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American Resistance To Empire

Russian Fleet Chases-Off Dutch Submarine

Russian ship said to have chased off Dutch submarine

One of the Netherlands' fleet of walrus class submarines. Photo: Defence ministry

Russian ships are said to have ‘chased off’ a Dutch submarine after it came too close to the Russian fleet in the eastern Mediterranean, Dutch media quote news agency Interfax as saying.

The Russian ministry of defence has described the Dutch activities as a ‘dangerous manoeuvre which could have ‘led to accidents’, the Telegraaf reported.

The submarine was said to have been monitoring a Russian aircraft carrier from a distance of some 20 km and was detected using sonar and military helicopters, Interfax said.

The Dutch defence ministry said it won’t comment on the report.

Russia has stationed nine ships in the region to support Russian forces currently carrying out air attacks on Syria.

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Russian naval armada reaches Syrian territorial waters

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (11:15 A.M.) – The Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, reportedly reached Syrian territorial waters this morning after a long trip that included a journey through the English Channel.

Carrying several fighter jets and attack helicopters, the Admiral Kuznetsov will be deployed to the Mediterranean Sea for at least six months, a military source told Al-Masdar News on Wednesday morning.

The deployment of the Admiral Kuznetsov to Syrian territorial waters has aggravated American officials, who see this move by Russia as a clear sign of their commitment to intensifying the war in Syria.

Despite these allegations by US officials, the Russian Ministry of Defense has assured the international community that the Admiral Kuznetsov is being deployed to Syrian territorial waters to combat only terrorist forces.

According to locals in Tartous, at least 5 fighter jets from the Admiral Kuznetsov are currently participating in an air show for the people on the coast.

The New Neo-Taliban–Taliban’s 3rd Incarnation

 

‘Our people’ in the Taliban

 

south front analysis

 

Pakistan and Qatar are retreating

 

Written by Evgeniy Satanovskiy; Originally appeared at VPK, translated by Mona Lita exclusively for SouthFront

 

As usual the global media looks at Pakistan only as it relates to Afghanistan and India, and their interest in Iran comes the point of its opposition to Israel and Arab Gulf monarchies and not how it interacts with Moscow and Washington.

Their relationship determines the state of affairs in the Middle East on a number of fronts: from routes of competing cross-border gas pipelines to the effectiveness of the drug trafficking war.

We will consider the relationship between these three countries and their perspectives, drawing on the work of experts N. Zamarayeva and D. Karpov from the Institute of the Middle East.

 

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shaking hands with president of Iran Hassan Rouhani at the Pakistan-Iran Joint Business Forum. INP PHOTO

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shaking hands with president of Iran Hassan Rouhani at the Pakistan-Iran Joint Business Forum. INP PHOTO

The official impression of Iran and Pakistan relations was reflected in a visit of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani to Islamabad on March 25-26th. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who represents the receiving side, and president Rouhani both came to power at the same time in 2013. They were meeting for the third time. When Sharif became Prime Minister, he joined the regime of anti-Iranian sanctions, although his predecessor – President Asif Ali Zardari signed a contract with Tehran hydrocarbon in March 2013, at the height of Iran isolation. The Pakistani government lifted the sanctions against Iran in February of 2016, after the U.S. and the E.U.

To begin peace talks, the Taliban demands a complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the release of its prisoners, the removal of the movement and its commanders from UN’s list of terror organizations.

Tehran is interested in the development of a two-sided trade with Pakistan (with an increase in its volume up to 5 billion dollars in five years), in strengthening regional cooperation on the Chinese New Silk Road, and also in the advancement of regional energy projects.

Islamabad is waiting for Tehran to eliminate non-tariff barriers to textiles, rice, fruit and other agricultural products and to enter into the free trade agreement. Iran is ready to provide Pakistan access to its resources: gas, oil and electricity. In particular, it proposes to increase the supply of the latter from 100 Megawatts in 2016 to 3000, especially to the bordering areas of Balochistan.

Friendship Pipelines

Iran expects Pakistan to implement its part of the hydrocarbon contract signed in March 2013 that is worth $ 7.5 billion, which means the completion of an 1800 km gas pipeline section on its territory. The plan is that the highway will connect the “South Pars” field with the Pakistani port of Karachi. Islamabad explains that the delay in construction is due to the lack of funding, but in fact, Sharif was taking into account the position of the United States and Saudi Arabia, who are TAPI – Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India gas pipeline lobbyists.

At the same time, the Pakistani-Iranian pipeline will be built because Beijing is interested in it. The project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor implemented in 2015 (KPEK, costing $46 billion) aims to pump Iranian gas into China among other things, assigning Pakistan both a role as buyer and transporter. In 2015, the main interested parties started construction work on the section between Karachi and port Gwadar, 70 kilometers from the Iranian border. When this section of the pipeline is put into operation, Pakistan will pave the remaining portion in the direction of Iran. Tehran is interested in construction of a highway that connects Gwadar with Iranian Chahbahar. What is most important for Tehran and Islamabad in the arena of security is a secure state border (900 kilometers).

Iran carries the main costs for its improvement. It repeatedly blames Pakistan for terrorist group activities in the Iranian provinces of Sistan and Belochestan. As it was in 2009-2013, the Afghan issue is on the agenda of the bilateral talks. Iran agreed with Pakistan’s offer on conducting a trilateral consultation with Afghanistan’s participation. With this, Islamabad designates Tehran the role of a diplomatic mediator, not responding to its offer to conduct a joint military campaign against militants.

Extremist Borders

An explosion in Lahore Park where Christians were celebrating Easter became evidence of a high level terrorist threat in Pakistan. “Jamaat al-Ahrar”, an offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility. A characteristic feature of the group is committing acts of terrorism against Christians. More than 70 people died in Lahore. Earlier objects of extremist attacks, as a rule, were Hindus or Shiites.

The attack in Lahore received a reaction from conservative religious circles in Pakistan, especially in Punjab, whose army plans to suppress the radicals. The Pakistani authorities supported the main cradle for religious fanaticism in Punjab and Kashmir, directing it against India, and before that the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. This political ideology was especially prevalent in the time of M. Zia (Pakistan’s president 1978-1988), whom the Saudis considered to be the only figure that can minimize the impact of the Soviet Union in the region, giving him 6 billion dollars a year for it. The money went toward cultivation of religious extremism and carrying out subversive activities.

As is always the case, the radicals got out of control and wanted to become their own power. The issue of regaining control of the country will only be achieved after a long struggle. In the mean time, the Pakistani authorities are conducting sporadic reforms in individual states in order to test the mood of the population in order to establish a religious tolerance regime. So, last February a bill was passed in Sindh that would allow Hindus to officially register their marriages. In March, Pakistan was allowed to legally celebrate Christian Easter and also Hindu holidays.

The situation in Punjab became a concern for the Pakistani authorities. On March 28th, Army Chief of Staff General R.Sharif received the Prime Minister’s permission to carry out a third phase of a special operation in that province with a significant increase in military presence and be to conduct extrajudicial detentions and interrogations in connection with the operation that began on February 15th to eliminate underground extremists under name of “Zarb al-Zab” in the eastern provinces of Pakistan. The attack in Lahore is a direct result of military activity. But to speak as if there is any real connection of “Jamaat al-Rahrar” militants with the Taliban would be premature. The latest seperatists are concerned for a struggle for power within their ranks and are interested in establishing their own control over Afghanistan.

It is necessary to distinguish between the Taliban and also extremist groups such as Lashkar e-Taiba in the Punjab and Kashmir. They were created for different purposes; the Taliban – for dissemination of Pakistani influence in Afghanistan, “Lashkar e-Taiba” – for subversive activities against India. There is no evidence that proves there has been interaction and coordination between them. And so the terrorist attack in Lahore is linked to Islamabad’s course in liberalization of inter-religious relations. The fact that there are nuclear weapons on the territory of the country is of particular concern. Pakistan is entering a period of political turbulence and the split of the elite, which is indicated by increased independence of military extremist groups that were previously under full control. This happens when the central control is weakened and a power struggle in the upper echelons of the establishment begins.

Who Rules the “Taliban”

The prospects for resolving the situation in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of American troops are absolutely unclear. The “Taliban” movement made it known that it is not ready for peace talks. This buried the hope that the international quartet (Afghanistan, China, USA, Pakistan) will have some breakthrough in this field. In February, the four members said that there were prerequisites to the official invitation of Taliban to the negotiating process, but the process does not exist and it is not to be expected. As a “consolation prize” the peacemakers received the warlord and head of party “Hizb al-Islami” G. Hekmatyar’s willingness to join the peace consultations. He himself is hiding in Pakistan, and his group only consists of several hundred fighters. He does not have a significant impact on the situation in Afghanistan.

On March 17th an audio of a nominal head of the “Taliban” Mullah Mansour suddenly appeared, who kept silent after his own fellow brethren attempted to assassinate him and who would not identify himself. There was a rumor that he was treated after being seriously injured or killed. Before the assassination attempt, he advocated direct talks and now he urges not to agree to peace and intensify the fighting until the “Taliban”s conditions are met. The “Taliban”s activity is high. Unlike all the past years, including the time of Soviet presence in Afghanistan, in 2015 they fought without a break through the winter months.

At this state, the Taliban is holding the strategic initiative. Not mentioning the success of the movement of their groups in the north of the country, where their massive presence was not noted before, they achieved military victories in the province of Helmand in February. After they captured five of the twelve districts of that province, they forced NATO to send additional body of counselors and several hundred military led by Gen. Andrew Rolling. To begin peace negotiations, the Taliban demands the fulfillment of certain conditions: a complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the release of fighters who are in prison, the removal of the movement and his commanders from UN’s blacklist of terrorist organizations, plus conducting peaceful consultations exclusively through the Taliban office in Qatar.

Kabul is strongly against this because that means international legitimization of Taliban. But that is not it. After last year’s events related to the announcement of Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s death and his replacement by Mansour, a front developed in the movement of the course. Among the main opponents within the movement were the leader of a military wing Mullah Kayyum and the head of the Qatari office M. Agha. Immediately after this, the Qatari office was officially closed. But in Afghanistan itself, supporters of the “Islamic State”, which was banned in Russia, appeared. The appearance of the Islamic State and the Qatari office closure are interrelated by a role of Doha in these events, which made it clear to Islamabad and to other members of the Quartet that it will not be possible to pacify Afghanistan without Qatar.

Mullah Mansour’s statement to continue the fight and the condition of Qatari Taliban office leading role shows that a tacit cooperation between Islamabad and Doha is taking place in order to overcome Taliban’s fragmentation. The words of the adviser to the Pakistani Prime Minister of Foreign Affairs S. Aziz are symbolic in this regard. He publicly acknowledged that the Taliban receives back door, medical and logistical support, but Islamabad does not have any influence on them. This corresponds with the truth. Unlike the old days when Mullah Omar was Taliban’s commander, the Pakistani security forces have lost control over a significant part of the Taliban. And that is exactly why for several years they hid the fact about Omar’s death. Mullah Mansour is an old creation of Pakistan’s intelligence establishment. All his statements are consistent with curators. And calls for further activation of the armed struggle is indicative of Islamabad deciding to return to an initial platform of a vision of peace in Afghanistan.

Recruits for Yemen

To put it simply, he recognized the cooperation with Kabul and Washington on this topic as fruitless. The withdrawal of US and NATO troops would mean taking Kabul in a short period of time. For the sake of solving this problem, the Taliban will fix the crack in its ranks. So the situation in Afghanistan is returning to civil war activation. Attempts to reach an agreement with Kabul are acknowledged as pointless by Islamabad. This is not only due to the gain of supporters’ positions, but a refusal to compromise with the Taliban. Most importantly, Islamabad does not fully control the “Taliban” movement. In this context, the idea of an armed struggle with an aim to re-secure the movement and put in under control remains a priority.

Naturally, there is no talk at all about the Taliban victory before foreign troops are withdrawn. It is necessary for Pakistan to take back control over the Taliban, without which it is pointless to go to peace talks. Although there are other regional players who are filling a vacuum that has been created. Here we return to Iran, although it wasn’t that long ago that a mere idea of establishing contacts between a Shiite Iran and Sunni Talibs seems like an enormous heresy.

Secret contacts between representatives of Iranian intelligence service and some field commanders of the “Taliban” movement have alarmed the Pakistani leadership and Arabian monarchies, especially the KSA and the UAE. According to Islamabad, representatives of both IRGC and the Iranian Ministry of Information (a special service) carry out such contacts. According to Pakistan’s Intelligence Services, consultations were initiated by Tehran. On September 2015, IRGC operatives met with Mullah Mansour. The talks ended unsuccessfully. Mansour preferred to collaborate with Pakistanis.

mulla-mohammad-rasool-3The IRGC messengers established contact with Mullah Mansour’s main rival, a former Taliban military wing commander Kayyum Abdul Zakir. The Pakistani Intelligence Service confirms that this field commander is receiving weapons and ammo assistance, which means that the talks were fruitful.

Kayyum’s militants carried out almost all of significant terrorist acts against foreign targets in Afghanistan. Rouhani’s visit to Islamabad did not dispel Pakistani and Arab monarchy representatives’ concerns. The head of the Afghan National Security Service and the country’s president Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai asked the head of the U.S. diplomatic mission in Kabul D. Lindvall to either influence or respond to the growing Iranian expansion, but Washington remained silent.

According to Islamabad, the IRGC intelligence chief Hussein Tayeb oversees the span of strengthening Iran’s influence in Afghanistan, and where field residency guards comprising of 20-25 operatives were created on its territories. Tayeb initiated the Hazara Shia militia training in Iraq and Afghanistan, which are traditional Hazara residences. After preparations, they are being sent to join a fight in Syria, Iraq and Yemen (siding with Houthis). Recently, the flow of Hazaras in Yemen has significantly increased. And the head of IRGC intelligence is personally participating in recruiting new militants in Afghanistan. The process became active in the last two months. Additional camps are being formed for Hazaras in the provinces of Bamyan and Gerat.

The agreement that is reached with the Taliban is that they will not attack the Hazara positions. A coordination of efforts has been established against IS supporters and commanders who remained loyal to Mullah Mansour. Beside weapons and ammunition the soldiers of Kayyum brigade are receiving an allowance through an IRIS finance system provided by Iranians. Several hundred Afghanis from the ranks of the Taliban are undergoing a military training in Iran under the supervision of IRIS instructors. There are three camps that are set up for them near Tehran, Kerman and Zahedan.

The strengthening of Iran’s influence in Afghanistan was predictable. The spread of it to an unconventional area for Tehran is what was unexpected. The relationship between the Pashtuns and Hazaras has always been extremely tense. But this alliance and union of Taliban’s military wing with Iranians illustrates an obvious fact that the Pakistanis, whose brainchild was originally the “Taliban”, lost control over it, or at least over it’s most significant and efficient part.

Iran wanted to expand its presence in Afghanistan at least for safety reasons and a stretched out common border. But Tehran’s interests extend further. It seeks to create an area of influence in the compact residence areas of religious Hazaras, where a base military force will make war militia a thing of the past. hezbollah-xlarge1
An Afghani analog of the Lebanese “Hezbollah” is being formed. The IRGC is implementing this model in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, for the sake of which there is cooperation with the Taliban. The latter and Tehran’s common task is to limit, or better yet to destroy the spread of IS locally. Or rather that part of Taliban’s field commanders that remain under Qatar’s control and sphere of influence.

The Iranian secret services tried to establish contact with this part of the Pashtuns and even invited the head of Qatari office M. Agu to the consultations in the summer of 2015. The talks were successful. The failure of Doha’s attempt to play his card in Afghanistan is on a list of problems that Iranians are in the process of solving by initiating cooperation with a section of the Taliban. In his struggle for power in the Taliban and his desire to get out from under Pakistan’s intelligence services’ control, an issue to acquiesce influential foreign sponsors who would provide his troops with rare base and logistics supply would be vital for Kayyum. He is ready to turn a blind eye to the animosity as well as faith based prejudices between the Peshtuns and Hazaras. Meanwhile, Iran is gaining influence in Afghanistan at the cost of Pakistanis. This is yet another “terrarium of like-minded people”.

Evgeniy Satanovskiy,
President of the Middle East Institute

Indian Banks Recall Large Denomination Bills In Fight Against “Black Money”

[There is a strong possibility that President Trump might follow India’s example and eliminate the $100 bill, forcing all of those black marketeers, thieves, cheats and hoarders to cash in their stashed loot, and pay the taxes that they have been avoiding.]

Banks go on a war footing to replace notes

The Hindu

Bankers said they will replace the present series notes in banks and automated teller machines on Wednesday due to which they will remain closed for public transactions.

Banks are going on a war footing to exchange all notes of Rs.500 and Rs. 1,000 denomination from Wednesday.

Bankers said they will replace the present series notes in banks and automated teller machines on Wednesday due to which they will remain closed for public transactions.

There will be no liquidity disruption in the markets that are regulated by the RBI such as bond and foreign exchange markets, Urjit Patel, Governor, Reserve Bank of India told the media.

“We have just now been advised by the government to demonetise current series of Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500,” said Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairman, State Bank of India. “We have handled demonetisation earlier and will do so again. (On Wednesday), banks will remain closed in order to withdraw these notes from counters and ATMs. We will strive to restock ATMs at the earliest and make them operational,” she said, adding that SBI will work round-the-clock to ensure that customer service is not disrupted.

RBI Deputy Governor R. Gandhi said banks will be opening additional counters for currency exchange and requested lenders to extend banking hours.

While bankers welcomed the move, they also said there could be logistical challenges in implementation.

“It is perhaps the most significant move ever taken to curtail the parallel economy. This move will give a sharp boost to all formal channels of payment which in turn will help the formal economy to grow,” said Ms. Chanda Kochhar, MD and CEO, ICICI Bank.

Short-term pain

“Any big move will have some degree of short-term pain, which has to happen, you cannot do anything without that,” said Keki Mistry, Vice Chairman, HDFC Ltd.

“The move is hugely beneficial from a GDP perspective and also for reducing inflation,” he added. The government has also said the step will also reduce inflation, he said.

The government said the proportion of high denomination currency notes had gone up sharply over the years.

The proportion of high denomination notes, that is Rs.500 and Rs.1,000, in terms of value had gone up to as high as 86 per cent from 69 per cent in 2007. “High denomination notes are most convenient for criminals, for people hoarding large amounts of unaccounted money and for terrorists,” the government said.

Afghan Taliban Rebuke Abdullah’s Call For Anti-Taliban Islamic Conference In Saudi


voa 

FILE - Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, right, and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

FILE – Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani, right, and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.

The Afghan Taliban urged Islamic scholars on Tuesday not to let a proposed international religious congress become a means of legitimizing the Western-backed government in Kabul.

In a message sent to the “noble scholars of the Islamic World”, the Taliban said its fighters were engaged in a jihad against Western invaders and the conference should not be allowed to be interpreted as support for the “aggressors”.

“The transgressing enemy now wants to pacify the Jihadi uprising of the Afghan nation through misleading propaganda, psychological warfare, undercover plots, fake fatwas and other non-military tactics like peace processes,” it said.

Afghan government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said during a visit to Riyadh last month that an Islamic scholars’ conference on the situation in Afghanistan would be held in Saudi Arabia, although no firm date has been announced.

The Taliban statement said the proposals were backed by the Afghan government’s High Peace Council as a cover to deny legitimacy to the insurgent movement.

“They want to present the sacred Jihad in Afghanistan which is on the brink of success as unlawful bloodshed which opposes the texts of Shariah and defames the name of Jihad,” it said.

The message appears to put a dampener on hopes of reviving the stalled peace process which broke down last year almost immediately after preliminary talks began in Pakistan.

Since then, there have been various efforts to get the process started again, including a series of talks involving the United States, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan but none has so far had any success.

The Taliban has dismissed previous Islamic scholars’ conferences in recent years, seeing them as instruments to grant legitimacy to the Kabul government and undermine its own position.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP—Hillary is history!…really bad history.

president-trump

Fox News projects: Trump wins presidency, defeats Clinton in historic election upset

foxnews

Donald Trump, defying the pundits and polls to the end, was projected to defeat Hillary Clinton in Tuesday’s presidential election and claim an establishment-stunning victory that exposes the depth of voter dissatisfaction – and signals immense changes ahead for American policy at home and abroad.

Seventeen months after the billionaire tycoon’s Trump Tower entrance into the race, the first-time candidate once dismissed by the political elite will become the 45th president, Fox News projects.

Speaking to cheering supporters early Wednesday morning at his victory party in New York City, the Republican candidate and now president-elect said Clinton called to congratulate them, and Fox News confirms she has conceded. Despite their hard-fought campaign, Trump praised Clinton for her service and said “it is time for us to come together as one united people.”

“I will be president for all Americans,” Trump vowed.

Sounding a call to “reclaim our country’s destiny,” Trump declared: “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. … America will no longer settle for anything less than the best.”

Trump will be the oldest president in U.S. history, entering the Oval Office at age 70. With her defeat, Clinton falls short in her second bid to become the first female president of the United States.

Though Clinton apparently called Trump, her campaign initially did not concede defeat. Earlier, her campaign chairman John Podesta addressed supporters nearby in New York and said several states were “too close to call.”

Clinton herself did not appear at the rally. Podesta had urged supporters to “head home” and said they would not have “anything more to say tonight.”

Amid Trump’s victory, Republicans also held onto their majority in the House and were close to doing so in the Senate, improving Trump’s chances of advancing his agenda in office.

A surge of support in key battlegrounds – and especially surprise victories in states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – helped propel Trump to victory. The GOP nominee built a commanding lead early on with wins in heavily contested North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and Iowa.

Clinton won her share of battlegrounds, including Virginia and Nevada and Colorado, but could not make up for Trump’s strong performance in other states thought to favor the Democrat.

The billionaire businessman’s victory marked a remarkable upset and turnaround, after he had been complaining amid a rough patch just weeks ago the vote could be “rigged” against him.

Clinton was still thought to have the clear advantage in the electoral map going into Tuesday’s vote, yet the polls had been tightening in the race’s closing days.

His victory could demonstrate just how much the dynamics were shifting in his favor – and perhaps how his true support was elusive all along to pollsters and others gauging the race.

Without question, his bid was helped over the last two weeks by a burst of setbacks for his opponent.

Eleven days before the election, FBI Director James Comey announced the bureau was revisiting the investigation into Clinton’s personal email server use while secretary of state, after discovering new messages on the laptop of disgraced ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of a top Clinton aide. He closed the case again on Sunday, but the political damage may have been done — Trump used the brief probe to revive the email controversy in the final days. And the WikiLeaks release of emails hacked from Podesta’s account became a constant distraction for the campaign, as the messages revealed infighting, internal ethical concerns about the Clinton family’s foundation and even evidence that the now-head of the Democratic National Committee leaked town hall questions to Clinton during the primaries.

This at times overshadowed the numerous allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Trump that came out in October (which he denies), following leaked footage from over a decade ago showing Trump making crude comments about women.

Trump’s victory marks the second time Clinton was thwarted in her bid to become the first female U.S. president, having been defeated by President Obama in their 2008 primary race.

But Trump has been able to defy expectations from the start. He defeated a deep field of 16 competitors during the Republican primaries – stitching together a motivated coalition of voters invigorated by his outsider, populist message; throwing his rivals off their talking points during a raucous marathon of debates; and commanding media attention throughout with his unpredictable, learn-as-he-goes campaign style.

He also defied party orthodoxy, railing against free-trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership and staking out a sometimes-confusing set of positions on foreign policy that may yet evolve. Democrats have criticized him heavily for statements expressing admiration for Russia’s Vladimir Putin and a desire to rebuild ties with Moscow.

Trump was aided by the infrastructure of the GOP, but his campaign never came close to the juggernaut operation mounted by Clinton. While she entered the final stretch of the race with an army of high-powered surrogates, Trump’s campaign was driven namely by him, an inner circle of family members and a rotating set of top campaign advisers. Surrogates like retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani advocated aggressively for the Republican nominee, but he remained at odds with many influential elected Republicans who in some cases – as with House Speaker Paul Ryan – endorsed him, but only reluctantly. His stances on trade as well as his hardline immigration proposals – including variations on a plan to suspend Muslim immigration from certain countries – also made party brass uncomfortable.

The late emergence of a 2005 tape showing him making crude comments about women led some congressional Republicans to abandon him entirely. But even the biggest controversies seemed only to ding Trump, whose resilience in the polls could be credited to a movement of grassroots supporters who seemed to have little interest in the nominee’s tensions with the GOP establishment and saw him as the true change-maker in the election.

The Lords of Capital Sic Crazy Hillary on the World

The Lords of Capital Sic Crazy Hillary on the World

black agenda report

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

The capitalist ruling class is frightened, for good reason: the empire cannot peacefully contain the rising economic powers of the South and East. “The Lords of Capital know there is no future for them in a world where the dollar is not supreme and where Wall Street’s stocks, bonds and derivatives are not backed by the full weight of unchallenged empire.” War is the only card they have left to play – and Hillary Clinton is their favored dealer.

“The Lords of Capital are creatures of U.S. imperial dominance; they go out of business when the empire does.”

By virtually every measurement, the United States is in deep crisis, as both a society and as the headquarters of global capitalism. We can roughly measure the severity of some aspects of the crisis with the tools of economic analysis.  Such an analysis is quite useful in explaining why Washington is so eager to risk war with Russia and China, whether in Syria or the South China Sea or along the ever expanding borders of NATO. To put it simply, the U.S. and western Europe become smaller, in terms of their economic influence, with every passing day, and cannot possibly maintain their political dominance in the world except by military force, coercion and terror. Those are the only cards the imperialists have left to play. The ruling circles in the U.S. are aware that time is not on their side, and it makes them crazy — or crazier than usual.

The ruling class’s own analysts tell them that the center of the world economy is moving inexorably to the East and the South; that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future; and that the U.S. is already number two by some economic measures — and dropping. The Lords of Capital know there is no future for them in a world where the dollar is not supreme and where Wall Street’s stocks, bonds and derivatives are not backed by the full weight of unchallenged empire. Put another way, U.S. imperialism is at an inflection point, with all the indicators pointing downward and no hope of reversing the trend by peaceful means.

Now, that’s actually not such a bad prognosis for the United States, as a country. The U.S. is a big country, with an abundance of human and natural resources, and would do just fine in a world among equals. But, the fate of the Lords of Capital is tied to the ongoing existence of empire. They create nothing, but seek to monetize and turn a profit on everything. They cannot succeed in trade unless it is rigged, and have placed bets in their casinos that are nominally seven times more valuable than the total economic activity of planet Earth. In short, the Lords of Capital are creatures of U.S. imperial dominance; they go out of business when the empire does.

Beat the Clock

The rulers are looking class death in the face — and it terrifies them. And when the Lords of Capital become frightened, they order their servants in politics and the war industries and the vast national security networks to take care of the problem, by any means necessary. That means militarily encircling Russia and China; arming and mobilizing tens of thousands of jihadist terrorists in Syria, in an attempt to repeat the regime change in Libya; waging a war of economic sanctions and low-level armed aggression against Iran; occupying most of the African continent through subversion of African militaries; escalating subversion in Latin America; and spying on everyone on earth with a digital connection. All this, to stop the clock that is ticking on U.S. and European world economic dominance.

Left political analysts that I greatly respect argue that Hillary Clinton and the mob she will come in with in January will pull back from apocalyptic confrontation with Russia in Syria — that they’re not really that crazy. But, I’m not at all convinced. The ruling class isn’t just imagining that their days are numbered; it’s really true. And rulers do get crazy when their class is standing at death’s door.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].

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