ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Turkey Opens Fire on Regime Forces In Afrin

[The arrival of popular forces to support the people of Afrin … The forces of the Turkish regime target them with artillery]

The arrival of popular forces to support the people of Afrin … The forces of the Turkish regime target them with artillery

“The forces of the Turkish regime aimed at artillery where the presence of the Popular Forces upon arrival in the area Afrin, as well as targeting media delegations that keep pace with the arrival of the Popular Forces.

He pointed out that the Popular Forces deployed immediately upon arrival in the Afrin area in the points and centers specified to contribute to support the people defending their villages and homes against the attacks of terrorists “Daash” and the aggression of the Turkish regime and its mercenaries of terrorist organizations Takfiri.”–SANA NEWS

Turkey Opens Fire on Regime Forces In Afrin

Wednesday, 21 February, 2018 – 07:00
A wounded man is treated at a medical post in the besieged town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta on Tuesday [Bassam Khabieh/Reuters]
Ankara, Beirut, Moscow – Saeed Abdel-Razek, Nazeer Rida, Raed Jaber
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that his country managed to thwart a possible deployment of Syrian regime forces into the northwestern Afrin region.

“There was a movement towards Afrin by Shiite militias which were interrupted after they were shelled,” Erdogan said at a joint news conference alongside his Macedonian counterpart Gjorge Ivanov in Ankara.

He added that the militias were forced to go back after artillery shooting. “This file is closed for now,” he confirmed.

The Turkish president also said that it was impossible to give any terrorist organization a chance in Afrin.

“They would pay a heavy price for it,” Erdogan warned.

The arrival of pro-Syrian regime forces to the Kurdish Afrin area constituted on Tuesday an important development that adds to the existing conflict in Syria.

Turkey’s Anadolu agency reported that the withdrawal of the pro- Assad terror groups came when they were about 10 km away from Afrin.

On Tuesday, Syrian state television showed a convoy of pro-government fighters entering Afrin to help Kurds confront a Turkish assault.

As Damascus and Turkey were on the verge of triggering off a military clash, Russia was speeding its steps to avoid any confrontation between both forces.
Russia called on Ankara to start a direct dialogue with Damascus to reach a deal concerning Afrin.

Moscow had earlier denied having participated in any negotiations related to previous agreements between the Syrian regime and the Kurdish forces in Afrin, saying it prefers a direct dialogue between Ankara and Damascus.

Separately, deadly air strikes and artillery fire launched by Syrian regime forces against Damascus’ eastern Ghouta since last Sunday killed more than 200 civilians and wounded tens others.

The UN said “the humanitarian situation of civilians in Syria’s east Ghouta is spiraling out of control,” and called for a permanent ceasefire.

“Six hospitals have been struck over two days in the Syrian rebel enclave, putting three out of service and killing several people,” the United Nations said.

The Syrian opposition condemned on Tuesday the aggression on Ghouta, threatening to withdraw from the UN-sponsored peace talks.

“It is clear that the Damascus regime has no interest to engage in any dialogue,” said Nasr Hariri, head of the Syria Negotiation Commission representing opposition groups.

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Washington’s Islamist Assets Being Relocated Once Again, This Time To Southeast Asia

The Tuzla Airlift–Sometimes History Refuses to Be Silent

America’s “Islamists” Go Where Oilmen Fear to Tread

ISIS–Professional Military Force, Projecting Power Where US Troops Cannot Go
Manufacturing Justification for the NATO Takeover of Central Asia–Smashing Greater Central Asia – (Part One)

Smashing Greater Central Asia—Part II
Smashing Greater Central Asia—Part III, Phantom Threats
Smashing Greater Central Asia – (Part IV)–Smashing Systematically

MANILA (Reuters) – Foreign Islamic State fighters forced out of Syria and Iraq have been arriving in the Philippines with the intent of recruiting, and they have plans to attack two Philippine towns, the head of the country’s largest Muslim rebel group said on Tuesday.

More than 1,100 people were killed last year when pro-Islamic State militants attacked and held the Philippine city of Marawi for five months, leading to massive destruction across the scenic lakeside town.

That could happen in other cities if Congress fails to pass a law to allow Muslims in the southern Philippines to run their own affairs, according to Ebrahim Murad, leader of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a separatist group which signed a peace deal with the government in return for greater autonomy.

“Based on our own intelligence information, foreign fighters who were displaced from the Middle East continued to enter into our porous borders and may be planning to take two southern cities – Iligan and Cotabato,” Murad said.

The two cities are 38 km (24 miles) and 265 km (165 miles) respectively from Marawi.

Murad said fighters from Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Middle East were known to have entered the Philippines, including a Middle Eastern man holding a Canadian passport.

That man went to a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf militant group, notorious for kidnapping and piracy, Murad said.

Murad said militants had been recruiting fighters in remote Muslim communities, exploiting delays in the passage of legislation aimed at addressing long-standing Muslim grievances, the Bangsamoro Basic law (BBL).

“These extremists are going into madrasas, teaching young Muslims their own version of the Koran, and some enter local universities to influence students, planting the seeds of hatred and violence,” he said.

Such a scenario would be a major headache for the military, which is fighting on multiple fronts on the southern island of Mindanao to defeat home-grown Islamic State loyalists, bandits and communist insurgents.

Mindanao is under martial law.

The military has said remnants of the militant alliance that occupied Marawi were trying to regroup and were using cash and gold looted from Marawi to recruit.

Murad’s statement echoed those of President Rodrigo Duterte, who last month urged lawmakers to pass the BBL, or face re-igniting war with separatists after two decades of peace.

“We cannot decisively win the war against extremism if we cannot win the peace in the halls of Congress,” Murad said.

Editing by Martin Petty, Robert Birsel

America’s Historical Cultural Violence and Adulation of Military Forces

Our Hyper-Militarized Nation Has Bred The Endless and Violent Bloodbaths We Have At Home

The recent shooting deaths Wednesday at a Parkland Florida High School point to an even more extensive epidemic of killing children and innocent people. Our glorification of the military and the use of mechanized and industrial violence to solve conflicts is not new. But it has gotten tremendously worse: in fact, since post 9/11 it has become atrocious. Our worship of military weapons, policy, and brutal vengeance of a dehumanized enemy has cultivated Parkland and Las Vegas shootings.

Therefore it should come as no surprise Nikolas Cruz was arrested wearing a crimson JROTC sweatshirt. The military methods cultivated overseas have come back home.

Statements that other countries are primitive and violent and have been fighting since the beginning of time does not describe them. It defines us. There is no other country on the planet with a history of violence like ours: internally and externally.

wrote in October that a nation unable to create anything meaningful to negate the multiple mass shooting deaths of children is criminal in itself. And based on the past and current behavior of our “misleadership” in Washington we will have another bloodbath on our hands soon.

Since the founding of this country, violence and madness have not ceased. From the genocide of Native Americans, the establishment of capitalism through the terrorism and slavery of Blacks, the murder of labor activists, and peaceful protesters.

Blacks are murdered relentlessly by criminal cops in the street, or they are locked in cages at disproportionate rates for committing non-violent crimes. By the evidence, we may hesitate to say how much better things are because we’ve had a two-term Black president.

Going from a noose and a tree to a cop’s gun, and a plantation to a prison industrial complex system doesn’t qualify as progress.

Whether it is violence or murder in hate crimes directed at Muslims, the killing of abortion providers, or a cattle rancher in Nevada taking up arms against the government, one thing should be clear. Violence is the American way at home and more specifically abroad.

It is self-evident with our history of violence, and a  population of 326,766,748  that owns 300 million guns, we have all the evidence of a crisis.

But what gets missed is that all young people have seen around them are adult leaders in their nation continually resorting to force, violence, and murder to coerce or resolve grievances. These acts of state-sanctioned violence have produced a generation born and bred on war. That is what our war propaganda culture has created.

Anyone born in 1990 has grown up in a hyper-militarized country that bombed countries overseas and killed over hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Endless war is all they’ve seen. Bombing wedding parties, hospitals, and schoolchildren creating disease and displacement, as well as establishing a worldwide torture regime.

These are the images children have grown up with and have been normalized: the message is, this is ok. Deadly force and violence are rationalized.

This normalization is the reality we have also given our youth through Hollywood.  Zero Dark Thirty with its pro-torture message that torture led to the capture of Osama bin Laden. The racist revenge fest of American Sniper lacks any context other than-  the only good Iraqi is a dead Iraqi.

Peter Maas is correct in calling these political films. “The problem is that the film (American Sniper) does not attempt to tell us anything beyond Kyle’s limited comprehension of what was happening. More than a decade after America invaded and occupied Iraq, and long after we realized the war’s false pretense and its horrific toll, we deserve better.”

There is a historical ignorance as well as a lack of nuance in these films questioning our countries motives or the portrayal of Muslims’s as anything but the other. These movies are war propaganda for our youth. In fact, they are used as indoctrination films and recruitment tools for the military to our young.

The disturbing trend of military recruiters on high school campuses is a grave concern. High school students have a one dimensional perspective of a military that is uncontrolled and misdirected. Recruiters prey primarily in Chicago schools with high black and brown populations with little economic opportunity.

The Chicago Chapter of Veterans for Peace is a counter to JROTC and on-campus recruiters. Their program Education Not Militarization is to bring awareness that CPS is one of the most militarized school systems in the country. Their focus is on non-violent conflict resolution and restorative justice. Despite cries that the military model provides an excellent foundation for high school students: the military’s core message and method is violence.

Chris Hedges describes how Dwight Mcdonald’s 1946 essay The Root is Man describes how militarized superpowers cannibalize their youth through propaganda.

Macdonald detailed in his 1946 essay “The Root Is Man” the marriage between capitalism and permanent war. He despaired of an effective resistance until the permanent war economy, and the mentality that went with it, was defeated.

The state, whether in the capitalist United States or the communist Soviet Union, eventually devoured its children. And it did this by using the organs of mass propaganda to keep its populations afraid and in a state of endless war. It did this by insisting that human beings be sacrificed before the sacred idol of the market or the utopian worker’s paradise. The war state provides a constant stream of enemies, whether the German Hun, the Bolshevik, the Nazi, the Soviet agent or the Islamic terrorist. Fear and war, Macdonald understood, was the mechanism that let oligarchs pillage in the name of national security.

There is a strong linkage to a militarized superpower, and it’s violent society. We do not need to point blame towards violent video games or movies as the worst influences on our children. The reality is the violent and deadly methods through force and war provided by their country, and its leaders are all the influence they will ever need.  Perhaps a dual focus and concentrated effort to eliminate the militarized weapons and guns on our streets. And the arms and weaponry we bring into other countries.

Syrian Army Strikes Deal w/Kurds To Oppose Turkish Army In Afrin?–updated

[Turkey warns it may hit Syrian troops in Kurdish enclave]

[SEE: Afrin: Kurdish fighters ‘strike deal’ with Syrian army ‘Syrian forces to back YPG’ in fight against Turkey ]

Popular forces will arrive Afrin within hours,

to support the steadfastness of its people in the face of the aggression of the Turkish regime

Aleppo-Sana

SANA correspondent in Aleppo reported that groups of the Popular Forces will arrive in Afrin area to support the steadfastness of their people in the face of the aggression carried out by the forces of the Turkish regime on the city and its inhabitants since the 20th of last month.

The correspondent pointed out that the arrival of the Popular Forces to the area of ​​Afrin will strengthen the steadfastness of the people and their resistance to the Turkish aggression, which targets infrastructure, private and public property and economic and service facilities.

The correspondent added that the involvement of the popular forces in resisting the Turkish aggression comes within the framework of supporting the people and defending the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria and thwarting the attempt of the regime of Erdogan and his mercenaries from the terrorist organizations to occupy the region.

For more than a month, the Turkish regime has been brutally attacking the Afrin area, causing the death and injury of hundreds of civilians through the use of various types of weapons and missiles, including internationally banned chlorine, as well as the systematic destruction of infrastructure, property and archaeological sites by its forces and terrorist organizations.

US/Zionist Maldivian Puppet Former Pres. Tries New Ride To Power On “China Scare”

[SEE: Western Fake News Dept. and One of Their Fake Assaults Upon “Democracy”…This Time In the Maldives ; Saudi Arabia Buying Maldives’ Island For Islamist Training Facility?Zionist International Frees Sycophant Puppet Former President In Maldives ]

China will ‘take action’ if India sends troops to crisis-hit Maldives – state media

Indian project to set up Navy radars in Maldives under cloud

Maldives faces Chinese ‘land grab’ over unpayable debts, ex-leader warns

Political crisis worsens cash-strapped island nation’s plight

YUJI KURONUMA, Nikkei staff writer

Former Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed (Photo by Yuji Kuronuma)

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Massive debts threaten to force the Maldives to cede territory to China as early as 2019, former President Mohamed Nasheed said, warning that a flawed presidential election this year would lead to a Chinese takeover of the island nation.

“We can’t pay the $1.5 to 2 billion debt to China,” Nasheed told the Nikkei Asian Review in an interview in Sri Lanka. He argued that the Indian Ocean country, known mostly as a tourist destination, takes in less than $100 million a month in government revenue.

Nasheed, who held office from 2008 to 2012, fled to the U.K. in 2016 following his arrest and conviction under anti-terrorism laws for ordering the arrest of a judge. He now splits his time in exile between there and Sri Lanka.

As of January, obligations to China accounted for “nearly 80%” of the Maldives’ foreign debt, according to Nasheed. Much of the money went into infrastructure, including roads, bridges and airports. But these are “vanity projects,” according to Nasheed: “roads going to nowhere, airports that [will sit] empty.” All the while, the Maldives’ debts are accruing interest at high rates, Nasheed said.

The country must start making payments on this debt by 2019 or 2020, according to the former leader. If the Maldives falls behind, China will “ask for equity” from the owners of various islands and infrastructure operators, and Beijing will then “get free hold of that land,” he said.

“Without firing a single shot, China has grabbed more land than the East India Company at the height of the 19th century,” Nasheed said, alleging that the Asian economic powerhouse has taken over “16 islands already” under the Maldives’ current president, Abdulla Yameen. “This land grab exercise hollows out our sovereignty,” he argued. Nasheed did not provide any names of the islands he alleged China had taken.

This sign marks the site of a Chinese-financed project to build a bridge connecting the Maldivian capital of Male with a nearby airport island. (Photo by Yuji Kuronuma)

Once ports have been built on the islands, “these commercial infrastructures can very easily become military assets,” according to Nasheed. Such conversions are “very simple,” he said, pointing to a naval base China established in the East African nation of Djibouti last August — its first military installation abroad.

Yameen’s Chinese-backed government has cracked down on political opposition over the past several years. But on Feb. 1, the Maldives’ Supreme Court tossed out Nasheed’s conviction and ordered the release and reinstatement of opposition lawmakers. The government responded by declaring a state of emergency and throwing two justices in jail. The rest of the court has since reversed its decision, and the government has sent envoys to China and elsewhere to garner international support.

Nasheed on Feb. 6 urged India to send a military-backed envoy to resolve the crisis. New Delhi has responded by increasing its naval presence in international waters around an hour from the Maldivian capital of Male but has shied away from stronger steps. Though the former president said he would leave military strategy to the “professionals,” he insisted that the Maldives needs “assistance.”

“We need to release the judges,” he said. “We need the government to abide by the court ruling.”

Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping. © Reuters

Pakistan Lends Thousands of Troops Saudi Arabian Anti-Iranian Forces, Commanded By Former Pak. Army Chief

Payback time for Pakistan as Saudi bills come due
Pakistan and the Saudi Dominance

Is the Pakistani Army Obligated To Fight for Saudi Arabia?
Saudi King announces $100 million to Pakistan
Saudis Continue To Manipulate Pakistan

[Pakistani troops to Saudi, where they will serve at the forefront of the mad Saudi King’s anti-Iranian forces, now under the command of the former Pak. Chief of Army (SEE: Pakistan OKs Former Gen. Sharif Command of Saudi “Anti-Terrorist” –Anti-Shia– Forces).]

Pakistan to send more troops to Saudi Arabia: ISPR

Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Saeed Al-Maliki met with Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa at Pakistan Army headquarters in Rawalpindi on Thursday. (ISPR)

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: The Pakistan Army is sending a contingent of troops to Saudi Arabia on a training and advice mission, the media wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces said in a statement on Thursday.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said it is part of the ongoing cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
“Troops already there will not be employed outside KSA. The Pakistan army maintains bilateral security cooperation with many other GCC/regional countries,” the statement said.
Before the announcement, Nawaf Saeed Al-Maliki, ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, met Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, chief of army staff (COAS), on Thursday at Pakistan Army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi.
“Matters of mutual interest including the regional security situation were discussed during the meeting,” the ISPR press release said.
“Pakistan and Kingdom have decades-long ties and cooperation in the field of defense, so it is important for the continuation of strategic relations,” Zafar Jaspal, professor at the school of politics and international relations in Quaid-e-Azam University, told Arab News.
“This development will not have an impact on Islamabad’s relations with any other country because the army clarified that these troops will only be on a training and advice mission,” Jaspal said.
Hasan Askari, a leading Pakistani political analyst, told Arab News that the announcement of sending more troops “reaffirms the policy of military cooperation between the two countries that has a long and positive history.”
“Pakistani troops already stationed in Kingdom work just within the limits of Saudi Arabia, so it should not be matter of concern for any other country,” Askari said.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy close cooperation in diverse fields including defense cooperation. Armed forces of both countries regularly conduct military exercises; defense officials from Pakistan and the Kingdom also travel to each other’s county and share their experiences.
On Dec. 12, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Aysh, Saudi deputy defense minister, visited Pakistan and met with the Pakistani defense minister and military officials.
During the visit, Khurram Dastgir Khan, Pakistani defense minister, proposed an all-encompassing strategic cooperation agreement to deepen defense ties between the two countries.

Who Sanctions the US When It Meddles In Foreign Elections?…NO ONE.

US sanctions, baffled Russians, hot air and history

[This analysis was written for the Unz Review]

So, finally, the suspense is over.  Kind of.  The US Treasury has finally released the list of Russian entities and individuals which could (conditional!) be sanctioned by the US Treasury in compliance with the H.R.3364 – Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.  These two short excerpt from the report show why I say “could”:

and

Now let’s translate all this in plain English: the US took a copy of the Kremlin telephone book, then a copy of Forbes and created a new list combining both.  Then the US proclaimed that these entities and individuals are not under any sanctions yet, but are candidates for such sanctions.

Does that make *any* sense to you *at all*?!

Well, if it does, stop reading and enjoy your unique gifts.  If it does not, then don’t feel bad as this makes no sense whatsoever for anybody in Russia either.  Oh how I wish modern technologies would make it possible for me to post here all the recent interviews, articles, talk-shows and public statements made in Russia for the past 24 hours!  To say that the Russians are baffled is, really, an understatement.

Two things are noteworthy: first, this list completely ignores one of the most important realities of Russian politics: that the real, dangerous, opposition to Putin is not from the people (who support him at anywhere between 60% to 80%+) or from the Russian media (which, while often critical, does not represent a real threat to him) or even the Duma (whose opposition parties are critical of the Kremlin, but who are very careful about criticizing Putin himself lest they lose support from the people) .  For years now I have been explaining that the real opposition to Putin is a) inside the ruling elites, including the Presidential Administration and the Government and b) big money: banks, oligarchs, etc.  I call this (informal) opposition the “Atlantic Integrationists” because what these pro-western globalists want is for the AngloZionist Empire to accept Russia as an equal partner and to have Russia fully integrate the US-controlled international financial and security structures: WTO, NATO, EU, G7/8, etc.  Very roughly speaking you could think of them as the “Medvedev people” (but you could also say that the Ministers in charge of the Russian economy all fall into this category, as do almost all the heads of Russian banks).  I call the (informal) group supporting Putin the “Eurasian Sovereignists“.  These are the folks who see the future of Russia in the South, East and even North, who want to pull Russia out of the AngloZionist international financial and security structures and who want a truly sovereign Russia to contribute to a new truly multi-polar world in collaboration with countries like China or the other BRICS countries.  Very roughly you could call these people the “Putin people” (but you could also say that figures such as Ivanov, Rogozin, Shoigu and a few others are key personalities).

This is important because the this list of (potentially sanctioned) people makes absolutely no distinctions between these two groups.  Check out this article on RT entitled “Major Russian bank will no longer service defense industry over US sanctions fears“.  It quotes the Alfa Bank CEO Mikhail Fridman whose net worth is estimated at $16.2 billion by Forbes, as saying that the magazine that Alfa-Bank was cutting ties with the Russia’s defense industry, adding, “What can we do?”.  Now look at the list, Appendix II, entry #23.  Do you see who is there?  Yup, the very same Mikhail Fridman!

Now let me add this: in the current political climate in Russia, to have bank accounts in the West is considered shameful and unpatriotic and that is something which even most dishonest and hypocritical Eurasian Sovereignists can hardly afford for political reasons (that does not mean that some don’t try, they do, but at a great political risk).  In contrast, among Atlantic Integrationists, whose power and influence does not depend on public opinion, having assets abroad is much less dangerous and, therefore, much more common.

Now that the US Treasury has released this “list of marked individuals” (and their families, relatives or associated corporate entities) for potential, unspecified, future sanction, who do you think will freak out most, the Eurasian Sovereignists or the Atlantic Integrationists?  Then look a step further and forget about the US for a second: Russia is trying hard to work with the Europeans in many join projects.  What do you think the creation of such a list will have on joint ventures between EU and Russian businessmen?  I predict two things:

  1. It will place a great deal of pressure on EU corporations not to do business with the Russians and, therefore, it will further place the EU and the US on a collision course.
  2. It will hurt the Atlantic Integrationists where it hurts them the most: in their financial interests.

Frankly, if I was paid to think long and hard about how to come up with the dumbest and most self-defeating foreign policy decision for the USA I could never do better than what the Trump Administration and Congress have just done.  This is, by the way, something which all Russian analysts agree with.  What they don’t agree with are the reasons for that seemingly completely and terminally stupid move.  Here are the various schools of thought in Russia on that account:

Group One: “the slap in the face of Russia”:

They believe that the sole intention was to insult and humiliate Russia by basically declaring that all the top Russian people are gangsters.  According to them, there ain’t much the US can do to Russia other than to continue a petty war of insults and harassment (like the expulsion of Russian diplomats and the seizure of Russian consular buildings in the USA).

Group Two: “it’s all internal US politics”:

That groups says that this has nothing to do with Russia at all.  According to them, the US economy is doing well under Trump, the Democrats have nothing to use against him so all they do is continue to hammer the “Russian threat” fairytale to which Trump responds with deliberately ineffective and totally symbolic actions which make it look like he is anti-Russian when in reality he is quietly sabotaging the Democrats’ attempts at truly worsening relations with Russia and preventing the Democrats from playing the “Russian threat” card against Trump.

Group Three: “Трамп Наш” (Тrump is ours):

No, nobody in Russia seriously believes that Trump is a Russian agent or is somehow “owned” by Russia, but they say that as a joke, always laughing.  But what they do mean is that deep down Trump is a friend of Russia and is actually helping Russia and Putin.  How?  By taking all sorts of measures which only hurt the USA while very powerfully helping Russia (for example, by forcing Russian oligarchs to bring their foreign assets back to Russia).  Some even go as far as saying that this list is most damaging to the people opposed to Putin and that it gives him a pretext to fire them all after the Presidential elections in Russia.  Far from considering Trump a bumbling idiot, this group sees him as a consummate politician who is actually creating the circumstances to really hurt his (real) enemies and help his (real) friends.

Group Four: “Наших бьют!” (Our people are under attack!):

This is the group which doesn’t care at all why the US is doing this or that, no matter how clumsy.  All they care about is that this is yet another attack on “our people” (meaning Russian individuals or corporate entities) and that means that Russians should “circle the wagons” and come to the rescue of those thus attacked.  This group most vociferously demands retaliatory steps from the Kremlin.  They are a vocal minority.

Group Five: “Филькина Грамота” (Botched document produced by clueless idiots [very approximate translation!])

This is the group which basically says that it is all much more simple and no complex explanations are needed: the Trump Administration and Congress is composed of clueless idiots who have no idea what the hell they are doing and who just like to produce some policy decisions just to look like they still matter in world where they really don’t.  Putin himself seems to be in this last group as he officially called this latest US document “complete stupidity“.

Frankly, in my experience the decision making process in the USA is almost never the result of the efforts of single actor.  In fact, US political decisions are the “sum vector” of the effect of many different vectors acting together to produce a sum vector which sometimes looks nonsensical but which is still the logical result from the joint effect of all the vectors which determined it.  In other words, all the explanations above could be right, albeit to various degrees.  This being said, I strongly favor the last one as, like Putin, I have come to the conclusion that the Empire is run by stupid, ignorant ideologues who live in a world totally detached from reality.

What is absolutely certain is that this latest move by the USA is, again, a dream come true for Putin and his supporters, especially right before the elections.

First and foremost, this is clearly an attack on “our guy” and even on “all of us” and this triggers a very strong reaction of support from the people.  Furthermore, it separates all Russians into basically two camps: first, Putin supporters and, second, those who are so totally sold out to the USA (like Ksenia Sobchak) that they would even hand back Crimea just in order to be friends with the West.  The first group must roughly include, oh, let’s say 95%-98% of the population, the 2nd one about 2%-5%.

Second, it is now clear that every Russian oligarch (along with his family members and colleagues) has a big bullseye painted on his back and that he now should hurry to place his assets in the only location were the Empire cannot seize them: inside Russia.

Third, a lot of those oligarchs and civil servants who more or less actively opposed Putin and his policies now need to come back to him and, with hat in hand and with a groveling tone, need to make amends and beg for his pardon and mercy.  They placed their bets on the AngloZionists and they lost.  Now they need to come back to papa and beg for clemency (they will probably get it too).  This right before the elections is very helpful indeed even if nobody doubts the outcome of these election to begin with.

To sum it all up: the latest move is a true blessing for Putin and Russia in both economic and political terms and the only ones really hurt by all this are the Atlantic Integrationists (who are really going through some very bad times anyway).

The paradox: US sanctions – a  blessing in disguise?

Let’s think about what the USA has been doing over the past couple of years.  Officially, the USA has been trying to “isolate” Russia.  But isolate from exactly what?  From Peru?  Or maybe from cultural exchanges with Morocco?  Hardly.  When the USA says that it wants to isolate Russia it means cut Russia off from the western markets (trade), the western financial system (credit) and the western political elites (fora).  These sanctions were supposed to hurt Russia precisely because Russia was, at least in part, dependent on trade with the EU, credits from western financial institution and her participation in G8 (now G7) type of events.  Putin predicted that it would take 2 years for Russia to recover from these sanctions (and the concomitant drop in energy prices) and he was right: Russia not only created new trade ties, but also finally began investing in her internal market, she found credits elsewhere (China) and in terms of fora, it really turned out that the G7 without Russia was more or less like the Council of Europe or, for that matter, the UN Security Council: useless.  Instead, world leaders began booking flight and visiting Moscow.  Now the latest US sanctions are putting an immense amount of pressure on Russian oligarchs to bring their money back home.  It sure looks to me that US sanctions made it possible for Putin to do something he might never have been able to do without them: to seriously begin reforming Russia (which badly needed such reforms).  Remember, Eurasian Sovereignists are just that – sovereignists; whereas Atlantic Integrationists are just that – integrationists.  By “cutting off Russia from the West” – whose agenda did the USA really hurt, the integrationists or the sovereignists?  Could it be that Putin owes his immense popularity, and Russia her success, at least in part to US sanctions?

The fundamental theory of deterrence holds that “deterrence is in the eye of the beholder”.  In other words, I cannot assume that what would deter me would also deter you.  In order to deter you I need to understand what your goals and values are.  I submit that when the US elites decided to sanction Russia (putatively to deter her from further resisting the Empire) they made a fundamentally wrong assumption: that Russia was ruled by Atlantic Integrationist types who would be horrified and deterred.  Instead, these sanctions ended being a blessing for the Eurasian Sovereignists who used these sanctions to paralyze the Atlantic Integrationists, to push through much needed reforms and basically eliminate the pro-Western opposition.  In so many ways Russia is still a mess and a struggling country, but thanks to US sanctions none of that will have any impact at all on the next Presidential elections in Russia and the Eurasian Sovereignists are more powerful than ever before.  Thank you, Uncle Shmuel!

Possible Russian reactions:

Whatever the reasons for all this nonsense, this does beg some kind of reaction from Russia and I think that judging by all the similar situation in the recent past, the Russian reaction is fairly easy to predict.

First, there will be no grandiose gesture or loud hyperbolic statements out of the Kremlin.  Putin jokingly deplored that his own name was not on the list, Peskov said that this was a hostile act, a few Russian Duma members canceled planned trip to the USA and Russian commentators expressed various degrees of dismay and disgust.  But, all in all, this is very, very little.  As usual, this will be completely misunderstood in the West where the culture is roughly “if your enemy slaps you in your face, you have to immediately slap him back lest you look weak“.  In most of Asia (and the Middle-East, by the way), the norm is totally different: “if your enemy slaps you in the face you step back and plan how to bring him down in the long run because what matters is not the short-lived posturing, which can be even dangerous and counter-productive, but playing the long run and winning“.  You could say that in the West the attention span and long-term planning is counted in days or weeks, while in Asia and the Middle-East it is counted in years and decades.  So while there might not be anything particularly photogenic or quote-worthy coming out of the Kremlin, a few Russians did drop hints of what the Russian policy will be: “good luck to the Americans trying get anything major done on the planet without our support“.  And just to make that point clear to those who can connect the dots, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, speaking on the Russian TV channel Rossiya One, declared that the Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergei Naryshkin, recently traveled to the USA and met with some high level US personalities (including, according to US sources, CIA Director Mike Pompeo).  As Newsweek wrote, Naryshkin would be “the Russian spy chief behind 2016 election hacking campaign” which various nutcases even called an act of war. He is on the very top of all these sanctions list, but there he is, traveling inside the USA and meeting with top US officials.  Why did Antonov leak this?  Simply to show that for all the huffing and puffing and hyperbolic grandstanding from the USA, the reality is that the USA and Russia are still very much working together because they really cannot afford not doing so (as I write these words I got a link to a WaPo article now saying that Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Federal Security Service (FSB) and even Colonel-General Korobov, the head of the Main Directorate of the General Stuff (GU GSh), the military intelligence service (ex-GRU) also took part in this trip to the USA.)

So that is the real Russian message to the USA: you need us a heck of a lot more than we need you because you need to work with us or else you won’t get anything done, we are still willing to work with you, but if you go crazy then your global interests will suffer much more than our ours; for all your hot air, you have been working with us all along and if you go overboard with the nonsense we will first reveal the extend of our collaboration and, if that is not enough to cool you down, we will terminate it.

There is no doubt in my mind that for most inhabitants of the AngloZionist Empire the notion of the almighty USA needing the struggling (and economically comparatively small) Russia more than Russia needs the USA is laughable.   These folks would say something like that: “what is the Russian share of the gross world product, how many aircraft carriers does Russia have and what is the Russian weight in international financial institutions? And how is your vodka-soaked Ruble doing anyway, buddy?!”  The Russians wouldn’t reply much of anything, most would just smile in contempt and think something along the lines of “when is the last time you got anything successfully done, you dumb pompous ass“.  That’s fundamentally fine since this message is really not destined to ideological drones but to those in power in the USA who are aware of the real scorecard of Uncle Sam and who realize that right now it is the Empire, not Russia, which is almost completely paralyzed, and isolated (oh irony!) on all levels.

Conclusion one: the Empire’s main export is hot air

Many of my friends and readers send me various articles with all sorts of quotes by US officials and I have a really hard time explaining to them that they should stop listening to this endless bombastic verbiage.  Not only because the vast majority of officials making these statements are both stupid and ignorant, but because the main export of the AngloZionist Empire nowadays is hot air.  We saw that recently with the grand statements about Kurdistan or, for that matter, the plans “A”, “B”, “C” and “D” about Syria: all delivered with the same final gravitas.  This is counter-intuitive, I will admit that.  After all, when the President of the nuclear superpower, a three star general or any other senior official takes the floor to make an official statement, we automatically tend to assume that what they say matters, especially if they are surrounded by flags and many exited reporters.  But it really doesn’t. Especially not when the “other guy” (the Russians and the Chinese) come from a culture which frowns upon loudmouthed histrionics: “make my day, punk” is just not an (Eur-)Asian way of delivering threats.

I don’t mean to suggest that we should ignore the Empire, most definitely not, but we should look at what the Empire actually does and more or less ignore it’s constantly running narcissistic commentary.  When the Empire promises to do something right, it usually lies.  When it promises to do something wrong, these are usually empty threats.  So what’s the point of paying so much attention to these promises?

Conclusion two: learning optimism and caution from history

If we look at world history we can always see the same phenomenon taking place: when things go well, the elites are united, but as soon as things go south, the elites turn on each other.  The reason for this is quite simple: elites are never as united as they pretend to be.  In reality Empires, and any big country, really, are run by a coalition of elites who all benefit from the established order.  They can hate each other, sometimes even kill each other (SA vs SS, Trotskyists vs Stalinists, etc.), but they will work together just like crime families do in the mob.  But when a real, profound, crisis becomes undeniably apparent, these ruling elites typically turn on each other and when that happens, nobody is really in charge until, eventually, the entire system comes tumbling down or a new main ruler/group emerges.  Right now the AngloZionists elites are locked into a huge struggle which is likely to last for the foreseeable future.  However, we need to be aware that such a situation can also be used by a previously less visible party to make a move and seize power.  That is exactly how Putin came to power, pushed by the Russian security services even while Eltsin was still the nominal head of state.  This also fully applies to the Ukraine which is also run by a group of people whose main current contribution to the world scene is hot air.  But that could change very, very fast.  This is why while I recommend more or less ignoring the hot air coming out of the top US (or Ukie) officials, I would keep an attentive eye on the level right below them, especially the US (or Ukie) military.  Finally, we should never confuse the inability to get anything done with the inability to make things worse: the latter does not flow from the former.  Nazi Germany was basically defeated in Stalingrad (Feb 1943) but that did not prevent it from murdering millions more people for another two and a half years before two Soviet soldiers placed the Soviet flag on top of the Reichstag.  We are still far away from such a “Reichstag flag” moment, but we sure are witnessing the AngloZionist “Stalingrad” taking place before our eyes.

The Saker

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