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Imran Khan’s visit to the USA by Brig.Gen(Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Imran Khan’s visit to the USA

Asif Haroon Raja

Trump’s Double faced policy against Pakistan

 

 

 

 

 

Double Faced Trump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donald Trump has been maintaining a highly belligerent posture against Pakistan as was evident from his policy on Afghanistan and on South Asia and his random statements accusing Pakistan of harbouring Haqqani network and Afghan Taliban and holding it responsible for the instability in Afghanistan.

On the one hand, Pakistan is accused of sheltering and supporting Afghan militant groups, and on the other hand, USA is in parleys with them since last year and beseeching them to a ceasefire and end the war. Pakistan is pressed to bring them to the negotiating table.

Trump administration has been openly siding with the Narendra Modi regime as was evident in Pulwama incident and the events that took place in the aftermath. Besides suspending the Close Support Fund (CSF) and military cooperation, the US has hung the swords of FATF and IMF to add to the economic woes of Pakistan, which is caught in a deadly debt trap. 

Stick and Carrot Policy

In the ongoing war on terror, the US civil and military leaders have been using the stick against Pakistan viciously and dangling few carrots to entice Pakistan to keep doing more. This policy is evident from the series of harsh statements made by US military commanders operating in Afghanistan, CENTCOM Commander and Pentagon, and in the same breath eulogizing role of Pakistan Army in the war.

In line with this wicked policy, Pentagon recently expressed its desire to maintain strong military-to-military ties with Pakistan due to shared interests. This policy statement has been made in the wake of the visit of PM Imran Khan (IK) to Washington this month.

History of Pak-US Military Ties

Peeping into past, Pentagon and GHQ have maintained cordial ties right from the days of Ayub Khan’s rule despite hiccups in a government-to-government relationship which suffered from ups and downs.

Military ties nose-dived in 2011 on account of Raymond Davis incident in January, followed by stealth helicopter attack in Abbottabad in May, Memogate scandal in October and finally the Apache gunship helicopters attack military posts in Mohmand agency in November.  The last act forced GHQ to sever all military and intelligence cooperation with the USA as well as stoppage of NATO supplies. This non-cooperation remained enforced till Washington apologized in July 2012 and supply routes were re-opened. But the level of distrust didn’t decrease. India and puppet regime in Kabul kept widening the mistrust.

Distrust was a result of an accumulation of a series of prejudicial acts of USA in the war on terror. While it bestowed favours and rewards to India and Afghanistan generously, it remained tight-fisted towards Pakistan and whatever it doled out in the form of grants and loans were tied to the condition of doing more.  While the wrong acts of India and Afghanistan were looked the other way, or defended or condoned, in case of Pakistan, it was blamed for every trouble in the two countries as well as in Occupied Kashmir. It could never furnish a shred of evidence to corroborate its accusations.

The reason behind the USA’s Biased Approach

The reason for this biased approach is that the US military, as well as the US governments whether of Republicans or Democrats, have always been closer to India than Pakistan even when India was a camp follower of former USSR and Pakistan was the most allied ally of USA.

Pakistan was initially taken on board in 1954 when India and Afghanistan refused to become part of the defensive arc meant to contain communism in South Asia and the Middle East. Pakistan suffered after joining western pacts since it earned the animosity of many countries. Above all, the pacts couldn’t save Pakistan from getting bifurcated in 1971.

Next time, Pakistan’s need was felt by the USA in the 1980s to support the Afghan Mujahideen in the war against the Soviet forces. Once all its objectives were achieved without deploying a single soldier, Pakistan was discarded and put under sanctions and its arch-rival India befriended.

Pakistan was once more taken on board after 9/11 to fight the US war on terror after giving repeated assurances that wrongs of the past will be atoned by building a relationship on the basis of mutual respect and understanding. Those were false promises; Pakistan was again duped and snared.

USA, India and puppet regime in Kabul supported by NATO and Israel became strategic partners and made plans to denuclearize Pakistan and make it a compliant state using indirect strategy.   

Under the garb of friendship and puny monetary benefits, Pakistan was systematically bled through paid proxies and drones, and discredited through false accusations, false flag operations and media war.

Throughout the 18-year war, Pakistan has been given a raw deal. The reason is that Pakistan besides being a Muslim State, it is a nuclear power with strong armed forces, it is closely aligned with the US main rival China, and in collaboration with China is building CPEC. Full operationalization of CPEC will change the whole complexion of geo-economics in the region, beneficial to China and Pakistan, and detrimental to USA and India. Pakistan refuses to accept Indian hegemony in South Asia and to become an influential player in Afghanistan.

Conversely, India is a strategic partner of the USA since 1990. The US has desired that India should fill the vacuum in Afghanistan after its departure, act as a bulwark against China, and become a policeman of the Indo-Pacific region.

With these aims and objectives, India is promoted and glorified, while Pakistan which doesn’t fit into the US calculus is undermined and discredited. Successive administrations of George Bush, Obama and Trump adopted an inimical policy.

Pentagon and CIA play a main role in colouring the perceptions of White House, State Department and the Congress. Jewish and Indian lobbies in the USA also have a big hand in keeping Pakistan in bad books of USA.        

In the backdrop of too many divergences and too few convergences in Pak-US relations, there is little room for shared interests as stated recently.

The only pin which is keeping the US attached to Pakistan is Afghanistan, where the US has got badly stuck and finds itself cornered and bereft of strategy how to fight and win or to exit safely.

Pakistan becomes relevant since it is the only country which is placed at an advantageous position at this critical juncture. It is relatively better poised to exert influence over the Taliban and to arrange safe and honourable passage of the occupying forces.

Since the US is desperate to pull out at the earliest, and also hope for a friendly regime in Kabul, it has still not abandoned Pakistan. The day Pakistan loses its relevance and becomes a redundant player in Afghan imbroglio, Washington will ditch Pakistan as it had done in 1990.

Changed Realities

The US is well aware of the changed ground realities.

It is no more as powerful as it was in 2001.

Russia has resurged and China is at the verge of becoming the leading economic power.

Taliban are closer to the victory stand and are no more isolated and shunned.

Taliban have gained superiority of orientation on the battlefield due to which they are happily placed to negotiate from a position of strength.

Taliban have garnered military support from Russia and Iran, and diplomatic support of China, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Turkey and Germany.

Afghan Unity Government and 350,000 ANSF have become liabilities for the USA.

In all probability, US troops will be pulled out by end of 2020.

Syria is another theatre where the USA is most likely to suffer humiliation after it pulls out its forces.

India has failed to disable Pakistan’s nuclear program or overawe it.

Pakistan’s missile and nuclear capabilities have vastly improved and can keep India deterred.

Pakistan is the only country which has produced spectacular results against terrorism despite heavy odds while all others failed.

The US is also aware of Pakistan’s sense of disillusionment and its inclination to get closer to Russia.  

The USA is in a Dilemma

On one hand, it is stuck in Afghanistan and is entreating the Taliban to ceasefire and help in ending the 18-year war. On the other hand, it is confronted by defiant Iran in the Persian Gulf where no Arab country is prepared to send its ground forces or to provide a land route to US-NATO forces for fear of Iran’s retaliation.

The US needs Pakistan’s help on both fronts since more recently, Pak-Iran relations have taken a dramatic turn for the better, which is much to the discomfort of US, KSA and India.

Pakistan’s Significance

The prospect of losing influence in Afghanistan and Central Asia completely is giving nightmares to policymakers in Washington. They have belatedly realized that Pakistan is the only country which besides helping in finalizing a political settlement with the Taliban and in arranging safe exit, it can act as the bridge for the USA to gain access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.  

It is in context with these hard realities that the US has once again been forced to lean on Pakistan and of late has been giving friendly signals. However, the USA’s overall negative mindset and habit of betrayal must not be ignored. There will be more ‘takes’ and very little ‘gives’.  

Trump Administration’s Doubts and Punitive Acts

Poisoned by Kabul and New Delhi, Washington strongly feels that Pakistan is playing a double game and is the main source of strength for the Taliban.

In order to force Pakistan to play the US game, it has embroiled Pakistan in a hybrid war in addition to covert war and is now taking steps to haemorrhage Pakistan’s economy which is already in dire strait.

For that purpose, it is using the swords of FATF and IMF in unison.

First tranche of the IMF bailout package of $6 billion spread over three years was released only after Pakistan fulfilled the demands of IMF which included changing the whole economic team, heavy devaluation of Pak Rupee, keeping the currency floating, more taxes, increase in prices of electricity, gas, petrol, foodstuff and reduction in subsidies.     

While Pakistan is making desperate efforts to get itself shifted from grey to white list by FATF by fulfilling genuine and false demands, India and anti-Pakistan lobbies in the USA have been making efforts to blacklist Pakistan, which will be a step closer to getting Pakistan declared a terror abetting state.   

IK Visiting USA under Unsavory Conditions

IK is embarking upon his maiden visit to Washington on July 21 at a time when Pak-US relations are unsavoury. With restive home front owing to political instability, an economy in doldrums, accountability not making any headway, traders’ strikes, the release of a scandalous video by PML-N, and explosive external front, IK might not be at ease to indulge in hard talk with Trump.

PM Imran Khan should be deriving a measure of solace that Trump himself is stuck in a bigger mess!

The Pakistani nation is looking forward to the 45 minute face-to-face talk between IK-Trump on July 22. Will IK get swayed by the magic spell of the USA like his predecessors, or negotiate like Quaid-e-Azam?  

Gestures Shown by Both Sides

Both sides have taken some preliminary steps to ease tensions and to create a conducive environment for the visit which has assumed great importance. The two sides are hoping that this meeting will help in altering distrust into trust and restoring friendly ties.

Pakistan has helped in making some headway in the 7th round of peace talks between the Taliban and USA at Doha. Intra-Afghan meeting at Bhurban last month and participation of all Afghan factions in a 2-day summit at Doha are positive developments.

As a favour to Ashraf Ghani, Pakistan is pressing the Taliban to hold direct talks with the Afghan regime and is also wanting them to a ceasefire and stop the violence.

It is also meeting several demands of FATF to avoid getting blacklisted.

Despite India’s negativity and hostility, Pakistan has made several futile efforts to melt the ice.

As a goodwill gesture, proscribed outfit BLA has finally been declared a terrorist outfit by the USA.

Trump’s Hopes

  • The US is hopeful of winning over the hard-pressed new regime of Pakistan back into its fold and to make it agree to pick up arms against the Taliban or browbeat them if they refuse to include the wishes of the USA in the peace agreement.
  • Trump would press IK to convince the Taliban to allow the USA to retain 2-3 military bases in Afghanistan for the sake of regional stability.
  • Trump is hoping that Pakistan will persuade the Taliban to maintain friendly ties with Washington once they regain power and will not swing towards Russia-China.
  • Imran Khan will be told to desist from buying arms from Russia.
  • Another possible request could be freedom of Dr. Shakil Afridi.
  • On the request of India, Trump might ask IK to do away with capital punishment of death by hanging as is being demanded by the EU and thus save Kulbushan’s neck.
  • Granting land access to India via Wagah to Afghanistan/Central Asia could be another favour sought for India.   

Suggested Imran Khan’s (IK) Talking Points

  • IK’s foremost request should be to stop the blame game, stop using Pakistan as a convenient scapegoat. Instead, evolve mutually sustaining a relationship based on trust and respect.
  • He must put in a word for Pakistani Americans and Pak settlers in the USA for better security against racism and Islamophobia.
  • He should ask Trump to compensate Pakistan for $ 125 billion financial loss it incurred in the long drawn war, restore CSF and reschedule foreign debt repayments.
  • He should seek compensation for the colossal wear and tear of arms, equipment, tanks, helicopters extensively used in the US imposed war, by handing over part of the US war munitions in Afghanistan before exiting.
  • What he should forcefully insist upon is to close down the infrastructure of cross border terrorism in Afghanistan run by RAW-NDS, put an end to the proxy war, and to make RAW-NDS accountable for their support to BLA and other anti-Pakistan proxies.
  • Fencing of the western border is in the overall interest of both countries trading accusations. The USA must provide funds to expedite completion of western and southwestern fencing.
  • Maintenance of regional military balance between two nuclear neighbours and the adoption of a balanced relationship with India and Pakistan must be emphasized.
  • He must remind Trump to respect Pakistan’s core security interests.  
  • Trump should be told not to blackmail Pakistan through IMF and FATF, or hybrid war.
  • He should invite the USA to join CPEC after highlighting a long list of merits.
  • He should ask Trump to restrain India from committing human rights abuses in Occupied Kashmir and to mediate in resolving Kashmir dispute.
  • Provision of land access to India to be made conditional to the resolution of Kashmir dispute.  
  • With an eye on its backyard, IK should ask Trump to review his policy of confrontation with Iran.

EndNote. Rapprochement with the USA must not be at the cost of straining relations with Russia.       

The writer is a retired Brig, war veteran, defence analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, member CWC and Think Tank Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Society, and member Council Tehreek Jawanan Pakistan. asifharoonraja@gmail.com     

 

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Classifying Defeat: Hiding Data on the Losing Afghan War ……Maj. Danny Sjursen, USA (Ret.)

Classifying Defeat: Hiding Data on the Losing Afghan War

in 

Anti-War.com

 

Editor’s Note: I was a student in the US during the Vietnam War. I lost many US classmates either wounded mentally or killed. When the US was entering Afghanistan, I told my American friends not to enter Afghanistan. My words, “You can enter Afghanistan easily, but getting out is next to impossible.”
Troops in Afghanistan
Note: All US Troop Stationed Near Pakistan Border-US has not learned an iota from Vietnam. Afghanistan is the death knell of invaders.

 

The longest war in U.S. history has cost 2400 American lives and nearly a trillion dollars. Still, the government in Washington conceals the truth and most of the populace yawns. By now there should be no doubt that America has lost the battle for Afghanistan, placing it in good company with the British and Soviet empires that failed to conquer that famously xenophobic country. I just wish the Trump administration – as self-touting “truth-tellers” – would admit it. Seriously, public acceptance of defeat would be strangely refreshing. But don’t count on it!

Trump and company have a better idea. They’ll just stop telling the American people anything about how this perpetual war is going. Seriously, the powers that be have taken just about all the relevant, measurable data on the war and either stopped tracking it or deemed it classified. How’s that for some Orwellian political spin? The thing is I kind of get it. The news out of Afghanistan is so awful, and “progress” so fitful, that I wouldn’t want to report it either. Too bad these are life and death matters and that in an (ostensible) republic the people are owed the truth about the wars fought in their name. Call me old fashioned but I still value facts and transparency.

So let us consider what exactly they are hiding from us. It began with last year’s announcement that the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) – the congressionally mandated watchdog on all aspects of this war – would no longer report Afghan Security Force (ASF) casualty data. It’s now classified. I wonder why. Could it be that the US trained and equipped (to the tune of some $70 billion) Afghan military is suffering unsustainable casualties, is losing troops faster than it can recruit? Maybe its because Washington finds it inconvenient to admit that the ASF is nowhere near its target personnel strength, that desertions and absence without leave are rampant in the ranks, and that the Afghan GDP is insufficient to pay for its own security forces.

After all, every president from Bush to Obama to Trump has told us that advising the ASF is America’s number one priority and the key to a successful exit. Given that, one would think it rather important to face the truth about the utterly insufficient Afghan military and police force. Instead, it’s classified. You’re no longer allowed to know that discomfiting truth.

 

 

 

Then, last week, we were told that the US military will no longer track district-level insurgent or government control or influence. In other words, data on what percentage of the country is controlled by the Afghan government versus the Taliban. Sounds like vital info, no? Apparently, according to the US command in Afghanistan, that district data “was of limited decision-making value to the Commander.” That’s news to me! Even as a company commander, a lowly captain, I tracked and reported data on the relative security and stability of even individual villages in my sector. It’s how we knew if we were making progress or not!

So why would the Trump administration really decide to hide, or just stop tracking this pivotal information? Could it be that the Taliban has been progressively gaining ground and now control or contest more of the country – about 50 percent – than at any time in this 18-year-old war? Surely it’d be rather inconvenient to admit that the U.S.-backed regime in Kabul is losing control of half the country. The solution: stop keeping track altogether.

Seriously, rather than assess the data and decide either 1) that the situation on the ground demands a new strategy or more American investment; or 2) that the war is unwinnable and it was always an absurd pipe dream to think we could forge a Jeffersonian Democracy in remote Central Asia, and thus cut our losses and withdraw. Now, I’m a strong proponent of option two and have said so time and again. Still, at least option one would grapple with reality rather than ignore it.

Look, SIGAR is a government-sanctioned watchdog agency, not a touchy-feely human rights nonprofit. These aren’t hippie peaceniks, not by a long shot. Perhaps we should listen to what they have to say, because, well, it is really disturbing. Last week, John Sopko, the inspector general himself, asserted that “Almost every indicia, metric for success or failure is now classified or nonexistent…Over time, it’s been classified or it’s no longer being collected … The classification in some areas is needless.” Translation: we are losing the war and hiding that fact from the people! That’s a big deal, America!

There are other indicators that this war has run off the rails, and one suspects this data will also soon be classified or “no longer tracked.” For example, the fact that 2018 was the first year in which U.S. and allied Afghan forces killed more civilians than the Taliban. So much for winning hearts and minds. It seems Washington has taught Kabul to fight in its own image, confident – despite all the historical evidence to the contrary – that it can bomb its way to victory. Too bad killing innocent civilians is a sure way to alienate the populace and feed an insurgency. If you didn’t know any better, you might think Washington is trying to prolong the war indefinitely.

Remember that the owners of this country – the real owners in the corporate-military-industrial complex – count on your apathy. They count on a distracted populace. They count on you not caring so they can perpetuate ill-advised, counterproductive (but quite profitable) wars indefinitely. We’re through the looking glass, folks – sleepwalking to defeat on the inertia of uniquely American forever war. If we’re not careful we might lose our republic along with the war.

So I say let’s demand better for once. That we demand transparency and the truth about the war in Afghanistan. That we demand to know what is done in our name and what thousands have sacrificed their lives for. That would mean millions of calls to our congressmen, marching in the streets, shutting down the system if necessary. I can see it, almost like a dream – a sea of Americans saying no to a losing war, no to the plunder of our treasury, no to the gradual rollback of our civil liberties.

Only when I wake up from my daydream, gaze around the airport, and…everyone is too busy on their iPhones to care. And that’s the real America. So the war must go on…

Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army officer and regular contributor toAntiwar.com. His work has appeared in the LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, Truthdig, Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet.

Copyright 2019 Danny Sjursen

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American Militarism is Destroying the Future of Humanity. 

American Militarism is Destroying the Future of Humanity. 

Uncommon Thoughts

American Militarism Is Destroying the Future of Humanity

 

By Mahboob Khawaja, PhD.

Editor’s Note

As the United States moves once again to provoke a situation in the Middle East, this time focused on Iran, we have to ask whether the American people withstand against more war and regime change, or whether the apathy of endless wars has inured them to the true costs of what war with Iran would mean. I must say that I am terribly afraid that the media war is being won by the Lords of Chaos who see nothing but profit in both wars in itself, and the target – Iran. Further, we seem to be at a point where one party, which controls the Senate, has no will to serve not only as a check on the wild gyrations of the Executive Branch but even to protect its own Constitutional powers – namely the right to declare war in this case. So even if the people resist, there is no spine in the GOP to speak even in a whisper the Hell that would be unleashed in such massive destruction and destabilization.It is very likely that large numbers of US troops will be sent to join the Carrier group steaming into the Strait of Hormuz, guns aimed at Iran. Regardless of Trump saying that he doesn’t want war with Iran and he “hopes” that doesn’t happen, the reality is that he has been pushing for this since he was campaigning for President. Further, he has continued to push and provoke and brought in Bolton and Pompeo – both of whom have been pushing to attack Iran for decades. Proclamations of a perpetual liar to the contrary should fall on deaf ears, but apparently whether he shoots someone in cold blood in Times Square (a claim of his immunity from consequences for his actions), or shoots the US arsenal at another nation, no blood will stick to him – or so he and the GOP believe.

Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

“The culture of peace is universal. It is shared by people and nations Worldwide. Today’s “culture of war” is a US hegemonic project predicated on the creation of conflict and divisions within and between countries. It is this (unilateral) project of global warfare which is intent upon destroying civilization.” (Professor Michel Chossudovsky, “Towards a Culture of World Peace”. Global Research: 5/16/2019).

Warmongering is an Anti-Human Impulse

The draconian ferocity of wars continues as we watch the unwarranted aggressive events unfolding against Iran in the Persian Gulf Region. One sees a contrast between a real issue and an imaginative problem. The motivating factor signals one thing that American ruling elite thinks: “we are the most powerful nation on earth and nobody else should challenge our supremacy” – the naïve malignity of the mindset of the current American leadership. In the advanced technological warfare of the 21st century, consequential outcomes will leave nothing intact and few living beings will remain. Neither Bolton, Pompeo or Trump, seem to have any understanding or concern as to how their actions could undermine the rest of living humanity. In all probability, the war hysteria is a distraction from domestic issues facing the Trump administration.

Making and maintaining peace requires rational objective reasoning. Could we, the conscientious humanity, hold these naïve people back from triggering a nuclear disaster in the Middle East Arab region? Can we promote the resolution of problems by reason and dialogue rather than belligerency and aggression? Sanctity of human life is grounded in the tenets of moral and intellectual leadership, and being open to listening to and learning from voices of REASON. If the Iranian leadership was smart, it should have acted quickly to seek a unity of its immediate neighbours (Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia), and of all the Arab and Muslim nations, to constitute a powerful moral force of reason to thwart the US plan. The world is fast becoming a violent place at crossroads. All ways of human life require to safeguard and protection from great evils. Ben Tarnoff (“Weaponised AI is Coming. Are Algorithmic Forever Wars our Future?” ICH: 10/13/18), notes the speedy belligerency:

“The wars of 9/11 continue, with no end in sight. Now, the Pentagon is investing heavily in technologies that will intensify them. By embracing the latest tools that the tech industry has to offer, the US military is creating a more automated form of warfare – one that will greatly increase its capacity to wage war everywhere forever.”

America, or its allies in the Arab Middle East, face no formidable enemy except themselves in their own naïve belief in their military superiority. There is no substance to any perceivable challenge or military threat to America from Iran. So why should America rush its armada to the Persian Gulf? It is not for peace, and not to protect humanity from any imminent threat of war from any corners of the strategic game-play in the region. Rationally speaking, the mindset of American leadership appears devoid of reason and accountability. Wars do not bring diverse humanity to peacemaking, but they do destroy the opportunities for dialogue and peaceful resolution of problems. Undoubtedly, the current US administration needs a powerful challenge to make a navigational change. Imagine if Russia or China were to deploy their armadas across the Atlantic or the Pacific regions, would it be seen as a rational and peace-making strategy by either global observers or American leadership? Today some 62 American organizations have asked the US Congress to consider a resolution to stop the war threats against Iran. America is imposing a sadistic war strategy on the rest of mankind.

The UNO and its major organs responsible for global peace and security have proven to be ceremonial debating clubs, and are acting contrary to the essence and purposes of the Charter. Global humanity is tormented by the pain of impending hostilities and demands systematic change and development of a new global organization responsible to the global community, not to the abstract Nation States. It feels like history is repeating itself as once again a few Western egoistic leaders have manipulated the opportunities to dictate and undermine the interests of mankind.  Humanity is the net object of all their deliberations but without any meaningful role in challenging the few global warlords.

President Trump desperately needs to rethink his role as an effective leader in America. Being a responsible leader, one cannot propel willful and premeditated plans of foolish animosities and human destruction.  Once America was enriched with intellectual foresight to safeguard the rest of mankind, but its contemporary leaders and major institutions seem to defy the logic of co-existing with the rest of the global community. For sure, American leaders lack even the essence of Thomas Paine’s historic “Common Sense” to change, but historical change will replace America’s global leadership with others, more understanding and relevant to mankind. American politicians are used to ignoring the imperatives of global peaceful co-existence.

Egoistic Politicians Pursue the War Economy but US Soldiers Are Against the War Culture

America appears to be at the threshold of an unavoidable moral and intellectual transition of reasoning, but it is not following through the rational process of change and future-making.  The Washington-based war culture has incapacitated the US policymakers ability to think rationally and act responsibly in global affairs. Strange as it seems, President Trump and John Bolton cannot explain why 18-25 US war veterans commit suicides every day. (“Why Do Soldiers Commit Suicide and Global Warlords.” Uncommon Thought Journal, USA). Moral and intellectual darkness is renewed under the leadership of the current Commander-in-Chief of the US armed forces. Do the leaders care to protect precious human life?

 

[Photo: Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton]

 

 

 

Most contemporary politicians are not responsible leaders but stage actors pretending to represent the national interests. They learn to excite the emotions of the electorates to win elections but fail to act as responsible leaders. They view humanity just numbers, not precious life which has value in the larger universal context. Most often, these people are disconnected from the annals of normal human thinking and affairs, suspicious and paranoid and they see success to be achieved through ruthlessness, hatred, degeneration and viciousness – all part of their inborn value system, making politics a dreadful game of egomaniacal minds, deception and strategic priorities. This is the opposite of the intelligent commitment to principles of international peace and security for all required to achieve non-aggression in global systems. These systems should be focused on the protection of life and a balanced ecological culture of co-existence within the encompassed Universe -Man and Humanity. America, a leading industrialized power is indifferent to these critical factors of life.

We, The People – Humanity – Have the Capacity to Challenge the Dreadful Calamity of War

The aim of human happiness and solidarity is not violence, wars and aggression. All wars perpetuate violence, fear and vindictiveness against mankind and are aimed at the destruction of civilizations and dehumanization of succeeding generations. Bruce Gambrill Foster (“The Scourge Of War: The Shameless Marketing of Violence” Information Clearing House), observes: “The connection between combating the violence of organized crime, for example, and war is easily bridged. In both, blood is spilt…. If even our simplest joys are couched in terms of conflict, death and domination, what hope is there to distinguish and abhor and eventually end the true villainy of armed conflict, the scourge of war?”

Global mankind is the next victim of the catastrophic madness of the few warlords. Did President Trump learn anything from knowledge, history and facts of life, to understand his weaknesses and strengths? Has he the vision and courage to change and reform his mind and behaviour when facts warrant a change, be it in policy making or global interactive behaviour? After all, listening and learning are critical factors for the changing role of the 21st-century political leadership, as is the importance of flexibility for effective leadership. However, there seem to be no intelligent and proactive leaders with a vision to see the imperative of a United Humanity. Instead, that vision is perverted by egomaniacs full of the sensation of power that they use for trivial and vicious ends to torture and kill mankind and destroy living habitats. Contrary to the brutal perceptions and actions of the US-former Europeans imperialists, the international community is increasingly informed, mature, and enjoys the moral and intellectual capacity to know and understand the facts of life. They are standing up to challenge the leaders promoting insensitivity to universal accord and fighting against the brutality of the Terrorism of Wars. The deliberate efforts at control through destruction and hatred are uniting the people as we share a common fate more than divides us by any token of adversity and separate national identities.

Progressively evolving is a new information-age plausible global culture of Thinking of One Humanity and a new proactive civilization of strong bonds and affinity of people to people cultural communications – global citizenry participation in social, economic and political Thinking and Globalization – a person in one part of the world feels, thinks and acts-reacts to what happens to any person in another remote corner of the globe. Mankind is neither blind nor inept, it defines its own purpose, meaning and identity for peace and harmony that the established institutions of governance – be it in America, the Middle East or Europe or elsewhere miserably failed to recognize or value their importance in global political affairs. Paul Craig Roberts (The Next War on Washington’s Agenda.”), had a rational thought to ask the right question:

We, as Americans, need to ask ourselves what all this is about? Why is our government so provocative toward Islam, Russia, China, Iran?  What purpose, whose purpose is being served? Certainly not ours…………Where do we go from here? If not to nuclear destruction, Americans must wake up. Football games, porn, and shopping malls are one thing. Survival of human life is another. Washington, that is, “representative government,” consists only of a few powerful vested interests. These private interests, not the American people, control the US government. That is why nothing that the US government does benefits the American people.

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012. His forthcoming book is entitled: One Humanity and The Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution

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Placing the USA on a collapse continuum with Dmitry Orlov By The Saker

Placing the USA on a collapse continuum with Dmitry Orlov

By The Saker

January 14, 2019 

The wordcatastrophehas several meanings, but in its original meaning in Greek, the word means a “sudden downturn” (in Greek katastrophē ‘overturning, a sudden turn,’ from kata- ‘down’ + strophē ‘turning’). As for the word “superpower” it also has several possible definitions, but my preferred one is this one Superpower is a term used to describe a state with a dominant position, which is characterized by its extensive ability to exert influence or project power on a global scale. This is done through the combined-means of economic, military, technological and cultural strength, as well as diplomatic and soft power influence. Traditionally, superpowers are preeminent among the great powers” this one, “an extremely powerful nation, especially one capable of influencing international events and the acts and policies of less powerful nations” or this one “an international governing body able to enforce its will upon the most powerful states“.

I have mentioned the very visible decline of the US and its associated Empire in many of my articles already, so I won’t repeat it here other than to say that the “ability to exert influence and impose its will” is probably the best criteria to measure the magnitude of the fall of the US since Trump came to power (the process was already started by Dubya and Obama, but it sure accelerated with The Donald). But I do want to use a metaphor to revisit the concept of catastrophe.

If you place an object in the middle of a table and then push it right to the edge, you will exert some amount of energy we can call “E1”. Then, if the edge of the table is smooth and you just push the object over the edge, you exercise a much smaller amount of energy we can call “E2”. And, in most cases (if the table is big enough), you will also find that E1 is much bigger than E2 yet E2, coming after E1 took place, triggered a much more dramatic event: instead of smoothly gliding over the table top, the object suddenly falls down and shatters. That sudden fall can also be called a “catastrophe”. This is also something which happens in history, take the example of the Soviet Union.

Some readers might recall how Alexander Solzhenitsyn repeatedly declared in the 1980s that he was sure that the Soviet regime would collapse and that he would return to Russia. He was, of course, vitriolically ridiculed by all the “specialists” and “experts”. After all, why would anybody want to listen to some weird Russian exile with politically suspicious ideas (there were rumours of “monarchism” and “anti-Semitism”) when the Soviet Union was an immense superpower, armed to the teeth with weapons, with an immense security service, with political allies and supporters worldwide? Not only that, but all the “respectable” specialists and experts were unanimous that, while the Soviet regime had various problems, it was very far from collapse. The notion that NATO would soon replace the Soviet military not only in eastern Europe but even in part of the Soviet Union was absolutely unthinkable. And yet it all happened, very, very fast. I would argue that the Soviet Union completely collapsed in the span of less than 4 short years: 1990-1993. How and why this happened is beyond the scope of this article, but what is undeniable is that in 1989 the Soviet Union was still an apparently powerful entity, while by the end of 1993, it was gone (smashed into pieces by the very nomenklatura which used to rule over it). How did almost everybody miss that? The fate of all empires…

 

 

 

 

Because ideologically-poisoned analysis leads to intellectual complacency, a failure of imagination and, generally, an almost total inability to even hypothetically look at possible outcomes. This is how almost all the “Soviet specialists” got it wrong (the KGB, by the way, had predicted this outcome and warned the Politburo, but the Soviet gerontocrats were ideologically paralyzed and were both unable, and often unwilling, to take any preventative action). The Kerensky masonic regime in 1917 Russia, the monarchy in Iran or the Apartheid regime in South Africa also collapsed very fast once the self-destruction mechanism was in place and launched.

You can think of that “regime self-destruction mechanism” as our E1 phase in our metaphor above. As for E2, you can think of it as whatever small-push like event which precipitates the quick and final collapse, apparently with great ease and minimum energy spent.

At this point, it is important to explain what exactly a “final collapse” looks like. Some people are under the very mistaken assumption that a collapsed society or country looks like a Mad Max world. This is not so. Ukraine has been a failed state for several years already, but it still exists on the map. People live there, work, most people still have electricity (albeit not 24/7), a government exists, and, at least officially, law and order is maintained. This kind of collapsed society can go on for years, maybe decades, but it is in a state of collapse nonetheless, as it has reached all the 5 Stages of Collapse as defined by Dmitry Orlov in his seminal book The Five Stages of Collapse: Survivors’ Toolkitwhere he mentions the following 5 stages of collapse:

  • Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in “business as usual” is lost.
  • Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that “the market shall provide” is lost.
  • Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost.
  • Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that “your people will take care of you” is lost.
  • Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in “the goodness of humanity” is lost.

Having personally visited Argentina in the 1970s and 1980s, and seen the Russia of the early 1990s, I can attest that a society can completely collapse while maintaining a lot of the external appearances of a normal still functioning society. Unlike the Titanic, most collapsed regimes don’t fully sink. They remain about half under water, and half above, possibly with an orchestra still playing joyful music. And in the most expensive top deck cabins, a pretty luxurious lifestyle can be maintained by the elites. But for most of the passengers, such a collapse results in poverty, insecurity, political instability and a huge loss in welfare. Furthermore, in terms of motion, a half-sunk ship is no ship at all.

Here is the crucial thing: as long as the ship’s PA systems keep announcing great weather and buffet brunches, and as long as most of the passengers remain in their cabins and watch TV instead of looking out of the window, the illusion of normalcy can be maintained for a fairly long while, even after a collapse. During the E1 phase outlined above, most passengers will be kept in total ignorance (lest they riot or protest) and only when E2 strikes (totally unexpectedly for most passengers) does reality eventually destroy the ignorance and illusions of the brainwashed passengers.

Obama was truly the beginning of the end

I have lived in the US from 1986-1991 and from 2002 to today and there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the country has undergone a huge decline over the past decades. In fact, I would argue that the US has been living under E1 condition since at least Dubya and that this process dramatically accelerated under Obama and Trump. I believe that we reached the E2 “edge of the table” moment in 2018 and that from now on even a relatively minor incident can result in a sudden downturn (i.e. a “catastrophe”). Still, I decided to check with the undisputed specialist of this issue and so I emailed Dmitry Orlov and asked him the following question:

 In your recent articleThe Year the Planet Flipped Overyou paint a devastating picture of the state of the Empire:

It is already safe to declare Trump’s plan to Make America Great Again (MAGA) a failure. Beneath the rosy statistics of US economic growth hides the hideous fact that it is the result of a tax holiday granted to transnational corporations to entice them to repatriate their profits. While this hasn’t helped them (their stocks are currently cratering) it has been a disaster for the US government as well as for the economic system as a whole.  Tax receipts have shrunk. The budget deficit for 2018 exceeds $779 billion. Meanwhile, the trade wars which Trump initiated have caused the trade deficit to increase by 17% from the year before. Plans to repatriate industrial production from low-cost countries remain vaporous because the three key elements which China had as it industrialized (cheap energy, cheap labour and low cost of doing business) are altogether missing.  Government debt is already beyond reasonable and its expansion is still accelerating, with just the interest payments set to exceed half a trillion a year within a decade. This trajectory does not bode well for the continued existence of the United States as a going concern. Nobody, either in the United States or beyond, has the power to significantly alter this trajectory. Trump’s thrashing about may have moved things along faster than they otherwise would have, at least in the sense of helping convince the entire world that the US is selfish, feckless, ultimately self-destructive and generally unreliable as a partner. In the end, it won’t matter who was president of the US—it never has.  Among those, the US president has succeeded in hurting most are his European allies. His attacks on Russian energy exports to Europe, on European car manufacturers and on Europe’s trade with Iran have caused a fair amount of damage, both political and economic, without compensating for it with any perceived or actual benefits. Meanwhile, as the globalist world order, which much of Europe’s population appears ready to declare failure, begins to unravel, the European Union is rapidly becoming ungovernable, with established political parties unable to form coalitions with ever-more-numerous populist upstarts.  It is too early to say that the EU has already failed altogether, but it already seems safe to predict that within a decade it will no longer remain as a serious international factor. Although the disastrous quality and the ruinous mistakes of Europe’s own leadership deserve a lot of the blame, some of it should rest with the erratic, destructive behaviour of their transoceanic Big Brother. The EU has already morphed into a strictly regional affair, unable to project power or entertain any global geopolitical ambitions.  Same goes for Washington, which is going to either depart voluntarily (due to lack of funds) or get chased out from much of the world. The departure from Syria is inevitable whether Trump, under relentless pressure from his bipartisan warmongers, backtracks on this commitment or not. Now that Syria has been armed with Russia’s up-to-date air defence weapons the US no longer maintains air superiority there, and without air superiority, the US military is unable to do anything.  Afghanistan is next; there, it seems outlandish to think that the Washingtonians will be able to achieve any sort of reasonable accommodation with the Taliban. Their departure will spell the end of Kabul as a centre of corruption where foreigners steal humanitarian aid and other resources. Somewhere along the way, the remaining US troops will also be pulled out of Iraq, where the parliament, angered by Trump’s impromptu visit to a US base, recently voted to expel them. And that will put paid to the entire US adventure in the Middle East since 9/11: $4,704,439,588,308 has been squandered, to be precise, or $14,444 for every man, woman and child in the US.  The biggest winners in all of this are, obviously, the people of the entire region, because they will no longer be subjected to indiscriminate US harassment and bombardment, followed by Russia, China and Iran, with Russia solidifying its position as the ultimate arbiter of international security arrangements thanks to its unmatched military capabilities and demonstrated know-how for coercion to peace. Syria’s fate will be decided by Russia, Iran and Turkey, with the US not even invited to the talks. Afghanistan will fall into the sphere of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.  And the biggest losers will be former US regional allies, first and foremost Israel, followed by Saudi Arabia.

 

My question for you is this: where would you place the USA (or the Empire) on your 5 stages of decline and do you believe that the USA (or the Empire) can reverse that trend?

Here is Dmitry’s reply:

Collapse, at each stage, is a historical process that takes time to run its course as the system adapts to changing circumstances, compensates for its weaknesses and finds ways to continue functioning at some level. But what changes rather suddenly is faith or, to put it in more businesslike terms, sentiment. A large segment of the population or an entire political class within a country or the entire world can function based on a certain set of assumptions for much longer than the situation warrants but then over a very short period of time switch to a different set of assumptions. All that sustains the status quo beyond that point is institutional inertia. It imposes limits on how fast systems can change without collapsing entirely. Beyond that point, people will tolerate the older practices only until replacements for them can be found.

Stage 1: Financial collapse. Faith in “business as usual” is lost.

Internationally, the major change in sentiment in the world has to do with the role of the US dollar (and, to a lesser extent, the Euro and the Yen—the other two reserve currencies of the three-legged globalist central banker stool). The world is transitioning to the use of local currencies, currency swaps and commodities markets backed by gold. The catalyst for this change of sentiment was provided by the US administration itself which sawed through its own perch by its use of unilateral sanctions. By using its control over dollar-based transactions to block international transactions it doesn’t happen to like it forced other countries to start looking for alternatives. Now a growing list of countries sees throwing off the shackles of the US dollar as a strategic goal. Russia and China use the ruble and the yuan for their expanding trade; Iran sells oil to India for rupees. Saudi Arabia has started to accept the yuan for its oil.

This change has many knock-on effects. If the dollar is no longer needed to conduct international trade, other nations no longer have held large quantities of it in reserve. Consequently, there is no longer a need to buy up large quantities of US Treasury notes. Therefore, it becomes unnecessary to run large trade surpluses with the US, essentially conducting trade at a loss. Further, the attractiveness of the US as an export market drops and the cost of imports to the US rises, thereby driving up cost inflation. A vicious spiral ensues in which the ability of the US government to borrow internationally to finance the gaping chasm of its various deficits becomes impaired. Sovereign default of the US government and national bankruptcy then follow.

The US may still look mighty, but its dire fiscal predicament coupled with its denial of the inevitability of bankruptcy makes it into something of a Blanche DuBois from the Tennessee Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire.” She was “always dependent on the kindness of strangers” but was tragically unable to tell the difference between kindness and desire. In this case, the desire is for national advantage and security, and to minimize risk by getting rid of an unreliable trading partner.

How quickly or slowly this comes to pass is difficult to guess at and impossible to calculate. It is possible to think of the financial system in terms of a physical analogue, with masses of funds travelling at some velocity having certain inertia (p = mv) and with forces acting on that mass to accelerate it along with a different trajectory (F = ma). It is also possible to think of it in terms of hordes of stampeding animals who can change course abruptly when panicked. The recent abrupt moves in the financial markets, where trillions of dollars of notional, purely speculative value have been wiped out within weeks, are more in line with the latter model.

Stage 2: Commercial collapse. Faith that “the market shall provide” is lost.

Within the US there is really no other alternative than the market. There are a few rustic enclaves, mostly religious communities, that can feed themselves, but that’s a rarity. For everyone else, there is no choice but to be a consumer. Consumers who are broke are called “bums,” but they are still consumers. To the extent that the US has a culture, it is a commercial culture in which the goodness of a person is based on the goodly sums of money in their possession. Such a culture can die by becoming irrelevant (when everyone is dead broke) but by then most of the carriers of this culture are likely to be dead too. Alternatively, it can be replaced by a more humane culture that isn’t entirely based on the cult of Mammon—perhaps, dare I think, through a return to a pre-Protestant, pre-Catholic Christian ethic that values people’s souls above objects of value?

Stage 3: Political collapse. Faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost.

All is very murky at the moment, but I would venture to guess that most people in the US are too distracted, too stressed and too preoccupied with their own vices and obsessions to pay much attention to the political realm. Of the ones they do pay attention, a fair number of them seem clued into the fact that the US is not a democracy at all but an elites-only sandbox in which transnational corporate and oligarchic interests build and knock down each others’ sandcastles.

The extreme political polarization, where two virtually identical pro-capitalist, pro-war parties pretend to wage battle by virtue-signalling may be a symptom of the extremely decrepit state of the entire political arrangement: people are made to watch the billowing smoke and to listen to the deafening noise in the hopes that they won’t notice that the wheels are no longer turning.

The fact that what amounts to palace intrigue—the fracas between the White House, the two houses of Congress and a ghoulish grand inquisitor named Mueller—has taken centre stage is uncannily reminiscent of various earlier political collapses, such as the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire or of the fall and the consequent beheading of Louis XVI. The fact that Trump, like the Ottoman worthies, stocks his harem with East European women, lends an eerie touch. That said, most people in the US seem blind to the nature of their overlords in a way that the French, with their Jillettes Jaunes movement (just as an example), is definitely not.

Stage 4: Social collapse. Faith that “your people will take care of you” is lost.

I have been saying for some years now that within the US social collapse has largely run its course, although whether people actually believe that is an entire matter entirely. Defining “your people” is rather difficult. The symbols are still there—the flag, the Statue of Liberty and a predilection for iced drinks and heaping plates of greasy fried foods—but the melting pot seems to have suffered a meltdown and melted all the way to China. At present half, the households within the US speak a language other than English at home, and a fair share of the rest speak dialects of English that are not mutually intelligible with the standard North American English dialect of broadcast television and university lecturers.

Throughout its history, as a British colony and as a nation the US has been dominated by the Anglo ethnos. The designation “ethnos” is not an ethnic label. It is not strictly based on genealogy, language, culture, habitat, form of government or any other single factor or group of factors. These may all be important to one extent or another, but the viability of an ethnos is based solely on its cohesion and the mutual inclusivity and common purpose of its members. The Anglo ethnos reached its zenith in the wake of World War II, during which many social groups were intermixed in the military and their more intelligent members.

The fantastic potential was unleashed when privilege—the curse of the Anglo ethnos since its inception—was temporarily replaced with merit and the more talented demobilized men, of whatever extraction, were given a chance at education and social advancement by the GI Bill. Speaking a new sort of American English based on the Ohio dialect as a Lingua Franca, these Yanks—male, racist, sexist and chauvinistic and, at least in their own minds, victorious—were ready to remake the entire world in their own image.

They proceeded to flood the entire world with oil (US oil production was in full flush then) and with machines that burned it. Such passionate acts of ethnogenesis are rare but not unusual: the Romans who conquered the entire Mediterranean basin, the barbarians who then sacked Rome, the Mongols who later conquered most of Eurasia and the Germans who for a very brief moment possessed an outsized Lebensraum are other examples.

And now it is time to ask: what remains of this proud conquering Anglo ethnos today? We hear shrill feminist cries about “toxic masculinity” and minorities of every stripe railing against “whitesplaining” and in response, we hear a few whimpers but mostly silence. Those proud, conquering, virile Yanks who met and fraternized with the Red Army at the River Elbe on April 25, 1945—where are they? Haven’t they devolved into a sad little sube-thnos of effeminate, porn-addicted overgrown boys who shave their pubic hair and need to write permission to have sex without fear of being charged with rape?

Will the Anglo ethnos persist as a relict, similar to how the English have managed to hold onto their royals (who are technically no longer even aristocrats since they now practice exogamy with commoners)? Or will it get wiped out in a wave of depression, mental illness and opiate abuse, its glorious history of rapine, plunder and genocide erased and the statues of its war heroes/criminals knocked down? Only time will tell.

Stage 5: Cultural collapse. Faith in “the goodness of humanity” is lost.

The term “culture” means many things to many people, but it is more productive to observe cultures than to argue about them. Cultures are expressed through people’s stereotypical behaviours that are readily observable in public. These are not the negative stereotypes often used to identify and reject outsiders but the positive stereotypes—cultural standards of behaviour, really—that serve as requirements for social adequacy and inclusion. We can readily assess the viability of culture by observing the stereotypical behaviours of its members.

  • Do people exist as a single continuous, inclusive sovereign realm or as a set of exclusive, potentially warring enclaves segregated by income, ethnicity, education level, political affiliation and so on? Do you see a lot of walls, gates, checkpoints, security cameras and “no trespassing” signs? Is the law of the land enforced uniformly or are there good neighbourhoods, bad neighbourhoods and no-go zones where even the police fear to tread?
  • Do random people thrown together in public spontaneously enter into conversation with each other and are comfortable with being crowded together, or are they aloof and fearful, and prefer to hide their face in the little glowing rectangle of their smartphone, jealously guarding their personal space and ready to regard any encroachment on it as an assault?
  • Do people remain good-natured and tolerant toward each other even when hard-pressed or do they hide behind a façade of tense, superficial politeness and fly into a rage at the slightest provocation? Is conversation soft in tone, gracious and respectful or is it loud, shrill, rude and polluted with foul language? Do people dress well out of respect for each other, or to show off, or are they all just déclassé slobs—even the ones with money?
  • Observe how their children behave: are they fearful of strangers and trapped in a tiny world of their own or are they open to the world and ready to treat any stranger as a surrogate brother or sister, aunt or uncle, grandmother or grandfather without requiring any special introduction? Do the adults studiously ignore each others’ children or do they spontaneously act as a single family?
  • If there is a wreck on the road, do they spontaneously rush to each others’ rescue and pull people out before the wreck explodes, or do they, in the immortal words of Frank Zappa, “get on the phone and call up some flakes” who “rush on over and wreck it some more”?
  • If there is a flood or a fire, do the neighbours take in the people who are rendered homeless, or do they allow them to wait for the authorities to show up and bus them to some makeshift government shelter?

It is possible to quote statistics or to provide anecdotal evidence to assess the state and the viability of a culture, but your own eyes and other senses can provide all the evidence you need to make that determination for yourself and to decide how much faith to put in “the goodness of humanity” that is evident in the people around you.

Dmitry concluded his reply by summarizing his view like this:

Cultural and social collapse are very far along. Financial collapse is waiting for a trigger. The commercial collapse will happen in stages some of which—food deserts, for instance—have already happened in many places. The political collapse will only become visible once the political class gives up. It’s not as simple as saying which stage we are at. They are all happening in parallel, to one extent or another.

My own (totally subjective) opinion is that the USA has already reached stages 1 through 4 and that there are signs that stage 5 has begun; mainly in big cities as US small towns and rural areas (Trump’s power base, by the way) are still struggling to maintain the norms and behaviors one could observe in the USA of the 1980s.  When I have visitors from Europe they always comment how friendly and welcoming US Americans are (true, I live in small-town in East-Central Florida, not in Miami…).  These are the communities which voted for Trump because they said: “we want our country back”.  Alas, instead of giving them their country back, Trump gifted it to the Neocons…

Conclusion: Connecting the dots; or not

Frankly, the dots are all over the place; it is really hard to miss them.  However, for the double plus good thinking “ideological drone”, they remain largely invisible, and this is not due to an eyesight problem, but due to that drone’s total inability to connect the dots.  These are the kind of folks who danced on the deck of the Titanic while it was sinking.  For them, when the inevitable catastrophe comes, it will be a total, mind-blowing, surprise.  But, until that moment, they will keep on denying the obvious, no matter how obvious that obvious has become.

In the meantime, the US ruling elites are locked into an ugly internal struggle which only further weakens the USA.  What is so telling is that the Democrats are still stuck with their same clueless, incompetent and infinitely arrogant leadership, in spite of the fact that everybody knows that the Democratic Party is in deep crisis and that new faces are desperately needed.  But no, they are still completely stuck in their old ways and the same gang of gerontocrats continues to rule the party apparatus.

That is another surefire sign of degeneracy: when a regime can only produce incompetent, often old, leaders who are completely out of touch with reality and who blame their own failures on internal (“deplorables”) and external (“the Russians”) factors.  Again, think of the Soviet Union under Brezhnev, the Apartheid regime in South Africa under F. W. de Klerk, or the Kerensky regime in 1917 Russia.  It is quite telling that the political leader whom the AngloZionists try to scare the most simply thinks of them as “first-rate idiots“, it is not?

As for the Republicans, they are basically a subsidiary of the Israeli Likud Party. Just take a look at the long list of losers the Likud produced at home, and you will get a sense of what they can do in its US colony.

Eventually, the USA will rebound; I have no doubts about that at all.  This is a big country with millions of immensely talented people, immense natural resources and no credible threat to its territory.  But that can only happen after a real *regime* change (as opposed to a change in Presidential Administration) which, itself, is only going to happen after an “E2 catastrophe” collapse.

Until then, we will all be waiting for Godot.

This article was originally published by Saker ” 

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A Time Of Chaos By Boaventura de Sousa Santos

A Time Of Chaos

By Boaventura de Sousa Santos

May 03, 2018
The bombing of Syrian sites where chemical weapons are allegedly being manufactured or stocked, allegedly to be used by the Bashar al-Assad government against the rebels, has left citizens all over the world in a state of confusion, filled with a mixture of perplexity and scepticism. In spite of the bombing by the Western media (a particularly apt metaphor in this case), in their attempt to persuade public opinion of the latest atrocities committed by al-Assad’s regime; in spite of the near unanimous opinion of political commentators that this was nothing but a humanitarian response, a fair punishment, and one more proof of the vitality of the “Western alliance”; in spite of all this, citizens in the West (and much more so in the rest of the world), whenever asked, expressed their doubts about this media narrative and for the most part spoke against the attacks. Why is that?
The consequences
Because citizens who possess at least a modicum of information have a better memory than commentators, and because, although they lack expertise on the causes of such acts of war, they have an expert knowledge of their consequences, which is something that said commentators always fail to notice. They remember that in 2003 the justification for the invasion of Iraq was the existence of weapons of mass destruction that turned out not to exist. They remember that the photos that were exhibited at the time had been tampered with so as to lend credibility to the big lie. They remember that then, as now, the attack occurred on the eve of the arrival of an independent commission of experts sent to investigate the existence of such weapons.
They remember that the lie left behind a million dead and a destroyed country, with fat reconstruction contracts being handed over to US companies (such as Halliburton) and oil exploration contracts given to Western oil companies. They remember that in 2011 the same coalition destroyed Libya, turning it into a den of terrorists and traffickers in refugees and emigrants, and yielding the same type of fat contracts. They remember that so far the war in Syria has caused 500,000 dead, 5 million refugees, and 6 million displaced within Syrian borders. Above all, thanks perhaps to that mysterious cunning of reason whereof Hegel spoke, they remember what the media does not tell them. They remember that two genocides are underway in the region.

An injured toddler rescued after being trapped under rubble from an air strike on rebel-held eastern Aleppo, Syria, August 15th 2016.

An injured toddler rescued after being trapped under rubble from an air strike on rebel-held eastern Aleppo, Syria, August 15th, 2016.  

Credit: Abdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

They are being perpetrated by state terrorism but they are almost never mentioned because the aggressor states are “our” allies: one is the Yemeni genocide at the hands of Saudi Arabia, the other is Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people.
These are the more visible consequences. But there are other victims, of which the ordinary citizen is hardly aware, her suspicions sometimes not more than a vague discomfort. I will focus on three of those victims. The first is international law, which has once again been violated, given that actions of war are legitimate only in case of self-defence or under a UN Security Council mandate. None of these conditions has been met. Bilateral and multilateral treaties are being thrown out one after another, as trade wars become increasingly fierce. Are we in the process of entering a new Cold War, with fewer rules and more innocent deaths? Are we heading toward a third world war? Where is the UN, to prevent it through diplomacy? What else can countries like Russia, China or Iran be expected to do but move further away from Western countries and their fake multilateralism, and come up with their own alternatives for cooperation? The second victim is human rights. Here the West reached a paroxysm of hypocrisy: the military destruction of entire countries and the killing of innocent populations has become the sole means of promoting human rights. It somehow seems that there is no other means of fostering human rights except by violating them, and Western-style democracy does not know how to flourish except among ruins. The third victim is the “war on terror”. No person of good will can accept the death of innocent victims in the name of some political or ideological goal, much less when perpetrated by the countries – the United States and its allies – that over the last twenty years have given full priority to the war on terrorism. So how can one comprehend the current financing and arming, by the Western powers, of groups of Syrian rebels that are known to be terrorist organizations and that, like Bashar al-Assad, have also used chemical weapons against innocent populations in the past? I allude in particular to the al-Nusra front, the extremist Salafist group also known as the Al Qaeda of Syria, which seeks to establish an Islamic state. In fact, the most frequent accusations, by US institutions, with regard to the financing of extremist and terrorist groups point the finger precisely at that most loyal of US allies, Saudi Arabia. What are the hidden goals of a war on terror that supports terrorists with money and arms?
The causes
Given that the causes elude all the news noise, it is more difficult for ordinary citizens to identify them. Convention has it that one can distinguish between proximate and structural causes. Among the proximate causes, the dispute over the natural gas pipeline is the one most frequently mentioned. The large natural gas reserves in the Qatar and Iran region can take two alternative routes to reach the wealthy, voracious consumer called Europe: the Qatar pipeline, going through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Turkey, and the Iranian pipeline, across Iran, Iraq and Syria. For geopolitical reasons, the US favours the former route while Russia prefers the latter. Bashar al-Assad was also in favour of the latter, as it benefitted Shiite governments only. From that moment on, the West viewed him as a target to be taken down. Major Rob Taylor, a professor at the US Army’s Command and General Staff College, wrote in the Armed Forces Journal of March 21, 2014: “Viewed through a geopolitical and economic lens, the conflict in Syria is not a civil war, but the result of larger international players positioning themselves on the geopolitical chessboard in preparation for the opening of the pipeline in 2016”.
The structural causes are perhaps more convincing. It has been my contention that we are at a transitional moment between capitalism’s globalizations. The first globalization took place from 1860 to 1914 and was dominated by England. The second took place from 1944 to 1971 and was dominated by the US. The third began in 1989 and is now coming to an end. It was dominated by the US, but with the growing multilateral participation of Europe and China. In between globalization, the rivalry between would-be dominant countries tends to increase and can give rise to wars between them or their respective allies. At this point in time, the rivalry is between the US, an empire in decline, and China, a rising empire. In a study titled “Global Trends, 2030”, the US National Intelligence Council – an institution that could hardly be viewed as biased – states that in the year 2030 “Asia is going to be the center of world economy just as it was until 1500,” and China could become the world’s first economy.
The rivalry escalates but cannot lead to head-on confrontation because China already has a major influence on the domestic economy of the US and is a major creditor of its public debt. Trade wars are critical and they spread to the high-tech areas because whoever gets to dominate those areas (namely automation or robotics) will be poised to dominate the next globalization. The US will only enter treaties that are likely to isolate China. Since China is already too strong as it is, it has to be confronted by its allies. The most prominent among them is Russia, and recent agreements between the two countries provide for non-dollar denominated transactions, especially oil-related, which poses a fatal threat to the international reserve currency. Russia couldn’t possibly be permitted to boast about a victory in Syria, a victory, let it be said, against terrorist extremists, and one that Russia has been on the verge of obtaining, thanks supposedly to President Obama’s lack of direction when he left Syria out of his list of priorities. It was, therefore, necessary to find a pretext for returning to Syria to resume the war for a few more years, as is the case with Iraq and Afghanistan. North Korea is also an ally and must be treated with hostility so as to embarrass China. Finally, there is the fact that China, like all rising empires, is pursuing (fake) multilateralisms and therefore is responding to the trade war by fostering open trade.
But it has also pursued limited multilateral agreements aimed at creating alternatives to US economic and financial dominance. The most salient of these agreements was the BRICS, formed by Russia, India, South Africa and Brazil, besides China. The BRICS even created an alternative world bank. They had to be neutralized. Since Modi’s rise to power, India has lost interest in the agreement. Brazil was a particularly strategic partner because of the country’s articulation – albeit a reluctant one – with a more radical alternative that had emerged in Latin America at the initiative of a number of progressive governments, notably Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela. Mention should be made, in this regard, to ALBA, UNASUR and CELAC, a set of political and trade agreements aimed at freeing Latin America and the Caribbean from US century-old tutelage. The most vulnerable of the BRICS countries were Brazil, perhaps because it was also the most democratic. The process whereby it was neutralized began with the institutional coup against President Dilma Rousseff and was taken further with the illegal imprisonment of Lula da Silva and the dismantling of every single nationalist policy undertaken by the PT governments. Curiously enough, South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, no doubt a corrupt leader and a BRICS enthusiast, has been replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa, one of the richest men in Africa (not as corrupt as Zuma?) and a staunch advocate of global neoliberalism. The Summit of the Americas, which took place in Lima on 13-14 April and was virtually ignored by the European media, was a most relevant geopolitical piece in this context. Venezuela’s participation was vetoed, and according to El Pais of 15 April (Brazilian edition), the meeting signalled the demise of Bolivarian America. The strengthening of US influence in the region has become very clear, judging from the way in which the US delegation criticized China’s growing influence on the continent.
For all these reasons, the war in Syria is part of a much broader geopolitical game, whose future looks very uncertain. May 2, 2018
Boaventura de Sousa Santos is Portuguese professor of Sociology at the School of Economics, University of Coimbra (Portugal), the distinguished legal scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School, and global legal scholar at the University of Warwick. Co-founder and one of the main leaders of the World Social Forum. Article provided to Other News by the author

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