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.
In the following are 2 translations, the first from rueconomics.ru and the second from rossaprimavera.ru, both relating to the tense situation in Ukraine where Kiev continues to shell the hapless residents of Donbass. Commentary and notes [in brackets] are by Vince Dhimos.
The war in the Russian speaking territory of Donbass, consisting of the two self-proclaimed republics, Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) and Donetsk People’s Republic, has been going on for years. Westerners on a steady diet of Establishment msm narrative will say there are 2 sides to the story, and technically that is true. But the fact is, we wouldn’t be talking about this mess in Ukraine if USAID and the US State Department had not instigated and promoted a violent, illegal coup in the Kievan Maidan in 2014, attended by Victoria Nuland, who then admitted she spent $5 billion of tax payer money to ultimately turn Ukraine into the poorest country in Europe (according to IMF statistics). A Soros foundation also participated in the ruination of this once-proud country, whose intimate relationship with Russia goes back 1000 years to Kievan Rus, where Vladimir the Great established Christianity for the first time. During Germany’s Operation Barbarossa, 600,000 people, both Russians and Ukrainians were killed by Hitler’s hordes in and around Kiev, defending the city, but ultimately, the Soviets prevailed over the Nazis after losing a wartime record 27 million lives. Under the influence of the US Establishment, Ukrainians now show their appreciation by celebrating the Nazis and smearing the Russians, and by shelling the Russian speaking part of the country, Donbass, and killing the residents and destroying infrastructure, just like their role models the American belligerents did to Syria and Iraq.
Some Westerners, like German foreign minister Heiko Maas, seem to think the new Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy is a chance for peace, but that is because they don’t know Zelenskiy. The Russians harbor no such illusions. The shelling in Donbass was intensified shortly after Zelenskiy took office. BTW, Lugansk now goes by its Ukrainan name, Luhansk, even though the residents of that area call it by its Russian name. My spell checker just reminded me. But New Silk Strategies will never bow to pressure from Establishment spell checkers. Lugansk forever!
The DNR counted almost 30 cease fire violations per day
Ukrainian security forces violated the ceasefire in the Donbass almost 30 times a day. This is stated in the representation of the self-proclaimed DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic, self-proclaimed republic in Russian speaking East of Ukraine] at the JCCC [Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination of the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. JCCC is not part of OSCE but liaises with it].
According to the representative of Donetsk, the number of violations amounted to 29. Ukrainian security forces released on the territory of the republic almost 120 minutes with calibre 120 and 82 millimetres. In addition, fire continued from grenade launchers, small arms and infantry fighting vehicles. RIA Novosti reports.
Earlier, State Duma [Russian parliament] Deputy Dmitry Belik criticized the bill submitted to the Parliament calling for the confiscation of property from residents of Donbass. According to him, the initiators intend to cash in on the population of eastern Ukraine. [The bill calls for confiscation of property of Donbass residents who receive Russian passports, now available to all of them]
In addition, the Ukrainian deputy Nadezhda Savchenko said that the speech of [newly elected] President Vladimir Zelensky in Brussels reminded her of Petro Poroshenko [previous president, very anti-Russian]. In her opinion, the change of government will not affect the settlement of the situation.
Author: Stanislav Shinkarev
German Foreign Ministry suddenly remembered the war in the east of Ukraine
Citizens of eastern Ukraine “need peace at last,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on May 30 before his departure to Kiev, reports France-Press Agency (AFP).
The election of the new president of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, can “provide a new chance, overcome inaction and finally implement the Minsk agreements,” Maas said. At the same time, he did not specify what exactly Ukraine prevented from realizing them earlier.
Recall that the Minsk agreements were reached in September 2014 and supplemented in February 2015. They indicate the necessary steps to resolve the conflict in the east of Ukraine. One of the points of the Minsk agreements is the observance of silence by all military forces. But even this is not done.
Our translation of an article from guancha.cn of an article that originated in People’s Daily (renminribao,人民日报) follows below, with commentary and notes in [brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
As I read this article, it dawned upon me at some point that this whole trade war issue boils down to Neo-Colonialism, just as does the whole issue of Israeli occupation of Arab lands. I realized this when I recalled that Israel is striving to prevent Palestinians in the occupied territories from getting a higher education so that the Palestinians can’t compete against their colonial masters – who then have the gall to brag about the wonderful advances that Israel has made in sci-tech. As if there were no Palestinians in the open-air prison of Gaza, for example, who are burning to attend universities and study science and technology.
I recalled learning during my stay in Taiwan that that country had once been occupied by Japan and that it once served its colonial masters as a source of agricultural products but that the Japanese had made sure, by discouraging higher education, that the Taiwanese colony would not be allowed to develop industry. These examples from Israel and Japan embody the very essence of Neo-Colonialism.
There is an analogy here with China and its colonial relationship with the US, which was quite happy to have China manufacture low-tech products with cheap labour and later even allowed the country to assemble high-tech instruments and information technology as long as the US masters were in charge of the technology and the Chinese refrained from learning the tricks of the trade. And herein lies the ulterior motive behind the trade wars.
Now if you saw the movie “Ghandi,” you will recall that it was strictly forbidden for the Indians to make their own salt because the British expected the Indians to buy all their salt from Britain. Of course, this was silly because it is easy to make salt from sea water so why not allow the Indians to do this? But in the movie we see a scene of Indians, under Ghandi’s leadership, defying this ban in a publicized action and making their own salt. It seems absurd to us now, but the British soldiers actually attacked and inflicted bodily harm on the participants in this demonstration. For what? For making salt. Absurdly, the British thought of salt making technology as a kind of proprietary process that the Anglo-Saxons had invented and had the sole right to use and profit from. They thought, like Donald Trump, Chuck Schumer and Steve Bannon today, that a colony making high tech products was a threat and an insult to the colonial masters to whom the colonials owed their very lives and fortunes.
This kind of retaliation is exactly what the US is administering now to China, which has violated the sacred colonial rule: thou shalt not compete with thy masters in high tech.
Trump thinks of high tech in general as something that every person in the world uses only at the indulgence of the Great Exceptional USA and its allies like the Japanese, who are obedient to its wishes. He and his cronies in Congress and the Senate, like Chuck Schumer, accuse the Chinese of stealing US technology but they cannot supply evidence of this theft of inellectual property. If they had legitimate evidence, they could and would present their case to the WTO instead of blatantly illegally waging war on Chinese industry and anyone who cooperates with it or jailing one of its higher officials. I like to remind those who accuse China of stealing technology that China is the only country in the world with 5G technology. So whom did they steal it from?
The rest of the world stands by in stunned silence because no one but the colonial masters in Washington see Huawei as a criminal or a mischief maker. In fact, the proof that this whole uproar is a tempest in a teacup is that the techies in Silicon Valley – the ones who have made US technology great -- have been and still are perfectly happy to cooperate with Huawei instead of crying for “justice” and demanding its CEO be jailed. Their livelihood depends on cooperation with Huawei, which is why Trump’s trade war has just cost the tech stock market over $1 trillion. Silicon Valley’s benevolent attitude toward the Chinese is that of an American scientist who is happy to be on the same team as a scientist in Shanghai or Novosibirsk or Marseille. Or anywhere. Scientists everywhere share a brotherly bond and they respect each other’s creativity and tireless pursuit of knowledge and a better world for all. The scientific community instinctively understands the importance of international cooperation. This is why you will see inventors with names from Hindi, Arabic, Russian, Indonesian, any language at all, listed on the front page of a patent, all together. You don’t have a separate page for inventors who are Anglo-Saxons and another for inventors with Arabic or Persian names. Science know no boundaries, and if that were not the case, the technical world would stagnate and fold and we would all head back to the Dark Ages where Trump and his team of Greater Appalachians would like to take us.
It is intriguing to see an analyst from “communist” China, like the one whose work appears below, making reference to Adam Smith. And yet, there is no contradiction between Smith’s philosophy and, say, the 2,500 year old writing of Confucius or Laozi.
Trump’s trade wars remind me of these words from the Dao De Jing:
When people become overly bold,
then disaster will soon arrive.
Do not meddle with people’s livelihood;
by respecting them they will in turn respect you.
Therefore, the Master knows himself but is not arrogant.
He loves himself but also loves others.
This is how he is able to make appropriate choices.
People's Daily: The United States engages in technological hegemony, hindering development and progress, and will fail
(Original title: Engaging in high tech hegemony is hindering development and progress (Morning Bell) - refusal to compete will lead to failure)
“In general, if any branch of trade, or any division of labour, be advantageous to the public, the freer and more general the competition, it will always be the more so.”
In the context of today’s deepening economic globalization, Adam Smith’s sentence still inspires.
What is alarming to the world is that some politicians in the United States have bucked the trend of the times and unfurled the banner of hegemony in science and technology. They attempted to squeeze the space of international cooperation by arrogantly rejecting competition and suppressing the legitimate rights and interests of other countries.
For some time, the US government has abused the power of the state and has frequently opened fire on Chinese high-tech companies such as Huawei, which has been struggling to reach the forefront of the world. In the absence of any factual basis and conclusive evidence, it is an excuse to use the so-called “stealing of secrets” and threats to “national security” to prohibit the participation of Huawei in the construction of US telecommunications equipment, especially the 5G equipment network; In addition, with an administrative ban, Huawei and its subsidiaries were included in the "list of entities" for export control, and a number of US companies were forced to "discontinue" Huawei... with a presumption of guilt, using state power to deliberately suppress, and even require related business "groups" to isolate the company. Such unreasonable, overbearing behaviour!
As a technological and economic power, the United States of all countries should understand the laws governing the development of science and technology and understand the benefits of market competition. However, some American politicians [Trump in particular, though this government-owned site avoids naming him] deliberately ignore common sense and frequently interfere with normal scientific and technological cooperation and market competition. If you can't find a reason, just blame "national security." People can't help but wonder if it can threaten the "national security" of the United States if it doesn't move. If that is the case, the number one technological power is too weak. The discerning person knows at a glance that the reason why the US suppresses Chinese companies on the grounds of "national security" is nothing more than to curb the momentum of China's scientific and technological development, and to gain time and space to maintain the monopoly over the international industrial division of labour in the high-tech market, such as 5G technology. This scheme brings into focus the hegemonic mentality of the United States, which only allows itself to develop and won’t allow others to progress; this behaviour reflects the tyrannical overbearing attitude that the United States has always been "one and only big winner."
There is an old saying in China that goes: "the winner wins on his own." In the face of competition, the best practice has never been to discredit the opponent, but to improve one’s own strength. In order to maintain the lead in science and technology, the United States should make great efforts to upgrade its own commercial technology and enhance its competitiveness. Some people, such as the former White House’s chief strategic adviser [Steve] Bannon and the US Senate Minority Leader [Chuck] Schumer, have really gone off the deep end, asserting “China is the greatest threat to the survival of the United States” and “China aims to grab the US's technological dominance and has been stealing," and claims that "the 5G competition is a game that the United States must win." In fact, using sleazy means to squash competitors and artificially block mutually beneficial win-win cooperation will not only fail to boost US progress in communications technology, but will only force US companies to use backward but expensive alternative equipment and lag behind other countries in the construction of 5G networks. It is impossible to turn "fake prestige" into "true skill" by using an abnormal means to establish a temporary "protective umbrella" for the development of the country.
A philosopher once said that "noble competition" is "the source of all outstanding talent." The basic feature of a market economy is competition. A fair and benign competitive environment can continuously stimulate the vitality of market players, promote orderly flow of production factors, efficient allocation of resources, deep integration of markets, and can promote high-quality economic development. At the beginning of the 20th century, Ford and GM in the United States were in benign neck-and-neck competition, and both of them achieved their respective brands making the US automobile industry bigger and stronger.
A United States that loudly proclaims "free competition" and "market economy" cannot rationally treat competition by ignoring international trade rules, and practicing trade protectionism willy-nilly, suppressing other countries' technology companies. These are contradictory concepts, so how can America win the trust of the international community?!
The United States' refusal to compete hinders development and progress. They can’t guarantee their leading position by blocking their rivals. Unfair means is by no means the ace in the hole for putting the United States in an invincible position. Those American politicians who are keen on engaging in technological hegemony should think about why, even though some politicians in the United States have tried their best to obstruct Chinese companies from participating in global competition, the major companies in Silicon Valley in the United States are still rushing to deliver full power to Chinese companies before the ban takes effect. Why did the United States invent various pretexts and repeatedly deliberately discredit Huawei, while the countries of the world still choose to cooperate with Huawei? The reason is simply that cooperation is a win-win proposition, a cake that can benefit the interests of all parties. Rejecting competition will only impact the global supply chain and add unnecessary risks to the world economy.
A few decades ago, under the difficult conditions of the Western blockade, China managed to create "two bombs and one star" [refers to the first Chinese satellite launch and the development of the Chinese atom bomb and hydrogen bomb in 1964 and 1967, respectively]. Today, the pace of China's scientific and technological innovation development will not stop because of the noise and interference from some US politicians. I would like to advise those American politicians that trying to use power to dominate the strong momentum of China's scientific and technological progress, and to meddle with and block China’s legitimate right to develop and grow, is destined to be a waste of effort! The trend of the times is unstoppable. It is impossible for the United States to maintain its leading position with a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Source: People's Daily
Vince Dhimos answered a question on Quora
Many Russians refuse to acknowledge that through language, history, politics and culture, Ukraine is a sovereign state independent of Russia. What is a nation-state and who gets to determine its right to exist?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
A nation-state is a sovereign state (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_state) with an independent government. It differs from a non-state nation, for example, in the case of Wales, which is a nation with a clear-cut national sense of identity and even a national anthem, a very beautiful one. Have a listen to the above-linked video.
Oh, did I forget to mention, it is in Welsh. One of the reasons it is so downright beautiful. Recall that the word “bard” is Welsh. However, very sadly, Wales is not a nation-state. Its government is in London and it is therefore ruled by aliens who have a history of persecuting Welsh national leaders like Owain Glyndŵr. Ironically, though, this beautiful country (did you see those radiant faces in the video?), has arguably the strongest sense of national identity of any nation in Europe. The point I am trying to make is that this notion of a nation-state can be blurred and that the definition promoted by the Establishment can seem considerably less appealing and appropriate than any number of definitions accepted by this or that grassroots group.
Now, please do not take the following to be my personal opinion of this Russia vs Ukraine controversy. It is only intended to add to your knowledge so that you can form your own opinion in this extremely complex issue. The last thing I want is to be called a pro-Ukraine troll or a Kiev stooge (it happens all the time).
Any state with its own independent government is technically called a nation-state. But despite the name “nation-state,” most of the so-called “nations” in Europe, both national and EU, are beholden to two overweening autocratic powers, ie, the EU, which has deceived many countries into believing they could be both sovereign and yet bound by laws and trade rules made in Brussels by aliens, and also to the US via NATO, which has deceived its member states into believing that Russia is still a dangerous enemy when in fact it is the most orderly nation in the world and has the world’s best economy, as shown here (I had given an address at Quora in the original article):
My contention is that there are virtually no states in Europe that are actually nation-states. Most are ruled by aliens, ie, the EU and/or the US/NATO, and have lost their sovereignty without even realizing it.
So what has the US done to Ukraine? And is it a true nation-state or is is a vassal state of the US and, in part, the EU (which participated in the Maidan illegal and violent coup and falsely promised to make Ukraine an associate member of the EU)?
For those who care to know, you will need to dig deep into the history of the coup. Here are some articles to help you understand:
Ukraine’s Post-Maidan "Democratic Deficit" - Global Research
The US/NATO Orchestration of the 2014 Maidan Coup in Ukraine - Global Research
Worth pointing out is this quote from Consortium News (The Mess that Nuland Made):
“Carl Gershman, the neocon president of the U.S.-taxpayer-funded National Endowment for Democracy, explained the [US coup] plan in a Post op-ed on Sept. 26, 2013. Gershman called Ukraine “the biggest prize” and an important interim step toward toppling Putin, who “may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself.”
For her part, Nuland passed out cookies to anti-Yanukovych demonstrators at the Maidan square, reminded Ukrainian business leaders that the U.S. had invested $5 billion in their “European aspirations,” declared “fuck the EU” for its less aggressive approach, and discussed with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt who the new leaders of Ukraine should be. “Yats is the guy,” she said, referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk.” [Indeed, Yats was elected, thanks to the US State Department’s meddling, though he quickly failed and was thrown out. So if we define nation-state as a self-governed state, then the notion of self-government becomes blurred in the case of Ukraine. Again, you decide].
Ok, it is worth noting that this Victoria Nuland was then the Assistant Secretary of State to Obama. This was interference in the affairs of another country by the US, a violation of the UN’s principle of non-interference.
Here is a paper by the UN on the princile of non-interference to help you assess what the US did in the Maidan:
While the Security Council clearly spells out that this principle militates in particular against interference “by force” I would point out that over 100 people, including Ukraine police officers, were shot by the coup participants, who were encouraged by the US. However, it is up to the reader whether you think this is interference by force.
Now as for the part of the question relating to history and culture, let us consider Vladimir I, grand prince of Kiev (Kyiv) and first Christian ruler in Kievan Rus, whose military conquests consolidated the provinces of Kiev and Novgorod into a single state, around the year 1000. Now there is no question that Novgorod was Russian, and the expression “Kievan Rus” above indicates that Kiev was then Russia.
So you need to ask yourself: is 1000 years long enough to establish that Kiev has historically been intimately associated with Russia? Yes? No?
As for the so-called “annexation” of Crimea, a more apt word would be “accession,” because a referendum showed that over 90% of Crimeans wanted to be Russian. But is this just Russian propaganda? The Ukrainian press reported that this referendum forced them at gunpoint to vote for the accession to the RF.
Again, there is no arguing about this because of the high emotions on both sides. So let’s take a look at a video of Putin’s first visit to Sevastopol, Crimea, in 2014 after the referendum.
Did you see any guns pointed at those cheering folks?
As for the use of language in Ukraine, in the upper left corner of this page is a map of Ukraine showing that the East speaks mostly Russian, while the centre has 25.6% speakers of mostly Russian.
The problem with all of these surveys is that they focused on which language the respondents considered their native language. What they all missed is the percentages that were able to communicate readily in Russian even though it was not their native language. Here is what I found out in the early 70s when I visited Kiev. Every single shop keeper and person on the street with whom I spoke was able to communicate perfectly in Russian. Based on the surveys, many of them would probably list Ukrainian as their “native” language in a poll. But that would not reflect the reality.
I think we can safely conclude from all this that the issue is extremely complex, and anyone who insists that all Ukrainians must be forced to speak only Ukrainian or anyone who insists that all Ukrainians must speak only Russian, is hopelessly biased and not worth listening to.
And that is exactly the position of the Russian government.
In the question and answer segment of a press conference filmed on video, Putin was once asked a question that revealed an anti-Ukrainian bias on the part of the Russian querier. He immediately shot back that he would not tolerate any expression of prejudice toward the Ukrainian people.
“They are our Slavic brothers,” he said.
Until now, outgoing President Pososhenko had shown extreme hostility to Russia and Russians.
So what will the new Ukrainiain President Volodymyr Zelensky say?
Below is our translation from the German of an article in Contra-Magazin, with commentary by Vince Dhimos. It is good to see that there are Germans pushing back against the new unfree-market ideology that prevails in the US. The anti-Russia sanctions alone have cost Europe an estimated €30billion, one of the main reasons that the European economy is sagging. But none of this anti-everyone policy has helped Trump either. While Trump had promised that his tariffs on Chinese and other goods would help lower the trade deficit with China, the deficit for 2018 rose to historic highs.
If anything, Trump has proven by negative example the soundness of the old free trade policies that he has scrapped.
It is time for Germany to free itself from the USA
March 30, 2019
Against its own economic interests, Germany is constantly under pressure from the US. That must come to an end.
Wolfgang Kubicki, Deputy Leader of the Free Democrats (FDP), called last week to expel the US Ambassador in Germany because he was behaving like a "high commissioner of an occupying power," says RT. Who would have thought that in 2019 we would have a German politician from a party who demands that the American ambassador be thrown out for interference in his country's affairs?
Last week, Ambassador Grenell criticized Germany's military spending plans within NATO as inadequate, reiterating President Trump's call for European NATO members to spend more on defence.
The premise behind this is to protect NATO's action in Europe. Therefore, Europeans should reach their fair share, ie 2% of GDP, as their goal. But surely NATO's aggressive operations since the end of the Cold War have made Europe less secure.
While it is true that Berlin has not reached the new NATO spending target of 2% (only six Member States by 2018), Grenell seems to overlook the fact that Germany was the second largest troop supplier for the Alliance's military operations in Afghanistan. Moreover, no country in NATO was generous enough to accept "refugees" who had fled conflict that the US and other NATO powers had inflicted on it.
How many refugees have the US accepted? If anything, the German government should express its concern to the US Ambassador that his country was not doing enough and not the other way around.
Ambassador Grenell has not only criticized defence spending. Earlier this month, he warned the German economics minister that the US would be prepared to restrict its communication with Germany if Berlin allowed "untrusted providers," such as the Chinese operators (Huawei), to build 5G mobile networks in the country.
Grenell also does not like the fact that Germany is involved in the Russia-led gas pipeline project Nord Stream 2. This 1,200 km long pipeline, which would transport gas directly from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea, is good news for Russia. Germany and European consumers could lower their gas bills.
For the US, that's bad, because they want to sell the Europeans their more expensive fracked LNG. It is not good news for the US vassal state Ukraine, which will lose transit fees.
One of the main reasons for the recent tensions was the attempt to persuade Germany to drop its stake in Nord Stream 2, which is currently 70 percent completed. At the end of 2018, Ambassador Grenell warned that German companies involved in Nord Stream 2 could face sanctions. The US really hate it when there is a competitor in town. The Europeans should not buy the cheapest gas, but should kindly buy what the US wants to sell.
If the pressure on Germany to spend more money on defence and withdraw from Nord Stream 2 is not enough, there would also be the question of "illegal" trade with Iran. America wants everyone to follow its own line in dealing with Iran, no matter how great the financial success. To enforce this, secondary sanctions are threatened again.
Data from last October showed that German exports to Iran fell 4% in the first eight months of the year.
But that's not good enough for Washington. In February, Vice President Mike Pence accused Germany (along with Britain and France) of "violating" sanctions on Iran by expanding non-dollar trade. "Unfortunately, some of our leading European partners were not very cooperative," said Pence.
Germany was Iran's most important trading partner in Europe. The value of German exports to the Islamic Republic in the seven months from January to October 2017 was 2.358 billion euros. However, it is expected that Berlin will sacrifice this very lucrative business at the behest of the anti-Iranian hawks in Washington.
While the protracted Brexit saga is making headlines in European politics, perhaps the more important story is the US's attempt to make Germany, the EU's largest economy, commit something like a major economic self-injury (or even Harakiri?).
It is time for Germany to free herself from the liberator.
Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora (the following is only part of a dialogue with one of the other respondents).
The different policies of the different presidents make it appear as if it would, theoretically, be possible for the US to get a winning streak and find just the right president to make major progress toward shaping a foreign policy that would make America proud and keep us out of war.
Unfortunately, the US is hardwired into policies that are not of the public’s making or of any president’s making. (I had written about this at Quora:
This circumstance makes the policies of different presidents look erratic, both between different presidents and, often, within the same administration.
You could compare the apparently erratic US foreign policy with the course of a sailboat that is tacking to sail against the wind. Pretend that common sense and the natural interests of the American people toward economic, social and technological progress and world peace and harmony with other nations, is the head wind that the Establishment (or Deep State or Elite or whatever you want to call that supra-governmental cabal that keeps Americans under its heel at all times) needs to overcome. The Establishment cabal is doing exactly what a good sailor does when he or she wants to travel upwind or in any direction roughly against the wind. It’s called tacking and it entails first setting the sail and rudder so as to take the craft crosswise against the wind but in a somewhat forward direction, say, to the left of a straight line heading in the desired direction, then shifting the sail and rudder so that the boat travels slantwise to the right but also in the general forward direction. If this is done judiciously, the net result will be to head the boat in the desired direction but against the wind. If the boat were viewed from a high enough vantage point, the observer would not even notice the leftward and rightward shifts away from the straight line. The boat would appear to be going straight toward its destination.
For the sake of simplicity, let us compare Obama and Trump, two seemingly diametrically opposed presidents heading in two apparently different directions. You need to understand that the different directions of these 2 men are an illusion, even if the public, and each one of them, considers each one unique and independent. In the grand scheme of things, they are tacking against the wind and moving forward in the same direction against the head winds of common sense and natural interests of the American people. The left and right tilts, respectively, of the two men do not affect the outcomes of their foreign policies in the long run because someone else is pulling the strings.
Now I have said before at Quora (https://www.quora.com/Is-China-a...) that no politician or other official in the US is working for the US or to further the interests of the American people. Generally speaking we can say, in terms of foreign policy, that, aside from the arms manufacturers, they are working for the Saudis and Israel, which despite minor differences, both have a common denominator, namely, the desire to create targeted chaos in the Muslim World, for the purpose of achieving roughly the same end. For Saudi, the ultimate goal is a uniformly Sunni, and specifically Wahhabi (Salafist), Muslim World where Shariah law prevails and where Christianity is eliminated. For Israel the goal is to gain more territory, particularly in the surrounding Shiite countries. Recall that Israel is already squatting on Palestinian land and part of the Golan Heights, and Trump is obliging Israel by pretending to have the authority to grant the latter Syrian land to Israel. He not only does not have this authority, but the UN, the EU and the Arab League are protesting vociferously this brash decision. (Note that, in the case of Saudi and the Gulf statelets, the policies of the royals do not necessarily match those of the grassroots in those countries, which is a major weakness of these countries and could potentially cause uncontrollable uprisings).
Obama engaged in something euphemistically called the War on Terror, which he picked up from GW Bush. I say euphemistic because the real goal for both Bush and Obama was to overthrow Basher al-Assad as president of Syria while simply pretending to control terrorists, while in fact the terrorists played the essential role of pressuring Assad and his troops. Therefore, since they were intentionally dragging their feet, neither Bush nor Obama made any real progress in defeating ISIS or al-Qaeda from 2001 when Bush declared the War on Terror, until the Russians entered Syria in September 2015. Before that, in the background, they were helping the Saudis and Gulf statelets to train, arm and fund these terrorists under new names that we can call rebrandings. There was Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, al-Nusra, Sufian al-Thawry Brigade and others, all of which generally shared the Salafist (Wahhabi) ideology that demanded vengeance against non-Wahhabists, eg, Shiites, Christians, Yazidis, etc) simply for adhering to the wrong religions. The Land of the Free, whose constitution protected freedom of religion and forbade any favoritism toward any one religion, was actively supporting Wahhabism, the most intolerant and violent religion in the world, with its military, which according to the same constitution, was to be reserved for protection of the American people and their interests. It was beyond outrageous but the people said nothing in protest.
Obama clearly was doing Saudi’s bidding when he had his fighter jets stand down as those miles-long rows of white Toyota trucks poured into Syria from Iraq. They knew they were safe from the US, which was a de facto ally. At Deir Ezzor, the most oil-rich province in Syria, Obama’s air force killed around 100 Syrian soldiers who were engaged in fighting ISIS. Then, in the Trump era, an unknown number of Russian mercenaries, estimated at around 100 – also engaged against ISIS – were killed in this same province, and then a series of “mistakes” were made by US forces that killed both civilians and US-backed fighters such as Kurds, for example, on Oct 2018. The Kurds were engaged against ISIS at the time and were scared off by this attack, which killed several of them, as reported here: https://www.independent.ng/isis-.... The result was that ISIS took about 700 civilian hostages—a huge setback for the Syrian people. The phony War on Terror became only phonier under Trump (though to his credit, he actually has started killing ISIS terrorists these days).
Obama may be the only president who actually acted clearly against the general will of the Establishment cabal when he arranged for the famous “Iran deal,” an amazing feat since Israelis and Saudis both are intent on opposing Iran and both political parties are intent on pleasing their foreign bosses and the arms lobbies. Without his minority status Obama couldn’t have pulled it off. But later, Trump’s campaign made it clear that he intended to prevent the Iranians from getting food and medicine (by means of sanctions on Iran and any country doing business with it) and possibly provoke a war in the process.
In this, Obama was opposing the Establishment while Trump was pleasing them (even as his brain-dead followers believed he was opposing the Deep State (which was in reality the Establishment, which can’t get enough war). The net result was to please Israel and Saudi by keeping the pressure on Iran. One president bucked the current but the next made up for it.
Just another quick example: while a semi-alert analyst might think that Trump’s policies would be the antithesis of Bush’s because during Trump’s campaign, he had criticized Bush’s decision to invade Iraq based on unfounded charges of WMDs. But in fact, Venezuela is Trump’s Iraq and an economic crisis due in large part to US measures imposed for years (as I described here on Quora: https://www.quora.com/Should-the...) is Trump’s WMDs. Just another pretext for war. The details have changed but not the general policy of keeping the war machine running.
Of course, the specifics are different, making it look like these presidents’ policies were dissimilar. But the truth is, they were the same policies with the same goals and desired outcomes that were quite pleasing to their arms lobbyist, Israeli and Saudi bosses, who desire not only benefits for themselves but also are happy to see resources claimed by the US as part of the spoils belonging to the Israel-Saudi-US alliance. More power to one means more power to all.
The spoiler here is Russia, which is expected to be the new leader of a reorganized OPEC. In a shocking unprecedented move, Saudi oil minister Khaled al-Falih has already warned the US to back off of its sanctions against Russia (as reported here: http://vestnikkavkaza.net/news/K...). This has portentous implications for the US, which now no longer can count as heavily on Saudi to prop up the US dollar. Though no one knows what is coming next, Saudi could, for example, bolt at any time and start accepting the yuan, the rouble or other currency as tender for its oil trade.
This could turn the financial and energy world completely upside down.
Vince Dhimos anwered a question at Quora: Why do people who know nothing about foreign policy feel so emboldened as to comment on the subject?
Why do people who know nothing about foreign policy feel so emboldened to comment on the subject?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Answered just now
Because all mainstream reports on foreign policy are written by illiterate but articulate nincompoops with zero knowledge of the culture and history of the countries they write about, for the purpose of sustaining the Establishment narrative instead of the true details. It will work as long as the public refuses to go after the details. These journos are chosen precisely because they are the kind of people with zero interest in cultural and historical details, or knowledge of foreign languages, that might leak into their writings and make their readers actually think – the last thing the Establishment wants because independent thinking is like acid to the current war-supporting narrative.
Sensing this, I personally decided a while back to go after details that were missing in the press. There were lots of them. For ex, which Middle East countries are majority-Shiite and which are majority-Sunni? Reading mainstream news might reveal such details about a few countries, but these details get short shrift, with the focus being on the supposed crimes or misdemeanours of which the leaders of impugned countries are accused. If you don’t know about the Shia-Sunni divide, you will not get far in terms of being your own analyst and you risk being carried away by the fake narrative, which, though devoid of important and relevant detail, is usually couched in excellent prose intended to mislead you very convincingly. All mainstream newspapers and magazines should therefore carry a warning label with a skull and crossbones icon, it’s that dangerous – because it is intended to lead to wars that kill thousands of civilians who are not your enemy and keep adding to the unpayable US debt.
Once I had muddled through this chore of investigating Sunni vs Shia countries (using Wikipedia as a starter), I then sought the answers to the question as to which of the 2 groups group, if any, was supported by the US and which was the target of its wrath. I discovered, that in most cases (exception: Iraq), the US waged war on predominantly Shiite nations. I then recalled that Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia, was the country that the US considered its favourite ally -- despite the horrible human-rights record of that country -- and that every war against other countries in the region benefitted the Sunni Wahhabist religion to which the elites and populace adhered. I investigated further and found that the terror groups ISIS and al-Qaeda, known to be funded by the Saudis, were also devotees of the Wahhabist sect of Sunni. Now I was getting somewhere.
Because my search terms included the words ”US” and “Saudi,” I inevitably stumbled across that fact that Richard Nixon had signed a petrodollar agreement with the Saudis in 1973. I found it to be confirmed by Bloomberg and I started to realize that all the US-waged wars in the region favoured the Saudi Wahhabists, leading me to realize that the wars, regardless of the announced pretexts, such as alleged WMDs or alleged chemical weapons, were in fact all aimed at spreading Wahhabist terror on behalf of the Saudi signatory to the petrodollar agreement.
But when I thought about Iraq, I had to ask myself why the US, assuming it was acting on behalf of Saudi, would attack a country that is run by the Sunni Saddam Hussein. But then I realized that Saddam is a secularist who made major concessions to the Shia — unsurprising because Iraq is 2/3 Shiite. He even had a Christian in his cabinet. But of course, Saudi wants strict Shariah law and Hussein refused to play along. So he had to go and the US was the hit-man thanks to the petrodollar agreement. Of course, Saddam was also ant-Israel, and Saudi does not tolerate that either since both countries are anti-Iran and thus bonded.
Of course, anyone who looks at US foreign and military policies will quickly realize that, despite being a nominally “Christian” nation, aside from the US support for Sunni Wahhabism, the US policies were totally immoral and sharply deviated from the teachings of Christ. This circumstance also applied equally to US policy strongly favouring Israel—which was how Trump won the support of AIPAC.
This led me to infer that Saudi Arabia had been chosen as an ally not only because it had such a large oil supply but also for some hidden, perhaps spiritual, reason. Further research in this direction led me to write my article titled:
Murder and displacement of Christians is hardwired into Western government policy:
I eventually accumulated enough information to post the following at Quora:
But lately, since Putin waded into the Syrian conflict in 2015, the Saudis have been forced to back away from their prior stance. Meanwhile, they have admitted Assad back into the Arab League, an amazing accomplishment of the Russians.
But just yesterday, I read that Khalid al-Falih, the Saudi oil minister, has warned the US to back off of their sanctions on Russia.
It seems OPEC is to be reorganized into a 10-nation club with RUSSIA as the head!
Look for the petrodollar agreement to start unravelling, and look for Venezuela — already head of OPEC — to be strongly defended by Saudi against US aggression.
This would be a geopolitical plate shift.
If both Russia and Saudi team up to defend Venezuela, that country can prosper despite US sanctions.
Video above thanks to The Guardian. Putin high-fives MBS at the G20. Now we know what's behind that grin.
The initially secretive petrodollar agreement signed between President Nixon and King Faisal made the US a mercenary in the hire of the most vicious, brutal and intolerant regime in the world at that time, in exchange for the Saudis using their oil revenues to prop up the US dollar, which was falling following Nixon's decision to break with Bretton Woods and take the USD off the gold standard. The agreement itself was not the problem, it was the way it was encorced - out of desperation. The US made the egregious error of helping Saudi spread its vile terroristic Wahhabism around the globe using a million and one excuses (alleged WMDs in Iraq, alleged chemical weapons in Syria) to re-arrange the Middle East according to the Saudi will instead of adopting a rational approach and protecting the Saudis as promised, but according to American principles of morality based on Christian teachings. That is why the US failed. Its client was a heinous bully who dictated a violent and intolerant religion to the Middle East and the US, its new guardian, instead of setting limits, itself acted like a heinous bully, taking sides in a religious dispute that had lasted for centuries and could not be resolved by force. It thereby lost the respect of its client and the rest of the world.
Putin is now the de facto head of OPEC and is taking over the role of protecting Saudi, under a deal similar to the Nixon-Faisal deal, but with a major difference. The US is therefore no longer needed by the Saudis and they no longer have an obligation to prop up the dollar (though they have a pragmatic reason to keep the dollar stable for the sake of the world economy). And Putin will base his actions essentially on liberal Christian principles, meaning he will try not to harm any group and will respect all sovereignties. the real source of lasting respect - which the US failed to recognize. And as head of OPEC, he will be extending his protection to the other members. Including Venezuela. Indeed, the Venezuelan oil company that the US has tried to sabotage is now operating under the aegis of Rosneft, having moved its European office to Moscow.
Oh, and OPEC now has its own air force - the Russian one.
Below is our translation of an article from politpuzzle.ru that signals a geopolitical plate shift.
Saudi is no longer talking like a US ally. In fact, it just moved very close to Russia. The Saudi energy minister just told the US to back off of its sanctions on Russia.
They had warned before that if they levelled sanctions at Saudi over the Kashoggi affair, oil could hit $100 or $200 a barrel. The New York Times sneered:
“While Saudi Arabia is still the leading producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and can exert enormous influence over oil prices, it is no longer the energy superpower that American motorists feared during the Arab oil embargo era of the 1970s.”
But the author didn’t note that they may not be dealing with just Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are joining forces with Russia in a new project that could turn the oil and financial world on its head. Our translation says:
“Earlier, Riyadh and its allies from the Gulf countries announced plans to transform the intergovernmental organization OPEC in order to create an alliance with a group of ten countries headed by Russia.” Yes, that’s right. The US won’t be dealing with Riyadh so much as it will with Moscow.
There are no doubt several reasons for this about-face in Saudi-US relations. For one thing, the US Senate unanimously found in December 2018 that the heretofore-untouchable crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was responsible for the murder of Jamal Kashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October 2. Very few sentient humans doubt his culpability, of course, but neither did many doubt that the Saudis were responsible for funding, training and arming Al-Qaeda and ISIS, costing hundreds of thousands of lives in Syria, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere, including Western countries, which paid trillions to pretend-fight terror as a result. Yet none of these suddenly courageous senators had dared to breathe a word about this much more grievous Saudi crime of terror, which had been perpetrated for over a decade. Nor had they ever condemned Israel (Saudi’s partner) for its crimes, such as shooting unarmed protesters (which they are still doing unabated),stealing Palestinian land for Jewish settlement, launching deadly missile strikes at Syria, etc. In fact, they are right now rewarding Israel for these crimes by declaring the Syrian Golan Heights to be part of Israel and trying to pass a blatantly unconstitutional law banning any support for the BDS (Bloycott, Divestment and Sanction) movement aimed at preventing Israel from illegally occupying Arab lands! So why did the senators suddenly discover morality in the midst of the Kashoggi affair? Did they come to Jesus? No. Most still worship Israel as before, ignoring the teachings of Christ while calling themselves "Christian" Zioniists. But after all, it is generally believed among the Elites, that Saudi is propping up the dollar under the petrodollar agreement signed by Nixon and King Faisal in 1973 – in exchange for the US military killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians throughout the world unfortunate enough to subscribe to the wrong kind of Islam (Shiites) or to the wrong religion (Yazidis, Christians), or to punish Muslim leaders like Saddam Hussein for being too secular when they are supposed to be enforcing Shariah per Saudi dictates. (For those who have not read our analyses of the petrodollar and the theory behind it, you can find two of them here and here, for example. It is the scandal of the century that no one dares to mention).
Two things recently changed the whole equation for both the Saudis and the US:
1) Trump, who made no bones of his grovelling adoration of the Saudis during his first state visit, became as president a thorn in the side to the Establishment due to his brazen statements aimed at just about everyone. The senators’ show of new-found bravery against MBS was aimed at showing the public how supposedly cowardly Trump was for not condemning MBS. It was a slap in Trump's face.
2) The likelihood of MBS’s involvement in the murder of Kashoggi was strongly highlighted by Erdoğan and could no longer be hidden from the public. If the Senate had tried to ignore it, despite the public outcry, it would have further tarnished their already abysmal reputation, which is another reason why they acted to condemn MBS.
3) Trump had warned of “severe punishment” if the Saudis turned out to be involved in the murder of Kashoggi. It was pure bluster and he, of course, did nothing even when they were proved to be behind the murder, but his promise of punishment was an embarrassment to MBS, who is already hypersensitive to criticism (after all, that’s why the outspoken journo Kashoggi died in the first place), and who took it as an unforgivable insult.
4) On the other hand, when Putin waltzed into the G20 summit (see video linked above), where most other world “leaders” were shunning MBS, he famously high-fived the latter, grinning from ear to ear. This greeting was face-saving for MBS, who was obviously grateful for it. Putin then pulled up a chair right beside the beleaguered prince, still smiling. And you know what? Putin was doing nothing less than courting the prince. And for a very good reason. We seem to be seeing the outcome according to the report below. (The US presstitutes feigned horror that Putin would be friendly with the murderer but they had ignored the Saudi support for terror since the days of Dubbya so their show of morality was a sham).
From all of the above, it is not surprising that MBS would figure he had only one true friend in the non-Arab world and that was Vladimir Putin.
Now Putin, Xi and others know that Saudi is the linchpin on which the financial world, and hence the US dollar, turns. Yet the West is so cock-sure of its power that it doesn’t bother to use diplomacy with MBS, just takes him for granted. BIG mistake. The translated article below shows us what can happen to an arrogant superpower that thinks it can do as it pleases, with impunity.
Putin and Xi have their long knives out. And now they’ve got a powerful partner who may turn out to be an ally in their de-dollarization campaign. And de-dollarization is the key to the multipolar world they seek.
It is my opinion – not forecast, mind you, just opinion – that the Saudis may be about to make a move.
If they do what I think they may do, then Judgment Day will have arrived for the hegemon in Washington.
To understand why I say that, let’s look what the Saudi oil minister actually said, quoting from the translation below, with my notes in brackets:
“During a speech at a press conference in Baku on March 17, the Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia, Khalid Al-Falih, called on the United States to refrain from anti-Russian sanctions. According to him, if Washington implements new measures, the consequences of this decision will affect the whole world. He also noted the role of Moscow in the international arena. [This is a clever double entendre, with a sophisticated and devious Middle Eastern twist intended as a subtle warning that either the Saudis will produce consequences for the world economy or the implementation of the measures would have natural consequences of their own. The reader/listener is not so sure and that is the intent. Of course, if the Saudis are not amused by the hegemon's mistreatment of their oil producing partner, then they could start eroding the dollar. In fact, they are the real hegemon, not the US, because they decide the fate of the West].
“Russia is a big supplier of gas to Europe, and oil to China. If this (the imposition of sanctions - ed.) Happens, the consequences will affect Europe, China and the whole world,” the Saudi minister threatened.
Al-Falih notes that today Russia is acting as a technology leader and the largest supplier of energy resources in the world. In addition, Moscow occupies an important place in the space industry. He concluded that despite disputes in foreign policy, Saudi Arabia is determined to continue cooperation with the Russian Federation.” [And that too carries an undisguised threat. In fact that “cooperation” referred to here could include anything. It may even include a means of protecting their high-ranking OPEC partner Venezuela. Since MBS has been deeply insulted by the accusation of the US Senate and Trump’s threat (albeit insincere) of “severe punishment,” he is most likely looking for a way to avenge himself. Weakening the dollar would not be a bad choice of vendettas. Nor would cooperating with Russia in helping Venezuela bypass sanctions. After all, Venezuelan oil company PDVSA is now operating under the aegis of Rosneft.]
Putin’s critics, even Russians who are fond of him, have been asking why he allows the Israelis, for example, to ride roughshod over Syria, pretending they suspect Iran is cooking up an attack. Iran is doing no such thing. The only real aggressor in the region is Israel, despite the Iranians’ flippant rhetoric about wiping out Israel. Sure, they might like to, but not with the US protecting them. But now, if Putin and Xi can persuade MBS to use the rouble or the yuan instead of the dollar, then that turns the financial world on its head. It will make investors think twice and thrice about buying Treasuries. And what is the hegemon without his fistful of dollars? He’s just an arrogant nation that no one trusts or likes and a whole lot of people everywhere want him to fail. They may get their wish.
Saudi Arabia threatened Washington with consequences over new sanctions against Russia
Russia, 18 Mar 2019
Saudi Arabia has warned Washington against new economic restrictions against Russia. If the US launches such measures, the consequences are guaranteed to affect the whole world.
In February of this year, an updated bill was published on the US Congress website, according to which additional sanctions are being imposed against Russia. The ban covers transactions with the sovereign debt of the Russian Federation with a maturity of more than 14 days. In addition, the restrictions will affect investment in energy projects outside the Russian Federation worth more than $250 million.
During a speech at a press conference in Baku [Azerbaijani capital] on March 17, the Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia, Khalid Al-Falih, called on the United States to refrain from anti-Russian sanctions. According to him, if Washington implements new measures, the consequences of this decision will affect the whole world. He also noted the role of Moscow in the international arena.
“Russia is a big supplier of gas to Europe, and oil to China. If this (the imposition of sanctions - ed.) happens, the consequences will affect Europe, China and the whole world,” the Saudi minister threatened.
Al-Falih notes that today Russia is acting as a technology leader and the largest supplier of energy resources in the world. In addition, Moscow occupies an important place in the space industry. [This may be a hint that Russia is capable of challenging the US as the new protector not only of Saudi but also the rest of OPEC - including Venezuela. In other words, hands off Venezuela]. He concluded that despite disputes in foreign policy, Saudi Arabia is determined to continue cooperation with the Russian Federation.
Earlier, Riyadh and its allies from the Gulf countries announced plans to transform the intergovernmental organization OPEC in order to create an alliance with a group of ten countries headed by Russia.
Author: Ilya Alexandrov
I answered a question in Spanish on Quora. Translation of question:
How do you explain that the US claims to aid the Venezuelan people by imposing sanctions that prevent the government from importing foods and medicines?
The main source of the confusion that reigns among Venezuelans is that their economic crisis is due to several factors and most Venezuelans attribute it either to Maduro alone or to the US alone based on their political perspective (patriots vs traitors). These factors include:
1. The drop in oil prices due to an increase in extraction by the Saudis in 2014. (Oil market expert Andrew Topf wrote for oilprice.com in 2014 that Saudi Arabia has a long history of manipulating oil prices for political reasons and attributed the 2014 price reduction to a US-Saudi plot with the goal of harming Russia, Syria and Iran (but it is also possible that they had Venezuela in their sights.) Anyway we can say beyond the shadow of doubt that there was manipulation by the US and/or its allies.
2. Management errors by President Maduro. For example, the president maintained a protected dollar exchange rate for many years, causing hyperinflation of consumer prices. Recently, after consultation with President Putin in Moscow, he eliminated that policy and reinstated a floating rate. (https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-47153468). Another mistake was the lack of diversification of the economy. Venezuela needs to develop, for example, agriculture in order to reduce its dependence on imports. In addition, more jobs are needed. Putin is helping the people with the construction of a Kalashnikov plant, which will create jobs. China is also negotiating for the development of new industrial projects, including some not related to petroleum.
3. The sanctions, and an embargo, by the US. Many think that all American measures against Venezuela began in recent months. This is far from the truth and this myth is pure pro-Washington propaganda, which has spread throughout the West to exonerate the US and blame the government of Nicolás Maduro for the economic crisis that the country is suffering.
Venezuela has been harmed in international trade and investment since the time of President Pérez:
Our translation of a passage from the above-linked article:
"The secret agreements with the United States of 1990 and 1991 on Foreign Investment signed during the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez, consist of 3 instruments from which a series of laws, norms and procedures were generated that reconstructed the commercial and investment relationship in favour of US capital ... "
Later during the government of George W. Bush, sanctions were imposed against PDVSA due to the fact that that company insisted on being sovereign.
Our translation of a passage from the above-linked article:
"... the sanctions [were] imposed to prohibit PDVSA from receiving loans from the Bank of Exports and Imports (Eximbank) of the United States."
Since oil exports were the source of income for the entire country, these sanctions were an existential threat to the Venezuelan people themselves and not just to the government.
Obama also imposed high tariffs on Venezuelan exports:
"There is a commercial blockade in progress initiated with the Obama Decree that the US uses as a legal basis. The first measure has been to remove Venezuela from the General System of Tariff Preferences of the USA, to be executed in 2017, affecting 4400 Venezuelan products that will now pay high tariffs in that market.
"Its validity and the secrecy about the companies that are protected under its terms constitute a clear disadvantage for the nation."
On top of that, a devastating Trump sanction came into effect in August of 2017! The media spread very little information about this, so that the people would mistakenly believe that the crisis caused by these measures was the result of an alleged mismanagement by Maduro.
Our translation of quotes:
"The US Government adopted a set of measures in August 2017 that prohibits transactions and financial agreements with the Government of Venezuela and with the Venezuelan state oil corporation (PDVSA)."
This measure practically blocked the vital income of the Venezuelan people, severely worsening the life, safety and health of Venezuelans.
But we may wonder why the US invests so much energy and effort in harming the Venezuelan people. The answer is that Washington wants to overthrow any government that does not bow to the US and that it does not serve the interests of the US, defending its own sovereign interests instead. It has always been like this. The US does not tolerate complete sovereignty of any other country.
And if there are Venezuelans who think that a US puppet government, for example, the government headed by Juan Guaidó, could get the US to change its policy toward the people in order to restore their prosperity, they are skating on thin ice.
Iraq: an example from recent history of what may await Venezuela
The US imposed severe sanctions on Iraq in 1991 after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and waged war on Saddam Hussein twice. However, after the last war in 2003, the UN (mainly controlled by the US) waited 7 years to lift the sanctions, until December 2010. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-12004115). Apparently, the US wanted to punish the Iraqi people for what their president had supposedly done! So will the poor Venezuelans have to continue to groan under sanctions and suffer a severe economic crisis even if the country bows to the hegemon of the north?
This vindictive behaviour of Washington is constant and no country can escape it.
Another example: Ukraine
In 2014, the USA, through governmental and non-governmental organizations (USAID, NED, a George Soros Open Society foundation, etc), supported by representatives of European governments (Germany, Holland, for example), instigated an illegal and violent coup against the legitimate government of Ukraine. As a result, democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovich - who had good relations with Moscow, and was later replaced by a puppet named by the State Department - was overthrown - illegally, because the coup violated the Ukrainian constitution. (This mirrors the appointment of Guaidó by Mike Pence, a flagrant violation of the Venezuelan constitution, which demands independence and prohibits foreign meddling in its official policies).
The Ukrainian coup was successful largely because the Europeans who participated in the coup had promised to admit Ukraine as an "associate member" of the EU.
The gullible Ukrainians were hopeful of receiving aid, investments and loans from the EU. They made the mistake of trusting the US and its allies.
Their hopes were dashed. Europe denied them aid and membership in the EU based on the high rate of corruption in the country and also because there were major fascist elements in the government and (para)military, which spooked Germany in particular. President Poroshenko, known for being a drunkard and mentally unstable, broke all treaties with Russia, which were sources of much income for the people, and stopped paying for the Russian gas that the country onsumed - which led to the suspension of the supply. It also threatens Russia constantly with making war and to this day continues illegally shelling the Russian-speaking Donbass in violation of the Minsk treaty. Thanks to the disastrous economic management of the US-backed government, Ukraine could not pay its foreign debts. Finally, in 2018, the IMF declared that Ukraine - which before the coup enjoyed a certain prosperity - was the poorest country in Europe, attributing that status to the high degree of corruption that reigns in the country.
And what is the USA - the country that brought Ukraine into this situation – doing to solve its crisis?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Instead it is sending lethal arms to Kiev to kill innocent civilians in Donbass.
So, Venezuelans, do you want to bet on the support of the great northern hegemon to help you resolve your crisis? Think about it!