Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Horror in Helsinki: Trumputin Strikes Again

By Michael Howard | American Herald Tribune | July 18, 2018

Something very extraordinary has just taken place—something unprecedented in American history. A sitting president, one Donald J. Trump, has committed treason against the United States. Don’t take my word for it. This is being documented by our nation’s most important political thinkers. New York Times headline from regular columnist Charles Blow: “Trump, Treasonous Traitor.” Quote from a column by regular New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman: “There is overwhelming evidence that our president … is deliberately or through gross negligence or because of his own twisted personality engaged in treasonous behavior.” Tweet from former CIA Director John Brennan: “[Trump’s meeting with Putin] was nothing short of treasonous.”

And for those whose tastes are a bit more lowbrow (not that the brows of the NYT and the CIA are especially high), here’s a front page headline from the venerable New York Daily News : “Open Treason: Trump Backs Enemy Putin Over U.S. Intel.” Not only treason, then, but open treason. The worst kind.

I know it’s trendy nowadays to play fast and loose with the Constitution, but—call me pedantic—it might be instructive to consult the much-cited document on this particular subject. Article III Section 3 states the following: “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” Note the use of the word “only”—the Founders had very specific ideas in mind about what constituted treason, namely waging war against the U.S. and/or aiding and abetting its enemies. “Enemy” meaning a state with which we are at war, and the U.S. is, despite routinely bombing seven countries (probably the number is higher now; it’s hard to keep track), not officially at war with anyone, least of all Russia. Therefore, charges of treason in the context of Trump’s Helsinki gambit are rather untenable, and more than a little hysterical. But don’t tell that to Charles Blow’s Twitter followers.

There’s no point singling out one of the hundred manic articles about the Trump-Putin summit to pick apart: they’re all exactly the same. In a nutshell: Trump refuses to acknowledge the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia “attacked” our country by hacking into the DNC’s emails; Trump refuses to say anything negative about Vladimir Putin; Trump is helping Moscow to splinter NATO; Trump refuses to condemn Russian aggression; Trump is a Kremlin puppet doing Moscow’s bidding; and so on and so forth.

Needless to say these are all specious arguments. Asked recently about America’s collective panic over Russia’s alleged interference in our presidential election, Noam Chomsky responded: “That has most of the world cracking up in laughter.” It doesn’t take a scholar to understand why. The United States is the world champion when it comes to meddling in the domestic affairs of foreign countries. But we don’t just meddle: we engineer military coups and install mass-murdering dictators or, when that’s not feasible, simply overthrow undesirable governments using unilateral military force. Examples abound. In 1953 the CIA, in tandem with MI6, orchestrated a coup against Iran’s first democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, who had intolerable plans to nationalize his country’s oil industry. The coup was a success, restoring the despotic shah to his erstwhile throne where he remained until 1979, when he was chased into exile by the Islamic Revolution. The following year, Guatemala’s leftist president Jacobo Arbenz was deposed by another CIA-authored coup, Operation PBSUCCESS, paving the way for a series of ultraviolent dictatorships.

A mere three months into his presidency, and acting in accordance with the imperialist Monroe Doctrine, Jack Kennedy went after Fidel Castro’s revolutionary government in Cuba using CIA-sponsored militants. The Bay of Pigs failed miserably, but Uncle Sam was not to be deterred: “Operation Mongoose” was soon set in motion, and countless attempts on Castro’s life were made, all unsuccessful.

Sensing that CIA black ops might not be sufficient to neuter the movement for independence in Vietnam—and, more importantly, to discourage other countries in the region from adopting similar dangerous ideas—the U.S. government opted for full-scale military invasion, killing over three million people and decimating most of the country.

Skipping ahead a couple decades, the CIA armed, trained and financed the Contras, a terrorist gang in Nicaragua whose duty it was to take down the leftist Sandinista government. This particular affair is notable for the fact that, in 1986, the U.S. government was found by the International Court of Justice to be, inter alia, “in breach of its obligation under customary international law not to intervene in the affairs of another State” and “in breach of its obligation under customary international law not to use force against another State.” It was thus ordered by the court to pay an “interim award” of $370.2 million to the Republic of Nicaragua, with the total sum of reparations to be determined at a later date. The U.S. simply ignored the court’s ruling and continued supporting the terrorists.

Nicaragua to this day isn’t free from U.S. harassment. The country’s current political crisis, characterized by violent neoliberal opposition to President Daniel Ortega’s popular leftist government (Ortega won the 2016 election with over seventy-two percent of the vote), is supported by U.S. policy, with the National Endowment for Democracy—funded by the U.S. Congress—channeling millions of dollars to Ortega’s political opposition over the last five years. The reason for this is simple. As Kevin Zeese and Nils McCune wrote in Counterpunch:

Nicaragua has set [an example] for a successful social and economic model outside the US sphere of domination. Generating over 75% of its energy from renewable sources, Nicaragua was the only country with the moral authority to oppose the Paris Climate Agreement as being too weak…. The FMLN government of El Salvador, while less politically dominant than the Sandinista Front, has taken the example of good governance from Nicaragua, recently prohibiting mining and the privatization of water.

If the oligarchs in Nicaragua manage to pull off a coup, you can bet your bottom dollar Trump and co. will offer their full-throated support, as Obama and co. did following the 2009 military coup in Honduras, now one of the most dangerous and repressive countries in the world, and a leading source of those pesky migrants flooding the southern U.S. border.

Simply put, Washington is incapable of minding its own business. Cambodia, Laos, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Venezuela, Indonesia, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran … they all know it all too well. If you step out of line, you get whacked. Iraq, Libya and Syria have been taught the ultimate lesson—they’ve all been pulverized. Iran may yet receive the sledgehammer treatment as well, given that various non-military means of destabilization and subversion have failed to bear fruit, and especially given that the hawkish theocrats governing Israel, along with their mouthpieces in Washington, would like nothing more than to see the mullahs blown to bits.

So yes, it’s easy to see why, in Chomsky’s words, “Russia-gate”—even if we grant that its core allegations are factual—“has most of the world cracking up in laughter.”

Nearly as laughable is the claim, made over and over again, that Trump is a “Russian asset.” Anyone leveling this charge is either a fool or a demagogue. Those amenable to it should put on their thinking caps for a moment. Would a Russian asset impose a series of damaging sanctions on Russian companies and individuals, including those accused of human rights abuses, as Trump has done? Would a Russian asset expel dozens of Russian diplomats from the U.S. in retaliation for a nerve agent attack on a former double agent in Britain that may or may not have been ordered by Moscow, as Trump did? Would a Russian asset twice order the (illegal) use of military force against the Syrian government, Russia’s ally, risking direct military confrontation with Russia, in retaliation for dubious chemical weapons attacks, as Trump did? Would a Russian asset void the Iranian nuclear accord of which Russia is strongly in favor, as Trump did? Would a Russian asset approve the sale of missiles to Ukraine’s stridently anti-Russian government, knowing those weapons will likely be used against pro-Russian counterrevolutionary fighters in the east, as Trump did? Would a Russian asset demand that NATO member states, most if not all of them adversarial toward Russia, increase their defense spending, as Trump did?

Ah, yes, but Trump has never said anything mean about Putin! True enough, but then has he ever criticized el-Sisi, whose security forces massacred over eight-hundred political protestors in the streets of Cairo in 2013? How about Mohammed bin Salman, whose air force daily bombs hospitals, weddings, funerals, mosques and schools in Yemen? Rodrigo Duterte, whose drug war includes widespread summary executions? George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, et al, who invaded two countries and instituted torture centers around the world? Trump has never had an unkind word for any of the forgoing thugs. Most strikingly, he’s offered only fulsome praise for “Bibi” Netanyahu, whose crimes are too numerous to record here. If Trump’s an “asset,” he’s plainly Israel’s.

All in all, the media delirium over Trump’s humdrum meeting with Putin pushes us ever further into the political Twilight Zone. Soon a fanatical opposition to all things Russian will serve as a litmus test for Democratic presidential candidates. Just as the GOP uses gays and guns to energize an otherwise disaffected base, so the Democrats will use this new and more dangerous form of McCarthyism. All this is by design: they understand they can’t rely on their actual policies, created for and by our corporate masters, to secure votes. Hence the diversionary tactics, all of which are beginning to merge into a rabid Russophobia—one that, if allowed to inform policy-making at the highest levels of government, may well get us all vaporized. In the words of Allen Ginsberg: America this is quite serious.

July 18, 2018 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

While His Opponents Cry Treason Trump Sues for Peace

By Tom LUONGO | Strategic Culture Foundation | 18.07.2018

For the second time in as many months President Trump went against the grain of US foreign policy.

I will not mince words. I was hoping for more from the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki; something concrete. Even a small agreement about a quid pro quo in Syria would have been welcome.

But, given the level of histrionics on display in the US media and on the left I guess I should have tempered my expectations. Cries of Trump being guilty of ‘treason’ and ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ are rampant.

And they aren’t going to stop.

Crying treason for opening up diplomatic contact with a foreign leader whom we are not at war with is beyond hyperbole. It is the height of insanity. And I don’t use that term lightly.

Trump’s opponents both from members of the Deep State and media as well as those citizens supporting ‘The Resistance’ are so unhinged they have become indistinguishable from Colonel Jack T. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove.

I swear I saw a tweet from Obama Administration CIA Director John Brennan discussing bodily fluids, but I may have misread it.

They have nurtured their own angst and denial at having lost an election they have erected a bogeyman in Vladimir Putin as the only way in which the disgusting Trump could possibly have won.

And the Deep State of permanent government has cultivated this psychological poison perfectly. Now there are truly millions of otherwise normal people frothing at the mouth about everything Trump does is proof that he is the puppet of Putin, his evil master.

This has placed them firmly in the camp of wanting perpetual, undeclared war with everyone Trump wants peace with.

All because they don’t have the emotional maturity to accept reality.

And Trump, never one to miss an opportunity to twist the knife, in a moment of near sublime statesmanship during the post-summit press conference declared, “I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics. I will not make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics, the media, or Democrats who want to resist and obstruct.”

That statement won his candidates the mid-term elections and likely won him re-election in 2020. It’s a statement that he can campaign on and give not only his base a boost but convince even more of the political center to reject the insanity of the left and side with him.

After all, he just put something above politics and that something is the very thing that got him elected in the first place, peace.

And that is eternally to his credit.

It is also in stark contrast to his ill-conceived bombing of the Al-Shairat airbase while hosting Chinese Premier Xi Jinping in April of 2017. This was an act of pure political optics, designed to appease his virulent critics.

But, as he learned from that act and many others since then, nothing will appease these people than his removal from the office. The Resistance needs it to vindicate their descent into madness. The Deep State needs it to ensure the gravy train keeps flowing.

There are too many cozy relationships at risk, too many think tank jobs on the block, and too many weapons contracts at stake and too many more taxpayer-funded junkets to attend for Trump and Putin to remake the post-WWII political order.

Putin, for his part, was obviously firm in his dealings with Trump. There were many rumors of offers being made which were rejected. As myself and many others have pointed out, Trump didn’t have much to offer Putin in concrete terms on many of the outstanding issues of the day.

I believe the only thing they can agree on is that Syria is nearly settled in Assad’s favor and all that needs to be done now is convince the Israelis and Iran to behave themselves. In all of the furor over Trump’s meeting with Putin this tweet from uber-hawk and MIC-mouthpiece, Senator Lindsay Graham is the most telling.

“It is beyond absurd to believe that Russia will ‘police Iran’ or drive them out of Syria. Iran is Assad’s biggest ally – even more so than Russia. Russia policing Iran makes about as much sense as trusting Russia to police the removal/destruction of chemical weapons in Syria.” — Lindsay Graham, July 16th

No one that I know of other than myself and a very small handful of equally obscure political commentators have broached the subject of Russia policing Syria after the US picks up and leaves as any Grand Bargain for Middle East Peace.

Remember, Graham was just in Syria trying to drum up further support for Kurdish independence in a clear attempt to undermine what he just told everyone Trump’s plan was.

So, to me, this signals strongly that peace in Syria is what Trump and Putin discussed at length in their meeting and why the Deep State has so thoroughly gone off the deep end. Graham just told everyone what the plan is, folks.

And the plan is peace in the Middle East.

Trump and Putin both referenced working with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to craft a post-Civil War plan of action in Syria. Putin mentioned restoring Syria to the 1974 border of the Golan Heights while Trump made it clear he no longer wants our people there.

Moreover, Trump sent an envoy from the US to sit down and talk peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan, putting paid Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s assertion that the US is ready to talk. Lindsay must be shaking in his thigh-highs over the prospect of this as well.

Remember, the US only negotiates when it knows it is losing. Empires dictate terms, they don’t sue for peace.

And that is exactly what Trump is beginning to do with Russia on a number of fronts across Central Asia. And for this he is being vilified by his opponents for being a traitor. A traitor to what?

Chaos.

July 18, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

US Media is Losing Its Mind Over Trump-Putin Press Conference

By Joe Lauria | Consortium News | July 16, 2018

The reaction of the U.S. establishment media and several political leaders to President Donald Trump’s press conference after his summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday has been stunning.

Writing in The Atlantic, James Fallows said:

“There are exactly two possible explanations for the shameful performance the world witnessed on Monday, from a serving American president.

Either Donald Trump is flat-out an agent of Russian interests—maybe witting, maybe unwitting, from fear of blackmail, in hope of future deals, out of manly respect for Vladimir Putin, out of gratitude for Russia’s help during the election, out of pathetic inability to see beyond his 306 electoral votes. Whatever the exact mixture of motives might be, it doesn’t really matter.

Or he is so profoundly ignorant, insecure, and narcissistic that he did not  realize that, at every step, he was advancing the line that Putin hoped he would advance, and the line that the American intelligence, defense, and law-enforcement agencies most dreaded.

Conscious tool. Useful idiot. Those are the choices, though both are possibly true, so that the main question is the proportions … never before have I seen an American president consistently, repeatedly, publicly, and shockingly advance the interests of another country over those of his own government and people.”

As soon as the press conference ended CNN cut to its panel with these words from TV personality Anderson Cooper: “You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader, surely, that I’ve ever seen.”

David Gergen, who for years has gotten away with portraying himself on TV as an impartial political sage, then told CNN viewers:

“I’ve never heard an American President talk that way but I think it is especially true that when he’s with someone like Putin, who is a thug, a world-class thug, that he sides with him again and again against his own country’s interests of his own institutions that he runs, that he’s in charge of the federal government, he’s in charge of these intelligence agencies, and he basically dismisses them and retreats into this, we’ve heard it before, but on the international stage to talk about Hillary Clinton’s computer server …”

“It’s embarrassing,” interjected Cooper.

“It’s embarrassing,” agreed Gergen.

White House correspondent Jim Acosta, ostensibly an objective reporter, then gave his opinion: “I think that sums it up nicely. This is the president of the United States essentially taking the word of the Russian president… over his own intelligence community. It was astonishing, just astonishing to be in the room with the U.S. president and the Russian president on this critical question of election interference, and to retreat back to these talking points about DNC servers and Hillary Clinton’s emails when he had a chance right there in front of the world to tell Vladimir Putin to stay the HELL out of American democracy, and he didn’t do it.”

In other words Trump should just shut up and not question a questionable indictment, which Acosta, like nearly all the media, treat as a conviction.

The Media’s Handlers

The media’s handlers were even worse than their assets. Former CIA director John Brennan tweeted: “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors,.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

Here’s where the Republican Patriots are, Brennan: “That’s how a press conference sounds when an Asset stands next to his Handler,” former RNC Chairman Michael Steele tweeted.

Representative Liz Cheney, the daughter of the former vice president, said on Twitter: “As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the U.S. & his suggestion of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia. Russia poses a grave threat to our national security.”

All these were reactions to Trump expressing skepticism about the U.S. indictment on Friday of 12 Russian intelligence agents for allegedly interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election while he was standing next to Russian President Vladimir Putin at the press conference following their summit meeting in Helsinki.

“I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia, Trump said. “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

The indictments, which are only unproven accusations, formally accused 12 members of the GRU, Russian military intelligence, of stealing Democratic Party emails in a hacking operation and giving the materials to WikiLeaks to publish in order to damage the candidacy of Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. The indictments were announced on Friday, three days before the summit, with the clear intention of getting Trump to cancel it. He ignored cries from the media and Congress to do so.

Over the weekend Michael Smerconish on CNN actually said the indictments proved that Russia had committed a “terrorist attack” against the United States. This is in line with many pundits who are comparing this indictment, that will most likely never produce any evidence, to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. The danger inherent in that thinking is clear.

Putin said the allegations are “utter nonsense, just like [Trump] recently mentioned.” He added: “The final conclusion in this kind of dispute can only be delivered by a trial, by the court. Not by the executive, by the law enforcement.” He could have added not by the media.

Trump reasonably questioned why the FBI never examined the computer servers of the Democratic National Committee to see whether there was a hack and who may have done it. Instead a private company, CrowdStrike, hired by the Democratic Party studied the server and within a day blamed Russia on very dubious grounds.

“Why haven’t they taken the server?” Trump asked. “Why was the FBI told to leave the office of the Democratic National Committee? I’ve been wondering that. I’ve been asking that for months and months and I’ve been tweeting it out and calling it out on social media. Where is the server? I want to know, where is the server and what is the server saying?”

But being a poor communicator, Trump then mentioned Clinton’s missing emails, allowing the media to conflate the two different servers, and be easily dismissed as Gergen did.

At the press conference, Putin offered to allow American investigators from the team of special counsel Robert Mueller, who put the indictment together, to travel to Russia and take part in interviews with the 12 accused Russian agents. He also offered to set up a joint cyber-security group to examine the evidence and asked that in return Russia be allowed to question persons of interest to Moscow in the United States.

“Let’s discuss the specific issues and not use the Russia and U.S. relationship as a loose change for this internal political struggle,” Putin said.

On CNN, Christiane Amanpour called Putin’s clear offer “obfuscation.”

Even if Trump agreed to this reasonable proposal it seems highly unlikely that his Justice Department will go along with it. Examination of whatever evidence they have to back up the indictment is not what the DOJ is after. As I wrote about the indictments in detail on Friday:

“The extremely remote possibility of convictions were not what Mueller was apparently after, but rather the public perception of Russia’s guilt resulting from fevered media coverage of what are after all only accusations, presented as though it is established fact. Once that impression is settled into the public consciousness, Mueller’s mission would appear to be accomplished.”

Still No ‘Collusion’

The indictments did not include any members of Trump’s campaign team for “colluding” with the alleged Russian hacking effort, which has been a core allegation throughout the two years of the so-called Russia-gate scandal. Those allegations are routinely reported in U.S. media as established fact, though there is still no evidence of collusion.

Trump emphasised that point in the press conference. “There was no collusion at all,” he said forcefully. “Everybody knows it.”

On this point corporate media has been more deluded than normal as they clutch for straws to prove the collusion theory. As one example of many across the media with the same theme, a New York Times story on Friday, headlined, “Trump Invited the Russians to Hack Clinton. Were They Listening?,” said Russia may have absurdly responded to Trump’s call at 10:30 a.m. on July 27, 2016 to hack Clinton’s private email server because it was “on or about” that day that Russia allegedly first made an attempt to hack Clinton’s personal emails, according to the indictment, which makes no connection between the two events.

If Russia is indeed guilty of remotely hacking the emails it would have had no evident need of assistance from anyone on the Trump team, let alone a public call from Trump on national TV to commence the operation.

More importantly, as Twitter handle “Representative Press” pointed out: “Trump’s July 27, 2016 call to find the missing 30,000 emails could not be a ‘call to hack Clinton’s server’ because at that point it was no longer online. Long before Trump’s statement, Clinton had already turned over her email server to the U.S. Department of Justice.” Either the indictment was talking about different servers or it is being intentionally misleading when it says “on or about July 27, 2016, the Conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office.”

This crucial fact alone, that Clinton had turned over the server in 2015 so that no hack was possible, makes it impossible that Trump’s TV call could be seen as collusion. Only a desperate person would see it otherwise.

But there is a simple explanation why establishment journalists are in unison in their dominant Russian narrative: it is career suicide to question it.

As Samuel Johnson said as far back as 1745: “The greatest part of mankind have no other reason for their opinions than that they are in fashion …since vanity and credulity cooperate in its favour.”

Importance of US-Russia Relations

Trump said the unproven allegation of collusion “has had a negative impact upon the relationship of the two largest nuclear powers in the world. We have 90 percent of nuclear power between the two countries. It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous what’s going on with the probe.”

The American president said the U.S. has been “foolish” not to attempt dialogue with Russia before, to cooperate on a range of issues.

“As president, I cannot make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics or the media or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct,” Trump said. “Constructive dialogue between the United States and Russia forwards the opportunity to open new pathways toward peace and stability in our world. I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics.”

This main reason for summits between Russian and American leaders was also ignored: to use diplomacy to reduce dangerous tensions. “I really think the world wants to see us get along,” Trump said. “We are the two great nuclear powers. We have 90 percent of the nuclear. And that’s not a good thing, it’s a bad thing.”

Preventing good relations between the two countries appears to be the heart of the matter for U.S. intelligence and their media assets. So Trump was vilified for even trying.

Ignoring the Rest of the Story

Obsessed as they are with the “interference” story, the media virtually ignored the other crucial issues that came up at the summit, such as the Middle East.

Trump sort of thanked Russia for its efforts to defeat ISIS. “When you look at all of the progress that’s been made in certain sections with the eradication of ISIS, about 98 percent, 99 percent there, and other things that have taken place that we have done and that, frankly, Russia has helped us with in certain respects,” he said.

Trump here is falsely taking credit, as he has before, for defeating ISIS with only some “help” from Russia. In Iraq the U.S. led the way against ISIS coordinating the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces. But in the separate war against ISIS in Syria, Russia, the Syrian Arab Army, Kurdish forces, Iranian troops and Hizbullah militias were almost entirely responsible for ISIS’ defeat.

Also on Syria, Trump appeared to endorse what is being reported as a deal between Russia and Israel in which Israel would accept Bashar al-Assad remaining as Syrian president, while Russia would work on Iran to get it to remove its forces away from the northern Golan Heights, which Israel illegally considers its border with Syria.

After a meeting in Moscow last week with Putin, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he accepted Assad remaining in power.

“President Putin also is helping Israel,” Trump said at the press conference. “We both spoke with Bibi Netanyahu. They would like to do certain things with respect to Syria, having to do with the safety of Israel. In that respect, we absolutely would like to work in order to help Israel. Israel will be working with us. So both countries would work jointly.”

Trump also said that the U.S. and Russian militaries were coordinating in Syria, but he did not go as far as saying that they had agreed to fight together there, which has been a longstanding proposal of Putin’s dating back to September 2015, just before Moscow intervened militarily in the country.

“Our militaries have gotten along probably better than our political leaders for years,” Trump said. “Our militaries do get along very well. They do coordinate in Syria and other places.”

Trump said Russia and the U.S. should cooperate in humanitarian assistance in Syria.

“If we can do something to help the people of Syria get back into some form of shelter and on a humanitarian basis… that’s what the word was, a humanitarian basis,” he said. “I think both of us would be very interested in doing that.”

Putin said he had agreed on Sunday with French President Emmanuel Macron on a joint effort with Europe to deliver humanitarian aid. “On our behalf, we will provide military cargo aircraft to deliver humanitarian cargo. Today, I brought up this issue with President Trump. I think there’s plenty of things to look into,” Putin said.


Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Boston GlobeSunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe .

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Helsinki: What did Trump want from Putin, really?

By Denis Rancourt | Dissident Voice | July 16, 2018

I just did a live Sputnik International radio interview about the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki. This is the essence of my answers.

Trump is the USA and the USA mainly wants two things from Russia.

First, it wants Russia’s credibility. In the words of Trump: “I really think the world wants to see us get along.”

USA world credibility has crashed after Iraq-Afghanistan-Libya. The USA is known to abandon its allies and to work for gain even at the price of making long-term enemies.

The USA is habituated to being the most powerful and the most powerful can afford to make enemies. But the world is changing. The new multipolarity is accompanied by greater risks if the USA insists on maintaining the same degree of dominance.

In the words of Trump “We have a world to run”. This means the USA can gain much from collaboration with Russia. But, as usual, this does not mean that Russia can draw benefit from any such collaboration, only avoid some otherwise imposed punishment (sanctions, blockades, military pressures).

Second, the USA desperately “needs” to prevent democratization of effective weapons that can defend against its military intimidation and destruction campaigns.

The USA needs to prevent the emerging nations that it traditionally exploits by military force and intimidation from acquiring air-defence systems, ballistic missiles capable of retaliation, and weapons that can target large ships such as aircraft carriers. Aircraft carriers are the main hardware of USA military projection.

North Korea, Iran and Russia itself represent possible vectors of the said democratization of military technology. An example is seen in Yemen, where ground-to-air defence missiles are transformed into ground-to-ground retaliatory missiles. If Yemen had secured better such technologies, it would be defending itself more effectively.

The same is true for Gaza. Increased military technology would allow proper defence and a balance that could produce negotiation rather than bulldozer displacement policies and genocidal destruction campaigns.

The USA and Israel are terrified at such prospects. Israel’s approach would be all-out USA-backed war against Iran. The USA approach is to threaten war but extract collaboration from Russia to control and prevent military advancement of the nations the USA wants to control, which resist its bribes and threats.

In all of this, the USA (the elite faction supporting Trump) has come to understand that it must revitalize the domestic USA and its middle-class, that a strong empire cannot have an empty core. Trump will do anything to achieve this, including ruffle allies and break long-standing agreements.

The USA wants a strong NATO that it controls. It wants more commitment from NATO members. That was Trump’s main message. It needs NATO to legitimize any “needed” military destruction campaigns in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. And it is prepared to use these strong NATO-club ties to extract relative advantages to re-build its domestic economy.

NATO is about: securing Europe against trade and co-development with Russia, legitimizing criminal wars of aggression in the service of the empire, and projecting power into Africa, the Middle East and Asia, for the benefit of the NATO-club members but mostly the USA. It also forces Russia to spend enormous resources on defence.

This is what Trump is doing with NATO, which has nothing to do with pleasing Putin.

Election interference, whether true or not, is just an ancillary USA domestic matter. Everyone knows it’s bullshit. Putin did not write the Clinton emails. Democracies claim to want “transparency”.

Crimea is also a non-issue. Crimea folks overwhelmingly wanted incorporation into Russia, following the Ukrainian meltdown and military violence. Everybody knows that. Compare Russia’s actions in Crimea to the NATO mass-crime that is Libya. There is no comparison.

Finally, whether our goodiness brains allow us to see it or not, from a geopolitical perspective, Trump is the “progressive” here that wants domestic development rather than solely all-out hawkish globalism irrespective of domestic hollowness. He also wants to negotiate with Russia to limit Iran rather than risk long-term world and USA consequences from a large-scale regional war, which the Clintonite crazies say they want.

Two related prior articles are:1 and2

  1. Denis Rancourt. “Cause of USA Meltdown and Collapse of Civil Rights”, Dissident Voice, September 7, 2017.
  2. Denis Rancourt. “Social Animals have Two Modes of Being”, Dissident Voice, July 2, 2018.

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Trump-Putin Summit Meets Expectations: Reviving Hopes for Better Future

By Andrei AKULOV | Strategic Culture Foundation | 17.07.2018

There is no doubt that the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki is a significant step forward. As expected, there were no breakthroughs and the tide was not exactly turned but guardrails to the bilateral relationship were restored to pave the way for substantial progress.

Evidently, only a full-fledged summit could stop further deterioration of the bilateral relations and it happened. True, it was too brief to produce strides but it created a positive atmosphere for launching the process of repairing the damage. The meeting met the expectations of those who wanted the bilateral ties to improve.

The importance of cooperation between the militaries was emphasized. No doubt, it will become closer and more intensive from now on. National security teams will revive the much-needed dialogue on a range of burning issues, including separate talks on cyber security. The fate of the New START Treaty will be addressed to prevent the erosion of arms control. This is a very important and timely development. The parties will coordinate their actions in Syria. President Putin stressed the need to resume public diplomacy to boost contacts between the peoples. These are tangible results. As President Trump said at the news conference, the relationship was at the rock bottom but it has changed now.

The lawmakers’ support is a must for implementation of the president’s plans. Will Donald Trump have congressional backing for his “hit it off with Putin” policy? It brings to the fore the issue of GOP prospects for the US midterm elections on November 6, which are a kind of referendum on Donald Trump’s performance. On this date, Americans will answer the question whether they trust President Trump, including his Russia policy.

Alabama already held its primary run-off elections on July 17 launching the countrywide process to last till mid-September. The party in power normally loses seats in Congress as a result of midterm elections. That’s what Democrats are banking on. Since the days of the Civil War (1861-1865) the incumbent president’s party has lost ground in 36 out of 39 midterm elections to the House. Over the past 21 midterm elections, the GOP has gained seats in both houses only twice.

If Democrats score a win to get a majority in one of the houses, the “election meddling story” will be a drag on the development of the relationship. With Democratic majority in Senate, treaties with Russia will have a slim chance to be ratified and new snags on the way of normalizing the relationship may be codified, even if it means encroachment on president’s prerogatives.

Today, the GOP has the 236-193 majority in the House and the 51-47 majority in the Senate. Two senators are independent. They tend to side with Democrats. According to the Cool Political Report issued just a few days ago, Republicans have a good chance to win the House. There are lower chamber 36 seats in the “toss up” or “lean” category. Another report published this month says the GOP will preserve the current majority in the Senate. Republicans can afford a loss of only one Senate seat to preserve the lead. Democrats have 26 seats in the Senate for re-election out of 35. This is a chance to increase the advantage. The GOP candidates are leading in North Dakota and Florida. A Republican victory would give a chance for Senate’s approval of Trump-nominated Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice to strengthen the president’s position.

Indeed, a GOP success will be unprecedented but it looks quite achievable at present. Many things can sway the public opinion but today most Americans want to see the relations with Russia improved. They see it as a feather in President Trump’s cap. Despite all the ballyhoo raised about “election meddling” and other things, the percentage of all Americans who view Russia is an ally or friendly to the US rose to 31% from 26% in 2014. There has been no change in the percentage of Americans identifying Russia as an enemy or unfriendly to their country. The number of Republicans who say Russia is an ally or a friendly state rose from 22% to 40% since 2014.

The economic outlook under Trump is positive to increase the Republican chances. “Over the first half of this year, overall economic activity appears to have expanded at a solid pace,” the Federal Reserve concluded in its recent report.

With a Republican majority in Congress, President Trump could do much more for improving the relations with Moscow. A GOP win would pave the way for arms control and security agreements to be approved by Senate.

Hopefully, the summit results are not just a flash in the pan to disappear with another president taking office. The facts adduced above indicate the main thing – Donald Trump is far from being a lamp duck. He is a serious interlocutor who can advance his cause and do it with solid support in Congress and among voters. Improving the relations with Russia was Donald Trump’s pre-election promise given to American people who voted for him. As one can see, the US president remains true to his word.

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Russian military ‘ready to work with US’ after Trump & Putin talk Syria, nuclear arms in Helsinki

RT | July 17, 2018

The Russian military is ready to work with the US colleagues on all the areas discussed by the two presidents during the Helsinki summit, namely cooperation in Syria and mutual reduction of the strategic nuclear arsenals.

“Russian Defense Ministry is ready to implement the agreements on the international security, reached by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump during the Helsinki summit yesterday,” Ministry’s spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Tuesday.

On Monday, Russian and the US leaders agreed to revitalize the military cooperation in several fields. During the press conference in the aftermath of the summit, Trump stated that Russian and US militaries proved to actually get along better than the politicians of the two countries over the past few years, naming deconfliction communication in Syria as an example.

Putin and Trump agreed to work together on returning the people displaced by the Syrian conflict, since several million of refugees are still living in Turkey and Lebanon. These people might take off and head for Europe, the US and other destinations, Putin warned.

“One should not wait until they start moving towards these destinations, the conditions for their return must be created,” Putin stated.

The two agreed also to step up negotiations on the prolonging of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), aimed at mutual reduction and limitation of the strategic nuclear arsenals. The existing third iteration of the START agreement expires in 2021. Putin said Moscow was ready to prolong the deal, while some “details” must be ironed out first.

Konashenkov said the military was ready “to intensify contacts with its American colleagues through the General Staff and other available channels of communication” on all of the aforementioned issues, as well as other outstanding problems of the international security.

‘Step to new multipolar world’?

The Putin-Trump meeting marked an important step toward the emerging multipolar world, where the main actors get together and negotiate, standing by their “national interests,” geopolitical expert Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann told RT.

Such a new approach would likely be more fruitful than the “ancient” US unilateral drive for the forced Westernization and multiculturalism, while the summit itself exemplified “the acceptance from the US of the new multipolar world.”

“I think this is a new process. Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump have shown to the world they want to be in charge,” Thomann said. “They want to start negotiations on the real political basis, and I think this is a good start, because the utopian ideas on the international relations always fail. And they admit they are rivals, they want to identify common grounds for cooperation and try to overcome their differences.”

The Russian-US desire to cooperate on fixing the Syrian conflict will prove to be beneficial not only to the war-torn country itself, but to the whole Middle East region and, ultimately, Europe, Thomann believes.

July 17, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘US Needs Russia More Than Russia Needs US’ – Academic on Trump-Putin Summit

Sputnik – July 16, 2018

In a historic bilateral summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin met his US counterpart Donald Trump in the Finnish capital. In an interview with Sputnik, Dr. Denis Rancourt, a civil rights advocate and social theorist, provided his insight into the importance of the meeting.

Sputnik: Could you share your feelings as to how significant this is; how significant is the timing of this? What do you expect to be accomplished?

Dr. Denis Rancourt: I don’t think the timing is that important, I mean it had to happen because Trump and the US want it to happen and also Russia wants it to happen. It’s going to happen anyway. The US wants things from Russia and to some degree, the US needs Russia more than Russia needs the US, because the United States in the world has lost a lot of credibility and Russia has credibility. It has a coherent diplomacy, which the US no longer has.

So it needs that credibility… Trump uses the expression “We need to run the world”: what he means by that is that he wants to be able to acquire the benefits of having a collaboration with Russia on certain issues. I think that credibility is one; but there is another important issue that clearly is of concern to Trump and the United States and that is the question of weapons; the democratizing of missiles, especially.

The US would have a lot to lose if more and more nations acquire the possibility of defending themselves against US threats and attacks. And so, the possibility of missiles being given to people who need them, by Korea or by Iran, or even indirectly, or directly, by Russia itself, is a great threat to the United States, because the US system relies on military intimidation and its projection of power in the world.

So, for that to be removed would take away many of its acquired territories and ability to coerce and intimidate economies and large parts of the world. I think those are the things, it’s in that sense that the United States wants kind of a weapons management and understanding that they are going to limit this […] spread of weapons; because it’s not just nuclear weapons. Technology is advancing, and we now have more and more accurate missile that can hit cities that are estimated to be the source of military intimidation. For example, Tel Aviv can be hit by missiles and so on. It’s illustrated by what’s happening in Yemen now.

The Yemenis have rudimentary missiles that are able to hit targets in Saudi Arabia and have demonstrated their ability to take our ships. So, the US is more and more vulnerable to this advancing technology. It relies on projection of power through aircraft carriers, which are themselves, by their nature, vulnerable to missile attacks and to the kind of technology that can easily hit large ships. They need to be able to protect themselves and they’ve lost credibility, especially after the total destruction that they have made in Iraq and Libya. The world has seen this and understands how vicious NATO and the United States can be. I think it’s a combination of those two things that brings Trump and the US to the table, to try to negotiate with Russia.

Sputnik: […] Trump has virtually dismissed reports, even from his own intelligence, on the alleged Russian meddling. What do you think about this?

Dr. Denis Rancourt: […]Of course this is a global war. Of course, RT and Sputnik exist now and that’s a reality, and it influences opinions and outlooks in the world, and that’s not going to change, it’s not going to go away. This is all largely a domestic issue, whether it’s true or not, it’s still just a domestic issue.

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can Truth Survive Trump? WaPo Fails to Ask How Well Truth Was Doing to Begin With

By Dean Baker | FAIR | July 16, 2018

Carlos Lozada, the nonfiction book critic for the Washington Post, promised “an honest investigation” of whether truth can survive the Trump administration in the lead article in the paper’s Sunday Outlook section. He delivered considerably less.

WaPo: Can truth survive this president? An honest investigation.

The Washington Post fails. But, hey, it’s the Washington Post.

Most importantly and incredibly, Lozada never considers the possibility that respect for traditional purveyors of “truth” has been badly weakened by the fact that they have failed to do so in many important ways in recent years. Furthermore, they have used their elite status (prized university positions and access to major media outlets) to deride those who challenged them as being unthinking illiterates.

This dynamic is most clear in the trade policy pursued by the United States over the last four decades. This policy had the predicted and actual effect of eliminating the jobs of millions of manufacturing workers and reducing the pay of tens of millions of workers with less than a college education. The people who suffered the negative effects of these policies were treated as stupid know-nothings, and wrongly told that their suffering was due to automation or was an inevitable product of globalization.

These claims are what those of us still living in the world of truth know as “lies,” but you will never see anyone allowed to make these points in the Washington Post. After all, its readers can’t be allowed to see such thoughts.

This was far from the only major failure of the purveyors of truth. The economic crisis caused by the collapse of the housing bubble cost millions of workers their jobs and/or houses. While this collapse was 100 percent predictable for anyone with a basic knowledge of economics, with almost no exceptions, our elite economists failed to see it coming, and ridiculed those who warned of the catastrophe.

Incredibly, there were no career consequences for this momentous failure. No one lost their job and probably few even missed a scheduled promotion. Everyone was given a collective “who could have known?” amnesty. This leaves us with the absurd situation where a dishwasher who breaks the dishes get fired, a custodian that doesn’t clean the toilet gets fired, but an elite economist who completely misses the worst economic disaster in 70 years gets promoted to yet another six-figure salary position.

And, departing briefly from my area of expertise, none of the geniuses who thought invading Iraq was a good idea back in 2003 seems to be on the unemployment lines today. Again, there was another collective “who could have known?” amnesty, with those responsible for what was quite possibly the greatest foreign policy disaster in US history still considered experts in the area and drawing high salaries.

When we have a world in which the so-called experts are not held accountable for their failures, even when they are massive, and they consistently look down on the people who question their expertise, it undermines belief in truth. It would have been nice if Lozada had explored this aspect of the issue, but, hey, it’s the Washington Post.

Dean Baker is the author of Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer.

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Lord Correlli Barnett and the Collapse of American Power

By Martin SIEFF | Strategic Culture Foundation | 16.07.2018

My old teacher and mentor, Elie Kedourie, Professor of Politics at the University of London liked to say that Clio, the Greek muse of history had a great sense of humor and irony. This thought comes vividly to mind rereading one of the most important books ever written on the causes of the decline and disintegration of the British Empire in the first half of the 21th century, Correlli Barnett’s The Collapse of British Power.

Barrett’s enormous and still controversial masterpiece was published in 1972. Yet today it has a greater relevance than ever. For every time “Britain” is mentioned in the text, cross the word out, then replace it with “the United States” or “America” and his explanations for British decline and fall apply and explain even more presciently the current dilemmas of the United States.

Barnett gave as major reasons for the collapse of British power strategic over-extension after World War I when the British, already administering an empire covering one quarter of the entire land territory and one quarter of the human race, stretched even further and saw themselves as the global hyper-power and police, charged with maintaining a true World Order across the entire planet.

Today, those words and conceptions have an especially eerie and contemporary ring.

By claiming to be the global hyper-power, Barnett cogently argued, the British instead guaranteed that they could not even remain as an international superpower. They overextended and exhausted themselves. They over-stretched and exhausted their land combat forces in a plethora of minor wars and counter-insurgencies around the world, most notably in Iraq, Palestine, Ireland and Afghanistan – all regions that have today an astonishingly contemporary ring.

In the end Britain’s imperial leaders extended their network of guarantees to the tiny, unstable and narrowly parochial states of Central and Eastern Europe, ensuring their inevitable strategic collisions with first Germany and then the Soviet Union – again, strategic misconceptions that echo with especial relevance today.

Barnett most of all explored the crumbling and collapse of Britain’s once awesome industrial base. He put this down to a fatal, blind – indeed deluded – reliance on the workings of the free market without any government intervention, encouragement or protection for strategic industries.

Britain practiced Free Trade from 1860 to 1931 except for the four years of World War I at the very same time its arch rivals Germany, the United States and Imperial Japan applied high industrial and agricultural tariffs and successfully developed their modern industries and rural economies, dramatically raising the standard of living of their peoples in the process.

The British then, like the Americans today believed in Free Trade as an economic panacea blind to the avalanche of empirical, practical evidence to the contrary.

Like modern Americans, they laid exaggerated importance on theoretical university education in the humanities and on liberal theories of economics and politics, while their ruling elites were pathetically ignorant of what today are known in the United States as the STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

It is therefore no coincidence that Margaret Thatcher, the only British leader to revive and stabilize her country’s economy and international standing since World War II, had worked professionally as a research scientist in the chemical industry. Thatcher also regarded Barnett as her favorite historian and raised him to the House of Lords as a Life Peer, an almost unprecedented honor for an academic British scholar.

Today Thatcher is gone but Barnett lives on at a remarkable 91. He followed up his 1972 masterpiece with three searing sequels on how the British threw away the manufacturing advantages they still enjoyed after being rescued in World War II by the alliance and support of the United States and the Soviet Union. Those three later books, The Audit of War: The Illusion and Reality of Britain as a Great Nation (1986), known in the United States as The Pride and the Fall; The Lost Victory: British Dreams and British Realities, 1945-50 (Macmillan, 1995) and The Verdict of Peace: Britain between her Yesterday and the Future remain definitive works today. They are known collectively as The Pride and Fall Sequence.

Ironically, Barnett greatly admired the America of the first half of the 20th century and held it up as an example of wise industrial, social, economic and strategic policies that Britain should have emulated but did not.

Instead the opposite happened, the Americans following the end of the Cold War plunged precisely into the same mad and futile dreams of eternal global leadership as the British had done, dragging them inexorably into one vicious, morally reprehensible and financially exhausting little “colonial” war after another to crush emerging national, social and economic movements around the world. They failed repeatedly.

Eventually these self-righteous and moralistic – but never moral – policies propelled Britain and its Empire into the one catastrophe they should have avoided at all costs – another world war.

Barnett recognized the fateful path the United States had taken. In 2003, never fearful of controversy he was scathingly critical of the US invasion of Iraq and its claimed moral and grand strategic goals. Clio, Muse of History must have applauded.

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Book Review, Economics, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment

Breaking a downward spiral: Trump-Putin meeting a breakthrough regardless of practical outcome

RT | July 16, 2018

The US and Russian leaders will meet in an atmosphere of open animosity towards Russia in the West. In this context, the very fact of the meeting, which part of the US establishment sought to derail, could be deemed a success.

A summit between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, is a much-anticipated event and it is also long overdue. As unhinged Russophobia increasingly grips the West and relations between two of the world’s major powers hit a historic low since the Cold War, a meeting between the two leaders might at least slow down the continued slide towards even greater confrontation if not really improve the troubled relations between Moscow and Washington.

The extraordinary circumstances surrounding this meeting make it a sort of victory of proponents of common sense over those who seek to push their own narrow interests at the expense of international relations and, eventually, global security.

Long & thorny path to dialogue

During his election campaign in 2016 and after his inauguration, Trump said repeatedly that he would like to have better relations with Russia, which had already soured on the last leg of Barack Obama’s second presidential term over Syria and Ukraine. His position that having good ties with Russia is better for the US brought on him the additional ire of the liberal ‘resistance’ and the establishment amid the Mueller probe into alleged election meddling and collusion that hasn’t produced much evidence, but generated high costs and daily debates.

Trump’s presidency has seen further deterioration of relations between Moscow and Washington. When a diplomatic row began under the Obama administration and saw diplomats expelled, Russia chose not to retaliate, waiting for Trump’s actions. Under his administration, however, sanctions have been slapped on Moscow, diplomats have been expelled, and Russian diplomatic compounds have been searched.

Moscow condemned Washington’s moves at that time, calling it the “behavior of raiders” and accusing the US of violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The US ignored Russia’s objections and once again broke into a Russian diplomatic compound. This followed more expulsions in response to London’s baseless accusation that Moscow poisoned the former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK.

This time, the US also went so far as to boot out Russian diplomats working at the UN headquarters in New York, in what Moscow called a violation of international agreements.

Coupled with unfettered Russophobia following the worst patterns of McCarthyism that swayed the minds of a significant part of the US establishment and the media community, this policy brought relations between the two countries to within a hair’s breadth of a red line separating political animosity from open conflict.

The US named Russia among the major threats in its Nuclear Posture Review, and it sought ways to bypass one of the cornerstones of the international disarmament regime – the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty – all in the name of countering perceived “aggressive strategies” by Russia. It has therefore become clear that the US officials preoccupied with anti-Russian conspiracies, which they themselves contrived, have lost touch with reality and are ready to put the world on the brink of a new arms race, if not a new global war, in a bid to protect Washington’s dominance in the world.

Even at the beginning of his presidency, Trump admitted that US-Russian relations had hit a historic low. Since that time, the situation has seemingly become much worse. With US-Russian relations reduced to “sporadic meetings between diplomats and military,” as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently put it, a meeting that could overcome this confrontational narrative of bilateral relations by the mere fact of it taking place would have extreme significance.

Hopes & expectations

Even though the meeting apparently already has enough symbolic meaning to make holding it a worthy goal, both sides also have certain expectations of the event. Quite reasonably, Moscow sees the summit primarily as a way to just restore dialog between the two nations and add some common sense in bilateral relations.

If Trump and Putin manage to “re-open all the channels [of dialog] on both divisive issues… and those issues where we can usefully cooperate,” such an outcome of the meeting could be called “ideal,” Lavrov told Larry King in a recent interview. The US and NATO, which together spend 12 times more money on defense than Russia, has yet to “understand that it cannot dictate to each and every country how to handle international security matters,” the minister said, adding that “dialogue is required.”

His words were partly echoed by the Russian president’s aide, Yury Ushakov, who said that the Kremlin sees the goal of the meeting as “changing the negative situation in relations between the US and Russia,” as well as “bringing mutual trust to some acceptable level.” However, Moscow is apparently also reluctant to set its hopes high as Ushakov said that the Russian side does not expect the two leaders to even issue a joint statement following the summit.

Such a stance perfectly fits into Moscow’s general approach that involves readiness to “build bridges” with the US, which it prefers to see as a “partner” despite its “regrettable” security strategy. The US expectations for the summit, meanwhile, look much vaguer as Washington seemingly still cannot define its own attitude to its negotiating partner.

Over the days preceding the summit, Trump has already called Putin a “competitor” and said that the US was “tougher on Russia than anybody.” At the same time, he also repeatedly stated that “if we could develop a relationship, it would be good for Russia and good for us, good for everybody.”

On Sunday, the US president told CBS that he is going into the meeting with “low expectations.” He added that “nothing bad is going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out of it.”

According to the US ambassador to Russia, Trump would like to meet Putin one-on-one to actually understand if Russia wants good relations with the US. The US president himself, meanwhile, admitted that he still “cannot say” if Moscow is Washington’s “friend or foe.”

Notably, neither Moscow nor Washington spoke about any concrete agreements that could be reached as a result of the talks, which makes one presume that, in a practical sense, the results of the summit would hardly be significant.

“The main purpose of the meeting is to highlight the need to restore direct lines of communication at many levels between the US and Russian governments and civil society that were severed by the Obama administration following the Crimea referendum,” Gilbert Doctorow, political analyst and author, told RT. “There is a great deal to be accomplished in restoring normal, civilized relations between the two countries first,” he added.

Meanwhile, Jim Jatras, a Washington DC-based attorney, political analyst, and media and government affairs specialist, believes that the meeting will not result in a practical agreement – not only because of the sorry state of US-Russian relations – but also because “while Putin is master in his ‘house,’ Trump is not in his.”

“There is virtually no instruction Trump can give to the Washington apparatus of power he can be confident will be carried out,” Jatras told RT, noting that the establishment and media “tried to prevent his election, then tried to neutralize him after he won, and is still trying to find a means to remove him, by any means possible.”

Russophobia in West goes into overdrive

The US establishment as well as at least some of Washington’s Western allies have, meanwhile, spared no effort to prevent or at least spoil the forthcoming summit. The US media are almost competing to provide their audiences with most bizarre conspiracy theories about possible collusion between Trump and Putin as a renewed push to promote the narrative that has become increasingly threadbare over the last couple of years.

In one of the most vivid examples of such dizzying feats, New York magazine claimed that the US leader was actually a Russian spy since at least 1987. The US neocons were also not too far behind the media as they suggested that US National Security Advisor John Bolton, who is actually known as an arch-hawk and war cheerleader, might well be Putin’s stooge just because he traveled to Moscow to discuss the details of the meeting between the two leaders.

The crux of the matter was the US Justice Department’s announcement that 12 people identified as “Russian intelligence officers” had been indicted for hacking the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign. The news conveniently came just days ahead of the meeting, prompting Moscow to say that the move was aimed at spoiling the upcoming summit in the Finnish capital of Helsinki.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, the British establishment and journalists launched their own verbal assault on the Kremlin following yet another chemical incident on the British soil, even though the UK has so far provided no evidence linking even the March poisoning of Skripals to Moscow, not to mention the new incident, which was predictably immediately blamed on Russia without any proof being presented.

“For the establishment, US-Russia enmity isn’t a means to an end – it is the end,” Jatras said, commenting on the issue. He told RT that Washington effectively sees Russia as “an obstacle to continued US global hegemony and the huge flows of money spread around, both at home and abroad, [used] to sustain it.

“Anything less than endless hostility is a direct threat to the financial wellbeing and ideological core of a vast army of mandarins,” he added.

Read more:

Russia hysteria reaches fever pitch in US media as Trump-Putin summit looms

July 16, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , | 4 Comments

NATO Wants to Use Turkish Territory to Encircle Iran – Turkish Analysts

Sputnik – 15.07.2018

It is the Kurdish YPG forces and their US sponsors, not the Syrian army, that pose the main threat to Turkey’s southern borders, Turkish political analysts told Sputnik when commenting on the parts of a NATO declaration directly pertaining to their country.

In a statement released on Wednesday following its summit in Brussels, NATO vows to protect Turkey’s southern border.

The statement also says that NATO “continues to monitor and assess the ballistic missile threat from Syria,” and that “tailored assurance measures for Turkey to respond to the growing security challenges from the south contribute to the security of the Alliance as a whole, and will be fully implemented.”

“We have increased the strength of the NATO Response Force, and the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) is ready to deploy on short notice,” the statement adds.

In an interview with Sputnik, Hasan Unal, a foreign relations expert at Atylym University in Ankara, criticized the vague notion of “threat” mentioned in the declaration, adding that the main threat to Turkey comes from Kurdish YPG forces and their “sponsors in the US.”

“There is no threat to southern Turkey coming from the Syrian army. The missiles launched at our territory from Syria came from territories controlled either by Daesh or militants of the Kurdistan Workers Party even before the start of the Turkish military operation in Afrin. This means that the biggest threat to Turkey in the south comes from the Kurdish units and their US supporters. Turkey should have rejected such a vague description of this threat contained in the NATO summit’s declaration,” he said.

He added that by approving the declaration’s provisions, Turkey finds itself in the position of a country which supports NATO’s plans of encircling and pressuring Iran.

Cahit Armagan Dilek, a political scientist and the head of the university “Turkey in the 21st Century,” pointed to the declaration’s openly anti-Turkish slant, aimed at “encircling Iran and bringing pressure to bear on it by using Turkish territories and the introduction of an additional military contingent into Turkey.”

“In future, we may see NATO forces deploying along our southern border with Syria. It looks like NATO and Turkey look differently at what a ’terrorist threat’ is all about. The declaration says that at least three missiles fired at Turkey from Syria had actually been launched by the Syrian army and Iran. In the final account, the ‘terrorist threat,’ as it is termed in the NATO declaration, may transform into an ‘Iranian threat,’” the expert noted.

Dr. Dilek said that the Rapid Response task force that NATO plans to deploy, ostensibly to ensure Turkey’s security in the south, may in fact target Iran.

He added that to consolidate its positions in the region, NATO could deploy its forces east of the Euphrates and use them as a buffer between Turkey and YPG units.

READ MORE: Turkey’s Presidential Candidate Says NATO Fails to Ensure Nation’s Security

“Some of the NATO forces may be stationed to the west of the Euphrates, inside Turkey. With the Syrian army poised to advance on Idlib in August, the local jihadists may move towards Turkey and Afrin, thus destabilizing the situation in the region. In this case, NATO is likely to offer us help. However, we should also bear in mind the fact that the NATO forces deployed inside Turkey may be used against Iran. Turkey should take its time before it agrees to let foreign forces in, because we have absolutely no idea exactly when these forces will move out,” he explained.

He mentioned NATO’s naval forces deployed in the Aegean Sea as part of an EU-Turkish agreement on refugees in order to stem the tide of Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe.

“If, in addition to this, we have NATO land forces coming in, we may eventually have problems sending them back. We have a similar situation with the Incirlik base. But this time there may be more foreign troops stationed on our territory. Before the start of Operation Euphrates Shield, the Americans kept saying they needed 30,000 soldiers to secure the border between the [Syrian cities of] Jarabulus and Azaz,” Dr. Dilek noted.

July 15, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

Neocons Panic As Trump-Putin Meeting Could Mark Close Of Syrian Proxy War

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | July 13, 2018

When multiple op-ed pieces appear in the pages of the New York TimesWashington Post, and the CFR-owned Foreign Affairs authored by neocons simultaneously pleading with Trump Don’t Get Out of Syria(!) all within the same week, this is typically an indicator that the president is about to do something good.

Trump is set to meet with Putin one-on-one this coming Monday in Helsinki after a contentious NATO summit and a sufficiently awkward visit with Theresa May, and mainstream pundits’ heads are exploding.

The Post’s Josh Rogin warns, Trump and Putin may be about to make a terrible deal on Syria, and Susan Rice suddenly emerges from obscurity and irrelevance to say in the Times that Trump Must Not Capitulate to Putin while urging the administration not to “prematurely withdraw United States forces [from Syria], thus ceding total victory to Russia, Mr. Assad and Iran.” From North Korea to Afghanistan to Syria to Ukraine, Rice advises the typical regime change script of “harsh additional sanctions” anywhere the dictates of Washington are not strictly adhered to.

Similarly, Eli Lake links together the main regime change wars begun under Obama while lamenting their potential winding down as a result of Putin and Trump meeting as indicative of living in “some alternate universe.” “The price of Russian cooperation in Syria cannot be U.S. capitulation on Crimea,” Lake writes, and further calls such a possibility “the most dangerous possible outcome.”

The Kagan-led neocon think tank ISW, meanwhile, is outraged(!) the administration appears to lack “the will to use” America’s military might to counter Assad, Iran, and Russia, saying “the United States should invest now in building leverage for future decisive action.”

And then there’s Senator Lindsey Graham’s meltdown on Twitter this week in reaction to both the Syrian Army victoriously raising the national flag over Daraa and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telling President Vladimir Putin during a summit that Israel has no problem with Assad staying, so long as Israel can preserve “freedom of action” if attacked.

In a significant change of posture toward Damascus, Netanyahu told reporters in Moscow, “We haven’t had a problem with the Assad regime, for 40 years not a single bullet was fired on the Golan Heights.”

This was enough to send Graham’s head spinning: “Radical Sunni groups will say – correctly – that Assad is a proxy of Iran and the Ayatollah. It means the Syrian war never ends and ISIS comes back,” he said in a strange twist of logic that gives credence to the arguments of terror groups.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper featured Sen. Graham’s reaction:

‘Without Assad’s blessing, the flags of Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard would not be on Israel’s front door,’ Graham tweets in response to Netanyahu claiming Israel has no problem with Assad.

As Trump readies for Putin summit, saying “He’s not my enemy,” interventionistas are raging:

In the past months there’s been widespread reporting on a “secret” deal brokered between Russia, Israel, and Syria, which reportedly involves the Syrian Army agreeing to keep Iranian forces away from the ongoing successful campaign along the Israeli and Jordanian borders, especially the contested Golan Heights.

Netanyahu now says, fresh off his Moscow visit, that Putin agreed to restrain Iran in Syria, but that ultimately Assad will take back all of Syria.

The New York Times reports this hugely significant acknowledgement and surprising change of tune from the Israeli PM:

Israel, he said, did not object to President Bashar al-Assad’s regaining control over all of Syria, a vital Russian objective, and Russia had pushed Iranian and allied Shiite forces “tens of kilometers” away from the Israeli border.

The NYT continues:

But a commitment to keep Iranian forces tens of kilometers from Israel was a far cry from ejecting them completely from Syria, which Mr. Netanyahu has been lobbying Mr. Putin to do. And even that commitment was not confirmed by Russian officials.

… So a willingness to accept Mr. Assad’s resumption of control over all of Syria is no small concession, said Amos Yadlin, a former chief of Israeli military intelligence who now heads the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

“Nobody can these days destabilize the Assad regime,” he said. “The only one who can do it is Israel. And the Russians know that very well. So to get a commitment from Israel not to destabilize Syria is something that Russia will value very much.”

The neocon pundits’ last hope for military intervention in Syria has remained Netanyahu, and to see him fold must feel like a swift unexpected punch in the stomach, but more crucially the Syrian diplomatic cards have fallen in place just days before Monday’s Trump-Putin meeting.

President Assad has long vowed to liberate “every inch” of sovereign Syrian territory, something which but two years ago appeared impossible, yet which now looks increasingly inevitable. Should the Trump-Putin summit result in a green light that ensures Moscow and Damascus remain in the driver’s seat and set the terms for Syria’s stabilization, we could be witnessing the final diplomatic chapter in this dark seven-year long proxy war.

However, Trump continues to be urged from various corners of the beltway foreign policy establishment to salvage and preserve what he can of the open-ended US troop presence in eastern Syria: the US must “preserve its interests in the conflict, namely… constraining Iranian influence in the country” as one Foreign Policy essay argues.

For months now, Trump has talked of US military withdrawal from the country — which the Pentagon in public statements has put at over some 2,000 troops — a proposal which hawks within his administration have pushed back against every time.

And then there’s the clearly observable pattern that seems to repeat whenever the administration announces it is poised to pull out of Syria. Indeed it seems to occur every time the Syrian Army is on a trajectory of overwhelming victory: an ill-timed and strategically nonsensical mass chemical attack on civilians supposedly ordered by Assad — inevitably giving the West an open door for military intervention, new rounds of crippling sanctions, and yet more international media condemnation heaped on Damascus.

Precisely this scenario occurred just days after President Trump declared in the last week of March of this year that he wanted a complete US military pullout from Syria. What then immediately followed was the April 7 “chemical attack” provocation in Douma  just the thing that brought Trump’s planned pullout to a grinding halt, instead resulting tomahawk missiles unleashed on Damascus.

Should Trump and Putin ultimately come to a lasting settlement on the Syria issue which results in US troop withdrawal from Syria, will the international proxy war come to a close?

Or will we witness yet another last minute “mass casualty event” or other other provocation that pulls the US, Israel, and Russia into yet deeper direct military confrontation?

July 14, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment