Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
and Alliance of Transnational Elites

Neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization

Who Rules America > Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism

News American Imperialism Recommended Links Predator state Neoliberalism as a New form of Corporatism Neoconservatism as a US version of Neoliberalism IMF as a key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
Debt enslavement Greece debt enslavement Ukraine debt enslavement Provisional government as an instrument for Ukraine's debt enslavement "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Looting pays dividends to empire
Antiamericanism as a Blowback to American Empire Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Globalization of Financial Flows Divide and conquer strategy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The Deep State Why did we get the collapse of the USSR so wrong ?
American Exceptionalism Anatol Leiven on American Messianism The Grand Chessboard New American Militarism Media-Military-Industrial Complex The Iron Law of Oligarchy Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult
Fifth Column of Globalization Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries US Department of Imperial Expansion Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources American imperialism: the attempt to secure global hegemony
Victoria Nuland’s ‘Ukraine-gate’ Color revolutions Compradors NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions EuroMaidan The Far Right Forces in Ukraine as Trojan horse of neoliberalism Narcissism as Key American Value
Resurgence of ideology of neo-fascism Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Machiavellism Right to protect Big Uncle is Watching You Industrial Espionage
Media domination strategy Media as a weapon of mass deception Developing Countries Hit Hardest by Brain Drain Republics are usually warlike and unscrupulous Politically Incorrect Political Humor American Imperialism Bookshelf Etc

Introduction

All U.S. schoolchildren should be taught, as part of their basic civics education, by conscientious elementary, middle school and high school teachers, that they live in an imperialist country. The term itself ought to be popularized. This is what politicians like Obama actually refer to, elliptically, when they call the U.S. “exceptional.

Gary Leupp, The U.S. Versus ISIS

Looks like the USA successfully managed to recreate Imperial Rome on a new level, neoliberalism level. See Empires Then and Now - PaulCraig

The idea financial imperialism is simple. Instead of old-fashion military occupation of the country, take over the countries in crisis, if necessary remove their democratically elected governments from power by claiming that election are falsified and/or official are corrupted, and/or the government is authoritarian (unlike the puppets they want to install). They use the installed puppets to mandate austerity, burden the country with debt  and facilitate condition under which most of which will be stolen and repatriated to the West.

But neoliberals take this old idea to a new level -- the crisis can be manufactured. The scheme looks like the following (see IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement discussion of Greece for more information):

After installation of a puppet government, it is relatively easy to use Fifth column based government to protect foreign financial interests. Now you can recoup the costs and enjoy the profits. Much cheaper and more humane then bombing the country and killing a couple of hundred thousand people to achieve the same goals (Iraq variant) or by arming and training  jihadists (using Saudi and Gulf monarchies money) and tribal elements to depose the government (Libya and Syria variants) who kill as much, if nor more. 

A classic recent examples were Yeltsin's government in Russia, Yushchenko regime in Ukraine,  Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk duo in Ukraine and sequence of neoliberal governments in Greece. 

In other words neoliberalism is inseparable from imperialism and globalization (Neoliberalism A Critical Reader Alfredo Saad-Filho, Deborah Johnston, p. 2)

In the conventional (or mainstream) discourse, imperialism is either absent or, more recently, proudly presented as the ‘AmericanBurden': to civilize the world and bring to all the benediction of the Holy Trinity, the green-faced Lord Dollar and its deputies and occasional rivals. Holy Euro and Saint Yen. New converts win a refurbished international airport, one brand-new branch of McDonald’s, two luxury hotels, 3,000 NGOs and one US military base.

This offer cannot be refused - or else.2 In turn, globalisation is generally presented as an inescapable, inexorable and benevolent process leading to greater competition, welfare improvements and the spread of democracy around the world. In reality, however, the so-called process of globalisation - to the extent that it actually exists (see Saad-Rlho 2003) - is merely the international face of neoliberalism: a world-wide strategy of accumulation and social discipline that doubles up as tin imperialist project, spearheaded by the alliance between the US ruling class and locally dominant capitalist coalitions.

This ambitious power project centered on neoliberalism at home and imperial globalism abroad is implemented by diverse social and economic political alliances in each country, but the interests of local finance and the US ruling class, itself dominated by finance, are normally hegemonic.

...the United States, the United Kingdom and east and south-east Asia respectively, neoliberalism is a particular organisation of capitalism, which has evolved to protect capital(ism) and to reduce the power of labour. This is achieved by means of social, economic and political transformations imposed by internal forces as well as external pressure. The internal forces include the coalition between financial interests, leading industrialists, traders and exporters, media barons, big landowners, local political chieftains, the top echelons of the civil service and the military, and their intellectual and political proxies. These groups are closely connected with ‘global’ ideologies emanating from the centre, and they tend to adapt swiftly to the demands beamed from the metropolis. Their efforts have led to a significant worldwide shift in powerrelations away from the majority. Corporate power has increased, while finance hits acquired unrivalled influence, and the political spectrum has shifted towards the right. Left parties and mass organisations have imploded, while trade unions have been muzzled or disabled by unemployment. Forms of external pressure have included the diffusion of Western culture and ideology, foreign support for state and civil society institutions peddling neolibcral values, the shameless use of foreign aid, debt relief and balance of payments support to promote the neoliberal programme, and diplomatic pressure, political unrest and military intervention when necessary.

...the ruling economic and political forces in the European Union have instrumentalised the process of integration to ensure the hegemony of neoliberalism. This account is complemented by the segmentation of Eastern Europe into countries that are being drawn into a Western European-style neoliberalism and others that are following Russia’s business oligarchy model.

In sum, neoliberalism is everywhere both the outcome and the arena of social conflicts. It sets the political and economic agenda, limits the possible outcomes, biases expectations, and imposes urgent tasks on those challenging its assumptions, methods and consequences.

In the meantime, neoliberal theory has not remained static. In order to deal with the most powerful criticisms leveled against neoliberalism, that it has increased poverty and social dislocation around the world, neoliberal theory has attempted to present the ogre in a more favorable light. In spite of the substantial resources invested in this ideologically inspired make-over, these amendments have remained unconvincing, not least because the heart of the neoliberal project has remained unchanged. This is discussed in Chapter 15 for poverty and distribution, while Chapter 21 unpicks the agenda of the ‘Third Way', viewed by many as ‘neoliberalism with a human face’.

Neoliberalism offered a finance-friendly solution to the problems of capital accumulation at the end of a relatively long cycle of prosperity. Chapters 1. 22 and 30 show that neoliberalism imposed discipline upon a restless working class through contractionary fiscal and monetary policies and wide-ranging initiatives to curtail social rights, under the guise of anti-inflation and productivity-enhancing measures. Neoliberalism also rationalised the transfer of state capacity to allocate resources inter-temporally (the balance between investment and consumption) and inter-sectorally (the distribution of investment, employment and output) towards an increasingly internationally integrated (and US-led) financial sector. In doing so, neoliberalism facilitated a gigantic transfer of resources to the local rich and the United States, as is shown by Chapters 11 and 15.

The “elephant in the room” is peak oil (plato oil to be more correct) and the plato of food production. Without "cheap oil" extraction growing, it is more difficult to sustain both  population growth and rising standard of living simultaneously. It became the situation of iether/or.

So the future it does not look pretty. As soon as "cheap oil"  escape the current plato,  Western financial system gets into trouble: private banks based fractional reserve banking requires economy expansion for survival.  Essentially they add positive feedback loop to the economy, greatly increasing the instability.  That connection was discovered by Hyman Minsky. Minsky explored a form of instability that is embedded in neoliberal/financialized economies resulting from the use of fiat currency and fractional reserve banking. he argued that such an economy automatically generates bubbles, bursting of which result in periodic deep economic crisis. Which are not an exception, but a feature of neoliberal capitalism (aka "supercapitalism", or "casino capitalism).  

When Minsky crisis hits  some, less important, banks will implode and strategically important need to be saved by government at a great expense for taxpayers. The western elite is well aware of this possibility and will steal, loot and pillage as fast as they can to prolong the agony...  Neoliberal expansion and conversion of other countries into debt slaves thus serves as a substitute for economic growth.

What actually is devalued in austerity programs imposed on indebted nations via currency depreciation is the price of local labor (along with standard of living of the most population). So austerity programs caused a huge drop in the standard of living of population. For example after EuroMaydan color revolution the standard of living in Ukraine dropped to the level of the most poor countries of Africa  (less then $2 a day for the majority of population).

This is a pretty instructive example.   It qlso cur domestic consumption of fuels and minerals, consumer goods, and food.  As wages are sticky and it is difficult to reduced them directly (via high unemployment, leading to falling wages). But the currency depreciation can do the same trick even more effectively. For example since February 22 coup d'état, grivna, the Ukrainian currency depreciated from 8 to 28 grivna to dollar, or approximately 350%.

This is how war of creditors against debtor countries turns into a class war. But to impose such neoliberal reforms, foreign pressure is necessary to bypass domestic, democratically elected Parliaments. Not every country’s voters can be expected to be as passive in acting against their own interests as those of Latvia and Ireland. The financial capital objective is to bypass parliament by demanding a “consensus” (facilitated by a huge foreign debt) to put foreign creditors first, above the national economy. This is the essence of the status of debt slave country. Civil war it a perfect tool to accelerate this process. 

Buying natural monopolies in transportation, communications, and the land from the public domain for pennies on the dollar now can be called "rescue package", not the road to debt peonage and a financial neo-feudalism that is a grim reality of "debt slave" countries, where populations are indentured laborers of international capital. Let me state it very simply : "the borrower [debtor] is SERVANT to the lender" ( Wikipedia ):

An indentured servant or indentured laborer is an employee (indenturee) within a system of unfree labor who is bound by a signed or forced contract (indenture) to work for a particular employer for a fixed time. The contract often lets the employer sell the labor of an indenturee to a third party. Indenturees usually enter into an indenture for a specific payment or other benefit, or to meet a legal obligation, such as debt bondage.

The whole point of creating debt is to gain control of and rule over such countries.  Prof. Hudson's article Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011) illustrates this point admirably.

At the same time then comes to bailing out bankers who overplayed with derivatives, all rules are ignored – in order to serve the “higher justice” of saving banks and their high-finance counterparties from taking a loss. This is quite a contrast compared to IMF policy toward labor and “taxpayers.” The class war is back in business – with a vengeance, and bankers are the winners this time around.

Classic, textbook example of neocolonialism was rape of Russia in 1991-1999. See Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia

Henry C K Liu Views

One of the most interesting analysis of this new phenomena was provided by Henry C K Liu in his series of articles SUPER CAPITALISM, SUPER IMPERIALISM


PART 1: A Structural Link

Robert B Reich, former US Secretary of Labor and resident neo-liberal in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1997, wrote in the September 14, 2007 edition of The Wall Street Journal an opinion piece, "CEOs Deserve Their Pay", as part of an orchestrated campaign to promote his new book: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Afred A Knopf).

Reich is a former Harvard professor and the former Maurice B Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He is currently a professor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California (Berkley) and a regular liberal gadfly in the unabashed supply-side Larry Kudlow TV show that celebrates the merits of capitalism.

Reich's Supercapitalism brings to mind Michael Hudson's Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972-2003). While Reich, a liberal turned neo-liberal, sees "supercapitalism" as the natural evolution of insatiable shareholder appetite for gain, a polite euphemism for greed, that cannot or should not be reined in by regulation, Hudson, a Marxist heterodox economist, sees "super imperialism" as the structural outcome of post-World War II superpower geopolitics, with state interests overwhelming free market forces, making regulation irrelevant. While Hudson is critical of "super imperialism" and thinks that it should be resisted by the weaker trading partners of the US, Reich gives the impression of being ambivalent about the inevitability, if not the benignity, of "supercapitalism".

The structural link between capitalism and imperialism was first observed by John Atkinson Hobson (1858-1940), an English economist, who wrote in 1902 an insightful analysis of the economic basis of imperialism. Hobson provided a humanist critique of neoclassical economics, rejecting exclusively materialistic definitions of value. With Albert Frederick Mummery (1855-1895), the great British mountaineer who was killed in 1895 by an avalanche while reconnoitering Nanga Parbat, an 8,000-meter Himalayan peak, Hobson wrote The Physiology of Industry (1889), which argued that an industrial economy requires government intervention to maintain stability, and developed the theory of over-saving that was given a glowing tribute by John Maynard Keynes three decades later.

The need for governmental intervention to stabilize an expanding national industrial economy was the rationale for political imperialism. On the other side of the coin, protectionism was a governmental counter-intervention on the part of weak trading partners for resisting imperialist expansion of the dominant power. Historically, the processes of globalization have always been the result of active state policy and action, as opposed to the mere passive surrender of state sovereignty to market forces. Market forces cannot operate in a vacuum. They are governed by man-made rules. Globalized markets require the acceptance by local authorities of established rules of the dominant economy. Currency monopoly of course is the most fundamental trade restraint by one single dominant government.

Adam Smith published Wealth of Nations in 1776, the year of US independence. By the time the constitution was framed 11 years later, the US founding fathers were deeply influenced by Smith's ideas, which constituted a reasoned abhorrence of trade monopoly and government policy in restricting trade. What Smith abhorred most was a policy known as mercantilism, which was practiced by all the major powers of the time. It is necessary to bear in mind that Smith's notion of the limitation of government action was exclusively related to mercantilist issues of trade restraint. Smith never advocated government tolerance of trade restraint, whether by big business monopolies or by other governments in the name of open markets.

A central aim of mercantilism was to ensure that a nation's exports remained higher in value than its imports, the surplus in that era being paid only in specie money (gold-backed as opposed to fiat money). This trade surplus in gold permitted the surplus country, such as England, to invest in more factories at home to manufacture more for export, thus bringing home more gold. The importing regions, such as the American colonies, not only found the gold reserves backing their currency depleted, causing free-fall devaluation (not unlike that faced today by many emerging-economy currencies), but also wanting in surplus capital for building factories to produce for domestic consumption and export. So despite plentiful iron ore in America, only pig iron was exported to England in return for English finished iron goods. The situation was similar to today's oil producing countries where despite plentiful crude oil, refined petrochemical products such as gasoline and heating oil have to be imported.

In 1795, when the newly independent Americans began finally to wake up to their disadvantaged trade relationship and began to raise European (mostly French and Dutch) capital to start a manufacturing industry, England decreed the Iron Act, forbidding the manufacture of iron goods in its American colonies, which caused great dissatisfaction among the prospering colonials.

Smith favored an opposite government policy toward promoting domestic economic production and free foreign trade for the weaker traders, a policy that came to be known as "laissez faire" (because the English, having nothing to do with such heretical ideas, refuse to give it an English name). Laissez faire, notwithstanding its literal meaning of "leave alone", meant nothing of the sort. It meant an activist government policy to counteract mercantilism. Neo-liberal free-market economists are just bad historians, among their other defective characteristics, when they propagandize "laissez faire" as no government interference in trade affairs.

Friedrich List, in his National System of Political Economy (1841), asserts that political economy as espoused in England, far from being a valid science universally, was merely British national opinion, suited only to English historical conditions. List's institutional school of economics asserts that the doctrine of free trade was devised to keep England rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners and it must be fought with protective tariffs and other protective devices of economic nationalism by the weaker countries.

Henry Clay's "American system" was a national system of political economy. US neo-imperialism in the post WWII period disingenuously promotes neo-liberal free-trade against governmental protectionism to keep the US rich and powerful at the expense of its trading partners. Before the October Revolution of 1917, many national liberation movements in European colonies and semi-colonies around the world were influenced by List's economic nationalism. The 1911 Nationalist Revolution in China, led by Sun Yat-sen, was heavily influenced by Lincoln's political ideas - government of the people, by the people and for the people - and the economic nationalism of List, until after the October Revolution when Sun realized that the Soviet model was the correct path to national revival.

Hobson's magnum opus, Imperialism, (1902), argues that imperialistic expansion is driven not by state hubris, known in US history as "manifest destiny", but by an innate quest for new markets and investment opportunities overseas for excess capital formed by over-saving at home for the benefit of the home state. Over-saving during the industrial age came from Richardo's theory of the iron law of wages, according to which wages were kept perpetually at subsistence levels as a result of uneven market power between capital and labor. Today, job outsourcing that returns as low-price imports contributes to the iron law of wages in the US domestic economy. (See my article Organization of Labor Exporting Countries [OLEC]).

Hobson's analysis of the phenology (study of life cycles) of capitalism was drawn upon by Lenin to formulate a theory of imperialism as an advanced stage of capitalism:

"Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capitalism is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed." (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, 1916, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Chapter 7).

Lenin was also influenced by Rosa Luxemberg, who three year earlier had written her major work, The Accumulation of Capital: A Contribution to an Economic Explanation of Imperialism (Die Akkumulation des Kapitals: Ein Beitrag zur ökonomischen Erklärung des Imperialismus), 1913). Luxemberg, together with Karl Liebknecht a founding leader of the Spartacist League (Spartakusbund), a radical Marxist revolutionary movement that later renamed itself the Communist Party of Germany (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, or KPD), was murdered on January 15, 1919 by members of the Freikorps, rightwing militarists who were the forerunners of the Nazi Sturmabteilung (SA) led by Ernst Rohm.

The congenital association between capitalism and imperialism requires practically all truly anti-imperialist movements the world over to be also anti-capitalist. To this day, most nationalist capitalists in emerging economies are unwitting neo-compradors for super imperialism. Neo-liberalism, in its attempts to break down all national boundaries to facilitate global trade denominated in fiat dollars, is the ideology of super imperialism.

Hudson, the American heterodox economist, historian of ancient economies and post-WW II international balance-of-payments specialist, advanced in his 1972 book the notion of 20th century super imperialism. Hudson updated Hobson's idea of 19th century imperialism of state industrial policy seeking new markets to invest home-grown excess capital. To Hudson, super imperialism is a state financial strategy to export debt denominated in the state's fiat currency as capital to the new financial colonies to finance the global expansion of a superpower empire.

No necessity, or even intention, was entertained by the superpower of ever having to pay off these paper debts after the US dollar was taken off gold in 1971.

Monetary Imperialism and Dollar Hegemony

Super imperialism transformed into monetary imperialism after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis with the creation of the petrodollar and two decades later emerged as dollar hegemony through financial globalization after 1993. As described in my 2002 AToL article, Dollar hegemony has to go, a geopolitical phenomenon emerged after the 1973 oil crisis in which the US dollar, a fiat currency since 1971, continues to serve as the primary reserve currency for  international trade because oil continues to be denominated in fiat dollars as a result of superpower geopolitics, leading to dollar hegemony in 1993 with the globalization of deregulated financial markets.

Three causal developments allowed dollar hegemony to emerge over a span of two decades after 1973 and finally take hold in 1993. US fiscal deficits from overseas spending since the 1950s caused a massive drain in US gold holdings, forcing the US in 1971 to abandon the 1945 Bretton Woods regime of fixed exchange rate based on a gold-backed dollar. Under that international financial architecture, cross-border flow of funds was not considered necessary or desirable for promoting international trade or domestic development. The collapse of the 1945 Bretton Woods regime in 1971 was the initial development toward dollar hegemony.

The second development was the denomination of oil in dollars after the 1973 Middle East oil crisis. The emergence of petrodollars was the price the US, still only one of two contending superpowers in 1973, extracted from defenseless oil-producing nations for allowing them to nationalize the Western-owned oil industry on their soil. As long as oil transactions are denominated in fiat dollars, the US essentially controls all the oil in the world financially regardless of specific ownership, reducing all oil producing nations to the status of commodity agents of dollar hegemony.

The third development was the global deregulation of financial markets after the Cold War, making cross-border flow of funds routine, and a general relaxation of capital and foreign exchange control by most governments involved in international trade. This neo-liberal trade regime brought into existence a foreign exchange market in which free-floating exchange rates made computerized speculative attacks on weak currencies a regular occurrence. These three developments permitted the emergence of dollar hegemony after 1994 and helped the US win the Cold War with financial power derived from fiat money.

Dollar hegemony advanced super imperialism one stage further from the financial to the monetary front. Industrial imperialism sought to achieve a trade surplus by exporting manufactured good to the colonies for gold to fund investment for more productive plants at home. Super imperialism sought to extract real wealth from the colonies by paying for it with fiat dollars to sustain a balance of payments out of an imbalance in the exchange of commodities. Monetary imperialism under dollar hegemony exports debt denominated in fiat dollars through a permissive trade deficit with the new colonies, only to re-import the debt back to the US as capital account surplus to finance the US debt bubble.

The circular recycling of dollar-denominated debt was made operative by the dollar, a fiat currency that only the US can print at will, continuing as the world's prime reserve currency for international trade and finance, backed by US geopolitical superpower. Dollars are accepted universally because oil is denominated in dollars and everyone needs oil and thus needs dollars to buy oil. Any nation that seeks to denominate key commodities, such as oil, in currencies other than the dollar will soon find itself invaded by the sole superpower. Thus the war on Iraq is not about oil, as former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan suggested recently. It is about keeping oil denominated in dollars to protect dollar hegemony. The difference is subtle but of essential importance.

Since 1993, central banks of all trading nations around the world, with the exception of the US Federal Reserve, have been forced to hold more dollar reserves than they otherwise need to ward off the potential of sudden speculative attacks on their currencies in unregulated global financial markets. Thus "dollar hegemony" prevents the exporting nations, such as the Asian Tigers, from spending domestically the dollars they earn from the US trade deficit and forces them to fund the US capital account surplus, shipping real wealth to the US in exchange for the privilege of financing further growth of the US debt economy.

Not only do these exporting nations have to compete by keeping their domestic wages down and by prostituting their environment, the dollars that they earn cannot be spent at home without causing a monetary crisis in their own currencies because the dollars they earn have to be exchanged into local currencies before they can be spent domestically, causing an excessive rise in their domestic money supply which in turn causes domestic inflation-pushed bubbles. While the trade-surplus nations are forced to lend their export earnings back to the US, these same nations are starved for capital, as global capital denominated in dollars will only invest in their export sectors to earn more dollars. The domestic sector with local currency earnings remains of little interest to global capital denominated in dollars. As a result, domestic development stagnates for lack of capital.

Dollar hegemony permits the US to transform itself from a competitor in world markets to earn hard money, to a fiat-money-making monopoly with fiat dollars that only it can print at will. Every other trading nation has to exchange low-wage goods for dollars that the US alone can print freely and that can be spent only in the dollar economy without monetary penalty.

The victimization of Japan and China

Japan is a classic victim of monetary imperialism. In 1990, as a result of Japanese export prowess, the Industrial Bank of Japan was the largest bank in the world, with a market capitalization of $57 billion. The top nine of the 10 largest banks then were all Japanese, trailed by Canadian Alliance in 10th place. No US bank made the top-10 list. By 2001, the effects of dollar hegemony have pushed Citigroup into first place with a market capitalization of $260 billion. Seven of the top 10 largest financial institutions in the world in 2001 were US-based, with descending ranking in market capitalization: Citigroup ($260 billion), AIG ($209 billion), HSBC (British-$110 billion), Berkshire Hathaway ($100 billion), Bank of America ($99 billion), Fanny Mae ($80 billion), Wells Fargo ($74 billion), JP Morgan Chase ($72 billion), RBS (British-$70 billion) and UBS (Swiss-$67 billion). No Japanese bank survived on the list.

China is a neoclassic case of dollar hegemony victimization even though its domestic financial markets are still not open and the yuan is still not freely convertible. With over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves earned at a previously lower fixed exchange rate of 8.2 to a dollar set in 1985, now growing at the rate of $1 billion a day at a narrow-range floating exchange rate of around 7.5 since July 2005, China cannot spend much of it dollar holdings on domestic development without domestic inflation caused by excessive expansion of its yuan money supply. The Chinese economy is overheating because the bulk of its surplus revenue is in dollars from exports that cannot be spent inside China without monetary penalty. Chinese wages are too low to absorb sudden expansion of yuan money supply to develop the domestic economy. And with over $1.4 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, equal to its annual GDP, China cannot even divest from the dollar without having the market effect of a falling dollar moving against its remaining holdings.

The People's Bank of China announced on July 20, 2005 that effective immediately the yuan exchange rate would go up by 2.1% to 8.11 yuan to the US dollar and that China would drop the dollar peg to its currency. In its place, China would move to a "managed float" of the yuan, pegging the currency's exchange value to an undisclosed basket of currencies linked to its global trade. In an effort to limit the amount of volatility, China would not allow the currency to fluctuate by more than 0.3% in any one trading day. Linking the yuan to a basket of currencies means China's currency is relatively free from market forces acting on the dollar, shifting to market forces acting on a basket of currencies of China's key trading partners. The basket is composed of the euro, yen and other Asian currencies as well as the dollar. Though the precise composition of the basket was not disclosed, it can nevertheless be deduced by China's trade volume with key trading partners and by mathematical calculation from the set-daily exchange rate.

Thus China is trapped in a trade regime operating on an international monetary architecture in which it must continue to export real wealth in the form of underpaid labor and polluted environment in exchange for dollars that it must reinvest in the US. Ironically, the recent rise of anti-trade sentiment in US domestic politics offers China a convenient, opportune escape from dollar hegemony to reduce its dependence on export to concentrate on domestic development. Chinese domestic special interest groups in the export sector would otherwise oppose any policy to slow the growth in export if not for the rise of US protectionism which causes shot-term pain for China but long-term benefit in China's need to restructure its economy toward domestic development. Further trade surplus denominated in dollar is of no advantage to China.

Emerging markets are new colonies of monetary imperialism

Even as the domestic US economy declined after the onset of globalization in the early 1990s, US dominance in global finance has continued to this day on account of dollar hegemony. It should not be surprising that the nation that can print at will the world's reserve currency for international trade should come up on top in deregulated global financial markets. The so-called emerging markets around the world are the new colonies of monetary imperialism in a global neo-liberal trading regime operating under dollar hegemony geopolitically dominated by the US as the world's sole remaining superpower.

Denial of corporate social responsibility

In Supercapitalism, Reich identifies corporate social responsibility as a diversion from economic efficiency and an un-capitalistic illusion. Of course the late Milton Friedman had asserted that the only social responsibility of corporations is to maximize profit, rather than to generate economic well-being and balanced growth through fair profits. There is ample evidence to suggest that a single-minded quest for maximizing global corporate profit can lead to domestic economic decline in even the world's sole remaining superpower. The US public is encouraged to blame such decline on the misbehaving trading partners of the US rather than US trade policy that permits US transnational corporation to exploit workers in all trading nations, including those in the US. It is a policy that devalues work by over-rewarding financial manipulation.

Yet to Reich, the US corporate income tax is regressive and inequitable and should be abolished so that after-tax corporate profit can be even further enhanced. This pro-profit position is at odds with even rising US Republican sentiment against transnational corporations and their global trade strategies. Reich also thinks the concept of corporate criminal liability is based on an "anthropomorphic fallacy" that ends up hurting innocent people. Reich sees as inevitable an evolutionary path towards an allegedly perfect new world of a super-energetic capitalism responding to the dictate of all-powerful consumer preference through market democracy.

Reich argues that corporations cannot be expected to be more "socially responsible" than their shareholders or even their consumers, and he implies that consumer preference and behavior are the proper and effective police forces that supersede the need for market regulation. He sees corporations, while viewed by law as "legal persons", as merely value-neutral institutional respondents of consumer preferences in global markets. Reich claims that corporate policies, strategies and behavior in market capitalism are effectively governed by consumer preferences and need no regulation by government. This is essentially the ideology of neo-liberalism.

Yet US transnational corporations derive profit from global operations serving global consumers to maximize return on global capital. These transnational corporations will seek to shift production to where labor is cheapest and environmental standards are lowest and to market their products where prices are highest and consumer purchasing power the strongest. Often, these corporations find it more profitable to sell products they themselves do not make, controlling only design and marketing, leaving the dirty side of manufacturing to others with underdeveloped market power. This means if the US wants a trade surplus under the current terms of trade, it must lower it wages. The decoupling of consumers from producers weakens the conventional effects of market pressure on corporate social responsibility. Transnational corporations have no home community loyalty. Consumers generally do not care about sweat shop conditions overseas while overseas workers do not care about product safety on goods they produce but cannot afford to buy. Products may be made in China, but they are not made by China, but by US transnational corporations which are responsible for the quality and safety of their products.

Further, it is well recognized that corporations routinely and effectively manipulate consumer preference and market acceptance often through if not false, at least misleading advertising, not for the benefit of consumers, but to maximize return on faceless capital raised from global capital markets. The subliminal emphasis by the corporate culture on addictive acquisition of material things, coupled with a structural deprivation of adequate income to satisfy the manipulated desires, has made consumers less satisfied than in previous times of less material abundance. Corporations have been allowed to imbed consumption-urging messages into every aspect of modern life. The result is a disposable culture with packaged waste, an obesity crisis for all age groups, skyrocketing consumer debt, the privatization of public utilities that demand the same fee for basic services from rich and poor alike, causing a sharp disparity in affordability. It is a phenomenon described by Karl Marx as "Fetishism of Commodities".

Marx's concept of Fetishism of Commodities

Marx wrote in Das Kapital:[1]

The relation of the producers to the sum total of their own labor is presented to them as a social relation, existing not between themselves, but between the products of their labor. This is the reason why the products of labor become commodities, social things whose qualities are at the same time perceptible and imperceptible by the senses … The existence of the things qua commodities, and the value relation between the products of labor which stamps them as commodities, have absolutely no connection with their physical properties and with the material relations arising therefrom. It is a definite social relation between men that assumes, in their eyes, the fantastic form of a relation between things. In order, therefore, to find an analogy, we must have recourse to the mist-enveloped regions of the religious world. In that world, the productions of the human brain appear as independent beings endowed with life, and entering into relation both with one another and the human race. So it is in the world of commodities with the products of men's hands. This I call the Fetishism which attaches itself to the products of labor, as soon as they are produced as commodities, and which is therefore inseparable from the production of commodities. This Fetishism of Commodities has its origin … in the peculiar social character of the labor that produces them.
Marx asserts that "the mystical character of commodities does not originate in their use-value" (Section 1, p 71). Market value is derived from social relations, not from use-value which is a material phenomenon. Thus Marx critiques the Marginal Utility Theory by pointing out that market value is affected by social relationships. For example, the marginal utility of door locks is a function of the burglary rate in a neighborhood which in turn is a function of the unemployment rate. Unregulated free markets are a regime of uninhibited price gouging by monopolies and cartels.

Thus the nature of money cannot be adequately explained even in terms of the material-technical properties of gold, but only in terms of the factors behind man's desire and need for gold. Similarly, it is not possible to fully understand the price of capital from the technical nature of the means of production, but only from the social institution of private ownership and the terms of exchange imposed by uneven market power. Market capitalism is a social institution based on the fetishism of commodities.

Democracy threatened by the corporate state

While Reich is on target in warning about the danger to democracy posed by the corporate state, and in claiming that only people can be citizens, and only citizens should participate in democratic decision making, he misses the point that transnational corporations have transcended national boundaries. Yet in each community that these transnational corporations operate, they have the congenital incentive, the financial means and the legal mandate to manipulate the fetishism of commodities even in distant lands.

Moreover, representative democracy as practiced in the US is increasingly manipulated by corporate lobbying funded from high-profit-driven corporate financial resources derived from foreign sources controlled by management. Corporate governance is notoriously abusive of minority shareholder rights on the part of management. Notwithstanding Reich's rationalization of excessive CEO compensation, CEOs as a class are the most vocal proponents of corporate statehood. Modern corporations are securely insulated from any serious threats from consumer revolt. Inter-corporate competition presents only superficial and trivial choices for consumers. Motorists have never been offered any real choice on gasoline by oil companies or alternatives on the gasoline-guzzling internal combustion engine by car-makers.

High pay for CEOs

Reich asserts in his Wall Street Journal piece that modern CEOs in finance capitalism nowadays deserve their high pay because they have to be superstars, unlike their bureaucrat-like predecessors during industrial capitalism. Notwithstanding that one would expect a former labor secretary to argue that workers deserve higher pay, the challenge to corporate leadership in market capitalism has always been and will always remain management's ruthless pursuit of market leadership power, a euphemism for monopoly, by skirting the rule of law and regulations, framing legislative regimes through political lobbying, pushing down wages and worker benefits, increasing productivity by downsizing in an expanding market and manipulating consumer attitude through advertising. At the end of the day, the bottom line for corporate profit is a factor of lowering wage and benefit levels.

Reich seems to have forgotten that the captains of industry of 19th century free-wheeling capitalism were all superstars who evoked public admiration by manipulating the awed public into accepting the Horatio Alger myth of success through hard work, honesty and fairness. The derogatory term "robber barons" was first coined by protest pamphlets circulated by victimized Kansas farmers against ruthless railroad tycoons during the Great Depression.

The manipulation of the public will by moneyed interests is the most problematic vulnerability of US economic and political democracy. In an era when class warfare has taken on new sophistication, the accusation of resorting to class warfare argument is widely used to silence legitimate socio-economic protests. The US media is essentially owned by the moneyed interests. The decline of unionism in the US has been largely the result of anti-labor propaganda campaigns funded by corporations and government policies influenced by corporate lobbyists. The infiltration of organized crime was exploited to fan public anti-union sentiments while widespread corporate white collar crimes were dismissed as mere anomalies. (See Capitalism's bad apples: It's the barrel that's rotten)

Superman capitalism

As promoted by his permissive opinion piece, a more apt title for Reich's new book would be Superman Capitalism, in praise of the super-heroic qualities of successful corporate CEOs who deserve superstar pay. This view goes beyond even fascist superman ideology. The compensation of corporate CEOs in Nazi Germany never reached such obscene levels as those in US corporate land today.

Reich argues that CEOs deserve their super-high compensation, which has increased 600% in two decades, because corporate profits have also risen 600% in the same period. The former secretary of labor did not point out that wages rose only 30% in the same period. The profit/wage disparity is a growing cancer in the US-dominated global economy, causing over-production resulting from stagnant demand caused by inadequate wages. A true spokesman for labor would point out that enlightened modern management recognizes that the performance of a corporation is the sum total of effective team work between management and labor.

System analysis has long shown that collective effort on the part of the entire work force is indispensable to success in any complex organism. Further, a healthy consumer market depends on a balance between corporate earnings and worker earnings. Reich's point would be valid if US wages had risen by the same multiple as CEO pay and corporate profit, but he apparently thought that it would be poor etiquette to raise embarrassing issues as a guest writer in an innately anti-labor journal of Wall Street. Even then, unless real growth also rose 600% in two decades, the rise in corporate earning may be just an inflation bubble.

An introduction to economic populism

To be fair, Reich did address the income gap issue eight months earlier in another article, "An Introduction to Economic Populism" in the Jan-Feb, 2007 issue of The American Prospect, a magazine that bills itself as devoted to "liberal ideas". In that article, Reich relates a "philosophical" discussion he had with fellow neo-liberal cabinet member Robert Rubin, then treasury secretary under Bill Clinton, on two "simple questions".

The first question was: Suppose a proposed policy will increase the incomes of some people without decreasing the incomes of any others. Of course Reich must know that it is a question of welfare economics long ago answered by the "pareto optimum", which asserts that resources are optimally distributed when an individual cannot move into a better position without putting someone else into a worse position. In an unjust society, the pareto optimum will perpetuate injustice in the name of optimum resource allocation. "Should it be implemented? Bob and I agreed it should," writes Reich. Not exactly an earth-shaking liberal position. Rather, it is a classic neo-liberal posture.

And the second question: But suppose the people whose incomes will rise are already wealthier than everyone else. Although no one will lose ground, inequality will widen. Should it still be implemented? "I won't tell you where he and I came out on that second question," writes Reich without explaining why. He allows that "we agreed that people who don't share in such gains feel relatively poorer. Widening inequality also further tips the balance of political power in favor of the wealthy."

Of course, clear thinking would have left the second question mute because it would have invalidated the first question, as the real income of those whose nominal income has not fallen has indeed fallen relative to those whose nominal income has risen. In a macro monetary sense, it is not possible to raise the nominal income of some without lowering the real income of others. All incomes must rise together proportionally or inequality in after-inflation real income will increase.

Inequality only a new worry?

But for the sake of argument, let's go along with Reich's parable on welfare economics and financial equality. That conversation occurred a decade ago. Reich says in his January 2007 article that "inequality is far more worrisome now", as if it had not been or that the policies he and his colleagues in the Clinton administration, as evidenced by their answer to their own first question, did not cause the now "more worrisome" inequality. "The incomes of the bottom 90% of Americans have increased about 2% in real terms since then, while that of the top 1% has increased over 50%," Reich wrote in the matter of fact tone of an innocent bystander.

It is surprising that a former labor secretary would err even on the record on worker income. The US Internal Revenue Service reports that while incomes have been rising since 2002, the average income in 2005 was $55,238, nearly 1% less than in 2000 after adjusting for inflation. Hourly wage costs (including mandatory welfare contributions and benefits) grew more slowly than hourly productivity from 1993 to late 1997, the years of Reich's tenure as labor secretary. Corporate profit rose until 1997 before declining, meaning what should have gone to workers from productivity improvements went instead to corporate profits. And corporate profit declined after 1997 because of the Asian financial crisis, which reduced offshore income for all transnational companies, while domestic purchasing power remained weak because of sub-par worker income growth.

The break in trends in wages occurred when the unemployment rate sank to 5%, below the 6% threshold of NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) as job creation was robust from 1993 onwards. The "reserve army of labor" in the war against inflation disappeared after the 1997 Asian crisis when the Federal Reserve injected liquidity into the US banking system to launch the debt bubble. According to NAIRU, when more than 94% of the labor force is employed, the war on wage-pushed inflation will be on the defensive. Yet while US inflation was held down by low-price imports from low-wage economies, US domestic wages fell behind productivity growth from 1993 onward. US wages could have risen without inflationary effects but did not because of the threat of further outsourcing of US jobs overseas. This caused corporate profit to rise at the expense of labor income during the low-inflation debt bubble years.

Income inequality in the US today has reached extremes not seen since the 1920s, but the trend started three decades earlier. More than $1 trillion a year in relative income is now being shifted annually from roughly 90,000,000 middle and working class families to the wealthiest households and corporations via corporate profits earned from low-wage workers overseas. This is why nearly 60% of Republicans polled support more taxes on the rich.

Carter the granddaddy of deregulation

The policies and practices responsible for today's widening income gap date back to the 1977-1981 period of the Carter administration which is justly known as the administration of deregulation. Carter's deregulation was done in the name of populism but the results were largely anti-populist. Starting with Carter, policies and practices by both corporations and government underwent a fundamental shift to restructure the US economy with an overhaul of job markets. This was achieved through widespread de-unionization, breakup of industry-wide collective bargaining which enabled management to exploit a new international division of labor at the expense of domestic workers.

The frontal assault on worker collective bargaining power was accompanied by a realigning of the progressive federal tax structure to cut taxes on the rich, a brutal neo-liberal global free-trade offensive by transnational corporations and anti-labor government trade policies. The cost shifting of health care and pension plans from corporations to workers was condoned by government policy. A wave of government-assisted compression of wages and overtime pay narrowed the wage gap between the lowest and highest paid workers (which will occur when lower-paid workers receive a relatively larger wage increase than the higher-paid workers with all workers receiving lower pay increases than managers). There was a recurring diversion of inflation-driven social security fund surpluses to the US fiscal budget to offset recurring inflation-adjusted federal deficits. This was accompanied by wholesale anti-trust deregulation and privatization of public sectors; and most egregious of all, financial market deregulation.

Carter deregulated the US oil industry four years after the 1973 oil crisis in the name of national security. His Democratic challenger, Senator Ted Kennedy, advocated outright nationalization. The Carter administration also deregulated the airlines, favoring profitable hub traffic at the expense of traffic to smaller cities. Air fares fell but service fell further. Delays became routine, frequently tripling door-to-door travel time. What consumers save in airfare, they pay dearly in time lost in delay and in in-flight discomfort. The Carter administration also deregulated trucking, which caused the Teamsters Union to support Ronald Reagan in exchange for a promise to delay trucking deregulation.

Railroads were also deregulated by Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 which eased regulations on rates, line abandonment, and mergers to allow the industry to compete with truck and barge transportation that had caused a financial and physical deterioration of the national rail network railroads. Four years later, Congress followed up with the Staggers Rail Act of 1980 which provided the railroads with greater pricing freedom, streamlined merger timetables, expedited the line abandonment process, and allowed confidential contracts with shippers. Although railroads, like other modes of transportation, must purchase and maintain their own rolling stock and locomotives, they must also, unlike competing modes, construct and maintain their own roadbed, tracks, terminals, and related facilities. Highway construction and maintenance are paid for by gasoline taxes. In the regulated environment, recovering these fixed costs hindered profitability for the rail industry.

After deregulation, the railroads sought to enhance their financial situation and improve their operational efficiency with a mix of strategies to reduce cost and maximize profit, rather than providing needed service to passengers around the nation. These strategies included network rationalization by shedding unprofitable capacity, raising equipment and operational efficiencies by new work rules that reduced safety margins and union power, using differential pricing to favor big shippers, and pursuing consolidation, reducing the number of rail companies from 65 to 5 today. The consequence was a significant increase of market power for the merged rail companies, decreasing transportation options for consumers and increasing rates for remote, less dense areas.

In the agricultural sector, rail network rationalization has forced shippers to truck their bulk commodity products greater distances to mainline elevators, resulting in greater pressure on and damage to rural road systems. For inter-modal shippers, profit-based network rationalization has meant reduced access - physically and economically - to Container on Flat Car (COFC) and Trailer on Flat Car (TOFC) facilities and services. Rail deregulation, as is true with most transportation and communication deregulation, produces sector sub-optimization with dubious benefits for the national economy by distorting distributional balance, causing congestion and inefficient use of land, network and lines.

Carter's Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) approach to radio and television regulation began in the mid-1970s as a search for relatively minor "regulatory underbrush" that could be cleared away for more efficient and cost-effective administration of the important rules that would remain. Congress largely went along with this updating trend, and initiated a few deregulatory moves of its own to make regulation more effective and responsive to contemporary conditions.

Reagan's anti-government fixation

The Reagan administration under Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Mark Fowler in 1981 shifted deregulation to a fundamental and ideologically-driven reappraisal of regulations away from long-held principles central to national broadcasting policy appropriate for a democratic society. The result was removal of many longstanding rules to permit an overall reduction in FCC oversight of station ownership concentration and network operations. Congress grew increasingly wary of the pace of deregulation, however, and began to slow the pace of FCC deregulation by the late 1980s.

Specific deregulatory moves included (a) extending television licenses to five years from three in 1981; (b) expanding the number of television stations any single entity could own from seven in 1981 to 12 in 1985, with further changes in 1995; (c) abolishing guidelines for minimal amounts of non-entertainment programming in 1985; (d) elimination of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987; (e) dropping, in 1985, FCC license guidelines for how much advertising could be carried; (f) leaving technical standards increasingly in the hands of licensees rather than FCC mandates; and (g) deregulation of television's competition, especially cable which went through several regulatory changes in the decade after 1983.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act eliminated the 40-station ownership cap on radio stations. Since then, the radio industry has experienced unprecedented consolidation. In June 2003, the FCC voted to overhaul limits on media ownership. Despite having held only one hearing on the complex issue of media consolidation over a 20-month review period, the FCC, in a party-line vote, voted 3-2 to overhaul limits on media concentration. The rule would (1) increase the aggregate television ownership cap to enable one company to own stations reaching 45% of our nation's homes (from 35%), (2) lift the ban on newspaper-television cross-ownership, and (3) allow a single company to own three television stations in large media markets and two in medium ones. In the largest markets, the rule would allow a single company to own up to three television stations, eight radio stations, the cable television system, cable television stations, and a daily newspaper. A wide range of public-interest groups filed an appeal with the Third Circuit, which stayed the effective date of the new rules.

According to a BIA Financial Network report released in July 2006, a total of 88 television stations had been sold in the first six months of 2006, generating a transaction value of $15.7 billion. In 2005, the same period saw the sale of just 21 stations at a value of $244 million, with total year transactions of $2.86 billion.

Congress passed a law in 2004 that forbids any network to own a group of stations that reaches more than 39% of the national television audience. That is lower than the 45% limit set in 2003, but more than the original cap of 35% set in 1996 under the Clinton administration - leading public interest groups to argue that the proposed limits lead to a stifling of local voices.

Newspaper-television cross-ownership remains a contentious issue. Currently prohibited, it refers to the "common ownership of a full-service broadcast station and a daily newspaper when the broadcast station's area of coverage (or "contour") encompasses the newspaper's city of publication".

Capping of local radio and television ownership is another issue. While the original rule prohibited it, currently a company can own at least one television and one radio station in a market. In larger markets, "a single entity may own additional radio stations depending on the number of other independently owned media outlets in the market".

Most broadcasters and newspaper publishers are lobbying to ease or end restrictions on cross-ownership; they say it has to be the future of the news business. It allows newsgathering costs to be spread across platforms, and delivers multiple revenue streams in turn. Their argument is also tied to a rapidly changing media consumption market, and to the diversity of opinions available to the consumer with the rise of the Internet and other digital platforms.

The arguments against relaxing media ownership regulations are put forth by consumer unions and other interest groups on the ground that consolidation in any form inevitably leads to a lack of diversity of opinion. Cross-ownership limits the choices for consumers, inhibits localism and gives excessive media power to one entity.

Professional and workers' guilds of the communication industry (the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of TV and Radio Artists among others) would like the FCC to keep in mind the independent voice, and want a quarter of all prime-time programming to come from independent producers. The Children's Media Policy Coalition suggested that the FCC limit local broadcasters to a single license per market, so that there is enough original programming for children. Other interest groups like the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters are worried about what impact the rules might have on station ownership by minorities.

Deregulatory proponents see station licensees not as "public trustees" of the public airwaves requiring the provision of a wide variety of services to many different listening groups. Instead, broadcasting has been increasingly seen as just another business operating in a commercial marketplace which did not need its management decisions questioned by government overseers, even though they are granted permission to use public airways. Opponents argue that deregulation violates a key mandate of the Communications Act of 1934 which requires licensees to operate in the public interest. Deregulation allows broadcasters to seek profits with little public service programming.

Clinton and telecommunications deregulation

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first major overhaul of US telecommunications law in nearly 62 years, amending the Communications Act of 1934, and leading to media consolidation. It was approved by Congress on January 3, 1996 and signed into law on February 8, 1996 by President Clinton, a Democrat whom some have labeled as the best president the Republicans ever had. The act claimed to foster competition, but instead it continued the historic industry consolidation begun by Reagan, whose actions reduced the number of major media companies from around 50 in 1983 to 10 in 1996 and 6 in 2005.

Regulation Q

The Carter administration increased the power of the Federal Reserve through the Depository Institutions and Monetary Control Act (DIDMCA) of 1980 which was a necessary first step in ending the New Deal restrictions placed upon financial institutions, such as Regulation Q put in place by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 and other restrictions on banks and financial institutions. The populist Regulation Q imposed limits and ceilings on bank and savings-and-loan (S&L) interest rates to provide funds for low-risk home mortgages. But with financial market deregulation, Regulation Q created incentives for US banks to do business outside the reach of US law, launching finance globalization. London came to dominate this offshore dollar business.

The populist Regulation Q, which regulated for several decades limits and ceilings on bank and S&L interest to serve the home mortgage sector, was phased out completely in March 1986. Banks were allowed to pay interest on checking account - the NOW accounts - to lure depositors back from the money markets. The traditional interest-rate advantage of the S&Ls was removed, to provide a "level playing field", forcing them to take the same risks as commercial banks to survive. Congress also lifted restrictions on S&Ls' commercial lending, which promptly got the whole industry into trouble that would soon required an unprecedented government bailout of depositors, with tax money. But the developers who made billions from easy credit were allowed to keep their profits. State usury laws were unilaterally suspended by an act of Congress in a flagrant intrusion on state rights. Carter, the well-intentioned populist, left a legacy of anti-populist policies. To this day, Greenspan continues to argue disingenuously that subprime mortgages helped the poor toward home ownership, instead of generating obscene profit for the debt securitization industry.

The party of Lincoln taken over by corporate interests

During the Reagan administration, corporate lobbying and electoral strategies allowed the corporate elite to wrest control of the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, from conservative populists. In the late 1980s, supply-side economics was promoted to allow corporate interests to dominate US politics at the expense of labor by arguing that the only way labor can prosper is to let capital achieve high returns, notwithstanding the contradiction that high returns on capital must come from low wages.

New legislation and laws, executive orders, federal government rule-making, federal agency decisions, and think-tank propaganda, etc, subsequently followed the new political landscape, assisting the implementation of new corporate policies and practices emerging from corporate headquarters rather than from the shop floor. Economists and analysts who challenged this voodoo theory were largely shut out of the media. Workers by the million were persuaded to abandon their institutional collective defender to fend for themselves individually in the name of freedom. It was a freedom to see their job security eroded and wages and benefits fall with no recourse.

Note
1. Das Kapital, Volume One, Part I: Commodities and Money, Chapter One: Commodities, Section I.

Next: PART 2: Global war on labor

Henry C K Liu is chairman of a New York-based private investment group. His website is at http://www.henryckliu.com.

Copyright 2007, Henry C K Liu

Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance [Paperback]

William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)

Hudson is a Wall Street economist who used to work at the Chase Manhattan Bank.

In Part One, he describes the rise of the American empire.

Part Two describes its institutions: the US-controlled World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, which all benefit the USA. The US has the sole veto power in all three.

Part Three describes what Herman Kahn called `the greatest rip-off ever achieved', the way the US's ruling class levies us all to pay for its aggressive wars, just as the Roman Empire levied tribute to pay for its constant wars. Similarly Britain, Germany and Japan all pay for the US's military bases in their countries.

In 1945, as in 1918, Britain led Europe's capitulation to the USA's debt demands. The British ruling class chose dependency on the US ruling class. The USA insisted that Britain ended the sterling bloc, accepted IMF controls, did not impose exchange controls, and did not devalue. As Hudson writes, "The Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelled the end of Britain as a Great Power."

The 1945-51 Labour government's huge spending on unnecessary imperial, counter-revolutionary wars robbed our industry of investment. This excessive military spending meant that we had constantly to borrow from the IMF, increasing our dependence on the USA. Now Britain is the USA's Trojan horse in Europe, against Britain's interests.

Hudson immodestly claims that his analysis supersedes Lenin. He says that the US national government's interests, not the private interests of the capitalist class, drive the system. He claims that the US government subordinates `the interests of its national bourgeoisie to the autonomous interests of the national government'. But is the US government really independent of the capitalist class? How `autonomous' are these interests?...

Joshua Malle (Seattle, WA USA)

Difficult and rewarding, Hudson is the real deal, May 24, 2006

See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)

This review is from: Super Imperialism - New Edition: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominanc (Paperback)

Super-Imperialism is better viewed as a radical alternative to common undergraduate textbooks such as Joan Edelman Spero's, "The Politics of International Economic Relations" than as an update to the theories of Lenin or Hobson. (His background and prose style are similar to Spero's and his book covers similar ground.)

It has three sections, each which could have been a separate book.

The 2003 Edition has a new introduction and two new chapters at the end. The rest of the book has occasional new material, but does not appear to have been extensively re-written.

It's a difficult and rewarding book. The difficulty lies partly in the subject matter itself, partly in Hudson's convoluted prose and partly in the numerous typographical errors that mar the 2003 Pluto Press edition.

The book is rewarding because it's honest. Readers educated in the U.S. will initially regard Hudson's account with some skepticism. We can't help it; We've been systematically miseducated by pro-U.S. polemics presented in an "objective" tone.

In contrast Hudson is a strident critic of the U.S. management of the global economy. But so is any reasonably objective person who is apprized of the facts. I much prefer an author who honestly tells you the real story as he understands it to one who conceals the awful truth behind an ostensibly impartial facade. But a "revisionist" has to work twice as hard to make his case, and that is why the book contains the detailed explication of what reviewer Myers calls the "intricacies of events and negotiations that gave rise to the present order."

I think an open-minded reader will be won over by Hudson's thoughtful use of contemporaneous sources (e.g. government publications and articles in the business press) and also biographical sources to illuminate how key decision makers understood the alternatives, and their motives for pursuing the policies that they did when forging the post-war economic order. As he places these choices in context it quickly becomes evident that the motives on the U.S. side have been consistently aggressive and that U.S. policy makers have all along viewed multilateral economic institutions as instruments of national policy--to the world's detriment.

Hudson also has a keen sense of the painfully narrow horizon of human foresight. The historical sections sometimes read like a conspiracy theory in which the conspirators are not very smart. E.g., Franklin Roosevelt's stubborn insistence that World War I debts be repaid prolonged the Great Depression; When J. M. Keynes was negotiating Bretton Woods for the newly elected Labour government, he got them a terrible deal; The U.S. transition to "super-imperialism" which is the main story of the book (chapters 11 through 14) was originally an unintended consequence of the huge budget and trade deficits caused by the Vietnam War.

If you are interested in "globalization" this book is an important piece of the puzzle, but it really only covers up through 1973, and it spends more time on the relationship between the U.S. and Europe than on "North-South" relations. Having said that, Ch. 8 "The Imperialism of U.S. Foreign Aid" is very good, esp. how foreign aid benefits the U.S. balance of payments and the harmful effects of U.S. agricultural exports. China is hardly mentioned.

If you are an economics student and you sense that they aren't telling you the whole story, or just a thoughtful citizen who wants to sharpen your conceptual tools for understanding and resisting the strategies of U.S. imperialism, this book is for you.

Help other customers find the most helpful reviews

Comment Comment (1)

Salty Saltillo (from the road, USA)

An awkward argument with moments of brilliance, November 3, 2004

See all my reviews

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)

Hudson's historical argument in this book is both brilliant and sometimes a bit rough.

Hudson has always had a great talent for interpreting and sketching out for weaker minds like us what the US government's abandonment of the gold-standard really means. When Hudson came forward with his thesis in the mid 1970's, his thesis was outrageous among orthodox economists: to suggest that the US should be worried about the long-term consequences of running balance of payments deficits year after year, decade after decade was crazy leftist nonsense in the 1970s. As long as people continue to need the US markets more than the US needs any other one country's markets (and people still have faith in the good credit of the US government) there is no reason US could not run balance of payment deficits forever, according to the conventional wisdom.

What amazes me is that now, after having done exactly what Hudson warned the US government not to do in the 1970s, many otherwise relatively orthodox economists are beginning to worry about this. Hudson may be on the more "sky-is-falling" end of things, but his analysis was right on the nail in 1972 and is still there today: worst case scenario - massive recession and massive devaluation of the dollar (by massive I mean, unprecedented). Former US Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin was quoted in March 16, 2006 WSJ as saying that "The probabilities are extremely high that if we don't address these imbalances, then at some point, and it could be years down the road, we'll pay a very big price." We are in a limbo world where no one really knows how this problem is going to play out, but Hudson should be credited for being one of the first, and longest-running, advocates for addressing this problem. Too bad it has taken so many decades for people to recognize what he has been telling us all along about balance of payments deficits.

The rest of the argument Hudson makes in this book is a bit tough to follow, though. Essentially, Hudson attempts to show how the US has, during this century but especially since WWII, systematically sought to manipulate all of the great economic institution-building opportunities following WWII to advance the interests of the US over other countries. Coming off the gold standard and running up a balance of payments deficit was just one of many ways in which this occurred. The US largely succeeded. The GATT (now WTO), World Bank, IMF, all bear American "fingerprints".

I agree that the mega-institutions of the contemporary world economic and political machine are largely the unilateral creation of the US, imposed on the other great nations at a time when the other nations were particularly vulnerable to US force of will and not particular inclined to be heterodox visionaries. I also agree that the US in general has probably used as much leverage as it could in negotiating all of the defining institutions in which it had any hand in constructing.

And yet, how could it have been any different? National governments pursue their self-interest and the interest of their citizens, often at the expense of other national governments and their citizens. The nation-state system is set up to work that way. But is the problem really one of US bad behavior, as Hudson suggests? Isn't the problem really structural? In the nation-state world, wherein the world is divided up into pseudo-autonomous political monopolies, each individually endowed with particular strengths and weaknesses, and all pitted against each other in a laissez-faire system where the only things that keep nation-states from raping and killing each other to oblivion are, good faith and the fact that the balance of power among the nation-states is enough to keep each monopoly contained in its behavior towards the other monopolies, what sort of behavior could we have expected from the US, a nation-state that, at a series of pivotal moments in 20th century history, found itself with "golden opportunities" to take advantage of other nations' weaknesses and advance its own power? Would the French, or the Brits, or the Japanese, or the Italians, or the Germans, or the Russians have behaved any different if they found themselves holding all the cards in 1945 instead of the US?

My point is, the facts Hudson lays out are correct -- there clearly is a problem in the way in which our current world order has been put together and the US is at the middle of that problem. The conclusions Hudson draws from those facts do not go deep enough in understanding what those facts mean, however.

It isn't that the Americans behave or behaved "bad" by the standard of good behavior implicit in the nation-state system, it is that the nation-state system itself to a certain extent reflects 19th century laissez-faire values of autonomy and individuality that pit nation-states against each other in a world where each is out to improve its lot through trade and, when possible and tolerable, violence.

The system itself breaks down when one player becomes too powerful. To blame the US for the systemic problem of massive power imbalances between nation states is simply pushing any hope for correction in the wrong direction.

Samuel Brittan: The wrong kind of Third Way

FT.com / Columnists / Samuel Brittan - The wrong kind of Third Way: When a book entitled Supercapitalism: the Battle for Democracy in an Age of Big Business (Icon Books) landed on my desk I took it for just another of the many anti-capitalist diatribes so beloved by publishers. Its author was Robert Reich, a former US secretary of labour who parted company from the Clinton administration on the grounds that it was not interventionist enough. But I was glad I persevered. For it turned out to be one of the most interesting books on political economy to appear for a long time.

During the postwar decades up to the early 1970s, the Bretton Woods system of semi-fixed exchange rates worked, after a fashion; and countries seemed able to combine full employment with low inflation and historically rapid growth and diminishing income differences. Reich calls them a "not quite golden age". It was "not quite" because of the treatment of women and minorities and the prevailing conformist and authoritarian atmosphere.

It has been succeeded by what Reich calls supercapitalism, in which the cult of the bottom line has replaced the cosy oligopolies of postwar decades, once-dominant companies shrink or disappear, new ones spring up overnight and the financial sector is (or was until recently) in the driving seat. He rightly dismisses many of the popular scapegoats – or heroes – of the process. The changeover began well before Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher could influence anything. Free-market economists have been preaching essentially the same message since the 18th century. It is extremely unlikely that there has been a radical change in the psychology or morality of business operators. His own candidate is the technologies that have empowered consumers and investors to get ever better deals.

Unfortunately, many of these same consumers have lost in their capacity as citizens. He cites the failure of the political process even to attempt to correct the increasing skewness of US income distribution. In later pronouncements he has attributed the subprime loan disaster in part to the failure of supercapitalism to raise the incomes of the mass of wage earners who have been impelled to resort to borrowing as a substitute. Moreover, Congress has performed abysmally in correcting market failures in environmental and other areas. He has a non-partisan explanation: the staggering increase in business lobbying expenditures affecting Democrats as well as Republicans, as a result of which the political process, far from correcting the distortions of unbridled capitalism, has made them worse.

But for me the novel point of the book is his utter dismissal of the prevailing idea of appealing to the "social responsibility" of business to improve matters. This is a notion that particularly appeals to soft centre politicians such as David Cameron's Conservatives in Britain as a new kind of Third Way. Reich argues that it is the job of the democratic political process by laws, taxes and other interventions to harmonise the pursuit of money-making with the public good. "The job of the businessman is to make profits." He is completely unabashed by the charge that he sounds like Milton Friedman and indeed quotes the late Chicago professor approvingly several times. He argues that the so-called stakeholders who insist on being consulted before legislation is drafted are increasingly companies whose interests might be affected. One result is the "corruption of knowledge". We should beware of claims that a company is doing something for the public good. Corporate executives may donate some of their shareholders' money to a genuinely good cause or forbear from polluting the atmosphere to forestall a greater legal or fiscal burden. But in that case such actions are likely to be limited and temporary, "extending only insofar as the conditions that made such voluntary action pay off continue".

Similarly we should beware of a politician who blames a company for doing something that is legal. Such words are all too often a cover "for taking no action to change the rules of the game". Above all, "corporations are not people. They are legal fictions, nothing more than bundles of contractual agreements ... A company cannot know right from wrong ... Only people know right from wrong and only people act." One example of the "anthropomorphic fallacy" is when companies are held criminally liable for the misdeeds of their executives. Not only are the genuinely guilty let off too lightly but many innocent people get hurt. For instance, "the vast majority of Andersen employees had nothing to do with Enron but lost their jobs nonetheless".

I have two reservations. One is that I cannot share Reich's confidence that a revived and effective "democracy" would be a cure-all. You only have to see where democratic pressures are driving US energy policy. Second, there is a danger that the Friedman-Reich position could inadvertently give sustenance to the "I was only doing my job" defence for evil actions. You do not have to hold shares in a company selling arms to Saudi Arabia, or work for it. But do not deceive yourself that such individual gestures can be a substitute for a change in policy.

Supercapitalism The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life by Robert B. Reich

Amazon.com

The Balance of Capitalism and Democracy, September 17, 2007

By Izaak VanGaalen (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)

This review is from: Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life (Hardcover)

According to Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, there was a time when capitalism and democracy where almost perfectly balanced. This was the period of 1945 to 1975, which he calls the "Not Quite Golden Age." During this period there was a three-way social contract among big business, big labor, and big government. Each made sure that they as well as the other two received a fair share of the pie. Unions recieved their wages and benefits, business their profits, and regulatory agencies had their power. It was also a time when the gap between the rich and the poor was the narrowest in our history. It was not quite the golden age because women and minorities were still second class citizens, but at least there was hope.

Fast forward to 2007, capitalism is thriving and democracy is sputtering. Why has capitlism become supercapitalism and democracy become enfeebled? Reich explains that it was a combination of things: deregulation, globe spanning computer networks, better transportation, etc. The changes were mainly a result of technological breakthroughs; unlike many leftists, he is not conspiratorial thinker. The winner of this great transformation was the consumer/investor and the loser was the citizen/wage earner. The consumer has more choices than ever before and at reasonable prices. The investor has unprecedented opportunities to make profits. The citzen, however, is not doing well. The average citizen does not have much voice - other than voting - in the body politic. And on the wage earner has been stagnating for many years. The most salient illustration of this trend is Walmart. Walmart delivers the goods at low prices, but the trade-off is low wages for their employees. We justify this dilemma, as Reich nicely puts it, because "The awkward truth is that most of us are of two minds."

As a left-leaning author, Reich makes some startling pronouncements. One, stop treating corporations as human beings. They are neither moral or immoral, they are merely "bundles of contracts." I couldn't agree more. Stop expecting corporations to be socially responsible, see them for what they are: profit-seeking organizations. Any socially responsible action is a ruse to bolster the bottom line anyway. Don't even encourage them to be socially responsible because it will wrongly lead us to believe that they are solving problems when they are not. Corporations play by the rules that they are given and it is up to citizens and their elected representatives to change the rules.

This is no easy task in the age of supercapitalism. There are currently 38,000 registered lobbyists in Washington DC in a virtual arms race of spending with each other to buy favors from our so-called representatives. The only way citizens can compete with this is not by hiring more lobbyists but advocating through new media outlets such as the internet and cable tv. This, according to Reich, is currently to most effective way to make government more responsive.

The question that remains, after reading this book, is will consumers be willing to sacrifice their low prices to achieve their goals as citizens. If the answer is yes, we can possibly rebalance the equation between democracy and capitalism; if not, we are left to the not so tender mercies of supercapitalism.

Robert Reich makes a compelling argument that supercapitalism has robbed democracy of much of its power. Supercapitalism by the definition presented in the book is simple--the consumer is king and prices ALWAYS go down. What Reich looks at is the cost of low prices to companies, society, the individual and its impact on the workings of democracy. So how is democracy compromised? Reich also points out that the rise of different lobbying groups, the cost of politics and globalization as contributing to this process. This isn't a surprise. It has just become more pronounced with time.

It's not due to some large conspiracy or any hidden political agenda as much as it is driven by consumption. Ultimately Reich argues that it robs the common citizen of any control over democracy. It's not surprising that this is a highly charged issue because the economics of what benefits society (or "the common good" as Reich calls it)often gets tangled up in the web of politics. Reich also points out that the cost of supercompetitiveness, constantly falling prices is a loss to the economic and social health of America. Reich points out that everyone wants to get the lowest price possible but he also suggests that we must balance that with our desire to have decent wages and benefits. He also points out that the move towards regulation was initiated by government and that corporations went along because it kept out competition and guaranteed a top and bottom for prices allowing companies to get a profit without fear of cutting prices so low that it would put them out of business.

I should point out that this is an oversimplification of Reich's points but it does capture some of the concepts. He also makes some suggestions that would help keep the free market afloat without undermining democracy and allowing consumers to still benefit from competitive pricing. Since this is economics we are discussing politics is mixed in and might color whether or not you agree with his points.

Reich's style is breezy for a book that looks at economics, democracy and the erosion of wages, benefits. Reich comes across as fair balanced and thoughtful even as he sells his take on what is undermining American society. Ultimately it's a worthwhile book to read simply because it opens up dialogue on the social cost of constantly lowering prices and how it impacts those who live next door to us

Aftershock The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert B. Reich

Amazon.com

Every middle class American should read this book. Many observations about income disparities have been written up lately but Reich pulls the important points together in a powerful and accessible way.

Reich's main thesis is that the current transition the US economy is under is misunderstood. Many of the policy elite (Geithner, Volcker) have repeated the familiar claim that Americans are living beyond their means. Personally I don't discount that completely but Reich's insight goes much deeper and rings truer:

"The problem was not that American spent beyond their means but that their means had not kept up with what the larger economy could and should have been able to provide them."

"We cannot have a sustained recovery until we address it. ... Until this transformation is made, our economy will continue to experience phantom recoveries and speculative bubbles, each more distressing than the one before."

Anyone looking at the unemployment data since WWII has to wonder why the unemployment component of the last three recessions is so prolonged. Instead of a sharp trend up, there are long slopes of delayed returns to peak employment. (Google "calculated risk blog" and look at Dec. 2010 articles.) I believe Reich has demonstrated the main culprit this. To be clear, he is not describing the detailed mechanics of what triggered the Great Recession. (Nouriel Roubini has a good book that I would recommend for more on the financial fraud, leverage and credit risks involved - Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance. ) But Reich is taking a long term view and exposes a dysfunctional trait of the US economy that no one can afford to ignore. It is this weakness that will delay the current recovery and continue to create greater risks in the future.

Reich draws the parallels between the Great Depression and the Great Recession, particularly the imbalance of wealth concentrated in fewer hands and middle class workers with less income to convert into consumer demand. One of the fascinating devices he found to do this was the writings of Marriner Eccles (Fed chair between '34 to '48):

"As mass production has to be accompanied by mass consumption, mass consumption, in turn, implies a distribution of wealth - not of existing wealth, but of wealth as it is currently produced - to provide men with buying power equal to the amount of goods and services offered by the nation's economic machinery. Instead of achieving that kind of distribution, a giant suction pump had by 1929-1930 drawn into a few hands an increasing portion of currently produced wealth. This served them as capital accumulations. But by taking purchasing power out of the hands of mass consumers, the savers denied to themselves the kind of effective demand for their products that would justify a reinvestment of their capital accumulations in new plants. In consequence as in a poker game where the chips were concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, the other fellows could stay in the game only by borrowing. When their credit ran out, the game stopped."

Reich also shares a couple of powerful and disturbing graphs that show how the middle class has been squeezed and also how since the late 70s, hourly wages have not only not kept up with the rise in productivity but have remained essentially flat.

Another driving theme Reich presents is the "basic bargain" and he evokes Henry Ford, the man that took mass production to new heights and paid his workers well:

"[Henry] Ford understood the basic economic bargain that lay at the heart of a modern, highly productive economy. Workers are also consumers. Their earnings are continuously recycled to buy the goods and services other workers produce. But if earnings are inadequate and this basic bargain is broken, an economy produces more goods and services than its people are capable of purchasing."

I was concerned early in the book that Reich would leave out some of the important complexities of the topic but he covered related finances, politics and even consumer/voter psychology in a succinct yet informative way. His summary of changes to the labor market in the last 30+ years was very good.

His ideas for correcting this were interesting if perhaps difficult to implement politically. My take away however was that this is a strong indicator of how bad he thinks the situation really is. Many Americans may be yearning to return to "normal". Reich is the first to thoroughly convince me that it is not going to happen.

This is a very quick read of 144 pages and is well worth the time.

Finance is a form of imperial warfare

As Michael Hudson aptly noted in Replacing Economic Democracy with Financial Oligarchy (2011)

Finance is a form of warfare. Like military conquest, its aim is to gain control of land, public infrastructure, and to impose tribute. This involves dictating laws to its subjects, and concentrating social as well as economic planning in centralized hands. This is what now is being done by financial means, without the cost to the aggressor of fielding an army. But the economies under attacked may be devastated as deeply by financial stringency as by military attack when it comes to demographic shrinkage, shortened life spans, emigration and capital flight.

This attack is being mounted not by nation states as such, but by a cosmopolitan financial class. Finance always has been cosmopolitan more than nationalistic – and always has sought to impose its priorities and lawmaking power over those of parliamentary democracies.

Like any monopoly or vested interest, the financial strategy seeks to block government power to regulate or tax it. From the financial vantage point, the ideal function of government is to enhance and protect finance capital and "the miracle of compound interest" that keeps fortunes multiplying exponentially, faster than the economy can grow, until they eat into the economic substance and do to the economy what predatory creditors and rentiers did to the Roman Empire.

Simon Johnson, former IMF Chief Economist, is coming out in May's 2009 edition of The Atlantic with a fascinating, highly provocative piece, on the collusion between the US' "financial oligarchy" and the US government and how its persistence will contribute to prolonging the economic crisis. Here is the summary (hat tip to Global Conditions):

One thing you learn rather quickly when working at the International Monetary Fund is that no one is ever very happy to see you (…)

The reason, of course, is that the IMF specializes in telling its clients what they don't want to hear.(…)

No, the real concern of the fund's senior staff, and the biggest obstacle to recovery, is almost invariably the politics of countries in crisis. (…)

Typically, these countries are in a desperate economic situation for one simple reason-the powerful elites within them overreached in good times and took too many risks. Emerging-market governments and their private-sector allies commonly form a tight-knit-and, most of the time, genteel-oligarchy, running the country rather like a profit-seeking company in which they are the controlling shareholders (…)

Many IMF programs "go off track" (a euphemism) precisely because the government can't stay tough on erstwhile cronies, and the consequences are massive inflation or other disasters. A program "goes back on track" once the government prevails or powerful oligarchs sort out among themselves who will govern-and thus win or lose-under the IMF-supported plan. (…)

In its depth and suddenness, the U.S. economic and financial crisis is shockingly reminiscent of moments we have recently seen in emerging markets (…).

(…) elite business interests-financiers, in the case of the U.S.-played a central role in creating the crisis, making ever-larger gambles, with the implicit backing of the government, until the inevitable collapse. More alarming, they are now using their influence to prevent precisely the sorts of reforms that are needed, and fast, to pull the economy out of its nosedive. The government seems helpless, or unwilling, to act against them.

Top investment bankers and government officials like to lay the blame for the current crisis on the lowering of U.S. interest rates after the dotcom bust or, even better-in a "buck stops somewhere else" sort of way-on the flow of savings out of China. Some on the right like to complain about Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or even about longer-standing efforts to promote broader homeownership. And, of course, it is axiomatic to everyone that the regulators responsible for "safety and soundness" were fast asleep at the wheel.

But these various policies-lightweight regulation, cheap money, the unwritten Chinese-American economic alliance, the promotion of homeownership-had something in common. Even though some are traditionally associated with Democrats and some with Republicans, they all benefited the financial sector. Policy changes that might have forestalled the crisis but would have limited the financial sector's profits-such as Brooksley Born's now-famous attempts to regulate credit-default swaps at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, in 1998-were ignored or swept aside.

The financial industry has not always enjoyed such favored treatment. But for the past 25 years or so, finance has boomed, becoming ever more powerful. The boom began with the Reagan years, and it only gained strength with the deregulatory policies of the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

(…) the American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital-a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. (…)

One channel of influence was, of course, the flow of individuals between Wall Street and Washington. Robert Rubin, once the co-chairman of Goldman Sachs, served in Washington as Treasury secretary under Clinton, and later became chairman of Citigroup's executive committee. Henry Paulson, CEO of Goldman Sachs during the long boom, became Treasury secretary under George W.Bush. John Snow, Paulson's predecessor, left to become chairman of Cerberus Capital Management, a large private-equity firm that also counts Dan Quayle among its executives. Alan Greenspan, after leaving the Federal Reserve, became a consultant to Pimco, perhaps the biggest player in international bond markets.

A whole generation of policy makers has been mesmerized by Wall Street, always and utterly convinced that whatever the banks said was true (…).

By now, the princes of the financial world have of course been stripped naked as leaders and strategists-at least in the eyes of most Americans. But as the months have rolled by, financial elites have continued to assume that their position as the economy's favored children is safe, despite the wreckage they have caused (…)

Throughout the crisis, the government has taken extreme care not to upset the interests of the financial institutions, or to question the basic outlines of the system that got us here. In September 2008, Henry Paulson asked Congress for $700 billion to buy toxic assets from banks, with no strings attached and no judicial review of his purchase decisions. Many observers suspected that the purpose was to overpay for those assets and thereby take the problem off the banks' hands-indeed, that is the only way that buying toxic assets would have helped anything. Perhaps because there was no way to make such a blatant subsidy politically acceptable, that plan was shelved.

Instead, the money was used to recapitalize banks, buying shares in them on terms that were grossly favorable to the banks themselves. As the crisis has deepened and financial institutions have needed more help, the government has gotten more and more creative in figuring out ways to provide banks with subsidies that are too complex for the general public to understand (…)

The challenges the United States faces are familiar territory to the people at the IMF. If you hid the name of the country and just showed them the numbers, there is no doubt what old IMF hands would say: nationalize troubled banks and break them up as necessary (…)

In some ways, of course, the government has already taken control of the banking system. It has essentially guaranteed the liabilities of the biggest banks, and it is their only plausible source of capital today.

Ideally, big banks should be sold in medium-size pieces, divided regionally or by type of business. Where this proves impractical-since we'll want to sell the banks quickly-they could be sold whole, but with the requirement of being broken up within a short time. Banks that remain in private hands should also be subject to size limitations.

This may seem like a crude and arbitrary step, but it is the best way to limit the power of individual institutions in a sector that is essential to the economy as a whole. Of course, some people will complain about the "efficiency costs" of a more fragmented banking system, and these costs are real. But so are the costs when a bank that is too big to fail-a financial weapon of mass self-destruction-explodes. Anything that is too big to fail is too big to exist.

To ensure systematic bank breakup, and to prevent the eventual reemergence of dangerous behemoths, we also need to overhaul our antitrust legislation (…)

Caps on executive compensation, while redolent of populism, might help restore the political balance of power and deter the emergence of a new oligarchy. (…)

(…) Over time, though, the largest part may involve more transparency and competition, which would bring financial-industry fees down. To those who say this would drive financial activities to other countries, we can now safely say: fine".

The nature of financial oligarchy is such that the government's capacity to take control of an entire financial system, and to clean, slice it up and re-privatize it impartially is almost non-existent. Instead we have growing, potentially corrupt, collusion between financial elites and government officials which is hall mark of corporatism in this more modern form on neoliberalism.

The Great Deception

In 1998 Mark Curtis wrote The Great Deception: Anglo-American Power and World Order, a work whose stated goal was to shed light on various myths of Anglo-American power in the post-Cold War era.

Curtis attempts to demonstrate how the United Kingdom remained a key partner of the United States' effort to enforce their hegemony in the world. He analyzes what he refers to as a special relationship between the two countries and concludes that quite serious consequences exist for both states.

Trade for life

Trade for Life: Making Trade Work for Poor People is a work published in 2001. It is a strong critique of the function of international organizations, especially the World Trade Organization (WTO). Curtis analyzes the decisions taken by the WTO in developing states and concludes that these decisions were seldom without bias against the poor countries; he claims that certain of these decisions, notably certain structural adjustments, caused their intended benefactors more harm than good. Further, Curtis regrets that some rules are lacking when their need is called for, noting the relative lack of regulation checking the growth of power of multinational companies. A partner of Christian Aid in Zimbabwe has said that "the manner in which the WTO functions, is like placing an adult against a child in a boxing ring, like Manchester United against a local Zimbabwean team.

The WTO judges all countries on the same level, while they are not the same. The WTO must help create a situation where countries are more equal." This is a quotation that Mark Curtis recycles throughout his book.

Curtis concludes by saying that market forces can be used in a different, more egalitarian, manner than the one currently employed by the WTO. He believes that it could benefit developing nations if this goal was pursued.

His book was edited by ChristianAid while Mark Curtis was "Policy and Politics" Director and is freely available.

Web of Deceit

In 2003 Mark Curtis published Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World. This book has been his most successful to date. It offers a new academic approach to the role of the United Kingdom in the post 1945 world until the current the War on Terrorism. It further criticizes the foreign policy of Tony Blair. Curtis, defending the idea that Britain is a rogue state, describes various relations the United Kingdom undertook with repressive regimes and how he thinks these actions made the world less just.

Moreover, the book analyzes various recent actions of the British Army in the world, describing not only what he characterizes as the immorality of the War in Iraq, but also of the War in Afghanistan, and the Kosovo War. Curtis denounces equally strongly Britain's alliances with states he categorizes as repressive, such as Israel, Russia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Additionally, he details and criticizes the non-intervention of Britain in the Rwandan Genocide.

Curtis draws most of his research from recently declassified documents by the British secret service. He notably claims to demonstrate the role and complicity of the British in the massacre of millions of Indonesians in 1965, the toppling of the governments of Iran and British Guyana, and what he describes as repressive colonial policies in the former colonies of Kenya, Oman, and Malaysia.

Unpeople

In 2004, Mark Curtis published Unpeople: Britain's Secret Human Rights Abuses. This book followed a similar line of thought begun in Web of Deceit. Unpeople is based on various declassified documents from the British secret service.

Among the declassified secret service reports, Curtis asserts that the United Kingdom had given aid to Saddam Hussein in 1963 in order that he rised to power in Iraq; he further posits that the Western Powers, notably the UK, performed various arms deals with the Iraqi government while the Iraqi government was involved in the brutal aggression against the Kurdish community. Curtis asserts that these documents further indict the British government in their role played in the Vietnam War, the coup d'État against Idi Amin in 1971, the coup d'État against Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, and coups in Indonesia and Guyana.

Mark Curtis estimates that approximately ten million deaths throughout the world since 1945 have been caused by the United Kingdom's foreign policy.

Alliance of transnational elites

From Amazon review of Blowback The Costs and Consequences of American Empire Chalmers Johnson

But Johnson is relying on the idea that "America" is a unitary entity, so that the hollowing out of industry hurts "America", not specific social groups within the country. In reality, US foreign policymakers work to advance the interests not of "America", but of those same business elites that have benefited from turning Asia into the world's sweatshop and undermining the unions that built their strength on American industry. American economic imperialism is not a failed conspiracy against the people of Asia, but an alliance between American elites and their Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese counterparts - against the potential power of the working majority in all those countries.

But it's more complex than that, too, since the US seeks to prevent the emergence of an independent military challenge (especially China, but also Japan) to its Asia hegemony while seeking to expand the power of American commercial interests in the region, even as it tries to keep Asian elites happy enough with the status quo to prevent their rebellion against it.

In other words, the US system in Asia is more complicated than Johnson conveys, and defending America's mythical "national interests" will never address its fundamental injustices.

While Johnson seems to have abundant sympathy for the people of Asia, his nationalist framework prevents his from proposing the only real challenge to American hegemony: a popular anti-imperialist movement that crosses the barriers of nation-states.

Imperialism 101 by Micjael Parenti

Imperialism 101 By Michael Parenti

By Michael Parenti

24 June, 2011
Michaelparenti.org

Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become "commonwealths," and colonies become "territories" or "dominions" (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, "commonwealths" too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of "national defense," "national security," and maintaining "stability" in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.

Across the Entire Globe

By "imperialism" I mean the process whereby the dominant politico-economic interests of one nation expropriate for their own enrichment the land, labor, raw materials, and markets of another people.The earliest victims of Western European imperialism were other Europeans. Some 800 years ago, Ireland became the first colony of what later became known as the British empire. A part of Ireland still remains under British occupation. Other early Caucasian victims included the Eastern Europeans. The people Charlemagne worked to death in his mines in the early part of the ninth century were Slavs. So frequent and prolonged was the enslavement of Eastern Europeans that "Slav" became synonymous with servitude. Indeed, the word "slave" derives from "Slav." Eastern Europe was an early source of capital accumulation, having become wholly dependent upon Western manufactures by the seventeenth century.

A particularly pernicious example of intra-European imperialism was the Nazi aggression during World War II, which gave the German business cartels and the Nazi state an opportunity to plunder the resources and exploit the labor of occupied Europe, including the slave labor of concentration camps.

The preponderant thrust of the European, North American, and Japanese imperial powers has been directed against Africa, Asia, and Latin America. By the nineteenth century, they saw the Third World as not only a source of raw materials and slaves but a market for manufactured goods. By the twentieth century, the industrial nations were exporting not only goods but capital, in the form of machinery, technology, investments, and loans. To say that we have entered the stage of capital export and investment is not to imply that the plunder of natural resources has ceased. If anything, the despoliation has accelerated.

Of the various notions about imperialism circulating today in the United States, the dominant view is that it does not exist. Imperialism is not recognized as a legitimate concept, certainly not in regard to the United States. One may speak of "Soviet imperialism" or "nineteenth-century British imperialism" but not of U.S. imperialism. A graduate student in political science at most universities in this country would not be granted the opportunity to research U.S. imperialism, on the grounds that such an undertaking would not be scholarly. While many people throughout the world charge the United States with being an imperialist power, in this country persons who talk of U.S. imperialism are usually judged to be mouthing ideological blather.

The Dynamic of Capital Expansion

Imperialism is older than capitalism. The Persian, Macedonian, Roman, and Mongol empires all existed centuries before the Rothschilds and Rockefellers. Emperors and conquistadors were interested mostly in plunder and tribute, gold and glory. Capitalist imperialism differs from these earlier forms in the way it systematically accumulates capital through the organized exploitation of labor and the penetration of overseas markets. Capitalist imperialism invests in other countries, transforming and dominating their economies, cultures, and political life, integrating their financial and productive structures into an international system of capital accumulation.A central imperative of capitalism is expansion. Investors will not put their money into business ventures unless they can extract more than they invest. Increased earnings come only with a growth in the enterprise. The capitalist ceaselessly searches for ways of making more money in order to make still more money. One must always invest to realize profits, gathering as much strength as possible in the face of competing forces and unpredictable markets.

Given its expansionist nature, capitalism has little inclination to stay home. Almost 150 years ago, Marx and Engels described a bourgeoisie that "chases over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere. . . . It creates a world after its own image." The expansionists destroy whole societies. Self-sufficient peoples are forcibly transformed into disfranchised wage workers. Indigenous communities and folk cultures are replaced by mass-market, mass-media, consumer societies. Cooperative lands are supplanted by agribusiness factory farms, villages by desolate shanty towns, autonomous regions by centralized autocracies.

Consider one of a thousand such instances. A few years ago the Los Angeles Times carried a special report on the rainforests of Borneo in the South Pacific. By their own testimony, the people there lived contented lives. They hunted, fished, and raised food in their jungle orchards and groves. But their entire way of life was ruthlessly wiped out by a few giant companies that destroyed the rainforest in order to harvest the hardwood for quick profits. Their lands were turned into ecological disaster areas and they themselves were transformed into disfranchised shantytown dwellers, forced to work for subsistence wages-when fortunate enough to find employment.

North American and European corporations have acquired control of more than three-fourths of the known mineral resources of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. But the pursuit of natural resources is not the only reason for capitalist overseas expansion. There is the additional need to cut production costs and maximize profits by investing in countries with cheaper labor markets. U.S. corporate foreign investment grew 84 percent from 1985 to 1990, the most dramatic increase being in cheap-labor countries like South Korea, Taiwan, Spain, and Singapore.

Because of low wages, low taxes, nonexistent work benefits, weak labor unions, and nonexistent occupational and environmental protections, U.S. corporate profit rates in the Third World are 50 percent greater than in developed countries. Citibank, one of the largest U.S. firms, earns about 75 percent of its profits from overseas operations. While profit margins at home sometimes have had a sluggish growth, earnings abroad have continued to rise dramatically, fostering the development of what has become known as the multinational or transnational corporation. Today some four hundred transnational companies control about 80 percent of the capital assets of the global free market and are extending their grasp into the ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe.

Transnationals have developed a global production line. General Motors has factories that produce cars, trucks and a wide range of auto components in Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Spain, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Nigeria, Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea and a dozen other countries. Such "multiple sourcing" enables GM to ride out strikes in one country by stepping up production in another, playing workers of various nations against each other in order to discourage wage and benefit demands and undermine labor union strategies.

Not Necessary, Just Compelling

Some writers question whether imperialism is a necessary condition for capitalism, pointing out that most Western capital is invested in Western nations, not in the Third World. If corporations lost all their Third World investments, they argue, many of them could still survive on their European and North American markets. In response, one should note that capitalism might be able to survive without imperialism-but it shows no inclination to do so. It manifests no desire to discard its enormously profitable Third World enterprises. Imperialism may not be a necessary condition for investor survival but it seems to be an inherent tendency and a natural outgrowth of advanced capitalism. Imperial relations may not be the only way to pursue profits, but they are the most lucrative way.Whether imperialism is necessary for capitalism is really not the question. Many things that are not absolutely necessary are still highly desirable, therefore strongly preferred and vigorously pursued. Overseas investors find the Third World's cheap labor, vital natural resources, and various other highly profitable conditions to be compellingly attractive. Superprofits may not be necessary for capitalism's survival but survival is not all that capitalists are interested in. Superprofits are strongly preferred to more modest earnings. That there may be no necessity between capitalism and imperialism does not mean there is no compelling linkage.

The same is true of other social dynamics. For instance, wealth does not necessarily have to lead to luxurious living. A higher portion of an owning class's riches could be used for investment rather personal consumption. The very wealthy could survive on more modest sums but that is not how most of them prefer to live. Throughout history, wealthy classes generally have shown a preference for getting the best of everything. After all, the whole purpose of getting rich off other people's labor is to live well, avoiding all forms of thankless toil and drudgery, enjoying superior opportunities for lavish life-styles, medical care, education, travel, recreation, security, leisure, and opportunities for power and prestige. While none of these things are really "necessary," they are fervently clung to by those who possess them-as witnessed by the violent measures endorsed by advantaged classes whenever they feel the threat of an equalizing or leveling democratic force.

Myths of Underdevelopment

The impoverished lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America are known to us as the "Third World," to distinguish them from the "First World" of industrialized Europe and North America and the now largely defunct "Second World" of communist states. Third World poverty, called "underdevelopment," is treated by most Western observers as an original historic condition. We are asked to believe that it always existed, that poor countries are poor because their lands have always been infertile or their people unproductive. In fact, the lands of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have long produced great treasures of foods, minerals and other natural resources. That is why the Europeans went through all the trouble to steal and plunder them. One does not go to poor places for self-enrichment. The Third World is rich. Only its people are poor-and it is because of the pillage they have endured.

The process of expropriating the natural resources of the Third World began centuries ago and continues to this day. First, the colonizers extracted gold, silver, furs, silks, and spices, then flax, hemp, timber, molasses, sugar, rum, rubber, tobacco, calico, cocoa, coffee, cotton, copper, coal, palm oil, tin, iron, ivory, ebony, and later on, oil, zinc, manganese, mercury, platinum, cobalt, bauxite, aluminum, and uranium. Not to be overlooked is that most hellish of all expropriations: the abduction of millions of human beings into slave labor.

Through the centuries of colonization, many self-serving imperialist theories have been spun. I was taught in school that people in tropical lands are slothful and do not work as hard as we denizens of the temperate zone. In fact, the inhabitants of warm climates have performed remarkably productive feats, building magnificent civilizations well before Europe emerged from the Dark Ages. And today they often work long, hard hours for meager sums. Yet the early stereotype of the "lazy native" is still with us. In every capitalist society, the poor-both domestic and overseas-regularly are blamed for their own condition.

We hear that Third World peoples are culturally retarded in their attitudes, customs, and technical abilities. It is a convenient notion embraced by those who want to depict Western investments as a rescue operation designed to help backward peoples help themselves. This myth of "cultural backwardness" goes back to ancient times, when conquerors used it to justify enslaving indigenous peoples. It was used by European colonizers over the last five centuries for the same purpose.

What cultural supremacy could by claimed by the Europeans of yore? From the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries Europe was "ahead" in a variety of things, such as the number of hangings, murders, and other violent crimes; instances of venereal disease, smallpox, typhoid, tuberculosis, plagues, and other bodily afflictions; social inequality and poverty (both urban and rural); mistreatment of women and children; and frequency of famines, slavery, prostitution, piracy, religious massacres, and inquisitional torture. Those who claim the West has been the most advanced civilization should keep such "achievements" in mind.

More seriously, we might note that Europe enjoyed a telling advantage in navigation and armaments. Muskets and cannon, Gatling guns and gunboats, and today missiles, helicopter gunships, and fighter bombers have been the deciding factors when West meets East and North meets South. Superior firepower, not superior culture, has brought the Europeans and Euro-North Americans to positions of supremacy that today are still maintained by force, though not by force alone.

It was said that colonized peoples were biologically backward and less evolved than their colonizers. Their "savagery" and "lower" level of cultural evolution were emblematic of their inferior genetic evolution. But were they culturally inferior? In many parts of what is now considered the Third World, people developed impressive skills in architecture, horticulture, crafts, hunting, fishing, midwifery, medicine, and other such things. Their social customs were often far more gracious and humane and less autocratic and repressive than anything found in Europe at that time. Of course we must not romanticize these indigenous societies, some of which had a number of cruel and unusual practices of their own. But generally, their peoples enjoyed healthier, happier lives, with more leisure time, than did most of Europe's inhabitants.

Other theories enjoy wide currency. We hear that Third World poverty is due to overpopulation, too many people having too many children to feed. Actually, over the last several centuries, many Third World lands have been less densely populated than certain parts of Europe. India has fewer people per acre-but more poverty-than Holland, Wales, England, Japan, Italy, and a few other industrial countries. Furthermore, it is the industrialized nations of the First World, not the poor ones of the Third, that devour some 80 percent of the world's resources and pose the greatest threat to the planet's ecology.

This is not to deny that overpopulation is a real problem for the planet's ecosphere. Limiting population growth in all nations would help the global environment but it would not solve the problems of the poor-because overpopulation in itself is not the cause of poverty but one of its effects. The poor tend to have large families because children are a source of family labor and income and a support during old age.

Frances Moore Lappe and Rachel Schurman found that of seventy Third World countries, there were six-China, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Chile, Burma, and Cuba-and the state of Kerala in India that had managed to lower their birth rates by one third. They enjoyed neither dramatic industrial expansion nor high per capita incomes nor extensive family planning programs. The factors they had in common were public education and health care, a reduction of economic inequality, improvements in women's rights, food subsidies, and in some cases land reform. In other words, fertility rates were lowered not by capitalist investments and economic growth as such but by socio-economic betterment, even of a modest scale, accompanied by the emergence of women's rights.

Artificially Converted to Poverty

What is called "underdevelopment" is a set of social relations that has been forcefully imposed on countries. With the advent of the Western colonizers, the peoples of the Third World were actually set back in their development sometimes for centuries. British imperialism in India provides an instructive example. In 1810, India was exporting more textiles to England than England was exporting to India. By 1830, the trade flow was reversed. The British had put up prohibitive tariff barriers to shut out Indian finished goods and were dumping their commodities in India, a practice backed by British gunboats and military force. Within a matter of years, the great textile centers of Dacca and Madras were turned into ghost towns. The Indians were sent back to the land to raise the cotton used in British textile factories. In effect, India was reduced to being a cow milked by British financiers. By 1850, India's debt had grown to 53 million pounds. From 1850 to 1900, its per capita income dropped by almost two-thirds. The value of the raw materials and commodities the Indians were obliged to send to Britain during most of the nineteenth century amounted yearly to more than the total income of the sixty million Indian agricultural and industrial workers. The massive poverty we associate with India was not that country's original historical condition. British imperialism did two things: first, it ended India's development, then it forcibly underdeveloped that country.

Similar bleeding processes occurred throughout the Third World. The enormous wealth extracted should remind us that there originally were few really poor nations. Countries like Brazil, Indonesia, Chile, Bolivia, Zaire, Mexico, Malaysia, and the Philippines were and sometimes still are rich in resources. Some lands have been so thoroughly plundered as to be desolate in all respects. However, most of the Third World is not "underdeveloped" but overexploited. Western colonization and investments have created a lower rather than a higher living standard.

Referring to what the English colonizers did to the Irish, Frederick Engels wrote in 1856: "How often have the Irish started out to achieve something, and every time they have been crushed politically and industrially. By consistent oppression they have been artificially converted into an utterly impoverished nation." So with most of the Third World. The Mayan Indians in Guatemala had a more nutritious and varied diet and better conditions of health in the early 16th century before the Europeans arrived than they have today. They had more craftspeople, architects, artisans, and horticulturists than today. What is called underdevelopment is not an original historical condition but a product of imperialism's superexploitation. Underdevelopment is itself a development.

Imperialism has created what I have termed "maldevelopment": modern office buildings and luxury hotels in the capital city instead of housing for the poor, cosmetic surgery clinics for the affluent instead of hospitals for workers, cash export crops for agribusiness instead of food for local markets, highways that go from the mines and latifundios to the refineries and ports instead of roads in the back country for those who might hope to see a doctor or a teacher.

Wealth is transferred from Third World peoples to the economic elites of Europe and North America (and more recently Japan) by direct plunder, by the expropriation of natural resources, the imposition of ruinous taxes and land rents, the payment of poverty wages, and the forced importation of finished goods at highly inflated prices. The colonized country is denied the freedom of trade and the opportunity to develop its own natural resources, markets, and industrial capacity. Self-sustenance and self-employment gives way to wage labor. From 1970 to 1980, the number of wage workers in the Third World grew from 72 million to 120 million, and the rate is accelerating.

Hundreds of millions of Third World peoples now live in destitution in remote villages and congested urban slums, suffering hunger, disease, and illiteracy, often because the land they once tilled is now controlled by agribusiness firms who use it for mining or for commercial export crops such as coffee, sugar, and beef, instead of growing beans, rice, and corn for home consumption. A study of twenty of the poorest countries, compiled from official statistics, found that the number of people living in what is called "absolute poverty" or rockbottom destitution, the poorest of the poor, is rising 70,000 a day and should reach 1.5 billion by the year 2000 (San Francisco Examiner, June 8, 1994).

Imperialism forces millions of children around the world to live nightmarish lives, their mental and physical health severely damaged by endless exploitation. A documentary film on the Discovery Channel (April 24, 1994) reported that in countries like Russia, Thailand, and the Philippines, large numbers of minors are sold into prostitution to help their desperate families survive. In countries like Mexico, India, Colombia, and Egypt, children are dragooned into health-shattering, dawn-to-dusk labor on farms and in factories and mines for pennies an hour, with no opportunity for play, schooling, or medical care.

In India, 55 million children are pressed into the work force. Tens of thousands labor in glass factories in temperatures as high as 100 degrees. In one plant, four-year-olds toil from 5 o'clock in the morning until the dead of night, inhaling fumes and contracting emphysema, tuberculosis, and other respiratory diseases. In the Philippines and Malaysia corporations have lobbied to drop age restrictions for labor recruitment. The pursuit of profit becomes a pursuit of evil.

Development Theory

When we say a country is "underdeveloped," we are implying that it is backward and retarded in some way, that its people have shown little capacity to achieve and evolve. The negative connotations of "underdeveloped" has caused the United Nations, the Wall Street Journal, and parties of various political persuasion to refer to Third World countries as "developing" nations, a term somewhat less insulting than "underdeveloped" but equally misleading. I prefer to use "Third World" because "developing" seems to be just a euphemistic way of saying "underdeveloped but belatedly starting to do something about it." It still implies that poverty was an original historic condition and not something imposed by the imperialists. It also falsely suggests that these countries are developing when actually their economic conditions are usually worsening.The dominant theory of the last half century, enunciated repeatedly by writers like Barbara Ward and W. W. Rostow and afforded wide currency in the United States and other parts of the Western world, maintains that it is up to the rich nations of the North to help uplift the "backward" nations of the South, bringing them technology and teaching them proper work habits. This is an updated version of "the White man's burden," a favorite imperialist fantasy.

According to the development scenario, with the introduction of Western investments, the backward economic sectors of the poor nations will release their workers, who then will find more productive employment in the modern sector at higher wages. As capital accumulates, business will reinvest its profits, thus creating still more products, jobs, buying power, and markets. Eventually a more prosperous economy evolves.

This "development theory" or "modernization theory," as it is sometimes called, bears little relation to reality. What has emerged in the Third World is an intensely exploitive form of dependent capitalism. Economic conditions have worsened drastically with the growth of transnational corporate investment. The problem is not poor lands or unproductive populations but foreign exploitation and class inequality. Investors go into a country not to uplift it but to enrich themselves.

People in these countries do not need to be taught how to farm. They need the land and the implements to farm. They do not need to be taught how to fish. They need the boats and the nets and access to shore frontage, bays, and oceans. They need industrial plants to cease dumping toxic effusions into the waters. They do not need to be convinced that they should use hygienic standards. They do not need a Peace Corps Volunteer to tell them to boil their water, especially when they cannot afford fuel or have no access to firewood. They need the conditions that will allow them to have clean drinking water and clean clothes and homes. They do not need advice about balanced diets from North Americans. They usually know what foods best serve their nutritional requirements. They need to be given back their land and labor so that they might work for themselves and grow food for their own consumption.

The legacy of imperial domination is not only misery and strife, but an economic structure dominated by a network of international corporations which themselves are beholden to parent companies based in North America, Europe and Japan. If there is any harmonization or integration, it occurs among the global investor classes, not among the indigenous economies of these countries. Third World economies remain fragmented and unintegrated both between each other and within themselves, both in the flow of capital and goods and in technology and organization. In sum, what we have is a world economy that has little to do with the economic needs of the world's people.

Neoimperialism: Skimming the Cream

Sometimes imperial domination is explained as arising from an innate desire for domination and expansion, a "territorial imperative." In fact, territorial imperialism is no longer the prevailing mode. Compared to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the European powers carved up the world among themselves, today there is almost no colonial dominion left. Colonel Blimp is dead and buried, replaced by men in business suits. Rather than being directly colonized by the imperial power, the weaker countries have been granted the trappings of sovereignty-while Western finance capital retains control of the lion's share of their profitable resources. This relationship has gone under various names: "informal empire," "colonialism without colonies," "neocolonialism," and "neoimperialism. "U.S. political and business leaders were among the earliest practitioners of this new kind of empire, most notably in Cuba at the beginning of the twentieth century. Having forcibly wrested the island from Spain in the war of 1898, they eventually gave Cuba its formal independence. The Cubans now had their own government, constitution, flag, currency, and security force. But major foreign policy decisions remained in U.S. hands as did the island's wealth, including its sugar, tobacco, and tourist industries, and major imports and exports.

Historically U.S. capitalist interests have been less interested in acquiring more colonies than in acquiring more wealth, preferring to make off with the treasure of other nations without bothering to own and administer the nations themselves. Under neoimperialism, the flag stays home, while the dollar goes everywhere - frequently assisted by the sword.

After World War II, European powers like Britain and France adopted a strategy of neoimperialism. Left financially depleted by years of warfare, and facing intensified popular resistance from within the Third World itself, they reluctantly decided that indirect economic hegemony was less costly and politically more expedient than outright colonial rule. They discovered that the removal of a conspicuously intrusive colonial rule made it more difficult for nationalist elements within the previously colonized countries to mobilize anti-imperialist sentiments.

Though the newly established government might be far from completely independent, it usually enjoyed more legitimacy in the eyes of its populace than a colonial administration controlled by the imperial power. Furthermore, under neoimperialism the native government takes up the costs of administering the country while the imperialist interests are free to concentrate on accumulating capital-which is all they really want to do.

After years of colonialism, the Third World country finds it extremely difficult to extricate itself from the unequal relationship with its former colonizer and impossible to depart from the global capitalist sphere. Those countries that try to make a break are subjected to punishing economic and military treatment by one or another major power, nowadays usually the United States.

The leaders of the new nations may voice revolutionary slogans, yet they find themselves locked into the global capitalist orbit, cooperating perforce with the First World nations for investment, trade, and aid. So we witnessed the curious phenomenon of leaders of newly independent Third World nations denouncing imperialism as the source of their countries' ills, while dissidents in these countries denounced these same leaders as collaborators of imperialism.

In many instances a comprador class emerged or was installed as a first condition for independence. A comprador class is one that cooperates in turning its own country into a client state for foreign interests. A client state is one that is open to investments on terms that are decidedly favorable to the foreign investors. In a client state, corporate investors enjoy direct subsidies and land grants, access to raw materials and cheap labor, light or nonexistent taxes, few effective labor unions, no minimum wage or child labor or occupational safety laws, and no consumer or environmental protections to speak of. The protective laws that do exist go largely unenforced.

In all, the Third World is something of a capitalist paradise, offering life as it was in Europe and the United States during the nineteenth century, with a rate of profit vastly higher than what might be earned today in a country with strong economic regulations. The comprador class is well recompensed for its cooperation. Its leaders enjoy opportunities to line their pockets with the foreign aid sent by the U.S. government. Stability is assured with the establishment of security forces, armed and trained by the United States in the latest technologies of terror and repression. Still, neoimperialism carries risks. The achievement of de jure independence eventually fosters expectations of de facto independence. The forms of self rule incite a desire for the fruits of self rule. Sometimes a national leader emerges who is a patriot and reformer rather than a comprador collaborator. Therefore, the changeover from colonialism to neocolonialism is not without risks for the imperialists and represents a net gain for popular forces in the world.

Chapter 1 of Against Empire by Michael Parenti

Michael Parenti is an internationally known award-winning author and lecturer. He is one of the nation's leading progressive political analysts. His highly informative and entertaining books and talks have reached a wide range of audiences in North America and abroad. http://www.michaelparenti.org/


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

Home 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008

For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section

[May 07, 2021] In the tape (5:05), the lawyer tries to convince the general to join the plotters

May 07, 2021 | www.unz.com

In the recent plot against Belarus President Lukashenko, there is a curious detail totally missing in press reports. The trump evidence of the plot is a tape purporting to be a recording of a conversation between a Belarusian general and the chief plotter, lawyer Yuri Zenkovich, who has Belarusian and American citizenships. In Belarus, Zenkovich was an opposition activist, a well-known member of the Belarusian Popular Front. He left for the US in the mid-2000's, where he began to build his career as a lawyer, said the US Embassy. The general apparently was used to trap the lawyer, who actively looked for potential accomplices in the Belarus Army. In the tape (5:05), the lawyer tries to convince the general to join the plotters by saying: "I am supported by US Jewish capital. I have excellent relations with the American Jewish Committee. This is an NGO headed by three hundred of the wealthiest Jewish families of America. It is the Jewish Lobby of America".

https://www.unz.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Screen-Shot-2021-05-03-at-23.02.43.png

[May 05, 2021] Capital power is over labor, and it extracts money from labor in various ways, but most especially during debt conversions after the financial crisis like crisis of 2008

May 05, 2021 | www.unz.com

Mefobills , says: May 5, 2021 at 1:44 pm GMT • 4.8 hours ago

@animalogic respasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us ." is the translation presented in the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. What is lost in translation is the fact that Jesus came "to preach the gospel to the poor to preach the acceptable Year of the Lord": He came, that is, to proclaim a Jubilee Year, a restoration of deror for debtors: He came to institute a Clean Slate Amnesty (which is what Hebrew דְּרוֹר connotes in this context).

It is quite possible to have balanced civilizations that lasts for thousands of years; however it is impossible in the West, since the west is based on faulty assumptions about reality.

[May 03, 2021] US/NATO Troops Patrolling Opium Poppy Fields in Afghanistan

May 03, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Apr 28 2021 22:44 utc | 29

Hoarsewhisperer #10

Ditto. I am sure the CIA will be grinding the generals as we speak. Even the letter in Politico could well be one of their strategies. I posted a piece in the open thread yesterday from The HILL that was pure propaganda.

USA is not alone in losing guerrilla warfare.

Watch for Biden announcing a 'shake up' of the military command in the next few weeks/months.

The US military 2021 retreat from Kabul will result in a slaughter in the USA.

I see the Pentagon pulling the plug on the opium income for the CIA. Now THAT is the real war. So the CIA now has to pay its mercenary army to defend the harvest and extraction. That added cost to the CIA will not be taken lightly.

arby , Apr 28 2021 22:53 utc | 31

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 28 2021 22:44 utc | 29

"So the CIA now has to pay its mercenary army to defend the harvest and extraction."

Seems to me it is the taxpayer that is paying for defending the fields.

US/NATO Troops Patrolling Opium Poppy Fields in Afghanistan

[May 03, 2021] A Lifetime -at War- -

Notable quotes:
"... By Tom Engelhardt. Originally published at TomDispatch ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... I supported the rule of law and human rights, not to mention the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. ..."
"... In these years, one key to so much of this is the fact that, as the Vietnam War began winding down in 1973, the draft was ended and war itself became a “voluntary†activity for Americans. In other words, it became ever easier not only to not protest American war-making, but to pay no attention to it or to the changing military that went with it. And that military was indeed altering and growing in remarkable ways. ..."
"... “The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on armaments†..."
"... “The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on armaments†..."
"... “Large-scale armaments are inseparable from the expansion of the armed forces and the preparation of plans for a war of conquest. They also induce competitive rearmament of other countries.†..."
May 03, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

A Lifetime “at War†Posted on April 30, 2021 by Yves Smith

Yves here. Englehardt describes how US war-making has been a continuing exercise starting with World War II. It’s important to recognize that before that, US military budgets were modest both in national and global terms. But with manufacturing less specialized, the US was able to turn a considerable amount of its productive capacity to armaments in fairly short order.

A second point is as someone who was in Manhattan on 9/11, I did not experience the attacks as war. I saw them as very impressive terrorism. However, I was appalled at how quickly individuals in positions of authority pushed sentiment in that direction. The attack was on a Tuesday (I had a blood draw and voted before I even realized Something Bad had happened). I was appalled to see the saber-rattling in Bush’s speech at the National Cathedral on Friday. On Sunday, I decided to go to the Unitarian Church around the corner. I was shocked to hear more martial-speak. And because the church was packed, I had to sit in the front on the floor, which meant I couldn’t duck out.

By Tom Engelhardt. Originally published at TomDispatch

Here’s the strange thing in an ever-stranger world: I was born in July 1944 in the midst of a devastating world war. That war ended in August 1945 with the atomic obliteration of two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by the most devastating bombs in history up to that moment, given the sweet code names “Little Boy†and “Fat Man.â€

I was the littlest of boys at the time. More than three-quarters of a century has passed since, on September 2, 1945, Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and General Yoshijiro Umezu signed the Instrument of Surrender on the battleship U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, officially ending World War II. That was V-J (for Victory over Japan) Day, but in a sense for me, my whole generation, and this country, war never really ended.

The United States has been at war, or at least in armed conflicts of various sorts, often in distant lands, for more or less my entire life. Yes, for some of those years, that war was “cold†(which often meant that such carnage, regularly sponsored by the CIA, happened largely off-screen and out of sight), but war as a way of life never really ended, not to this very moment.

In fact, as the decades went by, it would become the “infrastructure†in which Americans increasingly invested their tax dollars via aircraft carriers , trillion-dollar jet fighters, drones armed with Hellfire missiles, and the creation and maintenance of hundreds of military garrisons around the globe, rather than roads, bridges, or rail lines (no less the high-speed version of the same) here at home. During those same years, the Pentagon budget would grab an ever-larger percentage of federal discretionary spending and the full-scale annual investment in what has come to be known as the national security state would rise to a staggering $1.2 trillion or more.

In a sense, future V-J Days became inconceivable. There were no longer moments, even as wars ended, when some version of peace might descend and America’s vast military contingents could, as at the end of World War II, be significantly demobilized. The closest equivalent was undoubtedly the moment when the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, the Cold War officially ended, and the Washington establishment declared itself globally triumphant. But of course, the promised “peace dividend†would never be paid out as the first Gulf War with Iraq occurred that very year and the serious downsizing of the U.S. military (and the CIA) never happened.

Never-Ending War

Consider it typical that, when President Biden recently announced the official ending of the nearly 20-year-old American conflict in Afghanistan with the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from that country by 9/11/21, it would functionally be paired with the news that the Pentagon budget was about to rise yet again from its record heights in the Trump years. “Only in America,†as retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and historian William Astore wrote recently, “do wars end and war budgets go up.â€

Buy the Book

Of course, even the ending of that never-ending Afghan War may prove exaggerated. In fact, let’s consider Afghanistan apart from the rest of this country’s war-making history for a moment. After all, if I had told you in 1978 that, of the 42 years to follow, the U.S. would be involved in war in a single country for 30 of them and asked you to identify it, I can guarantee that Afghanistan wouldn’t have been your pick. And yet so it’s been. From 1979 to 1989, there was the CIA-backed Islamist extremist war against the Soviet army there (to the tune of billions and billions of dollars). And yet the obvious lesson the Russians learned from that adventure, as their military limped home in defeat and the Soviet Union imploded not long after â€" that Afghanistan is indeed the “graveyard of empires†â€" clearly had no impact in Washington.

Or how do you explain the 19-plus years of warfare there that followed the 9/11 attacks, themselves committed by a small Islamist outfit, al-Qaeda, born as an American ally in that first Afghan War? Only recently, the invaluable Costs of War Project estimated that America’s second Afghan War has cost this country almost $2.3 trillion (not including the price of lifetime care for its vets) and has left at least 241,000 people dead, including 2,442 American service members. In 1978, after the disaster of the Vietnam War, had I assured you that such a never-ending failure of a conflict was in our future, you would undoubtedly have laughed in my face.

And yet, three decades later, the U.S. military high command still seems not faintly to have grasped the lesson that we “taught†the Russians and then experienced ourselves. As a result, according to recent reports, they have uniformly opposed President Biden’s decision to withdraw all American troops from that country by the 20th anniversary of 9/11. In fact, it’s not even clear that, by September 11, 2021, if the president’s proposal goes according to plan, that war will have truly ended. After all, the same military commanders and intelligence chiefs seem intent on organizing long-distance versions of that conflict or, as the New York Times put it , are determined to “fight from afar†there. They are evidently even considering establishing new bases in neighboring lands to do so.

America’s “forever wars†â€" once known as the Global War on Terror and, when the administration of George W. Bush launched it, proudly aimed at 60 countries â€" do seem to be slowly winding down. Unfortunately, other kinds of potential wars, especially new cold wars with China and Russia (involving new kinds of high-tech weaponry) only seem to be gearing up.

War in Our Time

In these years, one key to so much of this is the fact that, as the Vietnam War began winding down in 1973, the draft was ended and war itself became a “voluntary†activity for Americans. In other words, it became ever easier not only to not protest American war-making, but to pay no attention to it or to the changing military that went with it. And that military was indeed altering and growing in remarkable ways.

In the years that followed, for instance, the elite Green Berets of the Vietnam era would be incorporated into an ever more expansive set of Special Operations forces, up to 70,000 of them (larger, that is, than the armed forces of many countries). Those special operators would functionally become a second, more secretive American military embedded inside the larger force and largely freed from citizen oversight of any sort. In 2020, as Nick Turse reported, they would be stationed in a staggering 154 countries around the planet, often involved in semi-secret conflicts “in the shadows†that Americans would pay remarkably little attention to.

Since the Vietnam War, which roiled the politics of this nation and was protested in the streets of this country by an antiwar movement that came to include significant numbers of active-duty soldiers and veterans, war has played a remarkably recessive role in American life. Yes, there have been the endless thank-yous offered by citizens and corporations to “the troops.†But that’s where the attentiveness stops, while both political parties, year after endless year, remain remarkably supportive of a growing Pentagon budget and the industrial (that is, weapons-making) part of the military-industrial complex. War, American-style, may be forever, but â€" despite, for instance, the militarization of this country’s police and the way in which those wars came home to the Capitol last January 6th â€" it remains a remarkably distant reality for most Americans.

One explanation: though the U.S. has, as I’ve said, been functionally at war since 1941, there were just two times when this country felt war directly â€" on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and on September 11, 2001, when 19 mostly Saudi hijackers in commercial jets struck New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

And yet, in another sense, war has been and remains us. Let’s just consider some of that war-making for a moment. If you’re of a certain age, you can certainly call to mind the big wars: Korea (1950-1953), Vietnam (1954-1975) â€" and don’t forget the brutal bloodlettings in neighboring Laos and Cambodia as well â€" that first Gulf War of 1991, and the disastrous second one, the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Then, of course, there was that Global War on Terror that began soon after September 11, 2001, with the invasion of Afghanistan, only to spread to much of the rest of the Greater Middle East, and to significant parts of Africa. In March, for instance, the first 12 American special-ops trainers arrived in embattled Mozambique, just one more small extension of an already widespread American anti-Islamist terror role ( now failing ) across much of that continent.

And then, of course, there were the smaller conflicts (though not necessarily so to the people in the countries involved) that we’ve now generally forgotten about, the ones that I had to search my fading brain to recall. I mean, who today thinks much about President John F. Kennedy’s April 1961 CIA disaster at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba; or President Lyndon Johnson’s sending of 22,000 U.S. troops to the Dominican Republic in 1965 to “restore orderâ€; or President Ronald Reagan’s version of “aggressive self-defense†by U.S. Marines sent to Lebanon who, in October 1983, were attacked in their barracks by a suicide bomber, killing 241 of them; or the anti-Cuban invasion of the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada that same month in which 19 Americans were killed and 116 wounded?

And then, define and categorize them as you will, there were the CIA’s endless militarized attempts (sometimes with the help of the U.S. military) to intervene in the affairs of other countries, ranging from taking the nationalist side against Mao Zedong’s communist forces in China from 1945 to 1949 to stoking a small ongoing conflict in Tibet in the 1950s and early 1960s, and overthrowing the governments of Guatemala and Iran, among other places. There were an estimated 72 such interventions from 1947 to 1989, many warlike in nature. There were, for instance, the proxy conflicts in Central America, first in Nicaragua against the Sandinistas and then in El Salvador, bloody events even if few U.S. soldiers or CIA agents died in them. No, these were hardly “wars,†as traditionally defined, not all of them, though they did sometimes involve military coups and the like, but they were generally carnage-producing in the countries they were in. And that only begins to suggest the range of this country’s militarized interventions in the post-1945 era, as journalist William Blum’s “ A Brief History of Interventions †makes all too clear.

Whenever you look for the equivalent of a warless American moment, some reality trips you up. For instance, perhaps you had in mind the brief period between when the Red Army limped home in defeat from Afghanistan in 1989 and the implosion of the Soviet Union in 1991, that moment when Washington politicians, initially shocked that the Cold War had ended so unexpectedly, declared themselves triumphant on Planet Earth. That brief period might almost have passed for “peace,†American-style, if the U.S. military under President George H. W. Bush hadn’t, in fact, invaded Panama (“Operation Just Causeâ€) as 1989 ended to get rid of its autocratic leader Manuel Noriega (a former CIA asset, by the way). Up to 3,000 Panamanians (including many civilians) died along with 23 American troops in that episode.

And then, of course, in January 1991 the First Gulf War began . It would result in perhaps 8,000 to 10,000 Iraqi deaths and “only†a few hundred deaths among the U.S.-led coalition of forces. Air strikes against Iraq would follow in the years to come. And let’s not forget that even Europe wasn’t exempt since, in 1999, during the presidency of Bill Clinton, the U.S. Air Force launched a destructive 10-week bombing campaign against the Serbs in the former Yugoslavia.

And all of this remains a distinctly incomplete list, especially in this century when something like 2 00,000 U.S. troops have regularly been stationed abroad and U.S. Special Operations forces have deployed to staggering numbers of countries, while American drones regularly attacked “terrorists†in nation after nation and American presidents quite literally became assassins-in-chief . To this day, what scholar and former CIA consultant Chalmers Johnson called an American “empire of bases†â€" a historically unprecedented 800 or more of them â€" across much of the planet remains untouched and, at any moment, there could be more to come from the country whose military budget at least equals those of the next 10 (yes, that’s 10!) countries combined, including China and Russia.

A Timeline of Carnage

The last three-quarters of this somewhat truncated post-World War II American Century have, in effect, been a timeline of carnage, though few in this country would notice or acknowledge that. After all, since 1945, Americans have only once been “at war†at home, when almost 3,000 civilians died in an attack meant to provoke â€" well, something like the war on terror that also become a war of terror and a spreader of terror movements in our world.

As journalist William Arkin recently argued , the U.S. has created a permanent war state meant to facilitate “endless war.†As he writes, at this very moment, our nation “is killing or bombing in perhaps 10 different countries,†possibly more, and there’s nothing remarkably out of the ordinary about that in our recent past.

The question that Americans seldom even think to ask is this: What if the U.S. were to begin to dismantle its empire of bases, repurpose so many of those militarized taxpayer dollars to our domestic needs, abandon this country’s focus on permanent war, and forsake the Pentagon as our holy church? What if, even briefly, the wars, conflicts, plots, killings, drone assassinations, all of it stopped?

What would our world actually be like if you simply declared peace and came home?


Hemanth Kumar , April 30, 2021 at 8:11 am

Here in Asia, many people think the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan was an act of flaying the dying horse, since Japan was staring at defeat even without the bombs. It was a totally callous act of the USA to drop the bombs just to “test their efficacyâ€.

Why then the bombs could not have dropped on Germany that was still waging war at that time? Asians smirk and say one) the “collateral†damage of radiation etc., to neighbours like France who were Allies and two) they were (and are) ‘whites’; unlike Japan and its neighbours.

NotTimothyGeithner , April 30, 2021 at 9:40 am

The war in Europe was over when the bomb was first tested.

The Rev Kev , April 30, 2021 at 9:43 am

I think that you have the dates mixed up. The war against Germany in Europe ended on May 7th and the testing of the first atom bomb was not until 16th July when the first bomb went off at Alamogordo in New Mexico. The following month the two remaining atom bombs that the US had were dropped on Japan. In short, the bombs arrived too late to use in Europe.

JBird4049 , April 30, 2021 at 3:57 pm

The bomb was built with Berlin being the first target, but because the war ended a year sooner than what everyone thought it would and making the very first bombs took longer than planned, it was used on Japan. It was probably used as a demonstration for the Soviets, but considering that sixty-six other large Japanese cities had already been completely destroyed by “conventional†firebombing, and in Tokyo’s case, with greater casualties than either nuclear bombing, the Bomb wasn’t really needed. The descriptions and the personal accounts of the destruction of Tokyo (or Dresden and Hamburg) are (if that is even possible) worse than of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Honestly, just what new and excitingly horrific ways of killing people the atom bomb used was not clearly understood. They generally thought of it as a bigger kaboom in a smaller package. And honestly, being pre-cremated during an entire night with your family and neighbors in the local bomb-shelter or dying after a few days, weeks, or even a month from radiation poisoning, is not really a difference is it?

WobblyTelomeres , April 30, 2021 at 6:28 pm

“More bang for the buck†is the phrase I heard years ago at Los Alamos.

John Wright , April 30, 2021 at 11:56 am

Another view has the dropping of the atomic bombs was a message, not to Japan, but to the Soviet Union.

From https://www.nytimes.com/1995/07/30/books/did-we-need-to-drop-it.html

“FOR 20 years after Harry Truman ordered the atomic bomb dropped on Japan in August 1945, most American scholars and citizens subscribed to the original, official version of the story: the President had acted to avert a horrendous invasion of Japan that could have cost 200,000 to 500,000 American lives. Then a young political economist named Gar Alperovitz published a book of ferocious revisionism, “Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam†(1965). While acknowledging the paucity of evidence available at the time, he argued that dropping the atomic bomb “was not needed to end the war or to save lives†but was Truman’s means of sending a chastening message to the Soviet Union.â€

Timh , April 30, 2021 at 1:32 pm

If we accept that at face value, then certainly the second bombing was unecessary. The threat would have been enough. But the US had a second bomb design to test…

BCD , April 30, 2021 at 4:13 pm

Few things working here. The US needed Japan to surrender quickly before Stalin invaded (which they asked him to do) so he couldn’t get his forces onto the island where the Allies couldn’t stop him. Most Japanese feared Stalin and preferred surrendering to the US but the Japanese government was trying to use talks with the USSR to get better terms than unconditional surrender (little did they know Stalin was licking his chops for more territory under his iron curtain).

The first bomb design (little man) was significantly less ambitious, it was so certain to function they never tested it because a study had proven there was almost no chance it would fail.

Fat boy was the scientific leap in technology needing to be demonstrated. Building little man was mostly a matter of enriching Uranium vs Fat boy Plutonium enrichment harder and detonation mechanism more complicated. However the end result was a bomb that could produce significantly higher yields with smaller amounts of fissionable material where both the size of the bomb could be significantly reduced and the yield of the device could be significantly scaled up at the same time.

Fat boy demonstrated the USA could someday be putting nukes on V2 rockets recently smuggled out of Germany. Even more important Fat boy is a precursor to the mechanism that initiates the H bomb fusion devices that Edward Teller would soon be Dr Strangloving.

Even after Trinity Fat boy still had very high odds of failure. They feared looking like fools if it failed and the USSR ended up with the Plutoniumt. As a result the US Air Force dropped little man first because it was certain to work. After the 1st bomb dropped, the Soviets declared war and began their invasion of Japan which forced Truman’s hand to drop Fat boy too. Even after Fat Boy, war mongers in Japan still refused to surrender where Emperor Hirohito finally overruled them and although there was a military coupe attempted, it failed.

Thus ended the most bloody conflict in the history of human kind.

Harold , April 30, 2021 at 7:52 pm

I’m not saying it isn’t true, but is there any actual evidence that the bombs were dropped as “a message to the Soviet Union†and not to speed the end of the war?

Also, who exactly wanted to send this “message� The US generals were against it, I understand.

Jason , April 30, 2021 at 9:23 pm

An apologia on bomb design, manufacture, and real-world application!

These ones weren’t even atomic:

https://i0.wp.com/wrongkindofgreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/libya-before-and-after-1.jpg

And look what they can do. Yay bombs.

Tom Pfotzer , April 30, 2021 at 9:25 am

“What would our world actually be like if you simply declared peace and came home?â€

a. All those families whose livelihood is based on waging war would have to find a new job. These people will fight tooth and nail to avoid change

b. The resource grabs by the rich people behind the Oz-like curtain would fail. Their fate would be that of the English aristocrats who have to rent out their castles in order to maintain a roof over their head. These people will fight tooth and nail to avoid change

c. The general public would have a fire-hose of newly-available resources to direct toward activities which benefit all the rest of the families outside A and B above

d. Fear-based leverage by the few over the many would be diminished. Attention would be re-directed toward valid problems we all face

=====

There’s an interesting question which I see posed from time to time, and often ask myself. It runs thus:

“Who decides who our “enemies†are, and why they are “enemies�

This is a fundamental question which I believe very few of us can currently answer accurately. Yet this question carries a $1.2T per year consequence. That’s a lot of money to allocate toward something we know nothing about.

One time I asked an acquaintance â€" who spent a career at CIA â€" that question. His reply was “Why, Congress decides who our enemies are, and why. Congress then tells the CIA what to doâ€.

I wasn’t sure if he truly believed that. It’s quite possible he did, of course, and I’m sure many of the people in group A above surely do think they’re doing honorable and patriotic work.

Group B above â€" the people who are actually moving the chess pieces of “the Great Game†â€" they are pretty clear on who defines our “enemies†and why they are “enemiesâ€. And they wisely don’t stand in front of podiums and explain their actions. These people aren’t visible, or explained, or known because it’s better for them not to be.

The way to combat manipulation by these predators is to:

a. Know them by their actions. Predators predate.
b. Don’t participate. In order for them to predate, they need minions. Don’t be a minion. Instead…
c. Be the giver, the creator and the constructor of things that are of no use to predators

NotTimothyGeithner , April 30, 2021 at 10:06 am

It’s not the soldiers but the contractors who live in dumpy overpriced holes like Northern Virginia.

As to your acquaintance, my godfather was in the CIA in the 60’s and a bit into the 70’s, and he might not say Congress as much as the President’s Chief of Staff as threat they choose what the President sees. You have to remember it’s primarily an organization of boring paper pushers looking to get promoted which requires political patronage. Imagine getting the Canada desk. You’ll be at a dead end unless you paint it as a grave threat. Then there is information overload and just the sheer size of the US. They would file reports, he mentioned an incident in Africa in the wake of decolonization when y godfather was stationed there that maybe warranted the President’s attention, but to get information to the President’s CoS took so long, it was in the President’s daily newspaper before the report could be handled. By then, why care, given the size of the US? Who can get to the Chief of Staff? Congress, so everyone else lobbies them. The CIA director is an appendage of the CoS.

When the President wants something, everyone jumps, but when the President doesn’t care, everyone is jockeying get for patronage.

HH , April 30, 2021 at 10:35 am

The war machine is sustained by plutocrats and their sociopathic flunkies in the national security state. How this works is clearly depicted in “The Devil’s Chessboard,†by David Talbot, a deeply depressing chronicle of how Allen Dulles and his brother John Foster Dulles did the dirty work of US corporations worldwide. The arrogance, impunity, and irresponsibility of these men established the framework of our secret government, which remains intact to this day.

It would be pleasant to believe that this evil persists because of public ignorance, but like the good Germans of the Nazi era, Americans accept that deception, torture, and murder are routinely practiced on our behalf to maintain our high standard of living and to keep us “safe.†The reverence for the operatives of the US national security state is evident throughout our popular culture, and that is a damning judgment on the American people.

Tom Pfotzer , April 30, 2021 at 11:17 am

Yes. Succinctly stated, and quite correct.

Of course the core problems are stationed at the place hardest to get to: right between our ears. This complicity disease runs deep and wide.

While I often succumb to that same despondency you mentioned, occasionally I interrupt the doom tape to notice that there’s a lot of people who are paddling hard toward a new ethos…like the posters here @ NC, for ex.

So today I’m going to indulge in a little happiness. Plant a tree. Do something good, something durable, something hopeful.

Something that offers no real hope of rent extraction potential.

:)

JBird4049 , April 30, 2021 at 8:53 pm

It was nice being accused of supporting the terrorists because I supported the rule of law and human rights, not to mention the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

WTF do some people think that the Founders wanted an extremely small army, a large organized militia, and passed the Bill of Rights? It was a reaction to what the British Army did to them (using much of the same tactics as the current “justice†system does today.) The ignorance and lack of thinking is really annoying.

Much of what the British military did was not good. Even now some of it would not be allowed in a court of law, but I do not recall them being nearly as violent, brutal, or deadly in their tactics while enforcing the King’s Law as the current regime or the local police are. That the milder British tactics caused a civil war with in a decade, and that the people then had less to fear from an occupying army as we do from “our†police is disturbing to think on.

But wars always come home, don’t they? Faux toughness on the supposed baddies here with claims of treason and insurrections on protests and riots now that often would hardly be in the news fifty years ago, so great was the protests and riots happening then. The cry to use the same tactics that did not work overseas to be used here at home. “To keep us safe.â€

Swamp Yankee , May 1, 2021 at 2:06 am

There’s truth to this, but once the war was really on, British and Tory/Loyalist brutality had decisive effects on public opinion, putting lots of people into the Whig/Patriot camp. Tom Paine makes great efforts to publicize British sexual assaults, looting, and general thugishness as they chase the Continental Army across New Jersey in 1776; the cruelty of backcountry British cavalry officers and Tory rangers in the Carolinas was legendary as the war reaches its latter phases.

And there was brutality on the other side, too, especially for Loyalist elites who faced a kind of “social death.†It was a war, after all, as well as a social revolution. It wasn’t France in 1789 or Russia in 1917, but it was rough, especially given the small population size.

FluffytheObeseCat , April 30, 2021 at 11:36 am

Except as Engelhardt just pointed out, the national security state does not “maintain our high standard of livingâ€. It’s an immense net drain on our standard of living. The only Americans made well-to-do or wealthy by it are those who are directly involved in supplying contract goods and services to the system.

FriarTuck , April 30, 2021 at 3:41 pm

I don’t know if Americans “accept†it as opposed to taking a dim view of being able to affect change.

The levers the average person has to change the behavior of the state is infinitesimal. Add to that the scope of action and Overton window mediated by the hypernormalized press ecosystem just means those in power get to act without restraint.

Hell, Obama literally said “We tortured some folks†and the media and government barely shrugged. To my knowledge, no one went to jail, no one was brought up in the Hague, and some of the same ghouls that perpetrated such crimes got cushy commenter jobs in the media.

Right now, localities can’t even keep their police from regularly killing citizens.

What does the average person do in the face of such things?

Jason , April 30, 2021 at 5:07 pm

Hell, Obama literally said “We tortured some folks†and the media and government barely shrugged. To my knowledge, no one went to jail, no one was brought up in the Hague, and some of the same ghouls that perpetrated such crimes got cushy commenter jobs in the media.

No one went to jail. Certainly no one went before the Hague. No bankers went to jail either. Even during the nutty Reagan administration, people went to jail for financial shenanigans. Some got long sentences. Hell, the Iran-Contra stuff was at least covered and people were indicted, even if they all got pardoned. Not anymore. These shenanigans are the norm and happen right out in the open. I’d imagine some of it’s been given legal cover. It seems like it’s become the expected behavior within these circles. To act otherwise â€" to attempt to be honest, in other words â€" is seen as weak and is mocked as fiercely as a weaker child on the playground might be.

It’s just a continuing regression. And as you note, it’s an excellent career builder:

“Looking for a job in mainstream media? Research has shown that reducing your sense of ethics and morality actually helps you get ahead.â€

John Wright , May 1, 2021 at 1:53 pm

I like to quote a radio advertisement that a local Northern California bail bondsman ran on one local radio station years ago.

“Friends don’t let friends do timeâ€.

LowellHighlander , April 30, 2021 at 10:59 am

Doubtless, Ms. Smith and Ms. Engelhardt have provided a key public service here. And I speak as a veteran, decorated for service in the War Over Oil (a.k.a. the “Persian Gulf Warâ€).

Between the vast economic inequality currently raging in our country, the social stratification enabled by access to colleges and universities accepted as “eliteâ€, the trashing of Constitutional protections (e.g. the 4th Amendment, now thoroughly eviscerated owing to the “PATRIOT ACTâ€), and the rampaging rule by “intelligence agencies†over foreign policy, I see no reason why any father should tell his children that this is a country worth fighting and dying for. [Think: China] Of course, the Empire â€" just as Rome did in its dying days â€" will be able to find enough desperately poor who will take the king’s shilling and don the uniform.

If anyone wishes to prove me wrong, let them work for a substantive “peace dividend†for a 2-3 years. Then we can sit down and talk; I’ll buy the ale.

tegnost , April 30, 2021 at 11:38 am

I think Englehart is a “Mr.†but I don’t want to get myself in trouble with the gender neutralization crowd

LowellHighlander , April 30, 2021 at 12:41 pm

oops; my apologies to all.

Rod , April 30, 2021 at 12:25 pm

And here is a nice companion reading alluding to Media collusion by a CNN colluder:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/29/opinions/lies-told-to-sustain-us-and-uk-mission-in-afghanistan-walsh/index.html

from the above article:

In these years, one key to so much of this is the fact that, as the Vietnam War began winding down in 1973, the draft was ended and war itself became a “voluntary†activity for Americans. In other words, it became ever easier not only to not protest American war-making, but to pay no attention to it or to the changing military that went with it. And that military was indeed altering and growing in remarkable ways.

Because, imo,

Since the Vietnam War, which roiled the politics of this nation and was protested in the streets of this country by an antiwar movement that came to include significant numbers of active-duty soldiers and veterans, war has played a remarkably recessive role in American life.

Despite having already ‘pledged’ at my Uncles Invitation, with the Draft’s End, I had great hope my future would see the great Peace Dividand rather than 9 more Opportunity Conflicts.
Little did that then 21 year old see the brilliance in that Pentagon Strategy.
I Now firmly support a No Exemption Draft for all post HS.
Military Service being only one, and a restricted one, of many counter-balancing options available for Public Service for that cohort.

Frank Little , April 30, 2021 at 12:42 pm

This article reminded me of one of the best Congressional Research Service reports that I’ve read: Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2020 . Despite being just a list of dates and locations with a brief description, it comes in at around 50 pages, which I think is a testament to how important foreign military engagement has been to the growth of the US even before 1945. Between these foreign wars and the genocidal war against the indigenous people of the continent I think it’s fair to say this country has been at war since its founding.

juno mas , April 30, 2021 at 6:16 pm

Correct. Even the so called Louisiana Purchase was not really a purchase of land, but a faux “option†to engage in land treaties with the native Americans;.the US chose Indian Wars and relocation treaties that have been violated repeatedly. (This territory is now known as the Red States.)

The rest of the land extending to the west coast was acquired through conquest with the new nation of Mexico. I guess the only real honest acquisition would be Seward’s Icebox.

JBird4049 , April 30, 2021 at 8:30 pm

>>I guess the only real honest acquisition would be Seward’s Icebox.

Alaska has only been inhabited for a few tens of thousands of years. I would think that the natives should have some say about who “owns†the land even though the Russian Empire did say that they did. The reasons sometimes included the use of guns. As for stealing Mexico’s territory, again that was, and in some areas still is, inhabited by natives who somehow became under the “governance†of New Spain or the country of Mexico despite not being asked about it and often still a majority part of the population in many areas when Mexico lost control.

Often, Europeans or Americans would show up somewhere, plant a flag, and say that they claimed or owned the very inhabited land, sometimes with farms and even entire cities. Rather arrogant, I would say.

Harold , April 30, 2021 at 8:49 pm

“Whatever happens, we have got
The Maxim gun, and they have not.â€

juno mas , April 30, 2021 at 9:44 pm

I agree. Seward’s Icebox was not empty at time of sale. My understanding is that Seward thought it was. So faraway, so cold; no one would be living there, right?

As I’ve commented here many times, it was small pox not small bullets that allowed the Old World to take the New. There were estimates of 20 million native Americans living on the land now known as Mexico and the US. 90% were felled by Old World disease before Custer lost his scalp to the northern Plains Indians. In a fair fight the Indians would be enforcing the treaties.

It is amazing how the US continues to engage in war and still lose: Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq. . .Ukraine?

kgw , April 30, 2021 at 5:58 pm

I remember the words of Patrick Henry in his speech on the floor of the Virginia legislature debating the passing of the new constitution…

In particular, his views on the standing army : “What does a farmer in Virginia have to fear from a farmer in France?â€

Democracy Working , April 30, 2021 at 10:29 pm

For nearly a decade now every time I’ve read about the war in Afghanistan I’ve thought about Tim Kreider’s mordant 2011 cartoon We Could’ve Had The Moon, Instead We Get Afghanistan . Ten years later, that $432 billion has ballooned to $2.3 trillion (and more) and every word he wrote still stands. :-(

The author has retired from cartooning and now focuses on essay writing.

Sound of the Suburbs , May 1, 2021 at 4:37 am

We are going to have to halt the production lines.
The warehouses are full of bombs already, there is no more room.

Biden to the rescue; he’s started dropping bombs already.
When you have a large defence industry, you need war.
The only purpose is to use up the output from the defence industry.

This is what they realised in the 1940s, but we forgot.
http://delong.typepad.com/kalecki43.pdf

“The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or
consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on
armamentsâ€

Sound of the Suburbs , May 1, 2021 at 4:47 am

Ran out of edit time.
Should be two quotes.

“The dislike of government spending, whether on public investment or consumption, is overcome by concentrating government expenditure on armamentsâ€

“Large-scale armaments are inseparable from the expansion of the armed forces and the preparation of plans for a war of conquest. They also induce competitive rearmament of other countries.â€

These were the lessons they learnt from the 1930s.

Susan the other , May 1, 2021 at 12:18 pm

So now, here we are. And how do we create a peaceful world? Refit the US military for a sustainable world. It will prove to be very useful. We and other advanced nations still have the advantage for prosperity but we should not abuse it. The whole idea back in 1945 was for the world to prosper. So I’ll just suggest my usual hack: Get rid of the profit motive. It’s pure mercantilism. And totally self defeating in a world seeking sustainability for everyone.

Philip Ebersole , May 1, 2021 at 1:35 pm

The Manhattan Project was an enormously expensive enterprise with two components â€" the development of a uranium bomb (Oak Ridge) and a plutonium bomb (Hanford, WA).

If no bomb had been used, the project would have been considered a waste of time, and there would have been a congressional investigation. If only one bomb had been used, half the cost would have been considered a waste.

I’m not saying these were the only reasons for dropping the bombs. The event was, as they say, “overdetermined.â€

[May 03, 2021] Biden is privatising the war in Afghanistan. 18,000 private contractors will stay behind to maintain a landing area for U.S. aircraft should the need arise.

May 03, 2021 | www.unz.com

Katrinka , says: April 30, 2021 at 11:36 am GMT • 15.8 hours ago

@KenH

Biden is privatising the war in Afghanistan. 18,000 private contractors will stay behind to maintain a landing area for U.S. aircraft should the need arise. According to war monger Lynn Cheney the "troops will never leave". The U.S. National Guard has been fighting undeclared wars all over the ME for twenty years and legislation is being proposed at the state level to end the abuse. I personally know one man who has done three tours in Iraq as a National Guardsman.

I totally agree with your comments concerning the U.S. government here at home. It is Bolshevism 2.0.

[Apr 27, 2021] The United States Extensive Knowledge of the 1976 Planned Military Coup in Argentina " Strategic Culture

Notable quotes:
"... While the released documents portray the U.S. as having knowledge of the coup as opposed to intervening overtly or covertly, the aftermath shows U.S. involvement was considerable. ..."
Apr 27, 2021 | www.strategic-culture.org

While the released documents portray the U.S. as having knowledge of the coup as opposed to intervening overtly or covertly, the aftermath shows U.S. involvement was considerable.

Last March, on the 45 th anniversary of Argentina’s descent into dictatorship, the National Security Archive posted a selection of declassified documents revealing the U.S. knowledge of the military coup in the country in 1976. A month before the government of Isabel Peron was toppled by the military, the U.S. had already informed the coup plotters that it would recognise the new government. Indications of a possible coup in Argentina had reached the U.S. as early as 1975.

A declassified CIA document from February 1976 describes the imminence of the coup, to the extent of mentioning military officers which would later become synonymous with torture, killings and disappearances of coup opponents. Notably, the coup plotters, among them General Jorge Rafael Videla, were already drawing up a list of individuals who would be subject to arrest in the immediate aftermath of the coup.

One concern for the U.S. was its standing in international diplomacy with regard to the Argentinian military dictatorship’s violence, which it pre-empted as a U.S. State Department briefing to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger shows. “An Argentine military government would be almost certain to engage in human rights violations such as to engender international criticism.â€

After the experience of Chile and U.S. involvement in the coup which heralded dictator Augusto Pinochet’s rise to power, human rights violations became a key factor. Kissinger had brushed off the U.S. Congress’s concerns, declaring a policy that would turn a blind eye to the dictatorship’s atrocities. “I think we should understand our policy-that however unpleasant they act, this government is better for us than Allende was,†Kissinger had declared .

Months after expressing concern regarding the forthcoming human rights abuses as a result of the dictatorship in Argentina, the U.S. warned Pinochet about its dilemma in terms of justifying aid to a leadership which was becoming notorious for its violence and disappearances of opponents. “We have a practical problem to take into account, without bringing about pressures incompatible with your dignity, and at the same time which does not lead to U.S. laws which will undermine our relationship.â€

In the same declassified document from the Chile archives of 1976, Pinochet expresses his concern over Orlando Letelier, a diplomat and ambassador to the U.S. during the era of Salvador Allende and an influential figure among members of the U.S. Congress, stating that Letelier is disseminating false information about Chile. Letelier was murdered by car bomb in Washington that same year, by a CIA and National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) agent Michael Townley.

However, the Argentinian coup plotters deepened their dialogue with the U.S. over how human rights violations would be committed. Aware of perceptions regarding Pinochet’s record, military officials approached the U.S. seeking ways to minimise the attention which Pinochet was garnering in Chile, while at the same time making it clear to U.S. officials to “some executions would probably be necessary.â€

Assuming a non-involvement position was also deemed crucial by the U.S. To mellow any possible fallout, the coup plotters were especially keen to point out that the military coup would not follow in the steps of Pinochet. One declassified cable document detailing U.S. concern over involvement spells out how the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Robert Hill planned to depart the country prior to the coup, rather than cancel plans to see how the events pan out. “The fact that I would be out of the country when the blow actually falls would be, I believe, a fact in our favor indicating non- involvement of Embassy and USG.†The main aim was to conceal evidence that the U.S. had prior knowledge of the forthcoming coup in Argentina.

While the released documents portray the U.S. as having knowledge of the coup as opposed to intervening overtly or covertly, the aftermath shows U.S. involvement was considerable. The Chile experience, including the murder of a diplomat on U.S. soil, were clearly not deterrents for U.S. policy in Latin America, as it extended further support for Videla’s rule. The Videla dictatorship would eventually kill and disappear over 30,000 Argentinians in seven years, aided by the U.S. which provided the aircraft necessary for the death flights in the extermination operation known as Plan Condor.

[Apr 27, 2021] The Greens, if they "win" will not win with a majority. That means they will need coalition partners. Neither the CDU or the SPD is going to go along with their plan to stop NS2. The Greens, in order to form a govt. will cave in on NS2 and probably other things.

Apr 27, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

robert , Apr 22 2021 20:00 utc | 16

Just a couple of notes:

-The Greens, if they "win" will not win with a majority. That means they will need coalition partners. Neither the CDU or the SPD is going to go along with their plan to stop NS2. The Greens, in order to form a govt. will cave in on NS2 and probably other things.

-The Ukies are still fleeing the country to avoid going to the front. The Ukie brass says as much. These are not soldiers. They are farm kids. At the 1st sign of serious war, they will all head for the russians with hands in the air.

-V. Putin handled the western MSM narrative quite well, imo, when he said "Those behind provocations that threaten the core interests of our security will regret what they have done in a way they have not regretted anything for a long time." It can't be clearer than that. And that tells me that the ussa is in the crosshairs. This may be the 1st time in history that the oceans will offer no protection for the warmongers that have been at war for 222 years of 237 years of their existence

The comedian is still flaying about and now trying to play the SWIFT card (last week it was nuclear weapons, before that it was...). Which, of course, the west will not honor because it would cripple the west as much or more than RU. I would imagine he needs to change his undershorts on an hourly basis these days. He is literally caught between a rock and a hard spot. No more support from DE, FR, US, NATO, TR except good wishes. And demands from his brain-dead Banderites are only growing more shrill. What's a poor comic to do?

The west is basically done with him and with the show of force by the russians they are more done with him than before. For his sake, i hope his khazarian passport app has been approved.

Another failed state compliments of the khazarians in DC. And the beat goes on.


passerby , Apr 22 2021 21:17 utc | 18

Eighthman @10 North Stream 2 will be the last mayor cooperation between Russia and Europe for the next 10, 20 years. If you had to choose where to put your money, would you put it in a gas pipeline to China (Power of Siberia) or a gas pipeline to Europe (North Stream2)?

Putin will be the last Russian president who looked west, to Europe; the next president will look east, to Asia. It's where the money is.

Nick , Apr 22 2021 23:52 utc | 28

I know how the German system works. Yet I am not seeing the Greens win or compose the next government if they threaten to cancel NS2. The NS2 is not about the CDU/CSU but about the German elite interest. No way they are going to give green light to the Greens. Speaking of someone which city is on the border.

Bernard F. , Apr 23 2021 1:15 utc | 35

Dans l'œil du cyclone

The only antiwar party in Germany is AfD. They don't buy at all the "narrative" Die Linke is only " pacifistes bêlants ".

The meeting of German parliament was interesting. Unfortunately, only found german SNA report

https://snanews.de/20210422/bundestagsdebatte-ostukraine-parteienvertreter-gespalten-1826965.html

About green leadership in west Germany, it was a fake election, no meeting, no campaign...just ridiculous posters in the streets. Massive abstention.

A post Covid-19 election, with young people back, could be surprised. East Germany is to be analyse.

Germany often surprises the world for the better , SS-20 and Pershing II missiles crisis 1978-87 and Mauerfall 1989.


[Apr 27, 2021] On the subject of LNG, is it even possible to transport enough LNG from the United States to Germany in quantity equal to the flow of Nordstream II?

Apr 27, 2021 | www.unz.com

Jim Christian , says: April 19, 2021 at 4:56 am GMT • 3.9 days ago

There is ONE little thing Mike Whitney missed, or maybe it developed as/after he wrote this, the State Department told Germany last week there would be no further sanctions on Germany or her companies as regards Nordstream II. I believe also that a four-Euro-country coalition told the U.S. a couple of weeks ago that this was for Germany's energy security, Nordstream that is and they sounded like they're serious about any further American interference in the matter.

On the subject of LNG, is it even possible to transport enough LNG from the United States to Germany in quantity equal to the flow of Nordstream II? That pipe they're laying looks of sufficient diameter to walk through standing up, it's going to pass a LOT of gas. I don't know what the flow rates and pressures are, but I know one thing; Boston has a large LNG terminal and it's a dangerous setup. Pipelines seem to me a safer enterprise.

Anyone familiar with this stuff?

shylockcracy , says: April 19, 2021 at 5:14 am GMT • 3.9 days ago

-The Ziocorporate globalist NATO/EU terrorists: We supported Chechen terrorist separatists and KLA organ-harvesting Jihadis, dismembered Yugoslavia and bombed Serbia, used your Russian airspace that you opened for us to invade Afghanistan after the 9/11 Zioterrorist self-attacks, instigated Georgia into war with Russia, used your UNSC vote to destroy Libya with ISIS, turned EUkraine into a NATO satellite complete with an bloody massacre in Odessa and yet another massmurderous war on Russia's border and blamed and sanctioned you for it, shot down your planes in Syria; and we're gonna be taking Belarus the moment Lukashenko blinks. But we're really good business partners, and need some gas, you know...

Miro23 , says: April 19, 2021 at 5:42 am GMT • 3.9 days ago

To my American readers I'd say that the US is very strong and the people of the US can have a wonderful life even without world hegemony, in fact, hegemony is not in their interests at all. What they should seek is a strong nationalist policy that cares for the American people and avoids wasteful foreign wars.

The problem here, is that the American people are crushed and powerless, and in the grip of something morphing into a Neo-Bolshevik style dictatorship. Similarly to the mid 1930's this dictatorship wants world power – and from this perspective Ukraine looks more like Spain 1936 (the first act of a much bigger show).

Biden's recent phone call to Putin suggests that the administration has decided not to launch a war after all. The unconfirmed report of two US ships turning away from the Black Sea fits this assessment. However, we cannot be sure about this since the Kremlin refused to agree to Biden's offer for a meeting. The Kremlin's response was a frosty "We shall study the proposal". Russians feel that the summit proposal might be a trick aimed at buying time to strengthen their position.

Except that the US ordered two British warships to go there instead.

TASS, April 18. Two British warships will sail for the Black Sea in May. According to The Sunday Times, a source in the Royal Navy indicated that this gesture is intended to show solidarity with Ukraine and NATO in the region against the background of the situation at the Russian-Ukrainian border.

According to the newspaper, one Type 45 destroyer armed with anti-aircraft missiles and an anti-submarine Type 23 frigate will peel off from the Royal Navy's carrier task group in the Mediterranean and sail through the Bosphorus into the Black Sea.

It is reported that the decision was made in order to support Ukraine after the US cancelled its plans of sending two destroyers to the Black Sea in order to avoid further escalation in the region and tensions with Russia. It is noted that in case of a threat on the part of Russia, the UK is ready to send other military equipment to the region.

https://tass.com/world/1279483

I would guess that the US Trotskyites plan to push the Ukrainians into a war and then launch a massive international media barrage, "heroic Ukrainian patriots", "Russian atrocities", "killer Putin" etc. sufficient to finish with Nord Stream 2 and scare France and Germany back into the US fold.

If this is right, then they're not expecting Russia to retake the whole of the Ukraine, and they're not planning to start WW3.

However, Russia's lowest risk strategy would probably still be to only defend their existing positions making it difficult to claim a "Russian invasion". They've probably already lost Nord Stream (which is really a German loss – and the Germans know what the ZioGlob are doing here). This buys time, and given that the US is already on a fast downward slope, lets them keep sliding.

The Alarmist , says: April 19, 2021 at 12:16 pm GMT • 3.6 days ago
@Jim Christian

Let's just say that Germany relying on LNG from the US and ME is somebody's pipe dream.

MarkU , says: April 19, 2021 at 12:19 pm GMT • 3.6 days ago
@Anonymous point the finger and shriek about 'Russian aggression' in order to pressure the Germans into cancelling Nordstream 2 and any other Russian supplied energy.

Of course if the Europeans weren't run by (((banker))) stooges and if they had any balls between them they would force the US to call the whole thing off and pressure the Ukrainian fascists to honour the Minsk 2 agreement. Sadly we are just going to have to prepare for the worst and hope it doesn't go nuclear.

I see my own government (I am from the UK) has decided to send some sacrificial ships to the Black sea (the US apparently doesn't want to risk theirs) What else can we expect when 2/3 of our parliament are in 'Friends of Israel' groups?

BorisMay , says: April 19, 2021 at 12:47 pm GMT • 3.6 days ago

As Andrew Anglin writes, watch out for an upcoming false flag

Zarathustra , says: April 19, 2021 at 12:50 pm GMT • 3.6 days ago
@Schuetze

Like Mike did say in Godfather:" You are not lucky." Neither is US

Brooklyn Dave , says: April 19, 2021 at 1:07 pm GMT • 3.5 days ago
@Marshall Lentini

The Ukrainians who would the hardest to pacify are in the Ukie Diaspora in US, Canada and Western Europe. These folks still maintain a WW II mentality, act as if the Holodomor (which was terrible) only happened the other day and have a fair number of Banderists among their number. They do not wish to acknowledge that the Holodomor was orchestrated by the same Jews who launched the Bolshevik Revolution and killed millions of Orthodox Russians more than a decade beforehand. The ideal would be for Ukraine to maintain it territorial integrity minus perhaps the Donbas and go forward with a positive relationship with Russia.

Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist , says: Website April 19, 2021 at 3:26 pm GMT • 3.4 days ago
@Anonymous refugees, including tens of thousands of Russian passport holders, trek into Russia, creating a nightmare for Putin. Ukranazistan is enormously emboldened, joins NATO de facto if not yet de jure, Russia is tremendously weakened, loses all allies and prospective allies. Win for Amerikastan.

Scenario 2: Putin intervenes.

Result: Amerikastan leaves the Ukranazis high and dry, but shrieks about Evil Russian Invasion; NordStream II and all other economic connections with Europe are severed. Amerikastan immensely reasserts its control over Europe, sells its LNG to Germany at much inflated prices, and its useless weapons to everyone to "defend against Russia". Hands Russia the unenviable burden of the ruin of Ukranazistan, which Amerikastan has looted for 7 years till there is nothing left. Win for Amerikastan.

Art thou answer'd yet? What, art thou answer'd?

PokeTheTruth , says: April 19, 2021 at 3:27 pm GMT • 3.4 days ago
@Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist ttlement of Disputes". Hopefully it will direct the attention of the Security Council or the General Assembly to realize the Russian Federation and permanent member of the UNSC, see no other path to peace if the representatives of the UN fail to make a just and fair decision on this particular matter that has gone on for far too long.

This in itself does not necessarily mean the armies of Russia will pour over Ukraine's western border and over their northern border from Belarus. But the declaration of defensive war puts US-NATO in a Hobson's choice predicament and that is to choose peace. If they choose to cross the Rubicon then the necessity of defense war as theoretically stated will happen to preserve the sovereignty of Mother Russia.

RadicalCenter , says: April 19, 2021 at 3:31 pm GMT • 3.4 days ago
@kszat

Less than 11% of ukrainians are Catholic -- less than 1% "Latin Rite" and 10% Uniate Catholic -- and they are concentrated overwhelmingly in the oblasty bordering Poland and Slovakia etc. in the west. Catholicism does not exist in the Donbass region and has almost zero presence or influence in the rest of the Ukraine excluding the far west.

Russian and Ukrainian are even more similar than you make out, albeit not nearly-identical like Russian and Belarussian.

In any event, many Ukrainians consider BOTH Russian and ukrainian to be their native languages.

Moreover, a large minority of people, especially around Kiev, use the Russian-Ukrainian mix called Surzhyk.

annamaria , says: April 19, 2021 at 3:33 pm GMT • 3.4 days ago
@Carlton Meyer

If the MIC/Banksters like the brinkmanship games so much, it would be interesting to see Russian nuclear submarines emerging near Patagonia (Jewish "retreat") and Cuba. A piece of leaked information about the City of London being on a crosshair of Kinzhal will be a bonus. Add to that the publication of a detailed map of underground luxury bunkers for the "deciders;" that would be super nice.
The cannibals – the "globally-oriented elites" – need to feel the flaming spear directed towards each of them (and their progeny) personally. The confrontation has indeed become personal: the ZUSA's "elites" against humankind.

steinbergfeldwitzcohen , says: April 19, 2021 at 3:52 pm GMT • 3.4 days ago
@Miro23 re it fit best how would that be a bad thing?
Some to Russia, some to Poland, some to a rump State.
I would love to see Putin, Lavrov and Shoigu cook up a feast for Bidet Joe and Camel Toe tbat would see them humiliated. Bidet is a fraud and anything that makes him and his little goblin Blinkenfeld look like idiots is great.
We can only hope!
P.S. It must really suck to be a Ukrainian. Here we are in the 21st century and these guys can't get out from being stuck in the mud. The young have to leave for Poland to get jobs. And for what reason, so American Jews can get their Hate On for the Czar?! All the Greenblatts need war crime charges. Convict and execute the next morning. All legal. Force is all these vermin understand.
Oscar Peterson , says: April 19, 2021 at 4:01 pm GMT • 3.4 days ago
@Anonymous oke Putin into overreacting, thus, proving that Russia poses a threat to all of Europe. The only way Washington can persuade its EU allies that they should not engage in critical business transactions (like Nordstream) with Moscow, is if they can prove that Russia is an "external threat" to their collective security.

Shamir unfortunately became fixated on Whitney's use of the word "overreact" (though I agree it's not the right word) and mostly failed to address the substance of the question and its underlying premise.

And, as a postscript, I agree with animalogic. Your kindergarten language is embarrassing. I mean, if you're going to insult Escobar et al., at least use adult insults.

Oscar Peterson , says: April 19, 2021 at 4:07 pm GMT • 3.4 days ago

In the unlikely event that Ukraine does try to take back the Donbas by force, Shakespeare has already devised the appropriate stage direction for the Zelensky government:

Exit, pursued by a bear.

annamaria , says: April 19, 2021 at 4:08 pm GMT • 3.4 days ago
@Ray Caruso ref="https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2009/05/zime-m11.html">https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2009/05/zime-m11.html
Krystian Zimerman, a man of dignity, loathed the treacherous snake obama.
https://blazingindiscretions.blogspot.com/2009/04/krystian-zimermans-pro-peace-speech.html

"Get your hands off my country," Zimerman told the stunned crowd in a denunciation of US plans to install a missile defence shield on Polish soil. Some people cheered, others yelled at him to shut up and keep playing. A few dozen walked out, some of them shouting obscenities.

SafeNow , says: April 19, 2021 at 4:46 pm GMT • 3.4 days ago

I've played hundreds of Russians at chess, and they prefer what chess players call "quiet moves." (Unlike US players, who are more impetuous). Same for Putin; quiet moves. But if provoked, he will finish the job. (Adm Spruance, after Pearl Harbor: By not attacking the tank farms, sub base, and machine shops, they had not "finished the job.

Majority of One , says: April 19, 2021 at 6:01 pm GMT • 3.3 days ago
@Prester John

The "western" Ukraine you cite may have been culturally Ukrainian/Russian/eastern Slavic, several hundred years ago. But as they were under Polish and later Austro-Hungarian overlordship for many generations, they became westernized–culturally deracinated. They are Galicians, NOT Ukrainians.

If Ukraine retains some level of political independence, they need to divorce these culturally undigestible Uniates and their fascistic leadership. Currently that group poses a toxicity to the body-politick of Ukraine, however else you may wish to define Kievan Rus.

RadicalCenter , says: April 19, 2021 at 6:02 pm GMT • 3.3 days ago
@Prester John

Wrong to say that "West Ukraine" is Catholic. Only TEN percent of Ukrainians are Uniate Catholic, less than 1% Roman Catholic.

Majority of One , says: April 19, 2021 at 6:11 pm GMT • 3.3 days ago
@Bombercommand > In some ways your take is apropos, particularly regarding potential Russian overextending.

You do place a lot of reliance on "International Law". With little incidents like Trump's overturning of the uranium-processing accords with Iran, plus numerous other violations by the U$/British consortium working as the intel and military enforcement arms for the Bank$ter Cabal; international law has been constantly and consistently violated.

Geopolitically speaking, in terms of realistic "real politick", as per Bismark, no national regime regards such nice-sounding accords as valid and inviolable. At some unknown future time, genuine International Law may become a reality. At present, it is primarily a smiley-faced mask.

Russian_Deplorable , says: April 19, 2021 at 6:23 pm GMT • 3.3 days ago

A bear has never been a "Russian totem animal". Eagles, falcons, wolves – but never bears. "Russian bear" is a product of the British russophobic propaganda of the Crimean war of the 19 century.

The ukies are not Russians. Russian society looks forward demolition of the ukronazi statehood, but without any form of integration of the Northern Somalia into our country. A few million insurgent anarchists on top of all our problems would finish us.

Alfred , says: April 19, 2021 at 6:35 pm GMT • 3.3 days ago
@Brooklyn Dave for Ukraine.

The fanatics who actually live in Ukraine can be easily traced and kept under control. Their funding would be cut off. They are a tiny portion of the population.

In the last elections that were won by Zelensky, the parties that wanted peace with Russia represented over 95% of the population. Zelensky deceived everyone by continuing exactly the same policies of Poroshenko. In fact, he was worse as he recently shut down all opposition TV stations.

1n 2019, the only area in favour of continuing the war was brick-red on this map. Today, due to the collapsing economy and the lockdowns, there are even fewer people in favour of war. The Russians would be welcomed almost everywhere.

Lucy Lipinska , says: April 19, 2021 at 6:42 pm GMT • 3.3 days ago
@steinbergfeldwitzcohen

Fraud Bidet and little goblin Blinkenfeld; amusing but true nevertheless.

And I couldn't agree more when it comes to what you say about Ukraine, i.e. the borderland. According to my sister who lives in Poland, Ukraincy (in Polish "those from bordeland) are everyplace.

Sally'sDad , says: April 19, 2021 at 6:49 pm GMT • 3.3 days ago
@Majority of One

I would add that the western part of Ukarine "released" to join Poland would just allow the evil empire to occupy that much land even closer to Russia. I don't see that as desirable. Perhaps that western
extremity is something that needs to be made "independent" and demilitarized, perhaps with UN peacekeepers present. At any rate, it needs to be rendered as no danger to Russia.
I have thought that by making Ukraine unavailable to the native neo-nazies there, they are forced to relocate, and then become a major headache for their damaging and dangerous influence in Europe.
Call it "blowback" . just another reason for the Europeans to defuse any American smart ideas in their neighbourhood.

Aaron Hilel , says: April 19, 2021 at 7:13 pm GMT • 3.3 days ago
@Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist t.
Russia wins.

Fourth variant.

Canadian, British and hand-picked nazi battalions attempt to enter the no mans land, come under mortar fire, go to ground and ask their artillery to save them.
Ukrainian/nato artillery battalions get counter-batteried into oblivion by ru artillery regiments stationed in range.
Commanders at battalion level ask for a cease-fire, evacuate their troops back to the starting line.
V.V. Putin, being merciful and kind, agrees.
Russia wins.

Fifth variant

Nothing happens except for a lot of hot air, troop movements and wails from Lugenpresse.
Status quo is maintained, zato keeps paying for the Ukrainian Project.
Russia wins.

Marshall Lentini , says: April 19, 2021 at 7:25 pm GMT • 3.3 days ago
@Bombercommand

Absolutely solid take. Only thing I would add –

Russia would instantly become an outlaw state.

They are already being treated as an outlaw state, and although Russians are inhumanly patient, as I've seen for too long firsthand, this may figure into any looming brinkmanship – as Lavrov's recent exasperated remark about the US being incapable of negotiation may indicate.

Jake , says: April 19, 2021 at 8:49 pm GMT • 3.2 days ago
@SteveK9

True, There is zero need for the US to play Imperial Global Overlord because of the natural resources on North America. It is only the greed and hubris of the Elites, who cannot ever be satisfied.

The Anglo-Zionist Empire is very much an Evil Empire.

[Apr 19, 2021] The incident clearly indicates that the United States is in a critical situation

Apr 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

alaff , Apr 19 2021 19:37 utc | 27

Unfortunately the constant demonization of Russia's president by the 'Putin-whisperers' has already led to some tragic consequences

In one of the recent MoA topics about the murder of a group of Asian citizens in the United States, I already commented on this, saying that we will see more of such tragic cases when certain inadequate individuals will do terrible things as a result of the total brainwashing by Western anti-Russian propaganda (as well as anti-Chinese, anti-Iranian, etc.).

What happened (like the murder of the Russian ambassador to Turkey, as well as the murder of Asians in the United States, etc.) is the direct fault of Western MSM, who deliberately spread propaganda of lies and slander, denigrating and demonizing both individuals and entire countries. People are pumped up with hatred, and one day someone's brain explodes. The result is murder, assault, sabotage, etc.

The blood of the victims is on the hands of all these "journalists" and "experts" from CNN, BBC, Guardian, NYT and other propaganda machines.

Russia exposed a plot to assassinate the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko

The incident clearly indicates that the United States is in a critical situation. The transition to open terrorist methods is caused by the inability of the United States to continue to use traditional, standard, civilized methods of competition and political struggle. The United States is no longer able to compete with Russia and China in the legal, civilized field. Falsifications, slander, choreographed staging of incidents, false flag operations are used. An attempt to eliminate the head(!) of a foreign state is already the next, even more radical stage of terror.

On the one hand, this is unprecedented, on the other hand, it is not new at all. One has only to recall dozens of attempts by the American leadership to kill Fidel Castro, a successful attempt to assassinate Gaddafi, an assassination attempt on Maduro, an attempt to liquidate Yanukovych in 2014, an intention to overthrow Assad (the prospect of his physical elimination is beyond doubt). Lukashenko is just another on the list.

The United States (and a number of its allies in Europe) act by the methods of a terrorist state, in fact it is. The situation is aggravated by the complete inadequacy of the US leadership, their presence in a distant alternative reality, which has little in common with the existing reality.

I am not sure that an ordinary western inhabitant understands the seriousness of what is happening. The attempt to liquidate Lukashenko is essentially another casus belli, which the United States and its allies have already accumulated so much that it is time to talk about an overdose.

Residents of American and European cities wake up, go to work, or to the store, or take their children to kindergarten, do not even suspect that at any second a real war can start, and missiles will fall on them from above. For a number of reasons, Russia considered that the Nazi coup d'etat in Ukraine in 2014 was not worth the start of the world war, although what happened was a casus belli. In 2018, Russia considered that the unprecedented expulsion of Russian diplomats from the United States and Europe due to the "Skripal poisoning" was not worth the start of the war, although it was a casus belli. Not so long ago, Putin chose not to start a war and portrayed Biden as a crazy idiot, wishing him good health when he called the Russian president a "killer", which was a casus belli. An attempt to assassinate the President of Belarus has now been prevented, in which the United States (and a number of its European allies) are undoubtedly involved. Belarus is part of a union state with the Russian Federation, and the liquidation of Lukashenko is without a doubt a casus belli. Russia's patience and understanding of responsibility is great, but not unlimited.

As a cornered beast, the United States (and its closest allies) pose a particular danger, being ready to use any (I emphasize, any) means to alleviate its situation. These people can commit a series of terrorist attacks in the heart of Europe, they can kill one (or several) high-ranking European politicians, they can carry out a large-scale cyberattack against European nuclear power plants, they can commit sabotage and poison drinking water in one of the cities of Europe, then blaming Russia for everything. By the way, recently China made an unexpected statement regarding the danger of American biological laboratories in Ukraine. Russia has been talking about this for a long time. The use of biological weapons by the US authorities is very likely. Using deep fake technology, they can stage a terrible crime committed by "Russian special services." They can falsify the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine by placing poison in ampoules, causing hundreds, possibly thousands of people to die. They can arrange a terrorist attack and blow up a gas pipeline - in Europe, or in Ukraine, or on some section of the Nord Stream-2 - recently we have already seen an attempt by the Poles to carry out a trial sabotage. Next time it may not be "accidentally lost fishermen", but a boat with explosives.

I have listed just a few options, and do not let them seem ridiculous fantasy to you. The events of a number of recent years show that Russia's "Western partners" are capable of anything . Anything, i mean it. Remember the downed Boeing MH-17, or the wiretapping of European leaders, or the attempt to poison the Skripals (theatrical show, but who said that it cannot be turned into a real chemical attack?).

I repeat, it is unlikely that an ordinary Western citizen understands the seriousness of what is going on. Power in the United States has been seized and held by an insane totalitarian sect that lives and thinks purely in its distant alternative reality. Rest assured that these fanatics will be ready to start a war to satisfy their obsessive hatred of Russia, as well as try to fix their ever-worsening situation in the world.

The first priority of civil society in American and European cities is to force their own governments to be prudent. At least out of a sense of self-preservation.

Norwegian , Apr 19 2021 20:17 utc | 33

@William Gruff | Apr 19 2021 20:14 utc | 32

America just tried to assassinate Lukashenko. America has assassinated a number of national leaders, and attempted to assassinate many others. Anyone who interjects "But America would never stoop to trying to kill Putin!" is not using reason or working from America's established history.

It is a safe bet that the CIA is maintaining multiple active plots to assassinate Putin. Fortunately the CIA is incompetent.


They obviously assassinated Prime Minister Olof Palme in Sweden in 1986.

[Apr 19, 2021] The assassination plot is so incredibly important here. Think about the implications

Apr 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kapusta , Apr 19 2021 19:01 utc | 21

The assassination plot is so incredibly important here. Think about the implications. Not only did the FSB and the Belarus KGB sniff out the entire thing, but they publicly released the video evidence. They all but confirmed US involvement. Lukashenka, in his typical verbal grandiosity, claims that Putin had confronted Biden about the plot during their phone call and Biden's response, allegedly, was "Gurgling - and not a single answer." And, the Kremlin confirmed it:

The presidents of Russia and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, discussed the attempted coup d'état in Belarus by phone, said Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Russian leader.

Russia is not playing around. The US just tried to assassinate the president of an ally on the eve of possible unification. And when it gets exposed, this nonsense from Czechia was released almost immediately, clearly as a response. And it's a total joke of a response. This is what maximum pressure looks like in 2021. The US is lashing out and have few other avenues to engage. The Kremlin is winning, and if the Biden admin doesn't accept that...then we're all doomed because it means the US will do more crazy things like these.

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

Apr 19, 2021 | finance.yahoo.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Apr 19, 2021] The Cxechs story appears to be an obvious attempt to squeeze the arrest of leaders (or key participants) of an attempted military coup in Belarusout of the news. And who else could order the Czech government to do this with a 30 minute notice?

Apr 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Keith McClary , Apr 17 2021 20:37 utc | 30

Lukashenko says Putin-Biden talked about alleged US-led assassination plot
MINSK, April 17. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin focused on the issue of an assassination attempt on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko prepared by US intelligence agencies in a call with US President Joe Biden, Lukashenko said aired by the ONT television channel on Saturday.

"Another thing that surprises me is why Americans behave like this. Remember that no one except the top political leadership can set the task of getting rid of a president. Only them, not the special services," Lukashenko said.

"I'll tell you more. I am grateful to Putin. When he was talking with Biden, he asked him this question. Gurgling and no answer. Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] called me and told me about this when I arrived from Azerbaijan," he added.
(Entire article.)


Mao Cheng Ji , Apr 17 2021 19:17 utc | 15

It's interesting what's happening right now (in the past hour or so).

First: Russian and Belorussian news about the arrest of leaders (or key participants) of an attempted military coup in Belarus, planned by the US security services.

Then, 30 minutes later: the Czechs expel 18 Russian diplomats, accusing them of spying and of connection to some explosion back in 2014.

I could've been skeptical about the details of the first story, but the second one seems to confirm it. The second story appears to be an obvious attempt to squeeze the first one out of the news. And who else could order the Czech government to do this with a 30 minute notice?

Paco , Apr 17 2021 20:30 utc | 28

Posted by: james | Apr 17 2021 20:18 utc | 23

Petroff&Boshiroff is a registered trademark, for some line of cleaning chemicals.

Here is a meme, it reads "no rookies in our business", plus the double ff ending gives it a taste or white guard Paris émigré.


Petroff&Boshiroff

Paco , Apr 17 2021 19:24 utc | 17

@Mao Cheng Ji | Apr 17 2021 19:17 utc | 15

Machine translation of FSB announcement:

"The Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, together with the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus (RB), as a result of a special operation, suppressed the illegal activities of Yuri Leonidovich Zyankovich, who has dual citizenship of the United States and the Republic of Belarus, and Alexander Iosifovich Feduta, a citizen of the Republic of Belarus, who planned to carry out a military coup in Belarus according to the worked-out scenario of "color revolutions" with the involvement of local and Ukrainian nationalists, as well as the physical elimination of President Alexander Lukashenko. Zyankovich arrived in Moscow after consultations in the United States and Poland. In the Russian capital, he planned a meeting with representatives of the Belarusian Armed Forces to convince them to participate in a coup involving local and Ukrainian nationalists. The coup was planned in Minsk on May 9 during the Victory Day parade.Currently, the detainees have been transferred to Belarus. (C) FSB DSP

james , Apr 17 2021 20:18 utc | 23

@ Mao Cheng Ji | Apr 17 2021 19:17 utc | 15.. thanks agreed! and as funny as funny would have it, the 2 guys accused are the same 2 the uk accused of in regards the skripal poisoning... apparently there are only so many fsb agents to go around and these guys are always especially busy.... it is a 7 hour drive from Vrbetice to Lviv, or about 700 kilometers...

"Also on Saturday, the Czech police placed two Russian citizens, who had allegedly visited Vrbetice at the time of the explosions, on the wanted list over "serious crime." They were identified as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov – the same persons that Britain accused of being the Russian spies in the UK responsible for using the infamous 'Novichok' chemical agent on double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March 2018."

Lozion , Apr 17 2021 20:25 utc | 26

Official TASS links:

https://tass.com/world/1279447

https://tass.com/world/1279437

WTF?

class="posted">

MOSCOW, April 17. /TASS/. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has detained two individuals who plotted a military coup in Belarus and an assassination attack on President Alexander Lukashenko, the FSB Public Relations Center said on Saturday. READ ALSO

[Apr 19, 2021] The danger here is that the US and the EU vassals push Russia into having nothing to lose. I don't see how NS2 can be finished if Navalny dies.

Apr 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Eighthman , Apr 18 2021 1:26 utc | 65

The danger here is that the US and the EU vassals push Russia into having nothing to lose. I don't see how NS2 can be finished if Navalny dies. I hope Russia/Putin are working to prevent this, if they can.

[Apr 14, 2021] Contrary to Nulands boasting, the West keeps Ukraine on a leash with a rather skimpy budget

Apr 14, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Apr 11 2021 2:23 utc | 83

Time is in Russia's favor: let the Ukraine continue to serve as a financial black hole to the IMF. Let the Western Ukrainians continue to emigrate en masse to Poland and then to the rest of the EU and the UK. Russia has already received some 1 million Eastern Ukrainian; those are probably the more well-educated, more productive Ukrainians, ...

Posted by: vk | Apr 11 2021 1:20 utc | 77

This is rather sketchily related to reality.

1. Ukraine is not a "black hole for the IMF". They got a smallish credit, and now they are being denied extensions on rather preposterous grounds, and Ukraine is charged for the unused credit line. Contrary to Nulands boasting, the West keeps Ukraine on a leash with a rather skimpy budget.

2. There is no clear distinction between migration patterns. The one time I was in Russia, the tourist guide on a one-day bus trip was from Rivne -- in Poland in years 1918-39. And as Polish medical workers go to Spain etc., Ukrainian once fill the vacant positions, and they may come from any place. Ditto with the "quality of workers". Poland has more of seasonal jobs in picking crops (while Poles do it further West) than Russia, Russia perennially seeks workers ready to accept extra pay in less than benign climes. The closest to truth is scooping engineers and highly qualified workers from factories that before worked for Russian market, including military, replaced with Russian factories and, when needed, Ukrainian know-how. That is pretty much accomplished -- predominantly from the Eastern Ukraine. As a result, the remaining workforce is so-so from east to west.

[Apr 14, 2021] After The Bear Showed Its Teeth The Ukraine Filed For Peace

Now it looks more and more like a deliberate provocation. With Ukraine striving to get attention and the USA striving to stop NS2.
Notable quotes:
"... The new 2020/2024 Russia/Ukraine transit gas contract is 'pump or pay' in that Russia pays $7B over 5 years regardless of whether gas is shipped or not. So it doesn't matter if the volume drops. I am actually surprised that it has given the still harsh weather in Europe. ..."
"... Meanwhile more figures are out on NS2 and it looks, given good weather, that both Fortuna and AC could finish pipe laying in both Danish and German waters by the end of May. So operational by the end as of year as stated by Gazprom looks on the cards, if not earlier. ..."
"... I suspect that the US and its NATO lapdogs are playing a distraction game. And I think that the Russian government knows this; but also realizes that the Western nations are cirrently in the grips of madcap rulers. Thus Russia is not taking any chance. One can bet that, as the whole empire crashes, it would like to bring down as much of humanity down with it as it can. The future of the earth is not bright. ..."
"... The Oil Shock only added to the 1973-75 recession. The Oil Shock was political in nature, and somewhat coordinated with the USG itself. The deeper causes of the early 70s economic crisis, and of the end of Bretton Woods, was declining profitability across all advanced capitalist states. See Robert Brenner's book, The Economics of Global Turbulence. ..."
"... Nuland et al may be trying to show themselves loyal agents of Israel, testing whether Russia can be distracted from Syria, or pretending to raise the cost of NS2. Russia and China could make balanced moves in the Caribbean to tame the bullies, but may see no advantage in counterthreats. ..."
"... This will be followed by an attack on the two Republics, dead bodies everywhere, un indisputable reason to convince the Germans with to scrap Nord-2. ..."
"... I am wondering if this might be an advantage for Russia and other countries in the mid to long term, that their companies are forced to master all the complex technologies involved as fast as possible? Maybe they will even become competitors to their western equivalents? ..."
Apr 14, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jamesp , Apr 10 2021 14:58 utc | 1

First the Ukraine said it would use force to recover the renegade Donbass region as well as Crimea. It then moved heavy troops towards the contact lines. The ceasefire at the contact line was broken multiple times per day. Several Ukrainian soldiers died while attempting to remove a minefield in preparation of an attack.

It became clear that a war in Ukraine's east was likely to soon braek out. A successful war would help Ukraine's president Zelensky with the ever increasing domestic crises. A war would also give the U.S. more influence in Europe . The U.S. and NATO promised "unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty".

Russia gave several verbal warnings that any Ukrainian attack on the renegade provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk or Crimea would cause a serious Russian intervention. There was never a chance that the U.S. or NATO would intervene in such a war. But it was only after Russia started to move some of its troops around that sanity set in. It dawned on the Ukrainian leadership that the idea of waging war against a nuclear armed superpower was not a good one.

Late yesterday it suddenly decided to file for peace (machine translation):

The Armed Forces ruled out the use of force to "liberate" Donbass

KIEV, April 9 - RIA Novosti. "Liberation" of Donbass by force will lead to mass deaths of civilians and servicemen, and this is unacceptable for Kiev, said Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak.

"Being devoted to universal human values ​​and norms of international humanitarian law, our state puts the lives of its citizens in the first place," the General Staff's press center quoted him as saying.

According to Khomchak, the Ukrainian authorities consider the political and diplomatic way to resolve the situation in Donbass a priority. At the same time, he added that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are ready for an adequate response both to the escalation of the conflict and to "the complication of the military-political and military-strategic situation around the country."

Zelensky himself chipped in (machine translated):

Zelensky spoke for a truce in Donbass

MOSCOW, April 9 - RIA Novosti. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced the need for a new truce in Donbass after visiting the contact line.

The head of state wrote on Facebook that shooting at the front lines had become "a dangerous routine." "After several months of observing a complete and general ceasefire, we returned to the need to establish a truce," Zelensky said.

As the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak emphasized earlier, the use of force to "liberate" Donbass is unacceptable for Kiev, as it is fraught with casualties among the civilian population and military personnel. At the same time, last week he said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will strengthen the grouping of troops in the Donbass and in the Crimean direction - in response to the "build-up" of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine.

It seems that order has come from Washington to stand down - at least for now. U.S. reconnaissance flights near Russia's border continue . One should therefore consider that the sudden call for a renewed ceasefire might be a ruse.

But if it is not why was all of this allowed to happen in the first place?

Posted by b on April 10, 2021 at 14:44 UTC | Permalink

It would be so beneficial to Russia in so many ways to fix the Ukraine problem once and for all, that America is now backpedalling fast and hoping the Russians do not get their fix. They want this to continue to be a set of problems for Russia. Avoiding a war would be great for all, but if the West thinks they can resume this contentious scenario, they will find they are wrong. I am willing to bet that most common citizens of ukraine are sick of all this vitriol and tension, crashing economy, and other hardships. Maybe the majority will finally speak up and get their say.

JohninMK , Apr 12 2021 22:42 utc | 160

Stonebird @ 155

The new 2020/2024 Russia/Ukraine transit gas contract is 'pump or pay' in that Russia pays $7B over 5 years regardless of whether gas is shipped or not. So it doesn't matter if the volume drops. I am actually surprised that it has given the still harsh weather in Europe.

Meanwhile more figures are out on NS2 and it looks, given good weather, that both Fortuna and AC could finish pipe laying in both Danish and German waters by the end of May. So operational by the end as of year as stated by Gazprom looks on the cards, if not earlier.

andreweed , Apr 10 2021 15:04 utc | 2

"why was all of this allowed to happen in the first place?"

because this is what bullies do. and when they sense they are about to lose in a fight, they ask for peace.

Mao Cheng Ji , Apr 10 2021 15:25 utc | 5

Once again, the World is saved. Pure West-emitted Goodness stopped The Dark Lord Putin in his tracks.

Jackrabbit , Apr 10 2021 15:38 utc | 7

At the same time, last week he said that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will strengthen the grouping of troops in the Donbass and in the Crimean direction - in response to the "build-up" of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine.

If war is really unacceptable to Ukraine why aren't they pulling back their forces?

1) Because the "Russian aggression' propaganda must continue until Nord Stream 2 is terminated.

2) Because the threat of a war with NATO-supported Ukraine must be sustained to deter Russia in Idlib and elsewhere.

!!

Don , Apr 10 2021 15:42 utc | 8

@MapleLeaf

The only deterrent US ships provide is the type that Russia wants to avoid engaging the US directly for fear of an eventual nuclear exchange. Otherwise, those ships provide no challenge to their military capabilities.

I submit the ships are there to encourage Zelensky to take a risk thinking the US has his back. But it appears even he isn't this dumb and this whole thing is going to blow over as I predicted a week or two ago.

imo , Apr 10 2021 15:44 utc | 9

So, was it always about bluff, theater and optics? ... Or did they simply lose their will to die young? I guess Zelensky is a bad-joke comedian after all. He gets the local nazis off his neck (for a while) by being a bold bad-ass boy and passing ideological laws (far from reality); and then goes listen to the frontline generals as they explain the suicidal meaning of his comic bluster. Being an actor, it's all just a stage for a gig, it seems. So, now he tells his pet nazi thugs that Ruslan Khomchak has their phone numbers. Perhaps now that Phil-the-(UK)Greek has died the Nato biolabs will be working on the next 'Plan B' reincarnation-virus pandemic mix. Sputnik-V 2.0 better be ready soon.

bevin , Apr 10 2021 16:25 utc | 13

Maybe I missed it but there were elections in Ukraine last Sunday and
"The new Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of the Ukraine, elected on Sunday, will have an overwhelming national mandate to negotiate peace terms to end the five-year civil war.

"Sluha Narodu ("Servant of the People"), the party of President Volodymyr Zelensky, having won more than 43% of the votes countrywide, will now command majorities of both the party-list and the single-constituency seats in the new parliament; 253 seats altogether out of 422, or a "mono-coalition" as the party is calling the result, or as the hostile Ukrainian media term it, "a landslide [which] has never occurred in the contemporary history of Ukraine and it is more typical for post-Soviet Asian dictatorships..."

"...This beats earlier pollster predictions that Zelensky would be forced into a coalition with Holos ("The Voice"), a US-invented spoiler organization of Lvov region (Galicia) led by pop singer, Svyatoslav Vakarchuk. He ended up with less than 6% of the national votes, fewer than forecast. Holos has proved to be neither the voice of youth, nor an organization without oligarch support (it was backed by Victor Pinchuk), nor a political party at all.

"Polling better than predicted was the Donbass (Donetsk, Lugansk regions) party, Opposition Platform led by Victor Medvedchuk, which ended up with 13% nationally; 48% in Lugansk; 42% in Donetsk; 24% in Odessa; and 19% in Nikolaev. If the additional votes of the eastern Opposition Bloc of Boris Kolesnikov and Vadim Novinsky are counted with Medvedchuk's aggregate, together they have drawn majorities of 53% to 54%, putting Zelensky's party in the east in a minority.

"This is the first time democracy has defeated a US Government-installed putsch and junta in Europe since the election of Andreas Papandreou's Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) in 1982."

According to John Helmer "President Volodomyr Zelensky (right) is suffering from memory failure, mood swings, and other neurological disorders after his hospitalisation for Covid-19 five months ago..." The obvious theory is that Zelensky was playing for time while giving the ultra fascists and their Canadian sponsors free rein until the elections gave the Ukrainian people- powerless political flotsam and jetsam, tossed around by Ottawa Nazis, Anglo imperialism and a corrupt oligarchy which has been robbing everyone in sight, blind since time immemorial a chance to indicate that it would be an extremely dumb move to attack Russia. Amongst other reasons, because the average Ukrainian would very likely side with the Russians against their ancient persecutors the Poles and Balts.

For Helmer:
http://johnhelmer.net/reminder-of-july-21-2019-for-democrats-suffering-acute-memory-failure/#more-46171

psychohistorian , Apr 10 2021 16:25 utc | 14

b wrote
"
It seems that order has come from Washington to stand down - at least for now. U.S. reconnaissance flights near Russia's border continue. One should therefore consider that the sudden call for a renewed ceasefire might be a ruse.

But if it is not why was all of this allowed to happen in the first place?
"

Good question. It fits with the characterization of late empire flailing at trying to exert/maintain control over global narratives. Empire keeps hoping that Russia and China back down because they have no other options than bullying. This is just the latest example of the bully being faced up to.....thank you Mr. Putin!....we just hope the bully goes down without taking all the rest of us with it.

Steve , Apr 10 2021 16:44 utc | 16

I suspect that the US and its NATO lapdogs are playing a distraction game. And I think that the Russian government knows this; but also realizes that the Western nations are cirrently in the grips of madcap rulers. Thus Russia is not taking any chance. One can bet that, as the whole empire crashes, it would like to bring down as much of humanity down with it as it can. The future of the earth is not bright.

AriusArmenian , Apr 10 2021 16:58 utc | 19
If Ukraine doesn't start their self-destruction by launching war before end of June then I will believe the danger has passed this year and only because the crazies in the US are hesitating to push the final button.
JohnH , Apr 10 2021 16:59 utc | 20
Meanwhile the New York Times, which always claims to know everything about Russian intentions, is left clueless!
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/09/world/europe/russia-ukraine-war-troops-intervention.html
vk , Apr 10 2021 17:05 utc | 22
But if it is not why was all of this allowed to happen in the first place?

The only plausible explanation is that time isn't in favor of the Ukraine (and maybe the USA). Time is running up.

We should stop seeing capitalism as this unmovable, eternal and indestructible system, and the USA as this eternal and indestructible empire with endless resources. Both presuppositions are entirely false: capitalism and the USA are historically specific phenomena, and they will - 100% certainty - collapse and disappear eventually.

In politics, time is always relative. You know you won't last forever, but you know you don't need to: you just need to last longer than your political enemy. The fact that USA outlived the USSR gave it almost 17 years of incontestable supremacy, even though, analyzing the numbers, we know that the economic apex of the American Empire (its "golden age") was between Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson. The absence of its geopolitical rival resulted in the fact that the American Empire reached its pinnacle during Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, not at the time its people was the most happy, during 1945-1969.

But geopolitical apex doesn't always translate automatically to economic apex. The USA also suffered a lot with the Oil Crisis of 1974, after which it quickly started to financialize and deindustrialize, in a process that was best symbolized by the Nixon Reforms (the creation of the Petrodollar in 1971 with the secret talks with the Saudi royal family and the deal with China in 1972). This crisis was masked solely by the fact that the USSR suffered even more with the Oil Crisis than the USA, resulting into a relative ascension. This relative ascension can be verified by the fact that Ronald Reagan was the most popular POTUS of the post-war USA: his reign was, by all economic metrics, a monumental failure, but it was during his watch that the USSR started to collapse.

Signs of cracks in the USA were already evident when George H. W. Bush wasn't re-elected because of a tax revolt by the electorate. During Bill Clinton, the American Empire gained a lot of breathing space thanks to the absorption of the vital space left by the ex-USSR countries, which were ransacked by the American and, to a lesser extent, German, capitalists (Victoria Nuland's husband, for example, got extremely rich with the privatization of the communications services in ex-Yugoslavia, hence her particular interest in Eastern Europe affairs). But even during Bill Clinton we could already see some dark clouds, e.g. the infamous "twin deficits" increase. Bill Clinton also governed long enough to see the crisis of the Asian Tigers (1997) and the Dotcom Crisis (2000). The dark clouds that would result in the storm of September 2008 were already there, gathering.

Analyzing the economic data, we can clearly see that the USSR wasn't the only one in an age of stagnation: since 1990, only China and SE Asia genuinely grew. If the 21st Century is to be consolidated as the "Asian Century", then a historian of the 22nd Century will have to go back to that year (or even earlier, to the mid-1980s) to try to understand the Asian rise. Growth elsewhere (when it happened) was either vegetative or fruit of a relocation (i.e. rise in inequality, bankruptcy of some sectors in favor of others) of wealth. During the 2000s, almost all the economic growth can be exclusively traced back to China (Russia's and Brazil's commodity booms, SE Asia's continued dynamism due to China's outsourcing or financing of American debt).

The 2008 crisis ended Neoliberalism as a hegemonic ideology. Today's world is still very much neoliberal, but only because the global elites don't know what to do and, either way, it's being implemented in a very distorted way, very far from its ideological purity of the 1990s. No one takes neoliberalism seriously anymore, even among the high echelons of the economics priesthood. Some remnants of neoliberal thought are still alive in the form of some living fossils in Latin America, but its end if fait accompli.

It is in this world that the Ukraine chose to align with the American Empire. To put it simply, it chose the wrong side at the wrong time: it chose the West in an era that's shifting to the East. The euphoria of the fall of socialism masked the degeneration of capitalism that was started at the same time and it particularly impacted the Warsaw Pact (Comecon) and the Western ex-USSR nations.

The Ukraine debacle has two aspects. First of all: the Maidan color revolutionaries clearly envisioned a neonazi, pro-Western Ukraine in its territorial integrity, i.e. with Crimea, Luhansk and Donbas. They didn't see the pro-Russians being well-organized enough to be able to quickly fall back to Russia (Crimea being the most spectacular case, rapidly organizing a referendum and fully integrating with Russia). Those losses are big: without Crimea, Ukraine essentially lost any significant Black Sea influence, and without Donbas + Luhansk, it practically lost all its industry and economy. Donbas specifically was a huge blow to the Ukrainians: since the Tsarist era, it was the most industrialized and advanced region of the Russian Empire (even more than Moscow and St. Petersburg) and it continued to be so during the Soviet Era - three of the main Soviet General-Secretaries of the post-war era came from the region (Krushchev, Brezhnev and Gorbachev).

Secondly, Ukraine, by choosing capitalism, has put itself withing the capitalist metabolic clock. The era of the Marshall Plan is gone. The USA needs wealth and it needs now. It will have to pay tributes to its new metropolis, and the price is high. The USA will settle for nothing less than the entire Ukraine - including the rich regions of the Donbas basin, plus the Crimea (over which its powerful Navy will be able to project into Russian territory). It also won't settle for anything less than a fully NATO-integrated, IMF-controlled Ukraine. That's the price for a full accession to the capitalist club post-2008.

In this sense, Ukraine's time is very short, as it is sucking the IMF dry (financial black hole) and it will collapse soon. The patience of the Empire is short and is getting shorter. As is common with capitalist societies, the Ukraine is also starting to devour itself as it collapses with the lack of vital space: the liberal elites governing it are having to ask themselves how can they get out of this mess without being murdered by the neonazi base that sustains it; at this point, they're more worried about avoiding another Night of the Long Knives than in reconquering the Donbas and Crimea.

The only good aspect I see in the dissolution and extinction of the Ukraine is that it can finally put to rest the myth that Nazism is a brutal, but highly efficient, "system": there's not such a thing - and never was - as a "Nazi system". Germany already was the second industrial superpower by the time Hitler rose to power; he never elaborated any kind of economic theory or even policy, instead delegating it to the already existing (Weimarian) industrial elite. Hitler was just a very powerful cheerleader who dreamed in being an epic movie. There was never such a thing called "national socialism" - it was just the name of the Bavarian party that already existed when Hitler crossed the border; it was by mere chance of destiny that he came from Austria (Southern border) and not Denmark (Northern border), France/Alsace-Lorraine (Western border) or Poland-Sudentenland (Eastern border). Nazism is not a system, it is just crazy liberalism, and I hope the white supremacists and traditionalists in the West take note of that - if they don't want to be crushed.

MarkU , Apr 10 2021 17:28 utc | 27 Prof , Apr 10 2021 17:33 utc | 28
VK
The Oil Shock only added to the 1973-75 recession. The Oil Shock was political in nature, and somewhat coordinated with the USG itself. The deeper causes of the early 70s economic crisis, and of the end of Bretton Woods, was declining profitability across all advanced capitalist states. See Robert Brenner's book, The Economics of Global Turbulence.
oldhippie , Apr 10 2021 17:35 utc | 29

It is more than 24 hours since the initial announcement of a stand down and it would be nice to see some confirmation. Troops withdrawing would be confirmation. If it is happening in is not reported. What we get tends to be like the NYT item cited by John H @ 20. Nothing in that article but fantasy and delusion. The ongoing narrative crowds out facts until nothing is left. No one is as bad as NYT, still it is hard to trust anything we read.

Keeping an army in the field indefinitely is difficult. At minimum the troops must be fed and must be kept busy. Does Ukraine have the wherewithal to do that? I tend to doubt that, and yes, I am speculating. We will find out much later how bad desertion has been. We will find out much later how the hodgepodge of conscripts, mercs, Special Forces, and NATO got along. Reporting from 2014 had it that 600 NATO of every flavor were captured in the Debaltsevo cauldron. If you believe that. I can't see how Ukraine musters and fields another army after this if it is in fact over. More likely future armies will resemble what US manipulates in Syria -- Turks, Uighurs, jihadis from whole planet, mercs.

Domestic politics in Uke have to be crazy. No one can possibly know what is happening except the US Embassy. And they have their brains fogged by a lifetime of NYT fiction. No good locals for them to work with. If there was anyone good we would have seen them by now.

El Cid , Apr 10 2021 17:49 utc | 32

One must be awestruck with the talent the neo cons have for nation destruction. What they created in Ukraine is a virtual post nuclear war. Neither the EU or Russia want this basket-case-failed-Nazi state. Like the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, it has fortified its enemy whom it intended to weaken. Now, Putin has a Hezbollah type ally in the Donetsk and Lugansk region, and it has Russian Crimean back to the Motherland.

jayc , Apr 10 2021 18:02 utc | 34

Rick Rozoff, writing for the Antiwar website, has taken note of other activity - not least next week's scheduled appearances at NATO hdq of both the US Sec State and US Defence sec with Ukraine discussions on agenda.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-04-09/blinken-is-set-to-return-to-brussels-for-more-nato-meetings

Rozoff also notes that the CC of Ukraine armed forces continues with bluster about Ukraine's "territorial integrity" and invoking NATo Article 5.
https://news.antiwar.com/2021/04/09/ukraines-top-commander-invokes-natos-article-5-military-assistance-clause-as-west-continues-to-oversee-ukraines-war-in-the-donbass/

Sam F , Apr 10 2021 18:10 utc | 35

Nuland et al may be trying to show themselves loyal agents of Israel, testing whether Russia can be distracted from Syria, or pretending to raise the cost of NS2. Russia and China could make balanced moves in the Caribbean to tame the bullies, but may see no advantage in counterthreats.

Such an utter humiliation of the US to pursue such foolish and racist FP, admitting its complete control by money power in all federal branches and mass media.

dadooronron , Apr 10 2021 18:21 utc | 36

As others here suggest, it's possible to read this as a success for the neocons. Ukrainian gov't troop movements set off Russian troop movements, which are then portrayed as aggressive, justifying whatever. It is very hard to believe that they seriously contemplated an attack on Russia's doorstep, or in its antechamber. But the question remains as to how far Zelensky's can has been kicked down the road.

Baron , Apr 11 2021 9:00 utc | 108

It's a trap, the calls for peace, new negotiations and stuff, it's to create the impression that the West and Ukraine are the good boys.

The next stage will be a heap of accusations that Russia is breaking the peace, makes threatening moves, is poised to take over rUkraine.

This will be followed by an attack on the two Republics, dead bodies everywhere, un indisputable reason to convince the Germans with to scrap Nord-2.

Martin , Apr 11 2021 11:07 utc | 114

After foreign pressure, several western companies abandoned building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. For example, the pipes are now laid by the Russian ship Fortuna instead of a Swiss one ( https://www.unz.com/pescobar/ukraine-redux-war-russophobia-and-pipelineistan/).

I am wondering if this might be an advantage for Russia and other countries in the mid to long term, that their companies are forced to master all the complex technologies involved as fast as possible? Maybe they will even become competitors to their western equivalents?

Usually, when governments decide about big industry projects, they demand that their national companies get some orders to profit from the project. Now, it seems reversed. The German government is still not openly against Nord Stream 2, but it has to be finished without some of the companies originally involved.

[Apr 11, 2021] Reject Nord Stream 2 Once and for All

Apr 11, 2021 | www.wsj.com

William Wahl SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago

Just put Hunter on it. He'll fix this right up.
RODNEY SMITH SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago
Where does Burisma stand on the issue? Will be Biden's brief.

[Apr 11, 2021] Reject Nord Stream 2 Once and for All - WSJ by Oleksii Reznikov April 8, 2021 6:37 pm ET
A pipe bearing the Nord Stream 2 logo at a plant in Chelyabinsk, Russia, Feb. 26, 2020. PHOTO: MAXIM SHEMETOV/REUTERS
Listen to this article 5 minutes 00:00 / 05:07 1x Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma found himself in the company of a political titan, France's President François Mitterrand, on a gloomy day in December 1994. "Young man, you will be tricked, one way or another," Mitterrand told Mr. Kuchma, who was then the leader of a newly independent nation. Unsettled as he felt, Mr. Kuchma accepted the security assurances of the U.S., U.K. and Russia and signed the Budapest Memorandum. In exchange, Ukraine gave up its nuclear arsenal, then the third-largest in the world. Little did we know that two decades later one of the signatories -- Russia -- would attack Ukraine and occupy its sovereign territory. Now, after many years of wooing and cajoling, Russia's attitude toward Ukraine is again growing belligerent. The Minsk process to resolve the conflict is stalled, and foreign troops have yet to leave the Donbas, the Ukrainian region where fighting rages on. Despite the supposed cessation of hostilities agreed to in September 2014, when the Minsk protocol was signed, little progress has been made. Ukrainians therefore are bewildered by the continuing construction of the Baltic Sea pipeline, known as Nord Stream 2. Unlike the attack on Crimea, which came as a surprise, the pipeline's completion will have entirely predictable consequences for our national security. Ukraine will be irreparably weakened as soon as Russia has a new direct gas link to Germany. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma found himself in the company of a political titan, France's President François Mitterrand, on a gloomy day in December 1994. "Young man, you will be tricked, one way or another," Mitterrand told Mr. Kuchma, who was then the leader of a newly independent nation. Unsettled as he felt, Mr. Kuchma accepted the security assurances of the U.S., U.K. and Russia and signed the Budapest Memorandum. In exchange, Ukraine gave up its nuclear arsenal, then the third-largest in the world. Little did we know that two decades later one of the signatories -- Russia -- would attack Ukraine and occupy its sovereign territory. Now, after many years of wooing and cajoling, Russia's attitude toward Ukraine is again growing belligerent. The Minsk process to resolve the conflict is stalled, and foreign troops have yet to leave the Donbas, the Ukrainian region where fighting rages on. Despite the supposed cessation of hostilities agreed to in September 2014, when the Minsk protocol was signed, little progress has been made. Ukrainians therefore are bewildered by the continuing construction of the Baltic Sea pipeline, known as Nord Stream 2. Unlike the attack on Crimea, which came as a surprise, the pipeline's completion will have entirely predictable consequences for our national security. Ukraine will be irreparably weakened as soon as Russia has a new direct gas link to Germany. Now, after many years of wooing and cajoling, Russia's attitude toward Ukraine is again growing belligerent. The Minsk process to resolve the conflict is stalled, and foreign troops have yet to leave the Donbas, the Ukrainian region where fighting rages on. Despite the supposed cessation of hostilities agreed to in September 2014, when the Minsk protocol was signed, little progress has been made. Ukrainians therefore are bewildered by the continuing construction of the Baltic Sea pipeline, known as Nord Stream 2. Unlike the attack on Crimea, which came as a surprise, the pipeline's completion will have entirely predictable consequences for our national security. Ukraine will be irreparably weakened as soon as Russia has a new direct gas link to Germany. Now, after many years of wooing and cajoling, Russia's attitude toward Ukraine is again growing belligerent. The Minsk process to resolve the conflict is stalled, and foreign troops have yet to leave the Donbas, the Ukrainian region where fighting rages on. Despite the supposed cessation of hostilities agreed to in September 2014, when the Minsk protocol was signed, little progress has been made. Ukrainians therefore are bewildered by the continuing construction of the Baltic Sea pipeline, known as Nord Stream 2. Unlike the attack on Crimea, which came as a surprise, the pipeline's completion will have entirely predictable consequences for our national security. Ukraine will be irreparably weakened as soon as Russia has a new direct gas link to Germany. Ukrainians therefore are bewildered by the continuing construction of the Baltic Sea pipeline, known as Nord Stream 2. Unlike the attack on Crimea, which came as a surprise, the pipeline's completion will have entirely predictable consequences for our national security. Ukraine will be irreparably weakened as soon as Russia has a new direct gas link to Germany. Ukrainians therefore are bewildered by the continuing construction of the Baltic Sea pipeline, known as Nord Stream 2. Unlike the attack on Crimea, which came as a surprise, the pipeline's completion will have entirely predictable consequences for our national security. Ukraine will be irreparably weakened as soon as Russia has a new direct gas link to Germany. With the Nord Stream 1 and Turk Stream pipelines already operational, Nord Stream 2 will complete the encirclement of Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states, decoupling our energy security from Western Europe. Russia has tried to bully Ukraine by threatening gas cutoffs, most recently in June 2014. But Moscow has always had to be careful -- a large percentage of Russia's gas reaches Europe through Ukraine. If Nord Stream 2 is built, this consideration will be null and void. With the Nord Stream 1 and Turk Stream pipelines already operational, Nord Stream 2 will complete the encirclement of Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states, decoupling our energy security from Western Europe. Russia has tried to bully Ukraine by threatening gas cutoffs, most recently in June 2014. But Moscow has always had to be careful -- a large percentage of Russia's gas reaches Europe through Ukraine. If Nord Stream 2 is built, this consideration will be null and void. me title=
NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP

Opinion: Morning Editorial Report
Apr 11, 2021 | www.wsj.com

All the day's Opinion headlines. PREVIEW SUBSCRIBE


The Kremlin has demonstrated time and again its willingness to use energy trade to advance its geopolitical ambitions. It would be unwise, if not reckless, for Europe to increase its dependence on Gazprom , Russia's state-owned energy company, and give Moscow direct control over which countries are supplied with gas and which can be cut off.

The current contract between Gazprom and Ukraine's gas-transit operator guarantees the flow of westward exports via Ukraine until the end of 2024. But make no mistake: The day Nord Stream 2 is completed, that promise will be worthless. Even if some transit through Ukraine persists, Ukraine will be subject to the Kremlin's whims.

The fighting in the Donbas, where Russia operates through its proxies, mercenaries and even regular troops, has continued unabated for more than seven years. The gas pipeline has been spared from shelling -- Russia needs uninterrupted gas flows through Ukraine as much as we do. This mutual dependence is a deterrent that Nord Stream 2 will remove.

Ukraine is grateful to the U.S. Congress, which recognized the true nature of this pipeline project, and the European Parliament, which voted 10-to-1 on Jan. 21 to demand a halt to construction with a resolution on the arrest of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny in Moscow.

Germany and Europe already have access to a massive gas-transit network spanning the Black and Baltic seas, Belarus and Ukraine. The existing capacity is more than 50% higher than current consumption of Russian gas in the European Union. Even if the demand increases as Germany is working to phase out nuclear and coal power generation, there is no commercial need for another pipeline.

While Germany has little to gain, Ukraine stands to lose billions of dollars in transit revenue if the second Baltic Sea gas link is built -- a fact that Nord Stream 2 apologists often present as the only basis for Ukrainian opposition. The economic effect will be significant, but the claim is deliberately misleading. Ukrainian soldiers will be putting their lives on the line if Russia decides to escalate the conflict in the Donbas after it no longer needs to consider the effect on gas exports.

Ukraine understands the need to strengthen the trans-Atlantic alliance and the desire to find a solution that works for both Washington and Berlin. It is, however, incumbent on the Kremlin first to demonstrate respect for international law. The ball is in Moscow's court. It can and should end hostilities in the Donbas region, withdraw its troops from the Crimean Peninsula and restore Ukrainian sovereignty.

me title=

President Biden was right to call the pipeline "a bad deal for Europe." As the project inches closer to completion, Ukrainians can't help but recall Mitterrand's words from nearly 30 years ago. Ukraine was tricked, just as the French president predicted. Let us not repeat history but learn from it. We must come together and reject Nord Stream 2 once and for all.

Mr. Reznikov is Ukraine's deputy prime minister for reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories. V


V Lee SUBSCRIBER 1 day ago

The Ukrainian kleptocracy will see their cut shrink or disappear when gas will start flowing via Nord Stream 2. Not "a bad deal for Europe" just for Ukraine.
A Koster SUBSCRIBER 17 hours ago
Did i mention Turkey's role in Syria ?

It's interesting that everyone conveniently fails "to mention the role that gas line geopolitics played in the "fallout" between Erdogan and Assad; as soon as Assad vetoed the Qatar-Turkey pipeline that would have brought massive wealth to his family's energy transshipment business (BMZ Ltd), Assad instead signing on to the Iran-Iraq-Syria "Friendship Pipeline", the friendship was ended and the war on Assad commenced"

A Koster SUBSCRIBER 1 day ago
This article is about one thing.. absolutely nothing to do with a risk to Ukraine's national security

'Ukraine stands to lose billions of dollars in transit revenue if the second Baltic Sea gas link is built"

And Turkey is in there like a dirty shirt.. see "Russia Warns of Full-Scale War in Eastern Ukraine, Blames Kyiv".. like it was with Azerbaijan as they slaughtered thousands of Christians in Armenia.. and all for the first find in the Caspian Sea by Azerbaijan since Russia's breakup.. HINT: they wanted.. not needed.. a direct route west for a pipeline from Azerbaijan to Turkey.. which they got in a Russia brokered peace deal

So i guess congratulations are in order to Biden's NATO as they loyally keep working on enlarging the EU and keeping the oil baron families of Erdogan and Alyiev filthy rich

James Schumaker SUBSCRIBER 1 hour ago
I suggest you look up the Budapest Memorandum. The U.S. gave no guarantees. Like Russia, it gave assurances. I also suggest you stop falling for pro-Trump talking points and look at what Trump actually did with regard to Ukraine. He tried to extort its President into digging up dirt on his main political opponent by threatening to withdraw military aid. That's what he was impeached for -- the first time.
RODNEY SMITH SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago
Where does Burisma stand on the issue? Will be Biden's brief.
Jens Praestgaard SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago
Otto von Bismarck's maxim for the newly formed German state was to always keep cordial relations with Russia. NordStream 2 is a step towards normalization of the German/Russian relationship after 120 years of failure.
Jim Mcdonnell SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago
Bismarck's policy made sense in 19th Century Europe, and had Kaiser Wilhelm II not scuttled it we would be living in a very different world. But he did scuttle it, and the world has changed - largely in ways Bismarck sought to prevent - a great deal, as has Europe.
Heiko Muhr SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago
Bismarck's thoughts about Germany's geopolitical situation are still relevant today. He argued that the map that matters for German politicians is the map of Europe [and since 1945 that frame has been enlarged, has included the US and Canada]. That Germany needed to pay particular attention to relationships with its neighbors. That the country was to small to dominate Europe, and should rely on a system of stable alliances to ensure stability, Ukraine and Russia are neighbors, Bismarck would have seen relationships with both countries as relevant. Communication channels need to be kept open, those relationships need to be managed. One neighbor, Russia, is an authoritarian state and since 2014 more openly aggressive. It needs to be contained and challenged. The US has not been a reliable partner in doing that in the last 4 years under Trump. That might change under a Biden, but will he be able to make and lock in the appropriate policy decisions? We'll see.
John Bute SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago
Germany has made a terrible strategic mistake by abandoning nuclear power to become more and more dependent on Russian natural gas. France gets 70% of its electricity from nuclear power and about 10% from fossil fuel. Only moderate increases in hydro power and renewable energy will make it fossil fuel independent.
Heiko Muhr SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago
German voters make their own decisions about climate change and definitely don't look for US advice. Power plants burning coal and producing nuclear energy are coming off the grid. Natural gas will continue to be important in that mix for quite some time. The Green Party's power is growing. It successfully expanded its electoral base in 2 state elections this spring with broad support from middle class voters. After all, environmentalism is a full belly movement. The Greens will challenge the German Conservatives, Merkel's Christian Democrats, in September at the ballot box in national elections and other state elections. And Merkel will not be on the ballot. Her CDU, which has been consistently the most pro-American party in Europe, finds that pro-American stance is now a big liability. 4 years of the Trump regime. which treated Germans as clients, changed the political landscape. Fewer Germans see the US is as a reliable partner, and that is now true even in Merkel's party.
SCOTT CORE SUBSCRIBER 1 day ago
Germany may view the US as an unreliable partner but they still rely on the US for economic and military protection. Perhaps Germans have replaced the US with NATO in their minds and ignored the fact that the US is the majority of NATO. Where Russia to threaten Germany where do you think Germany would turn? France? UK? China?
So Germans are free to trash Trump for asking them to provide a modicum of their own protection but in the end they will look to the US should they be threatened either economically by a cutoff of gas from Russia or a military threat from Russia.
Heiko Muhr SUBSCRIBER 20 hours ago
Look at Gallup polling data or the Pew Research Center's data in its Global attitudes program. In many countries Trump ranked even below Xi or Putin. He was perceived as the bigger threat--unstable, angry, without a strategic vision, just a ventilator of his emotions, a middle schooler craving attention, a clown. Yet he made these huge claims, all lies, that the US was respected and listened to. The polling data tells us otherwise. Trump's lying and the hubris that fell from these lies, that is unprecedented.
And now; THE LOSER. The Mouse-of-Mar-a-Lago. But, the Republican Party still follows him.. The man will be remembered as the worst president the US ever had, ranking even below the corrupt Harding and the imbecile Buchanan. The lowest of the low. And as THE LIAR [-->Trump should register that as a trademark]. History books won't be kind to him and the suckers that still gobble up his lies even now after the putsch or whatever you want to call the Capitol "riot." Barnum was right!
michael ring SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago
England and France have their own nuclear deterrents. Europeans just want cheap steady supply of energy. Russia is in the Middle East because Hillary and Obama destroyed Syria and Libya. Bush put us in Iraq and Afghanistan for 20 years! Trump started the withdrawal. Let's hope sleepy preacher Biden continues it.
Heiko Muhr SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago
A little reality check: At the very moment when Washington supposedly champions energy independence and warns European allies against becoming too dependent on Moscow, American refineries are buying more Russian oil than ever before.
Check out the article by Javier Blas on the Bloomberg News site, published Mar. 24, 2021: "U.S. Thirst for Russian Oil Hits Record High Despite Tough Talk."
David Thomson SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago
Puerto Rico buys Russian LNG because there are no American-built LNG tankers. Thanks to the Jones Act, we can't ship LNG from Texas to PR.
Eugene Boutz SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago (Edited)
Ukraine is composed of three *identities* which have nothing in common and want nothing in common.

There are the Russian speakers in the East and along the Black Sea, the people surrounding Lviv in the West which want to be European and the denizens of Kiev who tend to favor the values and views of the Chancellor of Germany in the '30s.

Ukraine already has a tripartite schism and is most likely headed for a tripartite split once the Russian Federation, having had its absolute fill of Kiev's games, obtains Beijing approbation to bring the matter to a conclusion with weaponry of which Kiev can only dream.

The United States is not going to fight a nuclear war with Russia over the interests of the Kiev faction nor does Germany want it to.

Nor do I.

Nor do you.

Heiko Muhr SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago (Edited)
The Germans are not going to cave. They will finish the pipeline. It is now 96 % built. The West Europeans started importing Russian gas more than 40 years ago. Ronald Reagan failed when he tried to stick it to the Germans with sanctions. And so will Cancun Ted. The old pipeline system that runs through Ukraine has been reverse-engineered with EU funds about a decade ago. Ukraine has already been reliably supplied from the West when the Russians cut supplies. The talking points in this piece are based on Cancun Ted's hallucinations, and not the facts on the ground. For a factual analysis see Eugene Rumer's long piece published today in Defense News "Punishing Germany for Nord Stream 2 does nothing to stop Putin." Rumer is the director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He previously worked as a national intelligence officer on Russia and Eurasia for the U.S. National Intelligence Council. He actually knows what he is talking about.
William Wahl SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago
Just put Hunter on it. He'll fix this right up.
michael ring SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago
Biden has been on the wrong side of every foreign policy decision in his entire career in Washington. Mitterrrand was a bureaucrat who started his rise in vischy France. Ukraine is in a tough spot. So is Russia. They have been fighting for 7 years. Body counts go up,citizens do not like it. Russia will not sacrifice one pipeline for another. Ukraine and Russia can agree to no NATO troops on their border and tensions will go down.
bruce miller SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago
And who talked Ukraine into giving up their nukes? Well we did. Or rather, Slick and his pals did. Bet the Ukrainians wish they'd kept a bunch. Just for old time's sake.
michael ring SUBSCRIBER 2 days ago
What bargaining power would they be?No person or government in their right mind would use them. This is about land grabbing.

[Apr 09, 2021] Is Ukraine just a tool in the US hands to shut down Nordstream?

Apr 09, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

vic and blood

GreatCaesar'sGhost called it: Ukraine is a tool to shut down Nordstream. Ukraine will push until Russia does something, then Germany shuts down Nordstream, shooting themselves in the foot.

Puppyteethofdeath 1 hour ago

There's always the chance that election fraud will bring the Green Party to rise in Germany also.

They'll gladly get rid of Nordstream 2 and destroy the German economy.

[Apr 09, 2021] Behind the fog of war, though, a clear scenario emerges: the deep state/NATO combo using Kiev to start a war as a Hail Mary pass to ultimately bury NS2, and thus German-Russian relations.

Apr 09, 2021 | www.unz.com

Originally from: Ukraine redux, by Pepe Escobar - The Unz Review

Ukraine and Russia may be on the brink of war – with dire consequences for the whole of Eurasia. Let's cut to the chase, and plunge head-on into the fog of war.

On March 24, Ukrainian President Zelensky, for all practical purposes, signed a declaration of war against Russia, via decree No. 117/2021.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a joint press conference with European Council President in Kiev on March 3, 2021. Photo: AFP / Sergey Dolzhenko

The decree establishes that retaking Crimea from Russia is now Kiev's official policy. That's exactly what prompted an array of Ukrainian battle tanks to be shipped east on flatbed rail cars, following the saturation of the Ukrainian army by the US with military equipment including unmanned aerial vehicles, electronic warfare systems, anti-tank systems and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS).

More crucially, the Zelensky decree is the proof any subsequent war will have been prompted by Kiev, debunking the proverbial claims of "Russian aggression." Crimea, since the referendum of March 2014, is part of the Russian Federation.

It was this (italics mine) de facto declaration of war, which Moscow took very seriously, that prompted the deployment of extra Russian forces to Crimea and closer to the Russian border with Donbass. Significantly, these include the crack 76 th Guards Air Assault Brigade, known as the Pskov paratroopers and, according to an intel report quoted to me, capable of taking Ukraine in only six hours.

It certainly does not help that in early April US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, fresh from his former position as a board member of missile manufacturer Raytheon, called Zelensky to promise "unwavering US support for Ukraine's sovereignty." That ties in with Moscow's interpretation that Zelensky would never have signed his decree without a green light from Washington.

On March 8, 2021, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks during observance of International Women's Day in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. Photo: AFP / Mandel Ngan

Controlling the narrative

Sevastopol, already when I visited in December 2018 , is one of the most heavily defended places on the planet, impervious even to a NATO attack. In his decree, Zelensky specifically identifies Sevastopol as a prime target.

Once again, we're back to 2014 post-Maidan unfinished business.

To contain Russia, the US deep state/NATO combo needs to control the Black Sea – which, for all practical purposes, is now a Russian lake. And to control the Black Sea, they need to "neutralize" Crimea.

If any extra proof was necessary, it was provided by Zelensky himself on Tuesday this week in a phone call with NATO secretary-general and docile puppet Jens Stoltenberg.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference at the end of a NATO Foreign Ministers' meeting at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels on March 24, 2021. Photo: AFP / Olivier Hoslet

Zelensky uttered the key phrase: "NATO is the only way to end the war in Donbass" – which means, in practice, NATO expanding its "presence" in the Black Sea. "Such a permanent presence should be a powerful deterrent to Russia, which continues the large-scale militarization of the region and hinders merchant shipping."

All of these crucial developments are and will continue to be invisible to global public opinion when it comes to the predominant, hegemon-controlled narrative.

The deep state/NATO combo is imprinting 24/7 that whatever happens next is due to "Russian aggression." Even if the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) launch a blitzkrieg against the Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republics. (To do so against Sevastopol in Crimea would be certified mass suicide).

In the United States, Ron Paul has been one of the very few voices to state the obvious: "According to the media branch of the US military-industrial-congressional-media complex, Russian troop movements are not a response to clear threats from a neighbor, but instead are just more 'Russian aggression.'"

What's implied is that Washington/Brussels don't have a clear tactical, much less strategic game plan: only total narrative control.

And that is fueled by rabid Russophobia – masterfully deconstructed by the indispensable Andrei Martyanov, one of the world's top military analysts.

A possibly hopeful sign is that on March 31, the chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, General Valery Gerasimov, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, talked on the phone about the proverbial "issues of mutual interest."

Days later, a Franco-German statement came out, calling on "all parties" to de-escalate. Merkel and Macron seem to have gotten the message in their videoconference with Putin – who must have subtly alluded to the effect generated by Kalibrs, Kinzhals and assorted hypersonic weapons if the going gets tough and the Europeans sanction a Kiev blitzkrieg.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks as German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on after a German-French Security Council video conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on February 5, 2021. Photo: AFP / Thibault Camus

The problem is Merkel and Macron don't control NATO. Yet Merkel and Macron at least are fully aware that if the US/NATO combo attacks Russian forces or Russian passport holders who live in Donbass, the devastating response will target the command centers that coordinated the attacks.

What does the hegemon want?

As part of his current Energizer bunny act, Zelensky made an extra eyebrow-raising move. This past Monday, he visited Qatar with a lofty delegation and clinched a raft of deals , not circumscribed to LNG but also including direct Kiev-Doha flights; Doha leasing or buying a Black Sea port; and strong "defense/military ties" – which could be a lovely euphemism for a possible transfer of jihadis from Libya and Syria to fight Russian infidels in Donbass.

Right on cue, Zelensly meets Turkey's Erdogan next Monday. Erdogan's intel services run the jihadi proxies in Idlib, and dodgy Qatari funds are still part of the picture. Arguably, the Turks are already transferring those "moderate rebels" to Ukraine. Russian intel is meticulously monitoring all this activity.

A series of informed discussions – see, for instance, here and here – is converging on what may be the top three targets for the hegemon amid all this mess, short of war: to provoke an irreparable fissure between Russia and the EU, under NATO auspices; to crash the Nord Steam 2 pipeline; and to boost profits in the weapons business for the military-industral complex.

So the key question then is whether Moscow would be able to apply a Sun Tzu move short of being lured into a hot war in the Donbass.

On the ground, the outlook is grim. Denis Pushilin, one of the top leaders of the Lugansk and Donetsk people's republics, has stated that the chances of avoiding war are "extremely small." Serbian sniper Dejan Beric – whom I met in Donetsk in 2015 and who is a certified expert on the ground – expects a Kiev attack in early May .

The extremely controversial Igor Strelkov, who may be termed an exponent of "orthodox socialism," a sharp critic of the Kremlin's policies who is one of the very few warlords who survived after 2014, has unequivocally stated that the only chance for peace is for the Russian army to control Ukrainian territory at least up to the Dnieper river. He stresses that a war in April is "very likely"; for Russia war "now" is better than war later; and there's a 99% possibility that Washington will not fight for Ukraine.

On this last item at least Strelkov has a point; Washington and NATO want a war fought to the last Ukrainian.

Rostislav Ischenko, the top Russian analyst of Ukraine whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Moscow in late 2018, persuasively argues that, "the overall diplomatic, military, political, financial and economic situation powerfully requires the Kiev authorities to intensify combat operations in Donbass.

"By the way," Ischenko added, "the Americans do not give a damn whether Ukraine will hold out for any time or whether it will be blown to pieces in an instant. They believe they stand to gain from either outcome."

Gotta defend Europe

Let's assume the worst in Donbass. Kiev launches its blitzkrieg. Russian intel documents everything. Moscow instantly announces it is using the full authority conferred by the UNSC to enforce the Minsk 2 ceasefire.

In what would be a matter of 8 hours or a maximum 48 hours, Russian forces smash the whole blitzkrieg apparatus to smithereens and send the Ukrainians back to their sandbox, which is approximately 75km north of the established contact zone.

In the Black Sea, incidentally, there's no contact zone. This means Russia may send out all its advanced subs plus the surface fleet anywhere around the "Russian lake": They are already deployed anyway.

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on as Novator Design Bureau director-general Farid Abdrakhmanov and Deputy Defense Minister Alexei Krivoruchko shake hands during a signing ceremony for government contracts in Alabino, Moscow region, Russia. on June 27, 2019. Photo: AFP / Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik

Once again Martyanov lays down the law when he predicts, referring to a group of Russian missiles developed by the Novator Design Bureau: "Crushing Ukies' command and control system is a matter of few hours, be that near border or in the operational and strategic Uki depth. Basically speaking, the whole of the Ukrainian 'navy' is worth less than the salvo of 3M54 or 3M14 which will be required to sink it. I think couple of Tarantuls will be enough to finish it off in or near Odessa and then give Kiev, especially its government district, a taste of modern stand-off weapons."

The absolutely key issue, which cannot be emphasized enough, is that Russia will not (italics mine) "invade" Ukraine. It doesn't need to, and it doesn't want to. What Moscow will do for sure is to support the Novorossiya people's republics with equipment, intel, electronic warfare, control of airspace and special forces. Even a no-fly zone will not be necessary; the "message" will be clear that were a NATO fighter jet to show up near the frontline, it would be summarily shot down.

And that brings us to the open "secret" whispered only in informal dinners in Brussels, and chancelleries across Eurasia: NATO puppets do not have the balls to get into an open conflict with Russia.

One thing is to have yapping dogs like Poland, Romania, the Baltic gang and Ukraine amplified by corporate media on their "Russian aggression" script. Factually, NATO had its collective behind unceremoniously kicked in Afghanistan. It shivered when it had to fight the Serbs in the late 1990s. And in the 2010s, it did not dare fight the Damascus and Axis of Resistance forces.

When all fails, myth prevails. Enter the US Army occupying parts of Europe to "defend" it against – who else? – those pesky Russians.

That's the rationale behind the annual US Army DEFENDER-Europe 21 , now on till the end of June, mobilizing 28,000 soldiers from the US and 25 NATO allies and "partners."

This month, men and heavy equipment pre-positioned in three US Army depots in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands will be transferred to multiple "training areas" in 12 countries. Oh, the joys of travel, no lockdown in an open air exercise since everyone has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Pipelineistan uber alles

Nord Stream 2 is not a big deal for Moscow; it's a Pipelineistan inconvenience at best. After all the Russian economy did not make a single ruble out of the not yet existent pipeline during the 2010s – and still it did fine. If NS2 is canceled, there are plans on the table to redirect the bulk of Russian gas shipments towards Eurasia, especially China.

Connecting German infrastructure for Nord Stream 2 is in place. In this handout photo released February 4, 2020, by the press service of Eugal, a view shows the Eugal pipeline, in Germany. The Eugal pipeline, which will receive gas from Nord Stream 2 in the future, has reached full pumping capacity, and the second line of the pipeline has been introduced. Photo: AFP / Press-service of Eugal / Sputnik

In parallel, Berlin knows very well that canceling NS2 will be an extremely serious breach of contract – involving hundreds of billions of euros; it was Germany that requested the pipeline to be built in the first place.

Germany's energiewende ("energy transition" policy) has been a disaster. German industrialists know very well that natural gas is the only alternative to nuclear energy. They are not exactly fond of Berlin becoming a mere hostage, condemned to buy ridiculously expensive shale gas from the hegemon – even assuming the egemon will be able to deliver, as its fracking industry is in shambles. Merkel explaining to German public opinion why they must revert to using coal or buy shale from the US will be a sight to see.

As it stands, NATO provocations against NS2 proceed unabated – via warships and helicopters. NS2 needed a permit to work in Danish waters, and it was granted only a month ago. Even as Russian ships are not as fast in laying pipes as the previous ships from Swiss-based Allseas , which backed down, intimidated by US sanctions, the Russian Fortuna is making steady progress, as noted by analyst Petri Krohn: one kilometer a day on its best days, at least 800 meters a day. With 35 km left, that should not take more than 50 days.

Conversations with German analysts reveal a fascinating shadowplay on the energy front between Berlin and Moscow – not to mention Beijing. Compare it with Washington: EU diplomats complain there's absolutely no one to negotiate with regarding NS2. And even assuming there would be some sort of deal, Berlin is inclined to admit Putin's judgment is correct: the Americans are "not agreement-capable." One just needs to look at the record.

Behind the fog of war, though, a clear scenario emerges: the deep state/NATO combo using Kiev to start a war as a Hail Mary pass to ultimately bury NS2, and thus German-Russian relations.

At the same time, the situation is evolving towards a possible new alignment in the heart of the "West": US/UK pitted against Germany/France. Some Anglosphere exceptionals are certainly more Russophobic than others.

The toxic encounter between Russophobia and Pipelineistan will not be over even if NS2 is completed. There will be more sanctions. There will be an attempt to exclude Russia from SWIFT. The proxy war in Syria will intensify. The hegemon will go no holds barred to keep creating all sorts of geopolitical harassment against Russia.

What a nice wag-the-dog op to distract domestic public opinion from massive money printing masking a looming economic collapse. As the empire crumbles, the narrative is set in stone: it's all the fault of "Russian aggression."


Alfa158 , says: April 8, 2021 at 12:05 am GMT • 1.9 days ago

Well, I'm hoping the Ukrainians will finally remember Bernard Lewis's warning about the U.S. and realize they are being used like a Kleenex: "America is harmless as an enemy but treacherous as a friend."
Americans have had it and will never tolerate sending combat troops into a Russia/Ukraine conflict no matter how much rah-rah let's you and him fight we'll hold your coat for you, faux patriotism the lugenpresse throw at them. Those of us who volunteered for the US military in the past have learned our lesson.

Agent76 , says: April 8, 2021 at 8:09 pm GMT • 1.1 days ago

Aug 10, 2020 Nord Stream 2 final stretch & Russia-Cyprus try to mend fences

https://www.youtube.com/embed/s4S_wOvCQAU?feature=oembed

Apr 4, 2019 NATO EXIT: Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

NATO is a criminal entity, an instrument of the Pentagon. There is no "Alliance". There is military Occupation.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/649_HXyJPAg?feature=oembed

Petermx , says: April 8, 2021 at 12:46 am GMT • 1.9 days ago

"The problem is Merkel and Macron don't control NATO." I don't know how a decision is made whether NATO will go to war or not but if Germany and France have no say in whether their soldiers will be sent to war or not, that must by a very scary thought for them.

I found the following analysis interesting and I think it makes sense. It suggests France and Germany have a say in matters and that they oppose any offensive Ukraine has in mind. The commentator analyzes the diplomatic language and Germany and France appear to be fed up. Without coming out and saying so directly, they see things more as Russia does than Ukraine. It's very unfortunate things have developed this way for Ukraine. In addition, if Merkel wants to be perceived as a complete failure as chancellor in Germany, only then will she let NS2 be stopped from being completed. This analysis suggests there may be some strain between France and Germany versus the USA.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/30Lzq-K-cO4?feature=oembed

Zarathustra , says: April 8, 2021 at 4:59 am GMT • 1.7 days ago

I do have to disagree. If Ukraine start a war Russia must take back all eastern part of Ukraine that has prevalent Russian population. Odessa and Zaporozhie is particularly important. Russia must also tale all Kiev area back.

Carlton Meyer , says: Website April 8, 2021 at 5:04 am GMT • 1.7 days ago

Several things to note:

1. Senior Ukrainian officers were once Soviet officers. They, and most of their troops, don't want to fight Russians and know it's foolish. The Ukrainian army will crumble if they come in contact with regular Russian troops. It's not that they are cowards, but sane. It would be like Canadian troops ordered to attack across the American border.

2. The American empire is furious and concerned that its long-time puppet disobeyed orders. Germany wants Russian gas and the empire wants that pipeline stopped. Not only to hurt Russia, but to teach the Germans a lesson. If fighting occurs in the Ukraine, would the Germans dare to buy natgas from evil Russians?

3. Most importantly, Israel controls the American government. A major goal is the destruction of Syria to allow the expansion of Greater Israel, as explained in the video below. This nearly succeeded until the Russians intervened. Fighting in Ukraine would divert Russian military resources from Syria so that nation can be destroyed, or Russia may give up Syrian support as part of a grand peace deal.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/P512QBpjoq4?feature=oembed

The Biden administration is fully supportive of finishing off Syria and Lebanon, then moving on to destroy Iran. The new talks about Iran's nuclear program will go nowhere. It's just a show so Biden can say he tried.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/pEigig2qWkc?feature=oembed

Silicon Silence , says: April 8, 2021 at 5:11 am GMT • 1.7 days ago
@anon

It makes all the difference when the revolving-door regulator-capture reframing is not "USA/Nato vs Russia" -- but rather the more accurate "Raytheon (et al) vs Russia."

The modern truth is: Russia and China have governments in control of policy and industry. The USA (and therefore also its yapping poodle collection) have Industry setting policy and running government for their 1%-er shareholder benefits.

Majority of One , says: April 8, 2021 at 6:06 am GMT • 1.7 days ago

Part of me wants to think that the Ukies will want to fold at the last moment. Yet all this apparent evidence points to their going for it and promptly getting their collective noses smashed in. Those who speculate in meta-political geo-strategic analysis cannot make sense of the moves by the largely incompetent shot-callers and their even more incompetent minions who cut the orders to their chessmen.

Heavy pressure by the equally incompetent regime in the Di$trict of Corruption, where carrot and stick are equally in play, is as Escobar points out, the force behind this nearly automatic death-sentence for the Kiev regime and the poor slobs who make up the draftee elements in the Ukrainian military.

Again, geopolitically, one wonders at the deeper string-pullers within the Pentagram, the CIA and the mass media of mind-control and message-massaging. Is this essentially a move to keep the American people–most particularly the edjumacated managerial and technical classes who make up the core of the alleged "middle-class"–"on message and in line"?

Yes, the WarDefense industry (aka Eisenhower's "Military-Industrial Complex") insist on ongoing wars and threats of war to maintain their profit margins for the prime owners of that false economic basis,prime actors such as the Rottenchild Crime Clan and the rest of the parasites clustered in City of London and Wall $treet.

How will the canny and ever wary Russians proceed? Will they operate in the manner that Escobar proposes, by not directly employing the considerable ground-forces which now stand on alert just to the eastwards of their mutually agreed upon Swiss-cheese border with the Novorussians in Donetsk and Luhansk? Or will Russian strategy be somewhat more comprehensive by liberating the rest of the primarily Russian-speaking parts of eastern and southern Ukraine which had largely backed the overthrown legitimate government of that bedizened composite nation and are still smarting under the heels of the Galician fascists and the smaller grouping of Russophobic Ukrainian nationalists who still harbor nightmares about the Bolshevik/Stalinoid Holodomar? There are, after all human considerations which may influence Kremlin policy.

Should Russia decide to make a move, it is my projection that they would never be likely to even attempt to occupy central Ukraine and would set a stop-line well to the east of Kiev. Something that bemusingly intrigues me is the Belarus factor. It would appear that the Minsk regime, smarting from the attempted coup by the Poles, Baltic states and Ukraine backing of "pro-Westerners, may be mobilizing to get into the action and perhaps readjust their boundaries somewhat southwards. This could indicate a countering move by the Uniates in Galicia to make common cause with their Roman Catholic brethren in the afore-mentioned Poland along with Lithuania and remove their lands of control from a shattered Ukraine and form a confederation with their neighbors to the west.

There is little doubt in my mind that Russia has numerous human assets in central and southwestern Ukraine, who along with elements of a disintegrating Ukie military, would unite to overthrow the rotten regime in Kiev and establish a markedly neutral smaller but more cohesive Ukraine–a natural though smaller nation which could serve as an essential buffer between a strengthening Russia and a collection of NATO nations which would then comprise a hodgepodge of hawks and doves, a discombobulated collection of politico-economic entities attempting to swim their ways to calmer shores or to maintain some semblance of "Great Reset" programming in the face of popular resistance to lockdowns and mandated AstraGenica jabbings.

Worst possible scenario is that someone in the Pentagon-dominated NATO command complex loses their cool and initiates a conflict that could result in planet-wide chaos and destruction. One would hope that cooler heads will take a few hits to their expansionist fantasies and decide to make the best of a failed bit of adventurism and bide their time -- if they feel they have any time remaining before globalist economies hit the skids, leading to a potential collapse to the myth of progress.

Vojkan , says: April 8, 2021 at 6:16 am GMT • 1.7 days ago

Everyone gets American logic. It's the Ukrainian logic that is truly baffling. Just how stupid do the Ukrainians have to be to attack when anyone with a brain knows what will be the outcome?

Silicon Silence , says: April 8, 2021 at 5:11 am GMT • 1.7 days ago
@anon

It makes all the difference when the revolving-door regulator-capture reframing is not "USA/Nato vs Russia" -- but rather the more accurate "Raytheon (et al) vs Russia."

The modern truth is: Russia and China have governments in control of policy and industry. The USA (and therefore also its yapping poodle collection) have Industry setting policy and running government for their 1%-er shareholder benefits.

GMC , says: April 8, 2021 at 6:37 am GMT • 1.7 days ago

You can't do any Normal business with a Crime Syndicate like the USA/ EU and or Israel. Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others. Russia is so close to being self sufficient , they could turn their back on the West and it's cut throat allies , and just look to the East until the West implodes. They will have to destroy all armies within close proximity to their borders, including the Ukrainian/Mercenary one. Moscow must still have Jew Oligarchy baggage, that is making money on Wall Street and those ties need to break apart or come to a Pro Russian agreement or else. Rename Kyiv to Berlin 1944, and Lviv to Dresden and take it from there – and don't look back anymore. And PS : on way to Lviv, Agent Orange every F..n Monsanto/Bayer, Dupont and Cargil farm – like they did to Vietnam.

Levtraro , says: April 8, 2021 at 6:50 am GMT • 1.7 days ago

Behind the fog of war, though, a clear scenario emerges: the deep state/NATO combo using Kiev to start a war as a Hail Mary pass to ultimately bury NS2, and thus German-Russian relations.

Yes but also the Ukraine needs to save those gas transit fees that will go kaput if NS2 is completed and operational, so it is the Ukraine the one with the most immediate incentive to start a war. Though they need just a small war, a little war to force the hands of the Germans to cancel NS2. Problem is the Russians have promised to give the Ukrainians more than what they bargained for. To save those gas transit fees the Ukrainians may end losing the country to a puppet installed by the Kremlin.

Schuetze , says: April 8, 2021 at 7:19 am GMT • 1.6 days ago

Escobar, besides not naming the Jew, does not mention which side Israel is likely to support. We can be pretty certain that whichever side Israel supports is going to be the victor in this conflict. Turkey is also important because of the Bosphorus, and Turkey and Israel are working together to exploit the Leviathan gas field to the detriment of Cyprus and Syria, so Israel can jerk Turkey around like a pitbull on a chain.

The US has been moving drones into Ukraine and they now are right on the border with Crimea. The US Marines also have a large presence in Romania, also likely including all kinds of drones. The Israelis are among the planet's leaders in drone technology, and surely own even more patents. Israel provides much of its drone technology to Turkey, and the Azerbeijanis used Turkish and Israeli drones in their short war with Armenia. During this short war the Azerbeijanis shot up all kinds of Russian equipment with their drones including Pantsir's and ZSU-23's.

The US also has all kinds of stealth drones and missiles, likely that is one area where they lead the entire planet.

Miro23 , says: April 8, 2021 at 10:13 am GMT • 1.5 days ago

https://vk.com/wall-57424472_304332

If this assessment is correct (in Russian but comes out OK in Google translate), then the US / NATO have to get involved to compensate for the lack of a Ukrainian air force – and in fact the rest of their obsolete equipment.

Personally, I can't imagine US or NATO troops on the ground in the Ukraine – and I don't see any planning for it, so what's the idea?

One possibility seems to be 1) to start the fighting 2) then start the real game, which is a massive anti-Russian media barrage "heroic Ukrainian patriots", "Russian atrocities", "killer Putin" etc. sufficient to finish with Nord Stream 2, divide Russia from France/Germany, plus reanimate NATO and sanction Russia. Basically to force Europe back into US hegemony, and away from independent decision making.

They won't have any problem with the UK (their most slavish follower) but at some point the French and Germans are surely going to become tired of all this CIA/Neo-con BS.

The Alarmist , says: April 8, 2021 at 10:18 am GMT • 1.5 days ago

[German Industrialists] are not exactly fond of Berlin becoming a mere hostage, condemned to buy ridiculously expensive shale gas from the hegemon .

German Industrialists and financiers have been repeatedly shaken down by the hegemon for fines related to a number of "infractions." The scuttlebutt I've heard from a number of them is that it got old a long time ago; what point is it to participate in the US market when your profits are repeatedly clawed back as "fines," and those in the US with whom you compete are given a leg up not just in the US, but on the world stage. Left to most industrialists, Germany might have gone its own way years ago. Oddly enough, it is the Ossivergeltungswaffe who dithers over breaking ranks with the "ally" that openly spied on her.

And even assuming there would be some sort of deal, Berlin is inclined to admit Putin's judgment is correct: the Americans are "not agreement-capable." One just needs to look at the record.

The most recent example would be the Doha agreement on the US withdrawal of forces and personnel from Afghanistan. Apparently the Pentagon recently awarded a number of contracts for contractor services in that country for some time well past the "agreed" withdrawal date, strongly suggesting the agreement to leave was a ruse.

Garliv , says: April 8, 2021 at 10:34 am GMT • 1.5 days ago
@J. Alfred Powell

Unfortunately we live in a world where history is/was erased, facts don't matter or they can be twisted to fit anything no matter how ridiculous, the present is what I say it is. Thus US and its vassals are just interested in their today's narrative.
Ukrainian leadership is hopelessly incompetent and corrupt so will do anything Biden's gang tells them. It's simply a depressing scenario.

street worm , says: April 8, 2021 at 12:59 pm GMT • 1.4 days ago

Blinken poking the Ukies to attack is a Hail Mary to stop NS2. Maybe it will work, maybe not. But a few hundred or a few thousand dead Ukies is worth the Russian boogeyman psy-op for the empire.

Marckus , says: April 8, 2021 at 1:23 pm GMT • 1.4 days ago

""Ukraine and Russia may be on the brink of War blah blah""

Contrary to what Pepe asserts the rest of the world will not give a shit. Memories of Chechnya? The sooner Putin over runs the place the better. You can bet the Ukrainian ruling elite, for all their gumption, have their jets all fuelled and ready with flight plans for the US via Switzerland...

Reaper , says: April 8, 2021 at 1:56 pm GMT • 1.4 days ago

"NATO puppets do not have the balls to get into an open conflict with Russia."

Sadly not so sure.
Some has it`s own agenda, like POland, Lithuania. Not even NATO/ US are in full control over that, and needs no more than a misstep. Like activate some system which is potentionally dangerous for Russia.
Or in different NATO/ US bases elsewhere in continental Europe.

"to provoke an irreparable fissure between Russia and the EU, under NATO auspices"
"When all fails, myth prevails. Enter the US Army occupying parts of Europe to "defend" it against – who else? – those pesky Russians."

This sounds to be the real goal.
For long since the US is jealous to Europe as it became more and more equal in economic and political power, and prevail better even with this "global pandemic".
EU wants more independence, US wants it`s colony to more obidient and follow commands.

If not just occupy, but "let" Europe partly destroyed even better: the treat of dominance reduced, and again can be the "nice savior" who helps and "brings democracy".

So seems far too real in the Ukrainian conflict Ukraine is just a side character.

Anonymous [902] Disclaimer , says: April 8, 2021 at 2:54 pm GMT • 1.3 days ago
@Vojkan

Good point. They simply can't "win" anything by attacking.

The (((US))) will provide plenty of encouragement and support as long as they get mountains of Ukrainian corpses in return. Those corpses can then be photographed and the photos broadcast all over the world as "proof" that Putin is Hitler. Basically, Ukrainians are being funnelled into the meat grinder for a globohmo psyop opportunity. What a way to die...

Realist , says: April 8, 2021 at 2:59 pm GMT • 1.3 days ago
@Fred777

The crumbling US economy will provide more than enough meat for the neocon's grinder.

Perhaps they will turn their attention to problems at home. The question is are they smart enough to recognize where the problem lies.

MLK , says: April 8, 2021 at 3:01 pm GMT • 1.3 days ago
@Robert Bruce

Are you referring to the Ukraine fiasco? Would that it were so that it was just a distraction. Just apply some reverse engineering to how Germany and Russia have a pretext to link up energy-wise when Ukraine was a perfectly serviceable transit point until NeoCon filth started working their magic.

[Apr 09, 2021] German Chancellor Merkel spoke to President Putin yesterday and apparently told him she wanted to see immediate de-escalation

Apr 09, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Indeed, let's not worry: German Chancellor Merkel spoke to President Putin yesterday and apparently told him she wanted to see immediate de-escalation or else she might not sell Russia any German cars; or buy Russian vaccine; or complete Nord-Stream 2 and tie the German economy into Russian gas supplies. Isn't realpolitik a German word originally?

"Destiny guides our fortunes more favourably than we could have expected. Look there, Sancho Panza, my friend, and see those thirty or so wild giants, with whom I intend to do battle and kill each and all of them, so with their stolen booty we can begin to enrich ourselves. This is noble, righteous warfare, for it is wonderfully useful to God to have such an evil race wiped from the face of the earth."

"What giants?" asked Sancho Panza.

"The ones you can see over there," answered his master, "with the huge arms, some of which are very nearly two leagues long."

"Now look, your grace," said Sancho, "what you see over there aren't giants, but windmills, and what seems to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone."

"Obviously," replied Don Quixote, "you don't know much about adventures."

Or labour vs. capital; or realpolitik. But Happy Friday!


GreatCaesar'sGhost 1 hour ago

No nato troops will ever set foot in Ukraine. They're trying to pressure Russia into doing something so they can force the Germans to stop nordstream. The Ukrainians can't win here and they're being used. Not good.

USAllDay 56 minutes ago

Germans need the gas and Russia needs the revenue. These are facts that can not change.

GreatCaesar'sGhost 53 minutes ago

US has gas to sell. Greater Israel and their Saudi partners believe that after they overthrow Assad they will have gas to sell. I'm not sure the constantly virtue signaling German government will buy Russian gas if there's a war.

BeePee 43 minutes ago

Russia already sells gas. This will continue. Mistake to destablize Russia's economy.

GreatCaesar'sGhost 53 minutes ago

US has gas to sell. Greater Israel and their Saudi partners believe that after they overthrow Assad they will have gas to sell.

I'm not sure the constantly virtue signaling German government will buy Russian gas if there's a war.

land_of_the_few 51 minutes ago (Edited) remove link

They should just mock them mercilessly.

Formation flypasts with rainbow colored smoke, Village People blasting from frigates buzxing them, that kind of thing.

land_of_the_few 40 minutes ago

"In the Navy", anyone?

[Apr 03, 2021] Nord Stream 2 Warns Of Security Risks From Warships Low-Flying Planes - ZeroHedge

Apr 03, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Nord Stream 2 Warns Of Security Risks From Warships & Low-Flying Planes BY TYLER DURDEN SATURDAY, APR 03, 2021 - 09:20 AM

Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com,

A senior official from Nord Stream 2 AG, the project company leading the Nord Stream 2 Russia to Germany natural gas pipeline project, has reported an uptick in "provocative" activity from warships and planes in the area where the pipeline is being built .

"Higher activity of naval vessels, airplanes and helicopters and civilian vessels of foreign states is observed in the work area after restarted construction of the offshore segment of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, whose actions are often clearly provocative ," said Nord Stream AG official Andrei Minin, according to the Russian news agency TASS .

Above: the pipe-laying vessel Fortuna, which is operated by the Russian company KVT-RUS and recently targeted by US sanctions. Image via Reuters

Minin said a 1.5-mile safety zone is established around the construction area where vessels are not supposed to enter. "Nevertheless, naval vessels of foreign countries are constantly registered near service ships performing work," he said.

He added that a Polish antisubmarine warfare airplane is "regularly flying around the work area at a small height and closely to the pipelay vessel."

Minin said in one provocation, an unidentified submarine was above surface within one mile of the pipeclay vessel Fortuna , a ship that was hit with US sanctions on January 19th. Minin said the activity indicates "obviously planned and prepared provocations." Besides warships and planes, he said fishing vessels have also come dangerously close to the construction area.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1377891924300939264&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fnord-stream-2-warns-security-risks-warships-low-flying-planes&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=e1ffbdb%3A1614796141937&width=550px

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been in the crosshairs of the US for years, but despite sanctions and threats, Nord Stream AG reported on Thursday that the project is now 95 percent complete . Construction restarted in December 2020 after being suspended due to threats of US sanctions.

Although it's not clear if the US is involved in these provocations, it is likely. Washington seems willing to take extreme measures to stop the project and is threatening to sanction its ally Germany . Besides the US, another country keen to stop the project is Ukraine, which stands to lose up to $3 billion a year in gas transportation fees if the pipeline is complete.

The original Nord Stream consists of two lines that run from Vyborg, Russia, to Lubmin, Germany, near Greifswald. The new project would add two more lines, doubling the amount of natural gas Russia could export to Germany.
play_arrow


Be of Good Cheer 1 hour ago

$3 billion loss to the Biden Crime Family. No wonder he wants to stop NS2.

NoPension 1 hour ago

^^^^^!!!

Pair Of Dimes Shift 45 minutes ago

10% to the big guy would be $300M.

Damn right the big guy's handlers are pissed.

Rid'n Dirty 1 hour ago

The US spends over $1 trillion on "defense" with over 800 bases worldwide, yet we have no control over who illegally takes up residence here. America has become an ugly hegemon run by Wall Street and other corporate whores. Almost 2/3rds of the world is under some type of US sanction designed to wreck economies and starve innocent people (Houthis, Syrians and Iranians).

Let's see if Germany can do what's best for its economy for the first time since 1945.

Based Fren 1 hour ago

It's so tiresome. We just have to stick our finger in everyone else's business.

naro 1 hour ago

Have you heard of the MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX. Wars is their oxygen.....they are looking for wars wherever they can find it.

ManOnFirst 59 minutes ago

a Polish fishing vessel rammed a construction ship and blamed a faulty engine for the incident. I really hate the Poles. They are the whiniest, most cowardly country in the world. They lament the fall of their empire 1000 years ago and think they could still be a superpower if only the big, bad Russians weren't so mean. Oh, and the big, bad Germans too.

SoDamnMad 27 minutes ago

I'm surprised the Russians didn't throw a 3 liter gasoline jug with a burning rag taped to it down on that fishing vessel. Your telling me no steerage and no engine control. Two can play this game. Poles best not try to lay any communication cables in the next 20 years.

Games Without Frontiers 1 hour ago (Edited)

Globalists from the US doing everything they can to prevent a more independent EU. The further away you can get from a dying and dangerous empire the better.

2banana 1 hour ago

Established by whom?

Oh, you just made that sh!t up in international waters in one of the most heavily used trade routes in the world.

Minin said a 1.5-mile safety zone is established around the construction area where vessels are not supposed to enter. "Nevertheless, naval vessels of foreign countries are constantly registered near service ships performing work," he said.

Games Without Frontiers 1 hour ago

It's international waters but safety zones are always established on this type of industrial project, it's hard to enforce in open waters but the West looks like a bunch of tools as usual.

not-me---it-was-the-dog 43 minutes ago (Edited) remove link

google is your friend, my friend.

https://www.nord-stream.com/press-info/images/exclusion-zone-around-pipelay-vessel-2665/

https://ens.dk/sites/ens.dk/files/OlieGas/15_-_nord_stream_2_-_transboundary_impacts_-_environmental_impact_assessment_denmark_north-western_route._august_2018.pdf

.... Shipping and shipping lanes In Danish waters, the proposed NSP2 route will run inside and along the TSS Bornholmsgat for approximately 42 km close to the Swedish EEZ. The TSS Bornholmsgat carries most of the ship traffic to/from the Baltic Sea and experiences over 50,000 ship passages per year. The proposed NSP2 route additionally crosses the TSS Adlergrund in the Danish and German EEZs, which has approximately 7,000 ship movements per year. Safety exclusion zones will be implemented around slow-moving construction vessels. Only vessels involved in the construction of NSP2 will be allowed inside the safety zone; therefore, all other vessels not involved in construction activities will be requested to plan their journeys around the safety zone. The shipping lanes crossed by the proposed NSP2 route in Danish waters provide sufficient space and water depth for ships to plan their journey and safely navigate around possible temporary obstructions. The impact on ship traffic associated with the imposition of a safety zone is assessed to be minor and associated with local and temporary changes to the traffic scheme. Therefore, it is assessed that there will be no significant transboundary impacts on Baltic Sea ship traffic caused by the NSP2 project in Danish waters.

so....umm....since the work is being done in danish waters, well, gosh, i would guess the exclusion zones are set up with......wait for it......danish authorities. and the last bits in german waters will require german authorities to set up the exclusion zone.

https://www.argusmedia.com/en/news/2193430-construction-on-remaining-nord-stream-2-string-to-start

Jerzeel 17 minutes ago remove link

Ukraine gets 3B a year in transit fees for Russian gas...

rejectnumbskull 15 minutes ago

Besides the US, another country keen to stop the project is Ukraine, which stands to lose up to $3 billion a year in gas transportation fees if the pipeline is complete.

Did you not read this sentence in the article correctly?

[Apr 02, 2021] The construction site of Nord Stream 2 has been suffering harassment by various vessels and aircraft in recent months, which nearly led to damage to the pipeline itself, according to Nord Stream AG representative Andrey Minin.

Apr 02, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Apr 1 2021 22:22 utc | 49

Nice work on pulling all the puzzle pieces together, b!

The really big problem will be weaning the Outlaw US Empire from its addiction to Unilateralism, which is its primary mode of operation aside from a very brief interlude when FDR was POTUS, devised the UN and its Charter, and got the Senate to ratify it so it would become an integral part of the USA's fundamental law of the land.

All one need do to see the gravity of the bolded text is to examine the Outlaw US Empire's behavior since FDR died--The USA immediately transformed into the Outlaw US Empire on 22 October 1945 when the UN Charter came into full force and the Empire was already in grave violation of its fundamentals.

That those millions of violations have never seen the inside of a courtroom doesn't mean they never occurred or aren't now happening globally.

I was going to post this on the other thread but will use it here as an example that's grave:

"Nord Stream AG Says Warships, Submarines and Helicopters Tried to Disrupt Pipeline's Construction":

"However, it seems that in March threats to the pipeline multiplied and became more 'real'.

"The construction site of Nord Stream 2 has been suffering harassment by various vessels and aircraft in recent months, which nearly led to damage to the pipeline itself, according to Nord Stream AG representative Andrey Minin. He stressed that the disturbances were 'clearly planned and thoroughly prepared provocations,' devised to stop the joint Russian-European project in its tracks ." [My Emphasis]

Unilateral Act of War anyone?!! Yes, its the Poles once again.

IMO, it's sad b omitted mentioning the newly formed Friends of the UN Charter Group in his article since it aims at drowning the "Unilateral, rules based international order" once and for all time. My promotion of it isn't going to be enough. If all but the Neoliberal nations become members, then they can jointly aver that there's only one system of international Law and its based on the UN Charter and all relevant treaties thus shutting up the Outlaw US Empire regardless its protests. Of course, a movement within the Empire that says the same as the Friends would go a long ways to getting us where we as humans want to go to--a peaceful planet that's concerned about the wellbeing of humans and all they need for support instead of making the rich ever richer through the terror of unremitting Class War.

And if you don't think that War isn't based on Terror, then you haven't seen migrant families busted up with the little kids being kidnapped and all put into concentration camps. ( China is beginning to bark up that very inhuman tree watered so well by the Outlaw US Empire.)

Nick , Apr 2 2021 0:16 utc | 71

Dumb Polacks are getting desparate
https://sputniknews.com/europe/202104011082512013-nord-stream-ag-says-warships-submarines-and-helicopters-tried-to-disrupt-pipelines-construction/

[Apr 02, 2021] Tentions in Ukraine are about stopping North Stream: The USA treats business as war, while treating war as business

Apr 02, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Apr 2 2021 18:16 utc | 70

So Alfie, What's it all about?

Geoeconomics and Market Weight and it's not behind a paywall. Escobar intones:

"As it stands, Russia is very much focused on limitless possibilities in Southwest Asia, as Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made it clear in the 10th Middle East conference at the Valdai club [Link at Original]. The Hegemon's treats on multiple fronts – Ukraine, Belarus, Syria, Nord Stream 2 – pale in comparison."

Awhile ago, I posted the following acutely correct adage: The USA treats business as war, while treating war as business. I added what Coolidge was misquoted as saying in 1925--The business of America is business (He actually said, "the chief business of the American people is business.") So when the POTUS says its just business, you should prepare for war.

Back to the linked article. While reading it ought to be easy to see why the BRI interconnectivity is seen as a huge threat to the two Outlaw Maritime Empires--UK/US--who initially set forth the parameters of the Great Game. (BTW, Lavrov's Great Game program interview English transcript is now complete.) They have no seat at the table whatsoever. You'll also see why the Outlaw US Empire will try to remain in Afghanistan forever as well as the reason why it can't admit the real reason for being there--to interdict the BRI and the development boom it promises to bring to a great many impoverished people throughout Eurasia. Talk about Human Rights!

But it looks like all the Empire's efforts will amount to little more than a mosquito attacking an elephant for there's no way it can stop BRI or Eurasian integration; at best, it can merely delay it and earn the enmity of the planet, including its own people. Clearly, India will cease its role in the Quad as staying locks it out from what it needs most--development that uplifts its impoverished tens of millions. And the loss of India means the certain loss of the Great Game for the Outlaw Empire.

In the grand scheme of things, Ukraine is merely a tsetse fly as is NATO ultimately. The real prize lies with the geoeconomic riches BRI and Eurasian Integration will generate and being a partner with it, not an adversary.

[Mar 30, 2021] Even before the targets in Yemen had been "legally" designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization Obama used cluster bombs to shred dozens of women and children in a failed attempt to hit members of "al Qaida in Yemen (AQY)".

Mar 30, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

librul , Mar 30 2021 13:04 utc | 1

Even before the targets in Yemen had been "legally" designated as
a Foreign Terrorist Organization Obama used cluster bombs to shred
dozens of women and children in a failed attempt to hit members of
"al Qaida in Yemen (AQY)".
.
The war crime immediately became a dirty Obama secret, covered up
with the help of the MSM, in particular ABC.
.
An enthusiastic White House had leaked to their contacts at ABC that
Obama had escalated the War on Terror, taking it to another country,
Yemen. This was December 17, 2009 only days after Obama had returned
from his ceremony in Oslo where he proudly accepted the Nobel Peace
Prize.
.
ABC was thrilled with their scoop and in manly voices announced
the escalation in the War on Terror.
.
The very next day ABC went silent forever about it, joining the cover up
of a war crime.
.
Hillary Clinton, by the way, committed her own act of cover up.
Covering her butt by backdating a memo.
.
The designation of a organization as a FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organization)
is not official nor legal until it is published in the Federal Register.
An oversight? Obama attacked Yemen before Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
had done the paperwork to make the killing legal?
.
The designation was not published until a month later, January 19, 2010.
Hillary Clinton back dated the memo she published in the Register with the date of
December 14, 2009, to somewhat cover her butt.
.
Obama's acceptance speech in Oslo for the Nobel Peace Prize was December 10th.
.
Yemen leaders agreed to participate in Obama's coverup saying it was their
own Yemen forces that had accidentally shredded dozens of women and children.
.
Obama was grateful to the Yemen leaders. The Yemen leaders were not
honored in Oslo. But, ironically, Obama ended his speech honoring women
and children, days before he ordered their slaughter.
.
Obama in Oslo, December 10, 2009:
.
"Somewhere today, a mother facing punishing poverty
still takes the time to teach her child, scrapes together what
few coins she has to send that child to school -- because she
believes that a cruel world still has a place for that child's
dreams.
.
Let us live by their example. We can acknowledge that oppression will
always be with us, and still strive for justice. We can admit the
intractability of deprivation, and still strive for dignity. Clear-eyed,
we can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace.
We can do that -- for that is the story of human progress; that's the
.
hope
.
of all the world; and at this moment of challenge,
that must be our work here on Earth.
.
Thank you very much.
(Applause.)
.
One week later Obama shredded dozens of women and children in Yemen
and covered it up.
.
Here is ABC's Brian Ross using his most masculine voice to boast about Obama's attack:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHcg3TNSRPs
.
Wikileaks cable corroborates evidence of US airstrikes in Yemen (Amnesty Intl)
https://www.amnesty.org/en/press-releases/2010/12/wikileaks-cable-corroborates-evidence-us-airstrikes-yemen/
.
Actual cable at Wikileaks:
https://search.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/10SANAA4_a.html
.
More at ABC [12/18/2009]:
https://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/cruise-missiles-strike-yemen/story?id=9375236
https://web.archive.org/web/20190624203826/https://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/cruise-missiles-strike-yemen/story?id=9375236 ">https://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/cruise-missiles-strike-yemen/story?id=9375236">https://web.archive.org/web/20190624203826/https://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/cruise-missiles-strike-yemen/story?id=9375236
https://web.archive.org/web/20190725171012/https://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/cr ">https://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/cr">https://web.archive.org/web/20190725171012/https://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/cr

Norwegian , Mar 30 2021 15:09 utc | 10

@librul | Mar 30 2021 13:04 utc | 1

You can thank Thorbjørn Jagland for the Obama Nobel Price. He and Stoltenberg were buddies in the same party.

[Mar 30, 2021] Russian gas meets only a fraction of Germany's needs - Germany's Scholz

Mar 30, 2021 | finance.yahoo.com


More content below More content below More content below More content below More content below More content below More content below More content below

BERLIN, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Gas contributes only a fraction of Germany's energy consumption, and Russian gas only a fraction of that, so it is wrong to say that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will make Germany dependent on Russian energy, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said.

Asked about the flagship Kremlin project, which has been heavily criticised by the United States and some European countries, Scholz on Monday restated the German government's position that the pipeline was a private investment and should not be the target of U.S. sanctions.

The poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, blamed by most Western governments on Russian state actors, has led to renewed calls for the nearly complete pipeline, built by state-owned Gazprom, to be cancelled.

Critics of the pipeline say it increases Germany's reliance on Russian energy and deprives transit countries Poland and Ukraine of crucial leverage over the giant country to their east. (Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

[Mar 28, 2021] China Signs 25-Year Deal With Iran in Challenge to the U.S-

Mar 28, 2021 | www.msn.com

A draft copy of the accord that surfaced on media last year showed plans for long-term supply of Iranian crude to China as well as investment in oil, gas, petrochemical, renewables and nuclear energy infrastructure.

Lured by the prospect of cheaper prices, China has already increased its imports of Iranian oil to around 1 million barrels a day, eroding U.S. leverage as it prepares to enter stalled talks with Tehran to revive a nuclear deal.

The Biden administration has indicated that it's open to reengaging with Iran after then-President Donald Trump abandoned the accord nearly three years ago and reimposed economic sanctions, but the two sides have yet to even agree to meet. Iran exported around 2.5 million barrels of oil a day before American penalties resumed.

Iran's closer integration with China may help shore up its economy against the impact of the U.S. sanctions, while sending a clear signal to the White House of Tehran's intentions. Wang Yi, who arrived in Tehran on Friday, also met with Rouhani to discuss the nuclear deal.

In a televised speech, Rouhani raised the prospect of restrictions being eased before the end of his second and final term as president in early August.

"We're ready for the lifting of sanctions," he said on Saturday. "If obstacles are removed, all or at least some sanctions can be lifted."

[Mar 28, 2021] Iran, China sign strategic long-term cooperation agreement

Mar 28, 2021 | www.politico.com

No additional details of the agreement were revealed as Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Chinese counterpart Wang Yi took part in a ceremony marking the event.

me title=

The deal marked the first time Iran has signed such a lengthy agreement with a major world power. In 2001, Iran and Russia signed a 10-year cooperation agreement, mainly in the nuclear field, that was lengthened to 20 years through two five-year extensions.

Before the ceremony Saturday, Yi met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and special Iranian envoy in charge of the deal Ali Larijani.

Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, on Friday called the agreement "deep, multi-layer and full-fledged."

The deal, which had been discussed since 2016, also supports tourism and cultural exchanges. It comes on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Iran.

The two countries have had warm relations and both took part in a joint naval exercise in 2019 with Russia in the northern Indian Ocean.

Reportedly, Iran and China have done some $20 billion in trade annually in recent years. That's down from nearly $52 billion in 2014, however, because of a decline in oil prices and U.S. sanctions imposed in 2018 after then-President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. unilaterally out of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, saying it needed to be renegotiated.

Iran has pulled away from restrictions imposed under the deal under those sanctions in order to put pressure on the other signatories -- Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China -- to provide new economic incentives to offset U.S. sanctions.

[Mar 28, 2021] Iran, China sign strategic long-term [25 yr] cooperation agreement

Mar 28, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

HICKORY IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 12:29 pm

Thanks Dennis.
It is easy for us to discount the production capacity of Iran, however this could be a mistake.
If China needs oil it will fund production in Iran, regardless of the 'worlds' concern over Iranian nuclear and regional ambitions [very aggressive ambitions that are largely theocratically driven].

This weekend-
'Iran, China sign strategic long-term [25 yr] cooperation agreement
The agreement covers a variety of economic activity from oil and mining to promoting industrial activity in Iran, as well as transportation and agricultural collaboration.'
https://www.politico.com/news/2021/03/27/iran-china-agreement-478236

[Mar 26, 2021] All wars are bankers wars

Mar 24, 2021 | www.unz.com

Mefobills , says: March 24, 2021 at 2:02 pm GMT

History doesn't repeat, but it sure as hell rhymes.

The Revolutionary and Civil war was fought against finance capital; where said capital emanated mostly from London. By 1912 the U.S. was no longer Industrial Capitalist, but had been usurped by Finance Capitalism, and of course the (((usual suspects))) were pulling strings in the background.

WW2 was the now finance capitalist allies against the industrial capitalist axis powers.

The run up to WW2 had the axis "industrial capitalist" powers exit the London based finance capitalist "sterling" system. Churchill even admitted to the reason why the allies attacked.

http://www.renegadetribune.com/winston-churchill-germanys-unforgivable-crime/

Germany's most unforgivable crime before the Second World War was her attempt to extricate her economic power from the world's trading system and to create her own exchange mechanism which would deny (((world finance))) its opportunity to profit.

Finance capital exported jobs from the U.S. and the West toward China; this in order to take wage arbitrage. China then rope-a-dopes the dummies from the west, and uses its state credit and industrial capitalist system to acquire intellectual know-how, and climb the industrial curve.

Finance capitalist are slowly being cut-out of taking wage arbitrage from China and realize that their "assets" over there, can be taken by the Chinese state at any time. Now they want war to secure their asset position, and to buy more of China at a war time fire sale price.

Finance capital runs the same playbook over and over. The bad guys won in WW1 and 2. The (((international))) finance class works behind the scenes to take sordid gain on humanity, including mass death.

If your government is festooned with ne0-con Jews, then that should be strong signal that your country is not sovereign, but instead is operated by stealth with finance capital and its oligarchs.

This time around is different, China and Russia will exit the dollar system, and the western finance capitalist class can do nothing but make idle threats. Some will argue that the West will resort to nukes.

Maybe? I'm assuming that our (((friends))) are not completely insane, as they would lose their capital and asset position. Their greed will stop them from destroying themselves, and us.

Rev. Spooner , says: March 24, 2021 at 3:42 pm GMT • 10.8 hours ago

"If your government is festooned with ne0-con Jews, then that should be strong signal that your country is not sovereign, but instead is operated by stealth with finance capital and its oligarchs. "
You are a wise man Mefobills

Rurik , says: March 24, 2021 at 4:42 pm GMT • 9.8 hours ago
@Mefobills

If your government is festooned with ne0-con Jews, then that should be strong signal that your country is not sovereign, but instead is operated by stealth with finance capital and its oligarchs.

"When the law no longer protects you from the corrupt, but protects the corrupt from you – you know your nation is doomed."

And she would know.

[Mar 26, 2021] The net result of neocon policies of Biden administration

Money spend on military adventures of the neoliberal empire are money stolen from common people
Mar 26, 2021 | www.unz.com

Jeff Davis , says: March 24, 2021 at 5:11 pm GMT • 9.3 hours ago

@ko

Actually, it is the ***American people*** who are fucked. The little people that is. Fucked on behalf of Israel/Neocons, the MIC, the Neolibs, and the other "owners" of the country.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/rsL6mKxtOlQ?feature=oembed

The good news is that when the above have thoroughly looted the country, and the rest of the world sheds the by then worthless US dollar, and the City on the Hill becomes the Toothless Slum on the Hill,

[Mar 26, 2021] Blinken telling Germany if they go with NS2, there'd be more sanctions coming from Washington to Germany

Mar 26, 2021 | www.unz.com

Rdm , says: March 24, 2021 at 3:26 pm GMT • 11.0 hours ago

After Alaska,

That's what we're seeing in Europe, regarding the NS2.

https://www.rferl.org/a/blinken-warns-germany-possible-sanctions-nord-stream-2/31165231.html

Blinken telling Germany if they go with NS2, there'd be more sanctions coming from Washington to Germany.

Are those Washingtonians brain dead?

No news here in the States about NS2 at all. Nothing, nada. How reliable those MSMs have been in the US?

[Mar 26, 2021] The Biden Administration may impose sanctions on companies that help build North Stream 2, which risks a blowup with Berlin.

Mar 26, 2021 | www.unz.com

Germany is showing signs of an independent Russia policy. The main issue between the United States, Europe, and Russia now is the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would carry gas from Russia to Germany. The Biden Administration may impose sanctions on companies that help build it, which risks a blowup with Berlin .

Most Republicans want even sterner measures . Senator Ted Cruz is delaying confirmation of some of President Biden's officials unless he takes action.

Hostility towards Russia is one of the few issues that unite Republicans and Democrats – along with support for citizenship for illegal immigrants , interference in Syria, keeping troops in Afghanistan , and thwarting China . We can't count on Republicans or Democrats to stand up for Americans, but we can count on support for invading the world and inviting the world. This combination of an aggressive foreign policy and indifference towards citizens is why some call the current regime the Globalist American Empire (GAE). It may be based in Washington DC, but it has nothing to do with the historic American nation or its interests.

However, what I call the " American Paradox " may doom this "empire." It is run by people who seem to care nothing for the country; the empire is built on sand.

[Mar 26, 2021] Stavridis "oversaw operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria."

Mar 26, 2021 | www.unz.com

annamaria , says: March 24, 2021 at 8:07 pm GMT • 2.0 days ago

@Anonymous that a strong American military and national security posture is the best guarantor of peace and the survival of our values and civilization.

Stavridis has been at the forefront of the mass slaughter known as the implementation of the Oded Yinon Plan for Eretz Israel:

From 2002 to 2004, Stavridis commanded Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, conducting combat operations in the Persian Gulf in support of both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Stavridis "oversaw operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria." In short, this prominent racketeer is dripping with the blood of hundreds of thousands of the victims.

[Mar 21, 2021] The big question: Will the US try to play tcechnological dominance card against China?

Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Mar 20 2021 0:44 utc | 77

The Alaska talks have ended and the Global Times Editor writes :

"China and the US are two major world powers. No matter how many disputes they have, the two countries should not impulsively break their relations. Coexistence and cooperation are the only options for China and the US. Whether we like it or not, the two countries should learn to patiently explore mutual compromises and pursue strategic win-win cooperation ." [My Emphasis]

The big question: Does the Outlaw US Empire possess enough wisdom to act in that manner.

[Mar 21, 2021] The US neurotic dynamic is to escalate blindly until it achieves control

Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Oriental Voice , Mar 20 2021 0:35 utc | 76

@Posted by: Grieved | Mar 19 2021 23:05 utc | 55:

...., the US neurotic dynamic is to escalate blindly until it achieves control. This is the dynamic that must be defeated.

Yes that's problem all right, but can you ever defeat that dynamic given that the gorilla owns 10,000 nukes and has no moral qualms whatsoever of using them? Until a near perfect anti-nuke defense system is developed I surmise the world would just have to live with, and get used to, the juvenile antics of King Kong because it has stated time and again it would escalate all the way up to using its nukes, because that's what they are for according to a former Sec. of State.

I'm a pessimist on this issue. I'm afraid we'll just have to endure and live with a wild beast for a while to come.

[Mar 21, 2021] I think that Nord stream II is a turning point. If Germany caves in here, there's little hope to get rid of the leash for it and the whole of Europe.

Mar 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

xototox , Mar 20 2021 0:34 utc | 75

i've been a reader of moa for quite a few years now, but never contributed to the forum. mostly because after a while i found what i wanted to say anyway, and why pile on?

I really enjoy the civility of the forum, and it's internationality. And of course b's insights. as a German myself I share many points of view with him in matters i have knowledge in, or think that i do.

For example i think that trump sure might be seen as a disaster by many, but it was a gift to Europe, and Germany in particular, because he opened the eyes of many, many people here who for decades thought murrica is our friend, our big brother, who will always protect us from the evil of the world - namely communism, Russia and lately china. a majority of the people here, as well as in the rest of the so called "western world" have been brainwashed for about 7 decades to think that way, even when America committed the most obvious, heinous, horrible crimes against humanity and our civilization as a whole.

there was always a spin, "human rights", "democracy", "free trade" and so on, values that had to be "defended" - when in reality it was always an offensive aggression or even a "pre-emptive strike". people just swallowed what the media fed them and went on with their daily chores.

Trump changed that, suddenly the ugly side of the empire became visible, and i will always be grateful for that. because now it cannot be hidden anymore. it wasn't just the unruly behaviour of a "new rich" and uneducated bully who accidentally became president. politically, the general attitude was always the same, trump only worded it much more obvious, making it harder for politicians and media to spin. that's why our politicians and media (for the most part fed by trans-atlantic "think tanks") hated him almost more than Americans themselves - he made their lies obvious and transparent. if it wasn't so sad, it sometimes was almost funny to see them squirm, having to explain why our friend and protector suddenly became so selfish and hostile.

All of them welcomed of course the new Harris administration, being so progressive, just and friendly again - only to witness a change of paradigm they probably didn't even think trump was capable of, or willing to: i think in later years, this week will mark the "official" beginning of the new cold war era. this behaviour against Russia and china was not a slap, but a punch in the face and will NEVER be forgiven nor forgotten. the only question for europe is: does it finally have the balls to emancipate and stand up against the bully? or will it submit and become a collateral damage of it's downfall? in form of a nuclear wasteland maybe?

I think that Nord stream II is a turning point. If Germany caves in here, there's little hope to get rid of the leash for it and the whole of Europe.

If it stands tall, europe might become a buffer instead of a frontline. knowing and seeing our politicians, i'd say it doesn't look good.

[Mar 19, 2021] With the Nord Stream project, we see the Gangster mentality of the US imperialism -- Do as I say or else!

Notable quotes:
"... Nord Stream 2 is of vital importance to Germany's energy security. The German public was rather hostile to President Trump and Biden's victory was seen with relief. But when it sees how Biden pursues the same policies, and with a similar tone, it will turn on him ..."
"... Since Washington is now in conflict with a goodly part of the public it sees that creating foreign policy crises and enemies as an excellent course of action to shore up support. Americans are always ready to react against enemies no matter how slender the proof of the wrongdoing ascribed to the enemy. There is never a penalty to pay for lying in the US if you are in the mainstream media or in the political arena. Since the CIA controls much of the European media and their ruling class it would take quite a lot for Europeans to drop their status as vassal states. ..."
Mar 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Mar 18 2021 19:06 utc | 5

Nord Stream 2 is of vital importance to Germany's energy security. The German public was rather hostile to President Trump and Biden's victory was seen with relief. But when it sees how Biden pursues the same policies, and with a similar tone, it will turn on him . <-- b

However "hostile", Germany contributed to uni-lateral Trumpian sanctions, and so far, North Stream 2 is the only beacon of independence. Take Ukraine: Germany and France form half of Normandy Four, and provided name for Steinmeier formula. Ukraine resolutely resists proceeding with any obligations under that formula. Germany is silent on that and support annual extensions of sanctions, not to mention sanctions on Syria, Venezuela and whatever EU sanctions.

Syria is an interesting example. It could be actually popular among German voters to facilitate reconstruction in that country and return of the refugees to their homeland. Iran and Russia are potentially good customers for German industry. Independence of German banks and other companies from whimsical sanctions from USA would help too.

Seemingly, ingrained masochism is hard to overcome.


karlof1 , Mar 18 2021 19:22 utc | 8

Seej @4--

Thanks for posting Pepe's comments, some of which are in his current article I linked to on the open thread. In my comment related to Pepe's article I noted his excerpt of Chinese academic Jisi and this specific part:

"the Americans are eager to deal with problems before they are ready to improve the relationship."

That observation is consistent with that of an entity that only wants its orders obeyed and seeks no relationship or friendship with any other entity since it sees itself as Top Dog, and #1 in every way. As with the Nord Stream project, we see the Gangster mentality--Do as I say or else!

Not only does the Emperor have no clothes or much of a working memory, he's got erectile disfunction too that's well beyond the ability of Viagra to fix.

psychohistorian , Mar 18 2021 19:38 utc | 9

So here we have Blinken, Winken and Nod providing direction for failing empire

Blinken is obvious
Winken is that behind the scenes, wink, wink, nod, nod (there ain't no class structure here) type VP and
Nod is the new normal as US President.

I am sure they will try to take America to new places, yet to be dreamt of....will the brainwashed of the West follow?

About Germany and Nord Stream II.....To a degree that I am not sure of, Germany is like Japan, a fully owned colony of empire....this may be the time that the Germany nut gets cracked wide open....interesting times indeed.

Where are the details of Blinken telling China how to behave? I can hardly wait for the next act of Blinken, Winken and Nod

Mao Cheng Ji , Mar 18 2021 19:50 utc | 11

"Why, after so many bad words towards it, would China help the U.S. with solving the North Korea problem? It has zero incentive to do so."

This (as well as the Germany/NS2 thing) sounds like a rather naive view. Western headlines are for western internal consumption. And what's happening behind the scene, what incentives are offered and what threats are made in exchange for what specific actions, we simply don't know.

Chris Cosmos , Mar 18 2021 21:43 utc | 29

I notice a lot of accusations that Washington is "stupid" but that's not true. You have to understand how Washington works before you make such statements. The Deep State knows that it can control the minds of most Americans by inventing "truths" without any need to prove anything.

Since Washington is now in conflict with a goodly part of the public it sees that creating foreign policy crises and enemies as an excellent course of action to shore up support. Americans are always ready to react against enemies no matter how slender the proof of the wrongdoing ascribed to the enemy. There is never a penalty to pay for lying in the US if you are in the mainstream media or in the political arena. Since the CIA controls much of the European media and their ruling class it would take quite a lot for Europeans to drop their status as vassal states.

Remember, Washington can throw endless amounts of money around and fund everything from terrorism, crime waves, sexual indiscretions a la Epstein (the CIA had it's own whorehouse which my father pointed out to me decades ago--it was in Roslyn Virginia and it used underage girls and boys to improve its soft-power).

So far, no one has paid a penalty for lying or corrupt practices in Washington if they were "made" men or women (Trump never got that far).

As long as Europe, Japan and some other countries continue to be vassal states the US can and will get away with anything. Nordstream 2 is the issue that may change all that. Once Germany rebels the rest may follow.

mastameta , Mar 18 2021 20:22 utc | 18

germany breaking rank will be first big turn in nato. nordstream is a non negotiable issue for germany. meanwhile the US is not agreement capable. on anything and the vaccine hoarding is a big F U in EU to so called allies. all the pieces are set. just need time to let it all play out. the global south woke to it before the slower europeans can see the world anew.

as for the US china alaska meeting, it does seem to me that the US administration and deep state or whatever you want to call it are not coordinated or fully aligned with each other. the timing of the US sanctions on hk officials seem designed to thwart any possible dialogue. as if some elements are working to ensure the meeting resolves nothing.

the china global times calls this move the US stick that comes down before any negotiation and says it's a continuation of trump era tactics. maybe. I see it more as designed to make the meeting fail instead of designed to achieve anything such as extracting concessions from china. not being agreement capable because it is sabotaged from within.

but at this pt in the crumbling empire it is perhaps foolish to analyze its tactics in terms of means and ends. its only 'rationale' at this pt is to just keep doing what it's doing. sanctions wars threats coercion and moral grandstanding. it only knows it is right and there is nothing else besides.

Bernard F. , Mar 18 2021 22:41 utc | 36

@mina
@piotr berman

About Vlora to be an Alternative to NS2. Just a Fake from Radio France International, paid for by french gov. France is now full play in US hand. Macron want NS2 [and soon NS1..] to be shut down.

Nord Stream 1 is 55 Md.M3/y
Nord Stream 2 too.

110Md.m3/year

The biggest ship to deliver US GNL in Europe is 260.000 m3. 1m3 GNL is 600m3 natural gaz.

It's me or my computer? 3 ship per day? How many ship necessary? 60? 80?
Not an economy, a nightmare.
American capitalism was plunder and is now parasitism.


In order to get energy, Germany need Russia. Nord Stream is a direct tie in order to avoid "reliable" intermediate like Ukraine or Poland.
In order to get everything under control US need [reliable intermediate] to cut the tie between [oil/gas fields] from Middleeast or Russia and Germany, the sole country in Europe with Great industrial/technical capacity.

And good economic links to Eurasien.

Pardon my Englisch, I'm french. And tired

[Mar 07, 2021] SEC Issues Devastating Risk Alert on Private Equity Abuses; Effectively Admits Failure of Last 5+ Years of Enforcement by Yves Smith

Notable quotes:
"... In the Risk Alert below, the itemization of various forms of abuses, such as the many ways private equity firms parcel out interests in the businesses they buy among various funds and insiders to their, as opposed to investors' benefit, alone should give pause. And the lengthy discussion of these conflicts does suggest the SEC has learned something over the years. Experts who dealt with the agency in its early years of examining private equity firms found the examiners allergic to considering, much the less pursuing, complex abuses. ..."
"... Undermining legislative intent of new supervisory authority the SEC never embraced its new responsibilities to ride herd on private equity and hedge funds. ..."
"... The agency is operating in such a cozy manner with private equity firms that as one investor described it: It's like FBI sitting down with the Mafia to tell them each year, "Don't cross these lines because that's what we are focusing on." ..."
"... Advisers charged private fund clients for expenses that were not permitted by the relevant fund operating agreements, such as adviser-related expenses like salaries of adviser personnel, compliance, regulatory filings, and office expenses, thereby causing investors to overpay expenses ..."
"... Current SEC chairman Jay Clayton came from Sullivan & Cromwell, bringing with him Steven Peikin as co-head of enforcement. And the Clayton SEC looks to have accomplished the impressive task of being even weaker on enforcement than Mary Jo White. ..."
"... On the same side though, fraud is a criminal offence, and it's SEC's duty to prosecute. And I believe that a lot of what PE engage in would happily fall under fraud, if SEC really wanted. ..."
"... Crimogenic: Producing or tending to produce crime or criminality. An additional factor is that, in the main, the criminals do not take their money and leave the gaming tables but pour it back in and the crime metastasizes. AKA, Kleptocracy. ..."
"... You might add that the threat of consequences for these crimes makes the criminals extremely motivated to elect officials who will not prosecute them (e.g. Obama). They're not running for office, they're avoiding incarceration. ..."
"... Andrew Levitt, for instance, complained bitterly that Joe Lieberman would regularly threaten to cut the SEC's budget for allegedly being too aggressive about enforcement. Lieberman was the Senator from Hedgistan. ..."
"... More banana republic level grift. What happens when investors figure out they can't believe anything they are told? ..."
"... Can we come up with a better descriptor for "private equity"? I suggest "billionaire looters". ..."
"... Where is the SEC when Bain Capital (Romney) wipes out Toys-R-Us and Dianne Feinstein's husband Richard Blum wipes out Payless Shoes. They gain control of the companies, pile on massive debt and take the proceeds of the loan, and they know the company cannot service the loan and a BK is around the corner. ..."
"... Thousands lose their jobs. And this is legal? And we also lost Glass-Steagal and legalized stock buy-backs. The Elite are screwing the people. It's Socialism for the Rich, the Politicians and Govt Employees and Feudalism for the rest of us. ..."
Jun 26, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

We've embedded an SEC Risk Alert on private equity abuses at the end of this post. 1 What is remarkable about this document is that it contains a far longer and more detailed list of private abuses than the SEC flagged in its initial round of examinations of private equity firms in 2014 and 2015. Those examinations occurred in parallel with groundbreaking exposes by Gretchen Morgenson at the New York Times and Mark Maremont in the Wall Street Journal.

At least some of the SEC enforcement actions in that era look to have been triggered by the press effectively getting ahead of the SEC. And the SEC even admitted the misconduct was more common at the most prominent firms.

Yet despite front-page articles on private equity abuses, the SEC engaged in wet noodle lashings. Its pattern was to file only one major enforcement action over a particular abuse. Even then, the SEC went to some lengths to spread the filings out among the biggest firms. That meant it was pointedly engaging in selective enforcement, punishing only "poster child" examples and letting other firms who'd engaged in precisely the same abuses get off scot free.

The very fact of this Risk Alert is an admission of failure by the SEC. It indicates that the misconduct it highlighted five years ago continues and if anything is even more pervasive than in the 2014-2015 era. It also confirms that its oft-stated premise then, that the abuses it found then had somehow been made by firms with integrity that would of course clean up their acts, and that now-better-informed investors would also be more vigilant and would crack down on misconduct, was laughably false.

In particular, the second section of the Risk Alert, on Fees and Expenses (starting on page 4) describes how fund managers are charging inflated or unwarranted fees and expenses. In any other line of work, this would be called theft. Yet all the SEC is willing to do is publish a Risk Alert, rather than impose fines as well as require disgorgements?

The SEC's Abject Failure

In the Risk Alert below, the itemization of various forms of abuses, such as the many ways private equity firms parcel out interests in the businesses they buy among various funds and insiders to their, as opposed to investors' benefit, alone should give pause. And the lengthy discussion of these conflicts does suggest the SEC has learned something over the years. Experts who dealt with the agency in its early years of examining private equity firms found the examiners allergic to considering, much the less pursuing, complex abuses.

Undermining legislative intent of new supervisory authority the SEC never embraced its new responsibilities to ride herd on private equity and hedge funds.

The SEC has long maintained a division between the retail investors and so-called "accredited investors" who by virtue of having higher net worths and investment portfolios, are treated by the agency as able to afford to lose more money. The justification is that richer means more sophisticated. But as anyone who is a manager for a top sports professional or entertainer, that is often not the case. And as we've seen, that goes double for public pension funds.

Starting with the era of Clinton appointee Arthur Levitt, the agency has taken the view that it is in the business of defending presumed-to-be-hapless retail investors and has left "accredited investor" and most of all, institutional investors, on their own. This was a policy decision by the agency when deregulation was venerated; there was no statutory basis for this change in priorities.

Congress tasked the SEC with supervising the fund management activities of private equity funds with over $150 million in assets under management. All of their investors are accredited investors. In other words, Congress mandated the SEC to make sure these firms complied with relevant laws as well as making adequate disclosures of what they were going to do with the money entrusted to them. Saying one thing in the investor contracts and doing another is a vastly worse breach than misrepresentations in marketing materials, yet the SEC acted as if slap-on-the-wrist-level enforcement was adequate.

We made fun when thirteen prominent public pension fund trustees wrote the SEC asking for them to force greater transparency of private equity fees and costs. The agency's position effectively was "You are grownups. No one is holding a gun to your head to make these investments. If you don't like the terms, walk away." They might have done better if they could have positioned their demand as consistent with the new Dodd Frank oversight requirements.

Actively covering up for bad conduct . In 2014, the SEC started working at giving malfeasance a free pass. Specifically, the SEC told private equity firms that they could continue their abuses if they 'fessed up in their annual disclosure filings, the so-called Form ADV. The term of art is "enhanced disclosure". Since when are contracts like confession, that if you admit to a breach, all is forgiven? Only in the topsy-turvy world of SEC enforcement.

And the coddling of crookedness continued. From a January post :

The agency is operating in such a cozy manner with private equity firms that as one investor described it: It's like FBI sitting down with the Mafia to tell them each year, "Don't cross these lines because that's what we are focusing on."

Specifically, as we indicated, the SEC was giving advanced warning of the issues it would focus on in its upcoming exams, in order to give investment managers the time to get their stories together and purge files. And rather than view its periodic exams as being designed to make sure private equity firms comply with the law and their representations, the agency views them as "cooperative" exercises! Misconduct is assumed to be the result of misunderstanding and error, and not design.

It's pretty hard to see conduct like this, from the SEC's Risk Alert, as being an accident:

Advisers charged private fund clients for expenses that were not permitted by the relevant fund operating agreements, such as adviser-related expenses like salaries of adviser personnel, compliance, regulatory filings, and office expenses, thereby causing investors to overpay expenses

The staff observed private fund advisers that did not value client assets in accordance with their valuation processes or in accordance with disclosures to clients (such as that the assets would be valued in accordance with GAAP). In some cases, the staff observed that this failure to value a private fund's holdings in accordance with the disclosed valuation process led to overcharging management fees and carried interest because such fees were based on inappropriately overvalued holdings .

Advisers failed to apply or calculate management fee offsets in accordance with disclosures and therefore caused investors to overpay management fees.

We're highlighting this skimming simply because it is easier for laypeople to understand than some of the other types of cheating the SEC described. Even so, industry insiders and investors complained that the description of the misconduct in this Risk Alert was too general to give them enough of a roadmap to look for it at particular funds.

Ignoring how investors continue to be fleeced . The SEC's list includes every abuse it sanctioned or mentioned in the 2014 to 2015 period, including undisclosed termination of monitoring fees, failure to disclose that investors were paying for "senior advisers/operating partners," fraudulent charges, overcharging for services provided by affiliated companies, plus lots of types of bad-faith conduct on fund restructurings and allocations of fees and expenses on transactions allocated across funds.

The SEC assumed institutional investors would insist on better conduct once they were informed that they'd been had. In reality, not only did private equity investors fail to demand better, they accepted new fund agreements that described the sort of objectionable behavior they'd been engaging in. Remember, the big requirement in SEC land is disclosure. So if a fund manager says he might do Bad Things and then proceeds accordingly, the investor can't complain about not having been warned.

Moreover, the SEC's very long list of bad acts says the industry is continuing to misbehave even after it has defined deviancy down via more permissive limited partnership agreements!

Why This Risk Alert Now?

Keep in mind what a Risk Alert is and isn't. The best way to conceptualize it is as a press release from the SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations. It does not have any legal or regulatory force. Risk Alerts are not even considered to be SEC official views. They are strictly the product of OCIE staff.

On the first page of this Risk Alert, the OCIE blandly states that:

This Risk Alert is intended to assist private fund advisers in reviewing and enhancing their compliance programs, and also to provide investors with information concerning private fund adviser deficiencies.

Cutely, footnotes point out that not everyone examined got a deficiency letter (!!!), that the SEC has taken enforcement actions on "many" of the abuses described in the Risk Alert, yet "OCIE continues to observe some of these practices during examinations."

Several of our contacts who met in person with the SEC to discuss private equity grifting back in 2014-2015 pressed the agency to issue a Risk Alert as a way of underscoring the seriousness of the issues it was unearthing. The staffers demurred then.

In fairness, the SEC may have regarded a Risk Alert as having the potential to undermine its not-completed enforcement actions. But why not publish one afterwards, particularly since the intent then had clearly been to single out prominent examples of particular types of misconduct, rather than tackle it systematically? 2

So why is the OCIE stepping out a bit now? The most likely reason is as an effort to compensate for the lack of enforcement actions. Recall that all the OCIE can do is refer a case to the Enforcement Division; it's their call as to whether or not to take it up.

The SEC looks to have institutionalized the practice of borrowing lawyers from prominent firms. Mary Jo White of Debevoise brought Andrew Ceresney with her from Debeviose to be her head of enforcement. Both returned to Debevoise.

Current SEC chairman Jay Clayton came from Sullivan & Cromwell, bringing with him Steven Peikin as co-head of enforcement. And the Clayton SEC looks to have accomplished the impressive task of being even weaker on enforcement than Mary Jo White. Clayton made clear his focus was on "mom and pop" investors, meaning he chose to overlook much more consequential abuses by private equity firms and hedgies. The New York Times determined that the average amount of SEC fines against corporate perps fell markedly in 2018 compared to the final 20 months of the Obama Administration. The SEC since then levied $1 billion fine against the Woodbridge Group of Companies and its one-time owner for running a Ponzi scheme that fleeced over 8,400, so that would bring the average penalty up a bit. But it still confirms that Clayton is concerned about small fry, and not deeper but just as pickable pockets.

David Sirota argues that the OCIE was out to embarrass Clayton and sabotage what Sirota depicted as an SEC initiative to let retail investors invest in private equity. Sirota appears to have missed that that horse has left the barn and is in the next county, and the SEC had squat to do with it.

The overwhelming majority of retail funds is not in discretionary accounts but in retirement accounts, overwhelmingly 401(k)s. And it is the Department of Labor, which regulates ERISA plans, and not the SEC, that decides what those go and no go zones are. The DoL has already green-lighted allowing large swathes of 401(k) funds to include private equity holdings. From a post earlier this month :

Until now, regulations have kept private equity out of the retail market by prohibiting managers from accepting capital from individuals who lack significant net worth.

Private equity firms have succeeded in storming that barricade. The Department of Labor published a June 3 information letter that allows private equity funds, or more accurately funds of funds, to be included in certain 401(k) plan offerings, namely, target date funds and balanced funds. This is significant because despite the SEC regularly calling out bad practices with target date funds, they are the strategy used to manage the majority of 401(k) assets .

Moreover, even though Sirota pointed out that Clayton had spoken out in favor of allowing retail investors more access to private equity investments, the proposed regulation on the definition of accredited investors in fact not only does not lower income or net worth requirements (save for allowing spouses to combine their holdings) it in fact solicited comments on the idea of raising the limits. From a K&L Gates write up :

Previously, the Concept Release requested comment on whether the SEC should revise the current individual income ($200,000) and net worth ($1,000,000) thresholds. In the Proposing Release, the SEC further considered these thresholds, noting that the figures have not been adjusted since 1982. The SEC concluded that it does not believe modifications to the thresholds are necessary at this time, but it has requested comments on whether the final should instead make a one-time increase to the thresholds in the account for inflation, or whether the final rule should reflect a figure that is indexed to inflation on a going-forward basis.

It is not clear how many people would be picked up by the proposed change, which was being fleshed out, that of letting some presumed sophisticated but not rich individuals, like junior hedge fund professionals and holders of securities licenses, be treated as accredited investors. In other words, despite Clayton's talk about wanting ordinary investors to have more access to private equity funds, the agency's proposed rule change falls short of that.

Moreover, if the OCIE staff had wanted to undermine even the limited liberalization of the definition of accredited investor so as to stymie more private equity investment, the time to do so would have been immediately before or while the comments period was open. It ended March 16 .

The New York Times reported that Senate Republicans deemed Clayton's odds of confirmation as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York as remote even before the Trump fired Geoffrey Berman to clear a path for Clayton. So the idea that a technical release by the OCIE would derail Clayton's confirmation is a stretch.

So again, why now? One possibility is that the timing is purely a coincidence. For instance, the SEC staffers might have been waiting until Covid-19 news overload died down a bit so their work might get a hearing (and Covid-19 remote work complications may also have delayed its release).

The second possibility is that OCIE is indeed very frustrated with the enforcement chief Peikin's inaction on private equity. The fact that Peikin's boss and protector Clayton has made himself a lame duck meant a salvo against Peikin was now a much lower risk. If any readers have better insight into the internal workings of the SEC these days, please pipe up.

______

1 Formally, as you can see, this Risk Alert addresses both private equity and hedge fund misconduct, but on reading the details, the citing of both types of funds reflects the degree to which hedge funds have been engaging in the buying and selling of stakes in private companies. For instance, Chatham Asset Management, which has become notorious through its ownership of American Media, which in turn owns the National Enquirer, calls itself a hedge fund. Moreover, when the SEC started examining both private equity and hedge funds under new authority granted by Dodd Frank, it described the sort of misconduct described in this Risk Alert as coming out of exams of private equity firms, and its limited round of enforcement actions then were against brand name private equity firms like KKR, Blackstone, Apollo, and TPG. Thus for convenience as well as historical reasons, we refer only to private equity firms as perps.

2 Media stories at the time, including some of our posts, provided substantial evidence that particular abuses, such as undisclosed termination of monitoring fees and failure to disclose that "senior advisers" presented as general partner "team members" were in fact consultants being separately billed to fund investments, were common practices. Yet the SEC chose to lodge only marquee enforcement actions against one prominent firm for each abuse, as if token enforcement would serve as an adequate deterrent. The message was the reverse, that the overwhelming majority of the abuses were able to keep their ill-gotten gains and not even face public embarrassment.


skippy , June 26, 2020 at 4:27 am

Peter Sellers I'll say now – ????

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TtZgs8k8dU

vlade , June 26, 2020 at 4:35 am

TBH, in the view of Calpers ignoring its advisors, I do have a little understanding of the SEC's point "you're grown ups" (the worse problem is that the advisors who leach themselves to the various accredited investors are often not worth the money.

On the same side though, fraud is a criminal offence, and it's SEC's duty to prosecute. And I believe that a lot of what PE engage in would happily fall under fraud, if SEC really wanted.

Susan the other , June 26, 2020 at 11:43 am

Yes, the SEC conveniently claims a conflicted authority – 1. to regulate compliance but without an "enforcement authority", and 2. report egregious behavior to their "enforcement authority". So the SEC is less than a permissive nanny. Sort of like "access" to enforcement authority. Sounds like health care to me.

Yves Smith Post author , June 26, 2020 at 4:06 pm

No, this is false. The SEC has an examination division and an enforcement division. The SEC can and does take enforcement actions that result in fines and disgorgements, see the $1 billion fine mentioned in the post. So the exam division can recommend enforcement to the enforcement division. That does not mean it will get done. Some enforcement actions originate from within the enforcement division, like insider trading cases, and the SEC long has had a tendency to prioritize insider trading cases.

The SEC cannot prosecute. It has to refer cases that it thinks are criminal to the DoJ and try to get them to saddle up.

Maritimer , June 26, 2020 at 5:04 am

Crimogenic: Producing or tending to produce crime or criminality. An additional factor is that, in the main, the criminals do not take their money and leave the gaming tables but pour it back in and the crime metastasizes. AKA, Kleptocracy.

Thus in 2008 and thereafter the criminal damage required 2-3 trillion, now 7-10 trillion.

Any economic expert who does not recognize crime as the number one problem in the criminogenic US economy I disregard. Why read all that analysis when, at the end of the run, it all just boils down to bailing out the criminals and trying to reset the criminogenic system?

(Can I get my economics degree now?)

Adam Eran , June 26, 2020 at 1:33 pm

You might add that the threat of consequences for these crimes makes the criminals extremely motivated to elect officials who will not prosecute them (e.g. Obama). They're not running for office, they're avoiding incarceration.

The Rev Kev , June 26, 2020 at 5:17 am

The SEC has been captured for years now. It was not that long ago that SEC Examination chief Andrew Bowden made a grovelling speech to these players and even asked them to give his son a job which was so wrong-

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/regulatory-capture-captured-on-video-190033/

But there is no point in reforming the SEC as it was the politicians, at the beck and call of these players, that de-fanged the SEC – and it was a bipartisan effort! So it becomes a chicken-or-the-egg problem in the matter of reform. Who do you reform first?

Can't leave this comment without mentioning something about a private equity company. One of the two major internal airlines in Oz went broke due to the virus and a private equity buyer has been found to buy it. A union rep said that they will be good for jobs and that they are a good company. Their name? Bain Capital!

Yves Smith Post author , June 26, 2020 at 5:44 am

We broke the story about Andrew Bowden! Give credit where credit is due!!!! Even though Taibbi points to us in his first line, linking to Rolling Stone says to those who don't bother clicking through that it was their story.

Plus we transcribed his fawning remarks.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/secs-andrew-bowden-regulator-sale.html

And he resigned three weeks later.

The Rev Kev , June 26, 2020 at 5:56 am

Of course I remember that story. I was going to mention it but thought to let people see it in virtually the opening line of that story where he gives you credit. More of a jolt of recognition seeing it rather than being told about it first.

Jesper , June 26, 2020 at 6:36 am

Of the three branches of government which ones are not captured by big business? If two out of three were to captured then does it matter what the third does?

In my opinion too much power has been centralised, too much of the productivity gains of the past 40 years have been monetised and therefore made possible to hoard and centralise. SEC should (in my opinion) try to enforce more but without more support then I do not believe (it is my opinion, nothing more and nothing less) that they can accomplish much.

Susan the other , June 26, 2020 at 11:57 am

The SEC is a mysterious agency which (?) must fall under the jurisdiction of the Treasury because it is a monetary regulatory agency in the business of regulating securities and exchanges. But it has no authority to do much of anything. The Treasury itself falls under the executive administration but as we have recently seen, Mnuchin himself managed to get a nice skim for his banking pals from the money Congress legislated.

That's because Congress doesn't know how to effectuate a damn thing – they legislate stuff that morphs before our very eyes and goes to the grifters without a hitch. So why don't we demand that consumer protection be made into hard law with no wiggle room; that since investing is complex in this world of embedded funds and glossy prospectuses, we the consumer should not have to wade through all the nonsense to make decisions – that everything be on the table. And if PE can't manage to do that and still steal its billions then PE should be declared to be flat-out illegal.

Yves Smith Post author , June 26, 2020 at 4:08 pm

Please stop spreading disinformation. This is the second time on this post. The SEC has nada to do with the Treasury. It is an independent regulatory agency. It however is the only financial regulator that does not keep what it kills (its own fees and fines) but is instead subject to Congressional appropriations.

Andrew Levitt, for instance, complained bitterly that Joe Lieberman would regularly threaten to cut the SEC's budget for allegedly being too aggressive about enforcement. Lieberman was the Senator from Hedgistan.

Edward , June 26, 2020 at 7:16 am

More banana republic level grift. What happens when investors figure out they can't believe anything they are told?

RJMc, MD , June 26, 2020 at 8:43 am

It should be noted that out here in the countryside of northern Michigan that embezzlement (a winter sport here while the men are out ice fishing), theft and fraud are still considered punishable felonies. Perhaps that is simply a quaint holdover from a bygone time. Dudley set the tone for the C of C with his Green Book on bank deregulation. One of the subsequent heads of C of C was reported as seeing his position as "being the spiritual resource for banks". If bank regulation is treated in a farcical fashion why should be the SEC be any different?

Susan the other , June 26, 2020 at 12:08 pm

I was shocked to just now learn that ERISA/the Dept of Labor is in regulatory control of allowing pension funds to buy PE fund of funds and "balanced PE funds". What VERBIAGE. Are "PE Fund of Balanced Funds" an actual category? And what distinguishes them from good old straightforward Index Funds? And also too – what is happening before our very glazed-over eyes is that PE is high grading not just the stock market but the US Treasury itself. Ordinary investors should be buying US Treasuries directly and retirement funds should too. It will be a big bite but if it knocks PE out of business it would be worth it. PE is in the business of cooking its books, ravaging struggling corporations, and boldly privatizing the goddamned Treasury. WTF?

Kouros , June 26, 2020 at 12:27 pm

I want to bring this to Yves' attention: the recent SCOTUS decision on Thole v. U.S. Bank that opens the doors wide for corporate America to steal with impunity from the pension plans: https://www.unz.com/estriker/corrupt-supreme-court-gives-green-light-to-corporations-to-steal-from-pensioners/

Glen , June 26, 2020 at 12:51 pm

Can we come up with a better descriptor for "private equity"? I suggest "billionaire looters".

Olivier , June 26, 2020 at 2:00 pm

What about the wanton destruction of the purchased companies? If this solely about the harm done to the poor investors? If so, that is seriously wrong.

flora , June 26, 2020 at 3:27 pm

If, you know, the neoliberal "because markets" is the ruling paradigm then of course there is no harm done. The questions then become: is "because markets" a sensible paradigm? What is it a sensible paradigm of? Is "because markets" even sensible for the long term?

flora , June 26, 2020 at 3:19 pm

an aside: farewell, Olympus camera. A sad day. Farewell, OM-1 and OM-2. Film photography is really not replicated by digital photography but the larger market has gone to digital. Speed and cost vs quality. Because markets. Now the vulture swoop.

Stan Sexton , June 26, 2020 at 8:17 pm

Where is the SEC when Bain Capital (Romney) wipes out Toys-R-Us and Dianne Feinstein's husband Richard Blum wipes out Payless Shoes. They gain control of the companies, pile on massive debt and take the proceeds of the loan, and they know the company cannot service the loan and a BK is around the corner.

Thousands lose their jobs. And this is legal? And we also lost Glass-Steagal and legalized stock buy-backs. The Elite are screwing the people. It's Socialism for the Rich, the Politicians and Govt Employees and Feudalism for the rest of us.

[Mar 07, 2021] Bank Regulation Can not Be Heads Banks Win, Tails Taxpayers Lose

Notable quotes:
"... Kane, who coined the term "zombie bank" and who famously raised early alarms about American savings and loans, analyzed European banks and how regulators, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, backstop them. ..."
"... We are only interested observers of the arm wrestling between the various EU countries over the costs of bank rescues, state expenditures, and such. But we do think there is a clear lesson from the long history of how governments have dealt with bank failures . [If] the European Union needs to step in to save banks, there is no reason why they have to do it for free best practice in banking rescues is to save banks, but not bankers. That is, prevent the system from melting down with all the many years of broad economic losses that would bring, but force out those responsible and make sure the public gets paid back for rescuing the financial system. ..."
"... In 2019, another question, alas, is also piercing. In country after country, Social Democratic center-left parties have shrunk, in many instances almost to nothingness. In Germany the SPD gives every sign of following the French Socialist Party into oblivion. Would a government coalition in which the SPD holds the Finance Ministry even consider anything but guaranteeing the public a huge piece of any upside if they rescue two failing institutions? ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
... ... ...

Running in the background, though, was a new, darker theme: That the post-2008 reforms had gone too far in restricting policymakers' discretion in crises. The trio most responsible for making the post-Lehman bailout revolution -- Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, and Henry Paulson -- expressed their misgivings in a joint op-ed :

But in its post-crisis reforms, Congress also took away some of the most powerful tools used by the FDIC, the Fed and the Treasury the FDIC can no longer issue blanket guarantees of bank debt as it did in the crisis, the Fed's emergency lending powers have been constrained, and the Treasury would not be able to repeat its guarantee of the money market funds.

These powers were critical in stopping the 2008 panic The paradox of any financial crisis is that the policies necessary to stop it are always politically unpopular. But if that unpopularity delays or prevents a strong response, the costs to the economy become greater.

We need to make sure that future generations of financial firefighters have the emergency powers they need to prevent the next fire from becoming a conflagration.

Sotto voce fears of this sort go back to the earliest reform discussions. But the question surfaced dramatically in Timothy Geithner's 2016 Per Jacobsson Lecture, " Are We Safer? The Case for Strengthening the Bagehot Arsenal ." More recently, the Group of Thirty has advanced similar suggestions -- not too surprisingly, since Geithner was co-project manager of the report, along with Guillermo Ortiz, the former Governor of the Mexican Central Bank, who introduced the former Treasury Secretary at the Per Jacobson lecture.

Aside from the financial collapse itself, probably nothing has so shaken public confidence in democratic institutions as the wave of bailouts in the aftermath of the collapse. The redistribution of wealth and opportunity that the bailouts wrought surely helped fuel the populist surges that have swept over Europe and the United States in the last decade. The spectacle of policymakers rubber stamping literally unlimited sums for financial institutions while preaching the importance of austerity for everyone else has been unbearable to millions of people.

Especially in money-driven political systems, affording policymakers unlimited discretion also plainly courts serious risks. Put simply, too big to fail banks enjoy a uniquely splendid situation of "heads I win, tails you lose" when they take risks. Scholars whose research INET has supported, notably Edward Kane , have shown how the certainty of government bailouts advantages large financial institutions, directly affecting prices of their bonds and stocks.

For these reasons INET convened a panel at a G20 preparatory meeting in Berlin on " Moral Hazard Issues in Extended Financial Safety Nets ." The Power Point presentations of the three panelists are presented in the order in which they gave them, since the latter ones sometimes comment on Edward Kane 's analysis of the European banks. Kane, who coined the term "zombie bank" and who famously raised early alarms about American savings and loans, analyzed European banks and how regulators, including the U.S. Federal Reserve, backstop them.

Peter Bofinger , Professor of International and Monetary Economics at the University of Würzburg and an outgoing member of the German Economic Council, followed with a discussion of how the system has changed since 2008. Helene Schuberth , Head of the Foreign Research Division of the Austrian National Bank, analyzed changes in the global financial governance system since the collapse.

The panel took place as public discussion of a proposed merger between two giant German banks, the Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, reached fever pitch. The panelists explored issues directly relevant to such fusions, without necessarily agreeing among themselves or with anyone at INET.

But the point Robert Johnson, INET's President, and I made some years back , amid an earlier wave of talk about using public money to bail out European banks, remains on target:

We are only interested observers of the arm wrestling between the various EU countries over the costs of bank rescues, state expenditures, and such. But we do think there is a clear lesson from the long history of how governments have dealt with bank failures . [If] the European Union needs to step in to save banks, there is no reason why they have to do it for free best practice in banking rescues is to save banks, but not bankers. That is, prevent the system from melting down with all the many years of broad economic losses that would bring, but force out those responsible and make sure the public gets paid back for rescuing the financial system.

The simplest way to do that is to have the state take equity in the banks it rescues and write down the equity of bank shareholders in proportion. This can be done in several ways -- direct equity as a condition for bailout, requiring warrants that can be exercised later, etc. The key points are for the state to take over the banks, get the bad loans rapidly out of those and into a "bad bank," and hold the junk for a decent interval so the rest of the market does not crater. When the banks come back to profitability, you can cash in the warrants and sell the stock if you don't like state ownership. That way the public gets its money back .at times states have even made a profit.

In 2019, another question, alas, is also piercing. In country after country, Social Democratic center-left parties have shrunk, in many instances almost to nothingness. In Germany the SPD gives every sign of following the French Socialist Party into oblivion. Would a government coalition in which the SPD holds the Finance Ministry even consider anything but guaranteeing the public a huge piece of any upside if they rescue two failing institutions?

The full article of Edward Kane

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


WheresOurTeddy , March 29, 2019 at 11:49 am

Enforcement of financial laws is not our thing. Just ask Chuck Schumer of the #Non-Resistance:

https://theintercept.com/2019/03/28/sec-democratic-commissioner-chuck-schumer/

Louis Fyne , March 29, 2019 at 12:17 pm

There needs to be an asset tax on/break up of the megas. End the hyper-agglomeration of deposits at the tail end. Not holding my breath though. (see NY state congressional delegation)

To be generous, tax starts at $300 billion. Even then it affects only a dozen or so US banks. But would be enough to clamp down on the hyper-scale of the largest US/world banks. The world would be better off with lot more mid-sized regional players.

thesaucymugwump , March 29, 2019 at 12:17 pm

Anyone who mentions Timmy Geithner without spitting did not pay attention during the Obama reign of terror. He and Obama crowed about the Making Home Affordable Act, implying that it would save all homeowners in mortgage trouble, but conveniently neglected to mention that less than 100 banks had signed up. The thousands of non-signatories simply continued to foreclose.

Not to mention Eric Holder's intentional non-prosecution of banksters. For these and many other reasons, especially his "Islamic State is only the JV team" crack, Obama was one of our worst presidents.

chuck roast , March 29, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Thank you Yves and Tom Ferguson.

Fergusons graph on DBK's default probabilities coincides with the ECB's ending its asset purchase programme and entering the "reinvestment phase of the asset purchase programme".
https://www.ecb.europa.eu/mopo/implement/omt/html/index.en.html
The worst of the euro zombie banks appear to be getting tense and nervous.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKpzCCuHDVY
Maybe that is why Jerome Powell did his volte-face last month on gradually raising interest rates. Note that the Fed also reduced its automatic asset roll-off. I'm curious if the other euro-zombies in the "peers" return on equity chart are are experiencing volatility also.

Craig H. , March 29, 2019 at 1:04 pm

Apparently the worst fate you can suffer as long as you don't go Madoff is Fuld. According to Wikipedia his company manages a hundred million which must be humiliating. It's not as humiliating as locking the guy up in prison would be by a very long stretch.

Greenspan famously lamented that there isn't anything the regulators can really do except make empty threats. This is dishonest. The regulations are not carved in stone like the ten commandments. In China they execute incorrigible financiers all the time.

John Wright , March 30, 2019 at 10:31 am

Greenspan was never willing to counter any problem that might irritate powerful financial constituencies. For example, during the internet stock bubble of the late 1990's, Greenspan decried the "irrational exuberance" of the stock market. The Greenspan Fed could have raised the margin requirement for stocks to buttress this view, but did not. As I remembered reading, Greenspan was in poor financial shape when he got his Fed job.

His subsequent performance at the Fed apparently left him a wealthy man. Real regulation by Greenspan may have adversely affected his wealth. It may explain why Alan Greenspan would much rather let a financial bubble grow until it pops and then "fix it".

Procopius , March 31, 2019 at 12:30 am

Everybody forgets (or at least does not mention) that Greenspan was a member of the Class of '43, the (mostly Canadian) earliest members of the Objectivist Cult with guru Ayn Rand. Expecting him to act rationally is foolish. It may happen accidentally (we do not know why he chose to let the economy expand unhindered in 1999), but you cannot count on it. In a world with information asymmetry expecting markets to be concerned about reputation is ridiculous. To expect them to police themselves for long term benefit is even more ridiculous.

rd , March 29, 2019 at 3:06 pm

I think Finance is currently about 13% of the S&P 500, down from the peak of about 18% or so in 2007. I think we will have a healthy economy and improved political climate when Finance is about 8-10% of the S&P 500 which is about where I think finance plays a healthy, but not overwhelming rentier role in the economy.

Inode_buddha , March 29, 2019 at 4:51 pm

I think things will be much better when finance is about ~3% of the S&P 500, but no more than that.

[Mar 07, 2021] Regulatory Capture: The Banks and the System That They Have Corrupted

Notable quotes:
"... She soldiered through her painful stomach ailments and secretly tape-recorded 46 hours of conversations between New York Fed officials and Goldman Sachs. After being fired for refusing to soften her examination opinion on Goldman Sachs, Segarra released the tapes to ProPublica and the radio program This American Life and the story went viral from there... ..."
"... In a nutshell, the whoring works like this. There are huge financial incentives to go along, get along, and keep your mouth shut about fraud. The financial incentives encompass both the salary, pension and benefits at the New York Fed as well as the high-paying job waiting for you at a Wall Street bank or Wall Street law firm if you show you are a team player . ..."
Mar 14, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"But the impotence one feels today -- an impotence we should never consider permanent -- does not excuse one from remaining true to oneself, nor does it excuse capitulation to the enemy, what ever mask he may wear. Not the one facing us across the frontier or the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers' enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. The worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this Apparatus, and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others."

Simone Weil

"And in some ways, it creates this false illusion that there are people out there looking out for the interest of taxpayers, the checks and balances that are built into the system are operational, when in fact they're not. And what you're going to see and what we are seeing is it'll be a breakdown of those governmental institutions. And you'll see governments that continue to have policies that feed the interests of -- and I don't want to get clichéd, but the one percent or the .1 percent -- to the detriment of everyone else...

If TARP saved our financial system from driving off a cliff back in 2008, absent meaningful reform, we are still driving on the same winding mountain road, but this time in a faster car... I think it's inevitable. I mean, I don't think how you can look at all the incentives that were in place going up to 2008 and see that in many ways they've only gotten worse and come to any other conclusion."

Neil Barofsky

"Written by Carmen Segarra, the petite lawyer turned bank examiner turned whistleblower turned one-woman swat team, the 340-page tome takes the reader along on her gut-wrenching workdays for an entire seven months inside one of the most powerful and corrupted watchdogs of the powerful and corrupted players on Wall Street – the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The days were literally gut-wrenching. Segarra reports that after months of being alternately gas-lighted and bullied at the New York Fed to whip her into the ranks of the corrupted, she had to go to a gastroenterologist and learned her stomach lining was gone.

She soldiered through her painful stomach ailments and secretly tape-recorded 46 hours of conversations between New York Fed officials and Goldman Sachs. After being fired for refusing to soften her examination opinion on Goldman Sachs, Segarra released the tapes to ProPublica and the radio program This American Life and the story went viral from there...

In a nutshell, the whoring works like this. There are huge financial incentives to go along, get along, and keep your mouth shut about fraud. The financial incentives encompass both the salary, pension and benefits at the New York Fed as well as the high-paying job waiting for you at a Wall Street bank or Wall Street law firm if you show you are a team player .

If the Democratic leadership of the House Financial Services Committee is smart, it will reopen the Senate's aborted inquiry into the New York Fed's labyrinthine conflicts of interest in supervising Wall Street and make removing that supervisory role a core component of the Democrat's 2020 platform. Senator Bernie Sanders' platform can certainly be expected to continue the accurate battle cry that 'the business model of Wall Street is fraud.'"

Pam Martens, Wall Street on Parade

[Mar 06, 2021] This proposition requires the occupied bartering away their land and amending their borders, always for the benefit of the illegal occupier. These 'negotiations' are expressly forbidden by the Geneva Conventions. Every functioning government in the world knows this.

Mar 06, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Paul , Mar 4 2021 21:57 utc | 37

Thanks b for the research and journalism.

One of the favourite tropes of the transparent cabal who have seized power in the US and other captive nations is that the solution to the Palestine/Israel problem is "the path to peace is through direct negotiations.'

This proposition requires the occupied bartering away their land and amending their borders, always for the benefit of the illegal occupier. These 'negotiations' are expressly forbidden by the Geneva Conventions. Every functioning government in the world knows this.

The alien invaders are under an obligation to simply get out. Every 'agreement' is null and void.

The New Zealand government and the NZ superannuation fund has recently decided to divest their investments in Israeli banks citing international law, the Geneva Conventions and reputation damage as key factors.

Read the decision making document here:

https://www.nzsuperfund.nz/assets/documents/responsible-investment/R-GNZS-IC-Paper-Exclusion-of-Israeli-Banks-January-2021.pdf

Expect a MSM wall of silence on this one.

It is sheer hypocrisy for the usual suspects to talk about human rights, rules based international law, democracy and our values, while advocating the opposite policies in the middle east.

Is it possible they actually believe their own propaganda and their own lies through Bernays like repartition?

[Mar 01, 2021] Withdrawing troops from Afghanistan may not be what Talibal wants

Nov 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
jinn , Nov 12 2020 23:34 utc | 81

The Afghans (including the Taliban) do not want the US to leave their country. The flow of US$ into the country (including the flow of heroin$) is what the Afghans have lived on for many decades. Its not like the Afghans don't have control of their own country. They have complete control of all the parts of the country that they want to control. They are perfectly happy to allow Americans to control small parts of the country as long as the $$$ keep flowing into the whole country.

The US power elite may have figured out that just like every other power that has ever tried to occupy Afghanistan that it is a black hole that sucks the life out of the power trying to conq


Haassaan , Nov 13 2020 0:16 utc | 86

@76 Tom
Interesting! Been too busy for reviewing the new military appointees until I read your post. It looks like this is a last ditch attempt by Trump to get troops out of Afghanistan and Syria...

Tom , Nov 13 2020 0:20 utc | 87

"withdrawing troops from Afghanistan may well be exactly what TPTB want."

Posted by: jinn | Nov 12 2020 23:34 utc | 81

Well, they have had, what 19 years years to do that and now that President Trump makes another push for it, all hell breaks loose from the forever war team, you know that team of Democrats and RINO's who are now vying for a spot on Biden's team of psychopaths for war. The we came, we saw and aren't leaving team.

Haassaan , Nov 13 2020 0:32 utc | 89

@81 Jinn

"withdrawing troops from Afghanistan may well be exactly what TPTB want."

Anything is possible, but given the pushback that is taking place (quietly of course, lest the masses get awoken) that is seriously doubtful.

Afghanistan can be likened to one of the central squares on a chessboard...control of central squares is vital as it reduces the mobility of your opponent and lays ground for offensive action.

China has a border with Afghanistan, as does Iran...were Afghanistan to free itself from USA occupation, it would make a great conduit for the BRI.

That is without getting into Afghanistan's role in opium trade and the related black budget, nor its wealth in rare minerals. One might say for the Hegemon to remain the Hegemon it needs to control Afghanistan.

The problem for the hegemon is Afghanistan is expensive to hold on to...and this is without Russia, Iran or China putting any effort in to chase US troops out via arming and training proxies...that could be done quickly, and I am guessing the groundwork is already in place.

jinn , Nov 13 2020 0:46 utc | 91

Well, they have had, what 19 years years to do that
_________________________________________

Well sure but you need to remember the story of why we were there in the first place.
They can't just dump all the BS that they have been feeding us for nineteen years and say "never mind" like Roseanne Roseannadanna.

As for the warmongers who support attacking Libya, Iraq, Syria, etc that was done to send a message to any country that does not want to knuckle under to the $$$ hegemony and thinks about trying to escape it.
That messaging does not apply to the Afghan war. That war sends the exact opposite message.

[Feb 25, 2021] Most Americans consider Kissinger a war criminal too, and informed Americans know that Zbignue Brzenski has lost all credibility. He was a cold war era Anti-Russian. He has said little if anything relevant since the collapse of the USSR.

Feb 25, 2021 | www.unz.com

No Friend Of The Devil , says: February 23, 2021 at 3:45 am GMT • 2.8 days ago

Most Americans consider Kissinger a war criminal too, and informed Americans know that Zbignue Brzenski has lost all credibility. He was a cold war era Anti-Russian. He has said little if anything relevant since the collapse of the USSR.

Informed Americans would prefer a doplomatic relationship with their neighbors south of the border. It would be much more economically and environmentally sustainable to have a cooperative agreement with Venezuela, rather than the KXL advocates north of the border, that Biden thankfully banned. It may be the only thing tbat he ends up doing correctly. I hope not. I did not vote for him, Trump, or anyone else. Biden, Blinken, and Austin speak about wanting to go back to the JCPOA and START, but whether they are willing to give up their policy errors of force through sanctions, and falsely blaming Iran for the attack on the Irbil Iraq airport will probably determine whether they can do this successfully or not. Everyone is sick of the bullshit from the American government, including American citizens! The government does what they Globzi investors demand from them. They really do not give a damn about anyone else. Everyone is just a means to an end to them, and unkess someone is exceptionally wealthy, they are an irrelevant pain in the ass to the government, unless they are willing to sell out their own interest in order to elevate the corrupt government.

Andrea Iravani

Sirius , says: February 23, 2021 at 9:25 am GMT • 2.5 days ago
@Spanky

That's true. As a barometer of establishment thinking, Foreign Affairs is indeed useful. I would just make a distinction of using it to understand establishment thinking versus using it as a source for good policy, which is evidently questionable if its editors still think Robert Kagan has anything useful to propose.

[Feb 24, 2021] Poland, Ukraine Urge Biden to Do His Best 'to Put an End' to Nord Stream 2 Project

Feb 24, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Feb 22 2021 12:16 utc | 109

Clipping:

Poland, Ukraine Urge Biden to Do His Best 'to Put an End' to Nord Stream 2 Project

"Our calls for vigilance and boldness were heard in the US Congress, which pressed on with measures designed to stop this dangerous, divisive project. We call on US President Joe Biden to use all means at his disposal to prevent the project from completion", the pair added.

They think they have a voice in the US Congress? Should apply for Statehood then.

The ministers suggested that if completed, the project will add to Russia's drive "to try to convince the Ukrainian public that the West doesn't care about its own principles, and ultimately, about the security and prosperity of Ukraine".

But wasn't the critique against socialism from the Soviet space that it was "utopian", i.e. that it put its "principles" (ideology) before economic fundamentals?

--//--

EU must be 'united and determined' on Russia sanctions, says Borrell

90 years old and still has not grown up.

I guess old dogs indeed can't learn new tricks.

snake , Feb 22 2021 22:15 utc | 151

Poland, Ukraine Urge Biden to Do His Best 'to Put an End' to Nord Stream 2 Project
vk @ 109. Congress of the USA to interfere with the completion of Russian-German Nord stream II project because the LNG cartel in USA governed Texas, Lousisana , Oregon want to require every man women and child in Europe to pay monopoly prices for LNG. As I see it failure of Nord Stream II will be extremely dangerous to the survival of the solar and wind renewable energy efforts; its a do it or die situation for dominate energy is the goal of the LNG cartel...

[Feb 21, 2021] https://apnews.com/article/7f6ed0b1bda047339f22789a10f64ac4

Feb 21, 2021 | apnews.com

Andrea Iravani

[Feb 21, 2021] Inclusive means, don't let usurers like the IMF get you on the debt hook and immiserize your people. Sustainable means no pillage of national wealth or resources and no imposition of externalities (like Chevron did to Ecuador, for instance.)

Feb 21, 2021 | www.unz.com

anon [384] Disclaimer , says: February 11, 2021 at 5:42 pm GMT • 9.3 days ago

Don't be spooked by those words. Do you know where the words sustainable and inclusive come from? Tycoons didn't think them up. They're just parroting them to try and twist their meaning. Those words are from the Addis Ababa consensus. Tycoons give lip service to those words because if they don't, no one will give them the time of day.

https://www.un.org/esa/ffd/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/AAAA_Outcome.pdf

AA is the consensus of the ECOSOC bloc, treaty parties of the ICESCR, 171 of them, the overwhelming majority of the world. ECOSOC reports to the UNGA, the most participative and least controllable UN organ. US UN delegates don't even dare mention the AA outcome – they fixate on the Monterrey Consensus, two documents ago.

Inclusive means, don't let usurers like the IMF get you on the debt hook and immiserize your people. Sustainable means no pillage of national wealth or resources and no imposition of externalities (like Chevron did to Ecuador, for instance.) You will see that the outcome document subordinates everthing the tycoons or the US want to human rights and rule of law. Economic rights too. The outcome curbs US "Western" corporatist development by pulling WTO and IMF under the authority of G-192 organizations like UNCTAD and ILO.

It's hard for people in US satellites to interpret this stuff because the underlying intitiatives of the G-192 (that is, the world) are hidden from you and buried in US propaganda. Xi is quoting his Five Principles, four of which are straight out of the UN Charter. China has ratified the ICESCR. So China is not communist. China is not capitalist. China is a member of the ECOSOC bloc. People in the US or its satellites have no idea what that is, but it's vastly bigger than the Third International was. It's development based on human rights. Tycoons and the US hate that shit but they can't stop it.

Realist , says: February 12, 2021 at 2:36 pm GMT • 8.4 days ago

A couple of things that would go a long way to correct the goddamn stupidity running rampant in this country are.

Correcting the following horrendous actions: The SCOTUS has passed down egregious decisions that abridge the First Amendment and show contempt for the concept of representative democracy. Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1976 and exacerbated by continuing stupid SCOTUS decisions First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission.
These decisions have codified that money is free speech thereby giving entities of wealth and power total influence in elections.

And-

Making it absolutely impossible for anyone to amass more than 100 million dollars extreme wealth concentrates too much power.

[Feb 19, 2021] I'm curious as to how Russia will regulate Western Big Tech platforms licensed to operate within Russia if they violate the terms of the agreement outside its borders, as Twitter did recently to a Russian group outside of Russia.

Feb 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Feb 17 2021 22:43 utc | 39

psychohistorian @27--

Thanks for the FYI. That's not at all an unexpected assault on a method for the people to redress grievances, not that it was actually acted upon since the Executive has a very nasty habit of not obeying the law.

I'm curious as to how Russia will regulate Western Big Tech platforms licensed to operate within Russia if they violate the terms of the agreement outside its borders, as Twitter did recently to a Russian group outside of Russia. Perhaps Russia will make an extraterritorial law such that if Twitter, for example, unjustifiably freezes an account as it does daily it will lose its rights to operate within Russia. As for the individual user, IMO its dumb to sign onto a service that you know practices censorship and shares private data with governments and other entities--either you value your own privacy or it will be stolen from you. With luck, quantum computing and its encryption algorithms will destroy all efforts at data collection; but those days are a ways off and will likely first become available on Chinese devices which the West will ban.


karlof1 , Feb 17 2021 23:24 utc | 46

I wonder what our Aussie barflies have to say about this :

"Facebook to ban Australian users from reading and sharing news in response to government's Big Tech bill."

That's right! FB Australia is going to ban its users from discussing a legislative proposal by the Australian government that would regulate Aussie FB.

If that's how they choose to operate, more nations will ban them. And again I ask why have anything to do with an organization that censors basic content.

Debsisdead , Feb 17 2021 23:41 utc | 47

re karlof1 #46

Google promised the same about two weeks ago as the Murdoch controlled Oz legislature is pushing to ensure that if big tech carries links to articles in news sites such as Murdoch's Daily Telegraph or Fairfax's Sydney Morning Herald they, big tech, will have to kick back a proportion of the advertising revenue they make.
Despite it being murdochian the claim has some merit, but no monopoly is going to acquiesce to such a small population as Australia's so Google, FB, Twitter etc, will just ban all news links to Oz sources.

The Oz conservatives are likely to do their usual "damn the voters, full speed ahead" as long as nothing else crops up to make this too on the nose.
This if it happens will be a win win for the Oz population as they will revert back to sourcing their own news and sharing it with others free of big tech's control & censorship. It will be an interesting time, although the monopolies will be pushing shock horror tales about it outside Oz. There is no chance of it happening in amerika as BidenCorp is a big tech puppet, but it could happen eventually as the fishwraps still retain considerable power over the amerikan political structure.

karlof1 , Feb 17 2021 23:58 utc | 48

Debsisdead @47--

Thanks for your reply! I recall one of the Cold War talking points was that the Free Flow of Information was Vital to democratic governance and was a major reason why the USSR and Warsaw Pact was so backwards as they stifled all information flows through censorship and other means. VoA Trumpeted that constantly. Such hubris is going to encourage the world's nations to come together to control what are clearly becoming outlaw organizations.

[Feb 10, 2021] The IMF system was designed to impoverish debtors

Feb 10, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The IMF system was designed to impoverish debtors. The purpose of the IMF was to make other countries so poor and dependent on the United States so they could never be militarily independent. In the discussion of the British loan for instance, in the 1930s the discussion in the London Economic Conference was, "Yes, we're bankrupting Europe, but if we give Europe enough money to avoid austerity, they're just going to spend the money on the military." That was said by the Americans in the State Department and the White House again and again, especially by Raymond Moley who was basically in charge of President Roosevelt's foreign policy towards Europe.

The question is: how do you create an international financial system designed to promote prosperity, not austerity? The Bretton Woods is for austerity for everybody except the United States, which will have a free ride forever. The question that I'm involved with in the work I'm doing in China and with other countries is how to create a system based on prosperity instead of austerity, with mutual support between creditors and debtors, without the kind of financial antagonism that has been built in to the international financial system ever since World War I. Financial reform involves tax reform as well: how do we end up taxing economic rent instead of letting the rentiers take over society. That is what classical economics is all about: how do we revive it?

Oscar Brisset

Final question: these austerity and anti-labor policies which the IMF imposes on countries of the global South seem to be well known practices from before the IMF was created, from what you've discussed. Did the IMF invent anything new? In addition, in the 19th century, was predatory lending something common, or was direct invasion always the go-to method for subjugating a territory?

Prof Hudson

The 19th century was really the golden age of industrial capitalism. Countries wanted to invest to make a profit. They didn't want to invest in dismantling an existing industry, because there wasn't much industry to dismantle. They wanted to make profit by creating industry. There was a lot of investment in infrastructure, and it almost always lost money. For instance, there was recently a criticism of China saying, "Doesn't China know that the Panama Canal went bankrupt again and again, and that all the investments in canals and the railroads all went broke again and again?" Of course China knows that. The idea is that you make investment not to make a profit on basic large infrastructure. The 19th century was basically inter-state lending, inter-governmental lending, public sector lending. That's where the money was made. The late 20th century was one of financialization, dismantling the industry that was already in place, not lending to create industry to make a profit. It's asset-stripping, not profit-seeking

[Jan 29, 2021] Speaking about rich families who own the world. There is one unique feature of german oligarchy, they don't change.

Jan 29, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

rico , Jan 29 2021 19:24 utc | 32

Speaking about rich families who own the world. There is one unique feature of german oligarchy, they don't change. More than half of the hundred richest families now have already been rich before ww1. They made the crazy history of last century possible. Please just go for a second in the perspective they have.

[Jan 28, 2021] Diana Johnstones "Fools Crusade" goes into the destabilization efforts made by various EU and Nato entities to precipitate the break up. It's where the Clintons beta tested the nation breaking tools Bush/Cheney began deploying around the world.

Jan 28, 2021 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Eustache de Saint Pierre , January 27, 2021 at 7:18 am

It's part & parcel here especially from DUP types who sometimes appear to be living in a fantasy world – Shinners not so much but I imagine that SF dissidents have similar extreme positions & all of this comes from some intelligent & professional people not just the malleable mobs. Meanwhile there is a turf war for the gangster versions of both UVF & UDA hitting the streets in Belfast.

I recall a few years back reading an account from a British Army general who was familiar with both Northern Ireland & the former Yugoslavia before they blew up, who in both instances was shocked by how people who had for the most part lived happily side by side within a relatively short space of time became sworn enemies. All of that had a religious background with the latter including ethnicity, but to him both sides in both cases spiraled down through negative reactions into extremes, becoming in the end each others sworn enemies.

Politics & Class have I believe caused the same fractures & after all the successful & presumably intelligent PMC also have their deplorable others that are largely a construction based on generalisations & stereotypes, while sadly peace & reconciliation efforts as far as I can tell always appear to arrive as an epilogue to a very bad book.

vlade , January 27, 2021 at 8:33 am

Yugoslavia definitely didn't live happily side by side. Its tensions were hidden under Tito, but existed before (cf WW2 Croats vs Serbs, as most visible example), and blew up after, to a great extent because they were so supressed before w/o any reasonable outlet. It might have given a semblance of "happines", but it wasn't really there.

Can't comment on NI.

Wukchumni , January 27, 2021 at 9:11 am

I was only in Yugoslavia once for about a week in 1982, and you could see what a mess it was in the making. I'm used to Europeans drinking, but Belgrade made em' look like teetotalers. Add in age old tensions and kaboom!

One of the biggest hyperinflationary episodes came out of their civil war, only to be eclipsed in the numbers game by Zimbabwe after the turn of the century.

The Rev Kev , January 27, 2021 at 9:46 am

I was going through Yugoslavia by train in 1981 and the one thing that struck me looking out the windows was flags. You had Yugoslavian flags everywhere you looked to the point that it was almost a fetish. It was only years later that I wondered if the point of those flags was to encourage the different groups to think of themselves as Yugoslavians first and foremost.

Robert Gray , January 27, 2021 at 12:26 pm

> flags everywhere you looked to the point that it was almost a fetish.

Erm that sounds just like the US of A.

a different chris , January 27, 2021 at 9:21 am

> to a great extent because they were so supressed before w/o any reasonable outlet.

But this seems to excuse the fighting? If everybody was "suppressed" then why did they kick sideways, rather than up? As I think I said once before, my friend from Serbia would say "I'd be on "my" side of the street and "they" would be shooting at me, and then I'd cross the street and "my" people would be shooting at me".

He, like so many nowadays, came to the US not because this was some beacon of hope but because where he lived, a place he loved for many reasons, was that messed up.

Reading Wikipedia I come across this tiresome sentence: "The Croat quest for independence led to large Serb communities within Croatia rebelling and trying to secede from the Croat republic. Serbs in Croatia would not accept a status of a national minority in a sovereign Croatia, since they would be demoted from the status of a constituent nation of the entirety of Yugoslavia."

Croats? Serbs? Like they are fundamentally different species? It's as bad as the Reconstruction South, but per my example above people didn't even have different colored skin, heck they were physically indistinguishable. They just wanted something they themselves couldn't even describe without foaming at the mouth.

To be considered above somebody else by birth was what it really was.

Oh, and another head-banging quote: "the "Croatian Spring" protest in the 1970s was backed by large numbers of Croats who claimed that Yugoslavia remained a Serb hegemony and demanded that Serbia's powers be reduced .Tito, whose home republic was Croatia,"

An iron-fisted dictator runs the country, he is from Croatia, yet the country is considered by Croatians to be "Serb hegemony". Ok whatever, hey it does make more sense than following a normal-height dark-haired dark-eyed man because he says that tall blond-haired blue eyed people are superior. And that was a short-by-American-standards drive away

We can give the globe a spin and find the same idiocy in Asia, where "they all look alike" to western eyes but oh boy they slaughter each other just as regularly as we do.

Ok I'm done ranting. What a plague on the planet this species is.

vlade , January 27, 2021 at 9:51 am

Kicking sideways (or downwards) is always easier than kicking upwards, especially if people were doing it for years.

Otherwise, you're just accentuating my point – and I agree with you. It was incredible watching people in pub who were getting on very well until one of them asked where the other was from, and that has changed the whole atmosphere.

Wukchumni , January 27, 2021 at 9:59 am

My cousin from Prague came to America in the late 90's to live on a genuine ranch for a spell and go on a long roadtrip in search of

So he gets pulled over for speeding in a red state and gives the officer his Czech drivers license, and he told me the officer went into a harangue over all the ethnic cleansing that was going on in his country, and how sorry he was about it, and let him off.

Cousin was torn between telling the copper, nah that's a few countries over, but went for the victim card instead.

vlade , January 27, 2021 at 11:23 am

Hah, do you know the Western press brain-melt induced by having Slovakia and Slovenia (which, moreover have very similar flags..) in the same World Cup (soccer) 2022 qualification group?

ex-PFC Chuck , January 27, 2021 at 11:26 am

Croats? Serbs? Like they are fundamentally different species?

Not different species, but different religions; Roman and Orthodox Catholicism, respectively. Think German-speaking Europe during the Thirty Years War.

km , January 27, 2021 at 1:33 pm

The irony of course is that, in 1992, Croats for the most part didn't go to mass, Serbs did go to Liturgy, and Bosniak Muslims thought beer went well with their pork chops.

Think of it not as a religious war, but a re-hash of WWII.

jsn , January 27, 2021 at 4:19 pm

Diana Johnstones "Fools Crusade" goes into the destabilization efforts made by various EU and Nato entities to precipitate the break up. It's where the Clintons beta tested the nation breaking tools Bush/Cheney began deploying around the world.

Karl Von Hapsburg and the Pope were both involved in prying the Catholic portions loose from the Yugoslav federation and bringing them back into the Mont Pelerin orbit of the former Habsburg empire.

The Orthodox regions have been left to the Russians with black markets to everyone's benefit and the Bosnians given the standard settler/colonial treatment of designated "races."

Eustache de Saint Pierre , January 27, 2021 at 12:29 pm

Vlade – perhaps I should not have used the word happily but basically neighbours were not killing each other as was also mainly the case in NI, although there were tensions gradually building up in tandem with the Civil Rights movement based on the MLK. model.

I don't know what the tipping point was in the Balkans, but in NI it was the treatment received by the marchers & the likes of the Bogside at the hands of the B specials & RUC in Derry which gradually spread elsewhere in mass battles between mobs from both sides & the above armed cops. All of this capped off in 72 by the Provos most successful recruiting campaign courtesy of the Parachute regiment on Bloody Sunday, while about that time around 10,000 Catholic refugees crossed into the Republic.

PlutoniumKun , January 27, 2021 at 12:02 pm

If the General thought that people in NI lived happily side by side before the Troubles, then he was sorely misinformed. Tensions were always very strong, although not just religious ones. In Dublin growing up I had neighbours who were Belfast protestants but had been driving out of Belfast because their grandfather was involved in a shipyard trade union and that was sufficient for him to have been labeled as a communist and Taig lover.

Eustache de Saint Pierre , January 27, 2021 at 12:43 pm

Yes happily was the wrong word but in the North outside of the cities there was mixing & occasionally mixed marriages.

You are very correct in relation to the troubles in the shipyards, which I read a few books about in prep for a statue. Funny thing is that during my 2 stints at the Titanic studios for GoT I was informed by the top man that many of the tradesmen were ex paramilitaries from both sides who managed to work well together for a decade, but in separate teams. That was also tjhe case during the yearly Wraps where they all took full advantage of the free bars but besides a few scuffles, there was never any real trouble.

A lot of the work would have been carried out in the original paint hall.

vlade , January 27, 2021 at 2:56 pm

Oooh.. Reminds me of E.T. Setton's Two Savages and the difference between "Emmy Grants" and "Passengers"..

Eustache de Saint Pierre , January 27, 2021 at 7:58 pm

You have lost me there Vlade ( If you were indeed commenting on my post ) as I don't know the book, but you have reminded me of one very violent incident on location in Spain between 2 Catholics in a bar. It was due to one of them being a member of another group of savages that plagued Belfast as the other 2 wound down.

They were called the Hoodies who were part of the huge crime wave that hit Belfast as a consequence of the Troubles. It was cleaned up in Catholic areas over about 7 years under the command of Bobby Storey.

[Jan 27, 2021] The Truth Behind Russia's Navalny Protests by Mark Episkopos

Jan 27, 2021 | nationalinterest.org

There is no singular "opposition" for Washington to support -- no unified alternative ideology, least of all one palatable to the West, to replace the current Russian state and institutions.

me title=

[Jan 27, 2021] Jailed Kremlin foe Navalny being used by West to destabilise Russia- Putin ally - Reuters

Jan 27, 2021 | www.reuters.com

Jailed Kremlin foe Navalny being used by West to destabilise Russia: Putin ally

By Reuters Staff

3 MIN READ

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny is being used by the West to try to destabilise Russia, a prominent hardliner and ally of President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday, saying he must be held to account for repeatedly breaking the law.

Slideshow ( 2 images )

Navalny was remanded in custody for 30 days last week after returning from Germany where he had been recovering from a nerve agent poisoning. He could face years in jail for parole violations and other legal cases he calls trumped up.

Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Security Council, called for Navalny to face the full force of the law in comments that offered a glimpse into the mood inside Russia's security establishment after tens of thousands of Navalny's supporters protested against his jailing on Saturday.

"He (Navalny), this figure, has repeatedly (and) grossly broken Russian legislation, engaging in fraud concerning large amounts (of money). And as a citizen of Russia he must bear responsibility for his illegal activity in line with the law," Patrushev told the Argumenty i Fakty media outlet.

ADVERTISEMENT

me title=

"The West needs this figure to destabilise the situation in Russia, for social upheaval, strikes and new Maidans," Patrushev said, in a reference to the 2014 revolution in Ukraine that ousted a Moscow-backed president.

When asked about Patrushev's comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said it was up to a court to make further decisions in the opposition politician's case and that it was not a matter for the Kremlin.

Navalny faces a court hearing on Feb.2.

RELATED COVERAGE

G7 calls for peaceful Navalny protesters to be released by Russia

Police detained more than 3,700 people on Saturday as protesters called on the Kremlin to release Navalny. The Kremlin said the protests were illegal.

Peskov on Tuesday said there could be no dialogue with illegal protesters, accusing them of behaving aggressively and of using what he called unprecedented violence against the police.

He said incidences of police violence against protesters, some of which were captured on video, were far fewer and being investigated.

ADVERTISEMENT

me title=

In a sign that Russian authorities may crack down hard after the protests, the Kommersant newspaper on Tuesday cited unnamed security sources as saying they may open a criminal investigation that would treat the demonstrations as "mass unrest".

The West has called for Navalny's release, but the European Union has said it will refrain from fresh sanctions on Russian individuals if Moscow releases Navalny after 30 days.

[Jan 27, 2021] Kremlin urged to freeze payments from 'foreign agents' such as US state media outlets over claims they fund info war in Russi

Jan 27, 2021 | www.rt.com

News outlets and campaign groups that get cash from overseas could be prevented from spending money in Russia under proposals put forward by an influential Moscow think tank.

RT obtained a copy of the proposal, addressed to Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev on Wednesday. Developed by Anton Orlov, director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Politics, the draft regulations would effectively ban groups that are registered as "foreign agents" from making financial payments to individuals.

Orlov claims in his statement that one such organization has been demonstrated to have "organized unauthorized street political actions in Russian cities." He added: "At the same time, representatives of the organization disseminated information on social networks and in the media that they were ready to pay the fines of citizens received as a result of committing offenses at these events."

It is unclear how this would affect the ability of these groups to pay their staff in Russia.

ALSO ON RT.COM 'Register and keep working': Russia's 'foreign agents' law protects from outside meddling, doesn't infringe on anyone, Putin says

A number of organizations have been labeled as foreign agents under government rules, because they receive significant proportions of their funding from abroad, predominately from Western governments. Among them are US state-run media outlets Voice of America and RFE/RL, as well as the opposition-leaning Moscow-based Levada Center.

READ MORE Influential Russian senator Klimov accuses foreign spooks of helping to organize weekend protests in support of Navalny Influential Russian senator Klimov accuses foreign spooks of helping to organize weekend protests in support of Navalny

In March last year, President Vladimir Putin defended the law, comparing it to equivalent measures in the US and arguing that it "exists simply to protect Russia from external meddling in its politics."

"Nobody's rights are being infringed on here whatsoever. There is nothing that runs counter to international practice," he added.

One of the country's most senior parliamentarians, Senator Andrey Klimov, told Rossiya-1 news channel on Sunday that the street protests organized in support of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny last weekend had been orchestrated from outside the country. "The Senatorial Commission has reason to believe that all these activities are clearly traced to the actions of foreign states, and it is all happening with the assistance of foreign specialists," he told the broadcaster.

A number of organizations have been labeled as foreign agents under government rules, because they receive significant proportions of their funding from abroad, predominately from Western governments. Among them are US state-run media outlets Voice of America and RFE/RL, as well as the opposition-leaning Moscow-based Levada Center.

READ MORE Influential Russian senator Klimov accuses foreign spooks of helping to organize weekend protests in support of Navalny Influential Russian senator Klimov accuses foreign spooks of helping to organize weekend protests in support of Navalny

In March last year, President Vladimir Putin defended the law, comparing it to equivalent measures in the US and arguing that it "exists simply to protect Russia from external meddling in its politics."

"Nobody's rights are being infringed on here whatsoever. There is nothing that runs counter to international practice," he added.

One of the country's most senior parliamentarians, Senator Andrey Klimov, told Rossiya-1 news channel on Sunday that the street protests organized in support of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny last weekend had been orchestrated from outside the country. "The Senatorial Commission has reason to believe that all these activities are clearly traced to the actions of foreign states, and it is all happening with the assistance of foreign specialists," he told the broadcaster.

Dachaguy 3 hours ago 27 Jan, 2021 09:57 AM

America used their weaponized dollar to fund mercenaries in Syria and we all saw the result of that. Russia has a duty to prevent that type of attack against Russia. America's Achilles' Heel is the US dollar, so cutting off its use by foreign agents to fund nefarious activities is a good place to start.
Count_Cash 3 hours ago 27 Jan, 2021 10:44 AM
Not enough - its time to send the diplomatic note to western countries that Russia considers itself under attack by Western powers through an info war. Then it should close all foreign media and campaign groups over night. It cannot be the case that enemy spying posts and combatants are allowed on Russian soil during conflict!

[Jan 27, 2021] PACE decided to pass a non-binding resolution of more sanctions against Russia for the Navalny fiasco while Frau Merkel (and her likely successor) remains clear that Nord Stream II must be finished

Jan 27, 2021 | consortiumnews.com

Jeff Harrison , January 26, 2021 at 02:13

Incisive and grim. As Mr. Putin observed, Presidents come and go but the policy stays the same. But wait! I think there's more

WRT Iran. Iran recently announced that their sales of oil had increased substantially, without, of course identifying how much or with whom. If they are doing these transactions in national currencies, there's nothing other than piracy that the US can do, making the US more dependent on our vassals to carry our water here. But

In other news, the EU has decided to stop supporting Guido. If some of the OAS vassals get the idea that they, too, can stand on at least their two knees, maybe Mr. Maduro can get a bit more of a break. The US is sure to be wroth.

PACE decided to pass a non-binding resolution of more sanctions against Russia for the Navalny fiasco while Frau Merkel (and her likely successor) remains clear that Nord Stream II must be finished. The German FM pointed out that they could face serious court battles since the Pipeline consortium which includes other EU countries has all the permits they require.

The results are in aaaaannnnnddd – thanx to Covid, for the first time in history China had more Direct Foreign Investment (DFI) than the US. The US better hope that doesn't keep up ..

[Jan 26, 2021] Show me whom you pardon and will tell you who you are

Now Trump has shafted DR Congo because the money was well appreciated by Dan Gertler as documented by Dershowitz.– "Letting Dan Gertler off the hook sends a message to the world's most corrupt businesspeople that the U.S. will let them walk free after a bit of lobbying,"-NYTimes
Notable quotes:
"... Trump's most pervasive foreign policy initiatives have involved Israel, encouraging the Jewish state's attacks on Palestinian, Iranian, Lebanese and Syrian targets with impunity, killing thousands of civilians on his watch. Trump has given Israel everything it could possibly ask for, with no consideration for what the U.S. interests might actually be. The only thing he did not do for the Jewish state was to attack and destroy Iran, and even there, reports suggest that he sought to do just that in the waning days of his administration but was talked out of it by his cabinet. ..."
"... But even given all that, Trump the panderer clearly wanted to give one last gift to Israel, and he saved it for his last day in office, when he issued more than 140 pardons and commutations. Though other presidents have issued controversial pardons, no other head of state has so abused the clemency authority to benefit not only friends and acquaintances but also celebrity defendants including rappers, some advocated by the likes of the Kardashians, and also those promoted by monied interests. Most of the pardons went to cronies and to supplicants who were willing to pay in cash or in kind to be set free. It was suggested that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner was engaged in the selection process and money was often a key element. Some might describe that as corruption. ..."
"... Elliott Broidy, former finance chair of the Republican National Committee, had no less than five Rabbis vouching for him. Last year Broidy had pleaded guilty to acting as an "unregistered foreign agent," part of a larger investigation into the Malaysian "1MDB Scandal" in which Prime Minister Najib Razak stole more than $700 million dollars from his country's state-run 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Broidy worked on behalf of Razak and was offered $75 million if he could get the U.S. Justice Department to drop its own investigation into the scandal. ..."
"... Another clemency beneficiary who exploited his Jewish links was Philip Esformes, a former nursing home executive who executed one of the biggest Medicare frauds in U.S. history. Just days after being released after serving four years of his 20-year sentence, Esformes celebrated his daughter's wedding in a lavish party held at his multi-million dollar Florida home. He benefited from a lobbying campaign by the Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch Aleph Institute, a group advised by the ubiquitous former Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz. The movement reportedly has connections to Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. ..."
"... Another person pardoned by Trump was Sholam Weiss, a Hasidic businessman from New York who was sentenced to more than 800 years in prison in 2000 for racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering connected to a huge fraud scheme that stole $125 million from the National Heritage Life Insurance Company, leading to its bankruptcy. He fled the country but was subsequently arrested in Austria and extradited to the United States. Weiss had reportedly received the endorsement of from Dershowitz, who also recently has been involved in the Jeffrey Epstein/Ghislaine Maxwell espionage case. ..."
"... Trump gave a full pardon to Aviem Sella, a seventy-five year old former Israeli Air Force officer, who was indicted in the U.S. in 1987 for espionage in relation to the Jonathan Pollard spy case. Sella fled to Israel days before Pollard was arrested outside the Israeli embassy in Washington D.C. and the Israeli government refused to extradite him. Sella, at the time doing a degree course at New York University, was Pollard's initial contact. He had started working part-time for the Mossad intelligence agency in the early 1980s and received some of the classified top-secret documents provided by Pollard in exchange for money and jewelry. ..."
Jan 26, 2021 | www.unz.com
by Philip Giraldi - The Unz Review Another disgraceful performance from "Israel's president" PHILIP GIRALDI JANUARY 26, 2021 1,700 WORDS 141 COMMENTS REPLY Tweet Reddit Share Share Email Print More

One keeps hearing that former President Donald Trump will be judged well by the history books because he was the only American head of state in recent memory who did not start any new wars. Well, the claim is itself questionable as Jimmy Carter, for all his faults, managed to avoid entering into any new armed conflict, and Trump can hardly be described as a president who eschewed throwing his weight around, both literally and figuratively. He attacked Syria on two occasions based on fabricated intelligence, assassinated an Iranian general, withdrew from several arms and proliferation agreements, and has been waging economic warfare against Iran, Syria, Venezuela and Iraq. He has sanctioned individuals and organizations in both China and Russia and has declared Iranian government components and Yemeni Houthi rebels to be terrorists. He has occupied Syria's oil producing region to "protect it from terrorists" and has generally exerted "maximum pressure" against his "enemies" in the Middle East.

So no, Donald Trump is no antiwar activist. But Trump's most pervasive foreign policy initiatives have involved Israel, encouraging the Jewish state's attacks on Palestinian, Iranian, Lebanese and Syrian targets with impunity, killing thousands of civilians on his watch. Trump has given Israel everything it could possibly ask for, with no consideration for what the U.S. interests might actually be. The only thing he did not do for the Jewish state was to attack and destroy Iran, and even there, reports suggest that he sought to do just that in the waning days of his administration but was talked out of it by his cabinet.

Trump's pander to Israel started out with withdrawing from the nuclear monitoring agreement with Iran, followed by his shutting down the Palestinian offices in the United States, halting U.S. contributions for Palestinian humanitarian relief, moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Syrian Golan Heights, giving a green light for Israel to do whatever it wishes on the formerly Palestinian West Bank, and, finally permitting paroled former Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to go "home" to Israel where he received a hero's welcome. Trump, to be sure, was aided in his disloyalty to his own country by former bankruptcy lawyer Ambassador David Friedman in place in Israel, an ardent Zionist and a cheerleader for whatever atrocities Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to commit. Couple that with a Congress that gives billions of dollars to Israel annually while bleating that the Jewish state has a "right to defend itself" and a media that self-censors all the human rights violations and war crimes that Netanyahu unleashes, and you have a perfect love fest for Israel expressed daily throughout the United States.

But even given all that, Trump the panderer clearly wanted to give one last gift to Israel, and he saved it for his last day in office, when he issued more than 140 pardons and commutations. Though other presidents have issued controversial pardons, no other head of state has so abused the clemency authority to benefit not only friends and acquaintances but also celebrity defendants including rappers, some advocated by the likes of the Kardashians, and also those promoted by monied interests. Most of the pardons went to cronies and to supplicants who were willing to pay in cash or in kind to be set free. It was suggested that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner was engaged in the selection process and money was often a key element. Some might describe that as corruption.

Those of us in the actual antiwar plus anti-surveillance-state movement had been hoping that Trump would actually do something good at no cost to himself, pardoning whistleblowers Edward Snowden, John Kiriakou, Reality Winner, and Chelsea Manning as well as journalist Julian Assange. Kiriakou has reported that when he petitioned for a pardon through one of Trump lawyer Rudi Giuliani's aides, he was told that such an arrangement would cost $2 million.

Bribes for pardons aside, it would have cost Trump nothing to pardon the whistleblowers and it would be a vindication of those who had put themselves at risk to attack the machinations of the Deep State, which Trump had blamed for the coordinated attacks against himself. This was his relatively cost-free chance to get revenge. Admittedly, there is speculation that Senator Mitch McConnell may have warned Trump against pardoning Julian Assange in particular, threatening to come up with enough GOP votes to convict him in his upcoming impeachment trial if he were to do so. Be that as it may, not a single whistleblower was pardoned though there was room on the ship for plenty of heinous white collar criminals. Former Dr. Salomon Melgen, for example, had his sentence commuted. Melgen, a close friend of the seriously corrupt Senator from New Jersey Robert Menendez got into trouble in 2009 when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) discovered that he had overbilled Medicare for $8.9 million for a drug called Lucentis. Two years later Melgen's business was hit with a $11 million lien from the IRS and four years after that he was charged and convicted over more than 76 counts of health care fraud and making false statements.

Some of those pardoned had Jewish organizations going to bat for them. Elliott Broidy, former finance chair of the Republican National Committee, had no less than five Rabbis vouching for him. Last year Broidy had pleaded guilty to acting as an "unregistered foreign agent," part of a larger investigation into the Malaysian "1MDB Scandal" in which Prime Minister Najib Razak stole more than $700 million dollars from his country's state-run 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Broidy worked on behalf of Razak and was offered $75 million if he could get the U.S. Justice Department to drop its own investigation into the scandal.

Another clemency beneficiary who exploited his Jewish links was Philip Esformes, a former nursing home executive who executed one of the biggest Medicare frauds in U.S. history. Just days after being released after serving four years of his 20-year sentence, Esformes celebrated his daughter's wedding in a lavish party held at his multi-million dollar Florida home. He benefited from a lobbying campaign by the Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch Aleph Institute, a group advised by the ubiquitous former Trump lawyer Alan Dershowitz. The movement reportedly has connections to Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Another person pardoned by Trump was Sholam Weiss, a Hasidic businessman from New York who was sentenced to more than 800 years in prison in 2000 for racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering connected to a huge fraud scheme that stole $125 million from the National Heritage Life Insurance Company, leading to its bankruptcy. He fled the country but was subsequently arrested in Austria and extradited to the United States. Weiss had reportedly received the endorsement of from Dershowitz, who also recently has been involved in the Jeffrey Epstein/Ghislaine Maxwell espionage case.

And, of course, there was also the Israel factor. For no plausible reason whatsoever and contrary to actual American interests, Trump gave a full pardon to Aviem Sella, a seventy-five year old former Israeli Air Force officer, who was indicted in the U.S. in 1987 for espionage in relation to the Jonathan Pollard spy case. Sella fled to Israel days before Pollard was arrested outside the Israeli embassy in Washington D.C. and the Israeli government refused to extradite him. Sella, at the time doing a degree course at New York University, was Pollard's initial contact. He had started working part-time for the Mossad intelligence agency in the early 1980s and received some of the classified top-secret documents provided by Pollard in exchange for money and jewelry.

Sella had passed on the Pollard contact to Mossad's agent handler Rafi Eitan, who continued to "run" Pollard until he was arrested. Sella's indictment was essentially meaningless theater, as is generally true of nearly all Israeli spy cases in the U.S., as Tel Aviv refused to extradite him to the United States and the Justice Department made no attempt to arrest him when he was traveling outside Israel. Trump's pardon for Sella as a favor to Netanyahu sends yet another signal that Israel can spy against the U.S. with impunity. The request to Trump for clemency came from the Israeli government itself and was reportedly endorsed by Netanyahu, Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer, the United States Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and Miriam Adelson. According to the White House statement on the pardon, "The state of Israel has issued what a full and unequivocal apology, and has requested the pardon in order to close this unfortunate chapter in U.S.-Israel relations."

Was it a gift or merely a pander? Note particularly the inclusion of David Friedman, who as U.S. Ambassador to Israel is supposed to defend the interests of the United States but never does so. Once upon a time it was considered a potential conflict of interest to send a Jewish Ambassador to Israel. Now it seems to be a requirement and the Ambassador is apparently supposed to be an advocate for Israel as part of his or her mission. Friedman will no doubt be replaced by a Democratic version to deliver more of the same. And then there is Miriam Adelson. Good old Sheldon is hardly cold on the ground and his wife has taken up the mantle of manipulating players in Washington on behalf of the Jewish state.

Money talks and so the drama in Washington continues to play out. Trump manages to make himself look even worse with his last round of pardons and commutations on his ultimate day in office. No one who deserved clemency got it and a lot of well-connected rogues who were willing to fork over money in exchange for mercy benefited. Business as usual delivered by the so-called Leader of the Free World.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org


Z-man , says: January 26, 2021 at 5:14 am GMT • 19.0 hours ago

Owned.
But guess what, senile Joe is a loyal 'Zionist' and Kamalawala is married to a Jew.

Ghali , says: January 26, 2021 at 5:32 am GMT • 18.7 hours ago

While I whole heartily agree with Dr Giraldi, I strongly believe that Trump was a hostage of wealthy Jews and Zionists. It is most likely that he has committed misdemeanour while he was involved (friendship) with Jeffrey Epstein/Ghislaine who operated an elitist paedophilia criminal enterprise. The criminal enterprise was to advance the interests of Israel and Jews. It was used as a honey trap. Remember, Trump was under constant threat by wealthy Jews and by right-wing Zionists like Senators Mitch McConnell, Robert Menendez, etc. Trump was not a smart president. He committed heinous crimes on behalf of Israel and wealthy Jews.

RedpilledAF , says: January 26, 2021 at 5:54 am GMT • 18.3 hours ago
@Z-man

All Shabbos goys. Our nation is truly Zionist occupied territory. It has been for a long time, but under trump it became overt, and will continue to be under Biden.

Our whole reality, in a sense, has become a Talmudic dialectic. The rabbinate's mouthpiece, our media, disseminates the two sides of that demonic dialectic. The education system and academia train and mold Shabbos goys and Noahides. We work for them and they see us as beasts of burden.

Our citizenry likes the slavery they have been placed in. They are content.

LarryS , says: January 26, 2021 at 6:02 am GMT • 18.2 hours ago

So, the Populist is a shill for Israel and Qanon is probably a psy-op run from Tel Aviv. I wanted to believe there was hope for the USA. I really did. Now we have Biden "I am a Zionist" with an Israeli cabinet. Was there really election fraud? Will we ever know?
What's next?

Just another serf , says: January 26, 2021 at 6:26 am GMT • 17.8 hours ago

I pity those people, probably otherwise good folks, that were conned by this character. Was a blanket pardon for all Jews and BLACKS just not possible? I'm confident Alan Dershowitz could have worked through the complex legalities of such a "comprehensive" pardon.

Jim Christian , says: January 26, 2021 at 6:33 am GMT • 17.7 hours ago

I see the perverts Bob Kraft and Alan Dershowitz in the picture.

nsa , says: January 26, 2021 at 6:45 am GMT • 17.5 hours ago

What are a few yid pardons when, unbelievably, Americans routinely mutilate the sex organs of their male offspring at birth to demonstrate total fealty to the vile Cock Cutter Cult that rules them ..a practice so bizarre even an equatorial pygmy would laugh at the practitioners. Of course, the practitioners claim hygienic as well as spiritual benefits look ma, no dick cheese!

Tolstoy , says: January 26, 2021 at 6:46 am GMT • 17.4 hours ago

Trump is a crypto Jew. Well at least all his grandkids are ..real Jews. So is Hillary's grandkid. So corrupted on both side. What's new? Nothing. The only thing remarkable is that red necks still believe in Trump, hence the white race is doomed.

AriusArmenian , says: January 26, 2021 at 6:47 am GMT • 17.4 hours ago

Trump was too busy being co-president of Israel to give any thought to the American people.

Gleimhart Mantooso , says: January 26, 2021 at 7:43 am GMT • 16.5 hours ago

Is five rabbis vouching for you considered something of value? These are the same people who shouted "Give us Barabbas!"

Publius 2 , says: January 26, 2021 at 8:08 am GMT • 16.1 hours ago

Incredible.

Varna , says: January 26, 2021 at 8:11 am GMT • 16.0 hours ago

Agree with most of the article, but calling Jimmy Carter a recent president is more than just a bit of a stretch.

Carter exited office 40 years ago. The current median age in the US is about 38.4 (2019).
So in the lifetime of a very large portion of Americans there has not been a president that hasn't started a new war.

Sirius , says: January 26, 2021 at 8:20 am GMT • 15.9 hours ago

Frankly, I don't see why presidents should have the power to pardon. It has been abused so much that perhaps it's time to strip presidents of that power, or at least there should be an appeals process or some sort of oversight when that abuse becomes so egregious. Aside from all the financial criminals, he pardoned actual war criminals, men who murdered innocent civilians in Iraq. Pardons weren't meant for this.

Of course, leave it to Trump to take it to new levels of corruption as well as abuse. If John Kyriakou's allegation of Trump's directly selling pardons is true, that should be a first.

Ilya G Poimandres , says: January 26, 2021 at 8:23 am GMT • 15.8 hours ago

Carter kickstarted funding the Taliban 6 months before the Russians intervened.

I'm nor surprised by Trump's graft, but the whole system of making laws in Congress includes bribery so nothing new here to see.

Aside from being a bad manager, he is no strategist it seems. Not pardoning Assange means the GOP are going to vote not to impeach you? How gullible is he? He is getting impeached whatever he does, he could jump on a literal sword and they'd still impeach him because they are so offended by the prols.

Ron G , says: January 26, 2021 at 8:25 am GMT • 15.8 hours ago

Trump lost his job because he didn't do what he was elected for . attack Iran.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/mHn6TvsWq6w?feature=oembed

Brewer , says: January 26, 2021 at 8:30 am GMT • 15.7 hours ago

The sight of Dersh rubbing his hands in the pic is nearly enough to induce this commenter to say good riddance despite the obviously stolen election and the incoming disaster. I got the Apolitical Blues.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/lkfbE-5erhQ?feature=oembed

antitermite , says: January 26, 2021 at 8:38 am GMT • 15.6 hours ago

It would not have mattered whether Donald Trump had pardoned any whistleblowers.

As we can see, the Harris administration is dismantling as much of his legacy as they can, as fast as they can.
The parts that offend, that is.

It only matters if the CIA pardon Snowden or Assange, else they will forever be looking over their shoulders, wondering when something will be slipped into their tea, or over their doorknob..

mark green , says: January 26, 2021 at 8:46 am GMT • 15.4 hours ago
@Z-man ing back.
Therefore: stop bad-speak. Stop unauthorized thinking. For the love of God: eradicate anti-Semitism!

Has Israeli dominance of Zio-Washington and US 'news' ever been greater? Nah. And it may even be growing. OK, Trump blew the whistle on 'fake news'. But that teaser was pretty much far as it went.

For all his boldness, Trump realized that–when it came to Israel and the deep state– he met is match. Time to retreat.

Meanwhile, Israel and Zionist America have basically merged. In the dark of night, no less.

(Can you guess who the senior partner is?)

Humbert Humbert , says: January 26, 2021 at 8:52 am GMT • 15.3 hours ago

This article is a full on demolition of the idea that Trumpstein is any sort of patriot. I can not imagine any patriotic figure in all of human history doing a tenth of what this shabas goy has done for another country – and one so universally despised as Israel – and not only getting away with it, but still being praised in certain circles for standing up for his "motherland". Bonkers.

Greta Handel , says: January 26, 2021 at 8:59 am GMT • 15.2 hours ago

Go back to the preposterously optimistic article and comments under "A Pardoning Time of Year," December 29, 2020.

Will his supporters who thought that Mr. Trump would do right, even if only on his way out the door, now admit that they were duped?

A few, maybe. But there will still be plenty like them for the next Most Important Election Ever, their dissent channeled into naive, participatory assent to more Red+Blue governance from Washington.

Smith , says: January 26, 2021 at 9:25 am GMT • 14.8 hours ago

The fact (american) right wingers haven't dropped Trump like a sack of rock foretells more LOSING in the future.

HeebHunter , says: January 26, 2021 at 9:30 am GMT • 14.7 hours ago

Amerimutts are either kikes or kike slaves. There is no other places on earth (except semitic hell, of course), where "huwhites" cut children's foreskin against their will, as good "Christians".

Disgusting nation of heretics, quadroons, subhumans, kike lovers and yids.

1945 payback.

Supply and Demand , says: January 26, 2021 at 10:31 am GMT • 13.7 hours ago
@Z-man

Every boomer is Jewish or aspirationally Jewish. No avoiding it with old crones.

Defcon , says: January 26, 2021 at 10:46 am GMT • 13.4 hours ago

No surprise here, coming from "the best president Israel ever had". Expect more of the same from the new administration of Israeli stooges. I was hopeful the orange bastard would pardon Snowden and Assange, oh well.

Anonymous [661] Disclaimer , says: January 26, 2021 at 10:57 am GMT • 13.3 hours ago

Israel: America's–and the world's–#1 liability for the last 70 years.

Greg Bacon , says: Website January 26, 2021 at 11:06 am GMT • 13.1 hours ago

Pedo Joe is wasting no time showing Jews & Israel he can pander and grovel to Israel and Jew Inc better than Zion Don.

Look at 10 of his high-level Cabinet appointments..ALL Jews. If they had been all Muslims or all Chinese, it would've hit the fan and by now, most would have dropped out from that spot.
But since their Jews, well look the other way you Silly Goyim.

I thought Diversity was our strength?

All 10 of Biden's High Profile Appointees Are Jews

Anthony Blinken, Secretary of State

David Cohen, CIA Deputy Director

Merrick Garland, Attorney General

Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence

Ronald Klain, Chief of Staff

Eric Lander, Office of Science and Technology Policy director

Rachel Levine, deputy health secretary

Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security

Anne Neuberger, National Security Agency cybersecurity director

Wendy Sherman, deputy secretary of state

Janet Yellen, Treasury secretary

https://www.freedomofspeechtwentyfirstcentury.com/2021/01/all-10-of-bidens-high-profile.html

Next up, a 9/11 false flag that hits an American city or US base that the MSM will blame on Iran that had Syrian helpers.

Or maybe us white guys will get the blame when some fertilizer blows up a Midwest city?

Timur The Lame , says: January 26, 2021 at 11:12 am GMT • 13.0 hours ago

Idiocracy, the director's cut. Trump grabs himself by the pussy in a surprise ending!

Remember, the Phoenix cannot rise from the fire, it has to rise from the ashes. Only then can the real MAGA begin. See if its true that Bismarck (allegedly) stated that " there is a special providence for drunkards, fools and the United States of America".

Cheers-

Hughes , says: January 26, 2021 at 11:16 am GMT • 12.9 hours ago

Lol and here i read on some other board that Trump would've given the capitol trespassers pardons. I guess not. Wishful thinking on the cult.

Frank frank , says: January 26, 2021 at 11:18 am GMT • 12.9 hours ago

It's pretty fascinating for anyone who knows what's happening to see Jews utterly destroy and evacuate yet another great civilization by using the same corrupting forces and patterns used in their clearly deliberate rotting out of Rome, the destruction of the Holy Roman Empire, then Russia, and now the USA. It's like Jews are a kind of human parasitoid that will always kill its host as part of its lifecycle after it has drained all energy and resources from within.

Remember that movie Alien, there the larva like offspring attaches to inject its seed into humans and then clearly affects the human's nervous system to make them kind of forget that ever happened as they carry the parasitoid in them that develops and feeds on their body until the day it bursts from their chest in the form of the beast we know as the alien.

As stated about our in the movie, something along the lines of "pure survival instinct burned by the limitations of delusions of morality"; pretty much describes how Jews operate and act, and how they keep infecting and then destroying the very societies and civilizations they feed on until they burst from their victims' chest.

I wish China all the luck it needs to see this threat from this parasitoid and freed themselves of it before it infiltrates and infests and feeds on their society out too. By all indications it is already too late for them too and they just don't realize it yet. The recent video of the Chinese academic bragging about the control of American officials would indicate as much, judging by the section of the video that was totally ignored, about the Jewish woman executive of an American bank who is thick as thieves with the Chinese communist party who manipulated things for the Chinese in America.

Sean , says: January 26, 2021 at 11:26 am GMT • 12.8 hours ago

Jimmy Carter, for all his faults, managed to avoid entering into any new armed conflict

What about Iran. Carter must take responsibility for the mishandling of Iran by letting the Shah into the US, and failing to withdraw the embassy when it became obvious Iranian internal politics meant US diplomats were becoming targets.

He attacked Syria on two occasions based on fabricated intelligence.

Russian forces fought a whole war in Syria on a correct appreciation of what could be gained for Russia.

Trump, to be sure, was aided in his disloyalty to his own country by

America has to come to the aid of its allies, right or wrong, otherwise it will have no allies.

[J]ournalist Julian Assange

Assange didn't describe himself as simply such until after his legal troubles started.

https://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/04/assange-wikileaks-radical 5 APRIL 2011
Assange: "WikiLeaks is the intelligence agency of the people"
The site chief discusses radical journalism and WikiLeaks's main threat in an exclusive

As for Snowden he wasn't drafted but rather was sought the job. He knew it was was not in a boy scout group, and the secrets he was swearing an oath to keep were not going to be about thoroughly wholesome activities such as training guide dogs for the blind. No more than someone who becomes a made member of the mafia could Snowden be shocked at what the organization he was associated with was doing.

Business as usual delivered by the so-called Leader of the Free World.

He never claimed to be a global Santa for those who brought nothing to the table.

G J T , says: January 26, 2021 at 11:26 am GMT • 12.8 hours ago

Trump is pathetic. Anyone still making excuses for him is a battered wife and a sycophant. I hope they continue to humiliate him now that he's out of office, because it's exactly what he deserves.

Trump, just like his Republican counterparts, are more despicable than shitlibs and the radical left, because they lie and stab you in the back every single time. At least the shitlibs and radical leftists don't pretend they don't absolutely hate us.

Go to hell, Trumpenstein.

Herald , says: January 26, 2021 at 11:27 am GMT • 12.8 hours ago

The article has nothing to do with the corrupt Joe Biden. It's all about the corrupt Trump and the selling of favours to his corrupt Zionist chums.

roonaldo , says: January 26, 2021 at 11:30 am GMT • 12.7 hours ago

If bribe money was paid, how was it spread around, and what besides money can be extracted in return? A "no" vote on inpeachment? Pardons to Mossad/Israeli connected cases in return for their pressure on certain politicians on whom they have compromising photos, etc?

A pardon for Assange and Kiriakou takes the pressure off Biden to do so, and these are Obama political persecutions. And Winner was arrested in what, June 2017, by the FBI for leaking classified info feeding the feeble Russian election interference narrative? She posted numerous anti-Trump diatribes.

Sure, they and Snowden deserve pardons, but now the Dems will face dissension, criticism, and sniping within their own ranks on these matters.

Smith , says: January 26, 2021 at 12:00 pm GMT • 12.2 hours ago
@Herald

Trump might as well be more corrupted than Joe Biden at this point.

I'm convinced the American deep state removes him because he's actually an Israeli agent which would make the Zionist scene in USA look bad, like holy hell, is there any zionist jew he doesn't suck off? That's disgusting.

moi , says: January 26, 2021 at 12:00 pm GMT • 12.2 hours ago

The hierarchy that controls our government and moral/social values, in order, goes as follows:

Yids
Nigs
Spics

Trump, loved with under-educated and redneck whites, was an all-out Shabbos goy, not to mention he was greedy, egotistical/egoistical and a self-serving liar.

moi , says: January 26, 2021 at 12:02 pm GMT • 12.2 hours ago
@Ghali

Trump, in his younger days, was a coached by and was a protege of Roy Cohn. Look into who Roy Cohn was.

mcohen , says: January 26, 2021 at 12:03 pm GMT • 12.2 hours ago

Donald trump is a mensch.He did what was needed to be done and he played a full round of golf while doing it.

zard , says: January 26, 2021 at 12:27 pm GMT • 11.8 hours ago

In many ways Trump has been like a Terminator sent by the Jewish Establishment to completely derail, discredit and destroy the Patriot movement in America. Now any American Patriot who is against the U.S. Establishment and says CNN is fake news is automatically associated with Trump and deemed an enemy of America. Can you say Mission Accomplished? The Jewish Snake must be patting itself on the back for its brilliant move to hurt the greatest threat to it in a long time.

Unfortunately there are many people who still believe that Trump was a great President sent by God to save America. It makes me sad to see so many people so clueless. I wish that all those still supporting Trump will wake up and recognize as so many others have that the man is nothing but a Snake who knows how to speak your language while totally betraying your cause. How can you support a two faced man like this who has hurt your cause more than anyone else possibly could?

EDIT TO ADD: Trump left office in disgrace just as was intended but the real disgrace is not on Trump but on the American Patriot movement. Now the American Patriot movement is in a far worse position than it was in 2016 before it accepted Trump as its leader. We were greatly deceived but in 2020 there is no excuse for anyone to still be deceived about Trump. He completely betrayed our cause and it was all by design. His entire purpose for becoming POTUS was, outside of giving Jerusalem and the Golan Heights to Israel (his true loyalty), to turn our cause into something that the American public would perceive as ugly and to be shunned when in reality our cause is very noble. We were played by Trump and his Jewish backers but that is now in the past. Let us stop talking about this man once and for all. He is nothing but a distraction away from what it is important to us. I consider anyone still supporting Trump at this point or in the future to be an enemy.
http://www.chuckmaultsby.net/id55.html

Ugetit , says: January 26, 2021 at 12:28 pm GMT • 11.7 hours ago

Providing mucho fertilizer for excellent articles like this which expose the hideous and disgusting perfidy of the Zionist sewer and its catamites is only worth of the Chrumpster and his time as Netanyahu's orifice.

Anon [295] Disclaimer , says: January 26, 2021 at 12:28 pm GMT • 11.7 hours ago
@Z-man

Blaming single acts and single people serves the purpose to remain in denial of the general situation, I guess?

Ugetit , says: January 26, 2021 at 12:30 pm GMT • 11.7 hours ago
@mcohen

Donald trump is a mensch.He did what was needed to be done and he played a full round of golf while doing it.

And I thought he was playing 4-D chess the whole time. Silly me!

Greg Bacon , says: Website January 26, 2021 at 12:39 pm GMT • 11.6 hours ago
@Ron G , just get me into the WH.
Which will happen, we'll have a power-mad prez that has never won any primaries doing Israel's blood work.

THERE'S A WAR GOING ON OVER KAMALA HARRIS'S WIKIPEDIA PAGE, WITH UNFLATTERING ELEMENTS VANISHING

A line about Harris traveling to Israel and the West Bank in November 2017, where she met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was removed altogether.

https://www.sgtreport.com/2020/08/theres-a-war-going-on-over-kamala-harriss-wikipedia-page-with-unflattering-elements-vanishing/

Defcon , says: January 26, 2021 at 12:48 pm GMT • 11.4 hours ago
@Supply and Demand

My comment a few days ago on transgenerational hate got a lot of negative feed back. You are correct though, boomers and church goers worship the yids, despite what Jesus said about them and later Martin Luther.

Father O'Hara , says: January 26, 2021 at 1:06 pm GMT • 11.1 hours ago
@moi

What Roy Cohn was? You mean,the Jew? The "fixer"? The tax cheat? The fag?

Old and Grumpy , says: January 26, 2021 at 1:09 pm GMT • 11.1 hours ago
@Supply and Demand

Obviously you have never met all boomers.

Hans , says: January 26, 2021 at 1:12 pm GMT • 11.0 hours ago

Please read the following carefully line by line:

"I've never seen a President -- I don't care who he is -- stand up to them. It just boggles the mind. They always get what they want. The Israelis know what is going on all the time. I got to the point where I wasn't writing anything down. If the American people understood what a grip these people have on our government, they would rise up in arms. Our citizens certainly don't have any idea what goes on." – Admiral Thomas Moorer, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, interview, 24 Aug. 1983

Now that "Zion Don" appears to be out of the way, we can get back to encouraging illegals, giving them their rights, setting our sights on the another Hitler in Syria, globalizing what's left of the industrial base, getting trannies more judgeships, queering history, and on and on cuz all dem ideas are homegrown and strictly non-kosher.

Old and Grumpy , says: January 26, 2021 at 1:25 pm GMT • 10.8 hours ago

I thought the pardons were great. Who knew there were so many criminal Jews who have been actually convicted? Its almost like the Jewish stereotypes are really true. Does that mean no one can be anti Semitic? Also the way black rappers get killed off, supply and demand dictates jailed ones need to be free. Very Reaganesque.

Sarcasm aside I think Jews tended to hate Trump because in sucking up to them, The Donald wound up revealing many ugly truths. Outside of Trump's energy and environmental policies, its a good riddance from me. Unfortunately the looming costs related to energy and taxes, I'll eventually and unfortunately will wind up missing the weak and Ivanka sniffing SOB.

Anon [374] Disclaimer , says: January 26, 2021 at 1:30 pm GMT • 10.7 hours ago

Phil,

Run for president in 2024. Ya' got one vote here. You can use the catchphrase, "Make America Independent Again". Red, White, and Blue hats, etc. Your campaign rally speeches would be epically entertaining in the gnashing of establishment journo's teeth as they described them.

Katrinka , says: January 26, 2021 at 1:41 pm GMT • 10.5 hours ago
@Tolstoy

White people have survived much worse. Stop being hyperbolic.

Hillaire , says: January 26, 2021 at 1:48 pm GMT • 10.4 hours ago
@Ghali

Drumpf the rancid orange golem played you all to the very last coda, pissing in your eyes as he pardoned a most rancorous group of bent buddies and chosen criminal diversities . maga men hung to dry, swinging in the wind.

Half of america shafted and stockholm syndromed, as the fake fat narcissist waltzes of to play golf and hide the ginger squirrel with the reanimated frank-epstein and his transhumanised teenage sorority clones in tel-aviv.

by the way see where this link leads: antifa.com .
hint: the whitehouse.

SolontoCroesus , says: January 26, 2021 at 1:52 pm GMT • 10.3 hours ago
@Sean

Wasn't it Carter who gave Golda Meier the first holocaust museum, Jewish Trojan horse at the front door of the capital of the USA.

Hillaire , says: January 26, 2021 at 2:11 pm GMT • 10.0 hours ago
@LarryS

Well, if history is a yardstick, probably starvation and slaughter.

I would plan accordingly.

Che Guava , says: January 26, 2021 at 2:37 pm GMT • 9.6 hours ago

Assange has neither been charged nor convicted, AFAIK, the only precedent is Ford-Nixon.

Bradly Manning was a soldier in uniform at the time, so had no right to do what he did.

Anybody who has been in uniform would know this.

Still, probably deserved a re-pardon.

As an outside observer, the single observer most deserving of a pardon, for many years, Leonard Peltier, as always ignored.

Che Guava , says: January 26, 2021 at 2:48 pm GMT • 9.4 hours ago
@Che Guava

In the second instance of 'observer', it was meant to say 'person'.

Che Guava , says: January 26, 2021 at 2:57 pm GMT • 9.3 hours ago

I follow interesting facts from the U.S.A., the fraud was such a bad joke on so many facts and statistical measures.

People in many places have noticed.

I will remember, but the U.S. empire is sure to make a BIG effort to make most forget.

JoaoAlfaiate , says: January 26, 2021 at 3:01 pm GMT • 9.2 hours ago
@LarryS nd its American friends get what they want, no matter what.

Trump was terrible and I'm glad to see him gone. Problem is Biden & Co. will probably be worse, letting in countless third worlders and pandering to BLM, trannies and countless other perverts and sexual curiosities.

Neither party represents the interests of the American people. Did we really want 14 million illegals here and $6 trillion spent on failed adventures in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, etc.?

I harken back to H L Mencken who said both parties spend their time proving the other is unfit to govern and are both right.

Realist , says: January 26, 2021 at 3:10 pm GMT • 9.0 hours ago
@mark green

Why is there is no pushback?

The vast majority of Americans are stupid.

antitermite , says: January 26, 2021 at 3:11 pm GMT • 9.0 hours ago

The pardoning of the Blackwater scum has fascinating implications for any country with a Status of Forces Agreement /Visiting Forces Agreement, which is what, 80% of the world?

A host country might want to revisit these terms if it means that their women & children could be raped, killed, mutilated whilst the perpetrators walk free.

Rev. Spooner , says: January 26, 2021 at 3:16 pm GMT • 8.9 hours ago
@Greg Bacon

This is beyond belief. Are Americans blind? Is there something in the water they drink?
A whole population bent over with their posteriors pointed at the sky, willingly accepting the abuse by the zionists.
Love them or hate them, these jews dream big. Bravo

BAMA , says: January 26, 2021 at 3:17 pm GMT • 8.9 hours ago

Another on target Giraldi article. The ultimate blame for our being occupied and used without a shot being fired is with American gullibility and blindness. How does a global power, in almost every way, become the lap dog, errand boy, bully and financier for such an ungrateful, blood sucking little country? We have created a Frankenstein Monster for the world.

Sean , says: January 26, 2021 at 3:29 pm GMT • 8.7 hours ago
@SolontoCroesus ight Palestinians were there even if there was strong Israel Lobby domestic pressure. But in 1979 Carter–distracted by the fall of the Shah–merely brokered a Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty deal that eliminated Egypt from the conflict, and the lack of the deterrent they represented meant meant hat Israel was free to do what it liked in the West Bank and attack Lebanon. The Palestinians will never get another US president like Carter. Israel does not want an agreement, the current situation suits them very well. So Iran is not deterring Israel from doing anything it wants to do. Moreover, Israel likes having a pseudo threat like Iran.
Realist , says: January 26, 2021 at 3:31 pm GMT • 8.7 hours ago
@Greta Handel

Will his supporters who thought that Mr. Trump would do right, even if only on his way out the door, now admit that they were duped?

Not a chance stupidity reigns supreme.

While a pardon of Assange and Snowden would have been the moral thing to do America is still on the shit slide almost at the bottom.

Realist , says: January 26, 2021 at 3:32 pm GMT • 8.7 hours ago
@Greta Handel

Will his supporters who thought that Mr. Trump would do right, even if only on his way out the door, now admit that they were duped?

Not a chance stupidity reigns supreme.

While a pardon of Assange and Snowden would have been the moral thing to do America is still on the shit slide almost at the bottom.

Marckus , says: January 26, 2021 at 3:32 pm GMT • 8.7 hours ago

Well I have to say this comes as a surprise. To think that American politicians take bribes, favour one particular group etc etc is news to me. However, Trump catering to the foreskin modifiers and the dick cheese eliminators is the good news.

The bad news is the new team is already in bed not only with the foreskin challenged sticks, but with the chopsticks and every other stick with a dollar bill wrapped around the head. When the 25th collides with Joe's worn out pecker and Kamala takes over that will be the sign that circumcised or not we are all fucked.

As some readers commented on UR, honesty is the best policy, turn the other cheek and love conquers hate. All good advice I am sure but redundant and inapplicable in the world we live in.

The ruled live by these rules but the rulers live by their own !

[Jan 26, 2021] Alexei Navalny Russia Baiting- Biden Brings Back Business as Usual OffGuardian

Jan 26, 2021 | off-guardian.org

oe Biden enters the White House with an entourage of faces very familiar to OffGuardian, and many of those readers who have been with us since the beginning.

Glassy-eyed Jen Psaki is once again taking the White House press briefings. Victoria "Fuck the EU" Nuland is going to be secretary of state, and Samantha Power is hoisted back onto a platform from which she can berate the rest of the world for not following America's "moral example" by bombing Syria back to the stone age.

It was the machinations of these people – along with Biden as VP, John Kerry as Secretary of State and of course Barack Obama leading the charge – that lead to the coup in Ukraine, the war in Donbass and – indirectly – the creation of this website. For it was our comments on the Guardian telling this truth that got everyone here banned, multiple times.

So, for us, pointing out cold-war style propaganda is like slipping back into a comfy pair of shoes.

A good thing too, because with this coterie of neocon-style warmongers comes another familiar friend: the propaganda war on Putin's Russia. Throughout the media and on every front, all within hours of Biden's inauguration.

Now, anti-Russia nonsense didn't go away while Trump was President – if anything it became deranged to the point of literal insanity in many quarters – but it definitely quietened down in the last 12 months, with the outbreak of the "pandemic".

No more! Now we're back to good old-fashioned cold-war craziness. The media tell us that Russia was a "spectre that loomed over Trump's presidency" , that one of the Capitol Hill rioters intended to "sell Nancy Pelosi's laptop to Russia" and other such brazen hysteria.

Of course underneath the standard pot-stirring propaganda to keep the "new cold war" on the boil, there is the Navalny narrative. An incredibly contrived piece of political theatre that may even evolve into a full-on attempt at regime change in Moscow.

For starters, three days before Biden's inauguration, Alexei Navalny (having supposedly only just survived the poison the FSB placed "in his underpants" ), returned to Russia. Where he was promptly arrested for violating the terms of his bail .

He knew he would be arrested if he returned to Russia, so his doing so was pure theatre. That fact is only underlined by the media's reaction to his 30 day jail sentence.

Yes, that's thirty DAYS, not years. He'll be out before spring. Even if he's convicted of the numerous charges of embezzlement and fraud, he faces only 3 years in prison.

Nevertheless, already the familiar Russia-baiters in the media are comparing him to Nelson Mandela .

On the same day as Biden's inauguration, the European Parliament announced that Russia should be punished for arresting Navalny, by having the Nordstream 2 pipeline project closed down . (Closing this pipeline down would open up the European market to buy US gas, instead of Russia. This is a complete coincidence).

And then, the day after Biden's inauguration, the European Court of Human Rights announced they had found Russia guilty of war crimes during the 5-day war in South Ossetia in 2008. The report was subject to a gleeful (and terrible) write-up by (who else?) Luke Harding. (Why they waited 13 years to make this announcement remains a mystery)

It doesn't stop there, already Western pundits and Russian "celebrities" are trying to encourage street protests in support of Alexei Navalny. An anonymous Guardian editorial states Navalny's "bravery needs backing" , whatever that means.

All of this could mean Biden is "forced" to "change his mind" and pull out of the re-signing of the anti-nuclear weapons treaty . Ooops.

But are there bigger aims behind this as well? Do they hope they can create another Maidan but this time in Moscow? That would be insane, but you can't rule it out.

One thing is for sure, though; they work fast. Less than two days in office, and we've already got a new colour revolution kicking off. Speedy work.

Reply

captain spam , Jan 25, 2021 7:33 PM

As McFaul said recently, we must combat Putin! His support for traditional Christian family values is an absolutely intolerable threat to the liberal international order!! What we desperately need is non stop gay anal sex for everybody, especially children, non stop free abortions for sluts, and as many child trannies as possible!!! We must force through this progressive enlightened agenda everywhere!!!!

Bob , Jan 25, 2021 4:15 PM

The overthrow crew is back in business. They will continue chipping away at the old USSR. Belarus seems pretty ripe, though under Trump CIA failed at the overthrow earlier this year. But with Victoria Nuland and gang in there we will see a real push to dismantle Russia and China. Also watch for Islamic terror in Xinjiang in Western China with CIA sponsored Uygher militants. Jan 24, 2021 6:18 AM

For people who prefer information to propaganda, a little ethnographic insight into the reality of life in Russia, courtesy of Dr Jeremy Morris:

Cheesed off, but not because of sanctions. Immiseration, elite disconnect and neoliberal convergence. | Postsocialism

NORMAN R PILON , Jan 24, 2021 4:13 AM

If it's a CIA only operation, Russians are obviously incredibly gullible and impressionable, and in surprisingly huge numbers (and this is only one brief snapshot of what apparently is happening across 11 time zones):

https://twitter.com/i/status/1352910616604925953

Yup, I'd say there's at least a couple of dozens of people who came together in that show of discontent toward a government that, if not exactly among the ranks of this particular riff-raff, is hugely popular.

And then there are these CIA trained Russian provocateurs caught on video:

https://twitter.com/i/status/1352993359116312576

captain spam , Jan 23, 2021 10:27 PM

Navalny has heroically returned to Russia after the dastardly Putins hapless goons Novichoked his tea/ water bottle/ underpants* delete as appropriate. But at least we are now seeing the truth emerge from completely impartial and wholly credible CIA funded sources like the Victims Of Communism Foundation. Now we know the horrific facts about 300 million Weegers and 500 million Georgians being turned into soap and lamp shades. We must nuke Putins dacha immediately. Show him we mean business. Its a typical underhand trick of the evil Vlad, genociding millions of people without leaving any evidence. Further proof of his guilt, if any were needed.

Charlie , Jan 23, 2021 8:08 PM

Just running a theory by you all, was the Ukraine colour revolution a response to Russian push-back on the WMD narrative in Syria and Obama's red line that failed the sniff test (that's bleach, not chloride gas)? Mess in our back yard and we'll mess in yours. If so Putin handled it very well, all things considered, ended up more secure than before, in spite of everything.

slorter , Jan 23, 2021 8:21 PM Reply to Charlie

America,s aim after the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1990 was to split Russia apart gut it and subdue it! Playing silly buggers on Russia's border would have happened no matter what! The globalists want complete control! Georgia Chechnya are other examples of globalist interference. China is getting the same treatment.

niko , Jan 23, 2021 8:01 PM

Duck and cover the Russians are coming! Prelude to false flag cyberterrorism and the dark winter? Whatever comes next, we need to start fighting the real enemy.

"Whether the mask is labeled fascism, democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat, our great adversary remains the apparatus -- the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier of the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers' enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this apparatus and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others." -Simone Weil

Charlie , Jan 23, 2021 7:51 PM

Did anyone catch that interview Aaron Mate did with Luke Harding? Think it was while Aaron was still with the real news. Poor old Luke thought he was talking to a confirmed Democrat and Aaron took his piece of shit book on Russia 2016 to pieces, well worth a look if it's still up.

Guy , Jan 23, 2021 7:44 PM

"But are there bigger aims behind this as well? Do they hope they can create another Maidan but this time in Moscow? That would be insane, but you can't rule it out."

The Western media propaganda machine IS insane . Jealousy in big bold letters because Russia , Russia seems to be doing quite well economically ,regardless of Western media machinations.

Victor G. , Jan 24, 2021 2:09 PM Reply to Guy

Mercuns would love to rerun Maidan. I don't think they have the numbers in Rooskia though. Division, internal conflict, confusion that will have to do for the short term.

dr death , Jan 24, 2021 3:42 PM Reply to Victor G.

indeed but burger-on-a- bagel land has got plenty of its own now
the thrashing bankrupt golem is about to have its own yeltsin 'moment'..

just lining up the ducks
now where did I put that novichok, I mean icing sugar, I mean mrs mays concealer.

[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."

If you 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.


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 20, 2021] Pompeo's twitter has become full of China hysterics

Jan 20, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Norwegian , Jan 18 2021 11:12 utc | 78

@Passer by | Jan 18 2021 1:26 utc | 52

Pompeo's twitter has become full of China hysterics. A snake becomes crazy when it is wounded and nears its demise.

What POMPEO Does After TRUMP Administration https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv-DG8l_wqU

[Jan 20, 2021] The USA doesn't pay for oil or gas. It takes over the mining company, demands the project be funded by local or national borrowing from USA banks with sovereign guarantees, sells the product to a separate US company that pays peanuts to the miner and then onsells for a major markup (transfer pricing). Its called modern day stealing of other countries resources.

Jan 20, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Jan 20 2021 21:02 utc | 70

dh #45

@42 I'm sure Maduro would take dollars.....or gold. Of course buying Venezuelan oil from an evil brutal socialist dictator would be a major climb down.

The USA doesn't pay for oil or gas. It takes over the mining company, demands the project be funded by local or national borrowing from USA banks with sovereign guarantees, sells the product to a separate US company that pays peanuts to the miner and then onsells for a major markup (transfer pricing). Its called modern day stealing of other countries resources.

Look at the report on keystone that you cited at #39 where

The Canadian province that invested $1.1 billion of taxpayers' money in the controversial Keystone XL project is now considering the sale of pipe and materials to try to recoup some funds.

"If the project ends, there would be assets that could be sold, such as enormous quantities of pipe," Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in a press conference Monday.

Meanwhile the directors and shareholders got their fat checks and dividends from the municipal loan funds ;)

The USA will not pay in gold until it is on its knees - it simply will not pay. See how the USA 'bought' Tik Tok: blatant extortion/theft. The same as was done to Japan's high tech in the 60's 70's or whenever. Thieves.

[Jan 20, 2021] Policy to stop Nord Stream 2 will continue under Biden

Jan 20, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jan 20 2021 0:23 utc | 59

Policy to stop Nord Stream 2 will continue under Biden, although here we're told Biden will extend New START Treaty by the same person, Biden's nominee for Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. Defense nominee Austin was also covered in this article where we can see he reads from the same playbook as those who went before him. So it seems like continuity of its dystopic imperial policy will be what we see from the Outlaw US Empire, although we'll soon see if that also applies to Trump's Farewell boast that he was proud not to have started any "new" wars.

[Jan 20, 2021] There is nothing new in that German policy, for example it supported the building of pipelines from the USSR over President Reagan objections. Which does not mean that it wasn't enemy of the USSR - its destruction was the key for taking control of Eastern Europe and turning it into Germany's Latin America

Jan 20, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Jan 20 2021 21:02 utc | 70

dh #45

@42 I'm sure Maduro would take dollars.....or gold. Of course buying Venezuelan oil from an evil brutal socialist dictator would be a major climb down.

The USA doesn't pay for oil or gas. It takes over the mining company, demands the project be funded by local or national borrowing from USA banks with sovereign guarantees, sells the product to a separate US company that pays peanuts to the miner and then onsells for a major markup (transfer pricing). Its called modern day stealing of other countries resources.

Look at the report on keystone that you cited at #39 where

The Canadian province that invested $1.1 billion of taxpayers' money in the controversial Keystone XL project is now considering the sale of pipe and materials to try to recoup some funds.

"If the project ends, there would be assets that could be sold, such as enormous quantities of pipe," Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in a press conference Monday.

Meanwhile the directors and shareholders got their fat checks and dividends from the municipal loan funds ;)

The USA will not pay in gold until it is on its knees - it simply will not pay. See how the USA 'bought' Tik Tok: blatant extortion/theft. The same as was done to Japan's high tech in the 60's 70's or whenever. Thieves.


Phil Espin , Jan 20 2021 20:51 utc | 66

Hi b, Jim Kunstler has an interesting piece this week on the impact of EROI on the US recovery or lack thereof in the US shake sector. Just not enough cheap energy to get their economy going. Will Germany hold up against Trumps last minute sanctions against Nordstream if Biden maintains them? If Germany doesn't won't that put Germany in the same over expensive boat as US and lead to economic stagnation? Especially if all Russia's cheap energy ends up in China, which it almost certainly will.

Norwegian , Jan 20 2021 21:27 utc | 85
@Passer by | Jan 20 2021 21:22 utc | 82

Well since the qualifier was "In the EU" it can no longer be the UK, even if that is where russophobia has its home.

Passer by , Jan 20 2021 21:32 utc | 89
Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 20 2021 21:27 utc | 85

It is a thousand years old affair.

"Why do the USA, UK and Europe so hate Russia? How it is that Western antipathy, once thought due to anti-Communism, could be so easily revived over a crisis in distant Ukraine, against a Russia no longer communist? Why does the West accuse Russia of empire-building, when 15 states once part of the defunct Warsaw Pact are now part of NATO, and NATO troops now flank the Russian border? These are only some of the questions Creating Russophobia iinvestigates. Mettan begins by showing the strength of the prejudice against Russia through the Western response to a series of events: the Uberlingen mid-air collision, the Beslan hostage- taking, the Ossetia War, the Sochi Olympics and the crisis in Ukraine. He then delves into the historical, religious, ideological and geopolitical roots of the detestation of Russia in various European nations over thirteen centuries since Charlemagne competed with Byzantium for the title of heir to the Roman Empire. Mettan examines the geopolitical machinations expressed in those times through the medium of religion, leading to the great Christian schism between Germanic Rome and Byzantium and the European Crusades against Russian Orthodoxy. This history of taboos, prejudices and propaganda directed against the Orthodox Church provides the mythic foundations that shaped Western disdain for contemporary Russia. From the religious and imperial rivalry created by Charlemagne and the papacy to the genesis of French, English, German and then American Russophobia, the West has been engaged in more or less violent hostilities against Russia for a thousand years. Contemporary Russophobia is manufactured through the construction of an anti-Russian discourse in the media and the diplomatic world, and the fabrication and demonization of The Bad Guy, now personified by Vladimir Putin. Both feature in the meta-narrative, the mythical framework of the ferocious Russian bear ruled with a rod of iron by a vicious president. A synthetic reading of all these elements is presented in the light of recent events and in particular of the Ukrainian crisis and the recent American elections, showing how all the resources of the West's soft power have been mobilized to impose the tale of bad Russia dreaming of global conquest. "By hating Russia, one hurts oneself. Swiss journalist Guy Mettan pieces together the reasons of detestation of the Kremlin and of a rhetoric that goes back to Napoleonic times despite the long list of aggressions perpetrated in the meantime by the West. And he explains why pushing Moscow toward Asia is a very serious error." -Panorama, Italy "Like Saddam Hussein's mythical weapons of massive destruction in 2003, Peter the Great's fake will has been used to justify the aggressions and invasions that the Europeans, and now the Americans, still carry out against Russia." -Liberation, France

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34237648-creating-russophobia

Laguerre , Jan 20 2021 21:47 utc | 95

"Not at all, the center of russophobia will now be Germany. In is not a surprise that Russia recently declared that the center of russophobia in the EU are now France and Germany."

Hmm, perhaps.

Passer by , Jan 20 2021 21:57 utc | 97

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 20 2021 21:47 utc | 95

The recent ban of the Hockey Tournament in Belarus, as well as the whole Belarus Maidan thing was driven mainly from Europe.

European institutions are russophobic too, with the EU Parliament being the most.

The new green parties in Europe are more russophobic than even some of the old parties.

FrancisPike , Jan 20 2021 21:58 utc | 98

Nord Stream 2 will be completed contrary to the opinions of four to five commenters on here. This is Germany & Russia that you are talking about. Sanctions did not stop the Crimean bridge. It makes no economic sense to deny European/West Asian (Russian produced) Liquid natural gas in order to subsidise 'transit fees' to Ukraine. The U.S.Congress' sanctions here are untenible, but don't expect Germany & Russia to publish how they will do it until completion.

karlof1 , Jan 20 2021 22:03 utc | 100

Reuters gleeful that Gazprom announced the possibility Nord Stream 2 won't be completed due to "political pressure." But such a warning is part of all standard potential risks announcements accompanying any prospectus--a fact Reuters ignored--which in this case is for the issuance of Eurobonds, although I question the judgement in making them dollar denominated.

Passer by , Jan 20 2021 22:07 utc | 103

@ FrancisPike | Jan 20 2021 21:58 utc | 98

Its not contrary to my opinion, but you appear to be young and naive person. There is nothing new in that German policy, for example it supported the building of pipelines from the USSR over President Reagan objections. Which does not mean that it wasn't enemy of the USSR - its destruction was the key for taking control of Eastern Europe and turning it into Germany's Latin America.

Someone can hate you and may want to make money at the same time too. But as soon as there is weakness, they will pounce on you and stab you in the back.

As for the pipeline, it will remain under a puppet russian government. No loss there too.

What the EU wants is to subdue Russia and later dismember it, taking hold of the population and natural resources.

In the mean time, there is nothing wrong with making some money too. As the EU worships a good living too.

[Jan 19, 2021] Few sights in Washington are more familiar than an intellectual urging "total war" from the safety of the keyboard

Highly recommended!
In a way neocon jingoism serve as a smoke scree to sitrct "depolables" from the decline of the standard of living under neoliberalism.
Jan 19, 2021 | www.nybooks.com

Orthodoxy of the Elites - by Jackson Lears - The New York Review of Books

By 2016 the concept of "liberal democracy," once bright with promise, had dulled into a neoliberal politics that was neither liberal nor democratic. The Democratic Party's turn toward market-driven policies, the bipartisan dismantling of the public sphere, the inflight marriage of Wall Street and Silicon Valley in the cockpit of globalization -- these interventions constituted the long con of neoliberal governance, which enriched a small minority of Americans while ravaging most of the rest.

Jackson Lears is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of History at Rutgers, Editor in Chief of Raritan, and the author of ­Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877–1920, among other books. (January 2021)

[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 19, 2021] Goodbye Sheldon Adelson by Philip Giraldi

What is interesting tha casino traditionally was regarded as mafia connected business.
Jan 19, 2021 | www.unz.com

Casino magnate and Israeli patriot multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson, one of the world's richest men, died in Las Vegas on January 11 th at age 87. He had been suffering from cancer and has been buried at the Mount of Olives Cemetery in Israel . When his body arrived in Israel it was met by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as Jonathan Pollard, the most damaging spy in United States history. Tributes to the fallen "hero" poured in from the political class in both the United States and Israel and it has even been reported that President Donald Trump was intending to hoist the American flag at half mast over federal buildings to honor the "great humanitarian philanthropist." Unfortunately, the flag was already at half mast honoring the death of Capitol Police Force officer Brian Sicknick, who was murdered in the Capitol building last Wednesday.

Trump has not mentioned the service unto death of Sicknick and the flag lowering itself was apparently a bit of an afterthought on behalf of the White House, but he had plenty to say about his good buddy Adelson, who has been the principal funder of the Republican Party over the past five years. As he can no longer use Twitter, the president's condolences were posted on the White House site: "Melania and I mourn the passing of Sheldon Adelson, and send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Miriam, his children and grandchildren. Sheldon lived the true American dream. His ingenuity, genius, and creativity earned him immense wealth, but his character and philanthropic generosity his great name. Sheldon was also a staunch supporter of our great ally the State of Israel. He tirelessly advocated for the relocation of the United States embassy to Jerusalem, the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and the pursuit of peace between Israel and its neighbors. Sheldon was true to his family, his country, and all those that knew him. The world has lost a great man. He will be missed."

Missing from the Trump eulogy is any mention of what Adelson did for the United States, which is his country of birth and where he made his fortune engaging in activity that many would consider to be a vice. In fact, Adelson was all about the Jewish state, positioning himself as the principal funder of the Republican Party under Donald Trump and receiving in return as a quid pro quo the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement (JCPOA), the move of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the recognition of Israeli annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights, and a virtual concession that the Jewish state could do whatever it wants vis-à-vis the Palestinians, to include expelling them from Palestine. Adelson once commented that Israel does not have to pretend to be a democracy but it must be Jewish, presumably to help the process of Arab genocide move along.

Adelson's mechanism, initiated under George W. Bush, is familiar to how the Israel Lobby operates more generally. It consisted of the exploitation of the incessant need of campaign money by the GOP, which Adelson provided with strings attached. He worked with the Republicans to completely derail the admittedly faux peace process begun under Bill Clinton, which depended on a two-state solution, and instead give the Jewish state a free hand to implement its own unilateral Greater Israel Project extending from "the Jordan River to the Mediterranean." As part of that expansion, Israel has been building illegal settlements while also bombing and killing Lebanese, Syrians, and Iranians and assassinating scientists and technicians throughout the region.

All of the interventions against Israel's neighbors took place even though the Jewish state was not technically at war with anyone. The U.S. meanwhile funded Israeli aggression and watched the spectacle without any complaint, providing political cover as necessary, while also maintaining a major military presence in the Middle East to "protect Israel," as Trump recently admitted.

In short, Sheldon Adelson committed as much as half a billion dollars from his vast fortune to buy control over a major element of U.S. foreign policy and subordinated American interests to those of Israel. In addition to direct donations to both major political parties, he also paid for Congressional "fact finding" trips to Israel and funded a number of pro-Israel lobbies, so-called charities and other related Jewish projects. It is indisputable that he wielded an incredible degree of power to shape Washington's actions in the Middle East. In her own tribute to her dead husband, Miriam Adelson, an Israeli, described how he "crafted the course of nations."

Adelson was actively engaged on Israel's behalf until the week before his death. He provided his casino's private 737 luxury executive jet to transport Jonathan Pollard "home" to Israel. Pollard has served 30 years in prison after being convicted of espionage and was on parole, which restricted his travel. As yet another a gift to Israel, Donald Trump lifted that restriction, allowing him to fly to Israel where he received a hero's welcome. It is generally agreed that Pollard was the most damaging spy in American history, having stolen the keys to accessing U.S. communications and information gathering systems. A month after Pollard's arrest in 1985, C.I.A director William Casey stated: "The Israelis used Pollard to obtain our war plans against the USSR – all of it: the co-ordinates, the firing locations, the sequences, and Israel sold that information to Moscow for more exit visas for Soviet Jews."

Sheldon Adelson used his wealth and political connections to shield himself from any criticism due to his openly expressed preference for Israel over the land of his birth. He famously publicly stated that he wished he had worn the Israeli Army uniform instead of that of the U.S. Army, where he served briefly as a draftee. He also expressed his desire that his son would serve as an Israeli army sniper, presumably allowing him to blow the heads off of Palestinians. In 2013 Adelson advocated ending nuclear negotiations with Iran and instead detonating a nuclear weapon in "the middle of the [Iranian] desert," followed by a threat to annihilate the capital city Tehran, home to 8.6 million, to force Iran to surrender its essentially non-existent nuclear program.

Other acknowledgements of the impact of Adelson came from officials in the Trump Administration. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented how his "efforts to strengthen the alliance between Israel and the United States the world, Israel and the United States are safer because of his work." Yeah, right Mike.

So, the world is definitely a better place due to the passing of Sheldon Adelson. Or is it? His Israeli wife Miriam owns more than 40% of Las Vegas Sands Corp Casinos Inc., estimated to be worth in excess of $17 billion. She has proposed that a new chapter be included in the Jewish bible, the Book of Trump, and has pledged herself to continue her husband's work. Trump had previously given her the highest award that a president can bestow, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Freedom, of course, does not apply to Palestinians. And if one is concerned that the Democrats will not be cooperative, they too have their own major donor similar to Adelson. He is an Israeli film producer named Haim Saban, who, echoing a similar statement by Adelson, said that he is a one issue guy and that issue is Israel.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

[Jan 19, 2021] US expands sanctions against Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, targeting ships Russian firms working on vital pan-European projec

Jan 19, 2021 | www.rt.com

46 Follow RT on RT Outgoing US President Donald Trump has delivered his "parting gift" to the Moscow-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, with newly announced sanctions targeting a pipe-laying vessel and companies involved in the multinational project.

The specialist ship concerned, named, 'Fortuna,' and oil tanker 'Maksim Gorky', as well as two Russian firms, KVT-Rus and Rustanker, were blacklisted on Tuesday under CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) as part of Washington's economic war on Moscow. The same legislation had been previously used by the US to target numerous Russian officials and enterprises.

Russian energy giant Gazprom warned its investors earlier on Tuesday that Nord Stream 2 could be suspended or even canceled if more US restrictions are introduced.

ALSO ON RT.COM Gazprom warns investors that Nord Stream 2 could be canceled as Trump announces more US sanctions in 'parting gift'

However, Moscow has assured its partners that it intends to complete the project despite "harsh pressure on the part of Washington," according to Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov. Reacting to the new package of sanctions on