Who wants to put US shale oil drillers out of business more, Russia or Saudi Arabia? From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
While it appears an expected emergency virtual OPEC+ meeting planned for Monday has been postponed, pushed back to later in the week to allow more time for negotiations, it’s likely that we’ll actually see the heated blame-game for the collapse in oil prices ratchet up — and oh,in the meantimeoil is set to crater come Monday as the feud is only expected to get uglier.
Indeed the aggressive war of words has started, with Putin offering a biting Russian narrative aimed at the Saudis in remarks Friday: “It was the pullout by our partners from Saudi Arabia from the OPEC+ deal, their increase in production and their announcement that they were even ready to give discounts on oil” that drove the crash alongside the double-whammy of the coronavirus-driven drop in demand, Putin said according to Bloomberg.
“This was apparently linked to efforts by our partners from Saudi Arabia to eliminate competitors who produce so-called shale oil,” Putin continued. “To do that, the price needs to be below $40 a barrel. And they succeeded in that. But we don’t need that, we never set such a goal.”
Editor’s Note: Vladimir Pozner is Russia’s most influential TV political-talk-show host, journalist and broadcaster.
Pozner has hosted several shows on Russian television, where he has interviewed famous figures such as Hillary Clinton, Alain Delon, President Dimitri Medvedev and Sting.
Pozner has appeared on a wide range of networks, including NBC, CBS, CNN and the BBC. In his long career, he has been a journalist, editor (Soviet Life Magazine and Sputnik Magazine) and TV and radio commentator, covering all major events in Russia.
Pozner has appeared on The Phil Donahue Show and Ted Koppel’s Nightline.
He co-hosted a show with Phil Donahue called Pozner/Donahue. It was the first televised bi-lateral discussion (or “spacebridge”) between audiences in the Soviet Union and the US, carried via satellite.
In 1997, he returned to Moscow as an independent journalist.
Doug Casey’s friend Mark Gould sat down with Pozner in Moscow to help us better understand the relationship between the US and Russia.
International Man: Naturally, Americans have a lot of misconceptions about Russia. The US government and media offer an overly simplistic and unfavorable view of the country.
The US government and its intelligence agencies have all sorts of ways to get rid of regimes they don’t like. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:
The Justice Department’s securing of a criminal indictment of Venezuela’s president Nicolás Maduro reminds us that when it comes to the U.S. government’s regime-change operations, coups, invasions, sanctions, embargoes, and state-sponsored assassinations are not the only ways to achieve regime change. Another way is through a criminal indictment issued by a federal grand jury that deferentially accedes to the wishes of federal prosecutors.
The best example of this regime change method involved the president of Panama, Manuel Noriega.
Like many corrupt and brutal dictators around the world, Noriega was a partner and ally of the U.S. government. In fact, he was actually trained at the Pentagon’s School of the Americas, which is referred to in Latin America as the School of Assassins. He later served as a paid asset of the CIA. He also served as a conduit for the U.S. government’s illegal war in Nicaragua, where U.S. officials were using the Contra rebels to effect a regime change in that country.
But like other loyal pro-U.S. dictators, Noriega fell out of favor with U.S. officials, who decided they wanted him out of office and replaced with someone more to their liking.
The big problem, of course, is the one that always afflicts U.S. regime-change aspirations: Noriega refused to go voluntarily.
U.S. officials knew that it would look bad to simply invade the country and effect a regime-change operation through force of arms. Undoubtedly, they considered a state-sponsored assassination through the CIA, which specialized in that form of regime change, but for whatever reason that regime-method wasn’t employed.
You could take care of a lot of sick people and provide a lot of unemployment compensation with the money the US government spends on maintaining and expanding its empire. From Scott Horton at antiwar.com:
Invading, dominating and remaking the Arab world to serve the interests of the American empire and the state of Greater Israel sounds downright quaint at this point. Iraq War II, as Senator Bernie Sanders said in the debate a few weeks ago, while letting Joe Biden, one of its primary proponents, off the hook for it, was “a long time ago.” Actually, Senator, we still have troops there fighting Iraq War III 1/2 against what’s left of the ISIS insurgency, and our current government continues to threaten the launch of Iraq War IV against the very parties we fought the last two wars for. This would almost certainlythen lead to war with Iran.
The U.S.A. still has soldiers, marines and CIA spies in Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Mali, Tunisia, Niger, Nigeria, Chad and only God and Nick Turse know where else.
Never let a good opportunity to conduct deranged foreign policy when the world is preoccupied with a crisis go to waste. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:
The Trump administration is reacting to the pandemic stress by lashing out at perceived internal and external enemies. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is leading the external onslaught.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for an “immediate global ceasefire” to focus on fighting Covid-19. He has appealed for the “waiving of sanctions that can undermine countries’ capacity to respond to the pandemic.”
But Washington is not listening.
Requests from Venezuela and Iran for emergency IMF loans to buy medical supplies were blocked by U.S. interventions.
Just a month ago Pompeo announced an increase of sanctions against Iran. The sanctions block money transfers. They make it impossible for Iran to import the medical equipment it urgently needs to counter the epidemic.
While the U.S. renewed the sanction waiver which allows Iraq to import electricity and gas from Iran the waiver is now limited to only 30 days. One third of Iraq’s electricity depends on those imports from Iran and, if the waiver is not renewed, its hospitals will go dark just when the epidemic will reach its zenith.
The Pentagon has ordered military commanders to plan for an escalation of American combat in Iraq, issuing a directive last week to prepare a campaign to destroy an Iranian-backed militia group that has threatened more attacks against American troops.But the United States’ top commander in Iraq has warned that such a campaign could be bloody and counterproductive and risks war with Iran.
Some top officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Robert C. O’Brien, the national security adviser, have been pushing for aggressive new action against Iran and its proxy forces — and see an opportunity to try to destroy Iranian-backed militia groups in Iraq as leaders in Iran are distracted by the pandemic crisis in their country.
Military leaders, including Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been wary of a sharp military escalation, warning it could further destabilize the Middle East at a time when President Trump has said he hopes to reduce the number of American troops in the region.
Heaven forbid that all the money we’re borrowing to address the coronavirus and its attendant economic and financial woes prompt anyone to question the money we’re spending to maintain the American empire. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
To fight the coronavirus at home, France is removing all military forces from Iraq.
When NATO scaled back its war games in Europe because of the pandemic, Russia reciprocated. Moscow announced it would cancel its war games along NATO’s border.
Nations seem to be recognizing and responding to the grim new geostrategic reality of March 2020: The pandemic is the real enemy of us all, and while we fight it, each in his own national corner, we are in this together.
Never allow a serious crisis to go to waste, said Barack Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel during the financial crisis.
Emanuel was echoed this month by House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, who called the coronavirus crisis “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.”
What Clyburn had in mind is what Democrats advanced as their alternative to the $2.2 trillion emergency bill. It was designed to force President Trump either to swallow it whole or to take responsibility for vetoing a critical transfusion of federal funds to keep the economy alive.
Among the items stuffed in the Democrats’ proposal:
A $15-an-hour minimum wage imposed on companies receiving funds. Blanket loan forgiveness of $10,000 for students. New tax credits for solar and wind energy. Full funding of Planned Parenthood. Federal dollars for fetal tissue research.
$300 million for PBS, which has been promoting the LBGT agenda to school kids. Mandating “diversity” on corporate boards as a condition of companies receiving funds. Election “reforms” to increase Democratic turnout. Insistence that airlines, to get a bailout, offset carbon emissions from jet engines. $35 million for the Kennedy Center.
One benefit of the coronavirus panic: the US is leaving some of its smaller military bases in foreign lands because of the virus. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:
“Red” (Morgan Freeman): “Hope is a dangerous thing my friend, it can kill a man…”
Andy (Tim Robbins): “Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
~ The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Two futures lie before us. Like the classic visions of late-Old Testament prophets, contemporary observers – perhaps voyeurs – of U.S. national security policy can, at this precipice of pandemic, discern, however vaguely, as dual, dichotomous prospective paths unfurl. The first, and Washington’s long-preferred, course is one of militarist escalation. It’s contours are there for us to see.
In the past couple of weeks, the Pentagon has unapologetically ramped up its proxy war with Iran – on the soil of an unmistakably unwilling “sovereign” state which has politely, if futilely, asked the US military to leave – by bombing, and killing, third-party “allies” of the Islamic Republic.
Then, though it was hardly covered or noticed, Washington killed a Somali child and an elderly disabled man in an airstrike: the 31st such US attack-from-the-sky in a Trump-accelerated campaign upon yet another country we are not at war with. US Africa Command announced, of course, that five “terrorists” had been killed in the strike with zero reports of civilian casualties. Well, naturally, it helps to have folks on the ground (hardly the norm for America’s techno-killers) to accurately access victim-status. Which is probably one reason – besides flagrant duplicity – that a UK-based airstrike monitoring group’s relevant report estimates Somali civilian casualties in US attacks since 2007 may be 73 times higher than official Pentagon claims.
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