." ..."
"... Magnitsky death certificate – no signs of a violent death detected ..."
Jul 09, 2020 | www.thekomisarscoop.com

U.S. & UK intensify campaign against Russia; UK harks back to first pillar of new Cold War, the Magnitsky hoax

By Lucy Komisar
July 6, 2020, Committee for an East-West Accord .

Browder testimony to Senate Judiciary Committee
claimed that Magnitsky was beaten to death by 8 riot guards .

The U.S. and UK are intensifying their collaborative Cold War against Russia. In Washington, calls for sanctions are based on the fake "bountygate," and the UK has sanctioned selected Russians based on William Browder's Magnitsky hoax.

The "bountygate" charge that Russia paid militants to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan is unproved by U.S. intelligence agencies and even discounted by the international wire-tapping National Security Agency (NSA). The UK sanctions against 25 Russians, judges and court officials, tax investigators, and prison doctors, are based on disproved claims by billionaire investor William Browder that they were responsible for the death of his accountant Sergei Magnitsky.

Browder's Magnitsky story is a pillar of America's Russiagate, which has five. Before bountygate, there was the 2019 Mueller Report which found no evidence that President Trump had colluded with the Russians, the Jan 2017 intelligence agencies' charge of Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election which concludes with the admission that they had no proof; and the 2016 accusation that Russians had stolen Democratic National Committee emails, made by the private security group CrowdStrike, later walked back by CrowdStrike's president Shawn Henry at a secret House hearing in Dec 2017, but not revealed till this May.

With the UK, we return to the first pillar of the U.S. Russiagate story, the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which targeted many on the U.S. list. The Magnitsky Act is recognized as the beginning of the deterioration of U.S.-Russian relations. It is based on a hoax invented by Browder and easily disproved by documentary evidence, if governments cared about that.

The European Court of Human Rights on Magnitsky's arrest

First, a few of the obvious fake charges. Three judges are accused of detaining Magnitsky, which the UK says "facilitated" his mistreatment and denial of medical care. However, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in August 2019, "The Russians had good reason to arrest Sergei Magnitsky for Hermitage tax evasion." The Court said: "The accusations were based on documentary evidence relating to the payment of taxes by those companies and statements by several disabled persons who had confessed to sham work for the two companies."

The decision to arrest him was made after "investigating authorities noted that during a tax inquiry which had preceded the criminal investigation, Mr Magnitskiy had influenced witnesses, and that he had been preparing to flee abroad. In particular, he had applied for an entry visa to the United Kingdom and had booked a flight to Kyiv." He was a flight risk.

Several of the UK targets were said to have "facilitated" mistreatment of Magnitsky because they had been involved in a fraud he exposed. The reference is to a $230-million tax refund scam against the Russian Treasury.

Back to the ECHR: "The Court observe[d] that the inquiry into alleged tax evasion, resulting in the criminal proceedings against Mr Magnitskiy, started in 2004, long before he complained that prosecuting officials had been involved in fraudulent acts." The taxes were the real story; the fraud narrative was a cover-up.

The fake fraud story

Magnitsky did not uncover a massive fraud. That was the tax refund fraud in which companies engaged in collusive lawsuits, "lost" the suits, and "agreed" to pay damages equal to their entire year's profits. They then requested a full refund of taxes paid on the now zero gains. The fake lawsuits and payouts were first revealed to police by Russian shell company director Rimma Starova April 9 and July 10, 2008. (Russian originals April and July .)

With investigators on the trail, Browder's Hermitage Fund director Paul Wrench filed a complaint about the fraud, and Browder gave the story to The NYTimes and the Russian paper Vedomosti , which published it July 24, 2008, long before Magnitsky mentioned it in October 2008. His testimony did not accuse any officials.

Browder's Hermitage Fund in 2009 put out press release noting Starova's complaint to police. See last graph. Browder deleted it when his narrative changed, but the Wayback Machine preserved it. She says there has been a violation of Article 165 of the criminal code. Browder translates that into Starova accusing his companies of the theft of state funds. She talks about involvement of Viktor Markelov, who organized the fraud. In his testimony , Markelov said he got documents from a "Sergei Leonidovich." Magnitsky's full name was Sergei Leonidovich Magnitsky.

The main story at the center of the Magnitsky Acts in the U.S. and UK are not that he was mistreated or failed to get good medical care, which is what is mostly alleged here. That would put dozens of U.S. prison officials in the crosshairs, including recently those running state prison systems in Alabama and Mississippi . It is that he was murdered. In the only reference to beating, the head of the Matrosskaya detention center is accused of "ordering the handcuffing and beating" of Magnitsky before he died.

The U.S. Act, on which the British version is modeled, says that in detention Magnitsky "was beaten by 8 guards with rubber batons on the last day of his life." But the alleged assailants' names are not on the list. A key argument made by sponsors Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md) and Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass) was that the people targeted – tax investigators, court officials, hospital workers -- played a role in this claimed murder of Magnitsky. (Cardin and McGovern haven't responded to my requests to comment on contradictory evidence.)

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab takes the same line, declaring, "You cannot set foot in this country, and we will seize your blood-drenched ill-gotten gains if you try," as he announced the new sanctions. Blood-drenched? No evidence supplied for the sanctioned Russians.

For Browder, the purpose of the Magnitsky Acts he promotes in the West is as a political tool to build a wall against Russia's attempt to have him answer for documented financial frauds totaling at least $100 million, and with new evidence as much as $400 million.

The death hoax: Forensic photos tell the truth

Here is the story of Magnitsky death hoax, with links to evidence, including how Browder forged and falsified documents.

Browder had the Russian forensic reports and photos that were made after Magnitsky's death but suppressed what did not support his arguments. The photos in this forensic report show that Magnitsky, allegedly beaten to death, didn't have a life-threatening mark on his body.

Magnitsky's body on a cot in the hospital ward. Script: The position of the corpse of Mr. S. L. Magnitsky.

Script: The situation in the [hospital] ward, viewed towards the door.

Magnitsky face shoulders on hospital-bed . Script: Chest image of Mr. S. L. Magnitsky.

Browder doctored part of another forensic report provided in translation to the Physicians for Human Rights, Cambridge, Mass., for its analysis of Magnitsky's death. It notes as "illegible" words that show there were no beating marks on Magnitsky's body and that there was no scalp damage. The deleted parts of the true translation are underlined.

"The cadaverous spots are abundant, bluish-violet, diffuse, located on the back surface of the neck, trunk, upper and lower extremities, with pressure on them with a finger disappear and restore their original color after 8 minutes. Damage not found on the scalp."

The doctored line reads, "The cadaverous spots are abundant, bluish-violet, diffuse, located on the back surface of the neck, trunk, upper and lower extremities, (illegible) not found on the scalp."

Here in the report that Browder gave PHR:

Browder doctored report claims a section illegible, third line.

The paragraph in the Russian document shows nothing is illegible.

Russian document shows nothing is illegible.

The Russian words omitted in the doctored English document are "при надавливании на них пальцем исчезают и восстанавливают свою первоначальную окраску через 8 минут. Повреждений на волосистой части головы не обнаружено."

The full Russian text can be translated online: Трупные пятна обильные, синюшно-фиолетовые, разлитые, располагающиеся на задней поверхности шеи, туловища, верхних и нижних конечностей, при надавливании на них пальцем исчезают и восстанавливают свою первоначальную окраску через 8 минут. Повреждений на волосистой части головы не обнаружено. Кости лицевого скелета, хрящи носа на ощупь целы. Глаза закрыты.

What the American pathologist who analyzed Browder's documents said

Dr. Robert Bux

Dr. Robert C. Bux, then coroner/chief medical examiner for the El Paso County Coroner's Office in Colorado Springs, was the forensic expert on the team that wrote the PHR report . Bux told me, "I do not think that these spots are contusions. Contusions will not go away and can be demonstrated by incising or cutting into the tissues under the skin. These are reportedly all on the posterior aspect of the neck, body and limbs and may represent postmortem lividity when the body was viewed by the prosecutor of the autopsy."

Dr. Bux said, "If this is lividity (red purple coloration of the skin) it is not yet fixed and will blanch to a pale skin color and red purple coloration will disappear. If the body is then placed face up i.e. supine then after a few minutes then it will appear again. This is simply due to blood settling in the small blood vessels and a function of gravity."

It's not what a layman reading Browder's forged "illegible" might think.

Dr. Bux added, "Having said all of this, I have never seen any autopsy photographs demonstrating this, and while photographs should have been taken to document all skin abnormalities as well as all surfaces of the body to document the presence or absence of trauma, I do not know if photographs were taken and withheld or never taken ."

PHR said, "A full and independent review of the cause of death of S.L. Magnitsky is not possible given the documentation presented and available to PHR." The document list is at its report pages 2-3 .

The PHR autopsy protocol claims that there are "photo tables on 2 sheets" and "schematic representation of injuries on 1 sheet. However, if they exist, they were not available for the present review."

They do exist, but Browder did not give them to PHR.

Browder posted and widely distributed this composite of photos of bruises on Magnitsky's hand and knee taken November 17 th , 2009, the day after the accountant's death.

Forensic photos of bruises on Magnitsky's hands and knee

He got them from Russian forensic Report 2052. Katie Fisher , doing public relations for Hermitage, posted them, but not the text, to Google Cloud.

The report cited "circular abrasions in the wrist area," a "bluish-violet bruise" and "multiple strip-like horizontally located abrasions."

It said, "A bruise located on the inner surface of the right lower limb in the projection of the ankle joint appeared 3-6 days before the time death."

It concluded, "[T]hese injuries in living persons do not entail a temporary disability or a significant permanent loss of general disability and are not regarded as harm to health, they are not in a cause and effect relationship with death."

The forensic reports attribute bruises to Magnitsky wearing handcuffs and kicking and hitting against cell doors. Magnitsky's lawyer Dmitri Kharitonov told filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov, "I think he was simply banging on the door with all his force trying to make them let him out and none paid attention."

No other injuries found

The same report includes schematic drawings of Magnitsky's body on which to note other relevant marks or injuries.

The report said, "There were no marks or injuries noted on his head or torso No other injuries were found on the corpse " Browder didn't send PHR these drawings or make them public.

Forensic schematic drawings showing marks of injuries show no injuries.

Asked if there was evidence that Magnitsky was "beaten to death by riot guards," Dr. Bux told me, "I have no evidence to suggest that this occurred." For the record, PHR said Magnitsky's death was from untreated serious illness. Even without the body photos, its experts didn't claim a beating. Forensic analysts never have.

Manipulating the death certificate

To promote his fabrication, Browder posted a deceptive PowerPoint of the death certificate that indicated a " closed craniocerebral injury ?" circled in red, with the other text too small to read.

The true document told a different story: " No signs of a violent death detected." That url is at the bottom of Browder's own PowerPoint.

Magnitsky death certificate – no signs of a violent death detected

"Closed" meant "past." Several forensic documents include an interview with Magnitsky's mother Natalya Magnitskaya. She told investigators, "In 1993 – I can't say a more accurate date, S.L Magnitsky had a craniocerebral injury. He slipped on the street and as a result hit his head, after which he had headaches for some time."

Investigators obtained full medical records including this on page 29 of Report 555-10 in English, which Browder gave PHR: " On February 4, 1993, at about 08:40 a.m.., in his house entrance he slipped and fell down hitting his head, lost consciousness for a short time, vomited, attended for emergency help by an ambulance which took him to the City Clinic Hospital (GKB). Was examined by the neurosurgeon in the reception ward, craniogram without pathema. Diagnosis: brain concussion, recommended treatment to be taken on an out-patient clinic basis."

Browder's assertion that the "closed craniocerebral injury" came from a beating was a lie.

Browder's changing stories on the death of Magnitsky

Browder did not initially claim Magnitsky had been murdered. He said Magnitsky, left alone uncared for in a room, had simply died. After a few years, pushing the Magnitsky Act, he declared Magnitsky had been tied up and beaten by rubber baton-wielding thugs until dead.

Graphic by Michael Thau.

Browder December 2009 tells Chatham House , London, "I don't know what they were thinking. I don't know whether they killed him deliberately on the night of the 16th, or if he died of neglect."

"They put him in a straight-jacket, put him in an isolation room and waited 1 hour and 18 minutes until he died." December 2010, San Diego Law School .

Then, promoting the Magnitsky Act, "They put him in an isolation cell, tied him to a bed, then allowed eight guards guards beat him with rubber batons for 118 min until he was dead." December 2011, University of Cambridge Judge Business School.

" .they put him in an isolation cell, chained him to a bed, and eight riot guards came in and beat him with rubber batons. That night he was found dead on the cell floor." July 2017, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee .

What the Moscow Public Oversight Commission says really happened

The Public Oversight Commission , an independent Russian NGO, reports Magnitsky's final day differently. November 16, 2009:

7:00pm. The patient behaves inadequately. Talks to a "voice," looks disorientated, and shouts that someone wants to kill him. His condition is diagnosed as psychosis. The emergency doctor was called. There are no body damages apart from traces of handcuffs on the wrists.

7:30pm. He was left unattended without medical support.

8:48pm. Emergency team arrived. When emergency doctors entered the special cell, Sergei was sitting on the cot, with his eyes unfocused.

9:15pm. The patient was surveyed again as his condition deteriorated. He lost consciousness. The reanimation procedure was started (indirect heart massage and ventilation of lungs using the Ambu pillow). The patient was transferred to the special room where he received an artificial ventilation of lungs and a hormones injection.

9:50pm. The patient died."

The commission reported no evidence of beating. The Russian forensic and medical experts' conclusion was that Magnitsky had heart disease (arteriosclerosis), diabetes, hepatitis, and pancreatitis, some illnesses predating arrest. They wrote detailed criticism of the doctors' treatment, saying that it wasn't timely or adequate and that "the shortcomings in the provision of the medical assistance to S.L. Magnitsky" caused his death.

But it's not the riot squad beating Browder, with no evidence, sold to the U.S. Congress, the State Department, the UK Parliament, the Foreign Office and the media. Or that U.S. or UK authorities or media ever attempted to prove. Because like the Tonkin Gulf "incident" and Iraq's WMD, the weaponized Russiagate stories have a foreign/military policy goal. Truth is quite irrelevant.

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7 Responses to " U.S. & UK intensify campaign against Russia; UK harks back to first pillar of new Cold War, the Magnitsky hoax "
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  7. matsb Jul 9, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    Very good article. Thank you!

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[Jul 06, 2020] Trump's two Russias confound coherent US policy

This is a neocon written article. Reader beware.
Trump as wolf in sheep's clothing in his policy toward Russia. Any person who can appoint Bolton as his national security advisor should be criminally prosecuted for criminal incompetence. To say nothing about Pompeo, Haley and many others. Such a peacenik, my ***
The USA foreign policy is not controlled by the President. It is controlled by the "Deep state"
Notable quotes:
"... The dizzying, often contradictory, paths followed by Trump on the one hand and his hawkish but constantly changing cast of national security aides on the other have created confusion in Congress and among allies and enemies alike. To an observer, Russia is at once a mortal enemy and a misunderstood friend in U.S. eyes. ..."
"... But Trump has defended his perspective on Russia, viewing it as a misunderstood potential friend, a valued World War II ally led by a wily, benevolent authoritarian who actually may share American values, like the importance of patriotism, family and religion. ..."
"... despite Trump's rhetoric, his administration has plowed ahead with some of the most significant actions against Russia by any recent administration. ..."
"... Dozens of Russian diplomats have been expelled, diplomatic missions closed, arms control treaties the Russians sought to preserve have been abandoned, weapons have been sold to Ukraine despite the impeachment allegations and the administration is engaged in a furious battle to prevent Russia from constructing a new gas pipeline that U.S. lawmakers from both parties believe will increase Europe's already unhealthy dependence on Russian energy. ..."
Jul 06, 2020 | apnews.com

When it comes to Russia, the Trump administration just can't seem to make up its mind.

For the past three years, the administration has careered between President Donald Trump's attempts to curry favor and friendship with Vladimir Putin and longstanding deep-seated concerns about Putin's intentions. As Trump has repeatedly and openly cozied up to Putin, his administration has imposed harsh and meaningful sanctions and penalties on Russia.

The dizzying, often contradictory, paths followed by Trump on the one hand and his hawkish but constantly changing cast of national security aides on the other have created confusion in Congress and among allies and enemies alike. To an observer, Russia is at once a mortal enemy and a misunderstood friend in U.S. eyes.

Even before Trump took office questions about Russia abounded. Now, nearing the end of his first term with a difficult reelection ahead , those questions have resurfaced with a vengeance. Intelligence suggesting Russia was encouraging attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan by putting bounties on their heads has thrust the matter into the heart of the 2020 campaign.

The White House says the intelligence wasn't confirmed or brought to Trump's attention, but his vast chorus of critics are skeptical and maintain the president should have been aware.

The reports have alarmed even pro-Trump Republicans who see Russia as a hostile global foe meddling with nefarious intent in Afghanistan, the Middle East, Ukraine and Georgia, a waning former superpower trying to regain its Soviet-era influence by subverting democracy in Europe and the United States with disinformation and election interference .

Trump's overtures to Putin have unsettled longstanding U.S. allies in Europe, including Britain, France and Germany, which have expressed concern about the U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance, which was forged to counter the Soviet threat, and robust democracy on the continent.

But Trump has defended his perspective on Russia, viewing it as a misunderstood potential friend, a valued World War II ally led by a wily, benevolent authoritarian who actually may share American values, like the importance of patriotism, family and religion.

Trump's approach to Russia was at center stage in the impeachment proceedings, when U.S. officials testified that the president demanded political favors from Ukraine in return for military assistance it needed to combat Russian aggression. But the issue ended up as a largely partisan exercise, with House Democrats voting to impeach Trump and Senate Republicans voting to acquit .

Within the Trump administration, the national security establishment appears torn between pursuing an arguably tough approach to Russia and pleasing the president. Insiders who have raised concern about Trump's approach to Russia -- including at least one of his national security advisers, defense secretaries and secretaries of state, but especially lower-level officials who spoke out during impeachment -- have nearly all been ousted from their positions.

Suspicions about Trump and Russia go back to his 2016 campaign. His appeal to Moscow to dig up his opponent's emails , his plaintive suggestions that Russia and the United States should be friends and a series of contacts between his advisers and Russians raised questions of impropriety that led to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation . The investigation ultimately did not allege that anyone associated with the campaign illegally conspired with Russia.

Mueller, along with the U.S. intelligence community, did find that Russia interfered with the election, to sow chaos and also help Trump's campaign. But Trump has cast doubt on those findings, most memorably in a 2018 appearance on stage with Putin in Helsinki .

Yet despite Trump's rhetoric, his administration has plowed ahead with some of the most significant actions against Russia by any recent administration.

Dozens of Russian diplomats have been expelled, diplomatic missions closed, arms control treaties the Russians sought to preserve have been abandoned, weapons have been sold to Ukraine despite the impeachment allegations and the administration is engaged in a furious battle to prevent Russia from constructing a new gas pipeline that U.S. lawmakers from both parties believe will increase Europe's already unhealthy dependence on Russian energy.

At the same time, Trump has compounded the uncertainty by calling for the withdrawal or redeployment of U.S. troops from Germany, angrily deriding NATO allies for not meeting alliance defense spending commitments, and now apparently ignoring dire intelligence warnings that Russia was paying or wanted to pay elements of the Taliban to kill American forces in Afghanistan.

On top of that, even after the intelligence reports on the Afghanistan bounties circulated, he's expressed interest in inviting Putin back into the G-7 group of nations over the objections of the other members.

White House officials and die-hard Trump supporters have shrugged off the obvious inconsistencies, but they have been unable to staunch the swell of criticism and pointed demands for explanations as Russia, which has vexed American leaders for decades, delights in its ability to create chaos.

[Jul 03, 2020] Russians to the USA embassy: 1993. It was yours; 2020. It will be ours!

Jul 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ashino , Jul 3 2020 11:20 utc | 129

The Russian Constitution Was Projected Onto the US Embassy Building in Moscow

https://www.youtube.com/watchtime_continue=1&v=J1Bk11INPNI&feature=emb_logo

The organisers projected an image of the cover of the Russian Constitution against the background of Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, and the inscription "1993. It was yours " Then there is an image of the Russian people and the message "2020. It will be ours!", followed by a call to come to vote, was projected on the building of the US Embassy. The light projection was organised by the art group "Re:Venge".
https://www.stalkerzone.org/the-russian-constitution-was-projected-onto-the-us-embassy-building-in-moscow/

Ha, I really like this one ! Would have loved to watch 'das dumme Gesicht' (something like >>stupid face<< but stronger. like the Germans say) of the latest Trump's edition of silly ambassadors, lol !!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jul 03, 2020] Dangerous Game - How the Wreckage of Russiagate Ignited a New Cold War by Kyle Anzalone and Will Porter

Jul 02, 2020 | libertarianinstitute.org

It's been nearly four years since the myth of Trump-Russia collusion made its debut in American politics, generating an endless stream of stories in the corporate press and hundreds of allegations of conspiracy from pundits and officials. But despite netting scores of embarrassing admissions, corrections, editor's notes and retractions in that time, the theory refuses to die.

Over the years, the highly elaborate "Russiagate" narrative has fallen away piece-by-piece. Claims about Donald Trump's various back channels to Moscow -- Carter Page , George Papadopoulos , Michael Flynn , Paul Manafort , Alfa Bank -- have each been thoroughly discredited. House Intelligence Committee transcripts released in May have revealed that nobody who asserted a Russian hack on Democratic computers, including the DNC's own cyber security firm , is able to produce evidence that it happened. In fact, it is now clear the entire investigation into the Trump campaign was without basis .

It was alleged that Moscow manipulated the president with " kompromat " and black mail, sold to the public in a " dossier " compiled by a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele. Working through a DC consulting firm , Steele was hired by Democrats to dig up dirt on Trump, gathering a litany of accusations that Steele's own primary source would later dismiss as "hearsay" and "rumor." Though the FBI was aware the dossier was little more than sloppy opposition research, the bureau nonetheless used it to obtain warrants to spy on the Trump campaign.

Even the claim that Russia helped Trump from afar, without direct coordination, has fallen flat on its face. The " troll farm " allegedly tapped by the Kremlin to wage a pro-Trump meme war -- the Internet Research Agency -- spent only $46,000 on Facebook ads, or around 0.05 percent of the $81 million budget of the Trump and Clinton campaigns. The vast majority of the IRA's ads had nothing to do with U.S. politics, and more than half of those that did were published after the election, having no impact on voters. The Department of Justice, moreover, has dropped its charges against the IRA's parent company, abandoning a major case resulting from Robert Mueller's special counsel probe.

Though few of its most diehard proponents would ever admit it, after four long years, the foundation of the Trump-Russia narrative has finally given way and its edifice has crumbled. The wreckage left behind will remain for some time to come, however, kicking off a new era of mainstream McCarthyism and setting the stage for the next Cold War.

It Didn't Start With Trump

The importance of Russiagate to U.S. foreign policy cannot be understated, but the road to hostilities with Moscow stretches far beyond the current administration. For thirty years, the United States has exploited its de facto victory in the first Cold War, interfering in Russian elections in the 1990s, aiding oligarchs as they looted the country into poverty, and orchestrating Color Revolutions in former Soviet states. NATO, meanwhile, has been enlarged up to Russia's border, despite American assurances the alliance wouldn't expand " one inch " eastward after the collapse of the USSR.

Unquestionably, from the fall of the Berlin Wall until the day Trump took office, the United States maintained an aggressive policy toward Moscow. But with the USSR wiped off the map and communism defeated for good, a sufficient pretext to rally the American public into another Cold War has been missing in the post-Soviet era. In the same 30-year period, moreover, Washington has pursued one disastrous diversion after another in the Middle East, leaving little space or interest for another round of brinkmanship with the Russians, who were relegated to little more than a talking point. That, however, has changed.

The Crisis They Needed

The Washington foreign policy establishment -- memorably dubbed " the Blob " by one Obama adviser -- was thrown into disarray by Trump's election win in the fall of 2016. In some ways, Trump stood out as the dove during the race, deeming "endless wars" in the Middle East a scam, calling for closer ties with Russia, and even questioning the usefulness of NATO. Sincere or not, Trump's campaign vows shocked the Beltway think tankers, journalists, and politicos whose worldviews (and salaries) rely on the maintenance of empire. Something had to be done.

In the summer of 2016, WikiLeaks published thousands of emails belonging to then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, her campaign manager, and the Democratic National Committee. Though damaging to Clinton, the leak became fodder for a powerful new attack on the president-to-be. Trump had worked in league with Moscow to throw the election, the story went, and the embarrassing email trove was stolen in a Russian hack, then passed to WikiLeaks to propel Trump's campaign.

By the time Trump took office, the narrative was in full swing. Pundits and politicians rushed to outdo one another in hysterically denouncing the supposed election-meddling, which was deemed the "political equivalent" of the 9/11 attacks , tantamount to Pearl Harbor , and akin to the Nazis' 1938 Kristallnacht pogrom. In lock-step with the U.S. intelligence community -- which soon issued a pair of reports endorsing the Russian hacking story -- the Blob quickly joined the cause, hoping to short-circuit any tinkering with NATO or rapprochement with Moscow under Trump.

The allegations soon broadened well beyond hacking. Russia had now waged war on American democracy itself, and "sowed discord" with misinformation online, all in direct collusion with the Trump campaign. Talking heads on cable news and former intelligence officials -- some of them playing both roles at once -- weaved a dramatic plot of conspiracy out of countless news reports, clinging to many of the "bombshell" stories long after their key claims were blown up .

A large segment of American society eagerly bought the fiction, refusing to believe that Trump, the game show host, could have defeated Clinton without assistance from a foreign power. For the first time since the fall of the USSR, rank-and-file Democrats and moderate progressives were aligned with some of the most vocal Russia hawks across the aisle, creating space for what many have called a " new Cold War. "

Stress Fractures

Under immense pressure and nonstop allegations, the candidate who shouted "America First" and slammed NATO as " obsolete " quickly adapted himself to the foreign policy consensus on the alliance, one of the first signs the Trump-Russia story was bearing fruit.

Demonstrating the Blob in action, during debate on the Senate floor over Montenegro's bid to join NATO in March 2017, the hawkish John McCain castigated Rand Paul for daring to oppose the measure, riding on anti-Russian sentiments stoked during the election to accuse him of "working for Vladimir Putin." With most lawmakers agreeing the expansion of NATO was needed to "push back" against Russia, the Senate approved the request nearly unanimously and Trump signed it without batting an eye -- perhaps seeing the attacks a veto would bring, even from his own party.

Allowing Montenegro -- a country that illustrates everything wrong with NATO -- to join the alliance may suggest Trump's criticisms were always empty talk, but the establishment's drive to constrain his foreign policy was undoubtedly having an effect. Just a few months later, the administration would put out its National Security Strategy , stressing the need to refocus U.S. military engagements from counter-terrorism in the Middle East to "great power competition" with Russia and China.

On another aspiring NATO member, Ukraine, the president was also hectored into reversing course under pressure from the Blob. During the 2016 race, the corporate press savaged the Trump campaign for working behind the scenes to " water down " the Republican Party platform after it opposed a pledge to arm Ukraine's post-coup government. That stance did not last long.

Though even Obama decided against arming the new government -- which his administration helped to install -- Trump reversed that move in late 2017, handing Kiev hundreds of Javelin anti-tank missiles. In an irony noticed by few , some of the arms went to open neo-Nazis in the Ukrainian military, who were integrated into the country's National Guard after leading street battles with security forces in the Obama-backed coup of 2014. Some of the very same Beltway critics slamming the president as a racist demanded he pass weapons to out-and-out white supremacists.

Ukraine's bid to join NATO has all but stalled under President Volodymyr Zelensky, but the country has nonetheless played an outsized role in American politics both before and after Trump took office. In the wake of Ukraine's 2014 U.S.-sponsored coup, "Russian aggression" became a favorite slogan in the American press, laying the ground for future allegations of election-meddling.

Weaponizing Ukraine

The drive for renewed hostilities with Moscow got underway well before Trump took the Oval Office, nurtured in its early stages under the Obama administration. Using Ukraine's revolution as a springboard, Obama launched a major rhetorical and policy offensive against Russia, casting it in the role of an aggressive , expansionist power.

Protests erupted in Ukraine in late 2013, following President Viktor Yanukovych's refusal to sign an association agreement with the European Union, preferring to keep closer ties with Russia. Demanding a deal with the EU and an end to government corruption, demonstrators -- including the above-mentioned neo-Nazis -- were soon in the streets clashing with security forces. Yanukovych was chased out of the country, and eventually out of power.

Through cut-out organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy, the Obama administration poured millions of dollars into the Ukrainian opposition prior to the coup, training, organizing and funding activists. Dubbed the "Euromaidan Revolution," Yanukovych's ouster mirrored similar US-backed color coups before and since, with Uncle Sam riding on the back of legitimate grievances while positioning the most U.S.-friendly figures to take power afterward.

The coup set off serious unrest in Ukraine's Russian-speaking enclaves, the eastern Donbass region and the Crimean Peninsula to the south. In the Donbass, secessionist forces attempted their own revolution, prompting the new government in Kiev to launch a bloody "war on terror" that continues to this day. Though the separatists received some level of support from Moscow, Washington placed sole blame on the Russians for Ukraine's unrest, while the press breathlessly predicted an all-out invasion that never materialized.

In Crimea -- where Moscow has kept its Black Sea Fleet since the late 1700s -- Russia took a more forceful stance, seizing the territory to keep control of its long term naval base. The annexation was accomplished without bloodshed, and a referendum was held weeks later affirming that a large majority of Crimeans supported rejoining Russia, a sentiment western polling firms have since corroborated . Regardless, as in the Donbass, the move was labeled an invasion, eventually triggering a raft of sanctions from the U.S. and the EU (and more recently, from Trump himself ).

The media made no effort to see Russia's perspective on Crimea in the wake of the revolution -- imagining the U.S. response if the roles were reversed, for example -- and all but ignored the preferences of Crimeans. Instead, it spun a black-and-white story of "Russian aggression" in Ukraine. For the Blob, Moscow's actions there put Vladimir Putin on par with Adolf Hitler, driving a flood of frenzied press coverage not seen again until the 2016 election.

Succumbing to Hysteria

While Trump had already begun to cave to the onslaught of Russiagate in the early months of his presidency, a July 2018 meeting with Putin in Helsinki presented an opportunity to reverse course, offering a venue to hash out differences and plan for future cooperation. Trump's previous sit-downs with his Russian counterpart were largely uneventful, but widely portrayed as a meeting between master and puppet. At the Helsinki Summit, however, a meager gesture toward improved relations was met with a new level of hysterics.

Trump's refusal to interrogate Putin on his supposed election-hacking during a summit press conference was taken as irrefutable proof that the two were conspiring together. Former CIA Director John Brennan declared it an act of treason , while CNN gravely contemplated whether Putin's gift to Trump during the meetings -- a World Cup soccer ball -- was really a secret spying transmitter. By this point, Robert Mueller's special counsel probe was in full effect, lending official credibility to the collusion story and further emboldening the claims of conspiracy.

Though the summit did little to strengthen U.S.-Russia ties and Trump made no real effort to do so -- beyond resisting the calls to directly confront Putin -- it brought on some of the most extreme attacks yet, further ratcheting up the cost of rapprochement. The window of opportunity presented in Helsinki, while only cracked to begin with, was now firmly shut, with Trump as reluctant as ever to make good on his original policy platform.

Sanctions!

After taking a beating in Helsinki, the administration allowed tensions with Moscow to soar to new heights, more or less embracing the Blob's favored policies and often even outdoing the Obama government's hawkishness toward Russia in both rhetoric and action.

In March 2018, the poisoning of a former Russian spy living in the United Kingdom was blamed on Moscow in a highly elaborate storyline that ultimately fell apart (sound familiar?), but nonetheless triggered a wave of retaliation from western governments. In the largest diplomatic purge in US history, the Trump administration expelled 60 Russian officials in a period of two days, surpassing Obama's ejection of 35 diplomats in response to the election-meddling allegations.

Along with the purge, starting in spring 2018 and continuing to this day, Washington has unleashed round after round of new sanctions on Russia, including in response to " worldwide malign activity ," to penalize alleged election-meddling , for " destabilizing cyber activities ," retaliation for the UK spy poisoning , more cyber activity , more election-meddling -- the list keeps growing.

Though Trump had called to lift rather than impose penalties on Russia before taking office, worn down by endless negative press coverage and surrounded by a coterie of hawkish advisers, he was brought around on the merits of sanctions before long, and has used them liberally ever since.

Goodbye INF, RIP OST

By October 2018, Trump had largely abandoned any idea of improving the relationship with Russia and, in addition to the barrage of sanctions, began shredding a series of major treaties and arms control agreements. He started with the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which had eliminated an entire class of nuclear weapons -- medium-range missiles -- and removed Europe as a theater for nuclear war.

At this point in Trump's tenure, super-hawk John Bolton had assumed the position of national security advisor, encouraging the president's worst instincts and using his newfound influence to convince Trump to ditch the INF treaty. Bolton -- who helped to detonate a number of arms control pacts in previous administrations -- argued that Russia's new short-range missile had violated the treaty. While there remains some dispute over the missile's true range and whether it actually breached the agreement, Washington failed to pursue available dispute mechanisms and ignored Russian offers for talks to resolve the spat.

After the U.S. officially scrapped the agreement, it quickly began testing formerly-banned munitions. Unlike the Russian missiles, which were only said to have a range overstepping the treaty by a few miles, the U.S. began testing nuclear-capable land-based cruise missiles expressly banned under the INF.

Next came the Open Skies Treaty (OST), an idea originally floated by President Eisenhower, but which wouldn't take shape until 1992, when an agreement was struck between NATO and former Warsaw Pact nations. The agreement now has over 30 members and allows each to arrange surveillance flights over other members' territory, an important confidence-building measure in the post-Soviet world.

Trump saw matters differently, however, and turned a minor dispute over Russia's implementation of the pact into a reason to discard it altogether, again egged on by militant advisers. In late May 2020, the president declared his intent to withdraw from the nearly 30-year-old agreement, proposing nothing to replace it.

Quid Pro Quo

With the DOJ's special counsel probe into Trump-Russia collusion coming up short on both smoking-gun evidence and relevant indictments, the president's enemies began searching for new angles of attack. Following a July 2019 phone call between Trump and his newly elected Ukrainian counterpart, they soon found one.

During the call , Trump urged Zelensky to investigate a computer server he believed to be linked to Russiagate, and to look into potential corruption and nepotism on the part of former Vice President Joe Biden, who played an active role in Ukraine following the Obama-backed coup.

Less than two months later, a " whistleblower " -- a CIA officer detailed to the White House, Eric Ciaramella -- came forward with an "urgent concern" that the president had abused his office on the July call. According to his complaint , Trump threatened to withhold U.S. military aid, as well as a face-to-face meeting with Zelensky, should Kiev fail to deliver the goods on Biden, who by that point was a major contender in the 2020 race.

The same players who peddled Russiagate seized on Ciaramella's account to manufacture a whole new scandal: "Ukrainegate." Failing to squeeze an impeachment out of the Mueller probe, the Democrats did just that with the Ukraine call, insisting Trump had committed grave offenses, again conspiring with a foreign leader to meddle in a U.S. election.

At a high point during the impeachment trial, an expert called to testify by the Democrats revived George W. Bush's "fight them over there" maxim to argue for U.S. arms transfers to Ukraine, citing the Russian menace. The effort was doomed from the start, however, with a GOP-controlled Senate never likely to convict and the evidence weak for a "quid pro quo" with Zelensky. Ukrainegate, like Russiagate before it, was a failure in its stated goal, yet both served to mark the administration with claims of foreign collusion and press for more hawkish policies toward Moscow.

The End of New START?

The Obama administration scored a rare diplomatic achievement with Russia in 2010, signing the New START Treaty, a continuation of the original Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty inked in the waning days of the Soviet Union. Like its first iteration, the agreement places a cap on the number of nuclear weapons and warheads deployed by each side. It featured a ten-year sunset clause, but included provisions to continue beyond its initial end date.

With the treaty set to expire in early 2021, it has become an increasingly hot topic throughout Trump's presidency. While Trump sold himself as an expert dealmaker on the campaign trail -- an artist , even -- his negotiation skills have shown lacking when it comes to working out a new deal with the Russians.

The administration has demanded that China be incorporated into any extended version of the treaty, calling on Russia to compel Beijing to the negotiating table and vastly complicating any prospect for a deal. With a nuclear arsenal around one-tenth the size of that of Russia or the U.S., China has refused to join the pact. Washington's intransigence on the issue has put the future of the treaty in limbo and largely left Russia without a negotiating partner.

A second Trump term would spell serious trouble for New START, having already shown willingness to shred the INF and Open Skies agreements. And with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) already killed under the Bush administration, New START is one of the few remaining constraints on the planet's two largest nuclear arsenals.

Despite pursuing massive escalation with Moscow from 2018 onward, Trump-Russia conspiracy allegations never stopped pouring from newspapers and TV screens. For the Blob -- heavily invested in a narrative as fruitful as it was false -- Trump would forever be "Putin's puppet," regardless of the sanctions imposed, the landmark treaties incinerated or the deluge of warlike rhetoric.

Running for an Arms Race

As the Trump administration leads the country into the next Cold War, a renewed arms race is also in the making. The destruction of key arms control pacts by previous administrations has fed a proliferation powder keg, and the demise of New START could be the spark to set it off.

Following Bush Jr.'s termination of the ABM deal in 2002 -- wrecking a pact which placed limits on Russian and American missile defense systems to maintain the balance of mutually assured destruction -- Russia soon resumed funding for a number of strategic weapons projects, including its hypersonic missile. In his announcement of the new technology in 2018, Putin deemed the move a response to Washington's unilateral withdrawal from ABM, which also saw the U.S. develop new weapons .

Though he inked New START and campaigned on vows to pursue an end to the bomb, President Obama also helped to advance the arms build-up, embarking on a 30-year nuclear modernization project set to cost taxpayers $1.5 trillion. The Trump administration has embraced the initiative with open arms, even adding to it , as Moscow follows suit with upgrades to its own arsenal.

Moreover, Trump has opened a whole new battlefield with the creation of the US Space Force , escalated military deployments, ramped up war games targeting Russia and China and looked to reopen and expand Cold War-era bases.

In May, Trump's top arms control envoy promised to spend Russia and China into oblivion in the event of any future arms race, but one was already well underway. After withdrawing from INF, the administration began churning out previously banned nuclear-capable cruise missiles, while fielding an entire new class of low-yield nuclear weapons. Known as "tactical nukes," the smaller warheads lower the threshold for use, making nuclear conflict more likely. Meanwhile, the White House has also mulled a live bomb test -- America's first since 1992 -- though has apparently shelved the idea for now.

A Runaway Freight Train

As Trump approaches the end of his first term, the two major U.S. political parties have become locked in a permanent cycle of escalation, eternally compelled to prove who's the bigger hawk. The president put up mild resistance during his first months in office, but the relentless drumbeat of Russiagate successfully crushed any chances for improved ties with Moscow.

The Democrats refuse to give up on "Russian aggression" and see virtually no pushback from hawks across the aisle, while intelligence "leaks" continue to flow into the imperial press, fueling a whole new round of election-meddling allegations .

Likewise, Trump's campaign vows to revamp U.S.-Russian relations are long dead. His presidency counts among its accomplishments a pile of new sanctions, dozens of expelled diplomats and the demise of two major arms control treaties. For all his talk of getting along with Putin, Trump has failed to ink a single deal, de-escalate any of the ongoing strife over Syria, Ukraine or Libya, and been unable to arrange one state visit in Moscow or DC.

Nonetheless, Trump's every action is still interpreted through the lens of Russian collusion. After announcing a troop drawdown in Germany on June 5, reducing the U.S. presence by just one-third, the president was met with the now-typical swarm of baseless charges. MSNBC regular and retired general Barry McCaffrey dubbed the move "a gift to Russia," while GOP Rep. Liz Cheney said the meager troop movement placed the "cause of freedom in peril." Top Democrats in the House and Senate introduced bills to stop the withdrawal dead in its tracks, attributing the policy to Trump's "absurd affection for Vladimir Putin, a murderous dictator."

Starting as a dirty campaign trick to explain away the Democrats' election loss and jam up the new president, Russiagate is now a key driving force in the U.S. political establishment that will long outlive the age of Trump. After nearly four years, the bipartisan consensus on the need for Cold War is stronger than ever, and will endure regardless of who takes the Oval Office next.

[Jul 02, 2020] Browder connections timeline

Jul 02, 2020 | www.unz.com

Pft , says: Show Comment July 3, 2020 at 12:02 am GMT

Browder connection timeline

Interesting history Browder has. I suspect he has a history with Putin before Putin became President , but its hard to find anything on a connection. Anyways lots of interesting connections, meaningful or not, I cant say.

[Hide MORE]
1985 - bugged version of PROMIS was sold for Soviet government use, with the media mogul Robert Maxwell as a conduit.

1990 - just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Browder found himself on assignment in Poland for Boston Consulting Group. The government had begun privatizing state-owned companies and selling their shares at ridiculously low valuations.

1991 - Anatoly Sobchak, a former law professor of Putin's at Leningrad State, became mayor of Leningrad.* Sobchak hired Vladimir Putin, whom he had known when Putin worked at Leningrad State. Putin was still on active reserve with the KGB.

Putin's tenure in Sobchak's office was so rife with scandal that it led to a host of investigations into illegal assignment of licenses and contracts . Putin was head of the Committee for Foreign Liaison; collaborated with criminal gangs in regulating gambling; a money-laundering operation by the St. Petersburg Real Estate Holding Company, where Kumarin was involved and Putin served on the advisory board; Putin's role in providing a monopoly for the Petersburg Fuel Company, then controlled by the Tambov criminal organization; and much, much more -- virtually all of which was whitewashed. While he was in St. Petersburg in the nineties, Putin signed many hundreds of contracts doling out funds to his cronies.

1991 - November 5, Robert Maxwell, allegedly drowned after falling off his yacht in the Canary Islands near the northwest coast of Africa. Billions were missing from his pension funds

Maxwell's investment bankers included Salomon Brothers. Eventually, the pension funds were replenished with monies from investment banks Shearson Lehman and Goldman Sachs, as well as the British government.

It was March 1991 when William Browder went to work for British billionaire Robert Maxwell as his "investment manager". Just how deep into the investment decisions of Maxwell did Browder participate as an investment manager?

1991 November 10, Maxwell's funeral took place on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, the resting place for the nation's most revered heroes. Prime Minister Shamir eulogized: "He has done more Israel than can today be said."

1992 - Interestingly, after Maxwell died, Bill Browder went to work for the Salomon Brothers in the middle of their own scandal. Browder was put in charge of the Russian proprietary investments desk at Salomon Brothers. He was given 25 million to invest and used it by paying cash for vouchers in Russian companies the government had issued to citizens , and used them to buy shared at public auction. In a short period he turned that into 125 million

The scandal at Salomon Brothers was the manipulation of the US Treasury auctions back then.After that scandal where the government was threatening to shut down Salomon Brothers who was the biggest bond dealer in the USA for manipulating markets, all of a sudden, people from Goldman Sachs started taking posts in government.

1996-Browder left Salomon Brothers and with Edmond Safra founded Hermitage Capital Management for the purpose of investing initial seed capital of $25 million in Russia during the period of the mass privatization after the fall of the Soviet Union. Beny Steinmetz was another of the original investors in Hermitage, the Israeli diamond billionaire.

Cyprus is a favorite place for Russian to launder money. Thats probably why Browder and his accounting advisor Jamison Firestone chose it to launder Browder's Russian profits.

Browder from about 1997 to the mid-2000s used Cyprus shell companies to move money out of Russia to cheat the country of multi-millions of dollars in taxes. He used the Russian shells to invest in shares, including Gazprom shares that were illegal for foreigners to buy in Russia, then moved the shares to Cyprus shells

1996 article entitled, "The Money Plane," published by New York Magazine detailed how the "Russian mob gets a shipment of up to a billion dollars in fresh $100 bills," Edmond Safra's bank, Republic National, was directly implicated.

Guess we know where Browder got the cash money to pay for the vouchers

1998 - If Salomon had not been merged with Travelers Group in 1997 (which owned retail brokerage, Smith Barney), no doubt Salomon Brothers would have collapsed in the 1998 Long-Term Capital Management debacle created by one of their own – Salomons John Meriwether.

Safra lost $1 billion in Russia during the 1998 Long-Term Capital Management crisis over Russian bonds and investments which was why he put his bank, Republic National Bank, up for sale to HSBC in 1999.

1999 - Following the Russian financial crisis of 1998, despite significant outflows from the fund, Hermitage became a prominent shareholder in the Russian oil and gas. It was in 1999 when VSMPO-AVISMA Corporation (Russian: ВСМПО-АВИСМА) – the world's largest titanium producer - filed a RICO lawsuit against Browder and other Avisma investors including Kenneth Dart, alleging they illegally siphoned company assets into offshore accounts and then transferred the funds to U.S. accounts at Barclays.

Browder and his co-defendants settled with Avisma in 2000; they sold their Avisma shares as part of the confidential settlement agreement.

1999 - Republican National Bank was owned by Safra . On May 11, HSBC, announced a $10.3 billion deal to purchase Edmond Safra's holdings including the Republic National Bank of New York and Safra's shares in Bill Browder's firm, Hermitage Capital. The announcement came only nine months after Russia's economy collapsed and Browder's clients, lost over $900 million. It was also nine months after $4.8 billion in IMF funds was deposited in an undisclosed account at Safra's bank and well before the public became aware that that same money was dispersed and stolen through the Bank of New York, off-shore companies, and foreign financial institutions.

HSBC then became Browders partner of the Heritage Fund . Browder's shell companies were registered in Cyprus but owned by HSBC (Guernsey) as the trustee for his Hermitage Capital Management.

Cypriot shells Glendora and Kone were part of his offshore network "owned" by an HSBC Private Bank Guernsey Ltd trust. The real owner was Browder's Hermitage Fund. Assets (stocks and money) went from Russia to Cyprus and then to parts unknown.

Republic International Trust, registered by Mossack Fonseca of Panama Papers fame and listed on the Glendora document, was in the offshore network of Republic National Bank owner Edmond Safra, an early investor who then held 51% of Hermitage Fund shares.

1999 December 3 - Safra was killed in suspicious fire that broke out in his Monte Carlo home. Although some believe that Safra was killed by the Russian mafia, Lurie reported that a Swiss prosecutor investigating the missing IMF money believed that Safra was killed "because of his revelations to the FBI and the Swiss Prosecutor's Office investigating the disappearance and laundering of $4.8 billion of the IMF stablilization loan." One of the more interesting things to note here is that the prosecutor implied that Safra not only spoke with the FBI about the missing IMF funds but with Swiss authorities as well.

Funny how Browders bosses/partners get killed

1999 - the bombings that killed nearly three hundred innocent Russians were likely the product of a "false flag" operation that enabled Putin to consolidate power.

Putin promised to stop the plundering of the Russian state by rich oligarchs. But very few Russians knew that Putin had been a primary actor in the same kind of activity in St. Petersburg. And as for cleaning up corruption, one of Putin's first acts as president was to pardon Boris Yeltsin, thereby guaranteeing immunity from prosecution to the outgoing president.-

Putin recruited two oligarchs who were among his closest confidants, Roman Abramovich and Lev Leviev, to undertake the highly unlikely mission of creating a new religious organization called the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia under the leadership of Rabbi Berel Lazar, a leader in the Hasidic movement called Chabad-Lubavitch.

Founded in the late eighteenth century, the tiny, Brooklyn-based Chabad-Lubavitcher movement is a fundamentalist Hasidic sect centered on the teaching of the late Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, who is sometimes referred to as a messiah -- moshiach -- a savior and liberator of the Jewish people. It is antiabortion, views homosexuality as a perversion, and often aligns itself politically with other fundamentalist groups on the right.

Its biggest donors included Leviev, an Israeli billionaire who was an Uzbek native and was known as the "King of Diamonds" thanks to his success in the diamond trade, and Charles Kushner, an American real estate developer who was later jailed for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering. Kushner is also the father of Jared Kushner, who married Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and later became a senior adviser to President Trump. Leviev's friendship with Lazar dates back to 1992 and, according to Haaretz, made Leviev "the most influential, most active and most connected person in the Jewish community of Russia and made Lazar the country's chief rabbi."

Roman Abramovich, controlled the trading arm of one of Russia's largest oil companies through an Isle of Man company that had figured in the Bank of New York affair. Mr. Abramovich ran the Siberian oil giant Sibneft, which sold its oil through a company called Runicom.

His name emerged after speculation that Swiss investigators were looking into the role of Runicom as part of the widening investigation into the laundering of up to $15 billion of Russian money through American banks. Runicom is owned by at least two offshore companies set up by the Valmet Group, a financial services concern partly owned by Menatep, a failed Russian bank that used the Bank of New York."

2001- Salomon Brothers Building (WTC 7) collapses. Tenants include the Department of Defense, the Secret Service, the IRS, and the Securities and Exchange Commission

2005 - Steinmetz of Browders Heritage Fund teamed up with another diamond magnate, Putins buddy Lev Leviev, to purchase the top ten floors of Israel's Diamond Tower which also houses the Israeli Diamond Exchange. Haaretz.com reported that "the buyers intend to build a connector from the 10 floors – the top 10 floors of the building – to the diamond exchange itself in order to benefit from the security regime of the other offices within the exchange." And benefit they did.

According to one website reporting on a Channel 10 (Israel) news story, from 2005 – 2011, an "underground" bank was set up to provide "loans to firms using money taken from other companies while pretending it was legally buying and selling diamonds." The bank apparently washed over $100 million in illicit funds over the course of six years and both Steinmetz and Leviev were directly implicated as "customers" of the bank but Neither of them were charged in the case.

Then there's HSBC's involvement in the diamond industry and Leviev's ties not only to arms dealer Arcadi Gaydamak via Africa-Israeli Investments but Roman Abramovich and Kushner

2007 - Browders Hermitage Capital Management, was raided by Russian interior ministry officers, who confiscated stamps and documents. These were then used to file bogus tax returns to the Russian Treasury, which were paid out to bank accounts controlled by Klyuev and his associates, according to the U.S. government.

Browder claimed Organized crime carried out the tax refund fraud against the Russian Treasury under which criminals used collusive lawsuits to fake damages and get refunds of company taxes. The tax refund fraud using Browder's companies netted $230 million.

2008 - HSBC (Guersey) director Paul Wrench filed a complaint about the tax refund fraud in July on behalf of Hermitage (after Starova's complaints) .

Maginitsky was arrested for being the accountant (not a lawyer) of Browder's tax evasion schemes.

2008 - A lawsuit alleged Bayrock's projected profits were "to be laundered, untaxed through a sham Delaware entity" to the FL Group, Iceland's largest private investment fund, the first major firm to collapse in 2008 when Iceland's financial bubble burst, and a favored financial instrument for loans to Russia-connected oligarchs who were, court papers claim, in favor with Vladimir Putin. According to Bloomberg, Eva Joly, who assisted Iceland's special prosecutor in the investigation of the financial collapse, said, "There was a huge amount of money that came into these banks that wasn't entirely explained by central bank lending. Only Mafia-like groups fill a gap like that."

Another significant Bayrock partner, the Sapir Organization, had, through its principal, Tamir Sapir, a long business relationship with Semyon Kislin, the commodities trader who was tied to the Chernoy brothers and, according to the FBI, to Vyacheslav Ivankov's gang in Brighton Beach.

In addition to being wired into the Kremlin, Sapir's son-in-law, Rotem Rosen, was a supporter of Chabad along with Sater, Sapir, and others at Bayrock, and, as a result, was part of an extraordinarily powerful channel between Trump and Putin. After all, the ascent of Chabad in Russia had been part of Putin's plan to replace older Jewish institutions in Russia with corresponding organizations that were loyal to him.

The biggest contributor to Chabad in the world was Leviev, the billionaire "King of Diamonds" who had a direct line to Rabbi Berel Lazar, aka "Putin's rabbi," to Donald Trump, and to Putin himself dating back to the Russian leader's early days in St. Petersburg.

Indeed, one of the biggest contributors to Chabad of Port Washington, Long Island, was Bayrock founder Tevfik Arif, a Kazakh-born Turk with a Muslim name who was not Jewish, but nonetheless won entry into its Chai Circle as a top donor.

2013-The Hermitage Fund, an HSBC-backed vehicle that invested in Russia and became embroiled in a diplomatic war with the Kremlin over the death of one of its accountants, closes down..

2014, Vekselberg's Renova Group became a partner with Wilbur Ross in the takeover of the Bank of Cyprus, which had held billions in deposits from wealthy Russians.

Back in early 90's Trump found himself in financial trouble when his three casinos in Atlantic City were under foreclosure threat from lenders. He was bailed-out by senior managing director of N.M. Rothschild & Sons, Wilbur Ross, who Trump would later appoint as Secretary of Commerce. Ross, who is known as the "King of Bankruptcy," specializes in leveraged buyouts of distressed businesses.

Along with Blackstones Carl Icahn, Ross convinced bondholders to strike a deal with Trump that allowed Trump to keep control of the casinos.

By the mid-1990s, Ross was a prominent figure in New York Democratic Party politics and had caught the attention President Bill Clinton who appointed him to lead the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund.

2015 - Donald Trump, after emerging from a decade of litigation, multiple bankruptcies, and $ 4 billion in debt, had risen from the near-dead with the help of Bayrock and its alleged ties to Russian intelligence and the Russian Mafia. "They saved his bacon," said Kenneth McCallion, a former federal prosecutor

2015 - Kushner paid $295 million for some of the floors in the old New York Times building, purchased in 2015 from the US branch of Israeli-Russian oligarch Leviev's company, Africa Israel Investments (AFI), and partner, Five Mile Capital.

Kushner later borrowed $285 million from the German financial company Deutsche Bank, which has also been linked to Russian money laundering,

Jared and Ivanka were also close to another of Putins oligarchs, Roman Abramovich and his wife, Dasha Zhukova.

2015-While Wilbur Ross served as vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, the bank's Russia-based businesses were sold to a Russian banker and consultant, Artem Avetisyan, who had ties to both the Russian president and Russia's largest bank, Sberbank. At the time, Sberbank was under US and EU sanctions following Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Avetisyan had earlier been selected by Putin to head a new business branch of the Russian president's strategic initiative agency, which was tasked with improving business and government ties.

Avetisyan's business partner, Oleg Gref, is the son of Herman Gref, Sberbank's chief executive officer, and their consultancy has served as a "partner" to Sberbank, according to their website. Ross had described the Russian businesses – including 120 bank branches in Russia – as being worth "hundreds of millions of euros" in 2014 but they were sold with other assets to Avetisyan for €7m (£6m).

Ross resigned from the Bank of Cyprus board after he was confirmed as commerce secretary in 2017

2018 - Cyprus suspended cooperation with Russia, which had been seeking assistance from the government in Moscow's alleged case of tax evasion against Hermitage Capital Founder Bill Browder.

[Jul 02, 2020] Bill Browder, a Billionaire accused of being a Fraud and Liar by John Ryan

Jul 02, 2020 | www.unz.com

William "Bill" Browder has been a figure of some prominence on the world scene for the past decade. A few months back, Der Spiegel published a major exposé on him and the case of Sergei Magnitsky but the mainstream media completely ignored this report and so aside from Germany few people are aware of Browder's background and the Magnitsky issue which resulted in sanctions on Russia.

Browder had gone to Moscow in 1996 to take advantage of the privatization of state companies by Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Browder founded Hermitage Capital Management, a Moscow investment firm registered in offshore Guernsey in the Channel Islands. For a time, it was the largest foreign investor in Russian securities. Hermitage Capital Management was rated as extremely successful after earning almost 3,000 percent in its operations between 1996 and December 2007.

During the corrupt Yeltsin years, with his business partner's US $25 million, Browder amassed a fortune . Profiting from the large-scale privatizations in Russia from 1996 to 2006 his Hermitage firm eventually grew to $4.5 billion .

When Browder encountered financial difficulties with Russian authorities he portrayed himself as an anti-corruption activist and became the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act, which resulted in economic sanctions aimed at Russian officials. However, an examination of Browder's record in Russia and his testimony in court cases reveals contradictions with his statements to the public and Congress, and raises questions about his motives in attacking corruption in Russia.

Although he has claimed that he was an 'activist shareholder' and campaigned for Russian companies to adopt Western-style governance, it has been reported that he cleverly destabilized companies he was targeting for takeover. Canadian blogger Mark Chapman has revealed that after Browder would buy a minority share in a company he would resort to lawsuits against this company through shell companies he controlled. This would destabilize the company with charges of corruption and insolvency. To prevent its collapse the Russian government would intervene by injecting capital into it, causing its stock market to rise -- with the result that Browder's profits would rise exponentially.

Later, through Browder's Russian-registered subsidiaries, his accountant Magnitsky acquired extra shares in Russian gas companies such as Surgutneftegaz, Rosneft and Gazprom. This procedure enabled Browder's companies to pay the residential tax rate of 5.5% instead of the 35% that foreigners would have to pay.

However, the procedure to bypass the Russian presidential decree that banned foreign companies and citizens from purchasing equities in Gazprom was an illegal act. Because of this and other suspected transgressions, Magnitsky was interrogated in 2006 and later in 2008. Initially he was interviewed as a suspect and then as an accused. He was then arrested and charged by Russian prosecutors with two counts of aggravated tax evasion committed in conspiracy with Bill Browder in respect of Dalnyaya Step and Saturn, two of Browder's shell companies to hold shares that he bought. Unfortunately, in 2009 Magnitsky died in pre-trial detention because of a failure by prison officials to provide prompt medical assistance.

Browder has challenged this account and for years he has maintained that Magnitsky's arrest and death were a targeted act of revenge by Russian authorities against a heroic anti-corruption activist.

It's only recently that Browder's position was challenged by the European Court of Human Rights who in its ruling on August 27, 2019 concluded that Magnitsky's "arrest was not arbitrary, and that it was based on reasonable suspicion of his having committed a criminal offence." And as such "The Russians had good reason to arrest Sergei Magnitsky for Hermitage tax evasion."

"The Court observes that the inquiry into alleged tax evasion, resulting in the criminal proceedings against Mr Magnitskiy, started in 2004, long before he complained that prosecuting officials had been involved in fraudulent acts."

Prior to Magnitsky's arrest, because of what Russia considered to be questionable activities, Browder had been refused entry to Russia in 2005. However, he did not take lightly his rebuff by the post-Yeltsin Russian government under Vladimir Putin. As succinctly expressed by Professor Halyna Mokrushyna at the University of Ottawa:

[Browder] began to engage in a worldwide campaign against the Russian authorities, accusing them of corruption and violation of human rights. The death of his accountant and auditor Sergei Magnitsky while in prison became the occasion for Browder to launch an international campaign presenting the death as a ruthless silencing of an anti-corruption whistleblower. But the case of Magnitsky is anything but.

Despite Brower's claims that Magnitsky died as a result of torture and beatings, authentic documents and testimonies show that Magnitsky died because of medical neglect – he was not provided adequate treatment for a gallstone condition. It was negligence typical at that time of prison bureaucracy, not a premeditated killing. Because of the resulting investigation, many high level functionaries in the prison system were fired or demoted.

For the past ten years Browder has maintained that Magnitsky was tortured and murdered by prison guards. Without any verifiable evidence he has asserted that Magnitsky was beaten to death by eight riot guards over 1 hour and 18 minutes. This was never corroborated by anybody, including by autopsy reports. It was even denied by Magnitsky's mother in a video interview.

Nevertheless, on the basis of his questionable beliefs, he has carried on a campaign to discredit and vilify Russia and its government and leaders.

In addition to the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, Browder's basic underlying beliefs and assumptions are being seriously challenged. Very recently, on May 5, 2020, an American investigative journalist, Lucy Komisar, published an article with the heading Forensic photos of Magnitsky show no marks on torso :

On Fault Lines today I revealed that I have obtained never published forensic photos of the body of Sergei Magnitsky, William Browder's accountant, that show not a mark on his torso. Browder claims he was beaten to death by prison guards. Magnitsky died at 9:30pm Nov 16, 2009, and the photos were taken the next day.

Later in her report she states:

I noted on the broadcast