Perhaps at the beginning, when the Saudis were the most prolific user of dollars in world trade, there was some truth to the belief that they were capable of aiding the ailing dollar. But recall that at the time the deal was concluded, the Saudis and their allies had an oil embargo in place and were playing games with oil prices and hence with the US economy. Simply dropping this tampering may in fact have been sufficient to save the dollar. In fact, I have pointed out that, as of now, as the Saudi star fades, the Japanese and Chinese each hold over twice as much cash in Treasuries as the Saudis, and besides, Saudi oil reserves may be nearing their end, as witnessed by the fact that they tried to sell stocks in their oil business to raise money (but failed). SRSrocco Report, reposted at New Silk Strategies with permission, stated ominously:
“QUOTE: Saudi Arabia’s cash reserves are in free-fall and the country could have only five years of financial assets remaining due in large part to the fall in oil prices, according to a report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).”
Never before has Saudi Arabia been in a weaker position to serve as a prop for the USD. The notion that the Saudis are suitable for this mission is looking more and more like a false myth, the true underlying motive of which must be sought.
Of course, you might retort that the Chinese are building up structures such as the Shanghai gold exchange and the Shanghai oil futures market, which are not trading in dollars, so they are working against, not for, the dollar. But I would remind the reader that China’s (and Russia’s) de-dollarization campaign is relatively new and for many years, the Chinese have held – and still hold –staggering amounts of cash in Treasuries – this chart shows China held about a half trillion in 2008 and 1.5 trillion by 2014 and today, holds well over a trillion USD. And a chart compiled by the Federal Reserve in 2012 shows, at the top of page 21, that in 2010 – during the decades-long period when the biggest investors in the world believed, or more accurately, behaved as if they believed, that the Saudis and Gulf statelets were propping up the dollar (and, BTW, China was not talking about de-dollarization then), Europe held more reserves in Treasuries than the oil exporters, while China and Japan each held over a trillion and the oil exporters held just a tad more than Japan’s 3 trillion plus. Further, as stated above, China and Japan now hold over twice as much in Treasuries as Saudi. Finally, Social Security contributors hold – albeit involuntarily – several times the amount of Treasuries as any country. The fact is, the measly half-trillion dollars in Saudi Treasuries amounts to only less than about one-fortieth of the US sovereign debt. So why are US presidents still bowing to the Saudi royals with their increasingly anemic contribution to the USD? Don’t you smell a rat here?
Every president has treated the Saudis with an inordinate, unmerited, amount of respect. Trump tops them all, having gone to Saudi on his very first state visit, dancing a diabolical-looking sword dance with the royals, and recently having, absurdly, practically blamed Iran (the no. 1 enemy of Saudi Arabia and its de facto ally Israel) for the grisly killing of WaPo journalist Jamal Kashoggi by Saudi operatives, even though the evidence has convinced much of the world that the top-ranking Saudi royals ordered the killing. Iran, of course, had nothing whatsoever to do with the murder. But Saudi is more important than truth in amoral Washington.
But surely you will have noticed that the behaviour of Washington officials from the White House on down in no way reflects the Christian principles that most Americans still profess to adhere to, while oddly, generally supporting a foreign policy that has gotten the majority of Middle East Christian communities killed or banished ever since the start of the Bush wars, and has caused a mass exodus of mostly Muslims to Europe, which diluted, and is diluting, Western – particularly Christian – culture in Europe. (An article in TheGuardian details this phenomenon).
Of course, you may well have been steeped in the belief that the US government has no business supporting Christianity or any other religion, and this is essentially true. It is true in the sense that Reagan, for example, should not have supported militarily the Christian minority in Lebanon over all other factions in the complex struggle there in the 80s because this had all the appearances of anti-Muslim support on the basis of his personal religion alone, with little thought given to the complexity of the socio-political situation on the ground – and that policy had no chance of survival in the Arab world. The upshot was a tragic loss of American lives when a Marine barracks was blown up and Reagan had to walk away from the conflict, defeated. His support for the relatively small Christian faction at the expense of all the others was simply inappropriate (as he later realized). The only sensible approach would have been to use diplomacy to bring all factions together, treating each of them with equal respect (the kind of diplomacy that is working beautifully for the Russians. BTW, it would be much more effective for the US to imitate Russian diplomacy than to engage in an arms race with Russia).
But that situation in Lebanon has nothing in common with, say, the policy of waging war on Iraq, which, before the war, had a functioning government that respected both branches of Islam as well as the Christians and other minorities (with the exception of the rebellious Kurds, who were considered terrorists). After the war, it had ISIS.
GW Bush and his cabinet had to know that by invading Iraq, he was going to upset a delicate balance that had kept the Assyrian Christians (and other minorities) safe for millennia. After all, the world already knew that the Arab world banished their Jews when Israel was declared a state in 1948, even though these indigenous Jews bore no responsibility for the removal of the Arabs from the future Jewish state by the Zionists and British do-gooders. One could therefore have expected the Christians in Iraq to suffer an analogous fate for analogous reasons, as indeed they did. Ironically, Iraqi Islamists blamed Christianity for a disaster caused by a Deep State that in fact despises Christianity. Though the Bush policy seemed on its face to be religion-neutral, it had the immediate effect of causing the persecution, murder and banishment of many of these indigenous Christians. Likewise, since it was well known that the ruling Assad family was one of the most tolerant governments in the Middle East, the anti-Assad hysteria that led to the Syrian war, which was instigated by the US support for the “moderates,” who were all radical Islamists, could have been expected to lead to the killing, persecution and banishment of Syria’s indigenous Christian population, as indeed it did. Ditto the Libyan government, which was also more religiously tolerant than most Middle Eastern Sunni-majority countries. Further, the instigators of the Middle East wars had to know that their attacks on mostly civilian populations would cause a mass exodus of Muslims to Europe, with the foreseeable disastrous effects on Western culture there. My firm conviction is that the people behind these conflicts did not accidentally cause the social chaos that emptied the countries in question of their Christian population, thrusting hordes of Muslims into Europe -- and not the more responsible and peace-loving ones, most of whom sayed behind hoping for better times and willing to help build their countries back up. Many of those who fled to Europe were in trouble wih the law back home or had participated in terror acts and were no longer welcome there.
Thus I strongly suspect that the myth of the Saudis as props for the US dollar was devised by people – whom we call the Deep State for want of a better term – whose underlying motive was not so much to shore up the USD as it was to rid the world of Western, and more specifically Christian, culture.
So who might some of these anti-Christian activists be?
Global Research drops a familiar name in the context of the Arab Spring that led to the wars:
“None [of the Arab Spring movements] were spontaneous – all required careful and lengthy (5+ years) planning, by the State Department, CIA passing through foundations, George Soros, and the pro-Israel lobby.”
Nor am I ignoring the fact that Israel and Saudi share the same interests (eg, anti-Iran racism) in the Middle East, and this fact will be further discussed as I continue to research this issue. I would also like to analyse for you the Russian response to the Kashoggi affair and to MBS following the grisly killing in the Turkish embassy.
Meanwhile, I would be grateful if readers could share their thoughts on this topic by posting in our forum. Your input will help me refine our analysis. Thanks for reading.
Definition of 4-D chess: The strategy of calling people stupid when they fail to see the genius behind behaviour that really is stupid.
This analysis is intended to explain the world to the reader. Literally, the whole world. And if the following really explains geopolitics and universal economics as controlled by Washington and Wall Street, as I assure you it does, why don’t the high-paid big shots at Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNN, etc, explain it to you? I assure you the highest-paid ones do indeed know, and if you are in the dark about this, it’s because they won’t or can’t tell you.
New Silk Strategies explained a while back that the Saudis had been appointed as the keepers of the dollar back in the 70s under a petrodollar agreement that was responsible for the direction that each of the US-waged wars outside the New World took. The mechanism of this relationship between the Saudis and US wars and the proof of this theory is summed up here. And no, I am not forgetting the role of Israel, the arms manufacturers, the msm, Wall Street and the Fed in generally supporting war. But the myth of Saudi power over the US dollar seems to be the most powerful underlying motive for the specific direction each war took, ie, the countries invaded or the leaders targeted for removal. Further, as I showed before, none of these wars benefitted the American people in any way whatsoever, while on the whole, they cost US tax payers more money than their great grandchildren will ever be able to pay. The Saudis emerged the real winners and their violent, intolerant, terror-inspiring Wahhabism was furthered.
All of America’s billionaire investors know the Saudi myth while almost none of the little people in America have a clue. They’re running around trying like elves trying to help Donald Trump fight off the Deep State and interpreting the latest message from Q, or, on the other side of the aisle, they’re helping the Deep State take him down; or they’re supporting their favourite political flavour oblivious to the fact that both sides of the aisle are using the antipathy for each other amongst the gullible populace to disguise the Big Truth that we are addressing in this analysis.
When I first set out to analyse US monetary policy in light of the petrodollar agreement concluded between Richard Nixon and King Faisal in 1974, I was convinced that the Saudis had used this agreement to blackmail the US into fighting wars solely for them and, specifically, to help them spread their violent, intolerant sect of Wahhabism throughout the world. All evidence seemed to point that way. Bad bad Saudis.
But when you dig more deeply, unanswered questions pop up.
Recently, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) unleashed a bombshell revelation, to wit:
“Asked about the Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism, the austere faith that is dominant in the kingdom and that some have accused of being a source of global terrorism, Mohammed said that investments in mosques and madrassas overseas were rooted in the Cold War, when allies [read the US] asked Saudi Arabia to use its resources to prevent inroads in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.” [my highlighting]
MBS is actually saying what many have suspected all along, namely, that the chaos that reigns throughout the Muslim world today, thanks to ISIS, al-Qaeda and the latter’s re-brandings, were not the creation of the oil exporters themselves but rather the brainchildren of Western leaders so unspeakably evil and depraved that no wickedness is beyond them. Leaders who would not only work evil but would certainly revel in it. They, the Western Dark Ones, so said the Saudi prince, caused the wars that killed at least a half-million men, women and children, almost all innocent bystanders in wars fought by US and allied pilots safely ensconced in their cockpits high above them and out of sight and out of earshot of the anguished cries and awful explosions that instantly snatched away their homes, their lives, their dreams. Even as their countrymen insouciantly scurried about their business, spending or receiving in payment the horrid blood-stained instrument at the origin of all this apocalyptic misery.
But would I take the world of a man like MBS, whom most of the world considers a heartless cold-blooded killer? No, I would not. But I am not relying on his honesty – if he has any – I am looking at how the above bombshell statement of his fits the behaviour pattern of the billionaires who have seized the reins of America and the world and ridden the pale horse over the bodies of the saints for over a century. And I recall how MBS and his kinsmen have in the past threatened to expose the Deep State and its involvement in skulduggery of various kinds, particularly in foreign affairs.
For instance, Quartz reports:
“The Saudi statement added:
The Kingdom also affirms that if it receives any action [in response to Trump’s threat of “severe punishment,” which, though empty, clearly offended him] it will respond with greater action, [NCC highlighting] and that the Kingdom’s economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy and that the Kingdom’s economy is affected only by the impact of the global economy.”
The above statement suggests very strongly that the Saudis have the dirt on the US Deep State, another reason presidents fear them and most high ranking officials avoid criticising them.
So how does this fit my theory? Like a glove.
I had mentioned previously that the petrodollar agreement is based on a myth, ie, that the Saudis are supposedly the key to the dollar’s stability. And I pointed out that the mechanism by which the Saudis were supposed to prop up the USD was their charging only USD for their oil and keeping their cash reserves in US dollars. But is this mechanism really doing the heavy lifting or is there another aspect to how the dollar is kept afloat?
To be continued
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In the following we present our translation of an article from RIA Novosti with a commentary by Vince Dhimos.
This is an excellent analysis of the heart breaking situation in Ukraine, where economic solutions to the problems real people face, such as keeping warm in the winter and having power to light their homes and cook their meals, are being sacrificed on the altar of senseless pro-Western anti-Russian politics. The following is just one of many examples.
“It is quite simple to give them [the nuclear power plants] another fifteen years of active life – all they need to do is negotiate with Russia. In other words, the question is purely procedural. However, in 2015, Petro Poroshenko banned by decree any cooperation with our country, which is why the solution to a number of vital issues was immediately suspended.” [something like refusing to talk to the other great nuclear power--Vince]
The issue of power is particularly critical for Ukraine because they are already starved for energy. A few years back, the Ukrainian government shot itself in the foot by failing to pay for their natural gas consumption. The gas was easy to steal at one time because the pipeline running from Russia to Europe passed through Ukraine, and the resourceful Ukrainians just helped themselves to as much as they wanted. Eventually, Russia did what any sensible supplier would do and shut off the spigot. This is the main reason for the Nord Stream II that is now being laid, bypassing Ukraine and other Russia-hostile countries, despite all the Western hysteria to stop it, including sanctions on every investor in the project. Never mind that stopping the project would force Europe to buy the extravagantly expensive LNG, which Trump is eager to foist on them as part of his MAGA strategy. If Europe were forced in this direction, Germany would cease to be the second biggest exporter in the world and would fall on hard times. We have pointed out before that, in the West, notably the US, economics is now reduced to politics in this brave new era. If you will recall, the US was once the biggest advocate of the so-called “free market,” where each participant competed on the bases of price, availability, ease of delivery, quality and the like economic factors. Today, though Trump complains of unfair trading policies by China, US car manufacturers are blatantly subsidized and oil and gas execs who foolishly invested in fracking ventures and lost their shirts were later bailed out by a 2017 tax law that gives these incompetents tax credits, read subsidies. The fracking process is inherently extravagant and can be profitable only in an environment of horrendously high prices at the pump – or if the government props up the investors at tax payers’ expense. BTW, the WTO considers these subsidies unfair trading practices when the product in question is exported. But who would dare enforce the law on the Exceptional US? China is the only target of these rules.
Meanwhile, the brilliant folks who run the Ukraine are paying extra to have Russian gas. Since they are too proud to buy their gas directly from Russia (politics trumps economics), they are buying Russian gas from middle men in Europe who simply reroute it to the Ukraine. Cash on the barrel head, no cheating this time.
It is not wonder that, as President Poroshenko has admitted (and as we reported here), US-backed Ukraine is the poorest country in Europe.
Once these nuclear reactors are off line, thanks to Poroshenko’s shooting himself and his country in the foot, it will be lights out for the Ukrainians who elected him.
It didn’t have to be this way.
(As usual, you won’t find this information in your msm or even the alternative press).
Ukrainian roulette for Russia: five nuclear reactors are at stake
Sergey Savchuk, for RIA Novosti
The following is not another attempt to show how bad things are in Ukraine, and particularly, it is not another rant. It is simply an analysis of the situation and an attempt to predict the possible development of events outside the context of the political situation. I will confess at once that Ukrainian specialists asked me to consider this topic, as local news resources on this issue are keeping deathly silence.
Russia saved Ukraine from a new Chernobyl. But for how long?
... At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine turned out to be one of the most "atomic" states on the planet (it still ranks no. eight in the world in terms of the power generation). Ukrainians received up to forty-six percent of all electricity from their nuclear power plants inherited from the USSR. There are five of them: Zaporizhzhya, Rivne, Khmelnitsky, South Ukraine and Chernobyl. Let us separately dwell on the latter. The conviction prevails in the mass consciousness that after the 1986 technological disaster the station was stopped and the entire area around it was evacuated. This is not true. As a result of the well-known events, only the fourth power unit failed, and the other three were working well and further, generating electricity. The last (third) power unit was decommissioned back in 2000.
And now to the topic of conversation. It is known from open sources that by 2020 Ukraine will reach the end of the life of its four power units:
• Rivne NPP, the third block, term - December 2017
• Khmelnitsky NPP, first unit, term - December 2018
• South-Ukrainian NPP, the third block, term - February 2020
• Zaporizhia NPP, fifth unit, term - May 2020
VVER-1000 water-cooled reactors are installed in all of these units. It is easy to calculate that in less than two years, the leadership of Ukraine will face the question of saving or losing four gigawatts of generation all at once. To make it a little clearer: this amounts to 35 terawatts per hour, while the whole of Hungary, for example, produces 38 terawatts a year.
Naturally, Ukraine received Soviet infrastructure as a legacy from the broken family of fraternal peoples. During the years of independence in the energy sector, our neighbours did not build anything new; even the construction of the third power unit of the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant (NPP), to which the Czech company Skoda was supposed to deliver the reactor in keeping with the political exigency, was not completed. Over the years of independence [NSS—the author is referring here to Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union], only two energy projects have been successfully implemented: this is the commissioning in 1995 of the sixth power unit at the Zaporozhia NPP and the fourth unit of the Rovno nuclear power plant. Of course, these projects were successful only thanks to cooperation with Russia. All other initiatives were confined to the statements of politicians and to the pages of the press.
As you know, any equipment requires constant maintenance, repair and sensitive operation. What can we say about such a complex and high-tech facility as a nuclear power plant? The issue of extending the life of Ukrainian reactors over the past few years has already been raised more than once. For example, in 2010 and 2011, the life of the first and second power units of the Rovno NPP, respectively, expired. They are reliable "old" VVER-440s. Energy infrastructure in the literal sense of the word, depends on the kind of political system in the country and the stage it is in. All reactors that heat and light Ukraine have been developed and created in the USSR, and only one country, Russia, can extend their life. More specifically, representatives of Russian production and regulation: Rosatom and Rostekhnadzor - the latter is the company that performs licensing of such facilities. No one else in the world will ever take responsibility, no matter how much they ask, or even beg.
No, of course, in theory, a conventional Mitsubishi corporation can start research and development work, but the time frame for such events usually exceeds ten years, and licensing is needed today.
Rings, Welding and Radiation
Let us explain why expiration of operation is so important. To put it quite simply, every reactor is a huge pressure cooker welded together out of steel rings. During operation, various chemical and thermal processes take place inside the reactor, which naturally cause wear and tear on the metal. Over time, excess carbon begins to accumulate in the welds of the shell. To test the potential operability of the reactor, water is drained from it and the fuel assemblies are removed. After this, the so-called "annealing" of the internal volume of the reactor is carried out, entailing raising the temperature to 475 degrees (sometimes higher). This process itself takes at least one hundred hours. After this, the shell is allowed to cool down and the most rigorous analysis of the condition is carried out, including microflaw and flaw detection, and the state of the welds is carefully checked. In the case of the Rovno VVER-440, this technology has long been worked out to the last detail by Russian nuclear scientists and allows us to extend the life of the reactor by twenty years. At the time of expiration, there were no critical disagreements between our countries, and both units received licenses for another two decades of hard work.
As for the more modern VVER-1000s, their annealing is also tested. Recently, a research group represented by Rosenergoatom, OKBM Gidropress and NRC Kurchatov Institute reported on the first successful annealing of the WWER-1000 reactor vessel in history. The results will extend their life for fifteen years. It is difficult to overestimate this event; suffice it to say that this is the most ubiquitous of all the reactors in operation. At the very moment as you read these lines, thirty-seven VVER-1000s are operating simultaneously around the world, including the four Ukrainian ones mentioned above.
What’s the problem?
Let's start with the purely technical part. To better understand the essence of the issue, the four units mentioned above shall be divided into two equal groups. In the first group we will include the third unit of Rovno and the first unit of the Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant (NPP). These are reactors, in which no changes have been made, operating on the initially defined fuel, which is produced and supplied from Russia by TVEL. It is quite simple to give them another fifteen years of active life – they need only negotiate with Russia. In other words, the question is purely procedural. However, in 2015, Petro Poroshenko banned by decree any cooperation with our country, which is why the solution of a number of vital issues was immediately suspended.
The second group is much more interesting. The third power unit of the South Ukrainian and the fifth power unit of the Zaporozhia NPP uses nuclear fuel supplied by the American company Westinghouse [this change was made by Poroshenko to please the US and spite the Russians--Vince]. And here is where the aforementioned problem begins. Rosatom and Rostekhnadzor simply cannot physically extend the life of the resource because the reactor is powered by freelance fuel. All its physical and other characteristics are classified and are the intellectual property of a foreign country. Moreover: Ukraine, of course, does not provide any data on the results of the use of American fuel. Even if we assume that Russia will still be invited as a licensor, the study of this data alone will take considerable time. For its part, Westinghouse cannot extend the life of these two reactors: the reactors and the entire plant are not their production. Dead end.
The work of all five NPPs in Ukraine is managed by the National Atomic Energy Generating Company Energoatom. But the supervisory functions are assigned to the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (HIARU). Here we must point out that, although the word “state” is present in the title, the leadership of the power is subject to a very arbitrary attitude. The only body to which the inspectorate submits fully and unconditionally is the IAEA. This is understandable: presidents come and go and the composition of the parliaments and the vectors of political trends change, but no one wants to wind up with a second Chernobyl.
And so: on November 22, a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Centre for Nuclear Property Management was held, at which the issue "On the status of the work to extend the life of power unit No. 1 of the Khmelnitsky NPP" was considered. The KNPP leaders spoke at the board, and an official resolution was adopted on the basis of the hearings, the first paragraph of which reads: "we consider it possible to contemplate the issue of restarting the operation of the Khmelnitsky NPP power unit No. 1 at power levels, subject to extension of the service life of the reactor building, transport equipment and the like.” There are, of course, many points here, but we are interested in the first and main one. If translated from clerical to Russian, this means that until the reactor receives permission and a license, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine prohibits its operation. We have discussed above the entity that can issue this very license. In fact, the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine shifted responsibility from a sick head to a healthy one, that is, to Energoatom. If we evaluate only the facts, then we see that Ukraine actually has given up on the first power unit of the Khmelnitsky NPP.
We will not venture to predict how the Ukrainian authorities, who have just declared another deadly battle against Russia, will behave in this situation. On the one hand, they can save four gigawatts of generation by simply agreeing with Moscow. On the other hand, we see that Ukraine prefers to think without its head.
Vince answers on Quora
The question was “Why don’t China and Russia become allies”?
A person claiming to be a “Russian propagandist” answered this question first repeating all the usual anti-Russian mantras.
American neoconservatives and Russian "liberals" have evil intentions towards Russia and China and want to create conflict and mistrust between the two.
Nixon and Kissinger were the first US officials to advocate granting Most-Favoured-Nation status to China. The ill-disguised ulterior motive was to drive a wedge between China and Russia. The sneaky trick backfired. The status was granted after Nixon’s term was truncated and the main effect was that the US lost its status as the world’s chief manufacturer. Relations between Russia and China were never seriously affected by this trade policy.
But the decrepit old gang of Russia baiters never gave up trying to implement their decrepit old idea.
One of the most subtle techniques these anti-Russian militants use is propaganda designed to create hostility between Russia and China.
First of all, let me say that I have a master's degree in Russian; I lived in the Soviet Union while studying at Leningrad University, and later I studied Chinese for three years in the Chinese-speaking world (primarily at the Mandarin Training Centre in Taibei).
Over the years I learned to love the Russian and Chinese cultures and peoples, not to mention their languages and literatures.
There is so much disinformation in the West and among the Russian "liberals" that it is difficult to cope with the lies, but my unique background obliges me to try.
There is this absolutely false notion that China wants total control over Russia. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest this. But plenty of propaganda.
The "experts" sometimes say that the only common interests between the two countries are economic and are ethnocentric, with each country focussing only on its own narrow interests. But the main shared interests are in fact geopolitical. One of the main interests is de-dollarization, ie, reducing the use of the US dollar in world trade in order to fight US hegemony and usher in the multipolar world coveted by both states. This is a very long-term goal that will not be achieved for years. It is therefore not urgent to worry about China controlling Russia. For Russia, China is the key to the success of this effort, and vice-versa. Already in 2014, the two countries had signed an agreement to deliver Russian gas to China for 30 years thenceforth using a rouble-yuan currency swap – effectively eliminating the use of the USD! This means that, in any case, the two states must get along well enough for the next three decades, and there is ample motive to do so. So, how can anyone claim there is an impending rupture in China-Russia relations? It is pure empty propaganda.
Some "experts" also want us to believe that the new Silk Road is only a Chinese enterprise. It's just not true. China has invited all countries to participate and Russia is already participating. 29 heads of state, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, were invited to the Belt Road Forum (BRF) in Beijing. The US was also invited to participate but was too proud to join. That is, it had already absurdly projected failure for China, and joining the OBOR would have conspicuously contradicted that foolish forecast. Too bad because the project promises to be lucrative for all investors.
Some "experts" also say that Putinism is capitulation of Russia to the West. However, these experts provide no evidence of this. There is none. Quite to the contrary, Putin has begun to completely dominate Syria and the entire Middle East, edging out the US with every passing day. A recent survey amongst young people in the Middle East shows that the country the majority of them trust is Russia, whereas the same survey showed several years ago that most of them trusted the United States and not Russia. Thus the situation has reversed itself since Russia entered the fray in Syria and quickly helped Syrian troops root out ISIS almost everywhere (except in those areas like Deir Ezzor and Al-Tanf where the US is protecting them). In addition, Russia has sold arms to almost all states in the Middle East, including US allies such as the Saudis. Russia has also sold nuclear power plants to several countries in the Middle East, and also industrial parks, including one along the Suez Canal.
In addition, the commander of the US Special Forces, General Raymond Thomas, recently lamented that his EC-130 reconnaissance aircraft are no longer able to carry out their mission in Syria (where the United States is illegally present) because of "the most aggressive electronic warfare environment on the planet." He was referring of course to the superior Russian system of electronic warfare. This was confirmed when Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said, after the installation of S-300 air defence systems in Syria, that "satellite navigation, radar and communications of any aircraft participating in the attack on Syria from the West will be suppressed.” Russia is the master of Syria and the United States will soon have to leave. The recent interception of 3 Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait also illustrates that Russia is capable of defying the US in the boldest of terms. So, how is this compatible with the notion of Russia bowing to the west? Again, it is empty propaganda devoid of facts.
Putinism is superior because it masterfully avoids military conflicts while showing the United States that Russia is boss. It forces the United States to its knees without directly using its weapons against them. This is the work of a true diplomatic and military genius. There has never been a man like Putin anywhere in the world at any time in history.
Finally, how can anyone say that Russia is slowly deindustrialising its economy? [as the Russian “expert” had asserted] It's quite the opposite. Since the United States began imposing sanctions on Russia, the country is working diligently to become self-sufficient, and succeeding. When China stopped buying US soybeans in response to Trump's sanctions, Russia began to assume the role of supplying soybeans to China.
As far as industry is concerned, Russia manufactures its own machinery, its own autos - very high quality automobiles and in diversified lines; Russia is also leading the world in the construction of nuclear power plants and is seeking to become the leader in artificial intelligence. Furhter, it is a leader in shipbuilding; it also makes its own computers and develops its own software; it has developed a system that plays the same role as the SWIFT system (which is located in Belgium and controlled by the United States so as to punish states that refuse to bow to the Exceptional Nation), and allows various countries to bypass the Belgian SWIFT system.
Finally, as a kind of extension to the Chinese OBOR, Russia has developed an arctic trade route that cuts off many miles from the standard shipping route between Asia and Europe via the Suez Canal.
Russia is a land of miracles. Anyone trying to minimize, undermine or slander Russia and its government will eventually be humiliated. If you are Russian, be proud of it and be proud of your patriotic leader.
If you are a Russian “liberal,” you will inherit the earth despite yourself.
Following is our translation of an article from the Russian site Nation News, with a foreword from Vince Dhimos.
Back in December 2013, Assistant Secretary of State, wife of notorious Neocon Robert Kagan, gave a rousing speech before the National Press Club praising the work of her administration in bringing democracy to Ukraine. She sounded like a charismatic evangelist pleading with sinners to surrender their souls to the Lord, or motivational speakers selling AMWAY to hopeful perspective entrepreneurs. Oddly, Ukraine had already had a democratically elected government at the time of the violent, illegal Maidan coup, which was supported in part by USAID and a Soros foundation. Soros admitted his involvement on national TV. (Funny how “conservatives” will condemn Soros but, thanks to Trump’s support for the failed government of Ukraine, will also support weapon deliveries to Ukraine to kill Russian speakers as part of Soros' fendish plans).
“SOROS: Well, I set up a foundation in Ukraine before Ukraine became independent of Russia. And the foundation has been functioning ever since and played an important part in events now.”
It was supported as well by European politicians, who dangled EU membership before the greedy eyes of Ukrainian politicians.
Anyone who needs unbiased, non-government sponsored information on the Maidan coup needs to keep a safe distance from US politicians and msm, and to read this.
The Maidan coup involved an illegal change in the Ukrainian constitution, making US intervention, or more precisely instigation, illegal as well. In law, whether international or other, it is axiomatic that aiding and abetting a crime is never legal. The US committed a crime in supporting this illegal action and is still sending US taxpayer-paid lethal arms to support the Ukrainian government’s murder of Donbass citizens. To better understand the intricacies of the Maidan coup. I urge the reader to read the following article in its entirety:
Western msm want us to think that the reason for Ukraine’s failure is Russia, which added Crimea to its national territory in 2014 and supports, at least morally, the insurgent groups in Donbass (now the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics). They never mention that Crimea held a referendum in March 2014 and over 90% of Crimeans voted to accede to the Russian Federation. This referendum is supported by international law and precedent. Further, the predominantly Russian-speaking Lugansk and Donetsk also held referenda in 2014. 89.07% of Dontetsk citizens and 90.53% of Lugansk citizens voted for independence. These results unequivocally give Donbass the right to be independent under international law and precedent. Yet Western msm and pols insist on calling this independence movement Russian aggression. It isn’t either.
The upshot of the Maidan coup, based on the promise by the EU to make Ukraine an associate member and hence improve its economy, is that the Ukrainian economy is now the worst in Europe, and its GDP fell sharply after the coup “succeeded.”
The chart posted here shows that the Maidan coup, purporting to bring prosperity, almost completely ruined the country. Ironically, in 2013, the year just before the coup, Ukraine was enjoying the highest GDP ever – 181.31 billion – under a pro-Russian government (thanks to Russian investment and trade). The year of the coup – staged on the promise of greater prosperity – it fell drastically to 133.5 bil and then further, to 91.03 bil in 2015 and remained low until the present. You might suppose the loss of certain territories to Russia and Russia-loyal citizens could have caused this, but President Poroshenko himself admitted in the statement quoted below that “the leadership of the country was to blame.” He didn’t mention it, but Ukraine is suffering the effects of corruption, supported by the hope of US and EU intervention, which is not forthcoming. Money cannot solve the problem of corruption, which is a moral, not an economic, issue.
This should show every American that the delivery of lethal weapons to this failed regime is nothing short of a crime against humanity, supported by the silence of the American people.
There was a time when America had a sound economy and actually helped out other countries, for example, Germany under the Marshall Plan, and Europe still remembers this. But they are slow to learn that there will never be another example of US altruism. We showed here what the US does to countries that it defeats in war. Ukraine has behaved like a spoiled kid who steals other kids' lunch money and threatens to have his mafia father beat them up if they complain. What they don't know is that the US is struggling with its own foundering economy and can't give them any substantive aid, only a token amount of useful new weapons and a lot of old decommissioned ships and planes that cost them millions to refurbish. And they have adopted the Russia hate of this bully state thinking this will ingratiate them with the bully. But in fact the bully is tired of Ukraine and its constant whining. As for Europe, people there are horrified at the fascist ideology that pervades the Ukrainian populace and parts of the military structure. They have forgotten that Germany is embarrassed at its own Nazi past and France is embarrassed at its Vichy past. They want to bury Ukraine somewhere in a dark corner. The future of the country as an EU member is not very rosy.
Poroshenko says why Ukraine is the poorest country in Europe
November 12, 2018
According to the Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko, the pace of economic growth in the country does not meet the requirements of the population, and Ukraine itself today is the poorest country in Europe.
During the meeting of the Regional Development Council in Kiev, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko acknowledged that the country today remains the poorest state in Europe. He acknowledged that economic growth does not meet the requirements of the population, and said that the leadership of the country was to blame.
As Poroshenko said, if 70% of the population is confident that the country is clearly moving in the wrong direction, then the Ukrainian authorities are not working hard enough.
Commenting on the expected increase in gas tariffs, he said that this is a necessary measure.
As previously reported by the publication Nation News, "If this is not stopped, problems await Ukraine": a fatal forecast for the country was voiced in Kiev.
END OF TRANSLATION
Stephen Cohen on Ukraine
Official laments situation in Ukraine
Back in December 2013, Assistant Secretary of State, wife of notorious Neocon Robert Kagan, gave a rousing speech before the National Press Club praising the work of her administration in bringing democracy to Ukraine. Oddly, Ukraine had already had a democratically elected government at the time of the violent, illegal Maidan coup.
Ukraine army attacks Donbass
Urkaine murders Russian speakers, destroys homes
Quora is a forum that enables people to consult experts on just about any topic. I have been listed as an expert in languages and international affairs, among other things, and am directly asked questions on related topics.
You can learn a lot from Westerners who are indoctrinated by the statements of politicians and the msm and believe implicitly in them. These people are generally not the enemy. They just need help.
I responded to a question as to why the US and the West want to remove Bashar Al-Assad and fund groups that oppose him. I said that the US had signed in 1973 an agreement with the Saudis to use their military to “defend” them and that things had gotten out of hand. My response:
At this same URL I showed that the US has been a mercenary of the Saudi royals ever since Nixon and King Faisal signed what I call the petrodollar agreement, in 1973.
(This same text is available at the NSS page: http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news--analysis/the-us-military-is-a-mercenary-force-in-the-hire-of-the-saudi-dictatorship)
A respondent retorted:
“These aren’t facts. There’s are your opinions and interpretations. Many of which I believe are no where near the truth.
You isn’t cute anything you said [sic]. Didn’t source.”
It may be worth noting that I have written at Quora numerous commentaries on the brutality of the Israelis and am sometimes attacked by Israeli trolls whose English usage and grammar tips them off as non-native speakers of English. It appears as if some of these trolls follow me all over the forum just to harass. But their views are rather uniform and include a pronounced pro-Saudi stance, thanks to the shared hostility toward Iran. (BTW, the anti-Iran position of the White House has everything to do with US kowtowing to the Saudis/Israelis). Since this mentality infects others, it is important for the other side to be heard. BTW, instead of directly answering the trolls, I generally just post links to sites that show, often with videos, the brutality of the Israeli army against the hapless residents of the occupied territories. (Such as this one: https://vimeo.com/86575949). Most of my linked material is from Israeli sites like Haaretz or Jerusalem Post. I also like to post links to articles showing how the Israeli government is losing the support of young US Jews and Evangelicals. These reports and videos eventually cool of the hotheads and send the trolls packing. Facts are still facts.
BTW, unlike liberal critics of "Christian" Zionism, I do not criticise these "Christians" for being overly literal in their scriptural interpretations. In fact, quite the opposite is true. They are no literal enough in this case. They base much of their Cult of Israel on Ezekiel 37, but if they examined Ezekiel 37 more closely, they would see in verse 24 that David is the king of this Israel and that this nation is obedient to God's decrees. Thus, since David has been dead for millennia and has not been resurrected, and since a Reuters poll shows that a full 60% of today's Israelis self-describe as "irreligious," there is no way modern Israel could be construed to be the nation prophesied by Ezekiel. So where did their heresy come from? Mostly from the Scofield Bible commentaries, which are full of flaws.
I responded as follows:
First off, which of my facts would you need sources for? After all, my arguments are based on the kind of countries and leaders that the Saudis hate, and which just happen to be the targets of US wars. The wars are common knowledge and the kinds of leaders are well known as well. I entered into detail, covering all the wars and the leaders who were taken out by the US and showed how the outcomes of each war were all in keeping with Saudi wishes. This is not rocket science. The main hurdle is allowing yourself to see the obvious.
On the issue of “sources,” let us look at an analogy.
In the early 1500s, a Polish scholar named Mikołai Kopernik (we call him Nicolaus Copernicus now) burned the midnight oil for many years doing research on planetary movements relative to the sun, and after this painstaking research, wrote a book titled De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres—back then, European scholars wrote in Latin) explaining, based on Kopernik’s mathematical calculations (only his, no one helped), that the planets, including earth, rotate about the sun and that, contrary to popular belief everywhere in the world, the sun does not move relative to the planets but rather it’s the other way around. (Do you need a source for that too?)
Kopernik knew that if he published this book too early, the Church would likely try him as a heretic. Religion was the centre of Western thinking, just as it is today, where US foreign policy is based in large part on a misreading of the Bible, as I showed here https://www.quora.com/Why-do-people-follow-the-thousands-year-old-religion-and-kill-for-it. Worst of all for Kopernik is that the poor fellow was unable to provide a single footnote in his book. Why? Because his was pioneering research and no one had ever written anything like it. Further, it was taboo material. Even if someone else had thought about writing on this topic, they would have been deterred by fear of the Church.
Now some Westerners today are also doing pioneering research, and because they are breaking new ground, there just is no one to cite as a source. And in the field of geopolitics, pioneering can be fatal. There are agencies watching those who dare to challenge the received wisdom from the msm, Washington, Wall Street, AIPAC and the ADL. And they have their henchmen in social media.
Thus many Western zombies will say “but you have no sources.” Because every time a Westerner says or writes anything, Westerners expect the ideas expressed to have a safe, approved precedent somewhere. But if that person is basing his text on his own personal research, no matter how meticulous the study or how accurate the observations may be, many Western readers will reject it and will condemn the unfortunate messenger for daring to step out of line.
The upshot of Kopernik’s story is that he was obliged to have the book published on his deathbed because he was afraid, based on the experience of others, that he was literally risking being burned at the stake simply for reporting his scientific findings.
Westerners have not changed since then. We still burn “heretics.”
In the following we present our translation of an article from gazeta.ru on the chilling implications of the US’s exit from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty).
“If the United States, under the leadership of Donald Trump, withdraws from the INF Treaty and applies medium-range missiles to Russia, the system will not be able to give an appropriate response. For this reason, Russia may turn to a strategy of a preventive nuclear strike.”
Americans discuss the possibility of a nuclear war with aplomb, mostly because Evangelicals, the largest voting bloc, believe implicitly that US war policy enjoys the blessings of the Almighty, particularly when the government is in harmony with the policies of Israel. It does not matter that Israel does not in any way meet the description in Ezekiel 37 upon which their “Christian” Zionism is based. And it matters not that this Israel is 60% “irreligious” or that its leadership grievously violates the Ten Commandments and the Levitican commandment to love one’s neighbour. Nor does it matter that the Old Testament God of Abraham had banished the Hebrews from their homeland for disobedience and this disobedience had never gone away. All that matters is that they believe in this Israel and many think the Holy Spirit has told them that Trump is somehow God’s man. When mere men base their theology on the feeling that the Holy Spirit is telling them things that clash with what the Bible clearly spells out, mischief is just around the corner.
But it is not just Evangelicals who feel invulnerable to atomic radiation. The bulk of Americans never learn of the dangers of backing out of long-standing arms control treaties. Very few are reading this and other blogs that inform them of what the Russians themselves are saying, and, unlike in real democracies or governments resembling them, US msm and politicians keep telling their subjects that the US is invincible so not to worry.
It doesn’t matter that all warlike theocracies of the past (such as the invading Mongols) have come to a bitter end. Because the US is different we are told. It is the Indispensable and Exceptional nation, like ancient Israel and has a special blessing from the Almighty. Thus it can toy with nuclear war all it wants and no harm will come to it. It therefore has no responsibility to its future generations to raise a finger to prevent a nuclear holocaust.
This lack of concern on the part of the American cult of Israel and the terminally brainwashed fits in perfectly with the evil designs of the US elites to wreak havoc in the world and even to court disaster. And yet these elites are mostly atheistic. It is a perfect symbiosis between two groups that could not be more different from each other, working in concert to create chaos, one intentionally and one in complete childish innocence.
It’s a perfect storm.
Meanwhile, commentaries like this one never get finished because news continues to break.
This just in:
Thanks to Trump’s exiting the INF treaty, Russia considers reopening a base in Cuba:
Oops. Did someone forget that Russia also as options?
The “dead hand” withers: How Trump is depriving Russia of protection
Why Russia has recognized the futility of the nuclear "Dead Hand"
"Army" section 11-9-2018
The “Perimetr” system, also known as the “Dead Hand” system, which provides for a retaliatory nuclear strike on the enemy in the event of the country's leadership perishes, may become useless. If the United States, under the leadership of Donald Trump, withdraws from the INF Treaty and threatens Russia with medium-range missiles, the system will not be able to provide an appropriate response. For this reason, Russia may turn to the strategy of a preventive nuclear strike.
The ex-chief of the Main Staff of the Strategic Missile Forces (1994-1996), Colonel-General Viktor Yesin, said that the Russian system of automatic retaliatory nuclear attack “Perimetr,” known in the West as the “Dead Hand”, may be useless in the event of a military conflict.
According to Yesin, after the possible withdrawal of the United States from the Treaty on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the Perimetr system may lose its effectiveness. He stressed that, although the system is functioning and has undergone modernization, the Russian side will be able to launch only those missiles that will “survive” after the “aggressor’s” first strike.
According to the former military leader, the United States will be able to deliver the first blow if they deploy intermediate-range ballistic missiles in Europe, where the INF currently does not allow the deployment of intermediate range missile. Such missiles will be able to destroy almost all of the missile forces in the European part of Russia, and the rest of the missiles will be intercepted by the missile defence system, Yesin concluded, who expressed his opinion in an interview with the newspaper Zvezda.
“Frankly, we do not yet have an effective response to US intermediate-range missiles in Europe.”
If the United States starts to deploy its missiles in Europe, we will have no other choice but to abandon the retaliatory strike doctrine and move on to the pre-emptive strike doctrine,” the retired military man emphasized.
The so-called "Perimetr" system, commonly known as the "Dead Hand", is a system of automated atomic weapons use, in case the country's leadership dies as a result of an enemy nuclear strike.
The decision to retaliate with the "Perimetr" is made on the basis of information from numerous sensors deployed in the country - seismic, radiation and atmospheric pressure, which determine the signs of nuclear explosions. In peacetime, this system can determine with almost 100% accuracy where in the world a nuclear device was detonated.
Following the decision by the Perimetr system to use strategic nuclear weapons (and this is actually a computerized solution), a command missile (or rockets) is launched with a special warhead, which in flight sends commands to launch all nuclear weapons carriers that have corresponding receivers at control points. In this case, intercontinental ballistic missiles and missiles from submarines are launched automatically.
At the same time, as experts note, the operating characteristics of the Perimetr system can only be judged speculatively at this time. There is no exact data on this.
There is some reason to assume that the Perimetr consists of command posts, command ballistic missiles, receiving devices and an autonomous command and control system (all terms are very, very conditional).
It is worth noting that in March 2018, one of the leading American experts on nuclear disarmament, Bruce Blair, warned that the Russian Perimetr (Dead Hand) system was still being improved.
Earlier, US President Donald Trump had said that Washington was withdrawing from the INF Treaty, which was signed in 1987 by the presidents of the USSR and the USA and is still considered the cornerstone of international security. It meant the destruction of the whole class of missiles of this type in Europe.
Russia's permanent representative to the European Union, Vladimir Chizhov, warned that in the event the Treaty on the Elimination of Short-Range and Medium-Range Missiles (INF) is dissolved, European countries "will face nightmares." According to Chizhov, quoted by RIA Novosti, this agreement is one of the main pillars for maintaining world peace.
“Europe ... will inevitably have to face again those nightmares that haunted it more than three decades ago,” said Chizhov. He added that in order to prevent such a development of events, Europe should take a decisive position on the treaty.
END OF TRANSLATION
We had written before about the boondoggle of US LNG sales to Poland. Now that Poland has its LNG terminal set up, they are trying to sell the world the fairy tale that this US gas, which is produced, stored and shipped at exorbitant prices, is cheaper than gas delivered by pipeline from Russia without special fracking or cryogenic treatment and storage in expensive terminals. Yeah right.
Below is our translation of the story from a Russian online news site.
The prices of American LNG and Russian gas were compared in Poland
Poland will buy gas from the United States. The contract for the supply of American LNG was signed the day before. The annual volume of gas supplied to Poland will amount to 2 million tons. The contract is for 20 years. The head of oil and gas company PGNiG, Piotr Woźniak meanwhile compared gas prices from the United States and Russia and came to the following conclusion.
The supply of American liquefied gas will cost the country less than Russian gas. The purchase price of gas from the United States is almost 30% lower than in Russia.
There are three possible explanations for the report that US LNG shipped to Poland is cheaper than Russian gas.
1.— Without mentining it, Woźniak was in fact slyly comparing Russian LNG and US LNG, rather than Russian gas delivered by pipeline and US LNG. This would be an irrelevant comparison because Poland had been buying the very cheap Russian gas delivered by pipeline, with which US LNG cannot possibly compete – unless, of course, it is subsidized by the US, in violation of WTO rules. And that is a very real possibility thanks to the new tax reform.
2.— Piotr Woźniak is lying to induce other suckers in Europe to buy US LNG, as part of a secret deal with the US.
3.— The tax credits to gas companies under the 2017 “tax reform,” initially giving one-time tax credits to the CEOs of gas companies thanks to taxpayer generosity will be extended so that the US can be Great Again at taxpayer expense for at least the next 20 years. If this is the case, then the inherently extravagantly expensive LNG will be sold at a permanent discount and the taxpayer will simply stay on the hook for the price difference. This rotten scheme is not the way to grow an economy. It can only serve the purpose of putting Russia out of business and making Americans poorer. But since it violates the WTO rule banning subsidization of exports, it can easily be challenged in court.
Every single one of the reader comments on this article expressed disbelief with this report, showing that ordinary Russians are smarter than Polish officials. Here is a translation of my comment posted at the site:
There are several processes that make American LNG much more expensive than Russian pipeline gas, and this is a constant that cannot be changed.
One: this gas is produced by hydraulic fracturing, which is more costly, because 1. it requires an expensive additional process and 2. the gas field lasts a very short time, requiring frequent opening of new fields and redrilling.
Then, after the gas is extracted, it must be processed cryogenically and compressed into a giant storage terminal.
After that, it must be transferred to a vessel equipped with giant storage domes, and sent abroad to a similar storage terminal. The gas must then be regassified by heat exchange, usually against sea water, and injected into the transport network.
The only reason why this gas could possibly cheaper is that the US government subsidizes it. This subsidy is indirect and based on a 2017 tax reform, which gives tax breaks to gas companies that show low or zero profits. Of course, the taxpayer pays for it. In fact, the WTO (World Trade Organization) does not allow subsidization of exports, and Russia can therefore sue the United States for the unfair loss of its market share.
Now that the Trump Effect has worn off sufficiently to give the Congressional elections to the Democrats, many Trump fans are despondent. Paul Craig Roberts has written a commentary commiserating with them. However, PCR seems a little confused. He declares that Trump was originally an anti-Establishment candidate but then when elected, was pulled off course by his opposition. True, Trump sounded, for example, like he wanted to stop illegal immigration, but he never implemented plans to build the promised wall. And he presented as anti-Muslim and said he would keep Muslims from entering the country, but if you looked at the final version of his no-visa list, it exempts, and hence, welcomes, the most dangerous groups, such as Wahhabists from Saudi Arabia, while blocking the more harmless Christians and Shiites from Syria. It was not anti-Muslim, it was anti-moderate Muslim! Not what the voters had in mind, but most did not read the details because of their implicit trust in their hero. But because Trump put up a good talk, he was seen as infallible and his decisions became the new conservatism. Well, Neoconservative means new conservative. Why be surprised? He was a Neocon all along.
If you had listened closely to Trump, you would have seen that he was never anti-Establishment at all, although he spoke against the Establishment to garner votes during his campaign.
The big give-away was his anti-Iran rhetoric, which, as even PCR admits, was warlike and pleasing to the Neocons.
To understand why Trump could never have been deemed anti-Establishment by a wide awake observer, we need to look at the 4 most important markers, which are simultaneously the drivers, of Establishment policy, ie:
the arms manufacturers
Let’s examine these one by one:
Trump ran to Saudi Arabia as his first foreign visit as president and danced a fiendish looking sword dance with them. And he promised to sell them $400 billion worth of arms. The terror-sponsoring Saudis have been the most dangerous enemy of the American people — while also being the best friends of the US oligarchs. Trump was solidly pro-Establishment in this point, more so than most other presidents.
During his campaign, Trump spoke before AIPAC and told them he would always side with Israel. He kept that promise. Even though Israel fired 800 missiles into Syria in 2018 alone, killing soldiers who were fighting ISIS, and destroying infrastructure belonging to their anti-terror military. Worse, while Israel murdered hundreds of Palestinian protesters, Trump cheerfully moved the US embassy there to Jerusalem, tacitly supporting and even endorsing this murder and terror support.
In fact, Trump was solidly pro-Establishment in points 1, 2 and 3 because both Saudi and Israel hate Iran viscerally and would love to see the US attack the country. The dissolution of the Iran nuclear deal by Trump pleased both of these states, but it hurt the US because as a result of Trump's rupture, Russia, China and the EU, who wish to continue the deal, are now seeking ways to skirt the sanctions and the denial of SWIFT payment transfer rights to Iran. As a result they have come up with an agreement to create and use a SWIFT alternative, ie, the Special Purpose Vehicle. If this alternative can be implemented, all or most transactions with Iran and many other countries will be denominated in non-dollar currencies, which will tend to reduce the value of the US dollar. Other countries also have an interest in skirting US sanctions, including India, which just signed a deal with Russia to buy the banned S-400 air defence system. Payment will be in rupees.
The reader may ask why the Obama administration entered into the Iran deal that Trump and his supporters vehemently oppose. This is a question worthwhile looking into, but briefly we can state that while both Israel and Saudi hate Iran, the Democrat grassroots, though generally toeing the line on the bipartisan pro-Israel position, are also generally less Evangelical in their theology and not as inclined to accept dogmatic “Christian” Zionism. Therefore the Jews, while being loyal Democrat team mates, do not represent for the Democrats a sacred people anointed by God.
There is a great irony here in that while the Democrats base their platform on a less-Biblical view, and the Republicans tend to blindly support Israel, the fact is, a more-strict Biblical viewpoint would match the Democrat position better in real world terms than the Evangelical “Zionist” view, which is based on several misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the scripture, as explained here. Thus an atheist view is in fact closer to Biblical teachings than the stereotypical Evangelical view.
3.--The arms manufacturers
As for point 3, Trump’s sanctions on all Russian weapons sales are expected initially to foster their interests. What actually happens may, however, defeat their purposes, as the de-dollarization campaign gains traction and US arms are forced to compete with the often superior and cheaper Russian ones. But never expect the US to think long-term.
4.--The Federal Reserve
The sanctions mentioned above also benefit the Fed short-term. Further, Trump’s extremely pro-Saudi position benefits the Fed by implementing the US policy of propping up the USD under the petrodollar agreement concluded in 1973 between President Nixon and King Faisal. The myth of how this agreement supposedly benefits the dollar but may in fact be less beneficial than expected is explained here.
Thus in all 4 of these cardinal points, Trump has been the perfect Establishment candidate.
Paul Craig Roberts ends his commentary on a dour note, saying “My conclusion is that America is doomed. The people, with few exceptions, are not smart enough to continue to exist.”
He is right that Americans lack the intelligence to analyse their situation accurately and thus make rational decisions. For over a century, they have failed to seek solutions outside the established framework of the two-party system that keeps failing them colossally.
Yet while the US lacks the potential will and intelligence to solve its problems internally, it does not need to do anything on its own to make major changes in US foreign and military policy because Russia and China are changing the world’s political architecture drastically and bending international will to their own, and not through trickery, subterfuge or propaganda but by offering a better deal to their clients. In the 3 years since Russia entered the war in Syria, most terrorists have already been routed and the only terrorists still in the game are the ones enjoying US protection, eg, near the US bases at Deir Ezzor and Al-Tanf, near the Turkish border north of Manbij and in Idlib, where the US insisted on freezing a bad situation in place, although the Russians are prepared to defeat the terrorists there despite US efforts to protect their pals. De facto, Russia is well on the way to controlling the Middle East (with its eye on Lebanon next), and that means less war and more fruitful negotiations between factions, restoration of the will of the people in national politics and better guarantees of sovereignty for the nations there. As for China, it will continue to make loans and investments that target the prosperity of the nations of the region.
None of these positive changes will require input from the US people.
NSS translation with a foreword by Vince Dhimos
Remember when Trump pleaded to maintain good relations with a country that tortured a US resident to death because of jobs?
Do you think a multibillion dollar contract with Boeing would have created a few jobs for Americans?
President Trump ripped up a deal between Iran and Boeing worth $16.6 billion. Forced to look elsewhere for planes to modernize its fleet, Iran turned to Russia. I leave it up to the reader to savour the irony of the US throwing away billions by sending a client to Russia for a lucrative deal.
Sometimes it almost seems as If the US is intentionally weakening its economy. For instance, the government is promoting fracking even though almost all oil and gas companies are losing money in this field due to the expensive processes involved and the short lifespans of the energy fields. To artificially float these energy companies, a bill was passed in 2017 that actually gave the most hard-hit companies tax credits that cost taxpayers millions of dollars. Yet, as we showed here, fracking is inherently a losing proposition and barring a miracle, will never pay for itself.
“While [fracked] shale gas wells have a long life, they drop down to about 10% of their initial production after about 5 years or so.”
Jacqueline George, Author of Fracking 101 A Beginner's Guide to Hydraulic Fracturing
Answered Oct 16, 2016
“… I can say that the production flush for a new shale well is very short lived and by two years the wells are typically limping along.”
This real-world science-based info on fracking is why the purely economic picture looks so dismal, with most US oil operations running in the red or showing near-negligible profits, as reported, for example, here.
Further, the trade war with China and the sanctions on Russian oil and gas trade, and the sanctions intended for the EU are tempting these countries to create a method to circumvent the sanctions, notably the Special Purpose Vehicle that substitutes for SWIFT. The upshot will be less use of the dollar in world trade settlements. Iran and Venezuela have already virtually halted dollar use in trade settlements, and Russia recently sold its S-400 to India with payment specified in rupees.
The endless wars costing trillions of dollars and trashing the confidence of US allies are another example of how the US is shooting itself in the foot.
Either Washington officials are brain dead or they are stealthily seeking to destroy their country for some unknown reason.
And then there is the irresponsible debt exceeding GDP, with no hope of ever paying it down, and the endless arms boondoggles, as described here.
The US could actually be prosperous again it if swallowed its pride and joined China in its lucrative investments related to One Belt One Road, and if it stopped investing in trillions in weapons to use against Russia, and simply admitted to itself that neither China nor Russia is a real enemy of the US people. Nor is Iran, which, BTW, never cut the limbs off a living, screaming human being.
I guess you have to be an extreme torturer and murderer to give jobs to Americans.
Below is our translation from Russian of an article appearing in EADaily.
After breakdown of contracts with Boeing and Airbus, Iran turns to Russian SSJ-100
Iran's national airline, Iran Air, is seeking opportunities to replenish its fleet of passenger liners with the purchase of aircraft from foreign manufacturers outside the US and Europe. The Russian side with its short-haul Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ-100) is considered the most suitable partner in this deal. According to Reuters, this was reported on Saturday, November 3, by the executive director of Iran Air Farzane Sharafbafi.
According to her, Tehran needs to establish commercial relations with those aircraft manufacturers that are not dependent on the supply of components from the United States and the granting of licenses by the US government. “We will be happy for those (foreign) companies that can supply the necessary aircraft for Iran Air. We are ready to purchase (Russian) SSJ-100 or other liners produced not in European countries,” said Sharafbafi.
Recall that on May 8, when US President Donald Trump announced his country's withdrawal from the international agreement on the Iranian nuclear program*, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the revocation of licenses to supply Boeing and Airbus aircraft to Iran. Thus, the United States imposed a ban on deliveries to Iran of European Airbus liners, which is based in Toulouse, France, due to the fact that most of the components are made in the United States.
In January 2016, Iranian authorities announced plans to purchase more than 200 Boeing and Airbus aircraft. This decision was associated with the lifting of the US and European Union sanctions as a result of the conclusion of a nuclear deal in 2015, which did not allow the Islamic Republic to purchase passenger liners, or spare parts for them, in order to modernize its heavily worn air fleet. In December of the same year, it became aware of the conclusion of a contract for the purchase of 80 aircraft between the national carrier Iran Air and Boeing. The amount of the transaction was about $ 16.6 billion.
Iran is interested in purchasing aircraft SSJ-100 and intends to proceed to procurement after the resolution of issues regarding the supply of components. This was reported on October 22 by the Iranian ambassador to Russia, Mehdi Sanai, in an interview with Izvestia. “With regard to the SSJ-100, Iran is interested in acquiring planes like these. We need smaller aircraft, as Iranian airports in the provinces cannot accommodate large planes, ”the diplomat told the publication, adding that for three years Iranian airlines had been sending requests to the manufacturer of the SSJ-100 pursuant to purchasing the aircraft.
However, for the implementation of the supply, the company must obtain permission from an American supplier of some components. “I really hope that this issue will be resolved. In any case, now we are talking about reducing dependence on US components. The Iranian side is waiting for this issue to be finally resolved making it possible to proceed with the procurement,” the Iranian ambassador said.
According to him, two memoranda of understanding have already been signed with the manufacturer Sukhoi Superjet. In addition, Sanai noted that Iran has the most serious intentions of developing cooperation with Russia in the fields of aviation, space, construction of power plants, railway transport and others.
* Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA) - agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, concluded in July 2015 between the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Iran.
Read more: https://eadaily.com/en/news/2018/11/03/posle-sryva-kontraktov-s-boeing-i-airbus-iran-vernulsya-k-rossiyskim-ssj-100
This contribution is a commentary on our translation of “Intentional ‘mistakes’ of the United States in Syria,” an analysis of the “mistakes” in Syria designed to enable the US to achieve its true mission of sowing chaos and raining down death in Syria in order to perpetuate its presence there. As long as the US public swallows the absurd story that the frequent killing of warriors sincerely engaged in killing terrorists is done only “by mistake,” this integral part of US policy will be accepted and perpetuated. Peace in Syria, and in the long run, peace on earth, depends on your challenging it. The writer is Russian politician and intellectual Nikolai Starikov. (Linked here is a video of a speech of Starikov’s explaining the fundamental differences between the Russian and US mentalities).
In this article, Starikov mentions repeated US “mistakes” made at Deir Ezzor in numerous instances. I remember reading back in 2016 about a “mistaken” US air strike near Deir Ezzor that killed an estimated 60 Syrian service men in the Obama administration (NYT Report here). Later, the US built a military base at Deir Ezzor, and still later, similar “mistakes” also happened there, as discussed below, with more legitimate anti-terrorist warriors killed. After the 2016 attack, I decided to see what was special about Deir Ezzor. It turns out to be the site of the Omar field, the richest oil deposit in Syria.
But not mentioned by Starikov is the attack on Russian mercenaries and Syria troops near Deir Ezzor that was not claimed as a mistake. According to reports by eye witnesses, this was an actual battle against Syrians, the actual owners of the land, along with their hired mercenaries thought to be from the well-known Wagner group. The US reportedly killed several hundred Russians and presumably Syrian fighters to protect the illegal base the US had built there. What Westerners need to understand is that just because the US at the moment has greater forces, it does not have the right to squat on other people’s land, and Russia will not close its eyes to this flagrant violation forever. The Russians did not make a major issue of this battle because the Russian mercenaries did not officially belong to their military. But the mercenaries were fighting terrorists, the very ones that the US was protecting, and the Syrian people had given them permission to fight alongside their troops. Thus from the standpoint of international law, they were in fact legitimately in Syria. It was reported as a scandal for the Russians, but the real scandal was the fact that the US repeatedly kills people who fight terror – an old habit of theirs. So, just to set the record straight, it was murder. When the US commanders saw the Syrians and their allies coming their way, the only legally permissible, and sensible, thing to do was to simply leave, the same way they got there. But their actions, and the fact that they decided to build a base near Deir Ezzor, clearly shows that their underlying mission was to protect ISIS, even though they occasionally kill ISIS fighters when they get in the way of US – and Saudi Arabian – plans. The author below further confirms this by listing all the instances of US “accidental” killings of fighters actually engaged in combatting terror.
And now, we need to remind the reader of a brutal truth. Many Americans voted for Trump because he had promised to pull out of Syria. He tried to establish that he was different from Obama in this and other ways, but in fact, his foreign policies illustrate perfectly that the White House is incapable of making and executing decisions on behalf of the electorate. Putin was once asked during the 2016 US electoral campaigns, which candidate he favoured, and he said it didn’t matter who won because America is ruled by the “men in dark suits” (quote is at 3:04 here), meaning bureaucrats, not by the people elected by the people.Perhaps next election, a significant percentage of Americans will remember Putin’s immortal words and how perfectly Trump’s behaviour bore them out.
But most likely, the average US voter will continue thinking along the same disastrous lines as it always has. The “conservative” bloc is led largely by religious leaders based on Old Testament prophecy and narrative. While liberals often complain about conservatives taking the Bible too literally, we have shown here that what passes for “Christianity” in the US is based on skewed scriptural interpretations that depart radically from the actual text of the Bible and has been reduced to the kind of pedantic legalism that Christ spent most of his lifetime opposing. US pastors are nothing more than carbon copies of the very Pharisees who crucified Jesus.
It is interesting to note that while run-of-the mill Evangelicals would have no second thoughts about hiring an architect with a sound technical background – but with no theological credentials – to design a house, or a surgeon with a solid medical education and training – even if it were an atheist – to perform an operation on him/her or their child, they insist that when it comes to foreign and military policy, which arguably requires considerably more skill and knowledge than any other profession because of the myriad ever-changing variables involved – these same Evangelicals do not require a US candidate for higher office, especially the presidency, to have any special skill or knowledge of foreign affairs at all or any knowledge of foreign affairs or cultures to aid in making intelligent decisions, but only some imagined connection to God (even if, like Trump, the candidate was never known to be a believer, or again, like Trump, had highly questionable morality issues in his past). Once the candidate or politician has passed the religious test (every candidate perceived as conservative passes, though sometimes with a big shove, ie, lots of rationalization), the Evangelical leadership, imagining itself to be influential, tries to reshape the politician in question by rationalization (making excuses for him) or by pressuring him somewhat once he is elected. Trump’s slavish acquiescence to the Israeli warlike policies and his tolerance for the inhuman treatment of Palestinians has found favour with most Evangelicals. His moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem made him a veritable saint in the eyes of many of them and cleared the way for Israel to continue the slaughter of unarmed protesters in Palestine, the killing of warriors fighting terror in Syria (as the Israeli leadership admitted here) and the unprecedented introduction of an apartheid system that mimics South Africa at the zenith of its racist polices.
Thus, I have received from a conservative group individual emails postulating that Trump was, variously, a “type” of this or that prophet or Old Testament figure. The first theory I learned of was that Trump was “a Nebuchadnezzar” (which made some sense because the Babylonian king was originally not a believer in the Jewish God but underwent subsequent changes in theology and eventually accepted Jehovah and became a wishy-washy worshipper of Judaism). The second theory I have heard is that Trump is “a Joshua,” which would lend legitimacy to his unwillingness to pull the military out of Syria and his warlike statements, for example, referencing Iran. Evangelicals eschew the idea of peace on earth good will to men. The third theory came from a pro-life Evangelical politician who firmly believed Trump to be a “type” of Cyrus, who also was not Hebrew but was the Persian king who liberated the Judeans following their captivity in Babylon. Trump’s fawning over Netanyahu makes this the favourite theory so far. But the point is, now that Trump has accepted the theological tenets of “Christian” Zionism, he really can do no wrong, and there is less pressure on him to hold to his campaign promises or to do anything consistent or rational – as long as he makes strong enough statements (actions are irrelevant) about illegal immigration. For instance, if he leads his trusting followers into a war with Iran, he will meet precious little resistance from his Evangelical acolytes.
The point is that while we naturally would choose a physician or an architect based on the candidate’s technical knowledge and skill, there is an assumption among an alarming percentage of US citizens that no technical or mental skills or knowledge at all are needed to shape foreign and military policy as long as the one making the policy is in touch with popular Old Testament beliefs, particularly those based on the Scofield Reference Bible. Yet the most dangerous and obviously erroneous teaching in that commentary is the teaching that Russia will some day attack Israel. It is important to recall that Scofield’s first edition was written in or before 1909, long before the Third Reich and the Holocaust. Thus, commenting about Ezekiel’s prophecy of Gog and (or “of”) Magog, a world power that would attack Israel in some unknown future period, Scofield’s comments reflected the popular theology at that time when Russia was thought of as a generally anti-Semitic nation, he wrote, in a footnote referencing the anti-Semitic warlike Gog of Magog mentioned in Ezekiel 38
“That the primary reference is to the northern (European) powers, headed up by Russia, all agree. (!)… He explains a few lines later: “The reference to Meshech and Tubal (Moscow and Tobolsk) is a clear mark of identification. Russia and the northern powers have been the latest persecutors of dispersed Israel [Scofield was a devout Zionist], and it is congruous both with divine justice and with the covenants … that destruction should fall at the climax of the last mad attempt to exterminate the remnant of Israel in Jerusalem…”
Firstly, if God had wanted readers of prophecy to know that He was referencing Russia, he would not have chosen Tubal – supposedly Tobolsk – as a marker because no one has ever thought of the politically insignificant Tobolsk as representative of Russia, and further, the word Meshech is in no way reminiscent of the word Moscow or the Russian Moskva. Scofield was clearly tweaking the Bible to make it say what he believed.
Secondly, the most anti-Semitic European country of all time was not Russia but Spain, which ordered all of its practicing Jews expelled in 1492. And if Scofield had written his footnote after WW II, he would not have been able so glibly to claim that Russia – whose army liberated Auschwitz – was among the worst “persecutors” of the Jews. Most of the Bolsheviks and notably the tsar’s murderers were Jews. Further, Assyrian court documents, discovered more recently, show that Magog was in fact a place in what is now Turkey. It was pure fantasy based on the anti-Russian sentiment that had existed for centuries in Europe, particularly England, where Russia bashing has never gone out of fashion.
If Americans chose other professionals primarily along religious guidelines, as they choose the authorities responsible for their foreign policy, the bridges would collapse shortly after they were constructed and patients, even those with minor disorders not deemed life-threatening would typically die on the operating tables, whereupon the doctors would proclaim that the death was God’s will. The main reason utter incompetents are entrusted with Western foreign policy is based almost exclusively on their support for popular misreadings of the Bible and their undisguised hatred of Russia (Trump the candidate was somewhat of an exception), the one world power that turned the near defeat of the Syrian nation around and won back territory for the Syrian people. Not for Assad, for the Syrians. To say that Putin is supporting Assad is to miss the point.
And look at America today: nothing but endless senseless wars against people that are not enemies of the US people, and a debt that can only be serviced – barely at that – by printing dollars. Meanwhile, Russia’s war against terror is real and genuine, aimed at actually defeating terrorists, not flirting with them. And its defence is real, not a constant windfall for arms manufacturers whose lobbies funnel money to candidates for higher office in hopes of gaining profits for themselves.
What I am discussing here is one of the key elements in Western thinking – the firm belief that all foreign policy must be theological in nature, ie, Israel-centred and America-centred, at the expense of technical considerations and of attention to the culture and history of the nations with which diplomatic relations are managed. And that theology may not be Christian. Not one word of it may be related to anything that Jesus said. It must be based on obscure and opaque Old Testament prophecies and grossly erroneous interpretations thereof by American theologians who assume that every word of prophecy was about a godly USA teamed up with a disobedient and secular but somehow God-blessed nation called Israel, at war with heretical foreigners who refuse to obey and worship them. You become aware of the importance of the actual technical considerations in foreign policy when you read or hear an analysis written by adults, eg, by Russian specialists like Nikolai Starikov, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov or President Putin. And if you think it through, you come to the realization that there is a fundamental and irreconcilable difference between Western (notably US) thinking and Eastern (notably Russian) thinking. One is doomed to failure and the other is the world’s only hope for the future.
Russian “propaganda,” if one can call it that, is quite the opposite of US propaganda. Much of the propagandistic language used in the US press comes from the government and is aimed at making Americans hate and fear Russia (and also China), not just their government, but their people, whereas no statements by Russian officials or msm even remotely suggest that Russians should hate the American people or attack US interests unprovoked. Based on this naked US propaganda, both the Russians and the Chinese are now seriously concerned that there will be a nuclear confrontation very soon. A poll taken by Military Times shows that now in 2018, 46% of US service members believe a war is coming, versus only 5% who thought so in 2017. Clearly, US war propaganda is powerful, and it comes from the military, the political class and the msm. We can only hope that the increased hype is intended only to influence the midterm elections on November 6 and will subside thereafter.
Firstly, what is generally called Russian propaganda by Western politicians and their mouthpieces in the msm is the statements by prominent Russian figures like Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin, as well as reports and analyses from Sputnik, RT and the like English-language publications aimed at Western audiences. The analyses of events found in these outlets actually differ little from those found in alternative news sites, so they are not specifically Russian and if we were honest with each other, we would admit they are not propaganda at all but an honest assessment of the world situation, notably the disingenuous and biased reporting of a Western press intent on drawing their audiences into a war that no one can win. Russia’s official position is that they will fight only if provoked. The US position is to provoke constantly, keeping troops in Syria uninvited and with no clear purpose, imposing sanctions on Russia with no clear rationale and jarring provocations by officials like US ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who in October told Russia to stop developing a certain allegedly banned missile “or we would look into the possibility of taking it out” or in other words, invading Russia and destroying it! Such a move would guarantee the breakout of a nuclear war that would destroy the US and much of the planet. It’s not that the US would do anything that insane, but these belligerent words have put the US public on tenterhooks, expecting a war at any moment. What's worse, the US is also developing a missile of this "banned" type.
On the other hand, much of the information the Russians provide relating to war news, especially from Syria, cannot be found at all in the most prominent Western msm. The sources may be Al-Masdar, Al-Manar, EJ Magnier, a Middle Eastern national newspaper or even an Israeli newspaper. Here again, there is no specifically Russian viewpoint represented, just facts that the Western authorities do not want to be exposed because they are embarrassing to the US military and political class. And censorship too is a subtle form of propaganda. An example of a news item that is either banned or buried in the Western msm is the Israeli confession that they have performed 200 attacks on Syrian targets this year alone, firing over 800 missiles at a country that is not at war with their country. A Google search of mine turned up this report, on the first search page, in one Middle Eastern site (Al-Masdar, headquartered in Israel) 8 other Israeli sites, and only one Western site, ie, Reuters). Thus, thanks to this quasi censorship, most Americans never knew this. Censorship, even voluntary, is a potent form of propaganda.
What I said about US propaganda being designed to make Westerners hate and fear Russia is based in part on the vicious, mindless, racist words of Nikki Haley, the recently-retired ambassador to the UN, who told Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody:
“We don’t trust Russia. We don’t trust Putin. We never will. They’re never going to be our friend. That’s just a fact.”
This statement goes far beyond any definition of objectivity or diplomatic protocol and is blatantly racist. And BTW, US common usage allows us to refer to hatred of an ethnic group as “racism” even if the target ethnicity is not strictly speaking a race. To see how prevalent this tendency is, try Googling
It is one thing to say you don’t trust a foreign government, but Haley apparently slipped and exposed her personal feelings about an entire people, an entire nation. This was not objective fact, it was propaganda aimed at making Americans hate and mistrust the Russian people. However, if it is true that they, the Russians, “will never be our friend,” then that is a function of US policy and not the fault of the Russian people. It means that, in the official view of Nikki Haley as the spokesperson of the White House, no matter if Russia changes and does things to the liking of the US government, US officials will still never allow them to be the friend of America, and judging by the military build-up and NATO drills happening now right at Russia’s doorstep, it is clear that the West is ready to go to war, based in large part on this irrational propaganda – but on the flimsiest of pretexts, based on the Russia hate expressed by Haley, not on anything the Russians have done. After all, the US has imposed economic sanctions on Russia based on Theresa May’s accusation that it was the Russian government that ordered the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia, even though the accusation was first hastily levelled without any investigation, simply because the poison used, of the Novichok class, was first used in Russia. That too was pure crude, ugly Russia hate, Russia bashing, based on emotion and with no pretence of objectivity. The president of the Czech Republic later disclosed that his country also possessed samples of the same poison, discrediting the story that the Russians had to be the culprits, but it didn’t matter to US politicians, who imposed sanctions on Russia on the basis of the UK’s accusations. We must punish Russia for being Russia, and frankly, for telling the truth about the out-of-control West. This use of truth by Russia is the most dangerous propaganda of all. It is like an acid that slowly dissolves the lies and hypocrisy of the Western political class and media.
Haley’s shocking racial slur reveals a tyranny that has no place in a “democracy,” because in a democracy, the people decide who their friends are and the government must accept their decision. Haley slipped into an authoritarian rant that revealed her, and her government’s willingness to incite anti-Russian hate among Americans, even insisting that “we” (meaning Americans) are russophobes. Trump, by his naming of an embarrassingly incompetent, inexperienced and racist bumpkin as his UN ambassador, has foolishly tried to please his Russophobic enemies by pretending to go after the Russians with a vengeance even after promising his voters that he would get along with Putin. Consequently, he is now seen as a warmonger and sadly, as a result, no one knows what the real Donald Trump thinks.
Now I read the Russian press daily in the Russian language and I have never seen – nor expect to see – any statements by Russian officials or msm representatives saying anything remotely resembling this kind of unprofessionalism, and let’s be frank, stupidity, aimed at Westerners by Russians. Yet there are Americans who pretend that Russian propaganda is the same as Western propaganda. But these people do not read the Russian press and they don’t know what they are talking about.
There are several other blatant examples of propaganda that we see every day in the US-influenced Western press and they are all aimed at making Westerners accept as a matter of course the possible war against Bashar al-Assad.
US politicians routinely call Assad a “bloody dictator,” blaming him and him alone for the barbarity and murder committed by US-backed terrorists, despite the lack of supporting evidence that Assad has ordered any brutality. Yet at the same time, until the Khashoggi killing, no US politician had been quoted calling MBS a bloody dictator, even though the Yemeni casualty count, mostly civilians, was reported as 16,200 as of October 2018, and to top it off, the evidence in the Khashoggi case points straight to MBS. Thus, we know that the Saudis are brutal dictators, but in US propaganda, only Assad is a brutal dictator while MBS – at least until the Khashoggi bloody torture and killing – was never called brutal or a dictator in the msm.
The most convincing piece of evidence indicating that the anti-Assad reports are pure propaganda and are false is the testimony of several Syrians who were involuntarily caught up in the false flag event in Douma that purported to be a gas attack by Assad. These witnesses appeared at the OPCW in Hague and declared that they had been in a perfectly healthy condition when they were approached by members of the US- and UK-funded anti-Assad White Helmets, who doused them with water – simulating the prescribed treatment of poisonous gas inhalation – and persuaded them to rush to the nearby hospital, where they filmed them being doused with more water. The resulting staged propaganda video was then sent to news outlets and served as the “evidence” on which Trump fired over 100 Tomahawks into Syria.
The fact that Trump hastily attacked without awaiting the results of an investigation is evidence in itself that the US knew this was a fake gas attack or that it didn’t happen at all.
Propaganda gave the US an excuse for war. It always does.
First posted at Quora: https://www.quora.com/What-were-the-US-and-Wests-interests-for-the-removal-of-Mr-Bashar-al-Assad-and-the-funding-and-arming-of-the-groups-that-opposed-him
By Vince Dhimos
The US government is not only a force working in the hire of the Saudis but also, incredibly, a missionary for the gospel of Wahhabism. I am amazed that there is anyone on this planet who has not come to this same conclusion.
Let’s look at the facts.
Bloomberg recently published some details of a secretive agreement signed between President Nixon and King Faisal in the early 70s which is sometimes called the petrodollar agreement. Nixon did this out of desperation because he had just taken the US off the gold standard, which had existed since the Bretton Woods agreement that made the US dollar the world reserve currency. It was a breach of a sacred promise to back the dollar with gold at a standard price per ounce. The trouble is, foreign governments were demanding that the US actually provide them with the physical gold instead of the dollar denominated paper, eventually making it infeasible to continue keeping this promise.
Now whenever you make a deal with someone out of desperation, you lose big time. But Nixon felt cornered. What if the dollar collapsed on his watch? We have long known that the petrodollar agreement with the Saudis was a promise that the US would defend the Saudi royal family in exchange for their accepting only payments in dollars for their oil. This was intended to peg the dollar to the oil price, hopefully keeping it stable.
But the hitch was that this enabled the Saudis to blackmail the US, and judging by US military and foreign policies since then, it ought to be clear to anyone that this is exactly what happened. Contrary to reports, the US military is not just defending the royal family from their enemies. They are involved in some sinister machinations and it is obvious.
The document published by Bloomberg was harmless enough. After all, if the Saudis were willing to backstop our unbacked dollar, the US should be willing to protect them and defend their oil fields. But there was nothing stopping them from going much further and demanding of an amoral government that they betray their own people. They went further. A lot further. And the US became their vassal. And so did the rest of the West, as pointed out here.
Thus the amoral clique in Washington and Wall Street did the unthinkable. All evidence shows that they secretly agreed to help the Saudis export Sunni Wahhabism (Salafism), the most vicious, intolerant and dangerous religious sect on the planet in exchange for propping up the dollar. The evidence is everywhere. It’s been hiding out in the open for over 40 years. Yet people everywhere have been pulling theories out of their hats that ignored the evidence. No one had the heart to confront the truth head on, even if they had the grey matter needed for the task.
Now, of course, Obama’s foreign policy was a mess – because, like Nixon, he was at the mercy of the Saudis – and Americans expected Trump to fix it. But his supporters had no idea that Trump was over the same barrel as all previous presidents and for the same reasons. Trump has no policy whatsoever, and this is all understandable if you realize that the Saudis have the US by the short hairs over this petrodollar agreement. Thus no US president would ever dream of telling Christian America the truth: “Fellow Americans, sorry but the Saudis control our money. We are therefore obliged to support Wahhabist terrorism to keep the dollar from crashing. Thank you for understanding.”
So each president must think up a new excuse for supporting the Saudis, who have, as we know, founded and funded all three of the world’s most dangerous terror groups, all Wahhabists, every single one. Each president must pretend to fight terror to keep the public on the string, but at the same time, support the Saudis’ Frankenstein. After all, no one wants to preside over a collapse of the currency that would make the fall of the Soviet Union look like a dress rehearsal.
And American citizens wanted to do their part, so they made up theories (oil for blood, etc.).
However, ever since Bloomberg uncovered details of the Nixon-Faisal agreement, forums and web sites have started chattering about the petrodollar agreement as the real motivator for war, theorizing that the US has been fighting proxy wars for the Saudis in exchange for the Saudis charging only dollars for their oil and also investing the profits in US sovereign bonds to maintain the value of the USD. Indeed, such a conclusion is compelling and judging by the opinions appearing on news and financial web sites, a growing number of knowledgeable Americans now accept it. Those who take an interest in world politics also note that the theory is gaining ascendency in Europe and elsewhere as well. They are now a step closer to the ugly truth. But until now, no one has taken the last step.
As accurate as these theories are, they miss the astounding and sickening fact that the US is a mercenary and a missionary for Wahhabism.
To understand that every war (outside the New World) waged by the US since the conclusion of the Nixon-Faisal petrodollar agreement has only benefitted the Saudis and not the US people (it brought on unpayable debt and endless wars, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians and also US service men and women) and their intolerant Wahhabism/Salafism, we need to know what kind of states and leaders, particularly in the Muslim world, the Saudis cannot tolerate. Remember that the two main branches of Islam are Shiite and Sunni, and there are also sects that to the Saudis are important, notably the Wahhabist (also called Salafist) sect that the Saudis support. This Saudi sect is the most brutal, intolerant, warlike, and anti-Christian sect of Islam and, ironically, the once-Christian (but now “Christian” Zionist) US has pledged to help spread this anti-Christian poison, thereby becoming the enemy of its own people.
To understand how we can confidently state that the US is a mercenary on behalf of the Saudis, we need to know what kind of states and national leaders the Saudis cannot tolerate, either because of their own deeply held beliefs, or more likely, because they need to please their intolerant and fanatical populace.
Firstly, being Sunnis, they hate Shiites, and since Iran is a Shiite-majority state with a Shiite style government, Iran is at the top of their enemy list. (BTW, since Iran also officially does not recognize Israel, Saudi is also a de facto ally of Israel).
Secondly, given the religious fanaticism of the Saudi regime, they also are generally opposed to secular governments, although note that this depends on how powerful the state is and whether or not it is supported by the US. Turkey, for example, is off limits because it has a powerful military and is part of NATO. Egypt is also too powerful for Saudi to oppose.
Thirdly, because the Saudis have made a pact with the US to protect the dollar, they also rabidly attack governments, like Ghadaffi’s, that threaten the dollar and the US by promoting the use of non-dollar currencies in international trade.
Fourthly, the Saudi royals (but not the Saudi grassroots) hate states that oppose Israel, for two reasons: Their unholy alliance with the US, and the fact that Israel also opposes Iran and is willing to collaborate with the Saudi royals.
Fifthly, the Saudi royals fear those who oppose them. This is why they cooperated – cautiously -- with the US in opposing Osama bin Laden, who hated the royals for cooperating with the US.
I said above that the US involvement in its wars was due in large part to its obligations to its Saudi allies, and that the petrodollar agreement went far beyond what was set forth on paper.
I say that because it is obvious that the Saudis and only the Saudis benefitted from those wars (outside the New World, that is, ie, excluding Granada and Panama). Let’s look how the leaders the US attacked meet the criteria detailed above:
The wars against Saddam Hussein. Saddam’s government was secular (no. 2 above), with both Sunnis and Shiites roughly equally represented in his government, and even one Christian in his cabinet. It was also anti-Israel (no. 4 above) and was opposed to the Saudi dictatorship (no. 5 above).
The Taliban in Afghanistan. The Saudis cut ties with the Osama bin Laden-led Taliban in 2001 claiming the groups terrorized “the innocent,” but underlying reason was that Osama and his group were intent on bringing down the Saudi royals (no. 5 above). The Taliban also is rabidly anti-Jewish (no. 4 above).
Assad’s Syria. The US was the instigator of the Syrian Spring movement to replace Assad with an Islamic government satisfactory to the Saudi Kingdom and has been working feverishly from the start. The US was even involved in a pseudo-government, a certain “National Salvation Fron” in Syria back in 2007, which was supposed to save the Syrians from the "bloody Bashar Assad”! Assad meets several of the above-listed criteria. He is Shiite (no. 1 above) (his Alawite sect is generally recognized as Shiite, but is even more tolerant of other religions than most Shiites, and that infuriates the Saudis). He also runs a secular government (no. 2 above) based on Western-style laws and justice. Further, he does not recognize Israel’s claim to the land they occupy (no. 4 above). Finally, his alliance with Russia means that he opposes the dollar and the US hegemony (no. 3 above).
Iran. Iran is not only majority Shiite, with a Shiite oriented religious government, but is also anti-Israel (no. 4) and anti-Saudi (no. 5). It also is currently engaged in the Russian/Chinese led de-dollarization movement and charges currencies other than the dollar for its oil (no. 3). Although the US is not yet at war with Iran, Trump’s anti-Iran rhetoric is preparing for a possible confrontation with the country. On behalf of the Saudi dictatorship.
Libya’s Ghadaffi. Ghadaffi led what’s been called the most prosperous state in Africa and was the driver of the African Union and worked toward a gold-backed currency intended to challenge the US dollar (no. 3 above). Ghadaffi was at times anti-Israel, at times friendly with Israel. Further, though he had promised to introduce Sharia law, his rule favoured Western-style justice (no.2).
Egypt’s Mubarak. Mubarak was generally considered a secular leader (though some contest that) (no. 2 above), and he banned the Muslim Brotherhood, considering them terrorists. So of course, the Saudis wanted him gone. They wrote the policy, the US enforced it.
Clearly, from the above, we can see that US military policy has done more to support the Saudis and their repressive Wahhabism than it did to support the security and way of life of Americans, who paid for the wars with their blood and treasure while the Saudi royals sat on their comfy thrones.
But the Saudi grassroots is restless. And the free money is running low. And the Jamal Khashoggi case is not going away.
Below is our translation of an aticle from TASS.
Israel is perhaps the most polarizing element of US politics.
The Left is more likely than the Right to reject the religious views that provide uncritical support for Israeli policies, including the very un-Christian policy of shooting unarmed protesters to kill, or the IDF’s habit of firing rockets into Syria that kill people engaged in fighting terrorists.
As a result, Americans who are reluctant to support Israel are automatically called liberals (in the pejorative sense) or anti-Semites without any further analysis of the underlying facts.
And those who do support Israel are often considered religious fanatics who take the Bible too literally. This too misses the mark.
There are precious few in between who see that the “Christian” Zionist view is actually based on a very non-literal un-Biblical view. Yet that is in fact the case. “Christian” Zionists base their cult-like beliefs on the prophecy of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37, where the prophet tells us of his dream of dry bones suddenly coming together to form a resurrected Israel. None of these cultists ever mention verse 24 of that chapter, which says that David will be the king of the new Israel, which will be obedient to God’s decrees.
What the cultists fail to see is that the modern secular state that goes by the name “Israel” does not meet this description in any way. A Reuters poll has shown that about 60% of Israelis self-describe as “irreligious.” They do not believe in the God of Abraham and therefore could not be seen as “obedient” to Him. They are not Ezekiel’s Israel. Further, the Old Testament tells us that King David is dead and not in any condition to be the king of Israel today in the 21st Century. It’s not Ezekiel’s Israel. As for the descriptor “Christian” Zionism, to which over 80% of Evangelicals subscribe, it would imply that Christ has in some way blessed his follower’s support for the secular state of Israel. Yet Christ never once was quoted saying anything remotely similar to that. His Great Commission to the disciples was to go into the world and preach the Gospel of the crucified Christ who gave himself to save humanity from its sins. And as for the Jews in particular, He let His disciples know in unequivocal terms what they needed to do, and yet the “Christian” world thoroughly rejected this commission to the Jews, which was stated as plain as day in Matthew 23:39, where Jesus stood before the temple in Jerusalem and addressed the Jews saying:
For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'
This was a message to His disciples more than to anyone else. He was plainly stating that He could come to earth again only once the Jews had accepted Him.
In their feeble way, “Christian” Zionists have been digging in the Old and New Testament for obscure clues as to when Christ will return. In their feeble way, they have devised the most convoluted and far-fetched possible hocus-pocus system to make Jesus return, even advocating, based on obscure passages, that in order for Jesus to return, Jerusalem must be made the capital of a secular Israel that, in the eyes of Evangelicals, have rejected their Messiah. Even though the passage on which this is based says that the anti-Christ will sit in this temple. Thus they have gone so far as to advocate assisting the Anti-Christ to sit in the temple and do his evil deeds. Christians in the service of evil, vainly thinking they are somehow serving God, when in Matthew 23, Jesus had told them exactly what to do to hasten His return!
The US policy is based on ignorance and fear. It shows no love whatsoever of the people who Jesus wept for in Jerusalem. US politicians are afraid of Israel and what it can do to their career. "Christian" Zionists refuse to evangelize among the Jews because they fear the label "anti-Semite." This is a far cry from a loving approach to Israel, which Jesus said needed Him. It too is cowardly.
By contrast, the Russians do not fear Israel. They love the Jews, just as Jesus commanded us all to do, and they treat Israel like a loving parent treats a wayward child. With tough love.
Haaretz: Russia has shown the world how to speak to Israel in the language of power.
Permanent author Gideon Levy believes that the air force of the Jewish state "will now think twice, and perhaps even much more," before the next bombardment of objects in Syria.
TEL-AVIV, September 28th. / Tass /. Russia has shown the whole world how to deal with Israel and how to speak with it in the language of power. This opinion was expressed in a column titled "Opinions" on Friday under the heading "Finally, someone has shown Israel its limits" by Haaretz contributor Gideon Levy.
Levy claims that Israel starts to change something only when it has to pay for its actions. The air forces of the Jewish state "will now think twice, and perhaps even much more," before the next bombardment of objects in Syria, "about which no one knows exactly how important and necessary it is," the author writes. According to Levy, Israel believes that "it can behave in the region at its own discretion, without paying any price for it in the name of either real or imaginary security interests." That is why Tel Aviv needs this “no”, which has immediately “cut it down to size,” he points out.
According to Levi, recently, especially with the administration of Donald Trump in office in the United States, Israel began to feel "unhealthy and corrupting support," expressed, in particular, in the transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and in Washington’s refusal to finance United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). He notes that the "red flags" on the part of the Russian Federation "may have somewhat dampened the power intoxication that has swept Israel in recent years," and this may turn out to be "much more useful than thoughtless support from the current and previous US administrations."
The following is our translation of an article by a Russian analyst, who is also a well-known politician. The information provided on Syria can be found in the Western msm.
Column by Nikolai Starikov
To err is human. Sometimes whole states are mistaken, but when mistakes happen too often, they start to look quite something else. One of the hallmarks of the US Air Force and their stay in Syria has been constant "mistakes": American pilots constantly bombed "by mistake" the ones they were supposed to help. At the same time, they actually helped the ones they were supposed to bomb.
Just the other day in the area of the city of Hajin [Deir Ezzor Governate, where so many of these “mistakes” are made], as the media reported, "due to unprofessional actions" two F-15 fighters delivered a bomb strike. “By mistake," the Americans bombed allied Kurds. As a result, six Kurdish soldiers were killed and another 15 were injured.
While the Middle Eastern and Russian press did justice to this story, it was very hard to find a Western msm source, but we finally found it here.
“Today’s incident in the settlement of Hajin is a good example of that. Because of unprofessional actions of US Air Force, a Kurdish unit that was trying to launch an offensive at ISIS, was subjected to airstrikes from two F-15 fighter jets from the coalition forces. Six Kurdish fighters died, and 15 more sustained serious injuries,” the source added.]
But the main result of the “error” was not just the stopping of the offensive, but the massive desertion of Kurds from the area they had occupied. As a result, terrorist fighters expanded their zone of control and were even able to take many more hostages. That in turn gave them a trump card for blackmailing opponents: after all, ISIS (a banned organization in Russia) simply shoots prisoners.
And this isn’t the first time that’s happened. Here are just a few recent facts.
10-3-2018 “On the first Monday of October, after a thorough preliminary reconnaissance by the US Air Force, several air strikes were carried out against the Syrian settlement of Marea [Aleppo Governate], as well as against opposition detachments of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), despite the fact that the strikes were originally intended only for the terrorist group ISIS (banned in Russia and a number of other states),” reported polit.info.
In this situation, the US Air Force "mistakenly" hit the pro-Turkish "infantry" of the Free Syrian Army and again helped the bearded men with black flags. February 7, 2018 - US Air Force strike on the positions of the Syrian army; in April 2017 - the US simply attack Syria with cruise missiles. When American planes bomb those who kill terrorists, the question of whom Washington is helping is not rhetorical: terrorists! And if this blow is not even disguised as an “error,” then it all becomes even more obvious.
In addition to the “mistakes” of the US Air Force bombing the ones it is supposed to “help,” and help the ones it’s supposed to bomb, and launches naked attacks on the Syrian armed forces, there is also a third kind of US participation in the civil war in Syria, and that is the “erroneous” bombardment of peaceful objects.
8-1-2017 “Today, in Syria, at least 60 people were killed when a coalition led by the United States attacked them — several areas of Deir Ezzor province were attacked at once: Qashmah, Shavit, David and Al-Asharah. This attack was the fifth one last month alone - on July 30, the Syrian media reported six victims of a coalition bombing. It was noted that the Air Force was supposed to be attacking the positions of militants of the terrorist group ISIS, but the attack fell on Aish hospital and a sports club in the province of Deir Ezzor,” writes mediarepost.ru.
9-29-2017 “We are remedying a humanitarian catastrophe in Raqqa [Syria], and before that in Mosul [Iraq], caused by the lack of effective urgent measures to bring humanitarian aid and create corridors to evacuate the civilian population, not to mention numerous “chronic” mistakes of US aviation, including strikes against civilian targets,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
03-22-2017 “The Anti-ISIS coalition led by the United States again came under suspicion of launching air strikes against civilians in Syria. This time, Air Force bombs hit the Badia Dakhiliya school west of the city of Raqqa. SANA news agency sources report that at least 33 people were killed, most of them women and children. The airstrike almost completely destroyed the building, which housed 50 families from the provinces of Aleppo, Raqqa and Homs. This kind of report causes a variety of suspicions among experts. "
March 2017 “In the north of Syria in the province of Aleppo, the US military bombed a mosque during evening prayers, resulting in the death of more than 40 civilians. As is usual in such situations, the US Department of Defence claims that they do not have reliable information about civilian casualties. But the Department says that an investigation has begun, which “will try to establish more precisely what exactly happened.” At the same time, the American Central Command reported that the air strike was planned for another building located 15 meters from the mosque, where, according to some information, a meeting of militants was taking place,” reports e-news.su.
[Reported here in msm: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/17/syria-mosque-airstrike-kills-dozens-of-civilians-near-aleppo]
What is the meaning US Air Force strikes on civilians? In the promotion of war, hatred, ie, the desire to push people to leave their places of permanent residence. And then they have little choice: either fight, or become refugees. In any case, the chaos and war that ensue only increase.
The last thing that was supposed to be noticed. The destruction and devastation in Syria due to the outbreak of war were planned in advance. Let me remind the reader that the state of civil conflict, nurtured from abroad, has been going on in Syria since March 2011. At the same time, the first structure of the Syrian opposition, which the West recognized as the legitimate government (but created it itself), was the Syrian National Council. Hillary Clinton (US politician, presidential candidate in the elections of 2016. - FAN) even met with them twice. But soon this “council” disappeared from the news, and in its stead a new structure with zero legitimacy appeared, which the West was ready to work with. A coalition of the Syrian opposition and revolution was established in Doha in November 2012. Then it too disappeared.
However, the earliest structure on the basis of which the US planned to create a "legitimate government of Syria," was a certain "National Salvation Front" (NSF), which was supposed to save the Syrians from the "bloody Bashar Assad" (the current president of Syria) back in 2007! The principle here is this: if you want to unleash a civil war, create two centres of power. That is why the US constantly tried to create an authority alternative to Assad, at the same time allocating money to create armed terrorist structures with army templates.
The US goals in the Middle East region have not been achieved: the US is there not for peace, but for war and chaos. Therefore, when their wards are cornered and the terrorists find themselves in a difficult situation, either Bashar Assad immediately “uses chemical weapons” and Washington “punishes” him, or “a mistake by the US Air Force” follows.
Let's call a spade a spade.
The United States and the entire West are interested in the war in Syria continuing. Why? Because only this war can explain the presence of the military contingents of the United States and other countries on the territory of the sovereign Syrian state. Americans and a variety of French and Turks are on the ground in Syria without an invitation from the leadership of the SAR (Syrian Arab Army). In essence, this is military invasion, occupation, aggression. The only fact that helps Americans conceal this in the media is “the fight against terrorists.” Without ISIS, there would be no explanations or reasons for being here. This means that the possibilities for further loosening the situation and igniting the big war in the Middle East would decrease drastically for Washington.
If you understand this, the true background of the events in the area of the settlement of Hajin immediately becomes clear. There now follows another unsuccessful (who would have thought it!) attack on the terrorists of the ISIS by the Kurdish formations. The Kurds are helped by the Americans, the US-led so-called "coalition forces.” This is just a collection of militaries of different countries, all of which are illegally stationed on Syrian territory and fly in its airspace. In order not to let the “bearded men” be beaten, the Americans mimic “operations” to combat ISIS. When this does not help, and their "wards" find themselves in a difficult situation, a “mistake” is implemented.
And this strategy will continue to allow them to commit savagery and crimes. For example, on October 13, 2018, ISIS terrorists attacked a refugee camp in the Al-Bahra area. They took hostages and took about 130 Arab families to Hajin, which is under their control. Now the gangsters are already holding over 700 people hostage, including citizens of Western European and other states. Having hostages, the terrorists begin to dictate conditions to the Kurds, demanding the immediate release of all their supporters held in special camps, and the transfer of control over new territories east of the Euphrates.
To confirm the seriousness of their intentions, the ISIS terrorists shoot some of their captives every day. When the Kurds wanted to free the prisoners and crush the terrorists, the “mistakes” on the part of the United States immediately began. [NSS emphasis added]
This situation once again demonstrates to us who is fighting for what in Syria and who supports whom. And who cannot be trusted under any circumstances....
To summarize: the presence of US troops and the "coalition" in Syria is not a means of ending the war, but a way to fan it, not a way to eliminate problems, but an instrument for creating them.
On Oct. 13, I answered the following question at Quora:
What happens on the world stage if Turkey's claims are true in that they have proof that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate? What does the US do? What does the UN do?
START OF QUORA ANSWER
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Answered Sun Oct. 13, 2018
I do not expect the US to do anything meaningful. If Trump does anything at all, it will be aimed at getting votes for the GOP in the Nov 6 midterms. The UN is toothless. It will do nothing meaningful.
The only person who may do something meaningful is Turkish president Erdoğan. Unlike Trump, who is a man of words, Erdoğan is more a man of actions. All eyes should be on him at this time. I have no predictions for what he will do. However, we know that he differs sharply with the Saudis, particularly on the Palestine issue. The Saudis are de facto allies of Israel and tacitly approve of everything they do. Erdoğan is incensed at the wanton slaughter of unarmed protesters and the aerial bombings in Gaza. Of all world leaders who oppose this, he is the strongest and is capable, at some point, of acting. No Western leader or group will act. The US constantly issues condemnations of Israel’s slaughter of civilians, missile attacks on Syria and occupation of Arab territories and Netanyahu laughs it off.
END OF ANSWER
For those who missed the news this AM, the Turkish investigation turned up body parts presumably belonging to Jamal Khashoggi, in the garden of the Saudi consul in Istanbul. Now there is no way MBS can distance himself from the murder. The investigation was elegant, with Erdoğan simply asking the Saudis for permission to interrogate consulate employees and dig up the consul’s yard. Any hesitation or refusal would have been damaging, and besides, the Saudis knew Ergogan would have simply sent in the amy, so the answer was yes.
Why I guessed that Erdoğan would be the only national leader to do something meaningful.
First off, I did not count blood moons or consult Revelation or Ezekiel for this one.
Right from the start, Trump tried to show toughness by saying the punishment would be “severe” if he found out the Saudi government was involved in a murder. But he immediately negated this by saying we had to think about all the jobs that would be lost if Saudi decided to stop buying US weapons with which to murder Houthis. (He didn’t say it exactly that way of course). So Trump was blowing smoke as usual, trying to please both sides but annoying almost everyone.
I knew that Russia, though deemed a candidate for intervention in Saudi, would do nothing because, as any student of Putinology knews, Russia has an iron clad policy of respecting the sovereignty of all nations. Therefore, Russia is bound by its own policy to refrain from influencing the internal policies of other nations.
I knew that Egypt would try to stay in line with Saudi, so even if Sisi was annoyed with MBS, he would neither say nor do anything substantive. The rest of the Middle East would keep mum because everyone there fears the US and the keeper of the Holy Shrine. Israel is not averse to bloodshed and would sympathize more with MBS than with Khashoggi. Germany would condemn Saudi and maybe slap them on the wrist but had always sold arms to the dictatorial kingdom. (In fact, they have momentarily suspended arms sales to Riyadh. Don’t worry. It won’t last).
But then there was Erdoğan.
Aside from the fact that I knew Erdoğan was in sharp disagreement with Saudi on Israeli protester murder and aparthed, I had read the Turkish president’s first reaction to what appeared to be a murder in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. He spoke firmly but did not mention any “severe” punishment or the like as Trump had. He was professional about it, would speak softly but after all, he was in control of the investigation and would not spare anyone. I also knew him to be a serious enough leader that he would not tolerate any country committing a crime in a diplomatic mission in Turkey, even though embassies and consulates are, strictly speaking, sovereign territories of the nations that establish them.
Erdoğan had already been the target of a failed coup, which Putin had told him was tied to the CIA. Momma Merkel had also sullied him on one occasion, banning Turkish candidates from campaigning in Germany. Further, the US just recently tried to slap economic sanctions on Turkey for buying the Russian S-400 air defence system. The Turkish president might even be resentful of the US attempt to kill the joint Russian-Turkish TurkStream gas pipeline project that promised to be lucrative for Turkey. So he has had every reason to bear a grudge against Western powers for some time and would be motivated to embroil them, especially the US, in a scandal. And let’s make no mistake about it, Erdoğan knows that any scandal that stains Saudi Arabia touches the US as well. After all, the world has been generally sceptical about the liberal supply of lethal weapons to a bloody dictatorship, especially from a nation that constantly levels proofless accusations of inhuman behaviour against nations like Iran, Syria, Serbia, Libya and Iraq to gain undue influence in those nations, generally by simply dropping countless bombs on civilians. And no regime has been more inhuman than the Saudi one.
So Erdoğan was my pick, and of course, I was right. It will be interesting to see what’s next.
QUORA: HOW TRUE IS THE ASSERTION THAT THE US IS USING RUSSIA-UKRAINE CONFLICT TO TIE DOWN RUSSIA MILITARILY AND ECONOMICALLY?
I gave a short and sweet response as appears below, but a more detailed explanation of the US interference in Ukraine since the illegal Maidan coup was not mine. It was given by Constantine Petrenko (see below my response).
How true is the assertion that the U.S. is using the Russia- Ukraine conflict to tie down Russia militarily and economically and further its position in Europe?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Answered 2h ago
The US is less focused on long-term goals than it is on politics. Midterm elections are coming up, on Nov 6. Whatever the US does with its military now is Trump’s attempt to get votes for the GOP.
Wait until after the elections and then see what the US is doing in Ukraine. Perhaps nothing…?
Constantine Petrenko, Business Manager
American foreign policy strategist Zbigniew Brzezinki famously argued, “Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire.” The idea that the West needs to drive a wedge between Ukraine and Russia in order to contain Russian ambition goes back to the 1950s, and at this point it isn’t a secret.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict, however, is not exactly what the United States was hoping for, and the scenario is not turning out the way they would like. The original plan, first attempted during the 2005 “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine and then repeated in the 2014 Maidan, was to encourage mass protests against pro-Russian political governments in Ukraine in order to bring pro-Western politicians to power and gradually destroy most political, economic and cultural ties between Russia and Ukraine. The end game was to plant Ukraine squarely in the Western sphere of influence.
The first attempt in 2005 largely failed. Viktor Yushchenko, who was elected President of Ukraine in 2005 with Western support after mass protests, quickly lost popularity and did not even attempt to run for re-election. Instead Ukrainians chose the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych as their next President, and Ukraine was quickly falling back into Russian arms. So a follow-up plan was devised. This time not through a democratic election, but through an Arab Spring [colour revolution] style coup. Protesters started occupying government buildings and eventually seized power and forced Yanukovych to run.
This time around, however, Russia was not willing to sit back and watch. Putin had a plan of his own. As Ukraine descended into political chaos, Russia quickly blocked Ukrainian military units in Crimea, helped organize a referendum, and snatched Crimea without a fight. Most Ukrainian military stationed on the peninsula simply switched to the Russian side. Russia also helped two other Ukrainian cities, Donetsk and Lugansk, proclaim their independence from Ukraine. This was not part of the American plan. These developments meant Ukraine would be a much weaker, embarrassed country, and its new pro-Western leadership would be viewed as losers by their own people. Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s current president, has a dismally low approval rating, while political parties which call for a restoration of good relations with Russia are on the rise. This could turn into a nightmare scenario for Ukraine’s current leadership and its Western allies, and certainly this isn’t what the United States was looking for.
The Saudis have admitted that the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate (but claim the perpetrators were rogues who acted without government authority). What does the US do? What does the UN do?
Vince Dhimos responds on Quora
[I have changed the text of the question to accommodate new facts, but the basic answer is the same]
I do not expect the US to do anything meaningful. If Trump does anything at all, it will be aimed at getting votes for the GOP in the Nov 6 midterms. The UN is toothless. It will do nothing meaningful.
The only person who may do something meaningful is Turkish president Erdoğan. Unlike Trump, who is a man of words, Erdoğan is more a man of actions. All eyes should be on him at this time. I have no predictions for what he will do – perhaps nothing.
However, we know that he differs sharply with the Saudis, particularly on the Palestine issue. The Saudis are de facto allies of Israel and tacitly approve of everything they do. Erdoğan is incensed at the wanton slaughter of unarmed protesters and the aerial bombings in Gaza. Of all world leaders who oppose this, he is the strongest and is capable, at some point, of acting according to his own perceptions and conscience. No Western leader or group will act. The UN constantly issues condemnations of Israel’s slaughter of civilians, missile attacks on Syria and occupation of Arab territories and Netanyahu laughs it off knowing that the US will not suport UN resolutions.
To better understand why the US never issues condemnations of Saudi actions and almost always bows to Saudi wishes, read our analysis of the US-Saudi relationship here:
SAUDIS MADE US MILITARY A MERCENARY FORCE:
TRUMP’S TRAVEL BAN ENCOURAGES SAUDI TERROR
Let’s look at the countries that are subject to travel restrictions based on the claim that their citizens pose a security risk to the US. And let’s also look at some that are not on the list that are much more of a risk than some on the list. On the basis of this cursory analysis, it will be clear that the new legislation is pure politics and has nothing whatsoever to do with the security of Americans or anyone else.
VINCE ON QUORA: ARE THERE ANY SOLUTIONS TO DEALING WITH THE MURDER OF JAMAL KASHOGGI THAT ARE GOOD? CANCELLING THE ARMS DEAL WOULD CAUSE THE US TO LOSE 1000S OF JOBS. SANCTIONING THE SAUDIS MIGHT DELAY THE ME PEACE PROCESS
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Answered 7m ago
Isn’t it funny how Westerners, esp Americans, have been indoctrinated to believe that the Saudis must be treated with kid gloves but the nuclear-armed Russians can be sanctioned, insulted, have their embassies entered illegally, be accused of poisoning people based solely on a suspicion, etc, and that is not a problem?
The Saudis are thought of as being important to the ME peace process, and yet it was they who spawned the murderous Wahhabism/Salafism to which every member of ISIS and Al-Qaeda adheres, and who — under the petrodollar agreement concluded between Dick Nixon and King Faisal in 1973 — have induced the US to engage in wars that wound up killing hundreds of thousands of innocents all over the globe. Anyone who doubts that the Saudis were behind these wars needs to ask himself 2 questions:
1—How did killing all these people and running up a debt in excess of annual GDP make the US people more secure?
2—Is it really a coincidence that all the leaders of the countries the US attacked were secular leaders who did not base their legal system on Shariah? (Saudi wants the world to adopt Sharia and worship the Sunni way and believe in the muderous cult of Wahhabism — the most dangerous of all Sunni sects).
The US slaughtered hundreds of thousands of mostly civilians from the air, based on an absurd pretext that their leaders were using weapons of mass destruction (without proof) and these were all leaders that the Saudis (and Israelis also) wanted out of the way. The US also obliges the Saudis by slandering Iran and building a false case for war against that country, and lo and behold, coincidentally, the Saudis hate Iran because it is Shiite and not Sunni, and the US also coincidentlly wants to destroy Iran.
And you think these blood thirsty savages REALLY want peace in the Middle East and will be in some way useful in the peace process?
I have nothing further to say on this issue, but thank you for the opportunity to respond.
I answered a question on Quora.
It doesn’t matter how China is doing at any time in history. The Chinese do not think like Westerners and only a Westerner would ask how is “China doing” at any given time. “Is doing” is present tense. Western thinking. The Chinese authorities are focused on the future. The short answer is that China will do quite well economically because they understand economics.
Unlike the US and allies, China thinks long-term (so does Russia).
Western style democracy actually prevents problems from being solved because both government and business only think of short-term solutions. Politicians, like Trump, are focused primarily on getting votes in the next election. They are not particularly concerned with whether the economy will crash after they leave office unless the crash will affect their party’s chances of dominating the Senate and/or Congress.
Trump is focused on solving short term economic problems. He does not understand macroeconomics. In macroeconomics, you know that in the oil and gas business, science and technology are part of the economic equation. Thus, a good economist understands, for example, that, all things being equal, no matter how much a government subsidizes or promotes the energy industry, liquefied natural gas (LNG) can’t compete with gas delivered in a pipeline. Yet Trump insists that Europe simply MUST buy US LNG and stop buying Russian pipeline-delivered gas.
He thinks that they are just being proud and stubborn when they refuse to buy his gas. But in fact, they understand some basic economic principles and it is this understanding that dissuades them from buying American.
A good economist in the oil and gas industry knows two sci-tech principles about hydraulic fracturing (fracking) that the government also should know if they want to foster a healthy economy and avoid investing in boondoggles:
1—extraction of gas or oil by fracking is an expensive process and will make the product less competitive than a product obtained without the use of it, that is, the product obtained from Saudi Arabia, Iran or Russia that is obtained without the cost-adding process of fracking.
2—deposits extracted by fracking have a shorter useful life and require more-frequent drilling and/or reprocessing.
An article by Nick Cunningham posted at oilprice.com discusses this issue in some detail:
“… shale wells typically see production deplete by 70 to 90 percent in the first three years, while fields see output drop off by about 20 to 40 percent per year without new drilling.
That means that the industry has to constantly plough more money back into production, just to keep output flat.
At the same time, not every shale well is the same. The core areas, or “sweet spots,” typically make up just 20 percent of a given shale play. When shale drillers move beyond the core, they tend to post less impressive production figures.”
This site says average lifespan of an oil and gas well is 12 yr
While [fracked] shale gas wells have a long life, they drop down to about 10% of their initial production after about 5 years or so.
Jacqueline George, Author of Fracking 101 A Beginner's Guide to Hydraulic Fracturing
Answered Oct 16, 2016
I’m not going to stick my neck out too far on this one because we don’t yet have the evidence for modern horizontal wells. I can say that the production flush for a new shale well is very short lived and by two years the wells are typically limping along.
This real-world science-based info on fracking is why the purely economic picture looks so dismal, with most US oil operations running in the red or showing near-negligible profits, as reported, for example, here.
Diamondback Energy and Continental Resources had breakeven prices at about $52 and $37 per barrel in the third quarter, respectively, according to the Al Rajhi report. Parsley Energy, on the other hand, saw its “cash required per barrel” price rise to nearly $100 per barrel in the third quarter.
I think the most relevant question here is why the oil execs sank so much money into fracking ventures before doing the feasibility and profitability studies that would have shown that fracking was not a paying proposition for their shareholders. And I think the answer to that is that politicians and msm hyped fracking and the notion that America had the largets oil and gas deposits anywhere in the world and that it would be patriotic to invest in their extraction, particularly as if would show those Russians that the US is no. 1.
Trump’s typically short-term solution to the slump in the oil business was to push for a tax “reform” that went into effect in 2017. This bill gave oil companies negative income taxes, or in other words, corporate welfare, paid for out of taxpayer funds. When Mussolini did this sort of thing -- ie, mixing busines and government, they called it fascism. Some called it corporatism. And that is what America and its allies have. This is not textbook capitalism any more.
So the man who thundered at China and slapped tariffs on its exports for subsidizing its exports is doing exactly that, subsidizing US exports.
Now, let’s not forget the other side of the coin. Remember when Trump came back from his China trip and boasted of all these deals signed with Xi to buy American? Most were not contracts but just memoranda of understanding (MoU’s) – not binding by definition -- and most went nowhere. China gets to play too, and one of its first responses was to abruptly end a deal made to buy US LNG.
Remember we said that China plays the long game, and one of the long-term weapons against the US is an arrangement with Russia and the EU in response to the Iran sanctions. It is called the Special Purpose Vehicle, and its purpose is to create and implement a new payment transfer system to replace the US SWIFT system, which has been used for years as a weapon against nations that refuse to kowtow to the bullies in Washington. The EU has seriously resented Trump and his sanctions and tariffs, particularly his heavy-handed attempt to force Europe to buy US LNG and wean itself off Russian pipeline gas. They told him outright his sanctions on Russian gas were an attempt at extortion. This foolish attempt on his part turned the tide in Europe and now they are determined to go it alone economically – and probably in other ways as well.
Once this system is completed and in place, if it is successful, there will be less – or no – bite in the US sanctions. This will be a tremendous boon for Russia, Iran and China in particular but also for many other recipients of US abuse. But worse, for the US, is that it will become quite easy to make international trade settlements in non-dollar currencies without recourse to a US weapon of economic destruction. Trade settlements in any currency provide added value to the currency in question, and are a step in elevating the currency to reserve currency status. The euro is the prime candidate for replacement of the US dollar. But the yuan is not far behind.
So, to answer the question, China is not doing too badly, but the prognosis for Chinese future growth looks good. Thanks to Donald Trump.
You might say the US dollar is dying of a thousand cuts. It is strong for now, but there are numerous efforts to undermine if, thanks to the increasing use of sanctions to punish nations that refuse to come to heel. Donald Trump is leading the charge.
There are essentially 3 prongs in the de-dollarization effort:
--Reducing the use of the USD in international settlements.
--Selling off Treasuries
--Bypassing the US SWIFT system to facilitate payment transfers while avoiding sanctions.
All three of these prongs are being strongly implemented, and now the EU has joined the effort, primarily to enable further trade with Iran. We had foreseen back in July 2017 that Russia had hopes the euro would eventually replace the US dollar as a reserve currency or at least compete strongly with the USD with the consequence of weakening it and eventually making it impotent as a weapon against nations that refused to kowtow to the Hegemon. Putin had mentioned at a Valdai club meeting earlier that year that Russia wanted a strong EU. Back then, European governments were hysterically accusing him of supporting anti-EU parties in Europe. But this Valdai speech made it clear to me (but apparently not to any other analyst) that Russia was counting on the EU to help replace the US dollar in world trade settlements. Now it is clear that I was right.
The author of the translated article mentions a Bloomberg article on the tyranny of the dollar. We found it. Here is the URL: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-03/the-tyranny-of-the-u-s-dollar
An eye for an eye: China will arrange the largest sale of US government debt
MOSCOW, October 5 - RIA Novosti, Natalia Dembinskaya. China, which has already reduced its investments in the US national debt to semi-annual lows, is ready to take the next step. According to The Wall Street Journal, in October, Beijing plans to dump US bonds by another three billion dollars - this is one of the largest sales since 2004.The reason is the aggravation of relations with Washington because of the trade war. What will happen if the Chinese use the "debt weapon" at full power. From RIA Novosti.
The PRC is the largest external creditor of the American economy. The balance of the Chinese Central Bank now includes US government bonds of more than a trillion dollars - almost 20 percent of Washington’s total government debt owned by foreign holders.
At the end of 2016 - the beginning of 2017, the Chinese reduced their investments in these securities to compensate for the strengthening of the yuan, but since then they have already restored their bond portfolio.
The economy of the PRC is suffering because of the actions of the United States: the damage from the trade war unleashed by Washington is estimated at billions of dollars. Since the beginning of the year, the Shanghai Composite Stock Market Index of China has fallen by 15%.
In Beijing, they warned more than once: if it goes on like this, it will be necessary to get rid of the US state debt - solely for economic reasons. And now they have moved from words to deeds.
For six months, China has already reduced investment in US treasuries by 7.7 billion dollars. A more massive dump threatens the US with dollar instability and a slowdown in the economy.
But Washington does not seem to understand the hints. In late September, Trump introduced a new ten percent duty on goods from China for a total of $ 200 billion and promises to raise tariffs from the new year to 25%.
China, for its part, is determined. During the upcoming sale of US government debt, which, according to the the Wall Street Journal, Beijing will begin next week, investments in US bonds with maturities of five, ten and 30 years will be reduced by a total of three billion dollars.
Financiers fear this could be costly for the US economy. If China sells a significant portion of US debt securities, their value will fall, and yield will rise sharply. This will automatically increase the cost of borrowing for the United States - and for companies and ordinary consumers, which means it will undermine economic growth. The issue of debt securities will be more expensive for the White House.
“The economy will start to heat up due to high interest rates everywhere, which will have a powerful slowing effect,” explains Jeff Mills, chief investment strategist at the US company PNC Financial Services Group.
Japan is on the way
The fears of observers are also connected with the mood of the second largest creditor of the United States, ie, Japan. In June, the portfolio of treasury bonds of the rising sun country dwindled to 1.030 trillion dollars - the lowest figure in seven years.
China and Japan are not the only sellers of US debt. Russia and Turkey, which have suffered from Washington’s economic pressure, have already dropped out of the group of thirty largest Treasuries holders.
Moscow, in particular, ditched almost its entire portfolio: in April-May, the Central Bank reduced investments in American debt securities to a negligible $15 billion (at the beginning of the year the amount exceeded one hundred billion).
Smaller holders - Mexico, India, Taiwan - are also getting rid of US government bonds.
“Foreign lenders are extremely important for the US economy. We cannot exist at such rates of economic growth and depressing forecasts for a budget deficit without foreign capital,” say portfolio managers at American Loomis, Sayles & Co.
In the meantime, the general trend for dumping treasuries is only increasing. According to Reuters estimates, international investors are now getting rid of US Treasury bonds at the highest rates since October 2016.
The reasons are obvious: the aggressive policy of Washington is reducing the number of people willing to lend to the American economy, and at the same time it prompts more and more countries to exclude the dollar from their invoicing.
The "tyranny" of the dollar
US financial agency Bloomberg writes that the dominant role of the dollar will soon come to an end. Bloomberg experts define as "tyranny" the current status of US currency, indicating that "it's time to change the regime."
The publication notes that a paradoxical situation has now developed in the global financial system. On the one hand, the dollar is the world currency, which accounts for more than half of all invoicing, and on the other hand, the US president declares the exclusivity of his country. That is why the world is hastily reconsidering its attitude toward the US currency.
Russia, in particular, is reducing its dollar-denominated assets due to growing risks in international payments, and China is challenging the dollar in world energy markets by entering into contracts in yuan.
Anti-Dollar Mavericks Can’t Win Just Yet
For now, Turkey, Russia and Iran are powerless against the dollar’s dominance, even with China’s help.
The Euro Has the Power to Challenge the Dollar
Growing U.S. unilateralism is an opportunity to end the greenback’s dominance.
The Tyranny of the U.S. Dollar
The incumbent international currency has been American for decades. Is it time for regime change?
NSS translation with a commentary by Vince Dhimos.
Further below is our translation of an analysis by Ivan Danilov pointing out that the sanctions threatened by US legislators against Saudi Arabia could have far-reaching consequences, notably driving Saudi into the Russian camp, an incalculable loss for the US. Though Danilov does not mention it, this could also have a devastating effect on the greenback. The proposed sanctions were aimed at hurting Trump, and indeed, they may affect the GOP’s chances in the November elections, potentially making him an even lamer duck than he has been, and increasing the chances of impeachment. Danilov realizes that the legislators’ crazed drive to bring down Trump has blinded them to the potential unexpected consequences for the US and world economy.
Trump’s reaction to the suspicion that Saudi crown prince MBS murdered journalist Jamal Kashoggi has been tepid to lukewarm. He has said that if Saudi is found to have murdered Washington Post journalist Jamal Kashoggi, “there will be severe punishment.” But he immediately followed this up saying he would not cancel arms sales to the Saudis, as demanded by a bipartisan group of senators, because “I don't want to hurt jobs.” Of course, since the Saudis have given millions in gifts to US presidents, including Obama (details here) and Trump himself (details here), Trump could also be looking out for number 1.
He is right, of course, to treat the Saudis with kid gloves, because, as New Silk Strategies reported in our 3-part series on the petrodollar (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3), there is a myth widely believed by investors in US Treasuries, that the Saudis are needed to prop up the dollar by buying enormous sums of these Treasuries. The myth loses some of its pizzaz if we remember that China and Japan each hold twice as much in Treasuries as Saudi. And even so, US Social Security payees hold several times as much as all three. Thus, theoretically, the US economy would not need Saudi cooperation, but investors are driven not by reality but by perception. Thus, if the Saudis were to back out of the petrodollar agreement, a lot of earth-shaking events could be triggered, though some would be positive. Minus the incentive to “protect” the Saudis and their oil field, the US would have less motive to wage its endess wars. Anyway, Trump’s nervousness about sullying the Saudis is further evidence of just how much US presidents fear the loss of the Saudi relationship.
As Danilov points out, Trump also needs Riyadh to make up for the loss of Iranian oil in the world markets in order to keep oil prices from spiralling into the stratosphere, thus harming the economy by making everything too expensive.
Author Danilov correctly points out that if the US sanctions Saudi too severely and winds up alienating them, they could be driven into Russia’s arms. He doesn’t mention it but it could also drive them toward the Chinese. At any rate, if the US dollar survives this attack by the legislators, it will be a gratifying relief for the world economy.
The US wants to transfer the "oil kingdom" to Putin
Ivan Danilov, author of the blog Crimson Alter
US senators and congressmen want to push the price of oil far beyond $100 a barrel. The introduction of US sanctions against Saudi Arabia in accordance with the so-called "Magnitsky Act" will entail such consequences on the oil market that the current price increase will seem petty and insignificant. And if the sanctions are really strong, then $100 is not the limit. This will not be very profitable for the American economy, but when it comes to annoying the allies of President Trump, many American politicians and officials simply refuse to apply the brakes, and use common sense and an elementary sense of self-preservation.
President Trump will be against this scenario, but under current political conditions he often has his hands tied. The scandal surrounding the alleged murder of Saudi journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi (Kashikchi) in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul may serve as an ideal pretext for new sanctions, and there are already enough people who want to introduce them. In some ways, Riyadh is faced with the problem that Moscow is experiencing in its relations with the current American elite, which perceives sanctions as a way to resolve internal political conflicts and ignores any foreign policy consequences.
It is worth reviewing the plot of the scandal: in Istanbul after a visit to the Saudi consulate, the Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared. The Turkish authorities, the Western media, as well as some Western intelligence agencies suspect (or even argue) that he was killed on the premises of the consulate. The incident elicited international resonance because Khashoggi was not just an opponent of the Saudi leadership, but also came from a very rich family, and was a resident of the United States and a political columnist for the very famous and influential American publisher The Washington Post, considered one of the mouthpieces of the US Democratic Party. The disappearance of a dissident so deeply integrated in the American establishment could not go unnoticed, but the scandal quickly went beyond the diplomatic realm.
Considering that for Trump, the issue of cooperation and maintaining good relations with Saudi Arabia is of critical importance, his opponents in the American establishment immediately took the opportunity to strike at US-Saudi relations. Without the assistance of Saudi Arabia, Trump could not impose sanctions on Iran without causing catastrophic consequences for the oil market. Riyadh compensated part of the "fallen out" from the Iranian oil market. Because Trump does not want to notice the scandal and spoil relations with Riyadh, but they are trying to make him do it.
Senators Bob Corker, Bob Menendez (Chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Policy Committee), Lindsay Graham and Patrick Leahy (Chairman of the Senate Foreign Programs and Operations Committee) wrote a letter to Donald Trump requesting him to investigate a dissident’s disappearance in accordance with the “global Magnitsky Act,” which was actually adopted in Obama administration to back with legislation attempts to “punish” Russia for an independent foreign and domestic policy. By and large, they are trying to oblige the US president to launch a process that, within 120 days (this is precisely the term under the “Magnitsky Act”), end with the imposition of sanctions against Riyadh.
Journalists have already taken an interest in Trump’s response, and it was predictably negative. He pointed out several important points: the missing dissident is not a US citizen, and Saudi Arabia buys American goods and services (mostly weapons) for $120 billion a year, therefore, such a client should not be disregarded. Besides this, statements by the American leader remained the key role of Saudi Arabia in restraining the rise in oil prices after the introduction of tough anti-Iran sanctions. Moreover, it is impossible not to notice that this is far from the first scandal associated with the peculiarities of the observance of human rights in this region, but all of Trump's predecessors had also turned a blind eye to previous scandals. So, the current episode has a purely political background.
Turkey is not satisfied with Saudi Arabia’s explanations in the Kashoggi case.
The influential Republican senator Lindsey Graham has already “responded” to the president, referring to the quote of the late Republican senator and sworn enemy Trump John McCain, who said that in some cases it is necessary to focus exclusively on values and principles. Under the pretext of protecting values and principles, they are now demanding of the American leader to spoil relations with Riyadh. Moreover, the first real sanctions have already been introduced. Due to public and media pressure, Western companies such as the Virgin Group, founded by billionaire Richard Branson, and the Bloomberg agency, founded by Michael Bloomberg, are refusing joint projects with Saudi public and private entities. Even the first wrestling event, which the Saudi authorities have been organizing for several years, is at risk. Further pressure on US companies working with Saudi partners will only increase. Similar appeals are already being heard in the European Union, particularly since the European Parliament’s Human Rights Committee has weighed in on the scandal.
If you look at things pragmatically (and this is exactly how you should look at everything related to foreign policy), the isolation of Saudi Arabia, as well as possible American and European (formal and informal) sanctions against Saudi Arabia, provide quite extensive opportunities for Russia.
Their specific form depends on the specific problems that our Saudi partners will face.
The United States began to use the language of ultimatums even to partners, said Bogdanov [CEO of oil and gas company Surgutneftegas].
If they are disconnected from SWIFT, then you need to help them use the Russian equivalent.
If they are denied access to the real estate markets in San Francisco and London, then Russia can show the potential of Sochi and St. Petersburg.
If they are barred from investing in US and European securities, then they can and should be offered excellent investment opportunities in our companies and securities, including Russian bonds.
If the Americans and Europeans turn out to be completely reckless with their sanctions bacchanalia, then there may even be a chance for the accelerated creation of a "petro-rouble system." Sometimes errors of geopolitical opponents create conditions such that it is a sin not to take advantage of them. Russia will not miss the chance.
Danilov includes Kashoggi’s Turkish family name Kashikchi because his grandfather Muhammed Kashikchi (Kaşıkçı) was Turkish. Apparently this is common knowledge in Russia.
I answered the following question on Quora (the response appearing below has been further amplified):
What is the most likely reason President Carter signed over the Panama Canal to the Panamanians?
Vince Dhimos, lives in Panama City, Panama
There are three main factors in the handover of the Panama Canal to Panama by Jimmy Carter:
1—To quote Wikipedia: Demands for the United States to hand over the canal to Panama increased after the Suez Crisis in 1956, when the United States used financial and diplomatic pressure to force France and the UK to abandon their attempt to retake control of the Suez Canal, previously nationalized by the Nasser regime in Egypt.
In other words, the world started to warm up to the idea that France and UK should relinquish their claim to the Suez Canal, essentially because it was not located in their territory or vicinity. This made their ownership a form of colonialism and that ancient construct was losing support in the world. This set an international precedent that would naturally apply to the Panama Canal.
2—The murder of several teenagers at Balboa High School, founded for US sons and daughters of US service personal in the Canal Zone, on Jan 9, 1964. (Many of my details hereinafter are from the site of Panamanian newspaper La Crítica. Unfortunately, US outlets were not inclined to publish much detail on this embarrassing story).
The students were from another school but went to Balboa HS carrying a Panamanian flag, in protest of the fact that that school was illegally flying only the US flag and not the Panamanian flag. Now here’s a fact that seems trivial, but is instructive in retrospect: The school was required under a bilateral agreement, carrying the strength of US law, to fly both flags but was in flagrant violation. The decision to illegally fly only the US flag, was made by the US students, whose parents were certainly staunch US patriots. Thus the violence that ensued and that ultimately led to the transfer of the canal to Panama was in fact caused by high school kids.
(Moral: Be careful what you teach your kids. Blind nationalism can lead to a major loss for the country you think you are defending. I can’t help but think of the loss of US allies and the trust of the world due to the numerous sanctions and tariffs recently applied everywhere against almost all exporters to the US.)
The demonstrators demanded that their flag be hoisted together with the US flag. This was the point at which a wise decision could possibly have prevented bloodshed. Instead, the representative of the school insisted that they could not raise the flag on the flag pole (which had two sets of cords to accommodate 2 flags) but would be allowed to stand in front of the flag pole holding the flag and sing the Panamanian anthem. This was acceptable to some of the demonstrators but not to their leaders. Nonetheless, the demonstrators sang their anthem while the US students, steeped in the conviction that the Great USA is sovereign over all other nations, tried to drown out their voices by singing the Star Spangled Banner. After a lengthy heated discussion between the Panamanian students and the students of Balboa HS, mostly Americans (though some foreigners were admitted, upon paying tuition), the demonstrators later insisted, against the Balboa HS representative’s wishes, on hoisting their national flag. Panamanian guards at the school, loyal to the US, finally ordered the demonstrators to leave at gunpoint. In the ensuing struggle, a police officer struck the Panamanian flag with a night stick, causing it to tear, and was then punched in the face by a demonstrator. In the further confusion, the demonstrators reacted violently. Ultimately, some of the demonstrators were shot and killed. This bloody incident led to subsequent rioting throughout the country, extending as far as the city of Colon, 40 mile miles (80 by the circuitous land route) to the north of the site of the initial demonstrations. 20 Panamanians, who had entered the Canal Zone in contrvention of prevailing US law, and 4 Americans were killed. In this subsequent riot in the Canal Zone, one of the student organizers, Ascanio Arosemena, was shot to death as he was helping the wounded. The shooters were mostly US military. This student is now famous post-mortem in Panama, where Martyrs’ Day is celebrated every year and Ascanio’s martyrdom is commemorated in particular. A theatre not far from the initial protest was named for him. Panama briefly suspended relations with the US over these incidents. An avenue along the route from downtown Panama City to the scene is now named Avenida de los Mártires (Avenue of the Martyrs), one wall of which is prominently decorated with anti-US graffiti that perpetually reminds visitors and residents alike of the way their one-time benefactor treated Panamanians. A rather complete history of the incidents is found in this academic thesis.
3— Panama strongman Omar Torrijos. Omar, a high-ranking military leader, rose to power when he overthrew President Arnulfo Arias, who was unwilling to cooperate with the military. It happened on the 11th day of Arias’ third term. Deposing the oligarch Arias had become a de rigueur ritual. He had been deposed twice before. But don’t cry for Arias, folks. During his first term he started implementing the platform of a Nazi party in Panama. He adored Adolf Hitler, and to please his idol, he ordered the killing of a group of Jewish immigrants from Switzerland in the province of Chiriquí, forced foreign business people to transfer ownership of their companies to Panamanian hands, and divested black West Indians – all either the labourers who built the canal or descendants of them – of their citizenship. He also organized state visits to Berlin. Encyclopaedia Britannica writes of Arias, “During his dictatorial and corrupt second term, he replaced the constitution, dissolved the National Assembly and the Supreme Court, and was finally physically deposed by the national police.”
Partly as a result of the massacre described above, triggered by proud patriotic US high school students, popular strong man Omar Torrijos took up the cause of recovering the Canal Zone for Panama. He campaigned around the world for this cause and was ultimately successful in convincing Jimmy Carter to hand over the canal. It was a brash move on Carter’s part since a compromise agreement could probably have been reached, since Carter held all the cards. At any rate, the canal reverted to Panama on Nov 24, 1999 under the Torrijos-Carter agreement, long after Omar’s death.
Torrijos was loved by the people and is hated to this day by the US-backed oligarchs. He was an educated man but very much a man of the people, who loved to meet and socialize with his indigenous friends in the Comarcas (reservations for the indigenous). At the same time, aside from recovering the canal for Panama, he was a man of vision who initiated more infrastructure projects for the country than any president. He founded the Universidad Tecnológica, ie, the first higher school of technology in Panama; he was responsible for the construction of: a national stadium, a national swimming pool, a national gymnasium, later transformed into an arena where international sports events are held; major street and highway projects all over the country; rural aqueducts in areas with fewer than 500 persons;and numerous quite decent housing projects afordable for purchase by the poor; he initiated education reform and fought for the rights of (woefully underpaid) teachers to strike. This reform was vigorously opposed by the Catholic Church, which continues to run private schools and seriously underpays its teachers to this day (my wife is one of them). The Church charged that the notion of “reform” smacked of communism, probably in hopes that they US would intervene on their part; Torrijos also established a program to provide free text books for students.
Though Torrijos established relations with Cuba, when asked about which side of the political spectrum he sided with, he famously said “ni con la derecha, ni con la izquierda,” neither with the right, nor with the left. He was in almost every sense the Panamanian Putin.
Omar Torrijos died in a mysterious plane crash in 1981. When I first started coming to Panama, I would ask every taxi driver how Torrijos had died. They all said the CIA killed him, a common belief in the country. Indeed ex-CIA chief Bush Senior was vice-president by the time Torrijos was killed. It is not known for certain what caused his plane to go down, although the weather was bad when it took off.
However, after the 1964 murders and after the Bush Sr. invasion from Dec 20 1989 to Jan 31, 1990, which killed at least 4000, mostly civilians, the US lost much of its lustre here. US citizens are still treated with respect but the US government is not trusted by the grassroots — just mostly by the oligarchy, who have always dominated the presidency.
The following is our translation from the Russian site topcor.ru. The second sentence of the first paragraph will confuse many Western consumers of US msm. It says:
“Of course, little thought [in Israel] is given to the fact that the bombing of a neighbouring state in itself cannot but lead to serious consequences.”
This article, written for a Russian audience familiar with Middle East current affairs, will confuse some readers because the Western media almost completely ignore the fact that Israel has been firing missiles into Syria at important weapons manufacturing or storing facilities for a very long time, endangering civilians (eg, at an international airport), Russian personnel, etc., and disrupting the war against terrorists there. The Israelis admitted it, as reported by the Times of Israel (we could not find any mention of this in the Anglo press).
Though most Westerners are loathe to admit it, US ally Israel has long been on the side of the terrorists in Syria, if only indirectly.
For one thing, as reported by Middle East Monitor, Israeli and US made weapons have been found in areas surrendered by ISIS (Daesh).
Further according to the Times of Israel, Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon let slip a revealing truth about the Isreali leadership when he said
“In Syria, if the choice is between Iran and the Islamic State, I choose the Islamic State. They don’t have the capabilities that Iran has.” (This too was hushed by the English-language press).
At variance with Ya’alon’s statement, ISIS does in fact have the capability of taking over large swaths of the Middle East with US assistance (or at least tacit permission) and without Russian intervention, just as it took over Syria before the Russian entry in 2015. Although Ya’alon is not necessarily admitting that he supports ISIS, he is in fact saying that he doesn’t care whether Syrians have to live under the yoke of an inhuman government that beheads people for being Shiite, Yazidi, Christian, Kurdish, or anything other than a ruthless, intolerant Wahhabist (Salafist) government. He would never admit, and he doesn’t care, that Iran, since the beginning of the war, has been contributing vital boots on the ground to fight ISIS. Israel knows very well that Iran cannot attack Israel proper unprovoked, despite Iran’s occasional attacks on terrorists in Golan. Why? Because the Iranian leadership knows that if Iran were to attack Israel, its current government would be overthrown and the country would be attacked and destroyed by the US and NATO. It’s obviously not going to happen. Israel’s fear of Iran and Syria stems from the fact that both countries refuse to acknowledge the existence of the Jewish state, and are capable of infecting the rest of the Muslim world with this viewpoint. And not because they are anti-Jewish. But because they remember the brutal and illegal tactics (as detailed in part by a Washington Post article) by which the first Zionists in the region displaced 700,000 Arabs. The issue has been falsely framed as “Israel’s right to exist.” In fact, for millions of Arabs, the real issue is “Israel’s right to displace us from our homes.” Everything changes when you frame the issue that way.
The Israeli military maintains regular forces in the Golan Heights, and when the Syrians get too close, its spokespeople warn that the “Israeli border” is being threatened. But the Golan is all Syrian territory. Under international law, Israel has no right to be there. Yet, sheltered by the US, they continue to say the Golan border is theirs. And the US press supports this lie with their silence.
Why Israel cannot destroy the S-300
September 25, 2018
The delivery of the S-300 system to Syria by Russia has seriously panicked Israel’s ruling circles. Israeli media is issuing increasingly panicky notes: "this will lead to serious consequences," "Israel is in for a nightmare." Of course, little thought is given to the fact that the bombing of a neighbouring state in itself cannot but lead to serious consequences. There are those who propose solving the problem with the old methods: continue bombing, including striking the Russian anti-aircraft missile systems.
For their part, the Syrians warmly greeted Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu’s announcement that the S-300s would be supplied. For example, Riyad Haddad, the Syrian Ambassador in Moscow, stressed that these installations are necessary for his country to defend against Israeli aggression.
Following up on Shoigu, President Vladimir Putin confirmed the intention to transfer the S-300 air defence system to Syria. In a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said that in the current situation, such deliveries are an appropriate measure that will prevent potential threats to Russian military personnel.
Of course, the Israeli leadership is trying to reassure Russia that there are no threats to its military, located in Syria, that targeted attacks on Russian targets have been ruled out. However, practice has shown otherwise. The downing of a Russian plane with military personnel on board speaks for itself - the threats are quite real. As for the targeted attacks, we cannot rule out attempts to destroy the Russian S-300s in Syria. Moreover, even long before the incident with the plane, the Israelis (including Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman) had already threatened to do this if Moscow dared to send the installations to Syria.
Some Israeli bloggers are already actively proposing ways to eliminate the C-300. They recall that there have already been already similar cases, only at a different time and with a different technique. For example, in 1969, the Israelis succeeded in capturing the P-12 radar station transferred to Egypt by the Soviet Union. And during the 1982 Lebanon war, anti-aircraft missile systems were destroyed with the help of massive air strikes and missile attacks. Another option is to use electronic jamming. This was used in 2007 during the Israeli raid on Syria: the air defence systems were “blinded.” A ground operation to destroy the S-300 with the killing of service personnel or the dispatching of a sabotage group in order to undermine the technology “interfering” with Israel is also not excluded.
The Russian newspaper “Vzglyad” cited the statements of several experts debating whether it is possible for the Israelis to destroy the Russian air defence system. An independent military expert Anton Lavrov believes that the option of a ground operation or sabotage is unlikely. Electronic warfare methods are also unrealistic — they are ineffective against the S-300. Most likely, Israel will strike from the air, for example, using F-35 fighter jets. He recalled that the Israelis have considerable experience in combatting Syrian air defence weapons. The expert added that as a result, a “major air battle” could flare up, but the air defence system could not hold up against hundreds of aircraft. It is also possible that Israel will enlist the United States on its side; moreover, Washington can independently strike at Syria with the help of cruise missiles.
Former Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force Aytech Bizhev believes that Israel will not be able to destroy the S-300.
He states as follows as cited in Vzglyad:
“The complex is not a stand-alone. It is a fully integrated system. Its near border is guarded by the Pantsir air defence missile system, and there are many other means, radar combat weapons ... The complex is protected by other SAMs. In fact, it protects itself. But we also have Su-30 and Su-27 planes. They will chew up these Israeli F-16s in 30 seconds.”
More sober-minded Israelis believe that their leadership will not dare to bomb the S-300 due to political considerations, since this could lead to a direct clash with Russia.
In fact, until recently, Israel did not want to believe that Moscow would take the step of delivering modern anti-aircraft missile systems to Syria. They said that would be crossing a certain "red line" in Russian-Israeli relations. The fact that Tel Aviv itself crossed the “red line” is stubbornly denied, the incident with the Russian plane being blamed solely on the Syrians.
However, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation provided additional data on the culpability of the Israeli side in the crash of the Il-20. The evidence, according to a statement by the official representative of the department, Igor Konashenkov, was obtained from the indicators of the command and control center of the S-400 system, which is based in Khmeymim.
Konashenkov pointed out that the screen shows that the Syrian C-200 rocket was originally headed specifically toward an Israeli aircraft. It was at an altitude of 9-10 kilometres, like the Il-20. While approaching an Israeli fighter, the rocket sharply changed course, because the Russian aircraft has a large reflecting surface. In addition, it reduced its speed.
“Today’s data no longer just suggests, but in fact proves that the blame for the tragedy with the Russian Il-20 aircraft rests entirely with the Israeli air force and with those who made the decision on this kind of activity”
Of course, Israel will continue to deny its guilt, and to declare its right to bomb Syrian territory with impunity. But statements are only statements, and the modern anti-aircraft missile systems, which Russia will give to Syria, are an effective way to cool the hot heads of the aggressors.
Finally, those who are concerned about the possibility of the newly installed air defence system in Syria being destroyed (as we all should be), may find some comfort in the statement of Russian defence minister Sergey Shoigu following installation of the system:
"Russian EW (electronic warfare) systems will suppress any communication radar and satellite navigation of combat aviation involved in attacks on Syria from the Eastern Mediterranean."
I answered another question on Quora.
QUESTION: Should the US invade Venezuela? (https://www.quora.com/Should-the-United-States-intervene-in-Venezuela)
VINCE: Do you mean should they intervene like the US did in Libya and leave a vacuum for terrorists to plunge the country into chaos? Or like they did in Afghanistan and leave a gaping unhealed wound for over a generation with no hope of the war ever ending? Or like they did in Panama, leaving 4000 dead Panamanians lying dead on the streets? Or like they did in Ukraine, completely wrecking the economy?
If the US intervenes in Panama, remember that this would be a Trump intervention. So you need to ask yourself: what is Trump’s ultimate aim for the US economy?
Answer: Trump is absolutely bound and determined to make the US the no. one exporter of hydrocarbons and he will stop at nothing short of fair and honest competition to make this happen. His new tax law of 2017 has already blessed US oil companies with welfare in the form of negative taxes. This was a desperate move in response to the fact that fracking companies weren’t making money.
The idea of fracking (hydraulic fracturing of rock to squeeze the last few drops of oil or puffs of gas out of a depleted deposit) looked good on paper but the process can’t compete economically with extraction of oil or gas from fresh non-depleted deposits – the kind they have in Russia – firstly because the process itself is costly and secondly in large part because fracked wells deplete quickly requiring constant re-drilling (details here: https://www.desmogblog.com/2018/05/04/wall-street-shale-oil-fracking-revolution-losing-billions-continental-resources). But instead of admitting that (which would have cost the GOP votes in November), he decided to have the US Taxpayer bail out the irresponsible, incompetent oil and gas CEOs who invested in the hair-brained scheme without conducting a thorough cost analysis. The US was back to Bush and the banker bailouts. So how does Trump deal with the competition in the hydrocarbons business? Well, to give you an idea of his approach, recall that he tried to slap sanctions on Europe for buying Russian natural gas. His idea was to ban the sale of cheap Russian gas and sell extravagantly expensive US LNG to Europe, on the pretext that Russia was supposedly an enemy. The only catch was that the Europeans aren’t brain dead yet. They know that Russia is not their enemy and that LNG is super expensive, unable to compete with pipeline-delivered gas that requires no cyber processing, loading onto expensive specially designed sea-going vessels and unloading at similarly expensive specially designed terminals in the receiving country. Like all normal people, they knew they couldn’t afford this. Only US oil execs and White House residents are ignorant of this basic fact. This heavy handed business dealing was clearly an attempt at unfair competition made in the USA, and the Europeans put up such a fuss that Trump’s sneaky plan fell through. But now he is so furious at Russia for competing with Great-Again USA that he and the legislators are preparing devastating sanctions aimed at completely ruining Russia. Further, given the failure to implement the sanctions, the administration’s interior secretary Ryan Zinke threatened to use the US Navy to blockade Russia’s trade routes, eliminating the un-American scheme of international free trade in a way almost certain to start a war with both Russia and China.
Need I remind the reader that the sanctions against Iran (scheduled to go into effect in November) under the transparent pretext that that country is developing missiles for self-defence (only America has a right to defend itself) are another way of eliminating major competition in the gas and oil business (and also of keeping Saudi and Tel Aviv happy).
Now, remember that China takes the opposite approach to economics. They believe that if you lift people out of poverty you wind up with a richer client who can buy more of your exports. This is based on the ancient Confucian concept of common sense. So they want to do in Venezuela what they are doing in Zambia, ie, improving the infrastructure through targeted investments (details here: http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news--analysis/china-really-can-save-venezuela-if-the-us-allows-it ) and getting their investment back once the client country is back on its feet again. Xi Jinping proposed in his last meeting with Maduro a few weeks ago to invest in oil refining infrastructure in Venezuela.
Now, after what the Great-Again Nation tried to do to Russia and its European clients — for daring to compete with the US — ask yourself: will the US, after invading Venezuela, really help the country improve its oil-based economy and compete with the US at time when the US wants desperately to be the biggest oil exporter in the world? Or will they do what they always do and destroy as much infrastructure and kill as many Venezuelans as they can so that the country never gets back on its feet again? (Reminder: Here is how they “helped” Iraq: http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/international-relations/where-is-the-marshall-plan-for-iraq)
No, the US should not invade Venezuela. But it should by all means find a way to compete internationally without bullying its prospective clients, based on the ancient Confucian notion of common sense.