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Moscow names condition for resuming arms control talks with US

RT | November 30, 2022

Russia sees no possibility of resuming talks with Washington on the cornerstone New START arms control treaty while the US continues to arm Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

Speaking in a live interview on radio Sputnik, Maria Zakharova said: “The US intends to supply even more weapons to the conflict region, in which the Russian Federation is directly involved. That is, they will supply all these weapons, they will encourage the Kiev regime to cause even more bloodshed, they will allocate money for extremist activities that are carried out under the auspices of these delusional people [in the Ukrainian presidency], and we will sit with them at the same table and discuss issues of mutual security with them, including those in their interest?”

The spokeswoman stressed that Moscow values the New START agreement, as it serves the best interests of both Russia and the US, adding that the necessary conditions must be met before talks can be resumed.

Russian and American diplomats were set to meet in Cairo on Tuesday for a new round of talks on prolonging the deal, set to expire in early 2026. The meeting, however, was called off shortly before it was set to happen, with no new date announced.

“The event is being postponed to a later date,” the Russian Foreign Ministry told RT on Monday. Meanwhile, CNN has quoted the US State Department as saying Washington was ready to hold talks at the earliest possible date, and considered that “resuming nuclear inspections under the New START treaty is a priority.”

New START, signed back in 2010, is effectively the last arms control agreement between the two major nuclear powers following Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in 2019. The pact limits the number of nuclear warheads that the US and Russia can possess, and restricts the number of deployed silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and nuclear bombers. The total number of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles must not exceed 800.

Russia suspended the inspection regime under the treaty back in August, blaming the move on Western sanctions that had prevented Russian inspectors from doing their work in the US and giving Washington an unfair advantage. Moscow said the inspection could resume only when the principles of parity and equality were restored.

November 30, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

What to expect in Russia’s winter offensive in Ukraine

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | INDIAN PUNCHLINE | NOVEMBER 29, 2022 

Wading through the 18,000-word transcript of an hours-long meeting that President Vladimir Putin took with the “soldiers’ mothers” last Friday in Moscow, one gets the impression that the fighting in Ukraine may continue well into 2023 — and even beyond. 

In a most revealing remark, Putin acknowledged that Moscow blundered in 2014 by leaving Donbass an unfinished business — unlike Crimea — by allowing itself to be lured into the ceasefire brokered by Germany and France and the Minsk agreements. 

Moscow took some time to realise that Germany and France connived with then leadership in Kiev to scuttle the implementation of Minsk accord. Then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko admitted in a series of interviews with western news outlets in recent months, including on Germany’s Deutsche Welle television and Radio Free Europe’s Ukrainian unit, that the 2015 ceasefire was  a distraction intended to buy time for Kiev to rebuild its military. 

In his words, “We had achieved everything we wanted, our goal was to, first, stop the [Russian] threat, or at least to delay the war –- to secure eight years to restore economic growth and create powerful armed forces.”  

The so-called Steinmeier Formula (proposed by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier back in 2016 when he was foreign minister) on the sequencing of the Minsk agreement, had called for elections to be held in the separatist-held Donbass territories under Ukrainian legislation and the supervision of the OSCE; and, if the OSCE judged  the balloting to be free and fair, then a special self-governing status for the Donbass territories would be initiated and Ukraine’s control of its easternmost border with Russia restored.   

Putin admitted that Russia accepted the Minsk agreements ignoring the wishes of the Russian population in Donbass. To quote him, “We sincerely went to this. But we didn’t fully feel the mood of the people, it was impossible to fully understand what was going on there. But now it has probably become obvious that this reunion [of Donbass] should have happened earlier. Maybe there wouldn’t have been so many losses among civilians, there wouldn’t have been so many dead children under shelling…” 

For the first time, perhaps, an incumbent Kremlin leader admitted making mistakes. The above poignant passage, therefore,  becomes a touchstone for Putin’s future decisions, as the Russian mobilisation approaches the final stage and by end-December, an estimated 400,000 additional Russian troops will have been deployed in forward positions. 

The bottom line is that Putin slammed the door shut on another Minsk-like hodgepodge of modern furniture and antiques. How does this translate as political reality? 

First and foremost, much as Moscow is open for dialogue without preconditions, Russian negotiators will be bound by the recent amendments to the country’s Constitution, which incorporated Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye regions as part of the Russian Federation. 

Second, Friday’s meeting has been, by any reckoning, an audacious initiative by Putin — risky, politically speaking. His interlocutors included mothers drawn from far-flung regions, whose sons are either actively fighting on the warfront, or have experienced the tragedy of sons having been killed in the fighting, or seriously wounded and need prolonged rehabilitation. 

They were strong-willed women, for sure, and yet, as one of them from the small town of Kirovsk in Luhansk told Putin while recalling the death of her son Konstantin Pshenichkin on the frontline, “My heart bleeds, my soul freezes, gloomy memories cloud my mind, tears, tears, and suddenly my son asks me: “Mom, don’t be sad, I’ll see you – you just have to wait. You will go through this life for me, and in that life, we will be together again.”

Putin claimed openly — highly unusual for a Kremlin leader — that he went prepared for the meeting. But he still had surprises in store. Such meetings are impossible to be choreographed as pent-up emotions are in play in front of TV cameras. 

Thus, Marina Bakhilina from Sakha Republic, mother of three sons (one of whom is a highly decorated soldier from the elite Airborne Forces, 83rd Brigade and recipient of the Order of Courage) complained that there’s no hot food on the frontline. She told Putin: “Do you understand what’s going on? If our people can’t provide our soldiers with hot meals, I, as a master of sports and a shooting CMC, would love to go there, to the front line to cook.” 

Putin replied gently, “It would seem that the issues have already been mostly resolved… it means that not everything is normal…” 

What stands out in such frank exchanges is Putin’s massive political capital, derived out of the great consolidation he has mustered in getting the nation to rally behind him. The overall mood at the meeting was one of commitment to Russia’s cause and the confidence in ultimate victory. Of course, this strengthens Putin’s hands.

This is where the analogy of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis comes unstuck. Public opinion wasn’t a key factor 60 years ago. In a nutshell,  common sense prevailed in 1962 as realisation dawned that any failure to take into account the rival power’s security interests could have an apocalyptic outcome. 

The difference today is that while President Joe Biden has insulated himself and is not accountable for his dogged pursuit of a Russian defeat on the battlefield in Ukraine and an ensuing “regime change” in Moscow, Putin insists on holding himself accountable to his people. Will any western “liberal” politician in power dare emulate Putin’s extraordinary meeting with the “soldiers’ mothers”? 

If economic hardships lead to social unrest and political turmoil in western Europe, the politicians in power will be at a disadvantage. Putin is fighting a “People’s War,” while western politicians cannot even admit that they are fighting Russia. But how long can it be hidden from the public view in Poland or France that their nationals are getting killed in Ukraine’s steppe? Can the western politicians pledge that their “volunteers” didn’t die in vain? What happens if a refugee flow out of Ukraine into western Europe begins as winter advances? 

In military terms, Russia enjoys escalation dominance — a markedly superior position over its NATO rival, across a range of rungs as the conflict progresses. The accelerating Russian operation in Bakhmut is a case in point. The deployment of regular troops in the recent days shows that Russia is on the escalation ladder to wrap up the 4-month old “grind” in Bakhmut city in Donetsk, which military analysts often describe as a lynchpin of Kiev’s defence in the eastern Donbass region. 

New York Times report on Sunday highlighted the enormous scale of losses Ukrainian forces suffered in recent weeks. Evidently, the Wagner Group of Russian military contractors who were doing the fighting pinned down the Ukrainian forces in defensive positions, estimated in the region of 30,000 troops including crack units “that have been worn down by nonstop Russian assaults.” 

The Times report admits, citing a US defence official, that the Russian intention could have been to make Bakhmut city “a resource-intensive black hole for Kyiv.” This paradigm will repeat elsewhere, too, except that the Russian forces will be much stronger, far superior in numbers and vastly better equipped and will be fighting from heavily fortified positions. 

Putin made it clear at Friday’s meeting that vanquishing the neo-Nazi Banderites will remain a firm objective. Although regime change in Kiev is not a stated purpose, Putin will not settle for a repetition of the ceasefire and peace as in 2015, which left an anti-Russian, proxy regime of the US in power.  

That said, Putin underscored that “despite all the issues related to the special military operation, we do not change our plans for the development of the state, for the development of the country, for the development of the economy, its social sphere, for national projects. We have huge, big plans…” 

Taken together, all these elements define Russia’s so-called winter offensive. Putin’s hand-picked theatre commander in Ukraine General Sergei Surovikin is not in the mould of Patton or MacArthur. Basically, he holds the compass of the special military operations, while incorporating the experience accruing through the past 8 months of NATO involvement in the fighting. But never once did Putin use the expression “war” to characterise the conflict. 

November 29, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Satellite Imagery Shows Extensive Destruction Of Ukraine Power Grid

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | November 27, 2022

It was only a matter of time. The recent Russian pull-back of troops clearly indicated a broad shift in tactics, and the one thing that the Kremlin avoided for several months seemed like the next most logical step – Full spectrum strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure.

Initially, Ukraine’s media spin suggested that the precision strikes were “ineffective”, with western news outlets showing only a handful of images of craters in streets and some scarred apartment buildings. There were limited admissions of damage to the power and water grids, but Ukraine claimed that these systems would be back and functional within days. This did not happen.

Not surprisingly, Ukraine suffered far more damage to their utilities than the government and media let on. Later estimates ranged from 60% to 80% of the nation’s grid destroyed or unusable and the latest satellite photos of active lights at night support this. Below, we can see lights across Ukraine on February 24th at the start of the war.

Next, we have an image taken from November 24th.

More than half the nation is in total darkness and the comparison to neighboring countries is stark. For the majority of the war Ukraine enjoyed near full use of their power grid, internet, water, gas, and other amenities, which is highly unusual during an invasion. The reasons for Vladimir Putin seeking to avoid damage to infrastructure are unknown, but public optics are the most likely explanation. With power resources nearly destroyed, the citizenry of Ukraine is facing a long cold winter with little to no relief in sight.

No doubt the media will portray this as a cold weather holocaust, though, elimination of infrastructure is usually the first measure of a large scale attack. It is standard operating procedure for the US military, for example. At this point, the coldest temperatures have yet to hit Ukraine, with average lows of 21°F (-6°C) in December. This kind of weather is not a problem with infrastructure intact, but with the grid down there will be chaos.

Water pipes will freeze and bust across major population centers, leaving only well water. The effects of the cold will be cumulative, and without heating and electric most other operations including economic operations will grind to a halt. Ukraine’s population will have gone from relative comfort to brutal survival in the span of a couple months.

The next most obvious outcome is a refugee crisis, with millions of people seeking shelter in neighboring countries in order to escape the cold. Though mainstream analysts are finally admitting to the grid problem, there is still very little coverage of the actual consequences we are about to witness. The assertions that Ukraine is “winning” the war are harder to sell while at the same time acknowledging the massive economic and humanitarian disaster that is escalating in the wake of supposed victory.

November 27, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 2 Comments

Remember when we were told up to 10% die from Monkeypox?

Turns out it is hard to catch and it is really hard to die from it

By Meryl Nass | November 25, 2022

Today’s official WHO death rate throughout the world is 0.068% or less than 1 in a thousand. And in the US the mortality rate associated with monkeypox is 0.048%.

MPOX is the new name, because the US government felt the old name stigmatized monkeys.

“Various surveys have found a significant share of monkeypox patients also have HIV. A national review of nearly 2,000 cases over the summer found that 38 percent had HIV, but the diagnosis alone is not linked to severe outcomes, researchers say,” according to the WaPo.

“The vast majority [of deaths] have had comorbidities with severely weakened immune systems,” said Ohio Department of Health Director Bruce Vanderhoff in a statement.”

The WaPo continued, “There have been a few cases of spread to household and nonsexual contacts, but the potential for sustained transmission among heterosexual networks is probably low, according to the CDC.”

November 25, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | 1 Comment

Ukraine halts Russian oil transit to EU – Transneft

RT | November 23, 2022

Kiev has stopped the operation of a section of the southern branch of the ‘Druzhba’ (Friendship) oil pipeline that transits Ukraine, RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday, citing Russian oil-exporting company Transneft.

According to the report, oil transmission has been suspended for an indefinite period.

“In Ukraine, the section [of Druzhba] has been stopped, from Brod to the Carpathians,” said Igor Demin, an adviser to the president of Transneft.

He added that deliveries via the Belarusian section of the pipeline were continuing.

Last week, Kiev stopped oil flows to Hungary through the Druzhba pipeline, explaining the suspension was linked to a Russian air strike that reportedly had hit a transformer station near the border with Belarus. It stated that the service was suspended due to a “drop in voltage.”

Kiev later announced plans to raise transit fees for Russian oil running through the pipeline to the EU, due to higher costs resulting from Russian air and missile attacks targeting the country’s energy infrastructure.

Ukrainian oil transit fees have already been raised twice this year. The last hike, in April, reportedly brought the total increase on an annualized basis to 51%.

November 23, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

European parliament severs ties with Iran over sanctions against EU

The Cradle | November 22, 2022

The EU parliament announced on 21 November its decision to sever ties with Iran. The announcement comes in response to the Islamic Republic’s recent decision to place sanctions on the European governing body, which has been slapping its own sanctions against Tehran throughout the ongoing unrest in the country.

“We will not look away from those who look to us from the streets of Iran. Iran must stop its oppression of legitimate protests. In response to Iran’s [sanctions] on members of the European Parliament, [it] will no longer engage with Iranian authorities,” President of the EU parliament, Roberta Metsola, said in a statement via Twitter with the popular Iranian protest slogan “Women, life, freedom” written in Persian at the end of the tweet.

At the opening of its November plenary session on the same day, Metsola said that there would be “no direct contact” between the parliament and Iranian officials “until further notice.”

As Iran continues to face large waves of violent riots – which have resulted in the deaths of several members of the security forces and the destruction of public property – western media has framed the response by authorities as nothing more than a brutal crackdown on peaceful protestors.

In addition to the propagation of misinformation by mainstream, western European media, the EU has repeatedly placed several rounds of sanctions against Iran.

Accusing European states of interventionist policies and “supporting terrorism and violence” on Iranian soil, Tehran on 26 October announced the implementation of its own sanctions against several individuals and institutions associated with the EU.

Earlier that month, the Islamic Republic had sent several letters to European diplomats warning them that the aggressive EU sanction policy against Tehran could result in a “rupture” of relations between them.

As European, Saudi, British, and US media outlets lead the misinformation campaign against Tehran, violent attacks against the country’s security personnel are on the rise, and internationally-backed armed separatists continue to push for the illegal overthrow of the Islamic Republic.

November 22, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Iran retaliates against UN nuclear resolution – media

RT | November 22, 2022

Tehran has for the first time started enriching uranium to 60% fissile purity at the Fordow facility, Iranian media reported on Tuesday. Such a move would be seen as a response to a critical resolution adopted by the UN’s nuclear watchdog last week.

Iran is already enriching uranium at Natanz, its other major production site, to below weapons-grade 90% enrichment, but well above the 3.67% limit specified in the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal, or JCPOA. The US abandoned the deal with Tehran during the administration of Donald Trump, leading to its erosion and effective collapse.

Other reported moves by Iran include upgrading cascade lines with more advanced gas centrifuges to boost production capacity at Fordow, as well as firing up additional chains at Natanz.

Tehran’s action was described as retaliation for a resolution passed last Thursday by the Board of Directors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The document, which was drafted by the US, Britain, France and Germany, decried “insufficient substantive cooperation by Iran” on the issue of uranium traces found in 2019 by inspectors at three undeclared sites. It demanded “credible explanations” and full cooperation from Tehran.

The four sponsoring nations are also signatories of the JCPOA. China and Russia, two other participants of the landmark deal, reportedly voted against the draft document during the closed-door session last week.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry rejected the resolution, calling it a form of political pressure by the US and its allies. Spokesman Nasser Kanaani said on Monday that the country had taken “initial measures” in response to it on Sunday night.

“The implementation of these measures was realized today in the presence of IAEA inspectors in the Natanz and Fordo enrichment complexes,” the diplomat added, without specifying what had happened.

The JCPOA was meant to exchange an Iranian commitment to limit its nuclear program for relief of economic sanctions imposed on the country. The goal was to prolong the time Tehran would need to create a nuclear weapon, an ambition that Iran officially denies fostering in the first place.

The Trump administration unilaterally pulled out of the Iran Nuclear Deal as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. President Joe Biden has been negotiating a possible revival of the JCPOA, but no breakthrough has been achieved so far.

November 22, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ukraine to hike transit fees for Russian oil to EU

RT | November 22, 2022

Ukraine has announced plans to raise transit fees for Russian oil running through the Druzhba pipeline to the EU, due to higher costs resulting from Russian air and missile strikes targeting the country’s energy infrastructure.

Ukrtransnafta, the operator of Ukraine’s oil pipeline network, is expected to increase tariffs for transporting crude to Hungary and Slovakia by €2.10 per ton to €13.60 ($13.90) starting on January 1, according to a letter from the company seen by Bloomberg. Its Russian counterpart Transneft confirmed to RIA Novosti that it has received a letter and is studying it.

“We are studying these proposals, preparing relevant reports to the Federal Antimonopoly Service and the Energy Ministry,” Transneft spokesman Igor Demin told the agency.

The Ukrainian company has attributed the price hike to the “continued destruction of Ukrainian energy infrastructure” which has resulted in “a significant shortage of electricity, an increase in its costs, a shortage of fuel, spare parts.”

Ukrainian oil transit fees have already been raised twice this year. The last hike in April reportedly brought the total increase on an annualized basis to 51%.

Druzhba, one of the longest pipeline networks in the world, carries crude some 4,000km from Russia to refineries in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

November 22, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia threatens to cut gas exports due to Ukraine’s theft

RT | November 22, 2022

Russia’s energy giant Gazprom said on Tuesday that Ukraine was diverting natural gas supplies transiting to Moldova, and the company has threatened to curtail deliveries through a key pipeline in response.

“The volume of gas supplied by Gazprom to the ‘Sudzha’ gas measuring station (GMS) for transit to Moldova via Ukraine exceeds the physical volume transmitted at the border of Ukraine with Moldova,” Gazprom’s statement read.

Moldova paid for some November gas supplies on Monday, according to Gazprom, which said that Kiev had kept 52.52 million cubic meters of gas meant for Moldova on its territory.

The Russian energy company further warned that if the transit imbalance persists then it would begin slashing gas supply to the Sudzha GMS for transit via Ukraine from 10 am (7am GMT) on November 28, “in the amount of the daily underderlivery.”

The Sudzha transit line through Ukraine remains the only route to supply Russian gas to western and central European countries after the Nord Stream network was damaged by a suspicious explosion in September.

Meanwhile, land-locked Moldova, which has been suffering massive blackouts lately, has called for international assistance as soaring energy costs and skyrocketing inflation are set to put a huge strain on consumers in one of Europe’s poorest countries.

According to the French Foreign Ministry, support is all the more important as Moldova is facing an unprecedented energy crisis as winter approaches.

November 22, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Kamala Harris moves to counter China’s territorial claims

RT | November 20, 2022

US Vice President Kamala Harris has traveled to the Philippines for a visit designed to demonstrate Washington’s support for Manila and other Southeast Asian allies in their territorial disputes with China.

Harris arrived on Sunday evening to a red-carpet welcome in Manila after attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum in Thailand. She’s scheduled to meet with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday for talks on strengthening security and economic ties, then fly on Tuesday to the Palawan island chain, which lies adjacent to disputed waters of the South China Sea.

Harris will become the highest-ranking US official to ever visit Palawan. Her trip marks the latest effort by President Joe Biden’s administration to push back against Beijing’s territorial claims in the Spratly region, where China has dredged the seafloor to create artificial islands featuring airstrips and missile launchers.

Parts of the Spratlys are claimed by the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei. Washington has also sought to enforce freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, which is home to an estimated $5 trillion worth of annual shipping traffic, as well as rich oil and natural gas deposits.

“This visit demonstrates the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to stand with our Philippine ally in upholding the rules-based international maritime order in the South China Sea, supporting maritime livelihoods, and countering illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing,” a senior White House official told reporters in previewing the VP’s trip last week. “The message is that you can count on the United States. We are, we are a friend and a partner.”

Asked what message the administration intended to send to Beijing, the unidentified official said, “China can take the message it wants. The message to the region is that the United States is a member of the Indo-Pacific, we are engaged, we’re committed to the security of our allies in the region.”

Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Manuel Romualdez agreed, telling the Associated Press : “The message they’re trying to impart to the Chinese is that ‘we support our allies like the Philippines on these disputed islands.’ This visit is a significant step in showing how serious the United States views this situation now.”

Beijing has claimed sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and surrounding waters as falling within its “nine-dash line.” During a visit to Southeast Asia last year, Harris accused China of “coercion” and “intimidation.”

November 20, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 2 Comments

Israel, CENTCOM blame Iran for drone attack on oil tanker near Oman

The Cradle | November 16, 2022

The head of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) claims Iran is behind a suicide drone attack on a Liberian-flagged oil tanker off the coast of Oman.

“This unmanned aerial vehicle attack against a civilian vessel in this critical maritime strait demonstrates, once again, the destabilizing nature of Iranian malign activity in the region,” General Michael Erik Kurilla told the Wall Street Journal.

These remarks came during a visit to Tel Aviv, where he announced that the US and Israel are “developing joint military capabilities at an accelerated rate” against Iran and other threats in West Asia.

Similarly, an unnamed Israeli official told AP that “it appeared Iran carried out the attack with a Shahed-136 exploding drone.”

“It is an Iranian attack, there is a consensus on this in the Israeli intelligence and defense community,” the official added.

Neither official provided evidence to support their claims.

Late on 15 November, the ‘Pacific Zircon’ oil tanker was hit by an explosive-laden drone off the coast of Oman, creating a hole in the ship but causing no injuries or deaths.

The Pacific Zircon is owned by Idan Ofer, an Israeli billionaire who founded Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, the company tasked with operating the Pacific Zircon.

In a statement, Eastern Pacific Shipping said the Pacific Zircon had been “hit by a projectile” some 240 kilometers off the coast of Oman.

“We are in communication with the vessel and there are no reports of injuries or pollution. All crew are safe and accounted for,” the company said in a statement. “There is some minor damage to the vessel’s hull but no spillage of cargo or water ingress.”

In July of 2021, Israel, the US, and the UK blamed Iran for an attack against the Israeli-owned ‘Mercer Street’ oil tanker off the coast of Oman, which left two crew members dead.

At the time, Tehran strongly denied any involvement in the attack, and warned against any “adventurism” from western powers.

The attack on the Pacific Zircon, and ensuing accusations against Iran, come at a time when the Islamic Republic is being targeted by a far-reaching propaganda campaign from the west, as well as the growing threat of foreign-backed separatist groups being trained in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR).

November 17, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 4 Comments

‘Culture Block’ Is Leading to Ukraine Escalation (and risking WWIII)

By Alastair Crooke | Strategic Culture Foundation | November 14, 2022

Spot the problem here: First, the EU has lost Russia as a partner, yet the EU insists to maintain trade with China. Two, China, though, must bend to our EU ‘rules’ on how it configures its economy. Thirdly, China too, must accept to be ‘castigated’ by the likes of Olaf Scholtz and Charles Michel for ‘not having put an end to Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine’. Fourth, we, the EU, anyway do not intend to depend on you. And fifth, clean up your human rights abuses!

Wow! Well, the initial reaction might be a spell back at the Academy on the art of diplomatic discourse, as being one idea. Nonetheless, the sheer number of non-sequiturs to this stance is startling. Firstly, the rest of the world is not greatly interested in EU leaders’ woke thought-code (the Chinese simply cancelled EU Chief Michel’s proposed speech to a gathering in Beijing). Europe has lost Russia; It will likely lose China. And probably, it will find itself excluded from the colossus, free-trade area unfolding in Eurasia – as the blocs differentiate into separate trading spheres.

Where does this leave that bruited EU ambition to be a global player? … Perhaps the EU’s thought-code culture might be the problem to its ambitions.

You (the EU) have not thought this through: You are now a dependent appendage of the U.S. economy – a prop to maintaining America’s exalted spot in the global system – at a time when its predatory economic model of money-printing at zero interest has been holed by an iceberg (known as accelerating inflation). American industry needs a captive market in a world that is fast seceding into two separate spheres. You have ‘elected’ to fill that role.

Containing China is America’s explicit goal. And that means blocking the European continent from moving closer to Asia to form the world’s biggest free trade zone. Washington had to stop that (i.e. sabotage Nord Stream) in order to preserve Europe as a captive market, and what remains of dollar ‘privilege’.

As an American dependency, Europe is perceived as having conceded not only economic, but political agency tooSimply put, the EU has lost its cheap-energy business model with the ‘I stand with Ukraine’ woke thought and speech codes, and now finds that it is impotent politically. Why would ‘others’ deal with the courtiers, when they can go directly to the ‘Command’ in Washington?

Furthermore, the culture block the EU adopts prevents it from bringing the Ukraine war to a political end. Rather, what it does is bake-in escalation.

Here is the problem: You bought into liberal America’s notion of a coercive process of induced government dysfunctionality – that is to stay, the state of mass psychosis that any weaponised dysfunctional state of society can produce. And it’s been a success (on its own narrow terms).

The bigger message is that ‘induced dysfunctionality’ marching in lockstep, and using culture block tactics to suppress any dissenting opinions, can and does produce a society that can be ruled over (made compliant through unpleasantness and applied pain) – without having to govern (i.e. make things actually work).

And induced compliance has proved its use for implementing all sorts of other ideological schemes that the public would otherwise never accept.

Weaponised dysfunctionality was trialled during the recent pandemic. The public was persuaded to accept systemic degradation of the economy. Western leaders regularly have expressed a pleasant surprise at the degree of public compliance achieved during the lockdowns. Of course, it was only made possible by ‘woke mobs’ on social platforms impugning the motives of anyone questioning ‘the Science’, the scale of emergency, or the long-lasting toxic effects on the real economy. Cultural roadblock was imposed.

The same process is evident today: The EU is in (another) ‘emergency’ because it made a strategic misjudgement over its Russia sanctions. The political class thought the effects of EU sanctions on Russia offered a ‘slam dunk’ outcome: Russia would fold in weeks, and all would return to how it was before. Energy would flow freely to the EU again; things would go back to ‘normal’.

Instead, Europe faces economic melt-down from astronomic fuel costs.

Yet, some leaders in Europe – zealots for the Green Transition – quietly embrace this sanctions ‘failure’ and the resulting economic mayhem caused by spiking energy prices – weaponising it as a strategic asset to accelerate Green Transition. European authorities actively encourage this pathological approach, believing that the pain incurred will force compliance on their societies to embrace de-industrialisation, accept carbon footprint monitoring and the Green Transition; and too, to bear prospective monumental Transition costs.

Yellen explicitly celebrated the financial pain (dysfunctionality) precisely as serving to accelerate ‘The Transition’ (like it or not) – even were that to push the citizen out of employment, and to the cusp of society.

Here then, is the problem: Some in the EU political class may hope for an intensification of the war on Russia, seeing in it all sorts of benefits – in extending centralised control over member-states and facilitating new means of printing money (mutualised debt instruments) ostensibly to fund Ukraine.

Sure – but there are fears for societal breakdown in Europe too. The problem? The EU cannot bring Ukraine to a deal.

The point is that the EU has framed the Ukraine conflict in absolute victim-vein terms, in line with woke cultural tropes: A revanchist Russian leader, dreaming of former empire, illegally, and without provocation has invaded and seized territory from its neighbour, whilst committing heinous war crimes in so doing. The perpetrator must face a humiliating defeat – otherwise, if he gets an inch, he will take a mile. And the global order will be ‘toast’.

The ‘online mob’ has been steered, through ‘influencers’, to insist that U.S. Realist Camp’s support for a negotiated settlement is tantamount to taking Russia’s side: rushing to denounce all voices – from Bill Burns’ (then U.S. ambassador and now CIA chief) celebrated 2008 telegram ‘Niet means Niet’ warning that any NATO takeover of Ukraine means war; to Prof Mearsheimer, Kissinger, or Elon Musk – as dangerous ‘Putin apologists’. Musk now faces a security probe.

The logic is stark: This shrinks the Overton window to only those advocating the total defeat of Russia and an end to Putin’s ‘regime’ – even if it risks WWIII. It is the ‘slash and burn’ stance, favoured by the U.S. and allied EU neo-cons.

So, we have Washington saying it has no interests, per se, in Ukraine – beyond supporting Kiev in recovering its territory. The Biden Administration says it is guided by the wishes of the Ukrainian people.

Do you still not see the problem to which this logic takes us? It is a Potemkin Village position. All façade and nothing ‘behind’ or around it. The conflict in Ukraine is not itself ‘a unique thing’, but a ‘thing’ of two leaves. At one level, Ukraine is a ‘state’ among surrounding states; and at another level, it is itself an actor. A ‘player in events’ – an owner indeed, of a certain history.

What the Potemkin ‘approach’ does is to artificially free-up some sort of abstract ‘clearing in the wood’ amidst the density of trees, in which the visible thing – Ukraine – is to be positioned, and set before the western spectator public, stripped naked of surrounding context; stripped of history and of the fact of itself being a conscient player in an extended drama.

The Realists have been culture blocked. Their motives impugned.

The title to this play – ‘America has no fundamental interests in Ukraine, and is but an innocent, called up upon the stage by an act of brutal villainy’ – is an obvious fraud. As is the corollary that the EU must therefore support the ‘war’ as Ukraine is victim.

Plainly said, the U.S. is pursuing a bi-partisan geopolitical strategy to quash China’s meteoric rise and preserve America’s dominant role in the world order. Can there be any doubt about that? No, none. For two decades U.S. foreign policy has centred around its ‘pivot to Asia’.

Washington’s real interests in Ukraine thus must be understood not as a war of values – as the EU has it – but rather as a cruise-missile launched at China, not Russia. In gist, the ‘high road’ to collapsing Beijing is perceived in DC to pass through a weakened Moscow. The NATO response to Ukraine is intended as ‘a letter’ to China, concerning Taiwan. And the comprehensive sanctions on Russia are a missive to the rest of the world to not trifle with America’s absolute primacy.

But if this latter context is absolutely ‘off the table’, through culture block and the only agenda item being the sham Potemkin Village construct, then what is there to talk about?

The matter then must inexorably be settled by events – not talk. Who has the potential for escalatory dominance? Russia has many – and various – options. Ukraine has only one. Pushing more troops at the contact line and suffering heavy losses. What does the West have: WWIII?

Can you see now why your peace efforts have come to naught? Actually, President Xi explained the situation courteously, yet pointedly, to Chancellor Scholtz during the latter’s day trip to Beijing: Having lectured Scholz on the evanescent quality of Trust in any political relationship (a quality that Xi said should be nurtured), he emphasised the need for Europe to avoid an ideological approach to relations.

Rough Translation: You (Scholz) have destroyed your relationship with Russia; you have pursued a bloc-orientated ideological policy, and this has been to your disadvantage. Do not think you can do the same with China.

(Or with the rest of the world, Xi might well have added).

November 15, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment