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Serbian lawyers to file first lawsuits against NATO over use of depleted uranium munitions in 1999

RT | January 20, 2021

A team of legal experts is set to file the first cases against the NATO alliance on behalf of people who developed cancer after being exposed to depleted uranium munitions during the Serbian bombings in 1999.

The first lawsuit is expected to be filed before the Higher Court in Belgrade on Wednesday, following years of extensive work by a team of legal experts led by lawyer Srdjan Aleksic. Dozens of other lawsuits will be filed before other courts across the country as well. The team is seeking to win compensation of at least €300,000 ($363,500) for each Serbian victim who developed cancer.

“We are talking about the highest courts, to which we will file five lawsuits. The victims are natural persons – deceased and sick soldiers and police officers of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, who were in Kosovo in 1999. At the first stage, we want them to be identical cases, as in the Italian military,” Aleksic told Sputnik, referring to hundreds of Italian NATO soldiers who suffered from cancer and other severe conditions after being exposed to depleted uranium (DU) during the alliance’s campaign against Serbia.

The legal team has received support from Angelo Fiore Tartaglia, an Italian lawyer who successfully represented affected solders in court.

“He has 181 court rulings, which have already entered into force in Europe. He will be a member of my legal expert team,” Aleksic stated, expressing optimism over the cases’ prospects, given all the evidence the team has gathered.

“We have more than 3,000 pages of materials, including verdicts, expert opinions, materials of a special Italian government commission. We have collected enough evidence,” he said.

While the use of DU munitions in the Balkans has been openly admitted by NATO, proving a link between them and cancer proved to be an extremely difficult task, with the alliance denying any such correlation.

In its 2000 report on depleted uranium – which is used to make the hardened cores of armor-piercing rounds – NATO acknowledged that it used some 10 metric tons of the material during its Kosovo campaign, and 300 times more during the First Gulf War.

While the report acknowledged that the material poses a threat due to its toxicity in an “aerosol form” – basically, when the armor-piercing core is evaporated during a hit – it maintained that DU is not “particularly highly radioactive” and poses “practically no danger” when ingested or entering body directly through wounds.

At the same time, the alliance admitted that “in the vicinity of the impact point of DU ammunitions, it is not excluded that individuals unaware of the contamination… could have accumulated radiation doses and/or could have incorporated uranium quantities exceeding the internationally recognized limits.”

The use of DU was also acknowledged by the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, but it said that “there is no specific treaty ban on the use of DU projectiles.”

January 20, 2021 Posted by | Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | | Leave a comment

Meeting between Moldovan and Ukrainian leaders was to coordinate actions against Russia

Paul Antonopoulos | January 18, 2021

The visit of Moldovan President Maia Sandu to Ukraine last week is the first interaction between the two neighboring countries at the highest level in recent years. For Sandu, this trip became her foreign policy premiere since she became president on December 24, 2020. We could observe in her meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that there is a good level of personal interaction between the two leaders.

The Three Seas Initiative project was discussed in relation to the implementation of a partnership with the EU. The Three Seas Initiative is a forum comprising of twelve European Union members located between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas and has the aim of fostering closer cooperation. Both Moldova and Ukraine want to be involved in the Three Seas Initiative despite not being European Union member states.

Both Sandu and Zelensky are radically opposed to Russia in the belief that it will help their country’s prospects of becoming European Union and NATO members. The Moldovan and Ukrainian leaders discussed “mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity” and their willingness to face “geopolitical challenges” together with the traditional allusion of a common “aggressor.” They never directly named Russia, but given their known position against Moscow, it is obvious who their statement was directed towards.

Sandu and Zelensky are oriented towards the same circles in the West. Both aim to integrate their countries into Euro-Atlantic structures, despite the unlikeliness that Moldova or Ukraine will become member states of the European Union or NATO in the foreseeable future. As a result of their willingness to appease Western interests in Eastern Europe, Russian influence in the post-Soviet space is being challenged. But now that the political situation in the United States is showing signs of instability, it is not convenient for them to make openly direct statements against Russia.

The issue of Crimea and the Crimean Platform was deliberately avoided by both presidents in the part of the meeting that was revealed to the public. This is likely because such maneuvers require consultation with the incoming Joe Biden administration. Sandu and Zelensky most likely considered it premature to make such statements regarding Crimea. This decision is despite Ukraine launching the Crimean Platform just a mere few months earlier as part of their strategy to “de-occupy” the peninsula after it reunited with Russia in 2014 in a referendum that adhered to all international norms and standards.

When the new administration in Washington stabilizes, it will become clearer whether Moldova’s and Ukraine’s Western partners are ready to use them against Russia. Although they will likely find support from Biden if they continue their opposition to Russia, there will be elections for a new German Chancellor on September 26 and Angela Merkel will not be running. The victor could determine whether Berlin, the de facto leader of the European Union, will continue to loyally follow Washington’s foreign policy or pursue an independent one.

Away from the public eye and ear, it is likely that Sandu and Zelensky privately discussed possibilities of joint pressure against Russia in Transnistria and Donbass. Although Donbass is well known to Westerners, Transnistria is almost unheard of. The small territory is wedged between Ukraine and Moldova. It has a de facto independence but is internationally recognized as a part of Moldova despite the majority of the population being either Russian or Ukrainian.

It should be remembered that during last year’s election campaign, Sandu announced that she will focus on “eliminating the Russian military presence” without mentioning a political settlement in the Transnistrian dispute, thus threatening to warm up a frozen conflict. Given the geography, Ukraine and Moldova are able to blockade Transnistria. This would sever transport links and economic flows.

During the meeting between Sandu and Zelensky, only two public initiatives came to be known – the creation of a certain transportation corridor between the capitals of Ukraine and Moldova, and the organization of a presidential council of the two countries. However, regarding the first initiative, it must have a strong economic justification to be attractive to potential investors. Given the current state of low economic interaction between Ukraine and Moldova, as well as their economic crises, such a justification will be very difficult to find.

The Presidential Council is a more realistic initiative, although the idea itself is not new. The statement about it is a sign that Moldova and Ukraine have agreed to pursue certain policies together. Even if those policies are not clear yet, it will undoubtedly include how they can collectively counter Russian influence in Transnistria and Donbass.

January 18, 2021 Posted by | Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment

The “Russian hacking” NATO psyop has finally been solved

CrowdStrike founder Dmitri Alperovitch (center) at the US-NATO Atlantic Council, 2014 (AC)
Swiss Policy Research | December 2020

To professional analysts, it has long been clear that the “Russiagate” saga – including the “Russian hacking” claims, the Trump-Russia collusion claims, as well as the “Skripal poisoning incident” and the more recent “Navalny poisoning incident” – has been a US and NATO psychological operation aimed at containing a resurgent Russia and a somewhat unpredictable US President.

Several aspects of the “Russian hacking” psychological operation had already been uncovered by independent researchers like Stephen McIntyre, “Adam Carter” and “The Forensicator”.

In early November, however, British researcher David J. Blake essentially solved the “Russian hacking” psyop, down to the operational level, as described in his new book “Loaded for Guccifer 2.0”.

US/NATO-controlled IT used for “Russian” hacking and phishing operations (DJB)

Blake shows how the “Russian hacking” psyop was initiated by the US and NATO in 2014 in response to Russia’s reaction to the US regime change in Ukraine, when Russia retook control of the Crimean Peninsula and supported the de-facto secession of Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine.

The US/NATO psyop was inspired by the actual amateur hackers “CyberBerkut” in Ukraine and “Guccifer” in Romania. Blake shows how in 2014, NATO created a “Cyber Defence Trust Fund” and used this entity to initiate false-flag “hacking operations” against the US and other NATO members that would then be falsely “attributed” to alleged Russian “state-sponsored hacking groups”.

Regarding the most prominent such case, the alleged “hacking” of the US Democratic Party (DNC) and the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, Blake shows how the emails and documents in question were in fact exfiltrated by the FBI and FBI cybersecurity contractor CrowdStrike, whose founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a Senior Fellow at the US-NATO think tank Atlantic Council.[1]

Blake shows how the mysterious persona of Guccifer 2.0, who claimed the hack, was played by none other than Alperovitch himself, while the technical infrastructure, including the notorious website dcleaks.com, was provided by US and NATO intermediaries in NATO member Romania.

Later, former FBI director Robert Mueller would pretend to “investigate” the cyber operation, attributing it to alleged “Russian hacking groups” named “Cozy Bear” and “Fancy Bear” based on information provided by FBI and DNC contractor CrowdStrike and its CTO Dmitri Alperovitch.[2]

Blake also shows how other alleged “Russian hacks”, including the “hacking” of the German parlia­ment in 2015, relied on the very same NATO-controlled technical infrastructure. Blake was able to show this based on archived information about previous owners of IP addresses, name servers, and SSL security certificates – all pointing to the US military, NATO, and the Ukrainian government.[3]

Archived IP and SSL data tying covert operations to NATO and the Ukrainian government (DJB)

In the case of the staged hack of the US Democratic Party, Blake shows how FBI cybersecurity contractor CrowdStrike added false “Russian fingerprints” by embedding the documents into previously published CyberBerkut documents and inserting additional false signatures. However, CrowdStrike made a few technical mistakes that ultimately revealed their US time zone.

Blake highlights the important fact that in all of these false-flag “Russian hacks”, originating from NATO-controlled infrastructure, either no data or only trivial data was released to the public. Some questions continue to remain open, however, such as the role of murdered DNC employee Seth Rich and the actual source of Wikileaks, whose founder Julian Assange is still in British custody.

In the wake of the 2014 US regime change in Ukraine, the family of then Vice President Joe Biden exfiltrated millions of dollars from Ukraine, protected against corruption investigations by Joe Biden himself, as leaked phone recordings confirmed.

As of 2021, the professionals behind the Ukraine regime change and the “Russiagate” pysop will once again be in full control of the US government.

Most US and European media have promoted the “Russiagate” and “Russian hacking” psyops and will continue to do so. This is because most US and European media, both liberal and conservative, are themselves embedded in networks linked to NATO and the US Council on Foreign Relations. It is only some independent media that have been seriously investigating these topics.

Are there real Russian state-sponsored hacks against Western targets? Yes. Blake argues that, for instance, the hacking operation against the British Institute for Statecraft and its “Integrity Initiative” – itself deeply involved in the “Russiagate” psyop – was likely a professional Russian operation. The problem is that such real operations are much harder to “attribute” than fake ones.

∗∗∗

David J. Blake‘s book can be purchased in paperback, and is available as an adapted digital version.

January 5, 2021 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Sarajevo’s snub of Lavrov’s visit is in the hope of challenging Serbian power in Bosnia

By Paul Antonopoulos | December 17, 2020

The scandalous refusal of the members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Željko Komšić and Šefik Džaferović, to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday, indicates what the Republika Srpska has been warning about for years is correct – that BiH is dysfunctional and it is impossible to cooperate with Sarajevo. Their move could also be linked to murmurings in Washington about intentions to destroy the Dayton Agreement that created BiH in 1995. BiH was established as two entities – the mostly Bosnian Muslim-Croatian Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Serbian-dominated Republika Srpska.

It is not the first time that Bosnian Muslim and Croat representatives have changed their minds before an event or meeting. At the beginning of the Bosnian War, Alija Izetbegović, who in 1992 became the first president of the Presidency of the newly independent BiH, withdrew from the Carrington–Cutileiro peace plan on the same day he met U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia, Warren Zimmermann, in Sarajevo. Zimmermann denies instructing Izetbegović to withdraw from the 1992 Carrington–Cutileiro peace plan, but it is not hard to connect the dots. Because of Izetbegović’s withdrawal from the peace plan, the Bosnian War violently waged on until December 1995.

Sarajevo maintains a policy of constantly toying with agreements to create diplomatic scandals. However, despite the Bosnian Muslims and Croats continually undermining the unity of BiH by opposing the Republika Sprska, Džaferović and Komšić created perhaps their biggest scandal yet by refusing to meet with Lavrov with an undiplomatic excuse that he did not respect BiH institutions – without providing examples. Instead of holding an already scheduled meeting with him, they decided to hold their own press conference at the same time the Russian Foreign Minister spoke with the third member of the Presidency, the Republika Srpaska’s Milorad Dodik.

“With respect to the Russian Federation as a big and powerful country, we will not agree to become a Russian pawn in the Balkans in their games and conflicts with EU or NATO member countries. We expect them to understand and support this,” Komšić said.

It is possible that the Bosnian Muslim and Croat in the Presidency of BiH misunderstood a short statement from the transitional cabinet of U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden about how the work in Dayton is not finished.

Lavrov, as an extremely experienced diplomat, did not violate any protocol and did everything according to international norms and standards. The obvious problem is that Sarajevo does not want dialogue with Moscow. The Bosnian Muslim and Croat representatives could have taken advantage of the Serbs in BiH, who have a historical, ethnic and religious connection with Russia, to benefit all BiH citizens. Instead they decided to create a scandal and once again divide the country along ethnic and religious lines.

The visit of a foreign minister from a larger and influential country is an opportunity for each country to try and explain their views and improve understanding and relations with each other. If such an opportunity is rejected, it sends a negative message, not only because of the lack of desire to improve relations for mutually beneficial cooperation, but also because it fosters suspicions and tensions.

Komšić’s and Džaferović’s refusal to meet with Lavrov is an irresponsible political decision considering Moscow has always had a principled attitude towards BiH, especially as Moscow is one of the guarantors of the Dayton Agreement. Their decision to snub Lavrov is a reflection of their own frustrations against the Dayton Agreement because Bosnian Muslims are not satisfied with it. This is because they have always had the goal of supremacy and domination over all of BiH, while simultaneously sidelining the Serbs. They continually attempt to disempower the Dayton Agreement in order to achieve their goal through a belief that a better functioning system can be achieved through a centralized Bosnian Muslim dominated state that would gain supremacy over not only the Serbs, but also the Croats, who for now are just enjoying an alliance of necessity with Bosnian Muslims.

Lavrov did not comment on the boycott at a media conference and the Russian Foreign Ministry posted a photo of the meeting without mentioning that the other two presidency members were not present. Publicly, Moscow is showing that this is an unimportant issue. However, within the Kremlin, it is likely decisionmakers are contemplating what to make of this snub and how to react at an appropriate time.

The Russian diplomat’s visit to BiH coincided with the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Dayton peace agreement, which although left BiH as an example of why artificial states like BiH result in failure, it did end the bloodshed that Izetbegović instigated for many years by withdrawing from the Carrington–Cutileiro peace plan in March 1992.

Lavrov emphasized on Monday, the other day before his visit to BiH, that the Dayton agreement must not be changed, referring to comments by Western diplomats, Bosnian politicians and Washington that it needs to be changed.

“I would like to say that any attempt to demolish [the Dayton agreement] can cause the most serious risks and consequences,” Lavrov said.

By snubbing the Russian Foreign Minister, it appears that Komšić and Džaferović are attempting to demolish the Dayton agreement so that Bosnian Muslims and Croats can achieve more power in BiH at the expense of the Republika Srpska.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

 

December 17, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

NATO says it is “United for a New Era” but is trying to resurrect 20th century policies

By Paul Antonopoulos | December 10, 2020

On December 3, Carnegie Europe hosted the public launch of the NATO 2030 Expert Group’s Report: “United for a New Era”. The report comes as U.S. President Donald Trump has many issues with NATO members for not committing to their military budget, Turkey continues its near daily military threats against fellow NATO member Greece, and French President Emmanuel Macron famously highlighted that NATO suffers from a “brain death.” NATO is struggling to find a reason for its existence since the collapse of European communism in 1991, but the report’s authors are confident that their suggestions can adapt NATO “for a New Era”.

What becomes evident from the report is that this “New Era” is not based on multipolarity. Rather it is an attempt to resurrect the U.S.-led unipolar world, suggesting that NATO actually has no strategy for the “New Era” of multipolarity.

But for NATO to justify its existence in the 21st century, they require a political consolidation of members who are divided. It appears that the authors hope that anti-Russian and anti-Chinese positions can unite NATO again towards a common goal.

“NATO must adapt to meet the needs of a more demanding strategic environment marked by the return of systemic rivalry, [and a] persistently aggressive Russia”, the authors said in their “Main Findings: Moving Toward NATO 2030”.

However, the old Russian enemy is also no longer a strong enough reason to justify the existence of NATO, which is why there is also a particular emphasis on China in the report.

“NATO must devote much more time, political resources, and action to the security challenges posed by China,” the report said, adding that NATO must “develop a political strategy for approaching a world in which China will be of growing importance through to 2030. The Alliance should infuse the China challenge throughout existing structures and consider establishing a consultative body to discuss all aspects of Allies’ security interests vis-à-vis China.”

The 67-page report however is mostly just theory, analytical considerations and suggestions. In practice, NATO is dominated by absolute indecision. Some so-called experts are not content with only Russia being the main focus of NATO in the 21st century and consider China a major enemy of the alliance. This is problematic as many NATO members, including countries like Greece that are traditionally subservient to the Alliance, are unwilling to jeopardize trade relations with China and are beginning to improve their ties with Moscow again.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg noted that important decisions will be taken in February during a meeting of defense ministers. This meeting will occur just weeks after we discover whether it will be Donald Trump or Joe Biden sitting in the White House on January 20.

A NATO emphasis against China or Russia will depend on whether it will be a Trump or Biden administration next year. For Trump, China is Washington’s main adversary. Biden certainly emphasizes China’s supposed threat, but in reality, the trade war will likely cool down as there are influential interest groups in both countries wanting to engage in business rather than a geopolitical struggle. However, a Biden presidency will certainly push NATO to become tougher against Moscow and encourage destabilization on Russia’s frontiers.

In support of destabilizing Russia’s borders and undermining its interests, the report urges NATO to “expand and strengthen partnerships with Ukraine and Georgia, seek to heighten engagement with Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

As the report states, NATO should “counter destabilization across the Western Balkans”. This is despite the fact that it was the Alliance that violently dissolved Yugoslavia in the 1990’s by supporting separatist forces in Kosovo, as well as jihadists from the Arab World and Chechnya to help break Bosnia off from Yugoslavia.

The fact that Russia is the main threat to Biden is very suitable for some NATO members and their allies like Ukraine, Georgia, Poland and Lithuania. If necessary, these countries could also turn against China if demanded so by NATO or Biden. These states will be more than satisfied as anti-Russian policies in today’s NATO is fanatically supported by Anglosphere and former Warsaw Pact countries.

Reading the new NATO report, which attempts to set a decade-long strategy for the Alliance, actually reveals the desperation to find relevance in the 21st century. Biden may say “America is back”, but that does not mean it will be able to return. Washington’s peak power occurred when the world became unipolar after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, this short period has already passed and NATO is more obsolete than ever.

NATO, but especially the likes of the Anglosphere and former Warsaw pact states, tries to cling onto an inefficient past. It is for this reason that other NATO members are beginning to look outside of the Alliance to ensure their security without the cost of opposing Russia and China. An example of this is the emerging alliance between France, Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

The 21st Century is incomparable to the previous century as new regional and global security threats have emerged under different geopolitical contexts. Insisting that Russia and China are the main adversaries to Anglo-American dominance, prevents NATO states from facing the reality that the 21st century is an era of multipolarity, thus limiting their own global influence as states are choosing to engage in new relations and alliances disconnected from demands made by third parties. NATO believes it can unite all member states “for a New Era” by opposing Moscow and Beijing, but this will only end in major disappointment and failure for the alliance as member states are becoming unwilling to adopt anti-Russian and anti-Chinese policies.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst. 

December 10, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

NATO’s Attempted Infringement Of Russia’s Airspace & Maritime Borders Is Very Dangerous

By Andrew Korybko | One World | November 27, 2020

It seems like almost every week that Russian media reports on NATO’s attempted infringement of Russian airspace and maritime borders, but two ultra-dangerous developments occurred over the past week which signify that this trend will intensify. The Russian Navy threatened to ram the USS John McCain after it aggressively passed into the country’s territorial waters near Peter the Great Bay off Vladivostok, after which it thankfully reversed its course. The second incident involved the US launching rockets into the Black Sea from Romania that are capable of reaching Crimea in a wartime scenario. These two events deserve to be discussed more in detail because of their significance to NATO’s grand strategy.

The transatlantic alliance intends to provoke the Eurasian Great Power into reacting in a way that could then be manipulated as the “plausible pretext” for imposing further pressure upon it. It amounts to de-facto brinksmanship and is therefore incredibly dangerous since both parties are nuclear powers. Furthermore, it’s the definition of unprovoked aggression since Russia doesn’t partake in symmetrical provocations against NATO. If anything, every time that it’s been dishonestly accused of such was just the country carrying out military exercises within its own borders which just so happen to abut several NATO states after the bloc extended its frontiers eastward following the end of the Old Cold War.

It’s the eastern expansion of NATO and the alliance’s recent activities in the Arctic Ocean that represent the greatest threat to peace between the two. On the eastern front, the US is once again provoking Russia in order to craft the false impression among the Japanese that Moscow is a military threat to their interests. Washington is greatly perturbed by their past couple years of technically fruitless but nevertheless highly symbolic talks over signing a peace treaty to end the Second World War and resolve what Tokyo subjectively regards as the “Northern Territories Dispute”. Moscow’s reclamation of control over the Kuril Islands following that conflict was agreed to by the Allies, but then America went back on its word in order to divide and rule the two.

Their mutual intent to enter into a rapprochement with one another could in theory occur in parallel with a similar rapprochement between Japan and China, which might altogether reduce Tokyo’s need to retain as robust of an American military presence on its islands. That in turn would weaken the US’ military posturing and therefore reduce the viability of its grand strategic designs to “contain” both multipolar countries in that theater. As regards the Arctic and Eastern European fronts, these are also part of the same “containment” policy, albeit aimed most directly against Russia and only tangentially against China’s “Polar Silk Road”.

It’s understandable that the US will continue to compete with these two rival Great Powers, but such competition must be responsibly regulated in order to avoid the unintended scenario of a war by miscalculation. It’s for that reason that the world should be alarmed by American brinksmanship against them, especially the latest developments with respect to Russia that were earlier described. All that it takes is one wrong move for everything to spiral out of control and beyond the point of no return. Regrettably, while Biden might ease some pressure on China, he’ll likely compensate by doubling down against Russia.

Trump should also take responsibility for this as well since it’s occurring during his presidency after all, even if it might possibly be in its final months if he isn’t able to thwart the Democrats’ illegal seizure of power following their large-scale defrauding of this month’s elections. He capitulated to hostile “deep state” pressure early on into this term perhaps out of the mistaken belief that “compromising” with his enemies in the permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies would result in them easing their pressure upon him on other fronts, but this gamble obviously failed since it only emboldened them to pressure him even more.

It’s unfortunate that Trump was never able to actualize his intended rapprochement with Russia for the aforementioned reasons, but he could have rebelliously defied the “deep state” after this month’s fraudulent elections by reversing his currently aggressive policy against Moscow if he truly had the political will to do so. He doesn’t, though, and this might nowadays be due more to his support of the military-industrial complex than any “deep state” pressure like it initially was. After all, war is a very profitable business, and artificially amplifying the so-called “Russia threat” by provoking Moscow into various responses could pay off handsomely.

It’s therefore extremely unlikely that this dangerous trend will change anytime in the coming future. To the contrary, it’ll likely only intensify and get much worse under a possible Biden Administration. Nevertheless, Russia doesn’t lack the resolve to defend its legitimate interests and will always do what’s needed in this respect, albeit responsibly (so long as it’s realistic to react in such a way) in order to avoid falling into the Americans’ trap. The ones who should be the most worried, then, are the US’ NATO and other “allied” vassals who stand to lose the most by getting caught in any potential crossfire for facilitating American aggression.

November 27, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Here’s why European leaders are swooning like giddy submissives over Biden’s warmongering ‘back to normal’ team

By Finian Cunningham | RT | November 25, 2020

The EU is trembling in anticipation at the prospect of a Joe Biden administration, like Ana Steele in Christian Grey’s Red Room of Pain, despite the policies he espouses being precisely the cause of their problems.

Their rushing to congratulate him, even before the presidential result is certified, speaks volumes of their delight that ‘daddy’ is back in the White House.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen could barely contain her joy over what she said was a “new beginning in EU-US global partnership.”

Charles Michel, the European Council president, said it was time to “rebuild a strong EU-USA alliance” and he hastily invited Biden to a European summit in Brussels in the new year, even though the American election has not yet been formally concluded.

Other European national leaders had already congratulated Biden two weeks ago, only days after the November 3 ballot, despite the controversy of incumbent Donald Trump vowing legal challenges over alleged voting fraud.

European elation grew this week with the unveiling of Biden’s would-be cabinet picks. Which seems incredible, given that the incoming White House team is made up of people associated with the Obama administrations (2008-16) for which Biden had served as vice president. Incredible, because several of Europe’s contemporary pressing problems stem from wars in North Africa and the Middle East that the Obama administration fomented.

Appearing defensive about that, Biden in his first in-depth interview as president-elect asserted that “this is not a third Obama administration.” The fact remains, though, that his cabinet nominees are Obama-era holdovers, with names like Antony Blinken for Secretary of State and Jake Sullivan as national security adviser who advocated wars or destructive interventions in Libya, Syria and Ukraine. These conflicts and others in Iraq and Afghanistan, which Biden personally endorsed as a senior senator or exacerbated while vice president to Obama, have led to myriad problems in Europe, from blowback jihadist terrorism to racial tensions with Muslim communities, to straining of resources dealing with a massive influx of refugees from war zones.

This week, while European leaders were cooing over the next Biden administration, French police caused shocking headlines by brutally forcing hundreds of mainly Afghan refugees from a makeshift encampment in the heart of Paris. Such problems stem directly from the illegal wars that were the handiwork of Obama, Biden and his reprised team of warmongers.

Thus, the question is why are European politicians so craven in welcoming the return of conventional American imperialists? Forget all the Biden team hype about “working with allies” and “multilateralism is back”. The Europeans will be treated as they always have been: adjuncts to Washington’s pursuit of its own “interests.”

It’s the political equivalent of “Who’s your daddy?” The European leaders are rolling over for more abuse and gladly doing so, too.

But why?

There are several factors. A deluded nostalgia for “normalcy” after four years of fraught and nerve-fraying relations with maverick Trump. The personal umbrage of Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders from being antagonized by boorish Trump over NATO expenditures and trade tariffs is part of the relief they are feeling at getting rid of him. Also, European politicians and diplomats will see Biden and his team as people they are reconnecting with in career paths going back several years. Unlike the shambolic and confusing Trump administration, a Biden one will bring coherence and continuity – regardless of the legacy of wars – which makes for smoother personal, political interaction. Better the devil you know.

Don’t forget, too, that there are plenty of European Atlanticists who, from an ideological conviction, truly believe in the strategic benefits of an US-EU axis. These kind of European deep-state politicians and bureaucrats are credulous believers in NATO and American claims of “leading the free world” against, formerly, the Soviet Union and Red China, and now Russia and Belt & Road China. So, when they hear Biden declaring “America’s back” and “renewing alliances” it is music to their ears.

One specific upside is talk from President-elect Biden of returning the US to the Iran nuclear deal. Trump’s trashing of the 2015 accord cost European states a lot of business and investment hopes with Iran. Also, their image of presumed independence was dented from Trump wielding secondary sanctions against Europeans doing business with Iran, humiliating them to toe his line. With Biden, the Europeans see an opening for resuming economic interests in Iran. That remains to be seen, however.

Another possible upside under Biden is his seeming willingness to enter into arms-control talks with Russia. In particular, renewing the New START treaty curbing strategic nuclear weapons. Trump’s reckless walking away from arms-control conventions, including the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and the Open Skies Treaty, caused much anxiety across Europe of a new arms race and a threat to continental security. Biden, therefore, may bring some stability on arms control, even though he and his team have made numerous aggressive sounds towards Russia.

But perhaps the most appealing thing that European leaders see in Biden is that the removal of Trump from office is a harbinger for countering the rise in European populism which has been gravely undermining the EU project. The European liberal establishment refers to the various movements as “far-right” which is an unfair broad brush. Some are rightwing, some leftwing, but generally there is a popular sentiment of alienation from the EU and national political establishments over issues related to neoliberal capitalist failure and seemingly uncontrolled immigration which is connected to endless American wars aided and abetted by European NATO powers.

Former European Council President Donald Tusk expressed this view: “Trump’s defeat can be the beginning of the end of the triumph of far-right populisms in Europe. Thank you, Joe.”

Trump was detested by European establishment politicians because they saw him as a mentor for populist, nationalist parties across Europe. His outspoken support for Brexit rankled the EU. Trump’s former ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, openly advocated for Germany’s Eurosceptic AfD party. Steve Bannon, Trump’s former political aide, tried to rally a populist revolt across Europe.

In short, Trump and his America First policy was seen as a malign influence corroding the pillars of the EU bloc.

Biden, however, is a return to conventional trans-Atlanticism, where European nations are at least treated with a modicum of respect – albeit in reality subordinates who will be told by Washington when, where and how high to jump. That’s a degrading relationship but, for the European establishment, they see it as the best way to preserve their order by taking the political oxygen away from populists. Never mind the wars, the refugees, the multicultural tensions, the economic austerity, being a sub for Uncle Sam is a comfort of sorts.

The tragic irony is this not-so “new beginning” in EU-US relations will inevitably lead to more internal contradictions down the road because Biden’s politics are predicated on more interventionism and imperialism under the banner of “leading the free world,” which is the root cause of Europe’s instability.

Finian Cunningham is an award-winning journalist. For over 25 years, he worked as a sub-editor and writer for The Mirror, Irish Times, Irish Independent and Britain’s Independent, among others.

November 25, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Trump throws shade at ‘overrated general’ Mattis after ex-Pentagon chief says ‘America First’ must be ELIMINATED from policy

RT | November 24, 2020

US President Donald Trump has heaped scorn on his former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, after the general called on Joe Biden to ditch Trump’s “America First” foreign policy in favor of a “network of solid alliances.”

The president lamented not having “fired [Mattis] sooner,” insisting his administration did their “best work after he was gone” in a Tuesday tweet responding to a Fox News story about Mattis’ latest outburst of armchair-policymaking.

That says it all about Mattis. Obama fired him. I should have fired him sooner. Did best work after he was gone. World’s most overrated general! https://t.co/2i4jPWAAPA

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2020

Trump even spared a rare note of praise for his predecessor Barack Obama, admitting the Democrat had done at least one thing right – namely, firing Mattis, whom the incumbent president called the “world’s most overrated general.”

Mattis, who resigned from his post as Trump’s Pentagon chief in protest against the president’s efforts to bring troops home from Syria, had called on a Biden administration to “eliminate ‘America First’ from [the US national security strategy’s] contents” in an op-ed published Monday in Foreign Affairs. The piece was co-written with two of his Hoover Institute peers and a third think-tanker hailing from the right-wing American Enterprise Institute.

Rather than trying to wind down what even the Biden campaign and other Democrats have begun referring to as “forever wars,” Mattis argued, Washington should view the never-ending conflicts in “Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere” as providing “support to friendly governments struggling to exert control over their own territory.”

“It is in the United States’ interests to build the capacity of such governments to deal with the threats that concern Americans,” the general continued, glossing over the part where US taxpayer dollars are repeatedly used to arm and otherwise fund those same “threats.” From the mujahideen in Afghanistan to the “moderate rebels” in Syria, the US has a lengthy track record of funding terrorist groups it later either fights, or leaves for others to deal with.

Instead of ending wars and shifting spending focus to rebuilding America’s decaying infrastructure, Mattis and his co-writers argued, an incoming Biden administration should “expand the cooperative space in which all countries supporting a rules-based order can work together to advance shared interests.” The term “rules-based order” has become something of a dog-whistle for NATO supremacy and a cudgel to be wielded against the US’ rivals, though Washington itself has never had a problem flagrantly violating international norms and NATO itself has a habit of demanding concessions of non-members that member countries need not submit to – such as unilateral nuclear disarmament.

While Mattis urged Biden and his team to strengthen their alliances with China’s Asian neighbors in order to keep Beijing on a tight leash, the former defense secretary also suggested the incoming president find “opportunities to cooperate with China in areas of overlapping interests, such as pandemic response, climate change, and nuclear security.” The Trump administration has torn up multiple nuclear arms treaties with Russia and is expected to let another one, the New START Treaty signed by Obama, expire next year as Moscow is unwilling to sign it on Trump’s questionable terms.

However, Mattis also stressed the importance of couching the US’ bloated military apparatus in a civilian framework, noting that “militarizing US national security can dim the attractiveness of the American model, the appeal of which makes it easier for other countries to support US policies.” Given the hundreds of US bases peppering the globe, it’s not clear how US ‘national security’ could get any more militarized, but, the general formerly known as ‘Mad Dog’ complained, alleged US isolationism was “undermining the foundations of an international order manifestly advantageous to US interests.”

“In practice, ‘America first’ has meant ‘America alone.’”

In addition to opposing the president’s efforts to put an end to war in Syria, Mattis has been one of the many establishment critics of Trump’s eleventh-hour efforts to bring troops home from Afghanistan. The US military has been deployed in that particular quagmire for close to two decades, making it the longest war in American history – but Republicans and Democrats alike are loath to call it quits and miss out on all the natural resources [or the attraction of having airbases adjacent to Iran] to be had in central Asia. Meanwhile, Biden has signaled he’s ready to resume regime-change business as usual, tapping an array of Obama-era hawks to staff his cabinet.

November 24, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Under Biden, expect more bombing and regime change. Tony Blinken’s record speaks for itself

By George Szamuely | RT | November 24, 2020

A US foreign policy run by Antony J. Blinken and Jake Sullivan, the likely next secretary of state and national security adviser, will mean more global interventions and regime-change operations, Clinton and Obama style.

Blinken played a prominent foreign policy role in both the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama administrations, while Sullivan was part of the Obama one.

The Democrat-boosting media are, not surprisingly, excited by media-anointed President-elect Joe Biden’s choice of Blinken, his long-time national security adviser, as his secretary of state. Along with his pick of Jake Sullivan, another close aide, as his national security adviser, these appointments supposedly signal restoration of “internationalism” and “globalpartnerships” as guiding principles of US foreign policy.

Media fawns for fake ‘internationalism’

Blinken, a “defender of global alliances,” in the soothing words of the New York Times, will “help calm American diplomats and global leaders alike after four years of the Trump administration’s ricocheting strategies and nationalist swaggering.” To the Washington Post, Blinken’s appointment would be fulfillment of Biden’s “vows to reassemble global alliances and insert the United States into a more prominent position on the world stage.” The Guardian purred that the appointees are:

“… committed internationalists, in strong contrast to the Trump era, which saw a bonfire of foreign treaties and agreements, and abrasive relations with traditional allies under the banner of ‘America First’, which Biden said during the campaign had led to ‘America alone’.”

That’s the message then: The foreign policy professionals are back, and US allies can rest assured that the United States will once again treat them with courtesy and respect. Such talk is delusional, if not downright deceptive. Blinken’s outlook is that of a career US interventionist, as is that of Sullivan. The opinions of other countries are worth considering only if they coincide with the views of US policymakers. If they don’t coincide, then they can be discounted.

The war on Serbia

Never was this axiom as vividly illustrated as during the Clinton administration’s protracted war against the Serbs during the 1990s. The Clinton administration, of which Blinken was an important member, had facilitated the arrival into Bosnia of international jihadi terrorists, including one Osama bin Laden. No one among Washington’s supposedly closest allies was asked what he or she thought of this policy of introducing Islamic terrorism into Europe. Richard Holbrooke, former assistant secretary of state for European and Canadian affairs in the Clinton administration, subsequently boasted about the efficacy of this policy. For him, shipping mujahedin fighters into Bosnia brought to mind “Winston Churchill’s famous comments about why Britain made common cause with Stalin against Hitler… [It] was a legitimate decision for Churchill and he knew full well the consequences. Here at a much smaller scale, this was done.”

Subsequently, the Clinton administration helped arm and train the Kosovo Liberation Army. The hope was that a KLA terrorist campaign in Yugoslavia would provoke the Belgrade authorities into overreacting. The expected humanitarian disaster could then be used to launch a NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. When Belgrade refused to take the bait, the Clinton administration – in which Blinken was at that time special assistant to President Clinton and senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council – had to invent a pretext for bombing. That was provided by the Yugoslav government’s refusal to sign a Kosovo peace package at Rambouillet, France. The Yugoslav government had been issued with an ultimatum: accept the US-drafted package or face NATO bombing. Included within this package was the notorious Appendix B, which gave NATO unrestricted rights to move anywhere it wished throughout the territory of Yugoslavia, and to enjoy total immunity from prosecution.

The Clinton administration had deceitfully kept from the US public the details of Appendix B, as well as the take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum it had issued at Rambouillet. Later, when NATO’s bombing triggered the entirely foreseeable refugee flow from Kosovo, the Clinton administration claimed – again deceitfully – that NATO had launched its bombing campaign in response to Serb attempts to drive out Kosovo’s Albanian population. The claim made no sense. The refugee flight from Kosovo took place only after the start of NATO’s attack; the flight couldn’t therefore have been the pretext for NATO’s bombing.

Blinken played an integral role in orchestrating NATO’s bombing campaign, and has continued to tout his role in NATO’s legerdemain. Revealingly, Blinken appears untroubled by the Clinton administration’s refusal to seek UN Security Council authorization for the use of force against Yugoslavia. He evidently shared Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s contempt for the legalistic concerns raised by UK Foreign Secretary Robin Cook. Told that international law experts were advising a UN Security Council resolution was necessary, Albright scoffed, “Get new lawyers!”

‘Protecting civilians’ in Libya

Blinken’s disdain for international institutions was very much in evidence during the Obama administration’s 2011 bombing of Libya. Blinken, at the time Biden’s national security adviser, was an enthusiastic advocate of the bombing campaign. There was a problem though. The bombing was undertaken ostensibly in order to save the residents of Benghazi who were supposedly under threat from the forces of President Muammar Gaddafi. However, Resolution 1973, which the US and NATO used to justify the attack, only instructed UN member states “to take all necessary measures… to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack.” It didn’t say that such “measures” should include bombing. Still less did the resolution authorize the US and NATO to use the bombing in order to topple Gaddafi. Yet, long after any conceivable threat to the residents of Benghazi had disappeared, NATO governments continued to justify their refusal to call a halt to the bombing by invoking the purported threat Gaddafi posed to Libya’s civilians. NATO didn’t let up on the bombing until the brutal execution of Gaddafi, a war crime in which NATO took an active part.

‘Doing too little’ in Syria

No sooner was Gaddafi overthrown and Libya thrown into chaos than the Obama administration shifted its attention to Syria, seeking there also to topple the legal government. The tools it deployed were familiar. Under Operation Timber Sycamore, the CIA was authorized to work with Arab intelligence services to arm and train rebels seeking to overthrow the government of President Bashar Assad. The weapons, needless to say, in no time found their way into the hands of the worst and most fanatical of the jihadi killers. Syria seemed to be on the brink of falling under the sway of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). Strangely enough, Blinken’s only regret about his activities in Syria is that the Obama administration didn’t do more to ensure the overthrow of Assad.

In an article last year that he co-authored with leading neocon publicist Robert Kagan, he argued that in Syria, the US made the “error of doing too little. Without bringing appropriate power to bear, no peace could be negotiated, much less imposed. Today we see the consequences, in hundreds of thousands of civilians dead, in millions of refugees who have destabilized Europe and in the growing influence of Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.”

In an interview earlier this year, Blinken made clear that regime-change in Syria was still on his agenda. He ruled out returning Syria’s oil fields to government control because the US needed leverage.

“That’s a point of leverage because the Syrian government would love to have dominion over those resources. We should not give that up for free.… And we should also use what leverage we have to insist that there be some kind of political transition that reflects the desires of the Syrian people.”

All the Russia tropes

Same old, same old is what we should also expect when it comes to Russia. Blinken repeats by rote all of the familiar Democratic Party talking points: Russia interfered in the 2016 elections, President Donald Trump is smitten with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump “took the word of Mr. Putin over our own intelligence community,” Russia put a bounty on the heads of US soldiers in Afghanistan, Russia invaded Ukraine. Blinken has advocated sending lethal weapons to Ukraine. “A President Biden would be in the business of confronting Mr. Putin for his aggressions, not embracing him,” Blinken has said. “Not trashing NATO, but strengthening its deterrence.”

A Blinken-run foreign policy will unquestionably mean abundant use of the familiar regime-change weapons in the US armory: bombs, cruise missiles, weapons shipments to jihadist and neo-Nazi groups to wage proxy wars, economic sanctions, fake “civil society” projects. As for the vaunted “international organizations” that Blinken supposedly champions, their role will be to sign off on US projects. If the organizations support US policy, including “regime change” operations, so much the better; if they don’t, they can safely be ignored. The “allies” who are now cheering the return of the “professionals” may soon have cause to regret their enthusiasm as the refugee flows from the Middle East return to 2015 levels in response to the Biden administration’s policy of relaunching the regime-change war in Syria. Should conflict with Russia escalate over Ukraine or the Baltics or the Caucasus, these “allies” may look back with nostalgia to the Trump era when the US largely preoccupied itself with its own national interests.

George Szamuely is a senior research fellow at Global Policy Institute (London) and author of Bombs for Peace: NATO’s Humanitarian War on Yugoslavia. Follow him on Twitter @GeorgeSzamuely

November 24, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

Who’s World Order??

By Matthew Ehret for the Saker Blog | November 16, 2020

In his Foreign Policy article of April 2020, Biden states that he will reverse Trump’s embarrassing foreign policy record by standing up to both China, Russia and other totalitarian nations which represent the three-fold plague of “authoritarianism, nationalism and illiberalism” and “once more have America lead the world”.

Biden went further promising to undo the harm Trump has done to NATO by re-enforcing the military body, extending its influence to the Pacific (which sounds a lot like the Esper/Pompeo doctrine for the Pacific), and even demanded that NATO go harder on Russia stating that “the Kremlin fears a strong NATO, the most effective political military alliance in modern history.”

Considering Biden’s nearly 45 year political record supporting every military intervention in American history, opposing de-segregation, eulogizing pro-KKK Senator Strom Thurmond, passing bills that incarcerated petty drug dealers for life on behalf of the cheap labor prison industrial complex and supported the rampant growth of both Wall Street, Big Pharma and the Big Tech run surveillance state, we should think twice before celebrating this man’s possible entry into the halls of the highest office in the USA.

Biden’s call for renewing the NATO alliance in opposition to Russia and China, his support for reversing Trump’s calls for military reduction in the Middle East and his support for extending NATO in the Pacific mixed with his lifelong track record, forces us to ask if Glen Greenwald was right when he quit the Intercept on November 1 saying:

“If Biden wins, that’s going to be the power structure: A democratic party fully united with neocons, Bush/Cheney operatives, CIA/FBI/NSA Wall Street and Silicon Valley: presenting itself as the only protection against fascism. And much of the left will continue marching behind it.”

As it turns out, Greenwald’s warning was absolutely on point, as the entire intelligence apparatus, Big Tech and mainstream media complex which worked desperately to oust President Trump for 4 years and is currently running a vast voting fraud operation as this is written has given its full backing to the narrative of “an inevitable Biden presidency”.

In a Nov. 11 article from Antiwar.com entitled Biden’s Pentagon Transition Team Members Funded by the Arms Industry, journalist Dave DeCamp demonstrates that of the 23 members of Biden’s Pentagon Transition Team, over one third are directly tied to NATO and the Military Industrial Complex.

As facts continue to emerge of the corrupt deep state structure which totally dominates the geriatric hologram known as Joe Biden, it has become obvious that even the few positive remarks Biden made in support of renewing the START treaty with Russia carry little weight.

Ignoring the very real danger of a new civil war due to the fact that either result will be denied its legitimacy by half of the nation, the question must be asked: If Trump is replaced by a Biden Presidency on January 20th, then what will be the effects both on world stability and US-Russia-China relations?

It is good that Biden supports START’s renewal, but an increasing majority of nations are opting for a multipolar alliance premised on the defense of national sovereignty, the right to use protectionism, and the construction of large scale megaprojects such as the New Silk Road, Polar Silk Road, advanced space exploration and North South Transportation Corridor.

The very protectionist measures which allowed the USA (and every nation of the world for that matter) to build up their industrial base and economic sovereignty are attacked directly by Biden who demands the “taking down of trade barriers and resisting dangerous global slide toward protectionism” (which he goes so far as to assert without evidence “caused the great depression” and “lead to World War II”).

Attacking Trump for being soft on China’s imperial Belt and Road Initiative which Biden states is only an “outsourcer of pollution to other countries by financing billions of dollars worth of dirty fossil fuel energy projects”, Biden then asks: “who writes the rules that govern trade?” and answers: “the United States, not China, should be leading that effort.”

Beyond carbon reduction plans, and information technology investments (AI, 5G, Quantum Computing), there is very little in Biden’s “development outlook” that brings the USA into harmony with this multipolar consensus. His program to support cutting America’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 as outlined by the Green New Deal and Great Reset crowd at Davos might appear on the surface to be pro-infrastructure, professing to “create 10 million good new jobs”, but the reality on further inspection is very different.

The sorts of large scale BRI-oriented development projects now transforming more than half of the world which is increasingly operating under a completely different non-US dominated banking paradigm, are based on capital intensive heavy industry, the use of fossil fuels and also nuclear power.

Without these energy sources, then the New Silk Road and its’ sister projects could never work (much like Modi’s anti-BRI OSOWOG doppelganger has proven a total failure both scientifically and economically).

The sort of “green energy revolution” which the Davos technocrats running Biden want to impose onto the world might create short term jobs, but once the solar panels and windmills are built, the quality of energy available to nations stupid enough to walk into this cage will forever suffocate their capacity to sustain their populations and growth potential. In short, it is a green mirage obscuring a very ugly design.

In opposition to this depopulation agenda, Trump’s tendency support for space exploration, reviving protectionism to rebuild America’s lost manufacturing and his supporting large scale infrastructure programs in resolving conflict abroad (including his support for building rail in the Arctic, rail in Serbia and Kosovo, nuclear power in South Africa and Poland etc) is certainly synergistic with the multipolar system led by Russia and China and undeniably brings the USA into harmony with its own better traditions.

Additionally, Trump’s defunding of color revolutionary “civil society” groups in Hong Kong and Belarus won him many enemies from both sides of the pro-Soros isle while supporting the concept of national sovereignty which were major steps towards stability and trust-building with nations of the world who demand their sovereignty be respected as outlined in the UN Charter itself.

Compare this with Biden’s statement that we must “stand with Russian civil society which has bravely stood up time and again against President Vladimir Putin’s kleptocratic authoritarian system” and Biden’s call to host “a global summit for democracy” featuring “civil society organizations from around the world that stand on the frontlines of democracy” including “the private sector, technology companies and social media giants.”

These are the same “Big tech, and media giants” that have given their full backing to the imposition of Biden into the Presidency which have also been used to overthrow nationally elected governments in color revolutionary regime change operations for decades. These are the same networks that have suppressed all evidence of systemic vote fraud in the American elections of 2020 and are stoking the fires of a potential new civil war and regime change inside the republic itself.

Whatever the case may be, the coming weeks and months will feature fierce battles that will shape the outcome of world history.

November 16, 2020 Posted by | Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Joe Biden is no empty sheet, may well return US to warmaking – former OSCE vice-president

RT | November 8, 2020

There’s a ‘good chance’ that the US will return to the policy of foreign wars under Joe Biden, which will make its reconciliation with the EU impossible, Willy Wimmer, former vice-president of the OSCE, warned.

The main reasons why the Americans voted for Donald Trump four years ago were their tiredness of constant wars waged by their country and collapsing economy and infrastructure in the US, Wimmer told RT.

Trump has kept his promise and didn’t start any new foreign conflict, but that may well change if a member of the Democratic Party is in the White House, former Vice President of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly said.

“Joe Biden isn’t an empty white sheet – he represents the Democratic Party, who in the 1990s destroyed the Charter of the UN.”

The German political veteran recalled the US-led NATO bombing of Yugoslavia under Democratic President, Bill Clinton, in 1999. He also pointed out that “in the presidency of [Barack] Obama, Biden was Vice President and he was in absolute accordance with Obama’s drone wars and the wars in the Middle East, therefore there’s a good chance that Joe Biden continues in the same way as the Democratic Party did it in the 1990s and under Obama” before 2016.

“And going back to before 2016 means going back to war” for the US, Wimmer argued.

Relations between Washington and Brussels have deteriorated under Trump over his demands for the EU nations to make larger financial contributions to NATO as well as political and economic pressure on the block to stop dealing with Russia and China.

Hopes that things would improve under Biden will be dashed, “as long as the US and NATO don’t return to the Charter of the UN,” the 77-year-old, who also served as State Secretary to Germany’s Defense Minister, said.

However, he pointed out that it remains a question if the current US economy, which was heavily hit by the coronavirus, would even allow Biden to return to the aggressive policy, which the Democrats used to pursue.

Unlike German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who already congratulated Biden over beating incumbent Trump in the US presidential election, Wimmer believes that others “should be very-very careful with congratulations.”

The Democratic candidate declared himself the winner on Saturday after several major television networks projected that he was on a path to take more than 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency after four days of tense vote counts in several battleground states.

“It’s quite unusual… that the result of an election is announced by a news agency or a news channel. We’re used… in all our countries, which belong to the OSCE, that we have Election Committees, who announce results. And this hasn’t been done yet in the US,” he pointed out, describing the events surrounding the American election as “unbelievable.”

November 8, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , | 3 Comments

Endangering European security: Biden’s assertion that Russia is number one ‘threat’ to US flies in face of facts & reason

By Glenn Diesen | RT | October 28, 2020

Joe Biden’s belief that Russia is the greatest danger to the US is based on emotion and outdated ideology. It should alarm Europeans as they could find themselves on the frontline of a ‘struggle’ that makes little or no sense.

US presidential challenger Joe Biden recently referred to Russia as the main threat to the US. The statement perplexed some observers given how his former boss Barack Obama dismissed Russia as a weak regional power in 2014, while in 2012 Obama himself had mocked Mitt Romney for arguing that Russia was America’s number one “geopolitical foe.”

Biden, the erstwhile vice president of Obama, has now seemingly made a complete reversal.

Remarkably, Russia has become the primary threat to the US without Washington clearly defining the rivalry. The vague references to Russia plotting against America, undermining democracy or being anti-Western have the common denominator of lacking coherence and conceptual clarity. What confrontation spawned this threat?

Anti-Western Russia

The Russian threat argument is founded on the narrative that Putin  apparently reversed the supposedly Western friendly policies of Yeltsin and reignited confrontation. Yet, what exactly would pro-Western policies entail?

Yeltsin pursued a radical pro-Western platform, accepting unilateral concessions and a demeaning student-teacher relationship vis-à-vis the West, in the belief that a Greater Europe would be constructed. However, the West looked at a weakened Russia and decided to construct a new Europe without Moscow. Through expansionism, NATO and the EU have become the main institutions to represent the continent and any Russian resistance is depicted as ambitions to restore the Soviet Empire.

Yeltsin’s entire foreign policy platform subsequently collapsed before he brought Putin to power to reform the untenable policies toward the West. Putin continued to push for a Greater Europe, although from a position of strength by rejecting unilateral concessions and being ‘socialized’ or ‘civilized’ by the West. However, the West continues to conceptualize Yeltsin’s pro-Western policies as a capitulation by forfeiting any role for Russia in Europe.

A revisionist power

Revisionism is the main concept that informs the West’s threat analysis of Russia. States can be divided into status quo powers, which seek to preserve the international system as it is, and revisionist powers that aim to overturn the status quo. Depicting Russia as a revisionist power for opposing NATO and EU expansionism is the great paradox that defines European security.

Irrespective of any benign intentions, the EU and NATO are revisionist by being the main vehicles to reorganize Europe. These two institutions push the dividing lines on the continent to the East and impose a destabilizing civilizational choice on the divided societies positioned between the West and Russia. NATO and the EU did not simply create an unfavorable status quo for Russia, they rejected the establishment of a new status quo order by rejecting any limitations to their expansion.

For centuries the West was concerned that the Russian Empire did not have any natural borders and expanded by impulse, yet in the post-Cold War era, this revisionist itch describes the West.

The failure to recognize Russia as a status quo power has continuously produced flawed predictions. In August 2008, Russia intervened in South Ossetia to repel an invasion by Georgia, which had been promised by NATO in April 2008 it would become a member of the military bloc. While Western media and politicians predicted that Russia would conquer Tbilisi and possibly annex Georgia, Russia merely restored the status quo of an autonomous South Ossetia.

In March 2014, Russia responded to the Western-backed toppling of Yanukovich by reabsorbing Crimea. Again, Western pundits’ warnings of Russia seeking to conquer Kiev and restore the Soviet empire proved to be wrong. Russia cemented its control over its strategic naval base in Crimea, which it already controlled before the Maidan.

Russia’s intervention in Syria in 2015 was similarly designed to preserve the status-quo, aimed against US efforts to topple the Syrian government in a wider revisionist effort to reorganize the power balance in the region.

Restoring the Soviet empire

Russia’s alleged effort to restore the Soviet empire similarly lacks coherence. The accusation evokes familiar and powerful Cold War connotations that can mobilize political support and resources among NATO states. However, what exactly does it mean to restore the Soviet empire and why would Russian tanks enter Warsaw?

Moscow is not led by communists seeking to rid the world of capitalism. Russia has neither the interest nor capacity to control a foreign population that does not want to live within Russian borders. How did this absurd concept end up dominating the Western discourse?

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton referred in 2012 to the Customs Union and the pending Eurasian Economic Union as an effort to “re-Sovietize the region” and proclaimed Washington’s intention to slow it down or break it up. The Eurasian Economic Union is not devoted to world revolution, rather it is a voluntary international institution largely modeled after the EU, which mostly focuses on facilitating free movement of people, goods, services and capital. Does the reference to the Soviet Union help us to understand the Eurasian Economic Union in any way, or does it merely revive the inference of incompatible values and threats?

The effort to make Russia fit in the clothes of the Soviet Union also manifests itself in the constant accusation of Moscow attempting to establish a sphere of influence, which implies a region of exclusive influence. Is the pot calling the kettle black? Moscow’s main argument under its Greater Europe Initiative has been to end bloc politics in Europe and replace it with mutual accommodation and harmonization of interests.

Before the toppling of Yanukovich, Moscow and Kiev proposed a trilateral EU-Russia-Ukraine trade commission to avoid zero-sum formats of exclusive influence. The EU Commission president denounced the proposal by Moscow and Kiev as unacceptable and insisted that Ukraine had to choose and make the right decision. Similarly, Russian influence in the Western Balkans is frequently denounced as an unacceptable intrusion into the EU’s backyard. EU and NATO policies inevitably become a struggle for spheres of influence as there is no conceptual space for legitimate Russian influence beyond its borders.

The ‘Sovietization’ thesis also explains why the West’s prediction about a Russian-Chinese clash over Central Asia did not materialize. Unlike the West, Beijing has not defined its strategy in the post-Soviet space as ‘saving’ the region from Russia. As both Russia and China do not demand exclusive influence in the region, a partnership has developed based on mutual recognition of legitimate interest.

Biden’s ideological threat perceptions

Biden’s antagonistic remarks about Russia should create concerns about the future of European security. The ideological language and reluctance to address Russian security interests results in an inaccurate interpretation of Moscow’s intentions while leaving no prospect for a compromise.

Russian security concerns and interests never enter the discourse in the West, and competition is subsequently interpreted solely as incompatible values. When competing security concerns are identified, compromise is the path to peace. However, when competing interests are clothed in the language of incompatible values, compromise is tantamount to appeasement and treason. There is subsequently no prospect for a solution to this impasse, and peace demands nothing less than victory.

Glenn Diesen is an Associate Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway and an editor at the Russia in Global Affairs journal. Follow him on Twitter @glenndiesen

October 28, 2020 Posted by | Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment