Vince Dhimos has answered a question at Quora. Following is a translation of the question and the answer.
WHAT IS THE BEST OUTCOME FOR AFGHANISTAN AFTER THE US/UN LEAVES?
When the Russians entered Afghanistan, they were supporting a secular government that rejected Shariah law and the abuse of women and minorities that had been common in the country up to that time. Whenever the Russians got involved in a Muslim country, they supported secularism of the kind Westerners also support in their own countries. But strangely, when the US gets involved in a Muslim country, it supports radicalism of the kind that brings suffering to the people – of the kind that no Western country would accept at home. This is best illustrated by the unwholesome relationship between the US and Saudi, a country that has traditionally supported terrorists and their invasion of other more-peaceful countries like Syria, Iran and Iraq.
The trouble in Afghanistan started when the regime change specialist Zbigniew Brzezinski persuaded Jimmy Carter to have the CIA infiltrate Afghanistan and incite the radical Islamists to rise up against the Russians. The problem with that kind of policy and that kind of short-sighted thinking is that it is based solely on countering an opponent and not on achieving a worthwhile long-term goal that helps the people of the invaded nation. Which is why the US failed so colossally. It did nothing to help the peaceful population and instead promoted the violent factions.
I suppose the naive Carter thought that in the long run, the US could tame these radicals and bring them into the Western sphere of influence, ie, make them appreciate western values and a peaceful lifestyle. But neither Carter nor Brzezinski knew much at all about the culture of the Afghans, their history or their aspirations and they didn’t really care because they were totally focused on defeating the Russians, whom they understood even less than they did the Afghans.
But interacting with countries without any knowledge of their culture and history is a recipe for failure and that is what the US has attained in Afghanistan, where it has been mired down since 2001, ie, about 18 years as we write, and with no end in sight.
To clarify, while the goal of the Russians had been to help establish a secular government for the good of the Afghan people – ie, a positive goal, the US was oblivious to the needs and wants of the people. Its only goal was a negative one, ie, overcoming the Russians, and not because the Russians were harming the Afghans, because they weren’t, but because Russophobic Neocons like Brzezinski thought the Russians were wrong just because they were Russians, not because they were communists. Amazingly, this mentality still prevails in Washington today, and it is more obvious than ever because there is no “communist threat” to use as a pretext for its negative actions, and because of its full focus on negativism, the US is not a suitable agent for peace and has no intention of bringing peace and prosperity to Afghanistan – or any other country for that matter. (Witness the mess that the US meddling in the Maidan coup has left in Ukraine, which, thanks to the US, is now, according to IMF statistics, the poorest country in Europe and in a state of constant civil war!)
So let’s get down to the bottom line. Since the US, after 18 years of warfare, with no end in sight, has done absolutely nothing to bring peace and prosperity to Afghanistan, the first thing that needs to happen in the country is to end the US presence there, permanently.
And since the Russians were achieving positive things such as eliminating Shariah law and the abuses against women and minorities that are commonplace in regions dominated by Muslim radicals, the Russians must immediately be placed in a position to negotiate peace between the different factions. After all, the Russians, in association with the Syrians, Iranians and Turks, managed to forge a coalition in Syria that was capable of holding negotiations between the opposing factions and is now leading to a peaceful settlement – despite the criminal US sanctions on the downtrodden Syrian people that irrationally prevent reconstruction and humanitarian aid.
Thus the Russians are willing and able to do what the West refuses to do to restore peace and prosperity to Syria and they are therefore the best suited for a peace keeping and arbitration role in Afghanistan as well.
And while westerners are brainwashed into thinking that Iran is the villain of the Middle East and Asia, the reality is quite the opposite. Iran has been accepting Afghan refugees for decades and now harbours about a million of them, along with another 1.5 million non-refugee Afghans. Why? A very important reason is that the main two official languages, Pashto and Dari, spoken in Afghanistan are both Iranian languages and Dari is mutually intelligible with the Iranian Farsi. Therefore, Iran must not be ignored as a partner in the negotiations between the opposing factions in Afghanistan.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at the Spanish-language sector of Quora. In the please find our translation of the question and Vince’s answer.
Before you read Vince’s answer, have a look at some of the documentation on the Israel-Saudi relationship so that you can see how cozy these two bed fellows have been over the past 2 decades and more.
The following is just the tip of the iceberg:
HOW DOES SAUDI ARABIA VIEW ISRAEL?
Unfortunately, the alliance between the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia is more important to these 3 allies than world peace. This is because Israel and Saudi Arabia both still see the United States as the greatest world power, capable of protecting them from their own reckless and warlike behaviour, and they are too myopic to see that the balance of world power is changing rapidly, ie, that the centre of gravity is moving inexorably eastward.
Ironically, while the Saudi people (grassroots) do not accept Israel on the basis of religious and ethnic considerations, the Saudi royal family is obsessed with its hatred of Iran and Shiites to such an extent that it wants to maintain enmity with the Shiite world even though Shiites are Muslims too.
It is incredible that Saudi Arabia, a Muslim country, prefers its relationship with the Israelis and Americans over its relationship with other Muslims, but that is the reality that has existed for decades.
It is important to understand why many ordinary Muslims (outside the royal families of Saudi and the Gulf statelets) do not recognize the state of Israel. Quite simply, the Muslims accept a version of the founding of Israel that asserts that it was founded by Zionists who, according to Palestinian sources, expelled most of the Arabs from land these Arabs had inhabited long before the first Zionists arrived in the Middle East. And they did so by murder and terror.
The Israelis today generally deny that they expelled the Arabs from their homeland. They claim that the Arabs left spontaneously.
However, the history of their abandonment of their homes by the Palestinian Arabs is well documented It can be found in various sources, including:
this Quora article: https://es.quora.com/Tiene-derecho-a-existir-el-Estado-de-Israel-Por-qu%C3%A9-o-por-qu%C3%A9-no/answer/Vince-Dhimos
This book, available as a free download, by an Israeli historian: https://archive.org/details/TheEthnicCleansingOfPalestinePappeIlan
This documentary made by Israeli and Arab historians: https://palestinalibre.org/articulo.php?a=44961
The version of Israel’s history detailed in these sources is accepted by the Saudi people, but the watered-down version propagated by Israel and many American historians influenced by Israel is generally accepted by the Saudi royal family. Thus there is a potential for an overthrow of the Saudi government, but the royal family has bought its population with its petrodollars – so far. However, if the oil deposits in the country become depleted to a certain critical level, the royal family will no longer be able to buy the compliance of the people. Further, since the murder of Jamal Kashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, influential members of the US Congress and Senate have been withdrawing their support for Saudi Arabia and the Saudi crown prince has been making threats (empty so far) against the petrodollar. All of this hue and cry over the affaire Kashoggi could change the power structure in Saudi Arabia and weaken US-Saudi ties. This could in turn impact Saudi-Israeli ties.
Finally, in this context, it is worthwhile to note that, while the Iranian leadership has declared its willingness to dialogue with the Saudis, the Saudi kingdom refuses to negotiate with Iran and, like Israel, continues to focus only on war. But without the unswerving support from the United States, they would have to change their mind and start the much needed dialogue.
And since Russia is the only country that is trusted by the Muslims of both branches, ie, Sunnis and Shiites, and also has good relations with Israel, it would be the only effective arbiter between Iran on the one hand, and Saudi Arabia and Israel on the other hand.
Vince Dhimos answered a question on Quora.
What has Israel done for the US, to justify what the US does for Israel?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Answered Jun 3
There is a commonplace myth in the US that the country could not live without Israel because Israel supplies the US air force with a place to take off and land and provides all sorts of intel services.
The truth is, the US has never done anything worthwhile in the Middle East. It is there primarily to bomb innocent victims in countries whose leaders do not genuflect to the US. So yes, if you think that is a worthwhile service to mankind, then of course, Israel is a great partner and ally. But in fact, without Israel, the US would not be fighting most of these wars and would not be spending itself into an unpayable debt. So let me try to explain the real reason the US gives Israel its undying support and why they have shown so little appreciation.
The following is mostly a translation from my response to a question at the Spanish-language sector of Quora. Respuesta de Vince Dhimos a ¿Qué efecto tiene la ayuda de los Estados Unidos en Israel?
Ronald Reagan's famously said: The most terrifying words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
Since a group of Zionist settlers in Arab lands requested the UN to recognize these Arab lands as a Jewish state in 1948, the United States was at their side. The government of the United States put pressure on some countries that were not sure of granting statehood to the group.
Some Arab states were concerned because Arabs living in this region had been forcibly removed and they therefore strongly opposed the recognition of "Israel." Two Jewish terrorist gangs, Stern and Irgun, as well as a paramilitary group, the Hagana, had massacred entire families in Deir Yassin to scare families throughout the region into abandoning their homes and fleeing. I had written about this previously (https://www.quora.com/Why-is-the-official-history-of-l-as-presented-by-li-government-highly-distorted-to-say-the-least-compared-to-what-actually-happened/answer/Vince-Dhimos).
The British Mandate was very supportive of the Zionists and early settlers but that was part of the problem. They allowed the Jews to have lethal weapons but forbade the native Arabs to have them to defend themselves. This was a violation of the Balfour agreement that promised equality for everyone in these territories. This blatant unfairness would come back to bite the British, who later tried to set limits to the number of Jews allowed to enter the Mandate. The limits were challenged when Jewish terrorists bombed a ship full of Jews from Europe that exceeded the limit, and dozens of Jews were drowned when the ship started to capsize. By the time the British officials tried to clamp down further, it was too late. The Jewish terrorists bombed the King David Hotel that housed British officials, causing major damage and killing guests. They also bombed an officers’ club and hanged 2 British officials. Then they started bombing British embassies around Europe. Thus, the British lost their zeal to help establish the Jewish state and finally withdrew from the scene. The Zionist leaders then turned to the US for support.
This "state" was founded in the most unusual way, first of all by use of terror to expel the Arabs (and many Arabs feared that if Israel gained statehood, terror and murder would spread to the surrounding areas.) Never before, in the history of the UN, had a group made up mainly of people from other regions entered a region (Palestine) where they were present as a minority and tried to establish a state by displacing the original majority inhabitants of the land by force and then asking the international community to recognize their ethnicity as the ruling class, and it was only successful due to the intervention of the United States and because the Jews had just lived a horrible experience known as the holocaust and the Americans, not knowing about the slaughter of innocents by the Jewish terrorist groupsl, felt sorry for them. But the situation would be tantamount to a few radical Native American groups starting a campaign to reclaim their land, winning the support of a European nation using slick propaganda such as films showing the unfair treatment of the Amerindians at Wounded Knee and the Trail of Tears, for example, and then going to towns all over America and terrorizing residential areas by slaughtering whole families to force them to flee and subsequently, applying for statehood at the UN and being given the right to “return” to their native lands and obtain the rights of a state mostly because a larger more powerful country stood by the Indians. The main reason that the Arabs could not fight back was that the story of the Jewish terrorism was not widely publicized beyond the Middle East and no one could have guessed that the early Zionists had been so brutal.
The fears of the Arabs turned out to be justified. Even today, the Israeli army continues to shoot and kill or maim unarmed demonstrators in Gaza and to kill Iranians in Syria.
The problem is not due so much to Jews or Israelis. The reason Israel gained recognition is that the Americans generously supported the would-be state of Israel unconditionally and continues to do so today, overlooking all the reports of criminal wrongdoing, which it attributes to Arab prejudice and propaganda and condemning the Arabs for being Muslim and hence terrorists. (This Israeli viewpoint that all Muslims are potential terrorists and enemies is reflected in Trump’s refusal to grant travel visas to citizens of some Muslims countries for the express reason that they are Muslims).
Consequently, as of today, the UN has issued more warnings and condemnations against Israel for human rights violations than against any other country! But for the UN to enforce its decisions, the United States would have to cooperate. However, the great model of democracy refuses to make its protégé behave like a civilized nation.
Every time the UN tries to condemn Israel for its crimes, the United States defends it and votes against all the resolutions against it. In addition, it gives Israel $4.5 billion a year and sends its best weapons to protect it. Even so, most resolutions against Israel are passed.
And how does Israel show its gratitude for this US generosity?
The best example of Israeli "gratitude" was seen during the Arab-Israeli war in 1967, when a group of Israeli warplanes attacked a US spy ship, the USS Liberty, in broad daylight in international waters of the Mediterranean. The Israelis shot and killed 34 US sailors aboard the Liberty and wounded 174. The official excuse given by the Israelis was that the pilots did not know that the ship was American and they had mistaken it for an Egyptian ship. But this was clearly a lie because, according to the testimony of survivors, some Israeli planes had overflown the ship before the attack and could clearly see the American flag flying on it and the Roman letters “USS Liberty” prominently displayed on its side.
The most likely reason given by analysts for the unprovoked attack was that the Israelis knew that the American ship was commissioned to gather information and feared that the Americans had intercepted Israeli messages that were supposed to be secret.
Here's a clue to why Israel never changes its behaviour (source: Ataque al USS Liberty)
QUOTE FROM the source cited above (my translation from Spanish):
The Johnson administration did not publicly rebut the motive adduced by the Hebrew authorities, and said that it was indeed a disastrous mistake. But the internal documents obtained by the "Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library" showed that this explanation was not believed.
Even so, both governments issued reports concluding that it was a tragic error, caused by an identification failure. These conclusions accentuated the controversy and some veterans and intelligence officials who were involved in the incident, submitted their complaints, since it was the only incident of this kind in American history not investigated by Congress.
In May 1968, Israel paid $3,323,500 to the families of the 34 men killed in the attack, in March 1969 paid $ 3,566,457 as compensation for the injured, and on December 18, 1980, the amount paid was $ 6,000,000 for the victims and material damage caused to the USS Liberty.
On December 17, 1987, the issue was officially closed by both governments.
The Chicago Tribune also carried the story: New revelations in attack on American spy ship).
Jewish editorialist Gideon Levy once published an editorial in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, accusing the United States of destroying Israel by approving its wrongdoing. He said that the US is like an indulgent father who pampers his son by giving him unlimited freedom and by never disciplining him. He says the US is in fact destroying Israel with its lenient behaviour because Israel has very few friends left, has many enemies and would one day pay for its sins.
So, why is the United States the only country that supports Israel's treacherous and ungrateful misbehaviour and allows it to behave in ways that can lead to wars?
There are 3 main reasons:
1 - The holocaust. Americans are compassionate to Jews because of their suffering in Hitler's Germany.
2 - AIPAC, the Israeli-American lobby, which controls elections. As you know, many politicians, mostly Democrats, have accused Russia of interfering with the US elections. But there is very little evidence to accuse Russia of this, and besides, US candidates and their partisans in media spend far more effort and money campaigning for their candidates of choice than any foreign government possibly could. On the other hand, Israel openly and blatantly interferes in the US elections and no one complains. How do they do that? AIPAC does this in two ways: they give generous donations to candidates who declare themselves pro-Israel and discredit candidates who refuse to pledge support to Israel or who show sympathy for Palestine. This blatant meddling gives Israel almost complete control of US foreign policy and much of its domestic policy. Saudi Arabia also helps Israel to control the US because that country has a petrodollar agreement with America that obliges it to comply with the wishes of the Saudi dictatorship. Given that both countries hate and fear Iran, they have had an enormous influence on Trump, who seems to be preparing for a conflict with Iran.
3. "Christian" Zionism. Non-Americans find it odd that there may be a religious sect that exerts such a huge influence on US foreign policy, but the truth is that about 70-80% of American evangelicals believe that their country should support Israel, and should not care that Israel commits crimes because many of them believe that the Israeli government is guided by God -- even when they violate the Ten Commandments. However, their belief in Israel is actually not aligned with the Bible. They claim that the resurrected Israel prophesied in Ezekiel 37 is the modern secular state of Israel. However, none of these zealots seem to realize or care that verse 24 of that chapter says that resurrected Israel will be "obedient to God’s decrees." Unfortunately for them, a survey conducted by WIN/Gallup shows that 65% of Israelis have no religion whatsoever. Furthermore, the IDF's repeated killing of Palestinian protesters in Gaza, for example, is contrary to the decree in the book of Leviticus (19:9-18) in the Jewish Torah, which enjoins the Hebrews to love their neighbours as themselves.
Clearly, modern Israel is not the Israel prophesied by Ezekiel! This Zionist belief would seem blasphemous to a true Christian who bases his beliefs on the Bible, but such Christians are scarce among US Evangelicals, who look to Bible scholars and pastors to tell them what the Bible says, even though one of the reasons for the Protestant Reformation that birthed their movement was that the Catholics taught their adherents that the Bible was not to be read or interpreted by individuals without the aid of Catholic spiritual leaders such as priests. The Reformation in fact changed nothing.
However, this religious zealotry has a major influence on the political life of the country and has for decades led to devastating wars and terrible conflicts. The conflict with Iran is the most recent. Trump’s biggest voting bloc was Evangelicals. Both Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are Evangelical Christians who believe Israeli policies are driven by the Almighty. Since Trump’s policies are also pro-Israel, Mike also thinks Trump may well have been chosen by God (and not by the US people). Pompeo: Trump sent by God to save Israel
Who could oppose Israel (or Trump for that matter) without incurring His wrath? That is the fear that drives US foreign policy. And yet, while America clearly favours Israel in its foreign policy based on the religious doctrine of “Christian” Zionism, the First Amendment declares that no religion should be given precedence over any other in Congress, clearly establishing the separation of church and state. Will Americans ever see that founding principle applied in their foreign policy?
Vince Dhimos answered a question at the Spanish-language sector of Quora. Below is our translation of the question and Vince’s answer.
How should the Western powers respond if China sends its troops to Hong Kong to put down the resistance?
Whenever a protest or uprising occurs in a country that is not aligned with the United States, it is important to ask if the protests have a legitimate goal – that is, if they make sense, ie, there is a pressing human rights issue at stake. If not, it is important to ask if the protests are spontaneous and have been initiated solely by the citizens of the country in which the protest is occurring or if the protest was instigated and/or promoted by one of the US non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that specialize in inciting protests, riots, uprisings and coups, or by an agency funded by one of these.
Indeed, in most of the major protests that ended in coups in the last few decades, the United States has been behind the protests in the form of governmental agencies and/or NGOs, but in most cases, these agencies covered their tracks, generally with the aid of a complicit msm.
For example, the coup in Kiev in 2014 was instigated and promoted by several American agencies, ie, USAID, NED, an Open Society foundation of George Soros, the NED, the United States State Department (Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland took part personally in the coup) and others. This meddling on the part of the United States was completely illegal and violent, including over 100 killings, but the Western media reported this as a “peaceful” event without mentioning that it was a flagrant example of American meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation. The media wanted their audience to believe this was a positive action on the part of the West and the protesters, but in the final analysis it resulted in the economic destruction of Ukraine – which now, according to the IMF, is the poorest country in Europe and is engulfed in political chaos and turmoil.
The recent unrest in Georgia was another example of unreasonable protests that one could hardly imagine being spontaneous because the stated motivation seemed contrived and senseless to anyone but a Russia hater. In this case, the protesters were angry because a Russian leader of an Orthodox delegation sat in the chair of the Georgian speaker of the Orthodox Parliament. This was hardly obectionable because this Russian had been elected as the head of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, and international organization. The US has several NGOs in Georgia and they have been cultivating hatred against the Russians for several years. Aside from this irrational hatred of Russians, there was no logical or rational motive for a protest.
Now in Hong Kong we are witnessing another illogical protest, this time against a proposed law that would allow extradition of criminals or persons suspected of crimes from the Chinese world. Nothing very important is at stake. The proposed law is not a big deal and is based on a principle accepted almost everywhere.
There are two NGOs in Hong Kong that receive funding from the NED (National Endowment of Democracy), an organization that is dedicated to meddling in the internal affairs of foreign countries for the purpose of regime change and has instigated and promoted the overthrow of democratically elected governments, including the government of Ukraine that was overthrown in 2014. These 2 NED-funded groups are Human Rights in China and the Laogai Research Foundation.
I do not know if China will send troops to Hong Kong – probably it will not because, interestingly, most of the people demonstrating in Hong Kong are supporting Beijing and the police – but if it does, the United States must stay out because the internal affairs of China and Hong Kong and their mutual relations are not part of its responsibility. The United States has major problems of its own to solve and if it tries to meddle in Hong Kong affairs, the Chinese government has the potential to forcefully oppose its efforts.
As for China, it needs to do what Russia has done to prevent foreign meddling, ie, banning American NGOs such as USAID, NED, Soros foundations, etc, that cause problems in its county, and also banning organizations that are funded by these NGOs.
In the video above, we see Lebanese Christian singer Julia Boutros singing the praises of the militia that saved her homeland from Israel - Hezbollah. If every US "Christian" Zionist could visit the Lebanese Christian community for one day and dialogue with them, "Christian" Zionism would fade very quickly from the American scene and peace would finally come to the Middle East. God grant it!
National security adviser Bolton has a long history of lying for Israel. Recently John said, shortly after the attack on 4 oil tankers at a port in the UAE, long before a thorough investigation could be conducted:
"I think it is clear these (attacks) were naval mines almost certainly from Iran."
Might I remind the reader that “almost certainly” is not used when providing proof, and without proof, a professional security adviser does not make statements like this. Come on now, you never heard Putin take a stab in the dark like this. This kind of shooting from the hip is why international polls show that the US is not trusted and one poll shows the US is deemed as the country posing the “biggest threat to peace.”
One of John’s first distortions of the truth was instrumental in the near-total destruction of Lebanon back in 2006, and no one is talking about it.
Briefly, in 2005, Rafic Hariri, the ex-premier of Lebanon, was assassinated by a bomb, along with a number of innocent bystanders, and Syrian president Bashar al Assad was quickly blamed, although the assassination had all the earmarks of an Israeli (possibly Mossad) hit job. At the time, Syrian peacekeeping forces were in Lebanon. The UN took up the investigation into the assassination and an investigator was named, who did not stay on the case very long until a new investigator was named, under pressure from US ambassador John Bolton. The new investigator quickly focused on Hezbollah and Assad and used Mossad as a witness. Bolton knew this investigator was pro-Israel, pro-US and anti-Assad.
Now this would be humorous if it were not so downright sad. I did a search for “Israeli assassinations,” and came up with several sources, including this site:
where you will see a list of hundreds of Israeli-perpetrated assassinations prior to the 2005 assassination of Rafic Hariri. That’s right. Israel killed with impunity in at least a dozen countries, including but not limited to: Lebanon (the country where Hariri was assassinated), West Bank, Italy, Belgium, Tunisia, Egypt, Greece, France, Germany, Uruguay, Jordan and Cyprus. Mossad was the prime suspect in 7 of the assassinations. Bombs, like the one used to kill Hariri, were a murder weapon of choice. Now if you do a search for “assassinations by Assad” you will find no such list at all because Assad did not go around assassinating people, but you will serendipitously find persons who have wanted to assassinate him, including Trump and the Israeli Defence Force. But the investigator hand-picked by ambassador John Bolton managed to conclude, without proof, that Assad was “most likely” behind the assassination of Rafic Hariri. Recall that there is no such thing as a verdict of “likely” in a criminal court, but in venues tainted by American influence, this is a standard verdict, like the “highly likely” verdict of Theresa May that gave rise to sanctions against Russia for its alleged role in the poisoning of Sergey and Yulia Skripal. And this is the modus operandi of all US politicians who have accused Assad of misdeeds, notably killing people with chemical weapons, without proof and in the knowledge that terrorist groups possessed and used chemical weapons themselves so any chemical attack could just as well have been perpetrated by them. Assad is the most maligned man on the planet and it’s all thanks to the slavish US’ mania for doing Israel’s bidding.
Further, Bolton’s target was Iran-related and his motivation was to show Israel he was trying to “help.” A chilling number of American Evangelicals literally believe Trump was “chosen by God” to save Israel. And Trump and team seem to have fallen for this myth, which is why pro-Israel attack dog Bolton was the natural choice for Trump’s cabinet. (BTW, according to reports, the US is planning to bombard the nuclear power plant in Tehran to "save Israel").
The author of a book about Trump says Pence is convinced God is calling him, Mike Pence, to be president as soon as Trump is taken out of the way.
As for secretary of state Mike Pompeo, he is also in the club, having gone on record as saying it is possible God sent Trump to save Israel from Iran.
And Bolton? He is not a Bible thumper, just a war hawk who defends – not really Israel but all of the suicidal things that Israel thinks it wants, like the pending apocalyptic war on Iran. And it goes without saying that none of the above has anything to do with defending the US. The security of the US is not even an afterthought for US officials. If American soldiers lose their lives in the war on Iran to “save Israel,” Trump will have nice words to say to the widows and loved ones, in the grand tradition of Dubbya, a real champion at consoling survivors of those he has slain with his reckless policies.
To understand the sleazy role of Bolton in the Assad frame-up at the UN in 2005 requires some reading.
The whole sordid story of how Assad was railroaded out of his peace keeping role in Lebanon by John Bolton and pals, thus paving the way for the ensuing Israeli attack on Lebanon the year after the assassination, was revealed to the world by German professional criminal investigator Jürgen Cain Külbel, whose findings are reported, for example, here:
Thierry Meyssan also deeply investigated the UN investigation and found it politically tainted and biased. He reported his findings and conclusions at voltairenet.org.
“A former criminal investigator of the GDR, who became a journalist after the reunification of Germany, Jürgen Cain Külbel is the author of a counter-investigation on the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, which the Voltaire Network presented to the Arab public during a widely covered conference in Damascus, May 7, 2006. In this interview, he discusses the political role of the UN Commission and the unexploited leads pointing to Israeli responsibility.”
Another news item strongly suggesting Israeli (and also Saudi) complicity in the Hariri assassination was published at lebanonews.net.
Yet today, 14 years later, the world is still in thrall to the conclusions of a UN investigation based on biased testimony, and it is all thanks to the intervention of US ambassador John Bolton who influenced the choice of chief investigator.
The fabrication that Assad was behind the assassination of Hariri was based on the absurd supposed motivation that Hariri had opposed the Syrian peace keeping force in Lebanon. However, since Hariri was no longer premier in 2005, having left office in 2004, this was just plain nonsense. Israel, however, had a real motive, a very strong one, namely that the Syrian forces were standing in the way of the 2006 invasion of Lebanon by Israel. If the Syrian forces had remained in Lebanon, Israel probably would not have dared invade.
Thus, Bolton was, probably knowingly, preparing the ground for the Israeli invasion that nearly destroyed Lebanon and killed between 1,191 and 1300 Lebanese people. And as I said above, the US “help” to Israel is not actual help because it encourages Israel to do things that are harmful to itself. In this case, the upshot of the invasion included the following:
1--For the first time in its history, Israel was unable to meet an important military goal. It had hoped to demolish Hezbollah, but that militia actually saved Lebanon. This was both a military and a psychological setback for Israel, which made it even more paranoid than before about Hezbollah and the latter’s ally Iran.
2—Because of the devastation wrought by Israel on Lebanese infrastructure and the resulting enormous cost to the Lebanese people, Israel lost most of the trust of its allies in Lebanon. Previously, under the influence of US “Christian” Zionists, many of the Lebanese Christians stopped backing Israel and its ally the US. Today there is therefore little chance that the US will ever be able to regain the trust of the Lebanese Christians and other former allies.
3—Since the Lebanese were able to see with their own eyes how Hezbollah resisted the Israeli attacks and literally saved Lebanon from becoming a vassal of Israel, a large percentage of Lebanese now support Hezbollah, which is now a very popular political party (it is deemed a terrorist organization only because of US and Israeli propaganda. Europe disagrees). This makes Lebanon an important part of the so-called Shia Crescent. BTW, the main reason for the striving of the US, Israel and Saudi to oust Bashar al-Assad is the fact that he is Alawite (a Shia sect, the most tolerant of them) while most of Syria is Sunni (like terror-supporting Saudi and the Gulf statelets), and the axis nations believe that if Assad were toppled, the Sunnis would take over and align automatically with the US axis (which, given Assad’s popularity, is unlikely).
Emblematic of the sea change caused by the 2006 Israeli attack is the performance of the Christian lady in the video linked at the top of this page, singing the praises of Hezbollah, the militia that saved her home country!
ST. PETERSBURG INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC FORUM: PUTIN EXPOSES FAILURE OF US DOLLAR POLICY, FOREIGN INVESTORS SHOW INTEREST IN RUSSIAN PROJECTS
In the following is our translation of an article by Ivan Danilov from RIA Novosti with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos. See the full text of Putin’s remarks at the SPIEF on June 7, 2019, here.
Russian speakers can see the video of this speech here.
Washington officialdom was a no-show at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), but investors don’t do politics. They want to make money. So they showed up and showed interest. And here are their choices: invest in a nation with an unpayable debt run by politicians who are obviously incapable of managing finances – and in the allies of that incompetent nation – or invest in a nation run by pros, with almost no debt at all, ie, Russia, as I showed here.
The first technological war: why Putin declared it first
June 10, 2019
Vladimir Putin’s speech at SPIEF-2019 [St. Petersburg International Economic Forum] is, on the one hand, a kind of sequel to his famous “Munich speech”, and on the other hand, a challenge for the most active participation of Russia in the process of reforming (or even breaking) the existing international order political, economic and technological sphere. Further, the Russian leader once again proved to be the only world politician who had the wisdom and courage to call a spade a spade, voice what is being stated in diplomatic insinuation, and give a correct description of what is happening in the world.
And in the world, unfortunately, we have a war - “the first technological war of the new digital era.” Its results will affect world history no less than the industrial revolution of the XIX century, the First World War, the Great Patriotic War [WW II] and the Cold War. Not participating will not work, and this “will not work” equally applies both to China (which has so far hit Washington), and to all other countries (including Russia), which the US wants to keep in a state of technological backwardness and technological dependence on US corporations and on the vagaries of American politicians.
When serious political leaders, such as President Putin or Chairman Xi, speak of large-scale conflicts and threats that Washington’s aggression poses to world stability, the Western media often (and absolutely groundlessly) accuse them of using “besieged fortress rhetoric” and trying to stir up anti-American sentiment. In fact, as it is easy to see, after the famous “distribution of cookies” [refers to Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s handing out cookies at the Maidan as part of the US regime change effort] in Kiev and the sanctions (plus attempts to bankrupt) levelled against Huawei and ZTE, that no one will ever surpass the American politicians and diplomats themselves in intensifying anti-American sentiment from Kaliningrad to Hainan.
The important point of Vladimir Putin’s speech is a thorough listing of sore spots (or, to put it frankly, festering wounds) of the current international system, the sum of which suggests that the “king” (or in this case, the “hegemon”) has turned out to be, if not naked, then utterly in rags.
The point of no return was passed about a decade ago, when Washington (with the support of the Brussels bureaucracy) refused to reform the global economy, the development format and the international monetary system, giving unequivocal preference to measures that "anesthetized" the effects of the 2008 crisis, but led to serious side effects. The Russian leader described the logic and inappropriateness of the strategy of maintaining the status quo: "To tell the absolute truth, there was not enough will, or maybe courage, to fully understand what was happening and draw the appropriate conclusions. The simplified approach prevailed: they say the global development model itself is quite viable, and there is essentially no need to change anything. It will suffice to eliminate the symptoms and partly coordinate the rules and institutions of the world economy and finance, and everything will be fine. <...> At the time there were a lot of hopes and positive expectations, but they quickly dissipated. The policy of "quantitative easing" and other measures taken did not fundamentally solve the problems, but only pushed them into the future."
It is necessary to translate into polite Russian those polite words of the Russian president, which were addressed to businessmen, financiers and economists present at the SPIEF. The very “quantitative easing” and other measures that Vladimir Putin mentioned, in fact, boil down to the following: instead of recognizing the need to reform the world economy and monetary system, the United States first resorted to the dollar printing machine, and then to “dollar sanctions” "(disconnection from the dollar-based financial system, “secondary sanctions” and embargoes) in order to put pressure on competitors and ensure American hegemony, for which there are no longer any objective grounds.
In this context, it is worth quoting the position of the famous American financier and head of the DoubleLine Capital investment fund Jeffrey Gundlach (better known as the “Bond King”), who tweeted: “President Trump says that the US is a piggy bank from which the rest of the world wants to steal. But the US has $ 124 trillion in unfunded liabilities!"
There are two (fundamentally incompatible) views on the modern world and that is the view of Trump (and many others in Washington), which assumes that it is the United States that is the victim of the rest of the world — and well-known American financiers unabashedly publicly mock this position.
And there is the opinion of Vladimir Putin, who showed on the basis of statistics of international financial institutions, that claims not only of the United States, but even of the “collective West” to global domination are already unfounded: “Over the past three decades, the share of developed countries in global GDP at purchasing power parity has decreased from 58 to 40 percent. Even the share of the G7 states decreased from 46 to 30 percent, and, conversely, the weight of countries with emerging markets is growing. Such a rapid emergence of new economies not only with their own interests, but also with their development platform, with their views on globalization and regional integration processes, are poor fits with ideas that until recently seemed unshakable."
It turns out that it is precisely US President Trump who is resorting to the "besieged fortress" (more precisely, the "besieged pig-piggy bank") rhetoric, whereas the Russian leader proposes concrete solutions to preserve the bonuses of globalization while reforming its base: instead of respecting American hegemony, Putin proposes prioritizing respect for the sovereignty of participants in international trade and technical cooperation.
It may seem (and our Western partners, as well as their media allies inside Russia will do everything to promote this illusion) that the presidential message sent to the West at the SPIEF is doomed to remain without a positive response. This view of things does not correspond to reality, because it does not reflect the reality in all its complexity and completeness. Yes, official Washington is unlikely to agree to participate in the Russian-Chinese format of "globalization based on respect for sovereignties", but this is not so important, because the White House is not all of America, and the European Commission is not all of Europe. Business pragmatists look at the situation from a completely different angle. The theme of the meeting of Western businessmen with Vladimir Putin has become a symbol of this special relationship with Russia and its future. According to the general director of RDIF [Russian Direct Investment Fund] Kirill Dmitriev, "there was a very successful meeting of the president with investors who manage capital of 15 trillion dollars. They actually confirmed their interest in national projects based on the fact that they had already made a lot of profitable and good investments with us and they see the potential of implementing national projects. "
The desire of foreign business to rely on Russia is the best proof that globalization, on the basis of respect for sovereignties, has a great, though not trouble-free future.
Below is a copy of Putin’s June 7 speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, attended by business and government leaders from 75 countries and 270 companies from around the world.
We are posting our translation of an analysis of this speech by Ivan Danilov, which focuses mostly on the economic aspect of the speech. Commentary is by Vince Dhimos.
As I read the speech, I saw it from a different standpoint. I saw the vast difference between the Eastern (primarily Russian and Chinese) moral view of the world and the Western amoral view. I am not referring to differences in philosophy as a legacy of ancient Chinese philosophers or Russian and intellectual or religious leaders, like Tolstoy, for example, but merely to the modern view of the world, which may or may not, of course, be influenced by ancient traditional thought. On the other hand, Putin tells us that he is influenced by his Orthodox faith.
I am thinking of Putin’s and Xi’s herculean push for an equitable world and their fight against world poverty and Neo-Colonialism – which go hand in hand – as contrasted against the Western view with its emphasis on predatory capitalism and a the view that the US (and by extension, its loyal grovelling allies) is and always must remain, the centre of the universe. The hyper-patriotic slogan Deutschland über alles automatically comes to mind when I hear the words Exceptional Country or Indispensable Nation. It is astounding to me that this whole notion that one powerful country ought to be the ruler of the world and should mandate the conditions and policies of all mankind not only has not died out after the horrendous savage war that was fought to stamp out this dangerous ultra-nationalism that almost destroyed Europe and Russia, but has in fact become central to American political thought at this advanced stage of human history – the central theme of one of the powers that supposedly wiped out this intellectual cancer from the political world. The US is literally wallowing in Hitler’s dream to own the world taken to new heights.
It occurred to me that America’s new political and economic philosophy can be summed up as the desire not only to destroy everything that not only opposes the “American way,” whatever that is, but in fact, to destroy all competitors in the economic arena. It must be stressed that this is essentially a brand new idea, even more ethnocentric and savage than Deutschland über alles. I don’t think any major world power has ever tried to do such economic harm to its main trading partners. In the past, we understood instinctively that trade must be mutually beneficial. That is, if you systematically impoverish your trading partner, he will be less able to buy your goods. Has this not occurred to the leading US politicians? And I note that this is not a phenomenon of the right or left but a psychopathic bipartisan obsession that has infected the body politic. Democratic Senator Chuck Schuman said Trump’s trade war with China was “on the money.” Shooting oneself in the foot is on the money now? Bringing down the world economy is on the money? No prominent economist agrees with the bipartisan psychopathy of either Chuck or Donald, who are convinced they know more about macroeconomics than any professional trained in the field! So far, the trade wars have cost the stock market $5 trillion, as noted with alarm by Deutsche Bank, have cost US soybean farmers their livelihood, and have forfeited the Chinese gas market to Russia, most likely forever, but all this is “on the money”?
Putin’s idea is, by contrast, harmonious and pragmatic: do whatever it takes to build up the national economy and do it in such a way as to harmonize with one’s trading partners in a win-win strategy, lifting people everywhere out of poverty in the process. In short, it is based on trust and love, nothing more nor less, while the Western idea is based essentially on hate and distrust, ie, a totally negative view of one’s trading partner as an enemy to be annihilated!
It is as if Putin were literally following the Golden Rule while Washington takes a Satanic course. There is no other word to describe the new American suicidal approach to economics but Satanic. It makes no sense. It is chaotic. It hurts the other guy but it also hurts the US economy and the American people. It is nihilistic. There is no palpable good in it at all and no future. It is zombie-like, leading to nowhere. Can it be that the American people are ok with this? Do they realize what this will lead to?
BEGIN TEXT COPIED FROM KREMLIN PAGE
Plenary session of St Petersburg International Economic Forum
Vladimir Putin made a speech at the plenary session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
June 7, 2019
Plenary session of St Petersburg International Economic Forum
Also took part in the SPIEF session are President of China Xi Jinping, President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of Slovakia Peter Pellegrini and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The discussion is moderated by journalist, RT TV Channel presenter Sophie Shevardnadze.
* * *
Sophie Shevardnadze (retranslated): Hello, everyone,
I am Sophie Shevardnadze. I am very glad to be able to moderate today’s plenary session, because the St Petersburg Forum is a unique platform that brings together businessmen, officials and leaders whose paths would never otherwise have crossed, anywhere in the world. We meet each year to figure out how to move the world forward.
I had the opportunity to talk with our speakers shortly before the start. I think they are committed to having a candid conversation. In any case, I very much hope that we will have one today.
And now, the traditional speeches by heads of state. Mr President, you are first.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends and colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.
I am happy to welcome to Russia all heads of state and government, all participants in the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. We are grateful to our guests for their attention and friendly attitude to Russia and their willingness for joint work and business cooperation that always rests, as business leaders know well, on pragmatism, understanding of mutual interests and, of course, trust in each other, frankness and clear-cut positions.
I would like to take advantage of the SPIEF venue to tell you not only about the goals and tasks that we in Russia have set for ourselves but also about our views on the state of the global economic system. For us this is not an abstract conversation, nor an academic discussion. Russia’s development, simply by virtue of its size, history, culture, the human potential and economic opportunities cannot take place outside the global context, without the correlation of the domestic, national and global agendas.
So, what is the state of affairs today or at least how do we in Russia see it?
Technically, global economic growth, and I hope we will mostly talk about that since this is an economic forum, has been positive in the recent period. In 2011–2017, the global economy grew by an annual average of 2.8 percent. In recent years, the relevant figure was a bit over three percent. However, we believe, and countries’ leaders and all of us must frankly admit that regrettably, despite this growth, the existing model of economic relations is still in crisis and this crisis is of a comprehensive nature. Problems in this respect have been piling up throughout the past few decades. They are more serious and larger than it seemed before.
The architecture of the global economy has changed dramatically since the Cold War as new markets were becoming part of the globalisation process. The dominant model of development based on the Western “liberal” tradition, let us call it Euro-Atlantic for the sake of argument, began to claim not just a global, but also a universal role.
International trade was the main driver behind the current globalisation model. From 1991 to 2007, it grew more than twice as fast as global GDP. This can be accounted for by the newly opened markets of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and goods pouring into these markets. However, this period turned out to be relatively short-lived by historical standards.
The global crisis of 2008–2009 ensued. It not only exacerbated and revealed imbalances and disproportions, but also showed that global growth mechanisms were beginning to fail. Of course, the international community learned its lesson. However, truth be told, there was not enough will or, perhaps, courage, to sort things out and draw the corresponding conclusions. A simplified approach prevailed whereby the global development model was allegedly quite good and, essentially, nothing needed to be changed since it was enough to eliminate the symptoms and coordinate some rules and institutions in the global economy and finance, and then everything would turn out just fine. There were many hopes and positive expectations back then, but they quickly vanished. Quantitative easing and other measures failed to resolve the problems and only pushed them into the future. I am aware that quantitative easing was discussed at this and other forums. We at the Government and the Presidential Executive Office never stop discussing and debating these matters.
I will now cite data from the World Bank and the IMF. Before the crisis of 2008–2009, the global trade in goods and services to global GDP ratio was constantly growing, but then the trend reversed. It is a fact, there is no such growth anymore. The global trade to global GDP ratio of 2008 has never been recovered. In fact, global trade ceased to be the unconditional driver behind the global economy. The new engine represented by state-of-the-art technology is still being fine-tuned and not operating at full capacity. Moreover, the global economy has entered a period of trade wars and mounting direct or covert protectionism.
What are the sources of the crisis in international economic relations? What undermines trust between the world economic players? I think the main reason is that the model of globalisation offered in the late 20th century is increasingly at odds with the rapidly emerging new economic reality.
In the past three decades, the share of advanced countries in the global GDP in purchasing power parity decreased from 58 to 40 percent. In the G7 it dropped from 46 to 30 percent, whereas the weight of the countries with developing markets is growing. Such rapid development of new economies that, apart from their interests, have their own development platforms and views on globalisation and regional integration processes does not correlate well with the ideas that seemed immutable relatively recently.
The previous patterns essentially put the Western countries into an exclusive position and we should be straight about this. These patterns gave them an advantage and an enormous rent, thereby predetermining their leadership. Other countries simply had to follow in their wake. Of course, much happened and is still happening to the accompaniment of talk about equality. I will speak about this as well. And when this comfortable, familiar system began to grow rickety and competition grew, ambitions and a striving to preserve one’s domination at all costs surged. Under the circumstances, the states that previously preached the principles of free trade and honest and open competition began to talk in terms of trade wars and sanctions, and resorted to undisguised economic raids with arms twisting, intimidation and the removal of rivals by so-called non-market methods.
Look, there are many examples of this. I will only mention those that concern us directly and that are common knowledge. Take, for example, the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. I saw in the hall our partners who work with it professionally, not only Russians but also our friends from Europe. This project is designed to enhance energy security in Europe and create new jobs. It fully meets the national interests of all participants, both European and Russian. If it did not meet these interests, we would have never seen our European partners in it. Who could force them into this project? They came because they were interested in it.
But this does not match the logic and interests of those who became used to exclusiveness and anything-goes behavior in the framework of the existing universalist model. They are used to letting others pay their bills; therefore, endless attempts to torpedo this project are made. It is alarming that this destructive practice has not only affected traditional energy, raw materials and commodity markets but it has also leaked into new industries that are now taking shape. Take the situation with Huawei. Attempts are being made not just to challenge it on the global market but to actually restrict it in an off-handed manner. Some circles already call this “the first technological war” to break out in the digital era.
It would appear that rapid digital transformation and technologies that are quickly changing industries, markets and professions, are designed to expand the horizons for anyone who is willing and open to change. Unfortunately, here too barriers are being built and direct bans on high-tech asset purchases are being imposed. It has come to the point where even the number of foreign students for certain specialties is limited. Frankly, I find it hard to wrap my mind around this fact. Nevertheless, this is all happening in reality. Surprising, but true.
Monopoly is invariably about concentrating revenue in the hands of a few at the expense of everyone else. In this sense, attempts to monopolise an innovation-driven technology wave and to limit access to its fruits take the problems of global inequality between countries and regions and within states to a whole new level. This, as we all know, is the main source of instability. It is not just about the level of income or financial inequality, but fundamental differences in opportunities for people.
In essence, an attempt is being made to build two worlds, the gap between which is constantly widening. In this situation, certain people have access to the most advanced systems of education and healthcare and modern technology, while others have few prospects or even chances to break out of poverty, with some people balancing on the verge of survival.
Today, more than 800 million people around the world do not have basic access to drinking water, and about 11 percent of the world's population is undernourished. A system based on ever-increasing injustice will never be stable or balanced.
Exacerbating environmental and climatic challenges that represent a direct threat to the socioeconomic well-being of all humankind are making the crisis even worse. Climate and the environment have become an objective factor in global development and a problem fraught with large-scale shocks, including another uncontrolled surge in migration, more instability and undermined security in key regions of the planet. At the same time, there is a high risk that instead of joint efforts to address environmental and climate issues, we will run into attempts to use this issue for unfair competition.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today we are facing two extremes, two possible scenarios for further development. The first is the degeneration of the universalist globalisation model and its turning into a parody, a caricature of itself, where common international rules are replaced with the laws, administrative and judicial mechanisms of one country or a group of influential states. I state with regret that this is what the US is doing today when it extends its jurisdiction to the entire world. Incidentally, I spoke about this 12 years ago. Such a model not only contradicts the logic of normal interstate communication and the shaping realities of a complicated multipolar world but, most importantly, it does not meet the goals of the future.
The second scenario is a fragmentation of the global economic space by a policy of completely unlimited economic egoism and a forced breakdown. But this is the road to endless conflict, trade wars and maybe not just trade wars. Figuratively, this is the road to the ultimate fight of all against all.
So what is the solution? I am referring to a real solution rather than utopian or ephemeral one. Obviously, new agreements will be needed for drafting a more stable and fair development model. These agreements should not only be written clearly but should also be observed by all participants. However, I am convinced that talk about an economic world order like this will remain wishful thinking unless we return to the centre of the discussion, that is, notions like sovereignty, the unconditional right of every country to its own development road and, let me add, responsibility for universal sustainable development, not just for one’s own development.
What should be the subject of discussion in terms of regulating such agreements and such a common legal environment? Certainly not the imposition of a single and the only correct canon for all countries, but above all, the harmonisation of national economic interests, principles of teamwork, competition and cooperation between countries with their own individual development models, peculiarities and interests. The drafting of such principles should be carried out with maximum openness and in the most democratic manner.
It is on this foundation that the system of world trade should be adapted to current realities and the efficiency of the World Trade Organisation enhanced. Other international institutions should be filled with new meaning and content rather than broken. It is necessary to sincerely consider, rather than just talk about the requirements and interests of the developing nations, including those that are upgrading their industry, agriculture and social services. This is what equal conditions for development is all about.
Incidentally, we suggest considering the creation of an open, accessible data bank with the best practices and development projects. Russia is ready to publish its successful case studies in the social, demographic and economic areas on an information platform, and invites other countries and international organisations to join this initiative.
With regard to finance, the main global institutions were created as part of the Bretton Woods system 75 years ago. The Jamaican currency system that replaced it in the 1970s confirmed the preference of the US dollar but, in fact, failed to resolve the key problems, primarily, the balance of currency relations and trade exchanges. New economic centres have appeared since then, the role of regional currencies has increased, and the balance of forces and interests has changed. Clearly, in the wake of these profound changes, international financial organisations need to adapt and reconsider the role of the dollar, which, as a global reserve currency, has now become an instrument of pressure exerted by the issuing country on the rest of the world.
Incidentally, I believe the US financial authorities and political centres are making a big mistake as they are undermining their own competitive edge that appeared after the creation of the Bretton Woods system. Confidence in the dollar is simply plummeting.
The technological development agenda must unite countries and people, not divide them. For this, we need fair parameters for interaction in key areas such as high-tech services, education, technology transfer, innovative digital economy branches and the global information space. Yes, building such a harmonious system is certainly challenging, but this is the best recipe for restoring mutual trust, as we have no alternative.
We need to join our efforts, being fully cognizant of the scale of the new era’s global challenges and our responsibility for the future. To do so, we need to use the potential of the UN, which is a unique organisation in terms of representation. We should strengthen its economic institutions and use new associations like the Group of 20 more effectively. Pending the creation of a set of rules like this, we need to act in accordance with the current situation and actual problems and have a realistic understanding of what is happening in the world.
As a first step, we propose, speaking diplomatically, to conduct a kind of demilitarisation of the key areas of the global economy and trade, namely, to make the distribution of essential items such as medicines and medical equipment immune to trade and sanctions wars. (Applause.) Thank you very much for your understanding. That also includes utilities and energy, which help reduce the impact on the environment and climate. This, as you understand, concerns areas that are crucial for the life and health of millions, one might even say, billions of people, our entire planet.
The current global trends show that a country’s role, its sovereignty and place in the modern system of reference are determined by several key factors. They are undoubtedly the ability to ensure the safety of its citizens, to preserve its national identity and also to contribute to the progress of world culture. And there are at least three more factors that, in our opinion, are of key significance. Let me expand on that.
The first factor is a person’s wellbeing and prosperity, opportunities to discover their talents.
The second factor is the society’s and state’s receptiveness to sweeping technological change.
And the third factor is freedom of entrepreneurial initiative. Let me start with the first item.
Russia’s GDP per capita at purchasing power parity is about $30,000. South and Eastern European countries are at the same level today. Our priority for the coming years is not only to become one of the world’s top five economies. It is ultimately not a goal in itself but a vehicle; we have to reach and stay at the average European level in all major parameters reflecting the quality of life and people’s wellbeing. Given this, we have identified national goals on the growth of the economy and people’s incomes, decreasing poverty, increasing life expectancy, improving education and healthcare, and preserving the environment. The national projects we are implementing are designed to address these tasks.
The second field is accelerated technological development. It offers truly colossal opportunities. Our priority is to be among the front-runners, those who use these technologies and convert them into a real breakthrough. Thus, according to experts, the introduction of artificial intelligence will add 1.2 percent annual growth to the global GDP. It is twice as much as the impact from the global IT growth in the early 21st century. The world market of goods with AI will increase almost 17-fold by 2024 to total around half a trillion dollars.
Just like other leading nations, Russia has drafted a national strategy for developing AI technologies. It was designed by the Government along with domestic hi-tech companies. An executive order launching this strategy will be signed shortly. A detailed, step-by-step road map is incorporated in the Digital Economy national programme.
Russia has capable research potential, and a good starting point for designing the most advanced technological solutions. And this refers not only to AI, but also to other groups of the so called end-to-end technologies. In this connection, I propose to our state companies and the leading Russian private companies to partner with the state in promoting end-to-end research and technologies. These include, as I said, artificial intelligence and other digital technologies. These are, of course, new materials, genome technologies for medicine, agriculture and industry, as well as portable sources of energy, technologies for energy transfer and storage.
The practical results of such a partnership should be the production and promotion of successful breakthrough products and services both in the domestic and foreign markets. This is an opportunity for the state to build its powerful sovereign potential, and for companies – a chance to enter a new technological era. We discussed all these issues at a special meeting in Moscow just a week ago. Following the meeting, respective agreements will be signed shortly with Sberbank, Rostec, Rosatom, Russian Railways and Rostelecom. A package of corresponding documents has already been prepared. I ask our leading fuel and energy companies – Gazprom, Rosneft, Rosseti, Transneft – to join this work, this large-scale project. I give the Government a directive to manage this effort.
How will the state and large companies cooperate? Under the partnership agreement, the companies invest in research and development, they invest in competence centres, start-up support, training personnel in research, management and engineering and in attracting foreign specialists. The state, in turn, will provide financial and tax incentives, generate demand for domestic hi-tech products, including through government procurement, that is, it will guarantee a market. We will keep working on this. Our Chinese friends may also buy a bit more of our new products.
We need to fine-tune the system of technical standards, and even introduce a sort of experimental legal framework. An adequate and flexible legal environment is a key issue for new industries, and establishing it around the world brings new problems; there are many sensitive issues both for state security and for the interests of society and its people. But in order to achieve results, it is critically important to speed up the decision-making process, so I ask our colleagues from the Government, experts, and the business community to offer an effective mechanism for this.
New industries will require specialists with new skills. We are moving quickly to upgrade programmes and education content for this. As you may know, in August, Kazan will host the WorldSkills Championships, during which, at Russia’s initiative, the first ever competition in the competences of the future will take place, including machine learning and big data, composite materials technology and quantum technologies. I wish every success to our team and the participants in the competition.
I would like to mention that we have created a new platform, Russia – An Ocean of Opportunity, to encourage personal and professional growth. It holds competitions, in which schoolchildren, young people and people of different ages from Russia and abroad can take part. A human resources project like this is unprecedented in scale. It drew over 1.6 million people in 2018 and 2019 alone. We are committed to promoting this system, to making it more effective and transparent, because the more daring and talented people engage in business, science and public and social administration, the greater success we will achieve in handling development issues and the more globally competitive our country will be.
The third factor in the country’s competitiveness, which was mentioned earlier, is a favourable business environment. We are working on this consistently and will continue to work on it. Today, if we look at a number of services for businesses and the quality of the most in-demand administrative procedures, we are similar to, and in some cases even outperform, countries with strong and deep-rooted traditions of entrepreneurship.
Healthy competition between regions to attract entrepreneurs, investment and projects has been gaining momentum. The efficiency of management teams has increased a lot. A serious incentive for this change was the development of the National Investment Climate Rankings for the constituent regions of the Russian Federation. In keeping with an established tradition at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, I would like to announce and congratulate the winners of the 2019 National Rankings. They are Moscow, Tatarstan, Tyumen and Kaluga regions and St Petersburg. (Applause.) I also applaud them.
As for the pace at which the investment climate is improving, the leaders are Yakutia, Primorye Territory, Samara Region, Crimea and North Ossetia, Perm Territory, Nizhny Novgorod Region, Udmurtia and Ivanovo and Novgorod regions. I would like to take this opportunity to ask the heads of the regions and the presidential envoys to these federal districts to step up their work to attract private capital to the national programmes and our other development projects, including through the Russian Direct Investment Fund and other modern and effective mechanisms.
As I mentioned, there are some positive changes in the business climate, notably, administrative procedures, but there are still urgent problems that worry business. First, we still have to deal with the archaic nature and obvious excesses of the oversight bodies, as well as the unjustified and sometimes simply illegal interference of law enforcement in the business environment, in the operation of companies.
This year we launched a deep and comprehensive reform of monitoring and oversight. It is the largest reform in the post-Soviet era. Starting January 1, 2021 the entire old, largely obsolete legal framework will cease to operate. It will be replaced by a clear-cut system of requirements: any duplication of government body authority should be eliminated, grounds for random inspections or audits restricted and a risk-based approach established.
The information service that is to be launched this year will make it possible to objectively compare information from oversight bodies on the one hand and entrepreneurs on the other. Any incongruities must result in a timely response.
As regards the relationship between business and law enforcement, the logic of our actions includes the further liberalisation of legislation, the strengthening of the guarantees and rights of ownership, the removal of even formal opportunities for abusing the law to exert pressure on business, and the constant cleansing of authority agencies and the judicial system of unscrupulous personnel. More transparency in the business environment is a major condition for the effectiveness of this work. This is also very important, colleagues. This year there will be a digital platform, a kind of a digital ombudsman that entrepreneurs will be able to use to report any illegal actions by representatives of law-enforcement agencies. I think such openness can become a guarantee of trust between the public, business and the state.
Overall, we must ensure the transformation of the government management system based on digital technology as soon as possible. The goal is to comprehensively upgrade the effectiveness of the performance of all government bodies, reduce the speed and improve the quality of decision-making. I would like to ask the Government to present a specific plan of action in this regard in cooperation with the regional governors. We have spoken about this many times.
Colleagues, Russia has repeatedly carried out large-scale projects of spatial development in its history. They have become symbols of deep and dynamic change in the country, in its forward progress. Such comprehensive projects are being implemented now in the South of Russia, the Far East and in the Arctic. Today we must think about the upsurge of the vast territories of central and eastern Siberia. We must draft, accurately calculate and coordinate a development plan. This macro region contains very rich natural resources, about a quarter of all forest reserves, over half of the coal reserves, substantial deposits of copper and nickel, and tremendous energy reserves, many of which have already been developed.
In addition, there are unique opportunities for agricultural development. There are over 300 sunny days in the Minusinsk Hollow area. This makes it possible to establish a new powerful agro-industrial complex there as well. Russian and foreign experts believe that up to several trillion rubles of investment can be attracted to this macro region, up to 3 trillion, provided, of course, that the government also invests in the development of infrastructure, the social sphere and housing. The development of areas in central and eastern Siberia, not as a raw materials base, but as a scientific and industrial centre should turn this region into a link between the European part of Russia and the Far East, between the markets of China, the Asia Pacific Region and Europe, including Eastern Europe, and attract a fresh, well-trained workforce.
I would like to ask the Government to draft the necessary programmes in cooperation with the expert community and the Russian Academy of Sciences and to report back to me in autumn.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
Today in Russia, we have embarked on implementing truly strategic long-term programmes, many of which are global in nature, without exaggeration. The speed and scale of today’s changes in the world are unprecedented in history, and in the coming era, it is important for us to hear each other and pool our efforts for resolving common goals.
Russia is ready for these challenges and changes. We invite all of you to take part in this large-scale and equitable cooperation. I am grateful for your attention. Thank you.
END TEXT OF KREMLIN PAGE
Below is our translation of an article from the Russian publication Rambler with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos. It is astounding that the US has sent at least 3 NGOs into Russia for the purpose of meddling in Russian elections and that their influence is still felt throughout the country, whilst US Democrats and their allies in Congress continue to wring their hands over “Russian meddling” in US elections based on accusations that a Russian non-government internet forum spread well-founded but uncomfortable stories about Hillary that may have reached US audiences prior to the last presidential elections.So a mere internet campaign that very few Americans have ever heard of is an unpardonable sin but a US-based hands-on campaign to oust the Russian government is just fine and dandy.
Here we have US-based organizations running all over Russia buttonholing citizens and haranguing for a change that very few want, telling the Russians, whose president has brought them unprecedented economic growth, prosperity and the lowest debt in any industrial country (as shown here) in record time (even as the US debt balloons uncontrollably), need a change, whilst in the US, there are groups in hysterics over the fact that Russia is allowed to spread its own viewpoint in the world. And note that these American meddling NGOs in Russia claim that they are supporting democracy, freedom and human rights. Remember that these are representatives of the US Establishment, which has so far killed at least a million innocent souls in numerous countries around the globe simply for being residents of countries whose leaders disagree with US policies, notably, the US banking system, and slapping sanctions on these people that bring them to the brink of starvation and deny them medical care, and these same groups claim they are promoting what? Human rights.
Well, the Russian government, which is still sovereign, has the right to protect itself and has banned these meddling US NGOs, and you may read of activists arrested for attempts to overthrow the democratically elected Russian government as these elections grow near. Of course, we can expect howls of outrage in the Exceptionally Free and Indispensably Democratic USA if this happens. Yet there is a Russian lady sitting in jail at this writing, whose only "crime" is becoming an active member of the NRA, which was happy to have her participate. Oh, that's right. When anyone else joins the NRA, we say they have "joined," but when a Russian does it, it's called "infiltrating" and they are jailed! It may sound a bit harsh perhaps? But yet we must remember that depriving Russians of freedom is American "democracy" and "freedom" in action.
Report presented on US interference in the affairs of Russia
The head of the Federation Council Commission for the protection of state sovereignty, Andrei Klimov, presented a report on US interference in the sovereign affairs of Russia, RIA Novosti reports. According to him, Washington is trying to achieve its goals with the support of political activists, by funding the opposition.
"The United States continues to conduct unlawful interference by providing pro-Western anti-Russian forces with extensive political, organizational, methodological and informational support," the report says.
Klimov noted that the above activities are coordinated by the US State Department under the guise of "the struggle for democracy in Russia." At the same time, according to the head of the Commission of the Federation Council, political activists prepared by Washington are preparing to put their knowledge into practice. As an example, Klimov cited a seminar in Helsinki held at the beginning of 2019, organized by an undesirable organization in the Russian Federation - the American NDI [National Democratic Institute] Foundation.
“Ten residents of St. Petersburg were present as audiors, planning to participate in the municipal elections in September (all members of the Open Russia movement),” Klimov said. [Open Russia is a Soros Foundation: https://helenaglass.net/tag/open-russia-kissinger-and-rothschild/]
According to the data in the report, three organizations associated with Open Russia have been recognized as undesirable in Russia: the London branch of the organization, the Open Russia public network movement, and the American Institute of Modern Russia — all of them were shown to have foreign financing for political activities in the Russian Federation.
Klimov also noted the holding of a forum of young political leaders in Montenegro.
“Young politically active and opposition-minded citizens of the Russian Federation took part in it,” the report says.
As a result, after the announced report, it was decided to conduct a more thorough study of the problem, taking into account the upcoming regional elections in September. As a result, it is planned to develop a strategy for ensuring electoral sovereignty.
Vince Dhimos answered a question on Quora:
What is the solution for ending hostilities between Israel & Gaza?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Firstly, it is true that Hamas is incompetent to negotiate with Israel. Hamas is making the same mistake as the Arab countries that banished all their indigenous Jewish populations. The Israeli backlash against this was violent and costly to both sides. Generally, the Arabs involved in the conflict with Israel have made the mistake of thinking that all Israelis are identical when there are in fact an increasing number of pro-Palestinian Israelis who want to help resolve the old smouldering conflict and who squarely reject the violent and ethnocentric Israeli response.
The attitude of Hamas simply doesn’t work.
On the other hand, Israel has been a victim of US over-indulgence. The US is behaving like a doting parent of a spoiled child who desperately needs discipline but never gets any.
The US is the main culprit in this conflict, has shown no signs of change or understanding and is therefore the wrong arbiter for resolving the conflict, even though it has meddled in this issue for decades.
There is only one country that can serve as a credible arbiter and that is Russia.
Russia is the only nation in a position to be even-handed. It has practical reasons to sympathize with both sides. For example:
1—A sizable proportion of Israelis are of Russian descent and speak Russian. 20% of all Israelis were in fact born in Russia. Putin is very solicitous of his people, and this is why he has gotten involved in Crimea, for example. He will not allow them to be hurt. This is part of why he has not defended the Iranian fighters in Syria and why he has refused Tehran’s request for the sale of the S-400 system. He is also on very good terms with Netanyahu and holds frequent talks with the latter to resolve issues of mutual interest.
2—But on the other hand, Russia is fighting terror in Syria and is determined to help the Shiites in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran defend their turf from Sunni (Wahhabist) terror. He is walking a tightrope and thus has also stayed on very good terms with the Saudis, cooperating with them as a respected friend of OPEC. As for Putin’s credentials with the Muslim world, he upholds a long-standing tradition of good governmental relations with the millions of Russian Muslims. For example, in 2018, he called for a revival of Muslim education:
US conservatives will be put off by this but his ulterior motive is certainly to enlist moderate Imams to teach a peaceful Muslim doctrine that is compatible with Russian Christianity and the Russian government. Compare this to the US approach of coddling violent Saudi terrorists.
In September 2015, Putin inaugurated a reconstructed mosque in Moscow (this was the month that Russia entered the war in Syria):
Vladimir Putin inaugurates Moscow mosque with Turkish, Palestinian leaders Erdogan and Abbas
FRANCE 24 English
Published on Sep 23, 2015
sampling of 194 reader Comments
Mr Reza4 months ago (edited)
Russia (Eastern Orthodox Christian) are friends with muslims. We love Russia
I've never heard about ISIS attack Israel. Maybe, I am not too uptodate. As I know, the dog doesn't bite his own tale.
Isfakur Rahman2 weeks ago
ISIS= Israel State Intelligence Services....
Riaz Ahmed5 days ago
Love and respect to you sir. Muslims have great respect for Russian orthodox Church.
Ali Raza4 days ago
Hail Putin..Hail Russia Down with Israel.. Down with USA
Ferhina Nowrin2 months ago
im a muslim nd I love putin nd I respect him and I pray for him
Natural lover3 days ago
Feeling happy to see. wishes eid mobarak to all of u today 2019.
shadab dadkhan6 days ago
Thank you mr. Putin From India
CORRECTING HUMANITY1 month ago
Long live Russia
Putin’s words are unifying, conciliatory and diplomatic, worthy of a great leader. The
To hear the speech in Russian, here is the Kremlin link:
The US, however, clearly has taken sides for decades and only supports certain groups, such as the Saudis, even though they have supported Wahhabist terrorists from the very outset. In fact, the US has clandestinely supported the terrorists in Syria with arms shipments. As for Israel, the US only supports the Israelis side, even when the UN has issued condemnations and warnings due to the many Israeli human rights violations, and has intervened on behalf of Israel’s illegal land claims. It also has declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel, a slap in the face to the entire Muslim world. All in the name of religion with no consideration of the real world’s interests.
Trump has taken this to the extreme, issuing by executive order a ban on visa issuance expressly to Muslim majority countries, although this ban applies primarily to Shiites and to countries whose leadership is at loggerheads with US Establishment interests. The terror-supporting Saudis are overtly exempted. His declared ban on specifically Muslim countries is an obnoxious slap in the face to the entire Muslim world.
Therefore, the US has already disqualified itself as an arbiter and is bitterly opposed by the Arab League and the Palestinians due to its insensitivity to their issues.
Russia, while being staunchly Christian and supporting traditional values, has won the respect of the Muslim world and must therefore be enlisted as the arbiter in all Israel-Arab conflicts. So far, no US leaders and very few in Israel or the rest of the world have called for this and that is precisely why no progress has been made.
Our thanks to RT for the above-linked video. Europe is now commemorating this tragic event that took 13,500 European lives. Why any European nation wants to remain a member of NATO is beyond me.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at the German language sector of Quora. The following is a translation of the question and the answer.
IS OUR IMPORTANT TRANSATLANTIC FRIENDSHIP WITH THE US BREAKING APART?
Trump is a business man who has declared bankruptcy 6 times. However, he has never lost his own money. He loses the money of his investors. He is able to do this because he is very good at defending himself and his disasters. He is a con man and is very skilled at convincing people that they can earn a lot of money by investing in his businesses. Since this con man is now the president of the US, he is therefore the most dangerous man on the planet.
The damage that he is doing is mostly economic but is also destroying alliances and friendships everywhere. So far Deutsche Bank has said that his trade wars have cost the stock markets $5 billion and have destroyed the business of soybean and pig farmers. Merkel is furious at him because he insists that she pay 2% of the German GDP to NATO even though she sees that alliance as a kind of dictatorship that allows the US to make important decisions for Europe that it increasingly disagrees with, particularly regard to Russia, which she does not see as the dangerous enemy that it is portrayed as by NATO. In fact, she sees it as an important trading partner and Trump is threatening to slap sanctions on Germany for buying Russian gas.
Trump also objects to Europe’s buying Chinese airliners and selling Airbus, in an effort to force Europe into buying Boeing aircraft. He falsely frames this and the gas sales as a matter of security. He accuses Airbus of receiving government subsidies, but in fact, he hypocritically subsidizes US farm products left and right and has given shale oil producers huge tax breaks, even tax credits, which, of course, amount to subsidies.
Apparently Trump does not understand the importance of two-way trade and believes that, thanks to the power of the US presidency, he can force other countries to accept agreements that are beneficial to the US but deleterious to them. He fails to understand that a trade deal that is bad for a partner is also bad for the US. He also fails to understand how angry the rest of the world is at his shenanigans to sell American goods through unfair means.
Economists warned that trade wars would not be beneficial. The world has seen that Trump is sadly mistaken. But he continues to blunder into more trade wars, this time with Mexico.
The only benefit that may emerge from this utter foolishness is the possible breakup of NATO, which is totally controlled by the US. The Europeans have no real power even though the heads of the alliance are often Europeans. These leaders are completely controlled by the US and are convinced that Russia is a dangerous enemy. However, the only thing that Russia wants is mutually beneficial trade with Europe and other regions. It has absolutely no intention of attacking Europe. The problem in Ukraine is not related to any Russian "ambition" or "aggressiveness." The US instigated and promoted the Maidan coup d'état via the State Department (by sending assistant secretary of State Victoria Nuland to the Maidan--she proudly admitted that the US spent $5 billion on this illegal and violent coup), the NGO USAID, a Soros foundation and possibly other agencies. The shooting at Maidan was done not by the Kiev police but by men who were given guns by unknown persons (as reported by the BBC: https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31359021).
Merkel and Macron have discussed the possibility of a European security force that would cooperate with NATO but would be independent. There is no question that Europe must eventually separate from NATO, which has already indiscriminately murdered 13,500 Europeans in Serbia. This invasion was planned not by Europeans but by Clinton. It is no exaggeration to say that America is indeed the Fourth Reich! Indeed, the military leadership of Ukraine, which is supported by the US, is sympathetic to the Nazis and there are marches in Ukraine in which the participants wear arm bands and insignias and carry flags that proudly show their sympathy with the ultra-right and fascism. For example, they hold marches to commemorate the fascist Stepan Bandera.
I have shown at Quora that NATO is a dangerous alliance that can only harm Europe.