A. Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora.
Q: WHY IS THE WEST SO UNCONCERNED ABOUT THE SUFFERING OF THE PALESTINIANS?
A: First off, this is as much a statement as it is a question, so we must check to see if the West really is unconcerned about the suffering of the Palestinians and if so, how unconcerned it is.
However, we all know that the current US president has done everything in his power to please Israel, such as moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and authorizing the Israeli claim to the Syrian Golan Heights. Yet we also know that he has never once criticised the brutality of the IDF against the Palestinians. As for the people of America and its allies, we hear very little complaint from them about the atrocities committed by Israel in the W. Bank and Gaza and the illegal settlements by Israelis in these occupied regions, where water sources are stolen from the Arabs for exclusive use by the settlers.
To cut through to the heart of the matter, we need only look at the number of Palestinians killed every year, remembering that the US is the most influential country in Israel yet does nothing to change the situation. A headline of a publication of B'Tselem (Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights) reads, “Israeli security forces killed 290 Palestinians in 2018; most were victims of a reckless open-fire policy.” It is significant that this organization is Israeli and not Palestinian.
The site www.ifamericansknew.org says: “American news reports repeatedly describe Israeli military attacks against the Palestinian population as ‘retaliation.’ However, when one looks into the chronology of death in this conflict, the reality turns out to be quite different.” A chart from that site [I was able to import it to Quora but not to this site] clearly shows that the Palestinians are getting the worst of it in the conflict.
We see from this chart that:
1—The Palestinians are dying at a very high rate about 10 times as high as Israelis.
2—American media have been buying into the extremely biased reports from Israel painting the Palestinians as the culprits responsible for all the deaths.
If you doubt item #2 above, have a look at this from Middle East Monitor https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190130-fifty-years-of-us-media-study-reveals-massive-anti-palestinian-bias/
Fifty-years of US media study reveals massive anti-Palestinian bias
January 30, 2019 at 11:45 am | Published in: Article, Asia & Americas, Israel, Middle East, Opinion, Palestine, US
Ray Hanania January 30, 2019 at 11:45 am
Confirming what most of us have always known — and what Israel spends a fortune on trying to conceal — 416 Labs has confirmed that the mainstream news media in America is biased in favour of Israel and against Palestinians. The 416 Labs study covers an exhaustive period of 50 years, from the aftermath of the June 1967 Six Day War and the start of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
“Our results support previous research and claims that the US mainstream media’s coverage of the issue favours Israel by providing greater access to Israeli officials, focusing on Israeli narratives both in terms of the quantity of coverage as well as the overall sentiment, as conveyed by headlines,” say the 416 Labs team.
The study concludes that the failure to achieve peace is a direct result of both media bias that protects Israel from most if not all blame for almost anything and everything, regardless of how serious, as well as Washington’s unwavering and unconditional support for the Israeli government.
“A key factor in prolonging the conflict has been the United States’ unconditional support for successive Israeli governments; which has helped entrench Israel’s illegal presence in the Palestinian territories. Augmenting this has been the US mainstream media, which critics argue has maintained a slanted view of the occupation, one that favours the Israeli narrative over those of Palestinians.”
In other words, no matter what crimes Israel commits — including murder, human rights violations, war crimes and crimes against humanity — the media will spin the propaganda to erase Israel’s culpability while exaggerating Palestinian shortcomings.
In a country like America where most people get their “education” about current Middle East events and Arab history from the TV and newspapers, the media’s biases are embraced almost without question. For Americans, the pro-Israel lie is spun into the truth while the pro-Palestinian truth becomes the lie.
And therein lies the problem. When the American people are brainwashed into believing Israeli lies by never-ending pro-Israel propaganda, it has a direct impact on politicians who find it even easier to whitewash Israel’s war crimes and introduce legislation that violates the Constitutional pillars of US democracy.
This week, for example, the US Senate’s first item on the agenda is not legislation intended to tackle some of the most important issues facing the people of America, such as hunger and homelessness, murder and crime, the economy and healthcare. Far from it. The first issue that legislators will address is a law to punish any American citizen who exercises their right to free speech enshrined in the US Constitution and supports a boycott of Israel. Adopting Senate Bill 1 in the 116th Congress essentially violates the First Amendment of the Constitution which guarantees that every American has the right of “free speech” to express their opinions without intimidation, bullying or demonisation.
If there is any confusion about what that Amendment States, here it is: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
“Abridging the freedom of speech” in this case means making it illegal for someone to oppose Israel’s violations of human rights, theft of land and building of Jewish-only settlements on occupied territory; and preventing citizens from boycotting any goods that are produced by companies which benefit from such activities which are specifically deemed illegal under international law.
The anti-BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) legislation is expected to be approved by the Republican-controlled Senate and then go to the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives where, once passed, any American who criticises Israel and boycotts the state and its products faces prosecution and severe penalties.
Media brainwashing almost always follows the Israeli narrative in its reporting and has thus contributed to this state of affairs coming into being. As a result, it becomes easier for Israel to push its version of events, making itself look good, while discrediting the Palestinians. One example of this is the steady replacement of the word “occupied” with “disputed” territory when referring to the West Bank and Jerusalem.
As well as introducing draconian laws like the anti-BDS legislation, the US Congress also votes through billions of dollars of military aid to Israel every year. While American citizens are homeless and hungry, their government pays Israel at least $3 billion every year; that’s $8 million a day. It’s astonishing.
How does the media respond to this? It hides its coverage of Israel-Palestine behind its more objective professional coverage of other topics. The mainstream US media may be outrageously biased in its coverage of Israeli and Palestinian issues, but that news probably only represents around 5 per cent of the total output, which is overshadowed by the 95 per cent. That’s how the media maintains its own image as a fair, principled and accurate profession.
The 416 Labs study is shocking, but should come as no great surprise. Nevertheless, its conclusions are a sad indictment of the state of the mainstream US news media.
But there is another factor in this bias that may be even stronger than the media bias and that is, the Evangelical church that teaches that Israel is anointed by God, suggesting that everything its leaders do, ie, all their policies, including those that harm Arabs in the occupied lands, are just and righteous.
These fundamentalists think of themselves as “Christian” Zionists, but the problem with this descriptor is that it suggests very strongly that Jesus would approve of their belief that the secular state of Israel, where, according to Jerusalem Post (https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Gallup-Israel-one-of-least-religious-countries-398823), 65% of Israelis state in a WIN/Gallup poll that they do not have any religious beliefs at all (!), is key in the Second Coming. These US religious Zionists base their belief largely on the dry bones prophesy in Ezekiel 37, but verse 24 of that chapter clearly states that this resurrected Israel would be obedient to God’s decrees. Yet if over half of them have no serious belief in the God of Abraham, then “Christian” Zionism seems to rest on shaky grounds.
For the record’s sake, Jesus only made one prophetic remark regarding the link between his Second Coming and Israel, and the message was given in front of the Jerusalem temple: Mat 23:39 ...Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Mat 23:39
The most influential “Christian” Zionist pastors never mention this verse. It doesn’t fit in with their doctrine. Thus it is hard to understand why they call themselves Christian Zionists and not just simply Zionists. But it is in fact this confusion that makes US anti-Palestine policies so successful.
Finally, a very important component of US-Israeli propaganda is the narrative that all the violence is due to Islamic beliefs. The Israeli propagandists openly and repeatedly smear Islam for causing violence but yet, Israel is supported wholeheartedly by the Saudis, whose brand of Islam – Sunni Wahhabism – is the ideology of ISIS and al-Qaeda, groups that receive most of their funding from Israel-friendly Saudi Arabia. It is more than odd that ISIS has almost never struck at Israel and on one occasion when it inflicted harm to the Israeli forces, its representative immediately apologized! Yet Israel and its US partner insist that Hezbollah and Iran, which fight real terrorism in Syria and Iraq, are “terrorists.” In fact, Trump repeatedly said “Iran is the biggest state sponsor of terror in the world.”
No wonder Palestine gets little support from Westerners and mostly just smears, pain and death from the Western powers that be.
Below is our translation of an article from news.rambler.ru with commentary by Vince Dhimos.
Whenever there is violent political unrest in a country that is not aligned with the US, it is naive to think that the unrest is home grown or spontaneous.
Foreign Power Behind Events in Kyrgyzstan
August 10, 2019
A new revolution is underway in Kyrgyzstan. The reason for this was the stupidity, greed and immaturity of the Kyrgyz elites, as well as great desire for financial investments from the United States.
The conflict itself flared up because two presidents quarreled - the former head of state Almazbek Atambayev and his successor, the current head of the country Sooronbai Jeenbekov, who was appointed by him.
A wise person once said that the stability and democracy of a state system is determined not because people come to power, but because they leave. And it seemed that this transit was successful in Kyrgyzstan - in 2017, Atambayev, after the only presidential term allowed him by the constitution, gave power to a leader of the same party Sooronbai Jeenbekov, who was elected by the people of the country.
Не первый раз в истории преемник после «оперения» выходит из-под тени предшественника и/или выдвинувшей его «семибоярщины», после чего начинает проводить самостоятельную политику. Однако в этом конкретном случае преемник нарушил возможно имевшие место гарантии безопасности Атамбаеву и его окружению.
Yes, Atambayev transferred power to “his man” in the expectation that he would thus retain political influence in the country. Yes, political scientists predicted that the president’s hopes would not come true. This is not the first time in history that a successor after being groomed, comes out from under the shadow of his predecessor and / or the guarantors who siupported him, and then begins to pursue an independent policy. However, in this particular case, the successor violated the possible security guarantees of Atambayev and his entourage.
In 2018 - early 2019, he launched a real campaign against his predecessor in an attempt to deprive him of all opportunities to influence the work of the Kyrgyz authorities. The country's leadership began an investigation of a number of aspects of the previous administration, and has already accused Atambayev of corruption, as well as of helping criminal agents.
According to the head of the Eurasian Nalitic Club, Nikita Mendkovich, the arrests of a number of Atambaev-era officials, including former Prime Minister Isakov and a number of non-public conflicts, finally turned the relations between the two presidents from friendship into confrontation. It was this enmity, coupled with the desire to "protect" people from their "teams" that brought the conflict to its present state - without all this, it would hardly have taken such dangerous violent forms.
Dangerous - and, unfortunately, meaningless and unprofessional. After Atambayev refused to come to interrogations in a number of criminal cases opened against him, and also after hasty removal of legal immunity from the former president by the parliament, the authorities decided to detain him. They attempted to take Atambaev into custody in his own home, located in the village of Koy-Tash. However, the capture operation itself, which took place on August 7, was organized very badly. The targeted operation with the instructions to “unexpectedly enter - put everyone on the floor - quickly leave with the subject,” turned into a protracted assault and massacre and ended in a shameful defeat for the authorities. The special forces were captured by the emergency arrival of "supporters of the president" and many of the soldiers were injured. They were sent to a hospital (where one died), and six were left in the house as hostages.
Yes, it didn’t save Atambaev in the end – the preponderance of force was on the side of the state (which pulled significant resources to the village), and the ex-president gave up after long negotiations and allowed himself to be detained. Yes, now he has already received the status of the accused, and President Jeenbekov accused him of "gross violation of the Constitution." However, this victory looks like a pyrrhic one to the authorities – mass protests are already unfolding in the country, which are superimposed on the traditional split between the clans of the north (to which Atambayev belongs) and south (to which Jeenbekov belongs) of the country. As a result, another Kyrgyz riot is brewing in Bishkek – meaningless, merciless, but required by some foreign powers.
For all the indisputably internal causes of the crisis, one cannot ignore the fact that it was instigated from abroad, primarily by the United States. Washington’s interest in Kyrgyzstan is understandable – the country is a weak link in two chains that are very interesting for US interests. Which can be weakened, and even (with great luck) and broken up through Kyrgyzstan.
The first is Eurasian integration, which strengthens Russian influence in the post-Soviet space and ties local economies to the Russian one. The second, and much more dangerous for the United States, is the Chinese project "One Belt, One Road" (OBOR), which is designed to reorient Sino-European trade from the sea (controlled by the US Navy) to land routes. In addition, OBOR cements Chinese influence in these countries, and turns the regions west of the PRC border into a “safe backyard.” It guarantees China the absence of a "second front" during the geopolitical expansion of Beijing to the southeast and the related deepening of US-Chinese contradictions.
In Kyrgyzstan, destabilizing these projects is easiest. The country is known for the internal instability associated with the deeply clannish structure of society, the lack of an authoritarian tradition (which is needed in such societies to consolidate and build state institutions), as well as the highly anarchist structure of proto-civil society. It is not surprising that Kyrgyzstan has become extremely attractive for various American non-profit organizations that are actively working in the country and are in close contact with the local opposition.
So, according to Nikita Mendkovich, in May Bishkek [the capital of Kyrgyzstan] was visited by two emissaries from NED (a well-known American scientific centre dealing with issues of regime change), including the director of the Eurasian direction Spaska Gatzinsk. They met with opposition activists (who have now joined Atambayev’s supporters), discussed the consolidation of the opposition, the instigation of the northern regions against the president, and the financing of this activity.
Moscow and Beijing are well aware of all the whole weaknesses of the Kyrgyz link in their projects – and have done everything possible to strengthen it. Thus, the Russian and Chinese authorities strongly supported the peaceful transition of power from Atambaev to a successor (the first legal transfer of power from one head of state to another in the history of independent Kyrgyzstan – apart from the departure of the “interim president” Roza Otumbaeva) in the hope that he would put a bold stopping point in the history of the Kyrgyz coups. However, they underestimated the political immaturity of local bureaucracy, which does not understand how important it was to wean the Kyrgyz people from the traditions of "street democracy," to inspire people with the idea that the head of state can be set and removed only at the ballot boxes.
It was precisely this political immaturity that apparently also became the reason why the Russian authorities failed to convince Atambayev and Jeenbekov to resolve their contradictions without exposing their dirty laundry. Of course, Moscow will continue its attempt to enlighten the local elites - on August 8, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Kyrgyzstan. He will not only participate in the meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council (the official purpose of the visit), but will also hold talks with all the rebels. But he will not put the genie back in the bottle.
To paraphrase Sharapov from “The meeting place cannot be changed,” the most expensive thing on earth is stupidity, because you will have to pay most for it. And the stupidity of the Kyrgyz authorities comes at the highest price. Stupidity and greed.
Below are two of our translations from RIA Novosti and rueconomics.ru, respectively. The story of US involvement in the Central African Republic (CAR) is like that in Syria. At first, the “War on Terror” was little more than an excuse to oust Assad. But when the Russians entered the fray in September 2015, suddenly the US actually started going after real terrorists. And the press collaborated fully in the US fake-to-lukewarm war, slandering Assad at every turn to prepare the Western mind to accept his overthrow.
The difference is that now, in the CAR, the Russians are there and have won the hearts and minds. If Russia sends in the S-400 or a few big bombers or fighter jets, the US can be expected to do very little but kick up a verbal fuss as they did in Venezuela.
CNN prepares provocation in CAR: announcement of FAN investigation
The CNN team of journalists arrived in the Central African Republic on May 21. It might seem like nothing remarkable: the republic is on the verge of a long-awaited peace, military-political groups have entered the government and are working together with the authorities, and the crime rate has greatly decreased.
However, it later became clear that the Americans are not interested in Central Africans. FAN journalists went to the Central African Republic to find out what Western journalists actually did in the heart of Africa.
How it got started
Let's start from the very beginning. On May 21, a plane landed at Bangui Mpoko Airport with Clarissa Ward, Benoit Facon, Sebastian Shukla, Tim Lister and two CNN operators on board.
Until now, the Americans had not been very interested in the life of Central Africans. They did not participate in the Khartoum negotiations and did not care about the reconciliation of the people.
Of course, they could not completely ignore the republic. France and the UN constantly conducted support campaigns, and the United States as a "great world power" should have done the same. However, CAR assistance usually ended with one modest charity event per year.
The Americans did not fully turn their attention to the republic until the beginning of 2018. Just after the Russians came to the aid of the Central Africans. Over the past year, Washington conducted four actions in the Central African Republic with a total budget of $23 million. For comparison: in the period from 2013 to 2017, the Americans spent 21 million to help the republic.
Interests have also changed. While from 2013 to 2017, [US] assistance was provided in various fields (it was sent to CAR refugees in Cameroon to develop and manage mineral resources and update the criminal court), in 2018 the United States focused exclusively on the armed forces (FACA). Vehicles and communications were purchased for the local military. In addition, in February 2018, Washington supported the EUTM European mission to train soldiers.
Shortly before that, in December 2017, Russia started to help the CAR. In the period from January to February 2018, Moscow organized the first supply of arms to the Central African Republic with the permission of the UN Security Council. Then five Russian military and 170 civilian instructors flew into the republic, and from the end of March to this day have been training fighters for the FACA at the base in the city of Berengo.
This Russian move completely captured the attention of the State Department. The United States was literally obsessed with Russian instructors, who in the West were dubbed employees of the so-called PMC Wagner, which some associate with Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin. Moscow’s help to Central Africans was seen as an attempt to capture Africa. In the United States in particular, and in the West as a whole, a large-scale campaign was launched to discredit the Russian presence in the Central African Republic: there were reports of the theft of diamonds, torture, and intimidation of local people. There was the fake report of a cut-off finger, which was later refuted by the “victim.”
However, due to lack of evidence, the Americans were never able to achieve their goal. Russia still enjoys full confidence on the African continent. Moreover, Moscow acts strictly within the framework of the law and agreements.
[Insert in this article: The CNN journalists who came to the CAR had previously worked with special services.
Besides Clarissa Ward, Tim Lister and Sebastian Shukla deserve our attention. Tim Lister worked for years in the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He could hardly have worked there without the cooperation of the special services. Further, judging by information in matters of the CIA and MI6, detailed in the book “Agent Storm: my life inside al-Qaeda” [by Morten Storm], Tim Lister is familiar first-hand with the workings of the special services. Sebastian Shukla cannot boast of the same, although his “list of achievements” includes materials and activities of the Russian Federation in Africa, and, BTW, the book was co-authored by Tim Lister. The materials include fakes and inserts, as reported previously by FAN]
CNN reporters working on provocation in CAR
The FAN has published an investigation into the activities of CNN journalists in the Central African Republic. According to a news agency, CIA-related correspondents are working on media provocations.
A group of American journalists (Clarissa Ward, Tim Lister and Sebastian Shukla, known for their work in the hot spots) arrived in the Central African Republic to prepare materials on the political situation in the republic. The FAN conducted an investigation into the activities of CNN employees and found that it was not connected with the search for truth.
Probably, the journalists plan to organize a powerful media provocation and create an excuse for introducing the United States' “peacekeeping mission” into the country – in fact, it would be an occupation regime, as in Iraq or Syria. To do this, CNN uses fraud and also censors interviewees.
In the course of her work, Clarissa Ward asked the President of the Central African Republic, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, a number of questions. She asked, for example, about the republic’s relations with Russia. The journalist was required to obtain from the head of state evidence of "opacity" in the relations between the countries. However, Touadéra honestly said that Russia is helping the CAR within a certain framework. Thus, assistance in ensuring security was agreed upon with the UN, other agreements were concluded at the highest level, and their conditions are known. This statement turned out to be unprofitable for CNN – in the stories that have been published at the moment, the president of the CAR does not appear speaking about Russia. Unpublished parts of the interview were obtained by a FAN freelance employee.
Probably, the American media are once again trying to produce "evidence" of the unfair work of the Russian Federation in Africa. The activities of CNN journalists in the CAR have little to do with demonstrating objective reality - probably the Ward group was sent to the country to produce propaganda material that would free the hands of American politicians and ruin the peace that was restored in the CAR.
Author: Mikhail Shchelkachov
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora:
What will be the response to Ukraine seizing the Russian tanker?
In the following you will find my translation from tsargrad.tv news, with commentary and notes [in brackets] by me, Vince Dhimos.
There are at least two reasons why Russia is hesitating to respond to the seizure of their tanker, and they can be gleaned from the article in translation below.
The background of this tanker seizure is the seizure by Russia of 3 Ukrainian naval vessels last March, which had passed through the Kerch Strait in violation of Russian maritime law in an obvious provocation.
This is a complex issue because, for the Russians, they have legal control of the strait, which is bordered on one side by Crimea, which they now claim, and on the other by Russia proper.
Since Crimea is disputed between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, the Ukrainians consider it theirs. The RF’s thinking is that the Crimeans almost unanimously voted in a referendum to accede to the RF and since the vote was held in accordance with UN rules, there can be no further dispute. Gradually, while making pompous statements denying Russia’s right to Crimea, Western governments are slowly reconciling themselves to the reality that Russia holds the cards.
Russia’s case is as follows: the 2014 coup at the Maidan Square in Kiev was not a spontaneous grassroots action. It was illegally instigated and conducted with major assistance from the US government and NGOs and by European governments an NGOs, including the notorious German regime change agency Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the USAID, NED, a Soros Open Society foundation and the State Department itself. Out in the open, in-your-face, violent manipulation of the internal politics of a sovereign country that should never have happened. It was nothing but raw Russophobia in that the ousted president had cultivated good relations with Russia, relations that promoted Ukraine’s economy. Since the coup, President Poroshenko tore up all existing economic agreements with Russia and, as anyone could have guessed, Ukraine’s economy deteriorated—in addition, Ukraine has also been finding it difficult to acquire natural gas to heat homes. The IMF, since the coup, now lists Ukraine as the poorest country in Europe. Needless to say, the Crimeans consider themselves very lucky to have acceded to the RF while many Ukrainians can best be described as confused. Many assumed that by allying with the most powerful country in the world and cutting ties to Russia, they would see an uptick in their economy. Just the opposite happened. The decline in US power and the rise in Russian power have been so rapid that Westerners like the Ukrainians are not keeping up with the changes and are paying a price.
The RF has invested heavily in Crimean infrastructure, even building a very long railroad bridge and parallel highway bridge between the Russian mainland and Crimea. Clearly the accession to the RF is a done deal no matter whose side you are on and Ukraine has no military means of reclaiming Crimea. It is therefore resorting to petty provocations and is surprised to find that the US, which has other irons in the fire, is not propping it up. The incursion into the strait by the three above–mentioned Ukrainian military vessels was one example. Russia, as anyone could have expected, impounded the three ships and held the Ukrainian sailors on board under arrest for the violation of RF rules, which require filing a request before entering the Kerch Strait. The UN ruled against RF regarding the situation of the prisoners, but the Kremlin ignored the decision. Undoubtedly it is hoping for a prisoner exchange opportunity and is particularly interested in the release of Kyrylo Vyshynsky, a staff reporter for RIA Novosti who holds dual citizenship. Vyshynsky had been arrested as a “traitor” for reporting on various incidents involving Ukraine and the RF.
Two important reasons for Moscow’s hesitation to respond to the tanker seizure:
1—Moscow has a wide array of options to influence Kiev and they must weigh all possibilities to find the most appropriate one.
2—Moscow must try to ascertain whether the decision to seize the tanker was made by newly installed President Zelensky himself or by officials loyal to ex-president Petro Petrochenko, who is a sore loser and would be happy to avenge himself by getting Zelensky in trouble with the RF. If it is the former, then as the author states below, the whole affair is much more “dismal,” while if it is the latter, then this is more of an internal problem that Zelensky must fix, preferably by firing the decision makers. In that case, the Russians could go more lightly on Zelenski. It is to their advantage to maintain good relations with him.
July 25, 2019 21:46 / Capture of a Russian tanker
“If this was Zelensky’s idea, then this whole affair much more dismal”:
Voenkor Kots proposed 4 retaliatory measures to seize the tanker Neyma
The security service of Ukraine has seized a Russian tanker. How can Russia respond to "Ukrainian piracy" in the Black Sea. Analysis by military correspondent Alexander Kots.
On July 25, Ukraine’s Security Service announced the seizure of the Russian tanker Neyma. Alexander Kots, military correspondent for Komsomolskaya Pravda, explains why this happened and how Russia should react to it.
He notes that the initiators of the new escalation between Moscow and Kiev are, most likely, representatives of the outgoing authorities, who finally decided to “slam the door hard” and make life difficult for the new Ukrainian president, Vladimir Zelensky. If the initiator was actually the Ukrainian leader himself, then everything is much more dismal. This means that Zelensky has decided to continue the course of his predecessor, Ukrainian ex-president Petro Poroshenko, ie, state terrorism with the seizure of hostages and legalized piracy.
In any case, the military correspondent notes, Russia is obliged to respond to this attack by Ukraine. At the same time, Moscow has in its arsenal a wide array of means to influence Kiev. For example, Russia may tighten the rules for the passage of Ukrainian ships through the Kerch Strait, as it did during the situation with the seizure by Ukraine of the Crimean fishing vessel Nord.
As another option for impact, Kots proposes to take a closer look at the ships under the Ukrainian flag calling at the ports of Russia. If through the chain of tenants there is a Ukrainian owner of the vessel, who is already on Russia’s sanctions list, then the ship can be safely seized.
Another viable means is to file a lawsuit against Ukraine in international courts, Kots suggests. There would be an interesting precedent if an international court legalizes state piracy.
Finally, Russia can do the same as it did in Georgia, adds the military reporter. Only instead of a ban on direct flights, prohibit Russian ships from entering Ukrainian ports. [In response to the anti-Russian riots in the Republic of Georgia, described here, the Russians stopped all commercial flights to and from Georgia, curtailing the tourist industry between the two countries and costing the Georgians estimated millions per year. Economic punitive measures like this are routine when Russia is slighted by US-instigated Russophobic actions designed to harm the RF]
Recall that on Thursday, July 25, the Security Service of Ukraine seized the Russian tanker Neyma, which moored in the port of Izmail in the Odessa region. On board the ship was a crew of 10 people.
In the following you will find our translation of another article by Ivan Danilov from RIA Novosti, with commentary and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos. Despite the fact that his articles are almost never translated from Russian, except by us, what should make Danilov especially interesting to Westerners is that most of his analyses are news from the US with an interpretation of how this affects the future or is part of a trend, enabling us to see what we can reasonably expect in global politics. Here he points out an open letter from the NYT to Trump, which, along with similar statements from the Pentagon, shows that for the first time, the US Establishment has finally noticed that Russia and China are moving toward a military alliance. It is hard to believe that the NYT couldn’t see this coming when they themselves reported on those joint Sino-Russian joint naval drills in the Baltic Sea in 2017.
As for the old theory of US foreign policy “experts” that Russia and China are natural enemies, did they not know that Mao Zedong relied heavily on the Soviet Union for technical know-how? Had they never heard of the Sino-Russian Treaty of Friendship, and Alliance and Mutual Assistance? Of course, there was a brief split that lasted for a decade, but a fundamental difference in perception of Sino-Russian relations is why die-hard Neoliberals and Neocons see the bilateral relations of these countries as a semi-permanent conflict with brief periods of harmony while the Russians and Chinese in the era of Putin-Xi see these relations as semi-permanent harmony with brief periods of conflict that are now relegated to the distant past.
It looks as if the NYT management is now starting to realize that the latter interpretation is the more accurate. With brains like this leading the country, the US has absolutely no need of enemies.
“One of the striking warnings in the recent analytic report by the Pentagon about Russia's growing strategic threat is that its President Vladimir Putin can play ‘Nixon’s China card in reverse’ against the United States. This is a reference to the strategy of the former president (Nixon. – author’s note), who pitted these two opponents (China and the USSR. - author) against each other."
The author is referring here to Nixon’s visits to China and his push for normalized trade relations with China. Although he was forced out of office before he could partake in the awarding of Most Favoured Nation status to China, this free trade relationship was ultimately passed by Congress in 1979. At that time, the hype was that free trade with China would open up a huge lucrative market for US goods. It was a ridiculous claim and the agreement only led to an easily foreseeable permanent trade deficit for the US. But trade was most likely not the issue because the US Establishment had its eye on a different prize: driving a wedge between China and Russia.
That never really happened either but the US foreign policy “experts” never gave up hope. Until now, as Ivan Danilov reveals below. This, and almost every major world event these days points to the fact that Putin’s dream of a multipolar world is a fait accompli.
And as Danilov also shows, the US Establishment has yet to grow a brain.
Trump offered a "winning move" against the alliance of Putin and Xi
June 6, 2019
The editors of the most influential American media, The New York Times, has decided to address the US President with an open proposal letter.
In an editorial published under the heading-question, which can be roughly translated as “What should America’s winning strategy be if Russia plays the Chinese card?,” The leading minds of the authoritative publication present their thoughts on the risks of a rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing, and also require the American leader to immediately “tear” Russia away from China in order to prevent the consummation of those Russian-Chinese risks that are becoming a global threat to the United States.
The appeal of The New York Times to Donald Trump is an amazing phenomenon, given that the editors of the main American media are sworn enemies of the American president, some of whom would be happy to impeach him, and some probably would prefer to see him in prison, and Donald Trump himself feels exactly the same way about the owners and managers of The New York Times. There is only one logical explanation for what is happening: the rapprochement between China and Russia is so frightening and frustrating to the media and expert elites of the US Democratic Party that their leading representatives, "movers and shakers" of democratic political discourse in the USA, are ready to swallow their pride and come hat in hand before the hated American politician.
From the text of The New York Times, it is easy to identify the specific event that caused this panic: “One of the striking warnings in the recent analytic report by the Pentagon about Russia's growing strategic threat is that its President Vladimir Putin can do a "reverse Nixon” and play his own version of the" Chinese card "against the United States. This is a reference to the strategy of the former president (Nixon. – author’s note), who pitted these two opponents (China and the USSR. - author) against each other."
Roughly, the message addressed to President Trump is: "Mr. President, you hate us, but at least listen to Pentagon analysts." The New York Times editorial team fully agrees with the conclusion formulated by one of the authors of the Pentagon analytical paper, Professor John Arquilla, who believes that “The world system and American influence in it will be completely upended if Moscow and Beijing align more closely.”
The funniest element of the New York Times editorial board’s petition to Trump is a fragment in which the authors try to find a suitable justification and answer for the emerging question of where they were before and why the rapprochement between Russia and China, as well as the need to somehow improve relations with Russia, has energized them only now, and not in 2014 or 2016. It turns out that the bright minds of the intellectual elite of the Democratic Party were sincerely convinced that any rapprochement between Russia and China is just a temporary “marriage of convenience” and that, in general, Russia and China are natural enemies. Rarely, very rarely do American “political discourse managers” publicly admit that they were mistaken and that their perception of reality lags behind that same reality for some thirty years. It will be funny if in some future memoirs someone from the editorial staff of The New York Times admits that in 2018 they considered Russia to be a kind of weakened USSR with a planned economy, long lines at the meat counter and rusty missiles.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to ignore that (besides stating the obvious fact that Russian-Chinese rapprochement is a threat to American hegemony and the opportunity to engage in arbitrariness at the global level, and the fact that the New York Times editors have spotted this statement from American military analysts) there is nothing rational in the letter to Trump. Probably the reason lies in fear of their own readers and activists who were plied by the editors of the same publication for several years with conspiracy theories about Russian interference in the American elections, and before that they were plied with stories that the Russian economy was "shredded" by Barack Obama’s sanctions. In order for the Democratic Party’s readers and party activists not to crack the template through which they look at reality, the text on the need to prevent Russian-Chinese rapprochement has ritual inserts with reminders that Russia did indeed interfere in the American elections (and that this intervention must have consequences), and also that "China is a growing power and the dominant partner; Russia is declining. China has the second largest economy in the world; Russia is not even in the top ten."
The schizophrenic nature of this approach can easily be exposed by the question: if Russia is weak and withering, with a microscopic economy, and so on, then why does the creation of an alliance along the Moscow-Beijing line invoke such chthonic horror in the Washington elite, from the Pentagon to The New York Times? Why then beg Trump to stop this rapprochement? One could still notice the inability to work with economic calculation (traditional for the US Democratic Party): if you measure the economy not according to nominal GDP, but according to GDP, taking purchasing power parity (PPP) into account (that is, take a measure closer to real hamburgers, barrels of oil and kilowatts) then China, according to the IMF report for 2018, is the first (and not the second) economy of the world, and Russia, according to the same IMF, is the sixth economy of the world, slightly smaller than Germany, but larger than France, Britain or Italy.
Unfortunately, the proposals that, according to the editors of the leading American media, should be implemented by Trump to minimize the risk of Russian-Chinese rapprochement, can only evoke guffaws of laughter. And perhaps regret that part of the American elite continues to live in some kind of parallel or even perpendicular universe. The United States President is offered the suggestion: "The United States and Russia could expand their cooperation in space. The United States is already dependent on Russian missiles on flights to the International Space Station. They could also continue to work closely together in the Arctic as members of the Arctic Council, which concluded legally binding agreements regulating search and rescue and oil spill response operations, and they could revive cooperation in arms control, especially by extending NIJ and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms."
You need to have some very strange ideas about geopolitics and diplomacy to believe that any proposal for normalizing US-Russian relations that does not include the lifting of sanctions, investments, US withdrawal from Ukraine, the lifting of sanctions against Nord Stream 2, and others measures aimed at addressing current bilateral issues can be taken at all seriously.
The “winning move” in the approach toward Russia and China that is offered by the editors of The New York Times, looks ridiculous, stupid and inadequate to the reality of the world in 2019.
However, it is not the specific proposals from the democratic segment of the American elite that are important. What is important is that gradually a consensus is being formed in the American elite: like it or not, an accord will have to be reached with Russia. Trump's foreign policy ideologue, political strategist Stephen Bannon recently made the scandalous statement that the united West needs Russia, and the New York Times leadership is now asking the US President to “tear” Russia away from China, although it offers quite ridiculous methods for accomplishing this. The process of recognizing the error in the policy implemented against Russia is already underway. The final and almost inevitable point of this process is a real attempt to reach an agreement.
However, it is impossible to ignore that by the time Washington is ready for real negotiations, its ability to offer something really interesting will most likely be extremely dubious.
[These closing paragraphs of Danilov’s article may be confusing to the Western reader of our translation because he seems to be suggesting that if the US elites made the right moves, they may stand a chance of reaching an agreement with Russia that could break up the Russia-China friendship. Russian readers would know better. It would never occur to them that Putin could betray his friends]
Vince Dhimos answered a question on Quora.
Russia's foreign affairs minister claims, “the protection of Russian speakers and of Russian culture and language is policy." Is it really Kremlin policy that anyone who speaks Russian is a de facto Russian citizen, under the "protection" of Moscow?
Vince Dhimos, knows Russian
Updated Jul 5
I wanted to answer but was unable to find this quote. I also was unable to find confirmation that the Kremlin considers Russian speakers citizens of Russia. Do you have a link? Thank you.
Ok, now that the querier has supplied a link. Here is my response:
This question contains, in the first sentence, a statement that is correct but the question that follows, in the second sentence, is a non-sequitur because the Kremlin most certainly does not consider all Russian speakers as Russian citizens. So why would anyone jump to such a non-sequitur? If this proposition were true, all graduates of Russian departments in all Western universities would be eligible for Russian citizenship. Does anyone really believe such nonsense would ever occur to the highly professional foreign minister Sergey Lavrov?
I do understand the concern, however, because Russia is offering citizenship to people in Donbass, to Ukrainians who were born in the Soviet Union and to others, and possibly, in the future, to any Ukrainian who wants to be a Russian citizen. Although this is not a normal situation, the radical change in the Ukrainian government was not due to a democratic vote but to an illegal and violent coup instigated and promoted by the US, ie, by US NGOs including a Soros foundation, the NED and USAID, all 3 of which are notorious for attempting illegal coups against democratically elected governments, and possibly by NGOs funded by one or more of these groups, and also, incredibly, by the US State Department, which sent Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to the Maidan to hand out cookies to help con the Kievans into ousting President Yanukovich, who was pro-Russian – which was of course the real motive behind the efforts to oust him, and not any urgent desire to offer Ukraine membership in the EU. In other words, the goal was to eventually make Ukraine a member of NATO and bring this dangerous alliance to within striking distance of Russia (if you think I am exaggerating to call it dangerous, recall that in 1998-9 NATO slaughtered 13,500 Europeans with its air force and destroyed the infrastructure of a European nation, based on a false narrative of “genocide” that was later debunked by a UN investigation, as recounted here at Quora: Vince Dhimos's answer to Why hasn’t NATO evaluated its “peacekeeping”experience to identify and implement best practices for transitioning failed states into functional democracy?.) This same Nuland wielded such unbridled power that, according to a leaked phone conversation with a US ambassador, she disclosed that she wanted (on behalf of the US) a certain Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the president of Ukraine. On the phone, she referred to him as Yats. And sure enough, due to the unlimited power of the US. Yatsenyuk did indeed become president. This effort was done in the name of “democracy,” and yet how can having Ukraine’s president chosen by the US –instead of by the Ukrainian people – be called democracy? It is a total denial of sovereignty and a mockery of democracy! Yet on the whole, the Western people accepted this sham without question.
Senator John McCain also participated in the Maidan coup, meeting with Neonazi anti-Semitic Oleh Tyahnybok (photo here John McCain Went To Ukraine And Stood On Stage With A Man Accused Of Being An Anti-Semitic Neo-Nazi). To achieve this coup, the US agencies and their European partners, including the Adenauer Stiftung, also notorious for its habit of attempting coups d´état (as described in this German language report (use Google Translate if you need to): Deutsche Parteistiftungen arbeiten am Sturz linker Regierungen in Lateinamerika), told Ukrainians they were eligible to be associate members of the EU. This was a false promise, held out as bait (Dutch Foreign Policy and the relations between Russia and the Netherlands.) Their real goal had nothing to do with helping Ukraine at all. They just wanted to control the territory to deprive Russia of an ally and trading partner. It was naked racist hostility aimed at harming an entire ethnicity – the Russian one, though it incidentally harmed the trusting Ukrainians even more. Because after all, there was no longer a Soviet Union inimical to the interests of the West. Russia very much wanted to be part of the West at time.
Also involved were Poland (Dutch Foreign Policy and the relations between Russia and the Netherlands) and Holland, which both supported the Maidan coup.
In other words, although the Western media almost all keep up a false narrative that the Russians are the aggressors, the one who initiated this whole fiasco were the US and its allies. Without their aggressive regime change actions, there would be no need to protect the Donbass or Crimea. If Russia were really aggressive as is claimed, it would have occupied Crimea much earlier, shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union. The reason for holding a quick referendum in Crimea was that Kiev, under pressure from the anti-Russian US government, was starting to ban the Russian language in public in various parts of the country – denying people their own culture that they loved and identified with – and Crimeans saw themselves as being eventually targeted by this law. As for Donbass, the para-military in the Russian-speaking self-proclaimed republics, Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, is not associated with the Russian Federation. It is home-grown, commanded and led by citizens of these republics. But the entire Western Establishment is spreading the narrative that these defenders are associated with the Russian Federation. Any excuse will do to smear the Russians and give NATO a pretext to surround and hem in the RF. One of the main reasons for all the anti-Russian propaganda in the West is to give NATO an excuse to exist. Indeed, the original sole purpose of NATO was to defend against the Soviet Union, and when the Union collapsed in 1991, the US and NATO had to scramble to fabricate a new raison d'être, cut from whole cloth. Otherwise, the bureaucrats who made a cushy living by maintaining this lucrative bureaucracy would have lost their employment and would have had to find real jobs. And the US arms makers would have lost a lucrative market for arms not really all needed for security – purchased with a staggering debt load that threatens to bring down the US economy. Maintaining this scary anti-Russian narrative was an easy task because the existence of a giant communist conglomerate in Europe had struck fear in the hearts of Westerners and all the Establishment had to do was transfer this fear to the Russian Federation in the minds of an ignorant and compliant populace who knew next to nothing about the culture and history of Eastern Europe and would buy any yarn the Western Establishment fed it.
So were there any precedents for the Russian actions in Crimea? For example, the granting of Russian citizenship to Ukrainians? Or the secession of a territory belonging to one country and its accession to another country?
As a matter of fact, regarding the granting of citizenship to residents of Donbass and other parts of Ukraine, there had been a similar situation of a nation that had been granted citizenship in another in one fell swoop. That is, the Algerians were granted their independence from France in 1963, and because Algeria had been a colony up until then where all citizens were also colonial citizens of France, the free Algerians suddenly found themselves with dual citizenship.
The pertinent Article 23 of French citizenship law can be summed up as follows:
"Since Algeria was an integral part of France until 1963 [independence], persons born in Algeria before its independence, count, for the purpose of citizenship, as having been born in France.”
An analogous situation with the secession of Crimea from Ukraine and its accession to the Russian Federation existed in Texas, which in the early 19th Century, filled up with Americans, who eventually became the majority and broke away from Mexico, in 1836, after which Texas became a US state in 1845. The same principle applied as in Crimea. Like the vast majority of Crimeans who perceived themselves as Russians, these American residents of Texas perceived themselves as Americans, and eventually, on this principle, they gained independence and acceded to the US. The same Westerners who claim that Crimea acceded to Russia “illegally” never stop to think that Texas acceded to the US government in the very same way and for the very same reasons, namely, a feeling, or perception, of belonging to another country than the one they found themselves in at a given period of time. The Texans spoke English first rather than Spanish (which they may have spoken only as a second language if at all) and identified with the American culture. Likewise, the Crimeans spoke Russian as their first, or mother, language and spoke Ukrainian only as a second language, if at all. And identified with the Russian culture.
There is only one major difference between the situation around Texas and the situation around Crimea and that is, the people who acceded to the other country went to Russia and not to a Western nation. That is the only difference, because it is a simple matter of a group perceiving itself as a nation with a national identity as Russians, and it is the only reason many Westerners object to the Crimeans officially becoming Russians. In other words, the objections are based on a hatred and mistrust of an entire ethnicity (Russian) – that is, on racism. The entire West is therefore in fact a victim of its own racism, which is so strong that it seems to be leading to a war, and not just any war, but to a nuclear war. Imagine, an entire region allowing itself to be dragged into war and the possible demise of the planet not for any rational motive but simple because of an irrational historical racism whose motivation no one could possibly articulate on the basis of reason!
That is where we stand today. Perhaps the situation will get better if enough people wake up and see the reality of what they are blindly supporting, and put aside the Establishment’s hypocritical narrative of “Russian aggression.” It certainly cannot get worse.
Below is our translation of an article by Ivan Danilov in RIA Novosti, with commentary by Vince Dhimos.
By making an international fuss over Turkey’s purchase of these S-400s, the US has shown its own weakness and has done a marvellous job of advertising the Russian weapon.
BTW, I hope I haven’t given anyone the impression that I am an Erdogan fan. I’m not. I would have liked him to be more secular for the sake of his own people. But on the other hand, he performs a valuable function. After the Kashoggi butchery, he was the one who pretty much showed the world that the US was being a big hypocrite to support Saudi while pretending that Iran – which fights Saudi-sponsored ISIS and Al-Qaeda in Syria – is the worst terror supporter and needs to be bombed.
The US third party sanctions on countries buying Russian weapons are also based on the false premise that Russia is the enemy of the “free” world, and that is a lie aimed only at forcing the rest of the world to buy US made arms to support the bloated arms manufacturers who get rich off of invading Third World countries and slaughtering innocents to make them vassals of the US. Russia sells weapons to countries that need them for protection against precisely this US monster. Erdoğan’s bold move to go ahead with the purchase of the Russian S-400 air defence in the face of sanctions is a signal to others to follow suit despite the possible consequences. In fact, the US did not dare to punish Turkey as harshly as it would have wanted to and it will now be hard for it to justify punishing others any more harshly than it did Turkey.
Erdoğan humiliated Merkel and Trump at the same time
This week, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan clearly demonstrated that empires end their lives when others lose all their fear of them. First, the most courageous ones refuse to respond to their threats, and then those who want to demonstrate the impotence of past hegemons line up. The Turkish leader simultaneously angered Washington and Brussels, and in matters of principle, and what’s most interesting is that, despite all the ominous statements of the Trump administration and the European Commission, Turkey could not be punished in any serious way.
The deal for the purchase of Russian S-400 systems might have seemed an isolated incident, but after Turkey began geological exploration in the territorial waters of Cyprus, it became clear that we are seeing the result of a rethinking of the specific opportunities that Washington and Brussels have in a particular country. Practice shows that in the matter of effective punitive measures in the context of the new geopolitical reality of the multipolar world, the United States and the European Union are far from being as happy as they would like to be.
The TV channel Euronews vividly describes the sanctions that the EU foreign ministers jointly decided to impose on Turkey as a punishment for geological exploration on the Cyprus shelf (which, according to Ankara, is owned by no one but Turkey, which is not recognized by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus):
"The European Union will reduce its financial assistance to Turkey and end high-level talks with the country as part of a set of sanctions for drilling off the coast of Cyprus. The EU foreign ministers, who met in Brussels on Monday, decided to reduce Turkey’s aid by 145.8 million euros by 2020. They also suspended negotiations on an aviation agreement and bilateral negotiations at the highest level between the two countries. Finally, they requested that the European Investment Bank - a non-profit lending institution of the EU – review their lending activities in Turkey, which amounted to 358.8 million euros last year.”
It is easy to see that such sanctions are nothing more than a minor irritant. On the Cyprus shelf, there are oil and gas worth billions of dollars, and yet the European Union did not even threaten Turkish oil companies with sanctions, did not impose restrictions on ships involved in geological exploration, did not impose personal sanctions against Turkish officials and businessmen. These are not sanctions, they are a disgrace to the diplomacy of the European Union, which demonstrated its total impotence when it came to protecting the interests of the EU members that are not the largest countries.
There are also problems with the American sanctions for the purchase of the C-400. As seen in the Chinese and Russian examples, Washington easily introduces restrictive measures but reluctantly removes them, but in this case the threats are not yet supported by real actions.
No, there is no doubt that sooner or later some measures will still be introduced. The problem is that they are likely to be symbolic. The New York Times, the main US print publication, explains the seriousness of the situation, which could turn into a full-fledged NATO crisis:
"According to the Pentagon strategists, the deal (for the purchase. - Editor’s note) could remain an active member of NATO while using Russian-made air defence.”
By rights, Turkey should be expelled from NATO for such misconduct. But the Donald Trump administration is frankly afraid to take such radical steps - especially since later it will be very problematic to bring everything back, and the US president would hardly want to go down in history as the "commander-in-chief who disbanded NATO." Moreover, exposing NATO’s south-eastern flank in the event of Turkey’s withdrawal is an even greater nightmare than the S-400 in the service of the Turkish army.
It is probably possible to impose sanctions against Erdoğan personally and against his entourage, but this would only strengthen the anti-American sentiments of some of the Turkish elite. Of course, Turkey is likely to be denied access to the latest developments, such as the F-35. But judging by the reactions of the Turkish authorities, such a punishment for asserting state sovereignty is not making any particular special impression on them. In this sense, the “Turkish precedent” is rather indicative, for it demonstrates that the US legislation, which practically forces the president to impose restrictions against those countries that make major deals with Russian defence enterprises, is not as potent as it seems. Consequently, Russian arms exporters may obtain additional buyers.
How did Erdoğan, despite the difficult situation in the economy and the defeat of the pro-Erdoğan candidate in the (re)elections of the mayor of Istanbul, find himself in the position of a leader who can cause trouble for Washington and Brussels with impunity? The Turkish leader was probably able to find the pressure points of the European Union and the United States, and these points made it possible for Ankara to change the pro-Western course that Turkey once consistently followed. The vulnerable point of the EU is that “Western liberalism,” of which Vladimir Putin recently said its shelf life had expired. Due to the Syrian crisis, and due to the incessant flow of economic migrants from Afghanistan and other Asian countries, the Turkish leadership has the opportunity to “open the gates to Europe” relatively easily for migrant flows and even help them logistically. And thereby make the crisis worse than in 2015 for Germany and for the European Union as a whole. The first crisis, we recall, almost cost Merkel her political career. And the postulates of this same "Western liberalism” do not allow closing the border of the European Union to the hundreds of thousands of hungry Asian migrants. Under these circumstances, European politicians are simply afraid of introducing really painful penalties against Ankara.
The soft spot of the United States is the desire to preserve at any cost 1) NATO (at least in some form) and 2) its active presence in the Middle East. At the moment - with an eye on a very likely war with Iran, which many hawks in the Trump administration are seeking. Again, under these conditions, the exclusion of Turkey from NATO or any other form of really serious sanctions is too heavy a blow to the US positions in the Middle East. So, most likely, it will have to limit itself to symbolic measures.
So unless Turkey does not slide into a full-fledged economic crisis (and there is such a risk, and it is more likely associated with the financial policies of the Turkish authorities, rather than sanctions), then it can become an example of a successful confrontation with two modern “great powers” – the US and the European Union – simultaneously. Such an example will certainly prove to be contagious, and it bodes no good for relations between the US and the EU with other countries.
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?