Friday 21st of June 2019

the imbeciles are preparing for war...

ldv

Bipartisan panel: US must prepare for “horrendous,” “devastating” war with Russia and China

By Andre Damon 

16 November 2018


A bipartisan commission appointed by Congress issued a lengthy report Tuesday backing the Pentagon’s plans to prepare for a “great-power” war against Russia, China, or both, making clear that the Trump administration’s belligerent policies are shared by the Democratic Party.


Safe in the knowledge that its findings will never be seriously reported by the mass media, the authors of this report do not mince words about what such a war will mean. A war between the United States and China, which according to the report might break out within four years, will be “horrendous” and “devastating.” The military will “face greater losses than at any time in decades.” Such a war could lead to “rapid nuclear escalation,” and American civilians will be attacked and likely killed.


It is impossible to understand anything in American politics without recognizing one fundamental reality: the events and scandals that dominate political discourse, which make it onto the evening news and into headlines on news sites and social media feeds, have precious little to do with the considerations of those who actually make decisions. The media talking heads play their assigned roles, knowing that the most important topics can be discussed only within very circumscribed limits.


Those who actually make policy—a select group of high-ranking members of Congress, Pentagon officials, and think-tank staffers, as well as White House aides—speak an entirely different language among themselves, and in publications they know the general public will not read, and the media will not seriously report.


These people all accept as plain, self-evident fact, statements that, if they ever made the evening news, would be dismissed as “conspiracy theories.”


The latest example of such plain speaking comes in the form of a new report published by the National Defense Strategy Commission, a body set up by Congress to assess the Pentagon’s new National Security Strategy, issued early this year, which declared that “great-power competition—not terrorism—is now the primary focus” of the US military.


The findings of the panel, published as a report titled “Providing for the Common Defense,” can be summarized as follows: The US military is entirely correct to prepare for war with Russia and China. But the Pentagon, which spends more each year than the next eight largest national military forces combined, requires a massive expansion in military spending, to be paid for with cuts to bedrock social programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.


The report is, in other words, a congressional rubber-stamp on the Trump administration’s military build-up, putting into words what the Congress did in deeds this year when it passed, with overwhelming bipartisan support, the largest military budget increase since the Cold War.


But beyond the recognition that the United States should prepare for an imminent, “whole-of-society” war with “devastating” impacts on the American population, the document is a stark warning of another basic reality: The United States could very well lose such a war, which requires, in effect, the military conquest of the entire planet by a country with less than five percent of the world’s population.


The United States “might struggle to win, or perhaps lose, a war against China or Russia,” it declares. These wars would not just be fought overseas, but would likely target the American population: “it would be unwise and irresponsible not to expect adversaries to attempt debilitating kinetic, cyber, or other types of attacks against Americans at home while they seek to defeat our military abroad.”


It adds, “Should war occur, American forces will face harder fights and greater losses than at any time in decades. It is worth recalling that during the Falklands War, a decidedly inferior opponent—Argentina—crippled and sank a major British warship by striking it with a single guided missile. The amount of destruction a major state adversary could inflict on U.S. forces today might be orders of magnitude higher.”


To drive the point home, the report outlines a number of scenarios. The first involves Taiwan declaring independence from China in 2022, prompting Chinese retaliation. “The Pentagon informs the President that America could probably defeat China in a long war, if the full might of the nation was mobilized. Yet it would lose huge numbers of ships and aircraft, as well as thousands of lives, in the effort, in addition to suffering severe economic disruptions—all with no guarantee of having decisive impact before Taiwan was overrun ... But avoiding that outcome would now require absorbing horrendous losses.”


The solution, the report concludes, is a much bigger army, funded by consistent, multi-year increases in spending. “There is a need for extraordinary urgency in addressing the crisis of national defense,” it writes.


The army needs “More armor, long-range fires, engineering, and air-defense units.” The Air Force needs “more stealthy long-range fighters and bombers, tankers, lift capacity, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms.” The nuclear forces need more missiles. And so on and so forth.


To pay for all this, social services are to be gutted. “Mandatory entitlement programs drive spending growth,” the report complains, demanding that Congress address these programs, which include Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. It warns that “such adjustments will undoubtedly be quite painful.”


And finally, all of society must be mobilized behind the war effort. A “whole-of-nation” approach must be adopted, including “trade policy; science, technology, engineering, and math education.” Everything from private corporations to academic institutions must be brought to bear.


In listing the various challenges to the United States fighting and winning a war against Russia or China, none of the distinguished members of the committee arrived at the seemingly obvious conclusion: that maybe the United States should not fight such a war.


But in this they represent the overwhelming consensus within American policy circles. In his last days, Adolf Hitler was reported to have declared over and over again that if the German nation could not win the Second World War, it did not deserve to exist. The American ruling class is entirely committed to a course of action that threatens the obliteration of not only much of the world’s people, but of the American population itself.


This is not the madness of individuals, but the insanity of a social class that represents an outlived and bankrupt social order, capitalism, and an equally outlived political framework, the nation-state system. And it can only be opposed by another social force: the world working class, whose social interests are international and progressive, and whose very existence depends on opposing the megalomaniacal war aims of American capitalism.

 

Source:

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/11/16/mili-n16.html

 

--------------------------

 

"Our regional competitors in the Pacific and in Europe have been studying our strengths and our vulnerabilities for more than a decade," Maj. Gen. Paul A. Chamberlain said in February. "Their modernization efforts are slowly eroding our competitive advantage, and this budget request addresses that, by providing the necessary resources to ensure the Army's superiority."

But opponents say America is sending a signal to the world that it is preparing to go to war, in part through billions in new investments in nuclear weapons research, new nuclear warheads, updated aircraft carriers and ballistic submarines whose practical application some say is hard to imagine in a modern war. Pointing to the calamity following the invasion in Iraq, they also question the assumption that the United States can use military force to solve political or humanitarian issues around the world.

"This is not only wasteful, it's dangerous: It tells other countries that the nuclear arms race is back on," said William Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy. "All of this money is being spent in service of the idea we can go anywhere and fight any battle, and the recent history shows that doesn't make a lot of sense or make us safer."

Critics also say the Pentagon is bloated with administrative waste and contracts, pointing to a 2016 internal report finding that the military buried evidence of $125 billion of bureaucratic waste, and that America already spends far more on its military than any other country. America spends more on its military than the next 11 countries combined, according to Matthew Fay, director of defense and foreign policy studies at the Niskanen Center, a think tank.

Pouring billions into the military also limits America's ability to spend on health care, child care and other key domestic spending priorities, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a recent speech on the Senate floor, noting the nation has among the worst health and child poverty rates in the developed world.

read more:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/06/19/u-s-military-budget-inches-closer-to-1-trillion-mark-as-concerns-over-federal-deficit-grow/?

 

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Letter from the Co-Chairs

 

As co-chairs of the Commission on the National Defense Strategy for the

United States, we are pleased to submit our Commission’s work and

publish our report. In the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017,

Congress charged this Commission with providing an independent, nonpartisan

review of the 2018 National Defense Strategy and issues of U.S.

defense strategy and policy more broadly. We consulted widely and reviewed

numerous classified and unclassified sources in developing our

conclusions and recommendations. Although not every member of this

Commission agrees with every word, the unclassified analysis, findings,

and recommendations expressed herein capture the broad consensus of

this diverse group of Republicans, Democrats, and independents.

We thank all whose cooperation made our work possible: Chairmen John

McCain and “Mac” Thornberry and ranking members Jack Reed and

Adam Smith of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, Secretary

of Defense James Mattis and Deputy Secretary Patrick Shanahan,

Department of Defense officials who provided briefings and information,

representatives of other U.S. government departments and agencies, and

allied officials and independent experts with whom we consulted. We especially

note the contributions of Senator McCain, who passed away

shortly before this report was completed. Chairman McCain, along with

Chairman Thornberry, played a crucial role in establishing this Commission.

We consider it appropriate and fitting that Jon Kyl, a member of the

Commission who participated fully in its deliberations, is now in Senator

McCain’s former seat in the Senate. Finally, we are deeply grateful to

our fellow commissioners and support staff for their time, energy, and

insight. All who contributed to this report embody extraordinary nonpartisan

cooperation in the service of a strong, secure, and prosperous

America.

 

https://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/2018-11/providing-for-the-common-defense.pdf

a big elastic slice of the lethality pie...

 

(CNN) President Donald Trump has agreed to a request from Defense Secretary James Mattis to propose a defense budget of $750 billion for the coming year, marking a reversal from plans to shrink defense spending, an administration official confirmed to CNN.


Last week, Trump appeared to call the Defense Department budget of $716 billion "crazy" in a tweet. The next day Mattis and key Republican lawmakers who oppose any defense budget cuts met with the President for lunch to discuss military funding.
The agreement on the $750 billion budget came out of the meeting last Tuesday, which was attended by Trump, Mattis and the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services committees, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, and Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma.
"The President fully supports the National Defense Strategy and continuing to rebuild the military," the official said. "With the help of Sen. Inhofe and Chairman Thornberry, President Trump agreed to $750 billion topline."
Politico first reported the decision to increase the budget proposal.
The larger number tracks with what some experts, including a congressionally appointed panel, have said should be a yearly 3 to 5% increase to the defense budget, which includes money for the military as well as the nuclear weapons elements of the Department of Energy.
The meeting last week came as the Trump administration floated a 5% cut to the Defense Department, reducing the defense budget from $716 billion allocated in 2019 to $700 billion in 2020 as part of a federal government-wide effort to reduce the deficit. Defense officials were planning on a $733 billion budget for 2020 prior to the proposed cuts.
"The Department is committed to ensuring our military remains the most lethal force in the world. We are working with OMB (Office of Management and Budget) to determine the department's topline number," Lt. Col. Mike Andrews, a Defense Department spokesman, told CNN.
Defense officials had said anything under $733 billion would increase risk.

Read more:https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/09/politics/trump-mattis-defense-spending/index.html

Gus: It is actually hard to know the real plan for the US military budget as a big slice of it is under "discretionary budget" — which in other words means "elasticity"... One can only hope that no-one will ever go to war ever again under such conditions which from the first 15 minutes of engagement will see the complete destruction of this planet. Sanity will prevail, hopefully, but with the dorks in charge of the USA, we're in for an unknown ride...

Overview – FY 2019 Defense Budget
CHAPTER 1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1-1
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY – A STRATEGY DRIVEN BUDGET
The Department of Defense (DoD) Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget is the second full budget request from President Trump’s administration. This budget was formulated around the National Security Strategy (NSS) and National Defense Strategy (NDS) goals to:

 Protect the American people, the Homeland, and the American way of life,
 Promote American prosperity,
 Preserve peace through strength, and
 Advance American influence

The Department’s enduring mission is to provide combat ready military forces to deter war and protect the security of the U.S., which reinforces America’s traditional tools of diplomacy. The Department provides military options to ensure that the President of the United States and U.S. diplomats negotiate from a position of strength. To successfully build a strategic budget demands an in-depth review of all requirements, the FY 2019 budget focused on the short-term and long-term priorities that enable the Department to meet the objectives of the NSS and NDS. The NDS prioritizes major power competition, and in particular, reversing the erosion of the U.S. military advantage in relation to China and Russia. The DoD FY 2019 budget request fulfills the Department’s objectives by addressing Secretary of Defense direction to increase lethality; resilience; agility; build a flexible and dynamic force; and work by, with, and through allies and partners. Guided by the NSS and NDS, the Department made specific decisions about the FY 2019 budget that support a more capable, ready, and efficient force that can project powerglobally for full-spectrum operations against a range of threats, this includes:
 Increasing end strength for the Army, Navy and Air Force (+25,900),
 Continuing the Department's Missile Defeat and Defense Enhancement (MDDE) initiative,
 Increasing procurement of preferred and advanced munitions,
 Modernizing equipment for the second Army Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT),
 Buying ten combat ships in FY 2019,
 Increasing production of the F-35 aircraft and F/A-18 aircraft
 Enhancing deterrence by modernizing the nuclear triad
 Increasing funds to enhance communications and resiliency in space,
 Supporting U.S. Armed Forces with a pay raise of 2.6 percent, and
 Increasing the emphasis on technology innovation for increased lethality.

Read more:
https://dod.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/FY2019-Budget-Request-Overview-Book.pdf

US to create shit-war in south america...


The United States are preparing a war between Latin-American states



by  Thierry Meyssan

Little by little, the partisans of the Cebrowski doctrine are advancing their pawns. If they must cease creating wars in the Greater Middle East, they’ll just turn around and inflame the Caribbean Basin. Above all, the Pentagon is planning to assassinate an elected head of state, ruin his country, and undermine the unity of Latin-America.


John Bolton, the new US National Security Advisor, has relaunched the Pentagon’s project for the destruction of the State structures in the Caribbean Basin.

We remember that in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Secretary for Defense at that time, Donald Rumsfeld, created the Office of Force Transformation and nominated Admiral Arthur Cebrowski as its Director. Its mission was to train the US army for its new role in the era of financial globalisation. It was designed to change military culture in order to destroy the State structures of the regions which were not connected to the global economy. The first chapter of this plan consisted of dislocating the « Greater Middle East ». The second stage was intended to perform the same task in the « Caribbean Basin ». The plan was designed to destroy some twenty coastal and insular States, with the exception of Colombia, Mexico and as far as possible, territories belonging to the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Holland.

When he arrived at the White House, President Donald Trump opposed the Cebrowski plan. However, two years later, he has so far only been able to prevent the Pentagon and NATO from handing over States to the terrorist groups they employ (the « Caliphate »), but not to stop manipulating terrorism. Concerning the Greater Middle East, he has managed to diminish the tension, but the wars still continue there at lower intensity. Concerning the Caribbean Basin, he restrained the Pentagon, forbidding them to launch direct military operations.

Last May, Stella Calloni revealed a note from Admiral Kurt Tidd, Commander in Chief of SouthCom, exposing the operations aimed at Venezuela [1]. A second penetration was simultaneously implemented in Nicaragua, and a third, running for the last half century, against Cuba.

Working from several previous analyses, we concluded that the destabilisation of Venezuela - beginning with the guarimbas movement, continued by the attempted coup d’etat of February 2015 (Operation Jericho) [2], then by attacks on the national currency and the organisation of emigration - would end with military operations [3] led from Brazil, Colombia and Guyana. Multinational manoeuvres of troop transport were organised by the United States and their allies in August 2017 [4]. This was made possible by the election of pro-Israëli President Jair Bolsonaro, who will come to power in Brasilia on 1 January 2019.

The next Vice-President of Brazil will be General Hamilton Mourão, whose father played an important role in the pro-US military coup d’etat of 1964. He has made himself famous by his declarations against Presidents Lula and Rousseff. In 2017, he declared – on behalf of the Grand Orient of Brazil – that the time for a new military coup d’etat had arrived. Finally, he was re-elected with President Bolsonaro. In an interview with the magazine Piaui, he announced an impending overthrow of the Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro, and the deployment of a Brazilian « peace » force (sic). Faced with the gravity of these statements, which constitute a violation of the United Nations Charter, elected President Bolsonaro declared that no-one had any intention of going to war with anyone, and that his Vice-President talked too much.

In any case, during a Press conference on 12 December 2018, President Maduro revealed that US National Security Advisor John Bolton was handling the coordination between the teams of Colombian President Iván Duque and those of the Brazilian Vice-President. A group of 734 mercenaries is currently being trained in Tona (Colombia) in order to perpetrate a false flag attack, allegedly by Venezuela, against Colombia – thereby justifying a Colombian war against Venezuela. The war would be under the command of Colonel Oswaldo Valentín García Palomo, who is today in hiding after the attempted assassination by drone of President Maduro during the anniversary of the National Guard on 4 August 2018. These mercenaries are supported by Special Forces stationed on US military bases in Tolemaida (Colombia) and Eglin (Florida). The US plan is to take over, from the beginning of the conflict, the three Venezuelan Libertador military bases of Palo Negro, Puerto Cabello and Barcelona.

The US National Security Council is attempting to convince various states not to recognise Nicolás Maduro’s second mandate (he was re-elected last May, but will assume power with the New Year). This is why the states of the Lima Group contested the Presidential ballot even before it took place, and illegally forbade Venezuelan consulates from organising it. Furthermore, the migration crisis turns out to be just one more manipulation – many of the Venezuelans who fled the monetary crisis believing that they would easily find work in another Latin-American country are today trying to return home. But the Lima Group prevents them from doing so, forbidding Venezuelan planes who are attempting to repatriate them to use their air space, as well as interdicting the buses which have come to help them cross the borders.

Everything is therefore happening as if we were watching a remake of the events which bloodied the Greater Middle East after the attacks of 11 September 2001. The main point is not the military actions, but the appearance of disorder that the events present. First of all, it’s intended to confuse people into making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear [5]. In the space of five years, Venezuela and Nicaragua, which used to enjoy a positive image abroad, are now being wrongly described as « failed states ». While the history of the Sandinistas and their struggle against the Somoza dictatorship has not yet been re-written, it is taken for granted that Hugo Chávez Frías was a « Communist dictator » (sic), despite the fact that his country experienced a massive economical and political leap forward during his Presidency. It will soon become possible to destroy these states without anyone complaining.

Time is passing more and more rapidly. When, in 1823, US President James Monroe decided to close the Americas to European colonisation, he could not have imagined that 50 years later his decision would morph into an affirmation of US imperialism. Just as today, when President Donald Trump declared, on the day of his investiture, that the time for régime change was over, he did not imagine that he would be betrayed by his own people. Nonetheless, on 1 November 2018, his Security Advisor John Bolton declared in Miami that Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela formed a « troïka of tyranny ». Then his Secretary of Defense, General James Mattis, affirmed on 1 December, before the Reagan National Defense Forum, that elected President Maduro is an « irresponsible despot » who « has to go » [6].

Thierry Meyssan

Translation 
Pete Kimberley

 

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admiral arthur cebrowski's middle-east...

war is a racket...

War Is A Racket

 

By Major General Smedley Butler 

 

WAR is a racket.

 

It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes. 

 

read more:

 

https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.pdf

 

The extraordinary "sad" case of the present times is that the only thing that stands against an all-out WW3 is Donald Trump... Think about it.

 

 

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NATO partisans started a new cold war with russia...

 

NATO Partisans Started a New Cold War With Russia


Putin is responding to the West's aggressive actions, not the other way around.


By TED GALEN CARPENTER • December 27, 2018


When historians examine the first few decades of the so-called post-Cold War era, they are likely to marvel at the clumsy and provocative policies that the United States and its NATO allies pursued toward Russia. Perceptive historians will conclude that a multitude of insensitive actions by those governments poisoned relations with Moscow, and by the latter years of the Obama administration, led to the onset of a new cold war. During the Trump administration, matters grew even worse, and that cold war threatened to turn hot. 

Since the history of our era is still being written, we have an opportunity to avoid such a cataclysmic outcome. However, the behavior of America’s political, policy, and media elites in response to the latest parochial quarrel between Russia and Ukraine regarding the Kerch Strait suggests that they learned nothing from their previous blunders. Worse, they seem determined to intensify an already counterproductive, hardline policy toward Moscow.

U.S. leaders managed to get relations with Russia wrong just a few years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991. One of the few officials to capture the nature of the West’s bungling and how it fomented tensions was Robert Gates, who served as secretary of defense during the final years of George W. Bush’s administration and the first years of Barack Obama’s. In his surprisingly candid memoirs, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War, Gates recalls his report to Bush following the 2007 Munich Security Council, at which Russian President Vladimir Putin vented about Western security transgressions, including the planned deployment of a missile defense system in Central Europe.  

“When I reported to the president my take on the Munich conference, I shared my belief that from 1993 onward, the West, and particularly the United States, had badly underestimated the magnitude of the Russian humiliation in losing the Cold War . . . .” Yet even that blunt assessment given to Bush did not fully capture Gates’s views on the issue. “What I didn’t tell the president was that I believed the relationship with Russia had been badly mismanaged after [George H. W.] Bush left office in 1993. Getting Gorbachev to acquiesce to a unified Germany as a member of NATO had been a huge accomplishment. But moving so quickly after the collapse of the Soviet Union to incorporate so many of its formerly subjugated states into NATO was a mistake.”

Specific U.S. actions were ill-considered as well, in Gates’s view. “U.S. agreements with the Romanian and Bulgarian governments to rotate troops through bases in those countries was a needless provocation.”

His list of foolish or arrogant Western actions went on. Citing NATO’s military interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo during Bill Clinton’s administration, Gates noted that “the Russians had long historical ties with Serbia, which we largely ignored.” And in an implicit rebuke to his current boss, Gates asserted that “trying to bring Georgia and Ukraine into NATO was truly overreaching.” That move was a case of “recklessly ignoring what the Russians considered their own vital national interests.” Indeed, events regarding Ukraine after Gates completed his memoirs illustrated that U.S. arrogance and meddling knew few bounds. U.S. officials openly sided with demonstrators who overthrew Ukraine’s elected, pro-Russian government, and then reacted with shock and anger when Russia retaliated by seizing and annexing Crimea. 

Gates’s overall assessment of Western, especially U.S., policy toward Russia during the post-Cold War era was unsparingly harsh—and devastatingly accurate: “When Russia was weak in the 1990s and beyond, we did not take Russian interests seriously. We did a poor job of seeing the world from their point of view and managing the relationship for the long term.” Unfortunately, Gates was one of the rare anomalies in the American foreign policy community regarding policy toward Russia.

His criticism, trenchant as it is, still understates the folly of the policies that the United States and its NATO allies have pursued toward Moscow. The treatment that three successive U.S. administrations meted out to a newly capitalist, democratic Russia was appalling myopic. Even before Vladimir Putin came to power—and long before Russia descended into being an illiberal democracy and then an outright authoritarian state—the Western powers treated the country as a de facto enemy. The NATO nations engaged in a series of provocations even though Moscow had engaged in no aggressive conduct that even arguably justified such actions.

The determination to confront Russia has only grown over the years, as the current tensions involving the Kerch Strait illustrate. When Russian security forces fired on three Ukrainian naval vessels that attempted to force a transit of the Kerch Strait (a narrow waterway between Russia’s Taman Peninsula and Russian-annexed Crimea that connects the Black Sea and Sea of Azov), the United States and its NATO allies reacted furiously. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley branded Russia’s conduct “outlaw actions.”  

An array of U.S. lawmakers and pundits advocate highly provocative steps in response. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) the incoming chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urged an increase in U.S. arms sales to Ukraine, asserting, “If Putin starts seeing Russian soldier fatalities, that changes his equation.”  

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) threatened new sanctions on Russia and called for a coordinated response between the United States and its European allies. “If Putin continues his Black Sea bullying,” Inhofe stated, “the United States and Europe must consider imposing additional sanctions on Russia, inserting a greater U.S. and NATO presence in the Black Sea region and increasing military assistance for Ukraine.” 

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) echoed those views. Menendez called for tougher sanctions, additional NATO exercises on the Black Sea and more U.S. security aid to Ukraine, “including lethal maritime equipment and weapons.” Some hawks even seem receptive to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s call on NATO to station warships in the Sea of Azov, even though such a step would likely lead to a shooting war between the West and Russia.

Far too many Western (especially American) analyses explicitly or implicitly act as though the United States and its NATO allies worked assiduously to establish cordial relations with Russia but were compelled to adopt hardline policies solely because of Russia’s perversely aggressive conduct. That is a distorted, self-serving portrayal on the part of NATO partisans. It falsely portrays the West as purely a reactive player—that NATO initiatives were never insensitive, provocative, or aggressive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, the opposite is closer to the mark; Russia’s actions, both in terms of timing and virulence, tended to be responses to aggressive Western initiatives. Unfortunately, avid NATO supporters seem determined to double down, insisting that the Trump administration adopt even more uncompromising policies.

Contending that Moscow is to blame for the deterioration of East-West relations because of its military actions in Georgia and Ukraine, as U.S. opinion leaders tend to do, is especially inaccurate. The problems began much earlier than the events in 2008 and 2014. The West humiliated a defeated adversary that showed every sign of wanting to become part of a broader Western community. Expanding NATO and trampling on Russian interests in the Balkans were momentous early measures that torpedoed friendly relations. 

Such policy myopia was reminiscent of how the victorious Allies inflicted harsh treatment on a defeated, newly democratic Weimar Germany after World War I. The NATO powers are treating Russia as an enemy, and there is now a serious danger that the country is turning into one. That development would be an especially tragic case of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Ted Galen Carpenter, a senior fellow in security studies at the Cato Institute and a contributing editor at The American Conservative, is the author of 12 books and more than 750 articles on international affairs.  His latest book is Gullible Superpower: U.S. Support for Bogus Foreign Democratic Movements (forthcoming, February 2019).

 

Read more:

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-nato-partisans-star...

 

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war in paradise...


The terrible forthcoming destruction of the « Caribbean Basin »



by  Thierry Meyssan

President Trump has announced the withdrawal of US combat troops from the « Greater Middle East », but the Pentagon is still pursuing the implementation of the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski plan. This time the aim is to destroy the States of the « Caribbean Basin ». This is nothing like the overthrow of pro-Soviet regimes, as in the 1970’s, but the destruction of all regional State structures, without consideration for friends or political enemies. Thierry Meyssan observes the preparations for this new series of wars.


In a series of previous articles, we presented the SouthCom plan to provoke wars between the Latin-American nations in order to destroy the structures of all the States in the « Caribbean Basin » [1].

Preparations for wars of this magnitude, intended to follow on from the conflicts in the « Greater Middle East » according to the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski strategy, requires a decade [2].

After the period of economic destabilisation [3] and that of military preparation, the actual operation should begin in the years to come by an attack on Venezuela by Brazil (supported by Israël), Colombia (an ally of the United States) and Guyana (in other words, the United Kingdom). It will be followed by others, beginning with Cuba and Nicaragua (the « troïka of tyranny » according to John Bolton).

However, the original plan may be modified, particularly because of the return of the imperial ambitions of the United Kingdom [4] which may influence the Pentagon.

This is where we are now :

The evolution of Venezuela

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez had developed relations with the « Greater Middle East » on an ideological basis. He had in particular grown closer to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian President Bachar el-Assad. Together, they had imagined the possibility of founding an intergovernmental organisation, the « Free Allies Movement », on the model of the « Non-Aligned Movement », which was paralysed by the alignment with the United States, over time, of certain of its members [5].

Although Nicolas Maduro adopted the same language as Hugo Chávez, he chose a very different foreign policy. It is true that he continued the rapprochement with Russia and, in his turn welcomed Russian bombers to Venezuela. He signed a contract to import 600,000 tonnes of wheat in order to deal with starvation in his country. Above all, he prepared to receive six billion dollars of investments, including five in the oil sector. Russian engineers took over the posts which were intended for Venezuelan workers but which they had abandoned.

Nicolas Maduro reorganised the alliances of his country on new foundations. He wove close links with Turkey, which is a member of NATO and whose army presently occupies Northern Syria. Maduro went to Istanbul on four occasions and Erdoğan went once to Caracas.

Switzerland was an ally of Hugo Chávez, and had advised him for the composition of his Constitution. Fearing that he would be unable to refine his country’s gold in Switzerland, Nicolas Maduro looked to Turkey, which transformed the raw material into bullion. In the past, this gold had remained in Swiss banks as a guarantee for oil contracts. From now on, the liquid assets were transferred to Turkey, while the newly treated gold returned to Venezuela. This orientation may be interpreted as being no longer founded on ideology, but on interest. Everything depends on who benefits.

Simultaneously, Venezuela became the target of a destabilisation campaign which began with the guarimbasdemonstrations, continued with the attempted coup d’etat on 12 February 2015 (« Operation Jericho »), then by a series of attacks on the national currency, and organised emigration. In this context, Turkey offered Venezuela the possibility of avoiding US sanctions. The exchanges between the two countries multiplied fifteen-fold in 2018.

Whatever the evolution of the Venezuelan régime, nothing can justify what is being prepared against its population.

Coordination of logistical means 

From 31 July to 12 August 2017, SouthCom organise a vast exercise with more than 3,000 men from 25 allied states, including France and the United Kingdom. The goal was to prepare a swift landing for troops in Venezuela [6].

Colombia

Colombia is a state, but not a nation. Its population lives geographically separate according to social class, with enormous differences in the quality of life. Almost no Colombian has ever spent time in a neighbourhood attributed to another social class than their own. This strict separation has made possible the multiplication of paramilitary forces and consequently armed interior conflicts which have caused more than 220,000 victims in thirty years.

In power since August 2018, President Iván Duque has challenged the fragile peace concluded with the FARC by his predecessor, Juan Manuel Santos – but not with the ELN. He has not dismissed the option of a military intervention against Venezuela. According to Nicolas Maduro, the United States are currently training 734 mercenaries in a training camp situated in Tona with a view to carrying out a false flag operation intended to spark a war with Venezuela. Taking into account the sociological particularity of Colombia, it is impossible to determine with certainty whether or not the training camp is controlled by Bogota.

Guyana

In the 19th century, the colonial powers agreed to a frontier between British Guyana (presently Guyana) and Dutch Guyana (presently Surinam). but no text has ever defined the frontier between the British zone and the Spanish zone (presently Venezuela). Consequently, Guyana administrates 160,000 km2 of forest which is still a source of dispute with its larger neighbour. By virtue of the Geneva agreement of 17 February 1966, the two states deferred to the Secretary General of the UNO (at that time the Burmese U Thant). Nothing has changed since then - Guyana has proposed to bring the case before the UNO Permanent Court of Arbitration, while Venezuela prefers direct negotiations.

This territorial dispute does not seem particularly urgent, because the contested area is an uninhabited forest which was believed to be without value – however, it is a huge area which represents two thirds of Guyana. The Geneva agreement has been violated 15 times by Guyana, which specifically authorised the exploitation of a gold mine. Above all, the stakes were raised in 2015 with the discovery by ExxonMobil of oil deposits in the Atlantic Ocean, particularly in the territorial waters of the contested zone.

The population of Guyana is composed of 40 % Indians, 30 % Africans, 20 % mixed race and 10 % American Indians. The Indians are a strong presence in the civil services and the Africans in the army.

On 21 December, a vote of no confidence was lodged against the government of President David Granger, a pro-British, anti-Venezuelan General, in power since 2015. To everyone’s surprise, a deputy, Charrandas Persaud, voted against his own party, and in an atmosphere of indescribable chaos, provoked the fall of the government which had only a one-vote majority. Since then, the country is in a state of great instability - we do not know whether President Granger, who is presently undergoing chemotherapy, will be able to handle current affairs, while Charrandas Persaud left Parliament with an escort, via a back door, and has fled to Canada.

On 23 December 2018, in the absence of a government, the Ramform Tethys (under the flag of the Bahamas) and the Delta Monarch (Trinidad and Tobago) undertook submarine explorations in the contested zone on behalf of Exxon-Mobil. Considering that this intrusion violated the Geneva agreement, the Venezuelan army chased the two ships away. The Guyanese Minister for Foreign Affairs, working with current affairs, declared it a hostile act.

The United Kingdom Minister for Defense, Gavin Williamson, declared to the Sunday Telegraph on 30 December 2018 that the Crown was putting an end to decolonisation, which had been Whitehall’s doctrine since the Suez affair in 1956. London is preparing to open a new military base in the Caribbean (for the moment the UK has bases only in Gibraltar, Cyprus, Diego Garcia and on the Falkland islands). The new base could be situated on Montserrat (West Indies), or more probably in Guyana, and should be operational in 2022 [7].

Guyana is a neighbour of Surinam (Dutch Guyana). Its President, Desi Bouterse, is wanted in Europe for drug trafficking – an affair which pre-dated his election. But his son, Dino, was arrested in Panama in 2013, despite the fact that he entered that country under a diplomatic passport. He was extradited to the United States where he was sentenced to 16 years of prison for drug trafficking - in reality because he was setting up the Lebanese Hezbollah in Surinam.

Brazil

In May 2016, Henrique Meirelles, the Minister of Finance for the transitional government of Libano-Brazilian Michel Temer, nominated Israelo-Brazilian Ilan Goldfajn as director of the Central Bank. Mereilles had also presided the Committee for the preparation of the Olympic Games, calling on Tsahal to coordinate the Brazilian army and police, thus guaranteeing the security of the Games. Simultaneously controlling the Central Bank, the army and the police of Brazil, Israël had no difficulty in supporting the popular movement of dissatisfaction in the face of the incompetence of the Workers’ Party.

Believing - without any solid proof - that Presidente Dilma Rousseff had fudged the public accounts in the context of the Petrobras scandal, the parliamentarians impeached her in August 2016.

During the Presidential election of 2018, candidate Jair Bolsonaro went to Israël to be baptised in the waters of the Jordan, and consequently obtained a massive percentage of the evangelical vote. He was elected with General Hamilton Mourão as his Vice-President. During the period of transition, Mourão declared that Brazil should prepare to send men to Venezuela as a « peace force » once President Maduro had been overthrown – comments which constitute a barely-disguised threat which President Bolsonaro attempted to downplay.

In an interview on 3 January 2019, on the TV channel SBT, President Bolsonaro spoke of negotiations with the Pentagon concerning the possibility of creating a US military base in Brazil. This declaration raised powerful opposition within the armed forces, for whom their country is capable of defending itself without assistance.

During his investiture on 2 January 2019, the new President welcomed Israëli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This was the first time that an Israëli personality of this importance had been to Brazil. On this occasion, President Bolsonaro announced the coming transfer of the Brazilian embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who also went to the investiture, where he met Peruvian Minister for Foreign Affairs Néstor Popolizio, announced with President Bolsonaro his intention to fight with him against the « authoritarian régimes » of Venezuela and Cuba. Returning to the United States, he stopped over in Bogota to meet with Colombian President Iván Duque. The two men agreed to work for the diplomatic isolation of Venezuela. On 4 January 2019, the 14 States of the Lima Group (including Brazil, Colombia and Guyana) met to agree that Nicolas Maduro’s new mandate, which begins on 10 January, is « illegitimate » [8]. This communiqué has not been signed by Mexico. Apart from this, six of the member-States lodged a complaint with the International Criminal Tribunal against President Nicolas Maduro for crimes against humanity.

It is perfectly clear today that the process towards war is under way. Enormous forces are in play, and there is little that can be done to stop them now. It is in this context that Russia is studying the possibility of setting up a permanent aero-naval base in Venezuela. The island of La Orchila – where President Hugo Chávez was held prisoner during the coup d’etat of April 2002 – would enable the storing of strategic bombers. This would constitute a much greater threat to the United States than the Soviet missiles stationed in Cuba in 1962.

Thierry Meyssan

Translation 
Pete Kimberley

 

 

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