Posts Tagged ‘Ukraine’

George Soros’s worst nightmare is about to become a reality in a key European country – France.

Francois Fillon, former French prime minister and member of Les Republicains political party, delivers his speech after partial results in the second round for the French center-right presidential primary election in Paris, France, November 27, 2016.

In an interview to Le Monde, the likeliest winner of the coming presidential election Francois Fillon called NATO’s promise in 2008 to take in Georgia and Ukraine as “irresponsible.” For Soros, who in his recent article saw Europe as a battleground for a Manichean fight between “democrats” and “dictators,” this must be a sure sign of “Europe falling under the influence of Vladimir Putin.”

In reality, Russia’s hopes for France are much more modest. They are nothing like the monsters which Mr. Soros creates in his imagination. Contrary to the fake generalizations in the mainstream press, Russia has been looking for understanding not so much in the so called far-right parties inside the EU countries as in the established “center” of European politics. Francois Fillon and his Gaullist party The Republicans represent exactly that – the moderate “right of center” in the French politics.

In the years that followed the worsening of relations with the West after the Kiev coup in 2014, Russia invited even the former president Nicolas Sarkozy, the main architect of the Western intervention in Libya, to several forums in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The aim was not “to dominate Europe,” but to find in France a minimally sensible politician, who would not see Russia as a “clear and present danger” (a preferred expression of French Russophobes). Finding such politicians in France would set a stage for a dialogue – an antonym to Mr. Soros’s “color revolutions,” touted by the Western media and despised by the people in the “revolutionized” countries, from Syria and Serbia to Georgia and Ukraine.

This aim of a dialogue could not be achieved through the cruel and duplicitous Sarkozy, who only advised Russia to remove its countersanctions against Western foodstuffs “in a gesture of goodwill.” (Many a previous gesture of this kind from Russia did not deter NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders or any other hostile moves from the US and the EU.) But Russia suddenly found a lot of sympathy among the less elitist French politicians, who represented the pragmatic interests of French business, and not the imperial designs of “spreading democracy” around the globe.

In April 2016, the French parliament, the National Assembly, recommended the lifting of sanctions against Russia.

And now Francois Fillon, an unexpected winner of the primaries in the French rightist party The Republicans, is voicing similar ideas about EU-Russian relations in general. To an unbiased observer, these truths are simple enough to be coming out of the mouth of babes, but for the mainstream media they are dangerous heresies.

“Has the West always been a reliable partner for Russia?” Fillon asked himself rhetorically during a recent interview to Le Monde daily. “Didn’t we deceive Russia on Libya, on Kosovo, on the economic partnership with the EU?”

Despite his previous characterizations of Russia as a “dangerous” country, Fillon obviously went beyond the limits of the European mainstream on Russia when he called NATO’s invitation for Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO in future “irresponsible.”

“Why did we need to deploy anti-missile defense right near the Russian border? We made a lot of mistakes,” Fillon said in that same interview.

Instead of countering Mr. Fillon by arguments, French politicians and mainstream media prefers “trolling” him by alleging he has “personal connections” to Russia. So far, the only revealed connections were Mr. Fillon’s two visits to Russia in the framework of the Valdai Discussion Club (an organization bringing together people with all kinds of views on Russia, including some very critical ones). Also, Fillon and Putin were prime ministers of France and Russia respectively in 2008-2010 and as such they exchanged a few friendly messages. So much for “personal connections.”

This, however, did not deter Alain Juppe, Fillon’s rival during the primaries of the French right, to “warn” his adversary against “excess of vodka during his meetings with Putin.”

This cheap insult, however, did not play well with voters, who preferred Fillon to Juppe, making the former prime minister the main candidate of the center-right Republicans.

The lesson also did not go down well with Manuel Valls, the former Socialist prime minister, who is going through the leftist primaries right now in the hope of challenging Fillon later this year during the presidential election. Valls said he would “defend France against both the United States of Trump and Putin’s Russia” if elected the president.

Will Russophobia play out for Mr. Valls? There is a strong doubt about this. Valls has already lost the first tour of Socialist primaries to the little known “red and green” candidate Benoit Hamon.

“People like Valls just don’t understand that there is a certain fatigue about business as usual in Europe, and Russophobia is a part of the business as usual there,” said Gevorg Mirzayan, a specialist on foreign relations at the Institute of US and Canada in Moscow.

Hopefully, the Russophobic part of the business as usual will come to an end. Russia wants only as much as that – and legitimately.

As Russia and America creep ever closer to outright conflict, now that the diplomatic facade of the proxy war in Syria falls away with every passing day, one voice if calling for the world to stop and reassess what it is doing. Former USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned on Monday that the world has reached a “dangerous point” as tensions between Russia and the United States surge over the Syria conflict; a conflict which if escalated even fractionally further, could result in all out war between the two superpowers according to General Joseph Dunford.

Gorbachev blamed the current state of affairs between Russia and US on the “collapse of mutual trust” and urged the sides to resume dialogue and push towards demilitarization and complete nuclear disarmament.

“I think the world has reached a dangerous point. I don’t want to give any concrete prescriptions but I do want to say that this needs to stop. We need to renew dialogue. Stopping it was the biggest mistake.  Now we must return to the main priorities, such as nuclear disarmament, fighting terrorism and prevention of global environmental disasters. Compared to these challenges, all the rest slips into the background.” Gorbachev said in an interview with RIA Novosti.

Relations between Moscow and Washington, already at their lowest since the Cold War over the Ukraine conflict, deteriorated sharply in recent days as the United States pulled the plug on Syria talks and accused Russia of hacking attacks.


Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (L) and U.S. President Ronald Reagan
begin their mini-summit talks in Reykjavik October 11, 1986.

As a result, last week Russia moved nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, near the hear of central Europe, an indication that a nuclear disarmament is the last thing on the mind of either Putin or Obama; quite the contrary a new nuclear arms race has begun. That, however, did not stop Gorbachev to preach the need for nuclear disarmament.

“Of course, at this moment it is difficult to talk about moving towards a nuclear-free world, we must honestly admit it. But we should not forget: as long as there are nuclear weapons there is the threat of their use. It could be an accident, a technical malfunction of someone’s evil will – a madman or a terrorist,” the former Soviet leader said. Or a perfectly sane, administration official intent on starting a new world war to benefit his or her financial backers.

In the interview, Gorbachev also reminded that in line with the nuclear non-proliferation agreement all of its signatories must hold talks on nuclear disarmament uniting the eventual full destruction of nuclear weapons.

“The nuclear-free world is not a utopia, but rather an imperative necessity. But we can achieve it only through demilitarization of politics and international relations.”

Gorbachev added that veterans of international politics, such as the “council of sages” chaired by former UN leader Kofi Annan, understood these problems and expressed hope that their voices would be heard by modern leaders. At the same time he emphasized that the main responsibility for global security lies on these modern leaders who would make the greatest mistake if they do not use the last chance to return international politics to a peaceful course.

The former Soviet leader’s interview was published on Monday to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the USSR-US summit in Reykjavik, which eventually allowed the nuclear arms race to slow down and greatly contributed to the end of the Cold War. Ironically, it comes out at a time when the nuclear arms race is back front and center.

Looking back to a more sensible time, Gorbachev reiterated that the Reykjavik summit was a major breakthrough. “First, we agreed on many issues and second, we managed to look over the horizon, see the perspective of a nuclear-free world,” he said.

“It was very appealing that in the course of our negotiations President Ronald Reagan sincerely spoke about the necessity to rid the world of the weapons of mass destruction. We shared a common position on this issue.”

Sadly, today that is no longer the case, and as we said over the weekend when we profiled the latest Russian nuclear escalation, the next move will be one by NATO and it will be proportional, as the west delivers even more nuclear weapons in close proximity to Russia in what will become a tit-for-tat “defection” from the game theoretical equilibrium, until the “accident, technical malfunction, madman or  terrorist” emerges and unleashes an unthinkable scenario.

It is a little hard to believe that the US Air Force’s attack on the Syrian Arab Army was a mere accident, Professor Stephen F. Cohen noted, warning the US party of war, which is adamantly opposed to any cooperation with Russia, is growing more and more influential in Washington.

The US party of war is “adamantly opposed” to any cooperation with Russia, Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University, remarked commenting on the recent developments in Syria on The John Batchelor Show.

“[What’s important to be said is that] the attack on the Syrian forces [in Deir ez-Zor], which the US Air Force admitted that it did do by accident, it said, the attack on the humanitarian convoy headed for the destitute people of Aleppo and in that region (was attacked we don’t know about whom)… — these pieces are linked to the [Syrian ceasefire] agreement,” Professor Cohen emphasized.

The agreement specified that if for seven days the conditions agreed upon were met — and they included a ceasefire in various areas and humanitarian relief to Aleppo — that at the end of seven days something if not historic but exceedingly important would happen: the United States and Russia would join military arms and together wage air war against various terrorists in Syria. The importance of that cannot be overstated,” the American academic stressed.

He called attention to the fact that it would be the first real military cooperation between Moscow and Washington since a New Cold War began several years ago. Cohen underscored that it could lead to cooperation elsewhere, including the troubled Baltic region, where NATO is beefing up its military presence, and Ukraine.

However, the US scholar noted, there are forces in Washington which seek to disrupt the US-Russian détente.

Given the fact that US warplanes knew the Deir ez-Zor region very well and that the US Department of Defense (DOD) had openly expressed its skepticism regarding the US-Russian plan on Syria, it is “a little hard to believe” that the attack on the Syrian Arab Army was an “accident,” Professor Cohen suggested.

He quoted the New York Times editorial, which read that “at the Pentagon, officials would not even agree that if a cessation of violence in Syria held for seven days — the initial part of the deal — the Defense Department would put in place its part of the agreement on the eighth day.”

The editorial also referred to Carter, “who has deep reservations about the plan for American and Russian forces to jointly target terrorist groups.”

“In other words,” Cohen noted, “Pentagon officials refused to say whether they would obey President Obama.”

The US academic stressed that in a Constitutional democracy where the military is clearly subordinated to the civilian leadership that is extraordinary.

“We’ve come to a point in this craziness, in this New Cold War with Russia where DOD is openly saying it may or may not obey President Obama. If DOD will say that publicly you can imagine the opposition in Washington against the Syrian deal, [US Secretary of State John] Kerry brokered with Russian Foreign Minister [Sergei] Lavrov,” Professor Cohen highlighted.

The professor remarked that the opposition comprises very influential figures from the Pentagon, the US State Department, both Democratic and Republican parties and the US’ mainstream media.

He recalled that such a situation is not new: during the previous 40-year Cold War the US party of war had repeatedly thrown a wrench in the Russo-American détente.

Cohen drew historical parallels between the Deir ez-Zor attack and the 1960 U-2 incident, when a US U-2 spy plane was shot down in Soviet airspace. What is remarkable about this historical episode is that it occurred while Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and Dwight D. Eisenhower were seeking a détente. The CIA-led incursion ruined the possibility of the US-Soviet rapprochement, the US professor explained.

Today, while Russia opposes the US neocons’ idea of a US-led unipolar world order, the American party of war is determined to do whatever it takes to isolate Russia.

Russian analysts echo Professor Cohen: according to Stanislav Tarasov, Russian expert and head of the Middle East-Caucasus think tank the Deir ez-Zor attack as well as the assault on the UN humanitarian convoy could be the two links in one and the same chain.

Tarasov, the Pentagon could have deliberately tried to undermine the US-Russian deal on Syria.

For his part, Yevgeny Satanovsky, head of the Moscow-based Middle East Institute, expressed doubts regarding the fact that the US-led coalition’s airstrike was just an accident. The expert stressed that the attack is likely a reflection of the ongoing struggle between the US military and diplomatic establishments and an attempt by the Pentagon to “show the State Department who’s boss.”

RIA Novosti political analyst Alexander Khrolenko suggested that some forces are obviously trying to throw the US-Russian Geneva initiative into question and swing the balance in their own favor. He referred to the fact that the US’ Middle Eastern partners have recently intensified their activity in the region.

“It seems that a new division of spheres of influence is on the cards, and a diplomatic solution [to the Syrian crisis] is becoming more and more unlikely,” Khrolenko assumed.

The war in Syria is significant in two ways. First, the outcome can reshape the Arab Middle East. Second, and perhaps more important, Syria is not simply about Syrians. The US, Russian, Iranian, Turkish, and French forces are engaged there along with the Islamic State (IS), al-Qaida, and secular Arabs. The Saudis and the rest of the Arab monarchies also exert political and economic influence on Syria.

I have written in the past about how the growing crises in Eurasia are increasingly interacting. Syria is the place where that interaction is the greatest and most violent.

Prior to World War II, there was a civil war in Spain. Nazi Germany and fascist Italy sent troops. The Soviet Union did as well. In addition, leftists from around the world flocked there to fight. The French and British refused to get involved, trying not to be drawn in. The Spanish Civil War was said to be a rehearsal for World War II. The major players of the European war were there—though some weren’t. New weapons were tried out. The civil war ended in April 1939, five months before Germany invaded Poland, which began World War II.

Syria is drawing in major global and regional powers. When, for example, the US and Russia are engaged in a country – with very different goals and supporting hostile factions – it is certainly not something to dismiss out of hand. On the contrary, Syria matters a great deal. If nothing else, it has become a test of the strength of powers with interests far beyond Syria.

The Origins of the Syrian Conflict

There is a class of conflicts whose importance to us diminishes over time. These conflicts involve intense slaughter and suffering and generate endless conferences, meetings, and wringing of hands by global statesman. But these wars seem never-ending. Their origins are lost in the mists of time, the situations on the battlefield are hard to grasp, and they appear to have little consequence to the rest of the world. The relief workers do a heroic job and try to shame us into caring and giving, but in the end, each conflict seems to be just another war in a faraway place having little to do with our own lives.

But Syria is far more than that.

The current regime was founded by Hafez al-Assad, an air force general, in a military coup. He was an Alawite, part of the Shiite sect of Islam. He was also a secularist. Gamal Abdel Nasser, an Egyptian military officer, had staged a coup in Egypt in 1952 and wanted to create a state based on three principles: secularism, socialism, and Pan-Arabism. His vision was the creation not of a caliphate, but of a secular, socialist, unified Arab world, based on military rule. Many regimes were patterned on this, including Assad’s regime in Syria.

But ideology aside, Assad represented the Alawite faction, and what he created was a state built around his faction. Other factions were excluded, oppressed, and not infrequently, killed. However, Alawites are only around 12% of the Syrian population, which was why he relied heavily on the minorities (Christians, mainstream Shiites, Ismailis, Kurds, and Druze) that together constitute 40% of the population. More important, he also relied on many Sunnis. Even today, the regime is alive because a lot of Sunnis have not rebelled against the state. Nevertheless, Assad kept Syria from fragmenting by suppressing any challenge to him. After he died, his son, Bashar al-Assad, kept running the family business.

The Arab Spring in 2011 generated a challenge to his regime. The problem was that the opposition was deeply split. They spent as much time fighting each other as they spent fighting Assad. Democracy had little to do with it. The Alawite-Sunni split had a great deal to do with it. But the Assad regime had a lot of support.

One of the misunderstandings of US foreign policy has been that tyrants rule only through the threat of violence. That is true, but in order to have a credible threat of violence, you have to have people who are prepared to carry that violence out. And they need to be loyal to you, or they may turn the violence against you. Tyrants do not live alone in isolated palaces. If they did, they wouldn’t live very long.

The Alawites had done extremely well under the Assads. They dominated the military, trade, smuggling, and internal business. They were hated by many Sunnis, especially the more religiously inclined. The Alawites knew that if Assad fell, their position would collapse, and they would become the target. They, therefore, had to resist the uprising, and since they controlled the military, they believed they would not be defeated. Assad was not going to be overthrown by a wildly fragmented and poorly armed and trained opposition.

Enter the Americans

The Assads had been a problem for the United States in many ways. They sent weapons and supplies into Iraq during the US occupation from 2003 to 2011. They helped destabilize Lebanon. They fought multiple wars with Israel. And above all, they were closely aligned with the Iranians, fellow Shiites. Hezbollah in Lebanon, also an ally of Iran and Syria, represented a terrorist threat for the US (even in 2011 when the Sunnis were the main enemy). When the Syrian war began, the US saw a chance to crack Assad, dramatically reduce Iranian influence in the region, and break Hezbollah.

The problem was that the US didn’t want to get directly involved in the war, at least not excessively. Since most Sunni groups were jihadist, the US had to find groups that were anti-jihadist, anti-Iranian, and anti-Assad… and that were motivated to fight. The US was looking for secularists not aligned with Assad. It was, to say the least, difficult to find such a group. It was also hard to be certain that they would stay that kind of group, and that they wouldn’t sell the weapons they were given. Still, the US felt it had enough to gain to keep trying.

At this point, IS emerged, seizing control of parts of Iraq and Syria. This put the US in a fix. If it brought Assad down, IS might extend its power. If it attacked IS, it would give Assad breathing room and alienate some of the opposition (some of which wanted an all-out attack on Assad while others didn’t want IS hindered). The US found itself “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” as the song about the Vietnam War went, and it had yet to create an effective opposition to Assad anyway.

More Global Powers Get Involved

Then, the Russians became involved militarily. Russian intelligence had been close to the Assads since they took over in Syria. Russia did not want him to fall. But it had far greater problems than Assad. First, it suffered a strategic setback in a crucial buffer state, Ukraine, when a pro-Russian government was replaced by a pro-Western one. Attempts to foment an uprising in the east failed, and all Russia could claim was control over Crimea, where by treaty it had already based major force.

Second, the collapse of oil prices had a massive impact on the economy that was going to pyramid. At the very least, President Vladimir Putin needed to demonstrate that, barring Ukraine, Russia was a major power.

The military importance of his decision to deploy a relatively small number of aircraft and special forces in Syria was massively inflated by the Russians, who wanted to appear stronger than they were, and by the Americans, who wanted to make Russia out as an aggressor. Both approaches helped cement Russia’s role. Then, having deployed aircraft and troops, Russia confronted the same problem as the Americans. The Russians could not reshape the Syrian landscape, especially with US resistance.

The US, Russia, and Iran were all active in Syria and unable to end the conflict. That left the Turks. The Turks hated the Assad regime, and when the Russians first intervened, the Turks shot down a Russian plane, causing a serious confrontation. Then, there was an attempted coup in Turkey, and the Turks turned against the Americans (who they partly blamed for the failed coup) and got closer to the Russians. Realizing that the Russians were inflexible on Assad, the Turks shifted back toward the Americans and were prepared to fight IS, but only if the US understood that the Turks had a simultaneous war underway with the Kurds.

Syria did not simply draw players in. It sent huge numbers of migrants to Europe as well. This triggered a huge crisis in the European Union, dividing countries that wanted to block migration from those that would encourage it. This compounded already existing tensions in Europe over the economy. It is reasonable to say that Syrian migrants shaped the Brexit vote, encouraged the rise of radical nationalist groups throughout Europe, and redefined the underlying issues.

The Paris terrorist attacks had another effect. The French sent an aircraft carrier to carry out airstrikes in Syria in cooperation with the United States. The Syrian migrants and the inability of European forces to block them, or to take effective unilateral action against IS after the attacks on Paris and other cities, generated not only greater military involvement in Syria, but long-term planning to manage the fallout from the conflict.

Syria as a Testing Ground

Syria is a battleground in which the United States, Russia, Turkey, and Iran are increasingly involved. Watching barely on the sidelines are the Israelis and the Saudis, while Lebanon is constantly uncertain. Iraq is heavily influenced by what is happening in Syria, while the Kurds, facing IS in Iraq, are now facing Turkish forces in Turkey and Syria. And the Europeans are coping with a wave of terrorism and contemplating rearmament. All of this is driven by Syria, a country that seems gridlocked in a permanent and insoluble war. But it is a country that has brought together friends, enemies, and contenders for power in a small place. It reminds me of nothing as much as Spain in the 1930s.

For the first time since the 1940s, all of Eurasia is unstable. Syria is not the pivot of this instability, but it is the showcase. Most major powers are there or nearby, except the Chinese.

My eyes glaze over when I hear about Syria, yet they shouldn’t. I have to force myself to see the increasing importance of this test war.

Idiocy and mendacity are a bad combo in the affairs of nations, especially in elections. The present case in the USA displays both qualities to near-perfection: on one side, a boorish pseudo-savior in zero command of ideas; on the other side, a wannabe racketeer-in-chief in full command of her instinctive deceit. Trump offers incoherent rhetoric in opposition to the current dismal order of things; Clinton offers empty, pandering rhetoric in defense of that order. Both represent an epic national drive toward political suicide.

The idiocy and mendacity extend to the broad voting public and the discredited elites pretending to run the life of the nation. The American public has never been this badly educated and more distracted by manufactured trivia. They know next to nothing. Even college seniors can’t name the Secretary of State or find Switzerland on a map. They don’t know in what century the Civil War took place. They couldn’t tell you whether a hypotenuse is an animal, a vegetable, or a mineral. Their right to vote is a danger to themselves.

The elites operate in their own twilight zone of ignorance, only at a loftier level, flying on wings of sheepskin. Submitted for your approval: Harvard wizard Kenneth Rogoff’s new book, The Curse of Cash. This is the latest salvo in the international campaign to herd all money into the control of central banks and central governments, supposedly to make central planning of the economy more effective — but really for the purpose of extending the fallacy that the mis-pricing of credit and collateral (that is, of everything) can save the current incarnation of crony capitalism, and more to the point, save the fortunes of the racketeers running it, along with the reputations of their intellectual errand boys. Henceforth, all “money” transactions would be traceable, allowing unprecedented power for authorities to regulate the lives of citizens.

It remains to seen whether the American public might be snookered into this scheme, which already has some traction in Europe. Of course, Europe is headed into some interesting political heavy weather of its own in the months ahead, and there is plenty of reason to think that even the docile people of Denmark and Sweden might eventually revolt against the central bank regime if they see the Germans do it.

Aggravating matters is the hyper-complexity of our current financial arrangements, much of it in the service of deliberately mystifying the masses. Does the public understand the rationale behind zero interest rate policy (ZIRP)? Not any more than they understand the interaction of gluons and quarks or the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. It is one of the abiding mysteries of our time, for instance, that a group like AARP, purporting to represent the interests of retired persons, has offered not a peep of pushback to ZIRP, which has pounded retired people dependent on savings into penury. Of course, this might be explained by the pervasive racketeering feature of our current national life: AARP is an insurance racket masquerading as a citizen interest group. Or, stretching credulity to suppose that AARP is honest, perhaps the org’s executives don’t understand that zero interest on savings equals zero income to savers.

Kenneth Rogoff tries to justify his war on cash by invoking two of the era’s favorite bogymen: terrorists and drug dealers. Cash, he says, allows this axis of evil to do its thing(s). This is a ruse, of course. If currency is eliminated, these outfits will turn to gold and silver, it’s that simple. And so will everybody else, by the way. The real reason to abolish cash and herd all money into central banks is to permit the authorities to confiscate it one way or another, either by unavoidable taxation or by “bail-ins” — declaring deposits to be “unsecured loans” that can be repudiated in the event of a financial “accident.”

The results are already in for this experiment: “money” becomes more and more dishonest, that is, it cannot be trusted to represent what it pretends to stand for: an index of account and a store of value. Its role as the basis of capital formation is so impaired that real capital (i.e. wealth) cannot be generated, meaning that none of the credit issued as “money” will ever be paid back. Zero interest rate policy eventually equals zero interest paid. “Money” based on loans that won’t be paid back loses its legitimacy. Herding all the “money” onto central bank computers only allows for more three-card-monte maneuvers to conceal the bezzle. It would be much harder to hide the destruction of value in circulating paper currency. Eliminating currency as a medium of exchange can only lead to the repudiation of “money” — which will beat a quick path to the repudiation of all authority. And there is your recipe for really suicidal political disorder.

One more thing this week: why exactly are America’s Clinton-invested political elites inveighing so strenuously against Russia and its president, Mr. Putin? The US has gone out of its way to provoke Russia militarily the past several years. We foolishly sponsored the revolution in Ukraine that has left it a failed state — and which prompted Russia to reclaim the Crimea, historically its own territory and the site of its strategically crucial warm water ports. We continue to run NATO war game exercises along Russia’s borders. We fly surveillance planes in their airspace and then act surprised when Russia sends up fighters to remind us where we are. We hold naval exercises in the Black Sea and wonder why the Russians buzz us. Are we out of our minds? How would we act if the Russians flew their planes over Catalina Island or held naval war games off Hampton Roads? Who does the US policy elite think they’re kidding?

These memes in financial and foreign policy are dangerously crazy and dishonest. They are doing a good job of making the US political establishment look like a claque of fools and outlaws, and laying a red carpet for the election of Trump, the fake savior… the apotheosis of the fabled Greater Fool.

The signs are ominous, the rhetoric constant. Whichever way you look at it, the world is slowly descending into an ever greater spiral of conflict. We all know that the current wars raging in the Middle East have the potential to go catastrophically wrong and pull the super-powers into something much bigger.

You also know things are not good when the so-called ‘conspiracy theories’ from alternative media outlets eventually goes mainstream, and there’s no shortage:

To confirm the state of the world today, the Global Peace Index states, and I quote – “There are now only ten countries in the world that are free from conflict”. 

The Independent has a 40 second video (HERE) of these ten countries, it’s worth watching, you’ll be surprised…

 

Some believe World War III has already started, most dispute that. It takes no more than a spark to light the fire and currently there are a lot of sparks flying around. Even political instability in the European Union as a result of a refugee crisis is a cause for concern. Pew Research, published just last month, confirmed that European’s fear a wave of refugees will mean more terrorism and fewer jobs. Violent protests have broken out, politician’s are worried. The VP of the International Relations Committee at Hungary’s parliament, Jobbik Member Marton Gyongyosi was supported by other EU leaders when he has suggested that “physical protection of our borders” is required. He went further –

 “The US caused this (refugee) problem in the neighborhood of Europe and then leans back criticizing European countries for not dealing with the problem efficiently.”

In that context, a few EU leaders are calling for an EU wide army and its own intelligence service. It seems America and therefore NATO are not as trusted as they once were. The US/EU trade deal TTIP, the largest deal in the history of humanity, is reported as being over. Is this evidence of the widening gap of disagreement, maybe.

The outcome is a changing political landscape. Before the European Union was created by the Maastricht Treaty on November 1st 1993 there were just 25 nationalist political parties. Since the birth of the formalised EU there has been a 150 per cent rise in political parties on the extremes of the political spectrum, now totalling 64. One of them was Ukip that focused on immigration and subsequently produced the ‘Brexit’ protest vote that now threatens to tear the EU project apart.

North Korea is a wild card scenario – anything could happen, but if South Korea was attacked, America would have no option but to step in. And what would China do – it’s anyone’s guess.

John Pilger's interview on Going Underground spells out the increasing risk of a global conflicthttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahEdcuxlN1o

John Pilger’s interview on Going Underground spells out the increasing risk of a global conflict

Tension has substantially risen around the world over USA and Russia/China relations, the South China Sea, Ukraine and Crimea, multiple Mid-East conflicts, north Africa and South America. One should not forget currency wars, economic and political sanctions adding to the global strain. John Pilger’s interview on the Threat of World War Three leaves the viewer in no doubt as to where he lays blame, and if anyone knows about war, he should, he’s covered most of them since Vietnam.

Even basic resources are a cause for concern. Natural water for one, food scarcity, food security and environmental disasters all add to a backdrop where global terrorism is massively on the rise, global debt is now a third bigger than prior to 2007, mass protests due to political instability, such as South America (Brazil being a new hotspot) all adding to increasing tension.

The geo-political situation is now characterised by ever-increasing militarism across the world, bringing the prospect of another world war closer than at any time since 1939.

Scrutinising the underlying issues and causes for the devastating outbreak of World War I in 1914 which ended up killing 17 million, Leon Trotsky laid bare the startling similarities between the crisis of the world economy at the time and the turn to militarism. Historical records display a relevance for today that should serve as an advance warning of the horrors that extreme neoliberalism and globalisation offers up if we do not make efforts to pull back from the brink.

From WSWS  in an article entitled “Capitalist breakdown and the drive to war,” comparisons are made between the extreme economic conditions just prior to the first world war and today.

“The years leading up to the outbreak of World War I, like the period prior to 2008, were marked by stormy economic growth. But by 1913–14, the limits to that growth had been reached and the world economy experienced a fundamental shift. From the middle of the 1890s, Trotsky explained, the basic curve of capitalist development climbed steeply upwards. But this very upswing created the conditions for a breakdown. “In 1914,” Trotsky wrote, “a crisis broke out which marked not merely a periodic oscillation, but the beginning of an epoch of prolonged economic stagnation. The imperialist war was an attempt to break out of the impasse.” Further economic development at the pace of the previous period was “extremely difficult,” as the bourgeoisie “flinched against the limits of the market.” “This created class tensions, made worse by politics, and this led it to war in August 1914.”

Corrupt bankers represent a threat not only to those they directly rip off but also potentially the entire global financial system, the Governor of the Bank of England has warned.

Corrupt bankers represent a threat not only to those they directly rip off but also potentially the entire global financial system, the Governor of the Bank of England has warned.

The parallels are striking, particularly as the financial crisis forced upon us in 2007/8 by an out of control banking system, that benefited a tiny elite, caused wave after wave of economic turbulence, austerity and the dismantling of the social democratic movement that itself was born from the wreckage of World War Two. Peoples across the world are getting angry as inequality worsens.

Mark Carney has written a very strongly worded letter, in his capacity as chair of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to a global forum of national regulators, financial ministries and central banks – to the G20, which is currently meeting in China.

“The incidence of financial sector misconduct has risen to a level that has the potential to create systemic risks” he says. The message is quite clear. Carney believes there is another systemic crisis centred around financial markets. Even he believes and openly stated that corrupt bankers now represent a threat not only to those they directly rip off but also to the entire global financial system. Last year, just four of Britain’s banks were fined well over £50billion ($67bn) for their egregious acts of criminality. Prison beckoned for no-one, whilst poverty soared. Don’t forget the London riots. Spreading like wildfire, the resulting chaos generated looting, arson, and mass deployment of police and resulted in the death of five people. In just three days, a dozens towns and cities were no-go areas of violence, 3,443 crimes reported, over a thousand arrests – from an unrelated spark.

According to Jim Rickards, the CIA’s Asymmetric Warfare Advisor, the probability of a new global conflict is rising every day. In a startling interview from last year he reveals that all 16 U.S. Intelligence Agencies have begun to prepare for World War III. Richards is predicting the fall of the dollar with the result of “an extended period of global anarchy”.

In the meantime, Russia is preparing to be attacked by NATO and America. Global Research reports that “Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, President of the International Centre of Geopolitical Analysis explained in an interview to KP, that ‘if data on Russia-NATO power balance at the Western direction is analyzed, as well as military activity build-up rate at our borders, scale of combat equipment deployment, if the grade of Russia’s demonization is estimated, one can say that preparation to a real war is taking place, as such acts are usually undertaken at the forefront of a war.’

Russia, so threatened by the West, it is now building huge nuclear bunkers around Moscow to protect itself at a time when financial resources are at best ‘stretched’.

As TIME reports “The South China Sea has instantly become uncharted waters for the globe’s two most-powerful nations. The ruling from the Netherlands, while legally binding, has no mechanism for enforcement. That means negotiations will be required to ease the growing territorial tensions in and around the South China Sea. If talks don’t happen, or go nowhere—and China continues to refuse to back down—a military clash could occur.”

Dr.Paul Craig Roberts quite firmly believes a Third World War is currently being fought. How long before it moves into its hot stage he asks.

 “Washington is currently conducting economic and propaganda warfare against four members of the five bloc group of countries known as BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Brazil and South Africa are being destabilized with fabricated political scandals. Both countries are rife with Washington-financed politicians and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Washington concocts a scandal, sends its political agents into action demanding action against the government and its NGOs into the streets in protests.”

We have already seen what the New World Order has done with Islam. As Pope Francis says, they have used it to foment a crisis, a clash of civilisations

“We have already seen what the New World Order has done with Islam” As Pope Francis says, “they have used it to foment a crisis, a clash of civilisations”

Even The Pope believes the start of World War Three is underway – ““To be clear, when I speak about war, I speak about real war. Not a war of religion. There is a war of interests. There is a war for money. There is a war for natural resources. There is a war for domination of peoples” Pope Francis said, alluding to globalisation and the goals of the so-called New World Order of complete and total control over every human being on the planet.

Already, the world has more displaced people than at any time during the course of either World War One or Two. The fight for resources as a direct result of globalism now threatens peace on every continent in the world.

The Doomsday Clock is an internationally recognised design that conveys how close we are to destroying our civilisation with dangerous technologies of our own making, nuclear weaponry by far our most dangerous experiment, makes the clock tick each year. It puts the current time of war at 23.57 – just 120 seconds left.

The current position of the Doomsday Clock is the closest it has been since 1984 and is actually a few clicks closer to reaching a global extinction event for humans than in 1962 when the Cuban missile crisis had twitchy American and Russian fingers on red buttons. What a cataclysmic ending for humanity, bombed back into the stone age. For what?

During last night’s “Commander in Chief” forum in which both presidential candidates laid out their views about the future of the US military, as well as the country’s defense and security, with both committing numerous gaffes, none appears to have gotten as much criticism as event moderator Matt Lauer. As the NYT reports this morning, “charged with overseeing a live prime-time forum with Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton, as a dry run of sorts for the coming presidential debates, Lauer found himself besieged on Wednesday evening by critics of all political stripes, who accused the anchor of unfairness, sloppiness and even sexism in his handling of the event.”

The reason for the anger, originating mostly on the left, is that having been granted 30 minutes with each candidate, Lauer devoted about a third of his time with Mrs. Clinton to questions about her use of a private email server, then seemed to rush through subsequent queries about weighty topics like domestic terror attacks.

The highlight of the event, and what set the stage from the beginning, was a question from Navy veteran Lt. John Lester who set the adversarial mood with a question about Hilllary reckless handling of classified material.

As a Naval flight officer I held the top secret sensitive compartmentalized information clearance. And that provided me access with materials and information highly sensitive to our war fighting capabilities. Had I communicated this information not following the prescribed protocols I would have been prosecuted and imprisoned. Secretary Clinton, how can you expect those such as myself who are and were trusted with America’s most sensitive information to have any confidence in your leadership as president when you clearly corrupted our national security.

Hillary used her fallback excuse that the documents were not marked as classified, one which she had reverted to previously when she explained she didn’t know what the “c” designation means. As reported yesterday, Julian Assange announced that Wikileaks has thousands of cables Hillary Clinton signed with a “c” that designated it as classified confidential, and suggested he would disclose proof that Hillary has lied.

Lauer was also lambasted when an Army veteran in the audience asked Mrs. Clinton to describe her plan to defeat the Islamic State, Mr. Lauer interjected before the candidate could begin her reply. “As briefly as you can,” he said, one of several moments where the anchor spoke over Mrs. Clinton to remind her that their time was running short.

The NBC host was then slammed for for not asking follow-up questions and letting Trump flip from previous statements he’s made. Reporters especially took issue with Lauer not pushing back on Trump’s claim that he has opposed the Iraq War from the start.

As the NYT adds, journalists and longtime political observers pounced. “How in the hell does Lauer not factcheck Trump lying about Iraq? This is embarrassingly bad,” wrote Tommy Vietor, a former aide to President Obama. Glenn Kessler, the chief fact checker at The Washington Post, posted a link to NBC’s check of Mr. Trump’s claim and wrote: “@MLauer should have been prepared to do this.”

“Lauer interrupted Clinton’s answers repeatedly to move on. Not once for Trump,” Norman Ornstein, the political commentator, wrote in a Twitter message, adding: “Tough to be a woman running for president.”

 Trump has maintained throughout his campaign that he never supported the Iraq War, although early interviews prove otherwise. Clinton, who went first during the NBC News event, charged that she and Trump both made a mistake in supporting the war in its beginnings. On social media, surrogates for Mrs. Clinton began mounting a sustained attack on the anchor. “Imagine if @NBCNews had done its job,” wrote Nick Merrill, her press secretary, on Twitter. Neera Tanden, a close Clinton ally, was even harsher: “I guess the good news is that Matt Lauer isn’t moderating an actual debate,” she wrote.

The criticism captured what has become a common complaint about media coverage during this election: that news organizations and interviewers treat Mrs. Clinton as a serious candidate worthy of tough questions, while Mr. Trump is sometimes handled more benignly.

Mr. Lauer did manage to extract several head-turning statements from Mr. Trump. He confronted Mr. Trump with a crass Twitter message from 2013 in which the future candidate suggested that sexual assaults in the military were a logical result of men and women serving together. “It is a correct tweet,” Mr. Trump said.

When Mr. Lauer asked if Mr. Trump actually believed he knew more about the Islamic State than American generals, the candidate replied: “The generals have been reduced to rubble.” When Mr. Lauer brought up Mr. Trump’s admiration for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, noting that Mr. Putin had invaded Ukraine and was suspected of hacking Democratic emails, Mr. Trump refused to say a negative word about him. “Do you want me to start naming some of the things that President Obama does?” Mr. Trump asked.

With the formal debates set to begin on Sept. 26, Lauer’s performance seemed to preview the troubles that television moderators could face in balancing fairness with accountability. Trump, with his Houdini-like ability to squirm out of direct answers, is a particularly tough subject for interviewers, who will be forced to determine on the fly when to interrupt with a prime-time fact-check. Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor who will handle the third presidential debate, drew criticism this week when he said, “I don’t view my role as truth-squading.” Questions for Hillary, meanwhile, will be seen as politically charged if they touch on topics many outside the mainstream find as important, such as her health or her conduct relating to the FBI probe and/or her receipt of numerous funds from foreign sources such as Saudi Arabia.

However, the biggest reason why Lauer’s conduct was furiously slammed by the mainstream may be the outcome of the first quasi-debate, best captured by NBC itself.