Category Archives: Geopolitics

He Said That? 11/23/17

Better put SLL down as a Russia sympathizer, because tonight’s quotes come from RT and Vladimir Putin. Something we read in a Facebook post compelled us to post these, as if we had no control over ourselves. We got the same feeling just before we voted for Trump. Is it Russian mind control? From  “‘USA is a great nation, but leave us alone!’ 11 quotes that show how Vladimir Putin sees world,” rt.com, 11/23/17:

Populist, pragmatist, authoritarian, cunning tactician – years after he rose to the top of Russian politics Western observers still wonder about Vladimir Putin’s true motivations. In fact, behind the Kremlin’s decision-making is a set of consistently expressed beliefs.

On the United States

“The USA is a great power. Probably the only superpower in existence today. We accept that and we are ready to work together with them. 

What we don’t need is for them to get involved in our affairs, tell us how to live our lives, and prevent Europe from building a relationship with us.”

St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, June 2016

On allegations of Russia’s foreign meddling

“There is constant US propaganda, and direct funding of US NGOs… Is that not interference, which continues year in, year out? Take a globe, spin it, and randomly put your finger on any spot – I can guarantee that there are American interests and meddling there.
What do the Americans want? For everyone to just bow their heads in deference? We have our own opinion and we express it openly. It is not some form of undercover sabotage.”
Direct Line with Vladimir Putin, June 2017
On Europe
“Does it benefit European states to simply service Washington’s foreign and even domestic policy aims? I am not sure. Is this the purpose of serious politics, and is this the role countries take on if they desire to call themselves great powers?”
Russia Calling! Investment Forum, October 2016

On Catalonia’s independence crisis

“At one time, the EU welcomed the collapse of a whole range of states in Europe, not bothering to hide their glee. Why did they need to so thoughtlessly – for the sake of short-term interests and to please ‘Big Brother’ in Washington – unconditionally support the secession of Kosovo, provoking similar processes on the continent and beyond?”
Valdai Discussion Club, October 2017

On NATO

“There is no more Soviet Union, no Eastern Bloc. In my view, NATO needs an external enemy to justify its existence, so there is a constant search for one, and provocations to create adversaries where there are none.
…Today it is an instrument of American foreign policy. There are no partners in it, only vassals.”
Oliver Stone interview, June 2017

On the Middle East

“There has been an attempt to reformat the region, to impose an outside model on it, either through regime change, or outright use of force. Instead of fighting extremism, instead of imitating such a fight, some of our peers want chaos to become a permanent state of affairs.”
Valdai Discussion Club, October 2017

On North Korea

“Of course we condemn North Korea’s nuclear tests and comply with all UN Security Council resolutions without exception.
But to solve this problem you must use dialog, not by trying to corner North Korea with military threats, and not resort to name-calling and public exchanges of insults. Whether you like the regime in Pyongyang or hate it, you have to recognize that DPRK is a sovereign state.”
Valdai Discussion Club, October 2017

On the toppling of Viktor Yanukovich in Ukraine

“What happened in Kiev is an armed and unconstitutional seizure of power – a coup. No one is arguing with that.
The question is – why did it need to be done like that? Viktor Yanukovich had already given up his power, and had no chance of re-election. Why plunge the country into chaos? As a demonstration of power? This was a stupid decision and had the reverse effect. I believe it was these actions that destabilized the situation in the east of the country.”
Media briefing in Novo Ogarevo, March 2014

On the government in Kiev

“The interests of the Russian and the Ukrainian peoples are the same. What isn’t the same is the aims of the Ukrainian government and elites.

…They have only one good left to export for international consumption – Russophobia. And the politics of division between the two countries. Some in the West believe that these two states should never be allies, and so Ukraine has been successful exporting that idea.”
Hamburg G20 Summit, June 2017

On Russia’s political system

“Monarchy was a legacy passed down from the Empire to Soviet times, even though the plaque on the building changed. Only at the beginning of the 1990s, events came to pass which laid the foundation for a new stage of Russian development.

 Certainly, you cannot imagine that we can instantaneously get the same government model, the same structures, as in the United States, in Germany, in France. Society, just as every living organism, has to develop stage-by-stage, organically. That’s the normal development process.”
Oliver Stone interview, June 2017

On Russia’s role in the world

“Russia is a country with a thousand-year history and has almost always enjoyed the privilege of a sovereign foreign policy.

 We are not going to betray this tradition today. At the same time, we are well aware of how the world has changed and we have a realistic understanding of our own opportunities and potential. We would like to interact with responsible and independent partners with whom we could work together in constructing a fair and democratic world order that would ensure security and prosperity not only for a select few, but for all.”
Munich speech, February 2007
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The US Is Stockpiling Nuclear Arms, and the Cost Is Astonishing, by Harry Blain

Nuclear poker is a very expensive game. From Harry Blain at antiwar.com:

We’re spending $1.2 trillion on weapons that invariably make the world a more dangerous place

Overwhelmed with stories of high-level indictments, intrigues, investigations, and scandals, the American public can be forgiven for missing revelations about an issue of some importance: our nuclear weapons.

Thanks to an October 31 report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), we now have a 30-year outline of both the kinds of destructive weaponry we are buying, and how much it is going to cost. There are good reasons to be worried.

“A pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”

How much exactly? $1.2 trillion in all. Even spread over three decades, that’s a big investment.

Per year, it could pay for over half of Russia’s military budget, five Environmental Protection Agencies, or at least three “beautiful” walls on the U.S.-Mexico border.

It’s an especially big investment for something you hope to never use. Nuclear weapons aren’t cheap: According to the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of maintaining just the existing U.S. nuclear forces will be close to $800 billion; the shiny new stuff will be another $400 billion. “Many of today’s nuclear weapons systems were designed and built decades ago,” the CBO notes, “and are nearing the end of their service life.”

In a narrow sense, this seems sensible enough: Aging nuclear weapons infrastructure can lead to things like command and control systems running on floppy disks and a higher risk of security breaches. If you are going to insist on possessing the world’s most lethal weapon, you should look after it.

Nonetheless, as Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Association put it, the “stark reality underlined by CBO is that unless the US government finds a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the nuclear weapons spending plan inherited by the Trump administration will pose a crushing affordability problem.”

“Uniquely destabilizing”

The New York Times headline on the matter – “Trump Plans for Nuclear Arsenal Require $1.2 Trillion, Congressional Review States” – is either an innocent mistake or a misleading rhetorical sleight of hand. It implies, falsely, that this costly program belongs to the 45th president, even though the first paragraph of the CBO report explicitly states that it refers to “the Obama Administration’s 2017 budget request.”

This is not a trivial point.

Even if, like many Americans, you trust Barack Obama’s judgment more than Donald Trump’s, you need to ask the deeper questions: Do I want anypresident to preside over such a vast nuclear arsenal? Could even the most sober and intelligent commander-in-chief make one catastrophic error in judgment? Are there certain weapons that are inherently more dangerous than others, regardless of who has the authority to push the button?

To continue reading: The US Is Stockpiling Nuclear Arms, and the Cost Is Astonishing

The Cardinal Sin of International Finance, by Nick Giambruno

When Saudi Arabia accepts yuan in payment for its oil the petrodollar standard will be over. From Nick Giaumbruno at internationalman.com:

As Doug Casey has correctly noted, the prime directive of any organism—whether it’s an amoeba or a person or a corporation or a government—is to survive.

That’s why the US government protects the petrodollar so zealously. It needs the system to survive.

World leaders who have challenged the petrodollar recently have ended up dead…

Why Everyone Uses the US Dollar… for Now

In the 1970s, the US government struck a series of deals with Saudi Arabia, creating the petrodollar system. The US promised to coddle and protect the Saudi kingdom. And, in exchange, Saudi Arabia would use its dominant position in OPEC to ensure that all oil transactions happened in US dollars.

Until recently, virtually anyone who wanted to import oil from any country needed US dollars to pay for it.

The dollar is just a middleman here. But countries and businesses use it in countless transactions amounting to trillions of dollars that have nothing to do with US products or services.

Plus, if foreign countries are already using dollars for oil, it’s just easier to use the dollar for other international trade. That’s why, in addition to oil sales, the US dollar is used for about 80% of all international transactions.

Take Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, for example. Each led a large oil-producing country—Iraq and Libya, respectively. And both tried to sell their oil for something other than US dollars, before US military interventions led to their deaths.

In October 2000, Saddam had started to sell Iraqi oil for euros only. Iraq said it would no longer accept dollars for oil because it did not want to deal “in the currency of the enemy.”

A little over two years later, the US invaded. Immediately after Baghdad fell to US forces, all Iraqi oil sales were switched back to dollars.

To continue reading: The Cardinal Sin of International Finance

The Saudi System And Why Its Change May Fail, by Moon of Alabama

If the change in Saudi Arabia is what it appears to be—the complete centralization of power—it is doomed to failure in our age of decentralization and devolution. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:

The Saudi clown prince Mohammad Bin Salman is an impulsive tyrant. But what accounts for his urge to purge the country of any potential competing power center Why does he run a such an activist foreign policy? The answer might be Iran. Not Iran the country, but Iran the system.

Since the U.S. war on Iraq the sclerotic Saudi Arabia continuously lost standing in its region. The Iranian model gained ground. A decade later the authoritarian Arab systems were challenged by the so called “Arab spring”. While the movements in the various countries -as far as they were genuine- have failed, they were a warning sign for things to come.

Saudi Arabia reacted to the challenges by moving away from a sedate, consensual run family business towards a centrally controlled, supercharged tyranny. The move allows for more flexible and faster reactions to any future challenge. But it also increases the chance of making mistakes. To understand why this endeavor is likely to fail one needs look at the traditional economic and social system that is the fabric of the country. The fate of the Hariri dynasty is an example for it.

Since Salman climbed the throne he has moved to eliminate all competition to his rule. The religious establishment was purged of any opposition. Its police arm was reigned in. First crown prince Murqrin was removed and then crown prince Nayef. They were replaced with Salman’s inexperienced son. Economic and military powers were concentrated in his hands. During the recent night of the long knives powerful family members and business people were detained. The Wall Street Journalreports of a second arrest wave. More higher ups have been incarcerated. This round includes senior military commanders and very wealthy business people.

To continue reading: The Saudi System And Why Its Change May Fail

All The Old World Systems Are Being Deliberately Torn Down, by Brandon Smith

In search of a more perfect way to screw people, the global elites will tear down what we have and erect something even more oppressive. From Brandon Smith at alt-market.com:

As we approach the holiday season many people turn to thoughts on tradition, heritage, principles, duty, honor and family. They consider the accomplishments and even the failures of the past and where we are headed in the future. For most of the year, the average American will keep their heads in the sands of monotony and decadence and distraction. But during this time, even in the midst of the consumption frenzy it has been molded into, people tend to reflect, and they find joy, and they find worry.

What perhaps does not come to mind very often though are the institutions and structures that provide the “stability” by which our society is able to continue in a predictable manner. While many of these institutions are not built with the good of the public in mind, they often indirectly secure a foundation that can be relied upon, for two or three generations, while securing power for the establishment. The problem is, the establishment is never satisfied with a static or semi-peaceful system for very long. They are not satisfied by being MOSTLY in control, they seek total control. Thus, they are often willing to create chaos and crisis and even tear down old structures that previously benefited them in order to gain something even greater (and more oppressive for the rest of us).

The official Thanksgiving holiday, for example, did not really begin as a homage to the colonial settlers and pilgrims of America’s birth and their struggles to build a new life.  While George Washington did proclaim a “Day of Thanks” in 1789, the model for Thanksgiving began far later, in 1863 as the Civil War was raging. It was the Civil War that upset the traditional balance of power between the states and the federal government, nearly annihilating the nation and asserting federal power as unquestionable for decades to come. A moment of great chaos which destroyed old institutions (like the 10th Amendment) but gave establishment elitists even more control in the end.

To continue reading: All The Old World Systems Are Being Deliberately Torn Down

 

 

Thanksgiving for JFK, by Edward Curtin

Today is the 54th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It is impossible to understand the 20th century without understanding the real story of JFK’s murder. Edward Curtin mentions James W. Douglass’s book JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. I’m currently reading it and it’s living up to it’s title. Curtin also mentions The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government. I’ve read that one, and it’s an outstanding examination of Allen Dulles, an understanding of whom is also essential for understanding the 20th century. From Edward Curtin at lewrockwell.com:

If he had lived, President John F. Kennedy would have been 100 years old this year.  At Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, his family would be raising a glass in his honor.

But as we all know, he was murdered in Dallas, Texas on this date – November 22nd – in 1963.  A true war hero twice over, he risked his life to save his men in World War II, and then, after a radical turn toward peace-making in the last year of his life, he died in his own country at the hands of his domestic enemies as a soldier in a non-violent struggle for peace and reconciliation for all people across the world.

But we can still celebrate, mourn, and offer thanksgiving for his courageous witness.  When we gather tomorrow to give thanks, we should remember today – the profound significance of the date – and the absent presence of a man whose death, dark and bloody as it was, is a sign of hope in these dark times. For if John Kennedy had not had the spiritual conscience to secretly carry-on a back channel letter correspondence with Nikita Khrushchev, facilitated by Pope John XXIII, we very well might not be here, having been incinerated in a nuclear holocaust.

Hope?  Not because he was assassinated, but why he was assassinated.

While there is much media focus on the release of more of the JFK files, they are beside the point.  They were withheld all these years to dribble out the clock on an endless pseudo-debate about who killed President Kennedy.  We know who killed him: the national security state, led by the CIA, killed him, not Lee Harvey Oswald.  It was a coup d’état purposely conducted in plain sight to send a message that every president since has heeded: Your job is to make war and threaten nuclear annihilation for the Deep State elites.  Follow orders or else.  They have followed.

If you find my assertion about the CIA audacious and absurd, first read James Douglass’s JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, a book widely regarded as the best book on the assassination and its meaning.  Read it very closely and slowly.  Check all his sources, read his endnotes, and analyze his logic.  Approach his meticulous research as if you agreed with Gandhi’s saying that truth is God and God is truth. Try to refute Douglass. You will be stymied. Then read David Talbot’s The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government for further clarification. You will come away from these two books profoundly shaken to your core.  Be a truth-seeker, if you are not one already.

To continue reading: Thanksgiving for JFK

Putin/Assad Meeting Cements the End of U.S. Dominance in the Middle East, by Tom Luongo

Vladimir Putin is quietly garnering the power in the Middle East that the US’s endless interventionism in the region was unable to secure, and which in fact has worked against its aims. Tom Luongo is right when he says it’s worth the time to review Vladimir Putin’s speech to the UN on Sept. 28, 2015 (speech linked in article). From Luongo at tomluongo.me:

I’m not a terribly religious man.  But, I’d like to believe there is a special corner in Hell reserved for those that fomented the Syrian Civil War.

From its beginnings in Libya with gun-funneling through the U.S. embassy in Benghazi to yesterday’s meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, this entire affair will be remembered as one of the most cynical and abusive periods of history.

The Syrian ‘Civil War’ was meant to be the crowning achievement of U.S./Israeli/Saudi policy in the Middle East, the apotheosis of neoconservatism.

Had it succeeded it would have transformed the world into a living hell governed by the likes of Hillary Clinton, George Soros, Angela Merkel and the U.S./U.K. banking cartel.

Syria was to be the wedge that blew open not only the Middle East but Central Asia as well.  It would stop the resurgence of Russia as a world power, subjugate Europe to an endless nightmare of forced cultural assimilation and completed bankrupting the United States to bring it in line with the a failing European integration project.

Supranational treaties like the TPP, TTIP and the Paris Accord were designed to create a superstructure that would supplant national sovereignty without any input from the people who were most affected by it.

Putin’s Turning Point

With Vladimir Putin’s pivotal speech at the United Nations on September 28th, 2015, opposition to this vision was expressed in the most forceful, and frankly, humanist terms one could imagine.  I’m going to remind you of the most important passage as it relates to Syria.

In these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make loud declarations about the threat of international terrorism while turning a blind eye to the channels of financing and supporting terrorists, including the process of trafficking and illicit trade in oil and arms. It would be equally irresponsible to try to manipulate extremist groups and place them at one’s service in order to achieve one’s own political goals in the hope of later dealing with them or, in other words, liquidating them.

To those who do so, I would like to say — dear sirs, no doubt you are dealing with rough and cruel people, but they’re in no way primitive or silly. They are just as clever as you are, and you never know who is manipulating whom. And the recent data on arms transferred to this most moderate opposition is the best proof of it.

We believe that any attempts to play games with terrorists, let alone to arm them, are not just short-sighted, but fire hazardous (ph). This may result in the global terrorist threat increasing dramatically and engulfing new regions, especially given that Islamic State camps train militants from many countries, including the European countries.

In truth, the whole speech is worth revisiting.  It is a stark reminder that Putin, normally very reserved in his words, laid all of his cards on the table and directly accused the United States of declaring war on the world.

To continue reading: