Washington Has Declared Hegemony or War

by Paul Craig Roberts

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org (March 24 2018)

I agree with Stephen Lendman (below) that the Russian government’s efforts to deal with the West on the basis of evidence and law are futile. There is only one Western foreign policy and it is Washington’s. Washington’s “diplomacy” consists only of lies and force. It was a reasonable decision for Russia to attempt diplomatic engagement with the West on the basis of facts, evidence, and law, but it has been to no avail. For Russia to continue on this failed course is risky, not only to Russia but to the entire world.

Indeed, nothing is more dangerous to the world than Russia’s self-delusion about “Western partners”. Russia only has Western enemies. These enemies intend to remove the constraint that Russia (and China) place on Washington’s unilateralism. The various incidents staged by the West, such as the Skirpal poisoning, Syrian use of chemical weapons, Malaysian airliner, and false charges, such as Russian invasion of Ukraine, are part of the West’s determined intent to isolate Russia, deny her any influence, and prepare the insouciant Western populations for conflict with Russia.

To avoid war Russia should turn her back, but not her eyes, on the West, stop responding to false charges, evict all Western embassies and every other kind of presence including Western investment, and focus on relations with China and the East. Russia’s attempt to pursue mutual interests with the West only results in more orchestrated incidents. The Russian government’s failure to complete the liberation of Syria has given Washington Syrian territory from which to renew the conflict. The failure to accept Luhansk and Donetsk into Russia has provided Washington with the opportunity to arm and train the Ukrainian army and renew the assault on the Russian populations of Ukraine. Washington has gained many proxies for its wars against Russia and intends to use them to wear down Russia. Israel has demanded that Washington renew the attacks on Iran, and Trump is complying. Russia faces simultaneous attacks on Syria, Iran, and the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics, along with troubles in former Central Asian republics of the Soviet Union and intensified accusations from Washington and Nato.

The crazed neoconservatives, such as Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton, think that Russia will buckle under the strains, sue for peace, and accept US hegemony. If this assumption is incorrect, the outcome of Washington’s hostile actions against Russia is likely to be nuclear war. The side that Stephen Lendman and I are talking is neither the side of Washington nor Russia, but the side of humanity and all life against nuclear war.

How the Russian government could ignore the clearly stated US hegemony in the 1992 Wolfowitz Doctrine is a mystery. The Wolfowitz doctrine states that the US’s primary goal is “to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union“. The doctrine stresses that “this is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to general global power”. In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, Washington’s “overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve US and Western access to the region’s oil”. The doctrine also states that the US will act to restrain India’s alleged “hegemonic aspirations” in South Asia, and warns of potential conflicts requiring military intervention with Cuba and China.

By “threat” Wolfowitz does not mean a military threat. By “threat” he means a multi-polar world that constrains Washington’s unilateralism. The doctrine states that the US will permit no alternative to US unilateralism. The doctrine is a statement that Washington intends hegemony over the entire world. There has been no repudiation of this doctrine. Indeed, we see its implementation in the long list of false accusations and demonizations of Russia and her leader and in the false charges against Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Venezuela, China, Iran, and North Korea.

If Russia wants to be part of the West, Russia should realize that the price is the same loss of sovereignty that characterizes Washington’s European vassal states.

 

Neocon Takeover of Washington Completed

by Stephen Lendman {1}

 


Pompeo at State and Bolton as Trump’s national security advisor completed the neocon takeover of Trump’s geopolitical agenda. Wall Street is running domestic affairs.

The combination represents a major setback for world peace and stability. Greater aggression is likely, along with the triumph of neoliberal harshness over social justice, presenting a dismal and frightening state of affairs.

What to expect ahead? War in Syria is more likely to escalate than wind down, an unthinkable US/Russia confrontation ominously possible.

The Iran nuclear deal is either doomed, or likely to be gutted by Washington, accomplishing the same thing – with only tepid, ineffective opposition from P5+1 countries Britain, France and Germany.

The EU most often bends to Washington’s will when enough pressure is applied.

A relatively quiet Ukraine period could explode in greater Kiev war on Donbass, US-supplied heavy weapons and training aiding the aggression.

A Kim Jong-un/Trump summit is likely to fail to step back from the brink on the Korean peninsula, falsely blaming the DPRK for hostile US actions.

It’ll prove again Washington can never be trusted, its commitments are consistently breached when conflicting with its imperial objectives.

A possible trade war with China would be hugely destabilizing, along with being economically harmful to both countries and the global economy.

Further EU/US sanctions and other harsh measures are likely to be imposed on Russia over the Skripal affair, an escalated attempt to isolate the country and inflict economic harm – despite Western nations knowing Moscow had nothing to do with what happened.

Theresa May-led Tories are considering tough actions against Russia over the incident. So are other EU countries and Washington.

On Friday, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the Trump administration is considering a range of options against Moscow over the Skripal affair – “both to demonstrate our solidarity with our ally and to hold Russia accountable for its clear breach of international norms and agreements”.

No breach occurred. Neocons running US foreign policy don’t let facts and rule of law principles compromise their imperial objectives.

Theresa May provided Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron with cooked results of Britain’s investigation so far into the Skripal affair – “convincing” them the false accusations are “well-grounded”, despite knowing UK claims are pure rubbish.

Macron issued a deplorable statement, saying “there is no … plausible explanation” for what happened to the Skripals other than Kremlin responsibility – abdicating to US/UK-led Russophobic hostility.

On the world stage, Trump is hostage to neocon dark forces controlling him. Relations with Russia, China, and other sovereign independent nations are likely to worsen, not improve.

Unthinkable nuclear war remains an ominous possibility. Russia’s only option is building on its alliance with China and other allies, staying committed to responding firmly to US-led Western harshness against its sovereignty.

Virtually no possibility for improved Russian relations with Washington and Britain exists. It’s fruitless pursuing it.

German and other European dependence on Russian energy, mainly gas, offers only slim hope for improving things with these countries.

Looking ahead, prospects for world peace and stability are dismal. US-led Western hostility toward Russia could erupt in open conflict by accident or design.

The unthinkable could become reality. Preparedness should be Moscow’s top priority given the real danger it faces.

_____

Visit My Web Site: stephenlendman.org.

Contact Me at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My Newest Book: Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks World War Three (2014)

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html {2}

Links:

{1} http://stephenlendman.org/2018/03/neocon-takeover-washington-completed/ : http://stephenlendman.org/2018/03/neocon-takeover-washington-completed/

{2} http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html: http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Copyright (c) 2016 PaulCraigRoberts.org. All rights reserved.

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/03/24/washington-declared-hegemony-war/

Is Trump Assembling a War Cabinet?

by Patrick J Buchanan

buchanan.org/blog (March 27 2018)

The last man standing between the US and war with Iran may be a four-star general affectionately known to his Marines as “Mad Dog”.

General James Mattis, the secretary of defense, appears to be the last man in the Situation Room who believes the Iran nuclear deal may be worth preserving and that war with Iran is a dreadful idea.

Yet, other than Mattis, President Donald Trump seems to be creating a war cabinet.

Trump himself has pledged to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal – “the worst deal ever” – and reimpose sanctions in May.

His new national security adviser John Bolton, who wrote an op-ed titled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran”, has called for preemptive strikes and “regime change”.

Secretary of State-designate Mike Pompeo calls Iran “a thuggish police state”, a “despotic theocracy”, and “the vanguard of a pernicious empire that is expanding its power and influence across the Middle East”.

Trump’s favorite Arab ruler, 32-year-old Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, calls Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei “the Hitler of the Middle East”.

Bibi Netanyahu is monomaniacal on Iran, calling the nuclear deal a threat to Israel’s survival and Iran “the greatest threat to our world”.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley echoes them all.

Yet Iran appears not to want a war. UN inspectors routinely confirm that Iran is strictly abiding by the terms of the nuclear deal.

While US warships in the Persian Gulf often encountered Iranian “fast attack” boats and drones between January 2016 and August 2017, that has stopped. Vessels of both nations have operated virtually without incident.

What would be the result of Trump’s trashing of the nuclear deal?

First would be the isolation of the United States.

China and Russia would not abrogate the deal but would welcome Iran into their camp. England, France, and Germany would have to choose between the deal and the US. And if Airbus were obligated to spurn Iran’s orders for hundreds of new planes, how would that sit with the Europeans?

How would North Korea react if the US trashed a deal where Iran, after accepting severe restrictions on its nuclear program and allowing intrusive inspections, were cheated of the benefits the Americans promised?

Why would Pyongyang, having seen us attack Iraq, which had no WMD, and Libya, which had given up its WMD to mollify us, ever consider given up its nuclear weapons – especially after seeing the leaders of both nations executed?

And, should the five other signatories to the Iran deal continue with it despite us, and Iran agree to abide by its terms, what do we do then?

Find a casus belli to go to war? Why? How does Iran threaten us?

A war, which would involve US warships against swarms of Iranian torpedo boats could shut down the Persian Gulf to oil traffic and produce a crisis in the global economy. Anti-American Shiite jihadists in Beirut, Baghdad, and Bahrain could attack US civilian and military personnel.

As the Army and Marine Corps do not have the troops to invade and occupy Iran, would we have to reinstate the draft?

And if we decided to blockade and bomb Iran, we would have to take out all its anti-ship missiles, submarines, navy, air force, ballistic missiles, and air defense system.

And would not a pre-emptive strike on Iran unite its people in hatred of us, just as Japan’s pre-emptive strike on Pearl Harbor united us in a determination to annihilate her empire?

What would the Dow Jones average look like after an attack on Iran?

Trump was nominated because he promised to keep us out of stupid wars like those into which folks like John Bolton and the Bush Republicans plunged us.

After seventeen years, we are still mired in Afghanistan, trying to keep the Taliban we overthrew in 2001 from returning to Kabul. Following our 2003 invasion, Iraq, once a bulwark against Iran, became a Shiite ally of Iran.

The rebels we supported in Syria have been routed. And Bashar Assad – thanks to backing from Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, and Shiite militias from the Middle East and Central Asia – has secured his throne.

The Kurds who trusted us have been hammered by our Nato ally Turkey in Syria, and by the Iraqi Army we trained in Iraq.

What is Trump, who assured us there would be no more stupid wars, thinking? Truman and LBJ got us into wars they could not end, and both lost their presidencies. Eisenhower and Nixon ended those wars and were rewarded with landslides.

After his smashing victory in Desert Storm, Bush I was denied a second term. After invading Iraq, Bush II lost both houses of Congress in 2006, and his party lost the presidency in 2008 to the antiwar Barack Obama.

Once Trump seemed to understand this history.

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http://buchanan.org/blog/is-trump-assembling-a-war-cabinet-128988

The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia …

… and the Push to Nuclear War

by Colin Todhunter

CounterPunch (March 19 2018)

The United States has devised on an ongoing strategy of tension towards Russia. It has initiated economic sanctions against Moscow, concocted a narrative about “Russian aggression” for public consumption and has by various means attempted to undermine and weaken the energy-dependent Russian economy. It has moreover instigated a coup on Russia’s doorstep in Ukraine and is escalating tensions by placing troops in Europe.

The reality is that the US, not Russia, has around 800 military bases in over 100 countries and military personnel in almost 150 countries. US spending on its military dwarfs what the rest of the world spends together. For example, it outspends China by a ratio of six to one.

But what does the corporate media in the West say about this? That the US is a “force for good” and constitutes the “world’s policeman” – not a calculating empire underpinned by militarism.

By the 1980s, Washington’s wars, death squads, and covert operations were responsible for six million deaths in the “developing” world. Other estimates suggest a figure closer to twenty million deaths in 37 nations since 1945.

Breaking previous agreements made with Russia/the USSR, over the past two decades the US and Nato have moved into Eastern Europe and continue to encircle Russia and install missile systems aimed at it. It has surrounded Iran with military bases. It is also “intervening” in countries across Africa to weaken Chinese trade and investment links and influence. It intends to eventually militarily “pivot” towards Asia to encircle China.

William Blum has presented a long list of Washington’s crimes across the planet since 1945 in terms of its numerous bombings of countries, assassinations of elected leaders and destabilizations. No other country comes close to matching the scale of such global criminality. Under the smokescreen of exporting “freedom and democracy”, the US has deemed it necessary to ignore international laws and carry out atrocities to further its interests across the globe.

The ultimate goal for the current century is to prevent any rival emerging to challenge Washington’s global hegemony. Washington’s long-term game plan for Russia has been to destroy is as a functioning state or to permanently weaken it so it submits to US hegemony. Getting a compliant leader installed would be ideal for the US; Putin is anything but.

Unfortunately, many members of the Western public believe the narrative about Putin as an aggressor. The lies being fed to them are built on gullible, easily manipulated public opinion fanned by emotive outbursts from politicians and the media.

These politicians express fake concern for the lives of people in far-off lands, including outrage about alleged atrocities by people like Gaddafi or Assad. Meanwhile, these same politicians, under the guise of “humanitarian intervention”, are responsible for millions of deaths due to their illegal wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere.

A few years ago, former US Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst spoke about the merits of the coup in Ukraine and the installation of an illegitimate government and the rise of fascist groups there. He called the violent removal of Ukraine’s democratically elected government as enhancing democracy. Herbst displayed all the arrogance associated with the ideology of US “exceptionalism”.

As if to underline this, in a recent interview for NBC, Vladimir Putin laid bare this warped mentality by stating:
 

Please listen to me and take to your viewers and listeners what I am about to say. We are holding discussions with our American friends and partners, people who represent the government by the way, and when they claim that some Russians interfered in the US elections, we tell them (we did so fairly recently at a very high level): “But you are constantly interfering in our political life”. Would you believe it, they are not even denying it.

 

He continued:
 

Do you know what they told us last time? They said, “Yes, we do interfere, but we are entitled to do so, because we are spreading democracy, and you are not, and so you cannot do it”. Do you think this is a civilized and modern approach to international affairs?

 

We can see the smoking ruins, the ongoing violence, the mass displacement and the deaths that have resulted in Libya and across the Middle East as a result of exporting US “democracy”.

What Putin is really guilty of is calling for a multi-polar world, not one dominated by the US. It’s a goal that most of humanity is guilty of. It is a world the US will not tolerate.

In the wake of the recent use of a deadly nerve agent in the UK, British Prime Minister Theresa May is accusing Russia of carrying out the attack. However, Russia has demanded evidence. Quite reasonable one would assume, but it has not been forthcoming. May believes that by saying and repeating there is unequivocal evidence to implicate Moscow will be enough to disguise the fact she cannot offer any. Former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray has written some revealing articles which undermine May’s accusation about Russian involvement.

While May offers moral outrage for public consumption about this attack, supposedly by a foreign power on two individuals on British territory, nothing is said in or by the media about her own disregard for the sovereign integrity of other nations, British involvement in destabilising Syria and the death the West has brought to countries in the Middle East.

Unfortunately, US and the West’s foreign policy is being driven on the basis of fake morality and duplicity.

The US wanted Afghanistan to hand over Bin Laden and refused to give the Afghan government evidence for him to be extradited (as international law requires), on the assumption he was guilty of the 9/11 attack in New York. The Afghan government asked for evidence and received none. The US illegally attacked and now has a foothold in mineral-rich, strategically important Afghanistan.

Saddam Hussein was accused of having weapons of mass destruction. He had none. Iraq was illegally attacked and invaded regardless on the basis of a “pack of lies”. Now Western oil interests have what they coveted all along.

Gaddafi was accused of slaughtering civilians as a pretext for his removal. Terror groups were used as Nato’s proxy army and France and Britain supplied air support. Libya lies in ruins and Gadhafi’s plans for unifying Africa and asserting African self-autonomy have met a similar fate.

In Syria, despite the official reasons for Western intervention, including support for a “democratic revolution”, what we have seen is imperialist intent backed by a “dirty war” to remove a sovereign government that would not comply with US interests.

And Russia is condemned for using deadly nerve agent on British soil. While the Labor party leader Jeremy Corbyn is smeared for demanding clear evidence that the Russian state was behind the attack, May and Trump think blanket condemnation without evidence will suffice.

Whether it is Bush and Blair or the current crop of political leaders, fake morality and deception is used time and again to further Washington’s global hegemony. With millions of dead in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Libya as a result of US-led imperialism, Russia is constantly demonized simply because it will not acquiesce to Washington and serve as a vassal state.

Regardless of actual facts, the psychological operations about “Russian aggression” directed at the public is unrelenting. All in support of the US, a country that has flagrantly abused international law to carry out illegal wars, torture, drone assassinations, and mass murder as and when it deems necessary.

Before finishing, we should not overlook the way US militarism is being driven by a moribund neoliberal capitalism. According to William Robinson, professor of sociology at the University of California, the US and other states that have adopted the neoliberal agenda have turned to four mechanisms in the face of economic stagnation and massive inequalities: the raiding and sacking of public budgets; the expansion of credit to consumers and to governments to sustain spending and consumption; frenzied financial speculation; and militarism.

Robinson concludes that the “creative destruction” of the wars we see have served to throw fresh firewood on the smoldering embers of a stagnant global economy.

Be in no doubt that the ongoing death and destruction in the Middle East has been a boon to the arms industry and demonization of Russia is a mouthwatering prospect this sector, which is pushing for a new cold war and financially lucrative weapons race.

In the meantime, Theresa May and pro-Washington establishment politicians and media will continue to try to tell the public about “Russian aggression”. May and other political leaders are doing the bidding of the interests they ultimately represent. These politicians must act in a manner that mirrors the scant regard for human life exhibited by the elite they serve. Whether it involves the role of the British in the 1943 Bengal famine, which killed up to four million, or the US dropping of atom bombs on Japan a couple of years later, it’s a defining trait of empire.

When Washington’s strategy of tension with a nuclear-armed Russia stretches to the breaking point, it won’t be millions who lie dead and wasted this time around; it will be the entire planet.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/19/the-strategy-of-tension-towards-russia-and-the-push-to-nuclear-war/

Can Nuclear War Be Avoided?

by Paul Craig Roberts

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org (March 19 2018)

Two factors are driving the world to nuclear war. One is the constant stream of insults, false accusations, and broken agreements that the West has been dumping on Russia year after year. The other is Russia’s response, or, perhaps more correctly, the lack thereof.

Articles documenting Washington’s betrayals and provocations of Russia are available online and on my website. There is no point in repeating them here.

I have pointed out that the Russian government’s factual, diplomatic, and legal responses actually produce more provocations and insults. See, for example, {1}. Stephen Lendman agrees {2} and so does Peter Koenig {3}.

Russia has two alternatives to the self-defeating response the government has chosen. One, recommended by Peter Koenig and myself, is to turn her back on the West, cleanse herself of all Western embassies, businesses, media, and NGOs, and cease relying on Western communication systems and bank clearing mechanisms. The West has nothing Russia needs. The West is exhausted and corrupt. The future lies in the East of which Russia is a part. Russia should focus on the partnership with China and relationships in the East and simply stop responding to blatantly false accusations and provocative insults.

Russia can be part of the West only if Russia surrenders to Washington’s hegemony. One would have thought that by now the Russian government would have figured out that Washington is determined to marginalize and isolate Russia, discredit Russia’s government, dislodge Putin, and install a puppet like May, Macron, and Merkel, and failing these efforts to push Russia to the point that her only alternatives are to surrender or go to war.

Did it ever occur to the diplomat Lavrov and low-key Putin that the President of Russia would be called a murderer by a British foreign secretary on the basis of a fabrication created by the British government?

Are Lavrov and Putin finally getting the message that it is self-defeating to appeal to facts and law when the West has no respect for either and regards recourse to facts and law as signs of weakness and fear?

What is Russia going to do when Lavrov or Putin travel abroad on some diplomatic or state mission and one or the other or both are seized and charged with war crimes or some other fabricated offense? It can’t happen, you say? Yes, it can happen. Preparation for such an event is one of the reasons that Washington crafts the portrait of Russia’s President as “the new Hitler”. Pre-emptive arrest and execution are US policy.

For years Washington has been kidnapping Russians in other countries outside US legal jurisdiction (Israel is the only other country to get away with imposing the extra-territoriality of its illegal edicts). Roman Seleznev, son of a member of the Russian Duma, was kidnapped in the Maldives in the Indian Ocean by the US and put on trial in the US for hacking credit cards. Konstantin Yaroshenko, a Russian pilot was kidnaped by Washington in Liberia and charged with cocaine smuggling, a principal activity of the CIA. Evgeny Buryakov was sentenced for gathering economic intelligence, a routine activity of economists and diplomats. Viktor Bout was seized by Washington in Thailand and sentenced for selling weapons to rebels, an “offense” the US has committed throughout the world and is committing today on a large scale in the Middle East. Considering the high frame-up rate of US “justice”, we have no way of knowing if these trials are anything more than show trials to teach Russia the lesson that Russian citizens are safe nowhere.

Russia’s other alternative to the self-defeating one the government has chosen is to hit back hard. Lendman suggests that when the US or Israeli attacks on Syria kill Russians, Russia should destroy the bases from which the attacks originated and simply quit worrying about whether the necessary retaliation kills Americans and Israelis. Why are Americans and Israelis more important than Russians and Syrians? Does the Russian government believe the propaganda about Americans being “exceptional and indispensable” and the Israelis being “God’s chosen people?”

Perhaps a better way of showing force would be for Russia to call a meeting of the UN Security Council at which Russia could make a presentation along these lines:

Confront the US and its vassals with the long list of the treaties and agreements broken and ignored by the US and now by the UK.

Confront the US and its vassals with the long list of hostile and unsupported accusations against Russia and the West’s refusal to resolve the issues on a factual, evidential basis.

Confront the US and its vassals with the fact that neither Russia nor the US and its allies believes one word of the accusations which are intended to serve Washington’s hegemony by marginalizing and isolating Russia.

Confront the US and its vassals with the fact that similar demonizations of Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, and Assad led to military invasions of their countries. Ask if the US and its vassals are preparing their populations for a military attack on Russia.

Confront the US and its vassals with the fact that the tension between the nuclear superpowers is far higher than during the Cold War of the 20th century and that the lies and mendacity of the US government have completely destroyed Russian trust in Washington.

Confront the US and its vassals with the fact that during the Cold War there were numerous false warnings of incoming enemy ICBMs, but that as the two governments were working to reduce tensions, neither side believed the warnings, whereas today the situation is far different. In view of the extraordinary hostility displayed toward Russia by the US and its vassals, Russia cannot take a chance that a warning is false. As the US and its vassals are targeted by Russian nuclear forces, the West has the world on a course of destruction. Is this what Washington and its vassals want? Is the choice Washington’s hegemony or death? Ask Washington’s vassals why they support this insane choice.

For so long Americans have laughed at the cartoon picture of the bearded man holding his sign, “The End Is Near”, that Americans probably cannot intelligently respond to a warning no matter who gives it.

Similarly, Western policymakers are so demented and the presstitute media so corrupt that the response to a Russian approach to the UN as outlined above would be used as proof of the West’s anti-Russian propaganda. The headlines would read: “Russia Threatens the World With Nuclear War”.

Therefore, it seems that the only alternative is for Russia to turn her back – but not her eyes – on the West and to find her future in the East.

All indications are that Russia is unwilling to do this. For the Russian government, being a part of the West is more important than life itself.

Links:

{1} https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/03/17/war-is-on-the-horizon/ : https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/03/17/war-is-on-the-horizon/

{2} http://stephenlendman.org/2018/03/russia-expelling-23-uk-diplomats-way-inadequate/: http://stephenlendman.org/2018/03/russia-expelling-23-uk-diplomats-way-inadequate/

{3} https://thesaker.is/russias-reaction-to-the-insults-of-the-west-is-political-suicide/: https://thesaker.is/russias-reaction-to-the-insults-of-the-west-is-political-suicide/

Copyright (c) 2016 PaulCraigRoberts.org. All rights reserved.

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/03/19/can-nuclear-war-avoided/

The Russian Military Warns …

… a Major War in Syria Is Imminent

by Arkady Savitsky

Strategic Culture Foundation (March 21 2018)

On March 17, the Russian General Staff warned about an imminent attack on Syria. The statement did not elaborate. Of course, some information is classified but an independent and impartial analysis of publicly available information leads one to the same conclusion. Let’s look at the facts.

There are warships deployed by US Navy in the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Persian Gulf. They are ready to launch roughly 400 long-range Tomahawks against a target in the Middle East on any given day. Sea-launched cruise missiles were used to strike Syria in April. Anything that is at all related to the military operations on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean is hush-hush information, but it’s an open secret that the strategic bombers based there can launch at least a hundred cruise missiles and then use other high-precision munitions in a follow-up attack. On average, one bomber carries twenty AGM-86 ALCMs. Five bombers are believed to be normally stationed on this island that is off-limits to inquisitive outsiders. This means that at least 500 cruise missiles can be fired on short notice.

On March 17, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared that Great Britain, France, and some additional countries besides the US had special forces operating in Syria that were engaging the Syrian Army directly. But it’s not just commandos.

It was reported on March 16 that the UK would be stationing a significant number of troops at the US-controlled Al-Tanf military base, adjacent to the Iraqi border. This facility is prominently featured in Nato’s war planning in Syria. It blocks the corridor linking Iran to Lebanon via Syria and Iraq. The size of the deployment – about 2,300 troops accompanied by tanks and helicopters – is too significant just to be intended to fight Islamic State militants who are already on the run.

Before that, the US had already sent 600 troops with armored vehicles to the base. And American reinforcements have also been sent to the Omar oil field.

On March 12, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley threatened military action against Syria. Experience has shown that the US will strike first and think about explanations later. It’ll no doubt “invent” some pretext to justify its actions.

Tensions have risen since last week. For instance, the mainstream media raised a ruckus over a mysterious “large underground” North Korean military base in Syria! This story about Pyongyang helping Syria to rebuild its chemical stockpiles and other urban legends are going viral.

The escalation coincided with the March 16 meeting between the Russian, Iranian, and Turkish foreign ministers in Astana to discuss further plans to bring peace to Syria, including expanding the concept of the de-escalation zones. That meeting laid the ground for a summit in Istanbul on April 4. There are about two weeks still to go. This top-level event could produce landmark decisions that might foil the West’s plans in Syria. Not much time is left. From the American perspective, this calls for urgent action to stymie that process.

Washington’s plan includes the goal of partitioning Syria in such a way that a large chunk of it would remain under the control of the US-led coalition. The Americans are already assembling municipal councils on the lands east of the Euphrates River. This area must be retained at any cost in order to ensure that Washington has a say in the future settlement of this war-torn country, otherwise all the hard work put in so far will go down the drain, undercutting America’s global standing and diminishing its clout in the Middle East. Losing Syria would be tantamount to suffering a major defeat in its confrontation with Iran, which it considers its arch-enemy. The plans include a rollback of Russian forces. Syria is the right place to do that. If the Russian military is openly warning the world of an imminent strike, that is a serious threat. And it does not look like a one-strike operation. This time we’re in for something much more serious – a large-scale operation to “contain” Russia, beat back Iran, win the support of the rich oil-exporting Arab nations and make them pay huge sums for American weapons, and show the world the US is omnipresent and adamant in its desire to dictate its will.

_____

Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture Foundation on-line journal http://www.strategic-culture.org.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/03/21/russian-military-warns-major-war-in-syria-imminent.html

A World War Might Sound Crazy

But It Could be America’s Last Act of Desperation

by Darius Shahtahmasebi

TheAntiMedia.org (March 19 2018)

Zero Hedge (March 21 2018)

Though some have been warning about the catastrophic potential for a third global conflict for years, it wasn’t until recently that these warnings became more mainstream. The calamitous nature of the violence in Syria – which has one nuclear power defending a government that has been the target of a regime change operation led by the world’s superpower – combined with 2017’s threats of “fire and fury” against another state intently pursuing a nuclear weapons supply of its own, has pushed the issue of a third world war directly into the public discourse.

While certain hotspots throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Europe (that is, Ukraine) have seen some notable escalations in the last few years, a direct conflict between Russia and the United States is still yet to emerge. That’s because the idea of a third world war in today’s world is completely insane. If the two countries that currently possess the world’s greatest supplies of nuclear weapons go to war, there may not be a world left for the victors to inhabit after the war is done, thereby making it an unthinkable proposal.

Then again, the US did just recently bomb a significant number of Russian-linked forces in Syria, reportedly killing scores of them. The targets of these air strikes were also predominantly Iranian-backed militias (just in case there weren’t enough state actors already involved in this ongoing conflict).

Speaking of Iran, Donald Trump recently fired Rex Tillerson as secretary of state and immediately appointed CIA director Mike Pompeo to replace him. Pompeo is a notable anti-Iran hawk who will almost certainly go further than Tillerson was ever prepared to go with regard to the Iranian nuclear accord, a deal Pompeo believes is “disastrous”.

There are also reports now emerging that Donald Trump is planning to oust his national security advisor, General H R McMaster. McMaster originally replaced anti-Iran war hawk Michael Flynn, but apparently, McMaster’s non-stop allegations against Iran were not enough to please Trump.

McMaster was not on board with Trump’s attempt to completely derail the Iranian nuclear deal.

One should bear in mind that when Donald Trump made the decision to strike the Syrian government in April of last year in what amounted to one of the year’s most important and over-publicized geopolitical events, it was McMaster who drew up the strike plan options and presented them to Trump to choose from. If this is a man not hawkish enough for Trump’s administration, his looming removal from the administration is a worrying sign of what’s to come.

Donald Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review entails that, as Katrina vanden Heuvel noted in an article published in The Washington Post:

The United States reserves the right to unleash nuclear weapons first in “extreme circumstances” to defend the “vital interests not only of the United States but also of its “allies and partners” – a total of some thirty countries. “Extreme circumstances”, the review states explicitly, include “significant non-nuclear attacks”, including conventional attacks on “allied or partner civilian population or infrastructure”. The United States also maintains a “portion of its nuclear forces” on daily alert, with the option of launching those forces “promptly”.

 

Considering that a former analyst for the Council on Foreign Relations, Micah Zenko, just warned that Pentagon officials are actively searching for a “big war” against Russia and China, the trajectory we are currently on starts to make a lot more sense.

In other parts of the world, we are witnessing a new era of hostilities towards Russia. The debacle taking place in the UK right now, which has seen allegations of a Russian chemical attack on British soil, has prompted the UK, US, France, and Germany to band together and condemn Russia for something that hasn’t even been conclusively investigated yet.

After years of constantly being painted as the enemy, Russia just declared via Twitter that a “Cold War Two” has begun, and who can blame them?

A third world war might sound crazy, but it is only crazy if we fail to understand the desperation that continues to plague the men in suits who pull the strings guiding American foreign policy. Consider that the Syrian government, with Russian and Iranian backing, has managed to stabilize significant parts of the country despite all odds so that refugees can return home safely. It should be clear that the best way to solve the Syrian crisis is to discontinue America’s regime change policy in Syria and allow the people of Syria to normalize their own lives without Washington’s interference. Yet, after seven years of brutal violence, the US still refuses to admit defeat in Syria. If anything, the US has now officially set its sights on directly combatting Iranian influence in the country, raising the potential for significant escalations.

Maybe, just maybe, the US is that desperate. Apparently, the US has to remain in Syria out of necessity. It cannot afford to sit on the sidelines as Russia re-emerges as the major power broker in the region, eating up all the major contracts coming out of Syria (together with Iran) as it looks to poach American allies left, right, and center.

Additionally, Russia recently warned the US that it will not tolerate Washington’s aggressive attacks on the Syrian government and will respond with strikes of their own should the US military threaten Russian personnel. One should expect that eventually, there will be a point where Russia will no longer allow these attacks to go unanswered.

As America’s power and influence wane, the time will come for both Russia and China to make their mark on the global stage. Just on a side note, it should come as no surprise that Trump’s nominated ambassador to Australia, Admiral Harry Harris, is a known anti-China war hawk who recently warned Congress to prepare for a war with China.

Why should we need to prepare for a war with China? Who talks and thinks like that? A nation on a slow and inevitable decline that cannot refuse to admit defeat in almost any battle theater since World War Two, that’s who.

Realistically, nobody wants a third world war, but as the US increasingly thrashes to maintain its control of the global financial markets, its network of over 1,000 bases worldwide, and its status as the world’s global policemen, a third world war may be Washington’s only hope at staying afloat as the world’s top power.

http://theantimedia.org/wwiii-america-act-of-desperation/

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-20/world-war-might-sound-crazy-it-could-be-americas-last-act-desperation

Has Russia Had Enough?

by Paul Craig Roberts

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org (March 21 2018)

This morning I watched a briefing the Russian Foreign Ministry provided for the diplomatic community where international toxic substances experts presented information concerning the alleged nerve agent used in the alleged attack on Skripal and his daughter. This information has been known for some time, and none of it has been reported in the Western presstitute media.

In the briefing, the Russians once again relied on facts and existing agreements that govern the investigation of such events and asked why the British were demanding explanations from Russia when the British refuse to comply with established procedures and refuse to produce any evidence of what the British allege to have occurred.

The response from the US and French embassy representatives was simply to state that they needed no evidence to stand in solidarity with their British friends, that Russia was guilty by accusation alone, and that they would hold Russia accountable.

The benefit of this absurd response, which the Russians declared to be shameful, is to make clear to the Russian government that it is a waste of time to try, yet again, to confront unsupported accusations from the West with facts and appeals to follow the specified legal processes. The West simply does not care. The issue is not the facts of the case. The agenda is to add another layer to the ongoing demonization of Russia.

Sooner or later the Russian government will realize that its dream of “working with its Western partners” is not to be and that the hostile actions and false accusations from the West indicate that the West is set on a course of conflict with Russia and is preparing the insouciant Western peoples to accept the consequences.

The Russian official hosting the briefing compared the Skirpal accusation with the Malaysian Airliner accusation and the many others that resulted in instant accusations against Russia and refusal to cooperate in investigations.

The Russian official also drew the parallel of the accusations against Russia with the US and UK false accusations against Serbia, which led to the bombing of Serbia, and to the false accusations against Iraq, for which Colin Powell and Tony Blair had to apologize, that resulted in the destruction of Iraq and the death and displacement of millions of Iraqis.

The Russian official also said, pointedly, that the days were gone when no one challenged statements by the US government. The world, he said, is no longer unipolar. Russia, he said, does not respond to unsupported allegations. He also said that the way the Americans, British, and French are proceeding suggests that the Skirpal affair is an orchestration created for the purpose of accusing Russia.

This conclusion is supported by the history of US and UK interventions. In recent times we have seen the West’s orchestrated interventions based on obvious and blatant lies in Serbia, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, and the attempts to destabilize Iran and Venezuela. History provides almost endless examples of the lies used by the US and UK to implement their agendas.

Nothing Washington and London say can ever be believed. Is it possible for Russia or any country to work with “partners” who are shameless, short on integrity and honesty, and have proven themselves unworthy of trust?

Copyright (c) 2016 PaulCraigRoberts.org. All rights reserved.

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/03/21/has-russia-had-enough/