There’s more similarities than differences between America’s involvement in Iraq and its involvement in Ukraine. The biggest difference is that U.S. troops have not”officially” entered Ukraine . . . yet. From Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies at antiwar.com:
March 19th marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq. This seminal event in the short history of the 21st century not only continues to plague Iraqi society to this day, but it also looms large over the current crisis in Ukraine, making it impossible for most of the Global South to see the war in Ukraine through the same prism as US and Western politicians.
While the US was able to strong-arm 49 countries, including many in the Global South, to join its “coalition of the willing” to support invading the sovereign nation of Iraq, only the U.K., Australia, Denmark and Poland actually contributed troops to the invasion force, and the past 20 years of disastrous interventions have taught many nations not to hitch their wagons to the faltering US empire.
Today, nations in the Global South have overwhelmingly refused US entreaties to send weapons to Ukraine and are reluctant to comply with Western sanctions on Russia. Instead, they are urgently calling for diplomacy to end the war before it escalates into a full-scale conflict between Russia and the United States, with the existential danger of a world-ending nuclear war.
The architects of the US invasion of Iraq were the neoconservative founders of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), who believed that the United States could use the unchallenged military superiority that it achieved at the end of the Cold War to perpetuate American global power into the 21st century.
Imagine tyranny that will make Covid totalitarianism look innocuous. From Kit Knightly at off-guardian.org:
Last Friday saw the total failure of the Silicon Valley Bank, the 16th biggest bank in the United States. The biggest bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis
By Sunday, the Silvergate Bank and Signature Bank had joined SVB in full collapse. All three are now safely under Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) control.
The FDIC has taken the unusual step of fully guaranteeing all deposits kept with the SVB – meaning the federal government will give taxpayer money out to compensate every SVB customer.
But the damage didn’t stop there. Naturally, this put pressure on other regional banks, with two more – First Republic Bank and PacWest Bank – coming close to collapsing themselves, following mini-runs.
That is despite the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation finding that SVB was a “sound financial institution” as late as March 9th, and that it only entered insolvency after investors caused a run.
The EU is just as hypocritical as the U.S. and Great Britain when it comes to freedom of the press. From Stephen Karganovic at strategic-culture.org:
A Spanish journalist has been rotting in a Polish prison for the past year. And nobody knew or cared, Stephen Karganovic writes.
Those who watched Duran associate Alex Christoforou’s podcast the other day [at 18 to 19:45 minutes] must have been as taken aback as I was by Alex’s revelation of the unsavoury fate of Spanish journalist Pablo Gonzales in European “values” stronghold Poland.
Gonzales, a Spanish (another “EU values” country) citizen, it turns out has been rotting in a Polish prison for the past year. Not a week, not a month or even a couple of months, but for just over a year. And nobody knew or cared. He is not being detained on any specific charges to which he could mount a legal defence. He is listed simply as “under investigation” for the somewhat vague offence of being an agent of Russia. If that is what indeed he is, so far it seems no judicially cognisable evidence to support such an allegation has been produced by the Polish authorities. After just over a year that Gonzales has been kept in prison, the Polish “investigation” has failed to turn up any incriminating facts that might form the basis for even a flimsy indictment. As a result, no charges have been filed and no trial is in prospect for Gonzales. As trite as that may sound, it is also disturbingly accurate: in the Europe that, with its gallant overseas allies, fights for democracy in Ukraine, European journalist Pablo Gonzales is languishing in a Kafkaesque predicament.
In his expose, Alex Christoforou asks the natural question, “Where is the Spanish government in all this?” [at 19:20 minutes]. The answer is bound to disillusion everyone who imagined that in situations such as this morality had any influence over political decisions. It all comes down to the odious principle of raison d’état. Spain has issues with Catalan and Basque troublemakers and is loath to create a precedent that would provide foreigners a pretext to meddle in the way it treats its prisoners. For Spain the convenient solution therefore is to downplay the incarceration in Poland of one of its own citizens and hope that no one will notice.
Ellen Brown’s analysis of derivatives is one of the most intelligent articles we’ve read about the financial system since banks started blowing up. She’s nailed the biggest risk. From Brown at unz.com:
On Friday, March 10, Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapsed and was taken over by federal regulators. SVB was the 16th largest bank in the country and its bankruptcy was the second largest in U.S. history, following Washington Mutual in 2008. Despite its size, SVB was not a “systemically important financial institution” (SIFI) as defined in the Dodd-Frank Act, which requires insolvent SIFIs to “bail in” the money of their creditors to recapitalize themselves.
Technically, the cutoff for SIFIs is $250 billion in assets. However, the reason they are called “systemically important” is not their asset size but the fact that their failure could bring down the whole financial system. That designation comes chiefly from their exposure to derivatives, the global casino that is so highly interconnected that it is a “house of cards.” Pull out one card and the whole house collapses. SVB held $27.7 billion in derivatives, no small sum, but it is only .05% of the $55,387 billion ($55.387 trillion) held by JPMorgan, the largest U.S. derivatives bank.
SVB could be the canary in the coal mine foreshadowing the fate of other over-extended banks, but its collapse is not the sort of “systemic risk” predicted to trigger “contagion.” As reported by CNN:
Despite initial panic on Wall Street, analysts said SVB’s collapse is unlikely to set off the kind of domino effect that gripped the banking industry during the financial crisis.
“The system is as well-capitalized and liquid as it has ever been,” Moody’s chief economist Mark Zandi said. “The banks that are now in trouble are much too small to be a meaningful threat to the broader system.”
No later than Monday morning, all insured depositors will have full access to their insured deposits, according to the FDIC. It will pay uninsured depositors an “advance dividend within the next week.”
It’s not easy putting together monetary arrangements that will be accepted by nations comprising over half the world’s population. (SLL maintains that it will be impossible.) From Pepe Escobar at thecradle.co:
In an exclusive interview with The Cradle, Russia’s top macroeconomics strategist criticizes Moscow’s slow pace of financial reform and warns there will be no new global currency without Beijing.
The headquarters of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) in Moscow, linked to the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) is arguably one of the most crucial nodes of the emerging multipolar world.
That’s where I was received by Minister of Integration and Macroeconomics Sergey Glazyev – who was previously interviewed in detail by The Cradle – for an exclusive, expanded discussion on the geoeconomics of multipolarity.
Glazyev was joined by his top economic advisor Dmitry Mityaev, who is also the secretary of the Eurasian Economic Commission’s (EEC) science and technology council. The EAEU and EEC are formed by Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia. The group is currently engaged in establishing a series of free trade agreements with nations from West Asia to Southeast Asia.
Our conversation was unscripted, free flowing and straight to the point. I had initially proposed some talking points revolving around discussions between the EAEU and China on designing a new gold/commodities-based currency bypassing the US dollar, and how it would be realistically possible to have the EAEU, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and BRICS+ to adopt the same currency design.
Glazyev and Mityaev were completely frank and also asked questions on the Global South. As much as extremely sensitive political issues should remain off the record, what they said about the road towards multipolarity was quite sobering – in fact realpolitik-based.
Saudi Arabia will use the agreement as a wedge in its dealing with the U.S. From Ted Snider at libertarianinstitute.org:
Until it happened, it was unthinkable. The United States has for decades guarded its role as the sole negotiator in the Middle East. It has insisted on being the chief arbiter of agreements and the architect and decider of partnerships. But on March 10, China emerged as the broker of a transformative agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia while Washington was sidelined and left out of the room. The most important recent realignment of the Middle East was shaped by Beijing.
The story is so critical that it is too big to be contained in one story. It is two stories: the shifting of regional alignments and the shifting of global alignments.
Iran and Saudi Arabia have been exploring improving relations for the past few years. The feelers began with talks in 2020 and grew into several meetings in Iraq and Oman. In 2021, the two announced that Iran had resumed exports to Saudi Arabia, and Iran broached the idea of reopening consulates in each other’s countries and re-establishing diplomatic ties.
Both the Iranian and Saudi statements following their new agreement acknowledged those talks and thanked Iraq and Oman for their efforts and for hosting them. But it was China that brought them to the table, enabled the breakthrough and accomplished the agreement. “The two sides,” the Saudi statement said, “expressed their appreciation and gratitude to the leadership and government of the People’s Republic of China for hosting and sponsoring the talks, and the efforts it placed towards its success.” Iran’s statement expressed similar gratitude.
Senator Joe Biden was the chairman and Tony Blinken was chief of staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that helped propagate the weapons of mass destruction deception and rubber-stamped the invasion of Iraq. They’re no less clueless today. From Norman Solomon at commondreams.org:
Former U.S. President George W. Bush speaks before signing the joint congressional resolution authorizing the US use of force against Iraq if needed 16 October, 2002 at the White House in Washington, DC. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (R), House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-IL (2nd R), and Secretary of State Colin Powell (C) look on during speech. (Photo: Luke Frazza/AFP via Getty Images)
Vast quantities of lies from top U.S. government officials led up to the Iraq invasion. Now, marking its 20th anniversary, the same media outlets that eagerly boosted those lies are offering retrospectives. Don’t expect them to shed light on the most difficult truths, including their own complicity in pushing for war.
What propelled the United States to start the war on Iraq in March 2003 were dynamics of media and politics that are still very much with us today.
Soon after 9/11, one of the rhetorical whips brandished by President George W. Bush was an unequivocal assertion while speaking to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 20, 2001: “Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Thrown down, that gauntlet received adulation and scant criticism in the United States. Mainstream media and members of Congress were almost all enthralled with a Manichean worldview that has evolved and persisted.
Our current era is filled with echoes of such oratory from the current president. A few months before fist-bumping Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman—who’s been in charge of a tyrannical regime making war on Yemen, causing several hundred thousand deaths since 2015 with U.S. government help—Joe Biden mounted a pulpit of supreme virtue during his 2022 State of the Union address.
Biden proclaimed “an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny.” And he added that “in the battle between democracy and autocracies, democracies are rising to the moment.” Of course, there was no mention of his support for Saudi autocracy and war.
Escaping the woes that beset humanity in a sailboat somewhere in the South Pacific doesn’t sound too bad. From Ray Jason at theseagypsyphilosopher.com:
For more than a decade I have been promoting a concept that I call The Sea Gypsy Tribe. The idea is that Humanity is living in an increasingly chaotic world with the possibility of extreme catastrophes looming just beyond the stormy horizon.
I firmly believe that the best way to escape from any type of emergency, is in a well-prepared, ocean-capable sailboat, along with a small group of like-minded sailors in their boats. During the last 10 years at my blog, in about a dozen essays, I have carefully described various disasters and then explained how sailing vessels can effectively respond to them.
My sincere hope is that none of us ever have to deal with such extreme situations. It would be terrific if none of us ever had to react to a currency collapse or a cyber attack or a balloon armed with an EMP! But a wise, old mariner once advised me to “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst!”
Since I receive inquiries from cruisers all around the world, I decided to collate together the many reasons that I believe the sea gypsy life is ideal in shielding one from natural or human-caused disasters.
Therefore, I am creating this Sea Gypsy Tribe Encyclopedia. It will be spread out across a few essays. Initially, I will randomly choose the topics for discussion, but eventually, they will all be alphabetized like an encyclopedia. But don’t be alarmed – it will not be some massive tome. Instead, it will be a longish essay divided into a few segments. Let’s begin!
Proxy wars devour the countries they purport to defend. There will come a time when the Ukrainians will become expendable to the U.S. They will disappear, as many others before them, from U.S. national discourse and popular consciousness.
There are many ways for a state to project power and weaken adversaries, but proxy wars are one of the most cynical. Proxy wars devour the countries they purport to defend. They entice nations or insurgents to fight for geopolitical goals that are ultimately not in their interest.
The war in Ukraine has little to do with Ukrainian freedom and a lot to do with degrading the Russian military and weakening Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power. And when Ukraine looks headed for defeat, or the war reaches a stalemate, Ukraine will be sacrificed like many other states, in what one of the founding members of the C.I.A., Miles Copeland Jr., referred to as the “Game of Nations” and “the amorality of power politics.”
I covered proxy wars in my two decades as a foreign correspondent, including in Central America where the U.S. armed the military regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala and Contra insurgents attempting to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. I reported on the insurgency in the Punjab, a proxy war fomented by Pakistan.
I covered the Kurds in northern Iraq, backed and then betrayed more than once by Iran and Washington. During my time in the Middle East, Iraq provided weapons and support to the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) to destabilize Iran. Belgrade, when I was in the former Yugoslavia, thought by arming Bosnian and Croatian Serbs, it could absorb Bosnia and parts of Croatia into a greater Serbia.
Proxy wars are notoriously hard to control, especially when the aspirations of those doing the fighting and those sending the weapons diverge. They also have a bad habit of luring sponsors of proxy wars, as happened to the U.S. in Vietnam and Israel in Lebanon, directly into the conflict.
An excellent survey of what the globalists are trying to do with world health. From Simon Elmer at off-guardian.org:
The World Health Organization is the One Ring to Rule them All, and its written goal, inscribed in fiery letters along both sides of its band, is the Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Treaty. Fashioned by the Dark Lord of the Twenty-first Century, the United States of America, in its own iteration of Mount Doom, it only appears to yield US sovereignty to an external organisation.
In reality and practice, as this article will show, the Treaty will give Washington increased power over the G20 nations — the holders of the other ‘rings’ — and through them the rest of the Western World: not only its people but also its animals, its eco-systems, its resources. This, and not the health of the globe, is its dark purpose.
The Civil War
The World Health Organization, which since January 2020 has received $782 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is a corporate-funded and lobbied agency of the United Nations without legal jurisdiction over the populations of its 194 member states — to which it acts, at least in principle, in an advisory role.
But that’s going to change soon.
On 3 March 2022, as lockdown regulations were revoked across Europe and NATO declared its proxy war on Russia, the European Council adopted a decision to authorise the opening of negotiations for an international Treaty on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response. Under the terms of this Treaty, the member-states of the World Health Organization will be legally bound to implement restrictions on human rights and freedoms — such as further lockdowns, mandatory face masking, compulsory gene therapy, a system of digital identity and programmes of surveillance and censorship — all on the judgement of the WHO.
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