Tag Archives: Sanctions

The Real Reason for the New Cold War with Russia… What it Means for the Markets and World Peace, by International Man

A knowledgable Russian’s view of the US-Russian relationship. From internationalman.com:

New Cold War

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.

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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.

What does the US government and media get wrong?

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Dual Paths in Dark Times: Despair or Hope for Antiwar Dreamers, by Danny Sjursen

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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Stop Tightening the Thumb Screws, A Humanitarian Message, by Kathy Kelly

Coronavirus poses a threat to all of humanity, except for Iranians, whose deaths are to be welcomed. From Kathy Kelly at antiwar.com:

U.S. sanctions against Iran, cruelly strengthened in March of 2018, continue a collective punishment of extremely vulnerable people. Presently, the US”maximum pressure” policy severely undermines Iranian efforts to cope with the ravages of COVID-19, causing hardship and tragedy while contributing to the global spread of the pandemic. On March 12, 2020, Iran’s Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif urged member states of the UN to end the United States’ unconscionable and lethal economic warfare.

Addressing UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Zarif detailed how US economic sanctions prevent Iranians from importing necessary medicine and medical equipment.

For over two years, while the US bullied other countries to refrain from purchasing Iranian oil, Iranians have coped with crippling economic decline.

The devastated economy and worsening coronavirus outbreak now drive migrants and refugees, who number in the millions, back to Afghanistan at dramatically increased rates.

In the past two weeks alone, more than 50,000 Afghans returned from Iran, increasing the likelihood that cases of coronavirus will surge in Afghanistan. Decades of war, including US invasion and occupation, have decimatedAfghanistan’s health care and food distribution systems.

Jawad Zarif asks the UN to prevent the use of hunger and disease as a weapon of war. His letter demonstrates the wreckage caused by many decades of United States imperialism and suggests revolutionary steps toward dismantling the United States war machine.

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A New Definition of Warfare, by Philip Giraldi

Are sanctions war by another means? From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:

Supporters of Donald Trump often make the point that he has not started any new wars. One might observe that it has not been for lack of trying, as his cruise missile attacks on Syria based on fabricated evidence and his recent assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani have been indisputably acts of war. Trump also has enhanced troop levels both in the Middle East and in Afghanistan while also increasing the frequency and lethality of armed drone attacks worldwide.

Congress has been somewhat unseriously toying around with a tightening of the war powers act of 1973 to make it more difficult for a president to carry out acts of war without any deliberation by or authorization from the legislature. But perhaps the definition of war itself should be expanded. The one area where Trump and his team of narcissistic sociopaths have been most active has been in the imposition of sanctions with lethal intent. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been explicit in his explanations that the assertion of “extreme pressure” on countries like Iran and Venezuela is intended to make the people suffer to such an extent that they rise up against their governments and bring about “regime change.” In Pompeo’s twisted reckoning that is how places that Washington disapproves of will again become “normal countries.”

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Some Other People Do Some Other Things, by James Howard Kunstler

One week into the new year and we may be looking at both financial fireworks and a hot war in the Middle East. Could be an interesting year. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

An almighty bafflement befogs the nation as the first full business week of 2020 commences and events pile up like smashed vehicles on a weather-blinded highway. Before we even smoked that Iranian bird on the Baghdad airport tarmac, something ominous was tingling away in the financial markets, in fact, has been since way back in September. Perhaps one-in-100,000 Americans has the dimmest clue as to what the repo mechanism stands for in banking circles, but it has been flashing red for months, with klaxons blaring for those who maybe missed the red flashes.

The repo market represents trillions of dollars in overnight lending in which bonds (or other “assets”) are used as collateral for ultra-short-term loans between large banks. Theoretically, this flow of supposedly secured lending acts as mere background lubricant for the engine of finance, like the motor oil circulating in your Ford F-150. You don’t notice it until it’s not there, and then all of a sudden you’re throwing rods and sucking valves, and the darn vehicle is a smoldering goner in the breakdown lane.

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US Treasury’s Steve Mnuchin Virtue Signals Economic Terrorism, by Finian Cunningham

US economic sanctions kill people as surely as its bombs and bullets do, although everybody seems to fill better about sanctions. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin seems to think that nations under the hammer of American sanctions should be thanking Washington for not attacking them militarily instead. How generous, how virtuous of Uncle Sam!

Speaking at the Doha Forum in Qatar last week, Mnuchin made a virtue of the US imposing economic sanctions on countries it dislikes because such measures, he claimed, were a way to avoid the worse alternative of war.

The reason why we’re using sanctions is because they are an important alternative for world military conflicts,” said the US Treasury Secretary.

The sleight of hand here is to portray Washington as somehow being more responsible and principled in its foreign policy by using coercion against other nations supposedly without harming civilians, damaging infrastructure or spilling blood.

Billionaire Mnuchin is living in a bubble of American propaganda if he thinks that economic sanctions are some kind of sterile lever which do not have any impact on human suffering. Sanctions are acts of war, conducted as other means to troop invasions, air strikes and naval blockades.

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Stay Strong, Go Long – Bulletproof Russia Becomes Contrarian Haven, by Tom Luongo

Vladimir Putin has overcome many obstacles and turned Russia around. The country presents some interesting investment opportunities. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.com:

It’s a tough road being a contrarian on Russia. This is especially true today when the entirety of the U.S. and European political system is aligned to demonize Russia at nearly every level.

And the main reason for this is that Russia under President Vladimir Putin refuses to do the West’s bidding both at home and abroad. The central tenet of U.S. foreign policy is that U.S. concerns, no matter where they are, are supreme and everyone else’s are subordinate.

Russia under Putin doesn’t play that game. He hasn’t for nearly twenty years now. This is not to say, of course, that objectively speaking Putin is a good man or even a good leader. In studying Putin for the past seven years I’ve come to one inescapable conclusion.

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