A Special Relationship Born in Hell

The United States should cut all ties with war criminal Israel

by Philip Giraldi

The Unz Review (April 03 2018)


Gaza

If you want to understand what the “special relationship” between Israel and the United States really means, consider the fact that Israeli Army snipers shot dead seventeen unarmed and largely peaceful Gazan demonstrators on Good Friday without a squeak coming out of the White House or State Department. Some of the protesters were shot in the back while running away, while another 1,000 Palestinians were wounded, an estimated 750 by gunfire, the remainder injured by rubber bullets and tear gas.

The offense committed by the Gazan protesters that has earned them a death sentence was coming too close to the Israeli containment fence that has turned the Gaza strip into the world’s largest outdoor prison. President Donald Trump’s chief Middle East negotiator David Greenblatt described the protest as “a hostile march on the Israel-Gaza border … inciting violence against Israel”. And Nikki Haley at the UN has also used the US veto to block any independent inquiry into the violence, demonstrating once again that the White House team is little more than Israel’s echo chamber. America’s enabling of the brutal reality that is today’s Israel makes it fully complicit in the war crimes carried out against the helpless and hapless Palestinian people.

So where was the outrage in the American media about the massacre of civilians? Characteristically, Israel portrays itself as somehow a victim and the US media, when it bothers to report about dead Palestinians at all, picks up on that line. The Jewish State is portrayed as always endangered and struggling to survive even though it is the nuclear-armed regional superpower that is only threatened because of its own criminal behaviour. And even when it commits what are indisputable war crimes like the use of lethal force against an unarmed civilian population, the Jewish Lobby and its media accomplices are quick to take up the victimhood refrain.

Last week, the Israeli government described the protests an “an organized terrorist operation” while Gazans are dehumanized by claims that they act under the direction of evil Hamas to dig tunnels and rain down bottle rockets on hapless Israeli civilians. The reality is, however, quite different. It is the Gazans who have been subjected to murderous periodic incursions by the Israeli army, a procedure that Israel refers to as “mowing the grass”, a brutal exercise intended to keep the Palestinians terrified and docile.

The story of what happened in Gaza on Friday had largely disappeared from the US media by Sunday. On Saturday, The New York Times reported the most recent violence this way: “… some began hurling stones, tossing Molotov cocktails and rolling burning tires at the fence, the Israelis responded with tear gas and gunfire”. Get it? The Palestinians started it all, according to Israeli sources, by throwing things at the fence and forcing the poor victimized Israeli soldiers to respond with gunfire, presumably as self-defence. The Times also repeated Israel’s uncorroborated claims that there were gunmen active on the Gazan side, but given the disparity in numbers killed and injured – zero on the Israeli side of the fence – the Palestinian shooters must have been using blanks. Or they never existed at all.

The Israelis reportedly also responded to “suspicious figures” on the Gazan side with rounds from tanks, killing, among others, a farmer far from the demonstrations who was working his field. Israeli warplanes and helicopters also joined in the fun, attacking targets on the Palestinian side. Drones flew over the demonstrators, spraying tear gas down on them. One recalls that the major Israeli assau lt on Gaza in 2014 included vignettes of Israeli families picnicking on the high ground overlooking the assault, enjoying the spectacle while observing the light-and-sound show that accompanied the carnage. At that time, more than 2,000 Gazans were killed and nearly 11,000 were wounded, including 3,374 children, of whom over 1,000 were permanently disabled. If the current slaughter in Gaza continues, it would be a shame to forego the entertainment value of a good massacre right on one’s doorstep.

The reliably neocon Washington Post also framed the conflict as if Israel were behaving in a restrained fashion, leading off in its coverage with “Israel’s military warned Saturday it will step up its response to violence on the Gaza border if it continues …” You see, it’s the unarmed Palestinians who are creating the “violence”. Israel is the victim acting in self-defence.

The newspaper coverage was supplemented by television accounts of what had taken place. ABC News described “violent clashes”, implying that two somewhat equal sides were engaged in the fighting, even though the lethal force was only employed by Israel against an unarmed civilian population.

The backstory to the killing is what should disturb every American citizen. When it comes to disregard for United States national sovereignty and interests, the Israelis and their amen chorus in Washington have dug a deep, dark hole and the US Congress and White House have obligingly jumped right in. Since June 08 1967, when the Israelis massacred the crew of the USS. Liberty, Israel has realized it could do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, wherever it wants, any time it wants, to anybody … including American servicemen, and the US would do nothing.

Let me speak plainly. The existence of many good Israelis to who oppose their own government’s policies notwithstanding, the current Israel is an evil place that Americans should be condemning, not praising. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should not be receiving 29 standing ovations from Congress. He should be rotting in jail. Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy and dehumanization of the Palestinian people is nothing to be proud of. That the United States is giving this band of racist war criminals billions of dollars every year is a travesty. That the reputation of American has been besmirched worldwide because of its reflexive support of anything and everything that this rogue regime does is a national disgrace.

Gazans are demonstrating in part because they are starving. They have no clean drinking water because Israel has destroyed the purification plants as part of a deliberate policy to make life in the Strip so miserable that everyone will leave or die in place. And even leaving is problematical as Israel controls the border and will not let Palestinians enter or depart. It also controls the Mediterranean Sea access to Gaza. Fisherman go out a short distance from the shore to bring in a meagre catch. If they go any farther they are shot dead by the Israeli Navy.

Hospitals, schools and power stations in Gaza are routinely bombed in Israel’s frequent reprisal actions against what Netanyahu chooses to describe as aggressive moves by Hamas. Such claims are bogus as Israel enjoys a monopoly of force and is never hesitant to use it.

Over in the other Palestinian enclave the West Bank, or what remains of it, the story is the same. Brutal heavily armed Israeli settlers rampage, poisoning Palestinian water, maiming and killing their livestock and even murdering local residents. Children throw stones or slap a soldier and wind up in Israeli prisons. The settlers are backed up by the army and paramilitary police who also shoot first. The Israeli military courts, who have jurisdiction over the occupied West Bank, rarely convict a Jew when an Arab is killed or beaten.

And here in America, a bought-and-paid-for Congress continues to do its bit. Last week President Trump signed the so-called Taylor Force Act, part of the marathon spending bill, which will cut aid going to the Palestinian Authority while also increasing the money going to Israel. Back in January, Congress had also cut the funding going to support Palestinians who are still living in UN-run refugee camps in spite of resolutions demanding that they should be allowed to return to their homes, now occupied by Israeli Jews. During the perfunctory debate on the measure, Congressmen were lied to by pro-Israel lobbyists who claimed that Arabs are terrorism supporters and use the money to attack Israelis.

I could go on and on, but the message should be clear to every American. There is no net gain for the United States in continuing the lopsided and essentially immoral relationship with the self-styled Jewish State. There is no enhancement of American national security, quite the contrary, and there remains only the sad realization that the blood of many innocent people is, to a considerable extent, on our hands. This horror must end.

_____

Philip M Giraldi, PhD, is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax-deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based US foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is PO Box 2157, Purcellville Virginia 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/a-special-relationship-born-in-hell/

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized

Syrian Showdown..

Trump versus the Generals

by Patrick J Buchanan

buchanan.org/blog (April 06 2018)

With ISIS on the run in Syria, President Trump this week declared that he intends to make good on his promise to bring the troops home.

“I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home”, said the president. We’ve gotten “nothing out of the $7 trillion (spent) in the Middle East in the last seventeen years … So, it’s time”.

Not so fast, Mr President.

For even as Trump was speaking he was being contradicted by his Centcom commander General Joseph Votel. “A lot of good progress has been made” in Syria, Votel conceded, “but the hard part … is in front of us”.

Moreover, added Votel, when we defeat ISIS, we must stabilize Syria and see to its reconstruction.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had been even more specific:

It is crucial to our national defense to maintain a military and diplomatic presence in Syria, to help bring an end to that conflict, as they chart a course to achieve a new political future.

But has not Syria’s “political future” already been charted?

Bashar Assad, backed by Iran and Russia, has won his seven-year civil war. He has retaken the rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus. He now controls most of the country that we and the Kurds do not.

According to The Washington Post, Defense Secretary James Mattis is also not on board with Trump and “has repeatedly said … that US troops would be staying in Syria for the foreseeable future to guarantee stability and political resolution to the civil war”.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who fears a “Shiite corridor” from Tehran to Baghdad, Damascus, and Beirut, also opposes Trump. “If you take those (US) troops out from east Syria”, the prince told Time, “you will lose that checkpoint … American troops should stay (in Syria) at least for the mid-term, if not the long-term”.

Bibi Netanyahu also wants us to stay in Syria.

Wednesday, Trump acceded to his generals. He agreed to leave our troops in Syria until ISIS is finished. However, as the 2,000 US troops there are not now engaging ISIS – many of our Kurd allies are going back north to defend border towns threatened by Turkey – this could take a while.

Yet a showdown is coming. And, stated starkly, the divide is this:

Trump sees al-Qaida and ISIS as the real enemy and is prepared to pull all US forces out of Syria as soon as the caliphate is eradicated. And if Assad is in power then, backed by Russia and Iran, so be it.

Trump does not see an Assad-ruled Syria, which has existed since the Nixon presidency, as a great threat to the United States. He is unwilling to spill more American blood to overturn the outcome of a war that Syria, Iran, and Russia have already won. Nor is he prepared to foot the bill for the reconstruction of Syria, or for any long-term occupation of that quadrant of Syria that we and our allies now hold.

Once ISIS is defeated, Trump wants out of the war and out of Syria.

The Israelis, Saudis, and most of our foreign policy elite, however, vehemently disagree. They want the US to hold onto that slice of Syria east of the Euphrates that we now occupy, and to use the leverage of our troops on Syrian soil to affect the removal of President Assad and the expulsion of the Iranians.

The War Party does not concede Syria is lost. It sees the real battle as dead ahead. It is eager to confront and, if need be, fight Syrians, Iranians, and Shiite militias should they cross to the east bank of the Euphrates, as they did weeks ago, when US artillery and air power slaughtered them in the hundreds, Russians included.

If US troops do remain in Syria, the probability is high that Trump, like Presidents Bush and Obama before him, will be ensnared indefinitely in the Forever War of the Middle East.

President Erdogan of Turkey, who has seized Afrin from the Syrian Kurds, is threatening to move on Manbij, where Kurdish troops are backed by US troops. If Erdogan does not back away from his threat, Nato allies could start shooting at one another.

As the 2,000 US troops in Syria are both uninvited and unwelcome, a triumphant Assad is likely soon to demand that we remove them from his country.

Will we defy President Assad then, with the possibility US planes and troops could be engaging Syrians, Russians, Iranians, and Shiite militias, in a country where we have no right to be?

Trump is being denounced as an isolationist. But what gains have we reaped from seventeen years of Middle East wars – from Afghanistan to Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen – to justify all the blood shed and the treasure lost?

And how has our great rival China suffered from not having fought in any of these wars?

http://buchanan.org/blog/syrian-showdown-trump-vs-the-generals-129072

Posted in Uncategorized

US Hypocrisy Marks Descent Into Barbarism

Editorial

Information Clearing House (April 06 2018)

The war of words over American trade tariffs on Chinese exports and the expulsion of Russian diplomats may seem unrelated issues. But there is a connecting theme: the staggering US hypocrisy over its own aggressive behaviour.

This blatant American hypocrisy – beyond reason and respect for international law – marks a fatal descent into barbarism towards foreign relations. Dialogue and diplomacy are repudiated with a “might is right” attitude.

Washington took the initiative to propose slapping China’s economy with nearly $50 billion in levies on certain exports – claiming unfair trading practices conducted by Beijing. Then when China responded this week by announcing it would be reciprocating by imposing equivalent tariffs on American exports, the Trump White House threw up its arms in annoyance, saying that the Chinese decision was “not fair”.

Similarly, last week Washington took the decision to expel sixty Russian diplomats in support of tenuous Britain’s allegations that the Russian state had some involvement in the apparent poisoning of an exiled spy and his daughter in the English town of Salisbury on March 4. This week Moscow reciprocated by expelling sixty American diplomats from Russia.

As with China’s symmetrical response to US trade tariffs, Washington then declared that Russia’s expulsion of its diplomats was “not fair”. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert made the haughty comment that “Russia should not be acting like the victim here”.

So, let’s get this straight. Washington arrogates the right to take aggressive actions against foreign states, damaging the national interests of those states. But when the other side takes a reciprocal measure, the Americans complain that the measures are unacceptable and an affront.

Such an attitude in Washington is impossibly hypocritical, arrogant, and intolerable. It certainly gives new meaning to American claims of being an “exceptional nation” – exceptionally hubristic.

Fears of a full-on global trade war with China have receded somewhat this week because the Trump administration sought to walk back from the proposed tariffs on Chinese exports. Earlier President Trump was bragging that he would easily win a trade war with China. But following Beijing’s announcement of penalties on American agricultural exports, aviation, and cars, the White House is toning down the bellicose rhetoric – albeit still griping about China’s moves as “not being fair”.

On the expulsion of Russian diplomats, it should be recalled that there have been several rounds of such American sanctions, going back to December 2016 when the Obama administration expelled some thirty Russian envoys and their families over allegations of Moscow “interfering in US elections”. During the Trump administration, Russia’s diplomatic properties have also been shuttered and raided by US law enforcement officers.

All these American diplomatic censures have been launched on the back of unproven allegations of Russian interference in US democracy. The irony is that these claims have been made by Trump’s political enemies as a way to smear his presidency as somehow being a beneficiary of Kremlin subversion, yet his administration has ratcheted up the diplomatic tensions with Russia by expelling its diplomats over unfounded claims.

The American claims of Russian “cyber attacks” are of a piece with the recent British claims about Kremlin agents allegedly carrying out an assassination plot on its territory. The claims are always in the realm of assertion, with no verifiable evidence to support. Indeed, it looks as if both narratives on either side of the Atlantic are unraveling from the lack of credibility. US special investigator Robert Mueller can’t find any evidence of Russian collusion with Trump – after a year of probing and congressional hearings. Meanwhile, British government scientists are now saying they actually have no evidence that an alleged nerve poison apparently used against Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia was originated in Russia – flatly contradicting the high-flown assertions made last month by British Prime Minister Theresa May and her bumptious Foreign Minister Boris Johnson.

The point is that disputes between states must be resolved by dialogue and a basic mutual respect. Whether it is disputes over trade matters or politics. All the more so whenever alleged grievances are being leveled recklessly without any supporting proof or adherence to due legal process.

But the conflictual problem seems to stem from an ulterior agenda. American perceived grievances against China and Russia seem more about finding pretexts to pursue an aggressive policy at all costs. Several foreign policy and military documents out of Washington have openly declared Beijing and Moscow as “rival powers”. This gets back to the issue of American global power relying on a unipolar hegemonic ambition, unable and unwilling to engage with China or Russia as mutual powers. Or anyone else for that matter in a multipolar world.

In order to pursue this dangerous ambition, Washington must – out of warped necessity – erode and cut off diplomatic engagement with China and Russia. That explains why Washington has initiated such aggressive moves over trade and expulsion of envoys. Ominously, it harks to the maxim of “war as a continuation of politics by other means” formulated by the Prussian military strategist Karl von Clausewitz (1780~1831).

What we are witnessing is a hollowing out of US diplomacy and its replacement with a policy of bellicosity. The Trump administration has gutted the State Department and its diplomatic corps.

This is inevitably a reprehensible decent into barbarism by Washington where international law and norms of dialogue are being repudiated out of hand. Why, for example, does Washington not take its alleged trade grievances with China to the World Trade Organization and resolve them in a civilized forum?

The degeneration of American diplomacy is perhaps most glaringly apparent when it hypocritically protests about “unfair” practices by China and Russia that merely reciprocate its own offensive behaviour.

When such arrogant delusion has taken hold, it does not bode well for civilized resolution and a peaceful international order. Because such an attitude violates the foundations of civilized multilateralism upon which international peace depends.

The arrogance of American unilateralism over trade bullying with China and the senseless diplomatic row with Russia is a disastrous resort to “might is right”.

American hypocrisy is a symptom of its degenerate diplomacy and contempt for international law. That, in turn, is a symptom of American democracy degenerating into a moribund morass. Blaming China and Russia is a desperate attempt to cover-up the inherent existential problems of American capitalism.

_____

This article was originally published at https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/04/06/us-hypocrisy-marks-descent-into-barbarism.html.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Information Clearing House.

To Support Information Clearing House, click http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/support.htm.

Your support has kept ICH free on the Web since 2002.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49156.htm

Posted in Uncategorized

Here are China’s Five Options..

… for “Nuclear” Trade War

by Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge (April 06 2018)

After Trump ordered the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) to consider an additional $100 billion in tariffs, something we said on Wednesday would happen if the market was dumb enough to allow Trump to think he had a trade war victory by closing green …

…. China has suddenly found itself in a quandary: as we showed first thing this morning, if Beijing was to continue responding to the US in a “tit-for-tat”, it would be unable to retaliate to the latest Trump salvo of a total $150 billion in tariffs for the simple reason that the US does not export $150 billion in products to China.

Which doesn’t mean that China is out of options; quite the contrary. The problem is that virtually everything and anything else that Beijing can do would be a significant escalation. In fact, the five most frequently cited options are all considered “nuclear” and would promptly lead to an even more aggressive response from Washington.

Here are the five “nuclear” options that China is currently contemplating:

1. A Currency Depreciation. A sharp, one-time yuan devaluation, like the one Beijing unexpectedly carried out in August 2015, could be used to offset some of the effects of tariffs.

2. Sales of US Treasurys. Chinese authorities could sell some of its large official-sector holdings of US Treasuries, which would lead to a tightening of US financial conditions.

3. Block US services. Chinese authorities could limit access for US companies to the Chinese domestic market, particularly in the services sector, where the US exports $56 billion in services annually and runs a $38 billion surplus.

4. Curb US oil shipments. According to Petromatrix, China is one of the biggest importers of US crude oil at 400kb/d, so any counter-tariffs on crude could become very heavy for the US supply and demand picture. Such a move would weigh on US prices and spill over to global oil pricing. As Petromatrix adds, the market would need to start balancing downward price risk of trade-war escalations with upside risk of Iran sanctions as oil flows could be about the same.

All of the above are mostly self-explanatory. The fifth option is one we first previewed back last August, in “Rare Earths Are China’s Most Potent Weapon in a Trade War”. Here is a quick reminder:

In October 1973, the world shuddered when the Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries imposed an oil embargo on the United States and other nations that provided military aid to Israel in the Yom Kippur war. At the same time, they ramped up prices. The United States realized it was dependent on imported oil – and much of that came from the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia the big swing producer. It shook the nation. How had a few foreign powers put a noose around the neck of the world’s largest economy?

Well, it could happen again and very soon. The commodity that could bring us to our knees isn’t oil, but rather a group of elements known as rare earths, falling between 21 and 71 on the periodic table.

This time, just one country is holding the noose: China.

China controls the world’s production and distribution of rare earths. It produces more than 92 percent of them and holds the world in its hand when it comes to the future of almost anything in high technology.

Rare earths are great multipliers and the heaviest are the most valuable. They make the things we take for granted, from the small motors in automobiles to the wind turbines that are revolutionizing the production of electricity, many times more efficient. For example, rare earths increase a conventional magnet’s power by at least fivefold. They are the new oil.

Rare earths are also at work in cell phones and computers. Fighter jets and smart weapons, like cruise missiles, rely on them. In national defence, there is no substitute and no other supply source available.

Today, The Week’s Jeff Spross picks up on this topic, and in an article “How China can win a trade war in 1 move” writes that “if things do spiral into all-out trade war, it’s worth noting China has a nuclear option. I’m referring to rare earth metals.”

These are elements like dysprosium, neodymium, gadolinium, and ytterbium. They aren’t actually rare, but they do play crucial roles in everything from smartphones to electric car motors, hard drives, wind turbines, military radar, smart bombs, laser guidance, and more. They’re also quite difficult to mine and process.

Some more details, and the reason why none of this is new to those who have been following the rare earth space and China’s brief trade war with Japan back in 2010/2011:

Basically, if China really wanted to mess with America, it could just clamp down on these exports. That would throw a massive wrench into America’s supply chain for high-tech consumer products, not to mention much of our military’s advanced weapons systems.

In fact, China isn’t just America’s major supplier of rare earth metals; it’s the rest of the globe’s major supplier as well. And in 2009, China began significantly clamping down on its rare metal exports. Once, China briefly cut Japan off entirely after an international incident involving a collision between two ships. This all eventually led to a 2014 World Trade Organization spat, with America, Japan, and other countries on one side, and China on the other.

How did we get to this position where China has a near monopoly on rare earths:

Much of the story centers around Magnequench, an American company that emerged out of General Motors in the 1980s. It specialized in the magnets that account for most of the final components created from rare earth metals. But in 1995 Magnequench was bought out by a consortium that included two Chinese firms who took a controlling 62 percent majority share in the company. They also bought a big rare earth magnet plant in Indiana. Eventually, Magneuquench’s manufacturing capacities were moved to China, and the Indiana plant was shut down.

Executive branch regulators do wield power over foreign investment in and buyouts of American companies, particularly through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (“CFIUS”). But this was the post-Cold War 1990s when optimistic enthusiasm for globalized free market trade was at a peak. CFIUS approved the initial takeover of Magnequench in 1995 under the Clinton administration, as well as the later shutdown of the Indiana plant in 2003 under the Bush administration.

Lawmakers and the Government Accountability Office criticized the agency and both administrations for their lackadaisical approach to the issue. Hillary Clinton even struck a rather Trump-ian note in 2008, trying to turn Magequench’s sale to China into a campaign issue. But it was a tricky topic, given how her husband’s administration got the ball rolling. So rare earth metals have occasionally turned into a political hot potato, but usually for only brief periods.

Which then takes us back to our August preview of precisely where we are today:

At present, the rare earths threat from China is serious but not critical. If President Donald Trump – apparently encouraged by his trade adviser Peter Navarro, and his policy adviser Steve Bannon – is contemplating a trade war with China, rare earths are China’s most potent weapon.

A trade war moves the rare earths threat from existential to immediate.

In a strange regulatory twist, the United States and most of the world won’t be able to open rare earths mines without legislation and an international treaty modification. Rare earths are often found in conjunction with thorium, a mildly radioactive metal, which occurs in nature and doesn’t represent any kind of threat.

However, it’s a large regulatory problem. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency have defined thorium as a nuclear “source material” that requires special disposition. Until these classifications, thorium was disposed of along with other mine tailings. Now it has to be separated and collected. Essentially until a new regime for thorium is found, including thorium-powered reactors, the mining of rare earths will be uneconomic in the United States and other nuclear non-proliferation treaty countries.

Congress needs to look into this urgently, ideally before Trump’s trade war gets going, according to several sources familiar with the crisis. A thorium reactor was developed in the 1960s at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. While it’s regarded by many nuclear scientists as a superior technology, only Canada and China are pursuing it at present.

Meanwhile, future disruptions from China won’t necessarily be in the markets. It could be in the obscure but vital commodities known as rare earths: China’s not quite secret weapon.

Of course, there is no way of knowing if China will proceed with a rare earth export ban as its response, or whether it will pick any of these options. However, for those who are growing concerned – or convinced – that it’s only going to get worse from here, there is good news: the VanEck Rare Earth ETF REMX makes it easy to make a substantial profit from the first nuclear trade war, should China clamp down on rare earth metals, sending their price to where they traded when China waged a brief trade war with Japan in 2011, when the ETF hit an all-time high of $114. Needless to say, should China lock out the US, the price of rare earths would soar orders of magnitude higher.

Copyright (c) 2009-2018 ZeroHedge.com/ABC Media, LTD

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-04-06/here-are-chinas-five-options-nuclear-trade-war

Posted in Uncategorized

Russophobia in the New Cold War

Several factors make this US-Russian Cold War more dangerous than its predecessor – is “Russo-madness” one of them?

by Stephen F Cohen

Information Clearing House (April 05 2018)

Stephen F Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian Studies and Politics at New York University and Princeton, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous instalments, now in their fourth year, are at TheNation.com.)

Cohen has previously explained why the new Cold War is potentially even more dangerous than was its forty-year predecessor, citing factors such as the political epicentre’s now being on Russia’s borders, lack of a mutual code of conduct, and the unprecedented demonization of the Kremlin leader. He had not much considered the role of Russophobia because he thought it had not been a large causal factor, unlike anti-Communism, in the preceding one, recalling an episode in his own family and, more importantly, the words of George Kennan, the architect of containment, in 1951, about the Russian people: “Give them time; let them be Russians; let them work out their internal problems in their own manner … towards dignity and enlightenment in government”.

But strikingly Russophobic statements by former chief US intelligence officials in 2017 caused Cohen to reconsider this factor: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who said on NBC national television, “the Russians, who typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favour”; and CIA Director John Brennan, who warned that Russians “try to suborn individuals and they try to get individuals, including US citizens, to act on their behalf either wittingly or unwittingly … Individuals going on a treasonous path often do not realize it until it is too late”. Former FBI director James Comey added, “They’re coming after America”. And there is Senator John McCain’s often quoted characterization of Russia as “a gas station masquerading as a country”. Such comments by top intelligence officials, whose profession requires rigorous objectivity, and by influential political figures, set Cohen on a search for other su ch statements by leading opinion-makers and publications. He gives only a few of many representative examples:

* The March presidential election, a kind of referendum on his eighteen years as leader, gave Vladimir Putin a resounding, nearly 77 percent endorsement. The election was widely characterized by leading US media outlets as “a sham”, which denigrates, of course, the integrity of Russian voters. Indeed, a leading Putin demonizer had earlier characterized Russian public opinion as “mob’s opinion”.

* A Rolling Stone writer goes further, explaining that “Russia experts” think “much of what passes for civil society in modern Russia is, in fact, controlled by Putin”. Civil society means, of course, all non-state groups and associations, that is, society itself.

* A recent Washington Post editorial headline reads: “Is It a Crime to Worship God? According to Russia, Yes.” This about a country where the Orthodox Church is flourishing and Jews are freer than they have ever been in Russian history.

* A Washington Post sports columnist, referring to doping allegations, which may fall apart, characterizes Russian 2018 medal winners as representatives of “a shamed nation”.

* A New York Times columnist quotes approvingly a Post columnist, an expert on Russia, for asserting that “Putin’s Russia” is “an anti-Western power with a different, darker vision of global politics … [a] norm-violating power”.

* The title of an article by CNN’s Russia expert begins: “Russia’s Snark”.

* Another prominent media commentator advises, “Treat Russia Like the Terrorist It Is”; and yet in other terms Russia “Gangster’s Paradise”.

* A leading policy expert on Russia and former US official has decided that the West doesn’t have a Putin problem: “In fact, it has a Russia problem”.

* Regarding Russia, a widely respected Harvard policy intellectual regrets, “The brute fact is that we cannot kill this bastard without committing suicide”.

* According to a longtime Fox Russia expert, who recently resigned, Putin behaves as he does “because they are Russians”.

* A Post book editor tells readers that Russians tolerate “tyrants like Stalin and Putin” because “it probably seems normal”.

* And a prominent Russia expert media commentator wonders “whether Russia can ever be normal”.

* Not to be overlooked, there are also ubiquitous media cartoons depicting Russia as a menacing, rapacious bear.

How to explain this rampant Russophobia? Three important but little noted books provide much useful history and analysis: David S Foglesong’s The American Mission and the “Evil Empire” (2007); Andrei P Tsygankov’s Russophobia (2009); and, most recently, Guy Mettan’s Creating Russophobia (2017), which equates it with “Russo-madness” They examine many factors: ethnic peoples (now independent states with large diasporas) with historical grievances against both the Tsarist and Soviet empires; historical developments beginning in the 19th century; today’s American military-industrial complex’s budgetary need for an “enemy” since the end of the Soviet Union; other current anti-Russian lobbies in the United States and the absence of any pro-Russian ones; as well as other explanatory factors.

All need to be considered, but for Cohen three circumstances are certain: Russian attitudes toward America are not historically or genetically predetermined, as evidenced by the “Gorbymania” that swept the United States in the late 1980s when Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev and US President Ronald Reagan tried to end the previous Cold War; the extraordinary demonization of Putin has attached itself to Russia; and Russophobia among American political and media elites – much less so among ordinary citizens – is another factor that has made the new Cold War so much more dangerous.

____

Stephen F Cohen is a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University and a contributing editor of The Nation.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Information Clearing House.

To Support Information Clearing House, click http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/support.htm.

Your support has kept ICH free on the Web since 2002.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49143.htm

Posted in Uncategorized

A Truly Historical Month….

for the Future of Our Planet

The Saker

The Unz Review (March 23 2018)

March 2018 will go down in history as a truly historical month

March 1st, Vladimir Putin makes his historical address to the Russian Federal Assembly.

March 4th, Sergei Skripal, a former UK spy, is allegedly poisoned in the UK.

March 8th, British officials accuse Russia of using nerve gas to attempt to murder Sergei Skripal.

March 12th, Theresa May officially blames Russia for the poisoning and gives Russia a 24-hour ultimatum to justify herself; the Russians ignore that ultimatum. The same day, the US representative at the UNSC threatens to attack Syria even without a UNSC authorization.

March 13th, Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov warned that “in case there is a threat to the lives of our military, the Russian Armed Force will take retaliatory measures both over the missiles and carriers that will use them”. The same day Chief of the Russian Armed Forces’ General Staff, Deputy Defense Minister, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov had a phone conversation with Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the United States’ Joint Chiefs of Staff.

March 15th, the UK blocked Russia’s draft UN Security Council statement on Skripal poisoning case asking for an “urgent and civilized investigation” into the Skripal case. The US, UK, France, and Germany issue a statement backing the UK and blaming Russia. The UK Defence Minister tells Russia to “shut up and go away”.

March 16th, Major General Igor Konashenkov calls the British Defence Minister an “uncouth shrew” and “intellectual impotent”.

March 17th, Russian Generals warned that the US is preparing a chemical false flag attack in Syria.

March 18th, Putin overwhelmingly wins the Presidential election. The same day, General Votel, Commander of CENTCOM declares in a testimony to the Armed Services Committee that differences with Russia should be settled “through political and diplomatic channels”. When asked whether it would be correct to say that “with Russia and Iran’s help, Assad has won the Civil War in Syria?”, General Votel replied “I do not think that is too – that is too strong of a statement. I think they have provided him the wherewithal to – to be ascendant at this point”.

March 19th, the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council issues a statement fully backing the UK.

March 21st The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summons all ambassadors to a briefing on the Skripal case. The language used by the Russian representative at this briefing possibly is the bluntest used by any Russian (or even Soviet) official towards the West since World War Two. The French, Swedish, and US representative at the meeting all stood up to declare their “solidarity” with the UK.

March 22nd, The Chief of the Russian Armed Forces’ General Staff, Deputy Defense Minister, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov had another phone conversation with Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the United States’ Joint Chiefs of Staff.

So what is really going on here? Surely nobody seriously believes that the Brits really think that the Russians had any motive to try to kill Skripal or, for that matter, if they had a motive, that they would do it in such a stupid manner? And what’s the deal with Syria anyway? Is the US going to execute their false flag and bomb?

I think that at this point we should not get bogged down in the details of all this. There is a forest behind these trees. What matters most now, is that the most powerful factions of the AngloZionist Empire’s ruling elites are making a concerted effort to create a unified anti-Russian coalition. In this regard, it is quite telling that the US, France, and Germany issued a statement on March 15th without even bothering to consult with their so-called “allies” in Nato or the EU. You can immediately tell “who is boss” in those crisis situations when the rest of the Euro-riffraff simply doesn’t matter (poor East Europeans with their delusions about being appreciated or even respected by the West!). Furthermore, it is quite clear that in this case, the “Anglo” component of the AngloZionist Empire is far more involved than the Zionist one, at least insofar as the front of the stage is concerned (behind the scenes the Neocons are seething at Trump for calling Putin to congratulate him and offer negotiations). I think that a number of crucial developments forced the US and the UK into trying to strong-arm the rest of the western nations to “circle the wagons” around the Empire:

1. The US humiliatingly failed in its attempts to frighten and force the DPRK into submission

2. The AngloZionists have lost the civil war in Syria

3. The UK and the rest of the Nato are becoming militarily irrelevant

4. Ukraine has crashed and is burning and a Ukronazi attack on the Donbass is most likely

5. The political forces in Europe who opposed anti-Russian policies are on the ascent

6. The Russians are winning many EU countries over by economic means including North Stream whereas sanctions are hurting the EU much more than Russia

7. The anti-Putin campaign has miserably failed and Russia is fully united in her stance against the Empire

What this all means is very simple: the Empire needs to either fold or double down and folding is just not something the imperial elites are willing to consider yet. They are therefore using the tools which they perceive as most effective:

1. False flags: this is really a time-honoured western tradition used by pretty much all the western powers. Since the general public is brainwashed and mostly can’t even begin to imagine that “freedom loving liberal democracies” could use methods usually ascribed to evil, bloodthirsty dictatorial regimes, false flags are an ideal way to get the public opinion in the correct state of mind to approve of aggressive, hostile, and even violent policies against a perceived threat or obstacle to hegemony.

2. Soft power: have you noticed how the Oscars or the Cannes festival always pick exactly the kind of “artists” which the Empire happens to politically promote? Well, this is true not only for the Oscars or the Cannes festival but for almost all of the cultural, social, and political life in the West. This is especially true of so-called “human rights” and “peace” organizations which are simply political pit-bulls which can be sicked on any country in need of subversion and/or intervention. Russia has never developed that kind of political toolkit.

3. Verbal escalation: this tactic is extremely crude yet very effective. You begin by vociferously proclaiming some falsehood. The fact that you proclaimed it in such vociferous and hyperbolic matter achieves two immediate results: it sends all your friends and allies a clear message “you are either with us or against us”, that leaves no room for nuance or analysis, and it gives otherwise rather spineless politicians no way to back down, thus strengthening their “resolve”.

4. Herding: there is safety in numbers. So when dealing with a potentially dangerous foe, like Russia, all the little guys flock together so as to appear bigger or, at least, harder to single out. Also, when everybody is responsible, nobody is. Thus herding is also politically expedient. Finally, it changed the inter-relational dynamic from one of friends or allies to one typically found among accomplices in a crime.

5. Direct threats: the Empire got away with making threats left and right for many decades, and this is a habit which is hard to break. The likes of Nikki Haley or Hillary Clinton probably sincerely believe that the US is quasi-omnipotent or, conversely, they might be terrified by the creeping suspicion that it might not be. Threats are also an easy, if ineffective, substitute for diplomacy and negotiations, especially when your position is objectively wrong and the other side is simply a lot smarter than you.

The big problem is that none of these methods work against Russia or, let me correct that, don’t work anymore (they sure appeared to work in the past). Russian public opinion is fully aware of all these methods (courtesy of a Russian media NOT controlled by AngloZionists) and Margarita Simonian beautifully summarized the feelings that all this elicits in the Russian population:

… all your injustice and cruelty, inquisitorial hypocrisy, and lies forced us to stop respecting you. You and your so-called “values”. We don’t want to live like you live anymore. For fifty years, secretly and openly, we wanted to live like you, but not any longer. We have no more respect for you, nor for those among us that you support, nor for all those people who support you ( … ). For that you only have yourself to blame ( … ) Our people are capable to forgive a lot. But we don’t forgive arrogance, and no normal nation would. Your only remaining Empire would be wise to learn the history of its allies, all of them are former empires. To learn the ways they lost their empires. Only because of their arrogance. White man’s burden, my ass!” (this last sentence in English in the original text – translator)

The stark truth is that far from wanting to invade, appease, or otherwise please the West, Russia has absolutely no need, nor even interest, in it. None. For centuries Russian elites have been western-focused to some degree or other and none of them could even begin to imagine a West-less Russia. This is still true today, the Russian “elites” still want to live like (very rich) Brits or Germans and they still hate the common Russian people and Vladimir Putin. But those Russian elites have now been crushed by the magnitude of Putin’s victory in the presidential elections. Normally, this should result in an even bigger exile of Russian “businessmen” to the UK, France, or Israel, but the problem now is that the British are making noises about punishing them for, well, being Russians (even Russophobic, pro-western, “Russians”). As a result, these “poor” pro-western liberals can only whine on the social media and in the few pro-western media out lets left in Russia (no, not due to repression, but due to their political irrelevancy being backed, as they are, by something between two percent and five percent of the population).

But setting aside the wealthy “elites” for a moment, Russia as a country and as a nation has simply no use for the West and what it represents. Those who fantasize about Russia being interested in “Europe”, “White identity”, or “Western Christianity” are only kidding themselves. They hope that the current cultural and spiritual revival in Russia will somehow spill over to them and allow them to extricate themselves from the gutter in which they are currently prostrated. It won’t. Just read again what Simonian said about the western “values” in the quote above. For most Russians “Europe” reeks of Napoleon, the “White identity” of Hitler, and the “Western Christianity” of the creation of Ukraine and the “Eastern Crusades”. No, Russia has no interest in revenge against any of that, she just has no respect nor interest for what these concepts stand for. (Poland – is possibly the last country where all these things are taken seriously and fondly remembered.) Still, the Russians remain willing to negotiate to establish a viable coexistence between the Western and Russian civilizational realms. Putin clearly said so in his speech.

There is no need to create more threats to the world. Instead, let us sit down at the negotiating table and devise together a new and relevant system of international security and sustainable development for human civilization. We have been saying this all along. All these proposals are still valid. Russia is ready for this.

But if the AngloZionists are dead set on world domination by means of war, then Russia is ready for that too. Not a war of aggression, of course, not even against the tiny Baltic statelets, Putin made that clear too when he said “we are not threatening anyone, not going to attack anyone or take away anything from anyone with the threat of weapons. We do not need anything. Just the opposite” (emphasis added). But if attacked, Russia is now ready to defend herself:

And to those who in the past fifteen years have tried to accelerate an arms race and seek unilateral advantage against Russia, have introduced restrictions and sanctions that are illegal from the standpoint of international law aiming to restrain our nation’s development, including in the military area, I will say this: everything you have tried to prevent through such a policy has already happened. No one has managed to restrain Russia ( … ) Any use of nuclear weapons against Russia or its allies, weapons of short, medium, or any range at all, will be considered as a nuclear attack on this country. Retaliation will be immediate, with all the attendant consequences. There should be no doubt about this whatsoever.

Why is the nuclear issue so central? Because the Russians are fully aware of the fact that the AngloZionists cannot win a conventional war with Russia. Thus it is crucial for the Russians to convince the AngloZionists that they are neither militarily superior nor invulnerable (see “War with Russia: Two Great American Myths” for a full analysis of these two myths). But once some kind of modus vivendi is achieved with the West, Russia will focus her efforts in different directions: much needed internal reforms and development; the work with China on the establishment of a single Eurasian zone of economic security, peace, and prosperity; the restoration of peace in the Middle-East; the development of the Russian Far East and North – you name it. Russia has plenty of work which needs to be done, none of which involves the West in any capacity.

And that is, of course, what is so totally unacceptable to the West.

Hence this month’s historical developments which have placed Russia and the West in a direct collision course. As I said above, the Empire can now either fold or double down. If it decides to fold, war will be averted and meaningful negotiations finally entered into. If it doubles down, something the Neocons always do, then this means war with Russia. This is a stark and very difficult choice (no, not for normal people, but for the psychopaths ruling the West). And there isn’t much Russia could, or should, do at this point. As is the case every time a serious crisis takes place, the apparently united elites running the West will now break-up into separate factions and each one of these factions will pursue and promote its own, narrow, interests. There will be an intense, mostly behind the scenes, struggle between those who will want to double down or even trigger a war against Russia and those who will be horrified by that notion (not necessarily for profound moral reasons, j ust out of basic self-interest and a healthy instinct for self-preservation).

As to who will prevail, your guess is as good a mine. But the fact that today Trump replaced McMaster with a warmongering psychopath like John Bolton is a clear sign that the Neocons are in charge in the US and that the Axis of Kindness is about to get a heck of a lot “kinder”.

http://www.unz.com/tsaker/a-truly-historical-month-for-the-future-of-our-planet/

Posted in Uncategorized

War is on the Horizon

by Paul Craig Roberts

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org (March 17 2018)

Have Washington and its British vassal set a stage for testing whether Russia has the stomach for war?

How else do we interpret the announcement by General Sergey Rudskoy, chief of the Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, that

… we have reliable information at our disposal that US instructors have trained a number of militant groups in the vicinity of the town of At-Tanf, to stage provocations involving chemical warfare agents in southern Syria. They are preparing a series of chemical munitions explosions. This fact will be used to blame the government forces. The components to produce chemical munitions have been already delivered to the southern de-escalation zone under the guise of humanitarian convoys of a number of NGOs. The provocations will be used as a pretext by the United States and its allies to launch strikes on military and government infrastructure in Syria. {1}

Also {2} and {3}.

Don’t expect to hear anything about this in the totally discredited Western presstitute media, which is a propaganda ministry for war.

The Russian government must be kicking itself that it again failed to finish the job in Syria and instead permitted Washington to expand its Syrian presence, arm and train its mercenaries, provide chemical weapons, and assemble its fleet to attack Syrian forces in order to prevent their re-conquest of Syrian territory.

The question before us is: If the information that General Rudskoy cited is correct, what will Russia do? Will Russia use its missile defences and air superiority to shoot down the US missiles and aircraft, or will Russia accept the attack and again denounce the illegality of Washington’s action and protest to the UN?

If Russia accepts the attack, Washington will push harder. Sooner or later Russia will be unable to accept another push, and war will break out.

If war breaks out, will it be a limited conventional war or will Washington use the excuse to launch nuclear ICBMs against Russia? These questions must be going through the minds of Russia’s leadership. Russia faces the grave danger that Washington’s Fifth Column inside Russia, the Atlanticist Integrationists, those Russians in the political and business leadership who believe Russia must be, at all costs, integrated into the Western world, will lock the government in indecision and expose Russia to a nuclear first strike.

So far Russia has continued to defeat itself by playing according to the rules of diplomacy and international law despite the obvious fact that Washington has no respect for either. During the past week, Washington’s British vassal, a country of no military or political significance, demonstrated total contempt for Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. In other words, the insult to Russia came from a mere vassal state of Washington’s empire. An alleged poisoning by an alleged Russian nerve gas, the very existence of which is doubted by US and UK experts, of an inconsequential former spy and his daughter has been blamed, without a shred of evidence, on Russia by the British prime minister, defence minister, and foreign minister.

The British prime minister violated law and agreements to which Britain is a partner by giving Russia 24 hours to respond to an accusation for which no evidence was provided. Law and the agreements require that the country making an accusation share the evidence with the accused country, which has ten days to assess the evidence and reply. The British government refused to abide by the agreement to which it is a partner. Moreover, the British foreign minister Boris Johnson personally accused Russia’s President Putin of ordering the attempted murder of the inconsequential spy. For more information on the former spy and his lack of consequence and the absurdity of the orchestrated event, see recent postings on my website.

Not content with the unprecedented insult to Russia and its President, the British defence minister of a country that has no capability whatsoever of defending itself against Russia, even with its liege lord’s help, said in response to Russia’s rejection of the unsupported-by-any-evidence charge that “Russia should shut up and go away”.

This was too much for the Russian Ministry of Defence. General Igor Konashenkov replied:

The rhetoric of an uncouth shrew demonstrated by the Head of the British Ministry of Defence makes his utter intellectual impotence perfectly evident. All this confirms not only the nullity of all accusations towards Russia we have been hearing from London for the last several years but also that the “accusers” themselves are nonentities.

The “Great” Britain has long turned not only into a cozy nest for defectors from all over the world but also into a hub for all sorts of fake news-producing agencies: from the British “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” to that created by a British intelligence officer – the pseudo-Syrian “White Helmets”.

As to boorish words of the British Defence Minister regarding Russia, it seems that in the absence of the real results of professional activity, rudeness is the only weapon remaining in the arsenal of the Her Majesty’s Military. {4}

Note the total dismissal of “Great” Britain by the Russian Ministry of Defence as a military and political power. From the Russian military’s standpoint, Washington’s British vassal state is a total nonentity. This suggests that the Russian military is focused on Washington and is unlikely to tolerate Washington’s agents in Russian government and business circles if they attempt to leave Russia exposed by indecision.

Perhaps the Russians will decide it is past time for them to demonstrate their superior military capabilities, and they will take out not only the US missiles and airplanes but also the fleets from which the attack is launched while putting their nuclear forces on high alert. What then would Washington do? Can a government composed of bullies drunk on hubris come to a sensible decision, or would people so arrogant as to think themselves “exceptional” and “indispensable” condemn the world, including the plants, animals, birds, and all creatures who have no idea of the murderous lunatics that rule the Western world, to death?

There is no greater threat to life on earth than Washington. Constraining Washington’s determination to destroy life on earth is the greatest challenge humanity has faced. If we fail, we all die, every one of us and all creatures.

Despite Russia’s military superiority, the humanity of the Russian government places it at a disadvantage as there is no concern for humanity in Washington.

Links:

{1} https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-17/russia-claims-us-training-syrian-militants-false-flag-chemical-attack-justify

{2} https://southfront.org/u-s-deploys-naval-strike-groups-for-attacks-on-syria-trains-militants-for-false-flag-chemical-attacks/

{3} http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/03/17/555774/US-training-Syria-militants-for-false-flag-chemical-attacks-Russian-cmdr

{4} https://thesaker.is/official-russian-reply-to-the-british-shut-up-and-go-away/

Copyright (c) 2016 PaulCraigRoberts.org. All rights reserved.

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/03/17/war-is-on-the-horizon/

Posted in Uncategorized