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Thread: Eurasia: A Geo-political re-alignment

  1. #11

    Default Putin: Negotiate or else

    As Putin is developing closer ties with China, he is pulling a not unexpected move. My guess is that this has been gamed out by the US/NATO powers. Disturbing.

    Earlier today I posted the letter Putin sent to the heads of state of the 18 countries which purchase gas from Russia, but I did not have the time to write a commentary about it, so I am doing in now.

    In my opinion, Russia is responding the the imminent attack by the neo-Nazis in the eastern Ukraine and to the PACE decision to basically slap Russia in the face. What Putin is doing is introducing the first among several weapons Russia has in reserve: energy and money. He basically tells the West "you either sit down, eat your stupid PACE resolution, and come negotiate with us, or you will be in a great deal of pain very soon". Under the pretext of negotiating for gas, he is forcing Europe to negotiate for the future of the Ukrainian economy and that, in turn, means negotiating for the political future of the Europe. Brought down to is core message Putin just told the EU: agree to the Federalization of Europe or lose 30% of your energy supplies. The corollary message is: there is a price to pay for being the USA's bitch.

    The EU needs to be *VERY* careful now as Russia is clearly poised to respond to a major crisis: Putin has told his government that all supplies from the Ukraine are likely to stop. This there are two levels to this message: one minor one, in which he tells the Russian MIC that it has to prepare to produce indigenously what they got for cheap in the past from the Ukraine. Everybody noticed that, but that is not the important part. The important part is that he basically told the Ukrainians "expect a total severance of all contracts and agreements between what is left of your industry and us". Basically, this might as well be a death sentence for the last and only sector of the Ukrainian economy which was profitable. Putin will observe what happens over the next couple of days (crackdown or not) and he will observe what comes form the West (negotiations or not). But unless the freaks in Kiev and the clowns in the West very rapidly take him seriously and finally come to the negotiating table, Putin will shut down what is left of the Ukrainian economy. This will trigger an immediate panic of the rating agencies and markets and the Ukraine will default.

    At this point I do expect a very forceful reaction of western bankers and economists who will, I am quite sure, understand the message very well, and they will probably put a great deal of pressure on the political leaders in the EU and even the USA which can think of itself safe from a crisis in Europe, but if you look at how heavily the USA is invested in Europe, you will see that this is not so. There is also a very real risk of a domino effect on the rest of the EU if any of its weakest members - the so called PIGS - hits the wall. France too is essentially bankrupt, so the risk form a Russian action on gas is really serious for all the western economies.

    Make no mistake: triggering an economic crisis in Europe is not at all in Russia's best interest. In fact, this would be very bad for Russia, but if that is what it takes you can count on the Russians doing it. Right now, the West's position on the Ukraine is simple: no negotiations whatsoever and total support for the Nazis in power. That is just not something Russia can accept short of committing national suicide. By taking this maximalist and, frankly, insane stance the West has pushed the proverbial "Russian bear" into a corner and the only option this bear now sees is to fight his way out with his claws and fangs. I can't think of a dumber policy to have towards any free animal, nevermind a bear.
    Here is the text of Putin's letter to European heads of state:

    Ukraine’s economy in the past several months has been plummeting. Its industrial and construction sectors have also been declining sharply. Its budget deficit is mounting. The condition of its currency system is becoming more and more deplorable. The negative trade balance is accompanied by the flight of capital from the country. Ukraine’s economy is steadfastly heading towards a default, a halt in production and skyrocketing unemployment.

    Russia and the EU member states are Ukraine’s major trading partners. Proceeding from this, at the Russia-EU Summit at the end of January, we came to an agreement with our European partners to hold consultations on the subject of developing Ukraine’s economy, bearing in mind the interests of Ukraine and our countries while forming integration alliances with Ukraine’s participation. However, all attempts on Russia’s part to begin real consultations failed to produce any results.

    Instead of consultations, we hear appeals to lower contractual prices on Russian natural gas – prices which are allegedly of a “political” nature. One gets the impression that the European partners want to unilaterally blame Russia for the consequences of Ukraine’s economic crisis.

    Right from day one of Ukraine’s existence as an independent state, Russia has supported the stability of the Ukrainian economy by supplying it with natural gas at cut-rate prices. In January 2009, with the participation of the then-premier Yulia Tymoshenko, a purchase-and-sale contract on supplying natural gas for the period of 2009-2019 was signed. The contract regulated questions concerning the delivery of and payment for the product, and it also provided guarantees for its uninterrupted transit through the territory of Ukraine. What is more, Russia has been fulfilling the contract according to the letter and spirit of the document. Incidentally, Ukrainian Minister of Fuel and Energy at that time was Yuriy Prodan, who today holds a similar post in Kiev’s government.

    The total volume of natural gas delivered to Ukraine, as stipulated in the contract during the period of 2009-2014 (first quarter), stands at 147.2 billion cubic meters. Here, I would like to emphasize that the price formula that had been set down in the contract had NOT been altered since that moment. And Ukraine, right up till August 2013, made regular payments for the natural gas in accordance with that formula.

    However, the fact that after signing that contract, Russia granted Ukraine a whole string of unprecedented privileges and discounts on the price of natural gas, is quite another matter. This applies to the discount stemming from the 2010 Kharkiv Agreement, which was provided as advance payment for the future lease payments for the presence of the (Russian) Black Sea Fleet after 2017. This also refers to discounts on the prices for natural gas purchased by Ukraine’s chemical companies. This also concerns the discount granted in December 2013 for the duration of three months due to the critical state of Ukraine’s economy. Beginning with 2009, the total sum of these discounts stands at 17 billion US dollars. To this, we should add another 18.4 billion US dollars incurred by the Ukrainian side as a minimal take-or-pay fine.

    In this manner, during the past four years, Russia has been subsidizing Ukraine’s economy by offering slashed natural gas prices worth 35.4 billion US dollars. In addition, in December 2013, Russia granted Ukraine a loan of 3 billion US dollars. These very significant sums were directed towards maintaining the stability and creditability of the Ukrainian economy and preservation of jobs. No other country provided such support except Russia.

    What about the European partners? Instead of offering Ukraine real support, there is talk about a declaration of intent. There are only promises that are not backed by any real actions. The European Union is using Ukraine’s economy as a source of raw foodstuffs, metal and mineral resources, and at the same time, as a market for selling its highly-processed ready-made commodities (machine engineering and chemicals), thereby creating a deficit in Ukraine’s trade balance amounting to more than 10 billion US dollars. This comes to almost two-thirds of Ukraine’s overall deficit for 2013.

    To a large extent, the crisis in Ukraine’s economy has been precipitated by the unbalanced trade with the EU member states, and this, in turn has had a sharply negative impact on Ukraine’s fulfillment of its contractual obligations to pay for deliveries of natural gas supplied by Russia. Gazprom neither has intentions except for those stipulated in the 2009 contract nor plans to set any additional conditions. This also concerns the contractual price for natural gas, which is calculated in strict accordance with the agreed formula. However, Russia cannot and should not unilaterally bear the burden of supporting Ukraine’s economy by way of providing discounts and forgiving debts, and in fact, using these subsidies to cover Ukraine’s deficit in its trade with the EU member states.

    The debt of NAK Naftogaz Ukraine for delivered gas has been growing monthly this year. In November-December 2013 this debt stood at 1.451,5 billion US dollars; in February 2014 it increased by a further 260.3 million and in March by another 526.1 million US dollars. Here I would like to draw your attention to the fact that in March there was still a discount price applied, i.e., 268.5 US dollars per 1,000 cubic meters of gas. And even at that price, Ukraine did not pay a single dollar.

    In such conditions, in accordance with Articles 5.15, 5.8 and 5.3 of the contract, Gazprom is compelled to switch over to advance payment for gas delivery, and in the event of further violation of the conditions of payment, will completely or partially cease gas deliveries. In other words, only the volume of natural gas will be delivered to Ukraine as was paid for one month in advance of delivery.

    Undoubtedly, this is an extreme measure. We fully realize that this increases the risk of siphoning off natural gas passing through Ukraine’s territory and heading to European consumers. We also realize that this may make it difficult for Ukraine to accumulate sufficient gas reserves for use in the autumn and winter period. In order to guarantee uninterrupted transit, it will be necessary, in the nearest future, to supply 11.5 billion cubic meters of gas that will be pumped into Ukraine’s underground storage facilities, and this will require a payment of about 5 billion US dollars.

    However, the fact that our European partners have unilaterally withdrawn from the concerted efforts to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, and even from holding consultations with the Russian side, leaves Russia no alternative.

    There can be only one way out of the situation that has developed. We believe it is vital to hold, without delay, consultations at the level of ministers of economics, finances and energy in order to work out concerted actions to stabilize Ukraine’s economy and to ensure delivery and transit of Russian natural gas in accordance with the terms and conditions set down in the contract. We must lose no time in beginning to coordinate concrete steps. It is towards this end that we appeal to our European partners.

    It goes without saying that Russia is prepared to participate in the effort to stabilize and restore Ukraine’s economy. However, not in a unilateral way, but on equal conditions with our European partners. It is also essential to take into account the actual investments, contributions and expenditures that Russia has shouldered by itself alone for such a long time in supporting Ukraine. As we see it, only such an approach would be fair and balanced, and only such an approach can lead to success.
    "We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

    "We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl

  2. #12


    Deep but not too deep but deeper than the official history and a bit of fun.

    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  3. #13


    I noticed that the Gazprom advertising has been quite prominent in the recent European soccer games I've seen broadcast....make of that what you will.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  4. #14


    Quote Originally Posted by David Guyatt View Post
    You can't keep poking a stick in a nest of wasps without causing them to come out and play, I reckon.

    With the events in the Ukraine and the consequences for the prospect of Russia responding to the continuing US and European sanctions gambit by restricting the flow of gas to Europe, my expectation was that gas prices would rocket.

    Instead they've dropped.

    One supplier has locked down their prices until 2016, and claim this will cost them £100 million - but "that's what their customers want", said a representative. It's complete bollocks of course. They don't usually give a toss what their customers think and usually squeeze them hard at every opportunity. For years, the six big energy suppliers have de facto been running a cartel -- which remains illegal.

    But now, if we believe what they are saying, they're suddenly breaking out with a conscience?

    Yeah, of course, they are. And snakes don't bite when disturbed...

    I can only conclude that real pressure is being applied for this to have happened, because it is counter to the usual market reaction in such situations, where the price is jacked up.
    Next we will see them paying all their taxes and closing their off shore accounts. This is of course complete bollocks. Business does not operate this way. Some one is subsidizing them. Would be good to find out who and how though. They did a similar thing with the oil prices with the effect to hurt Russia's oil exports. I also see BP offering to act as a negotiator between Russia and Europe. Ask Iran how well BP acted in the 1950's. Also tells us a lot about the state and role of corporations vs states.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  5. #15


    Cheniere CEO says U.S. gas can't liberate Europe from Russian hold

    Apr 10 2014, 18:52 ET

    • Cheniere Energy (LNG) CEO Charif Souki says the ability of U.S. energy to save Europe from its dependence on Russian gas has been overstated, partly because he believes only six to eight out of 24 proposed U.S. export projects ever have a chance to be completed.
    • LNG's own terminal, Sabine Pass in Louisiana - the only project approved for export so far by U.S. regulators - is due to export its first liquefied natural gas towards the end of 2015; at full capacity, it will send out 2.2B cf/day of gas, but Europe’s daily consumption is 40B-50B cf/day, Souki says.
    • Cheniere has signed contracts to sell gas to various European companies, but Souki says he has no control over where those customers would sell that gas; "I'm sure they will be opportunistic," he says.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  6. #16

    Default Translation of the statement of Alexei Pushkov

    SUNDAY, APRIL 13, 2014

    Exclusive translation of the statement of Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia's lower house of parliament

    Today is a good day for me, following "FR"'s translation of the Open Letter to Putin from German into English, I have just received the translation from Russian into English of what I consider a truly historical statement made by Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia's lower house of parliament to the press corps (which, of course, never bothered translating a word of it) following the PACE's disgusting vote on Russia. I want to express my deepest gratitude to "DV" for taking the time to translate this historical statement especially for this blog.

    Here is the transcript in English:

    Press-Conference of A. Pushkov

    PUSHKOV: We think that those people who took part in making those decisions did not have the moral right to make them. The Georgian delegation should rather explain how Georgia killed 147 people in Tskhinval in August 2008 by the orders of Saakashvilli -- which you all saw on your television screens. Tskhinval was bombed by “reactive” (rocket?) systems. 147 people died during this operation. What did we hear today from the Georgian delegates? That this did not happen. They bear responsibility for those killings.

    Let us call things by their names. They will judge us for Crimea joining Russia which happened completely without the bloodshed and in accordance with the opinions and wishes of the people of Crimea. Georgia wanted to return to itself those territories on which she practiced genocide in 1991-1992 in an aggressive military way. There were people killed and this was acknowledged in OSCE(?) report which was prepared by Mr. ?. And everyone knows this. And so...... [ INTERRUPTION IN LIVE STREAM ] ......with the result that their representatives -- including those who advanced amendments about our exclusion -- with the result of aggression against Iraq in 2003. Somehow I did not notice that those 20 governments who supported that aggression in one or another way, and which was declared illegal world-wide -- this is known -- were sanctioned here. Somehow we did not see this. The parliamentary assembly on this crime closes its eyes, even though in Iraq, as a result of that occupation and aggression, died some several thousand people -- this is known. But no sanctions are implemented against those comrades.

    I think that one should think about those governments who regularly in the past 20 years violated international law -- bombing Belgrade, bombing Libya, occupying Iraq -- do not have any moral right to make any decisions about the Russian delegation. And we completely disagree with this.

    We also want to tell you that I think this very tense crisis between Russian and the Parliamentary Assembly of Europe (PACE) is tied to several things. Firstly, we see here the triumph of double standards. What we heard yesterday from the Ukrainian delegation is just comical -- it causes uproarious(?) laughter. Ukraine has no problems except danger from Russia. Go to Ukraine. See how that country lives. See what is happening in the east, west, and south -- look at Kiev and what the revolutionaries have turned it into. Talk to the families of those who were killed -- not only on Maidan but those of the Party of Regions. How right-wing extremists came to their headquarters and killed two people just like that. One an engineer and one a soldier -- who had no affiliation with the Party. Talk to them. Talk to the representative of the Southern Ukraine’s Communists, who was subjected to torture. They placed needles under his fingernails and beat him. This is all known. Talk to Simonyanka(?) who yesterday, or the day before yesterday, was beaten at the podium of the Rada by the representatives of Svoboda.

    And what do we see here? We see an amendment to condemn Svoboda and “Right Sector” for racism, for ultra-nationalist views, for anti-Semitism, which the European Parliament called for in December 2012 -- this did not originate from us. We see that this amendment does not get the support of even a third of the delegates. 51 or 52 people voted for this amendment. What can we discuss here? Can we discuss any unified standards of European Assembly? We are talking about the full and hideous triumph of double standards.

    We also see that the supremacy of law does not concern this Assembly. The Ukrainian government was overthrown. This is very obvious. This is being discussed by the foremost lawyers not only in Russia, but also in Europe. We know very well that the Constitution was violated. How come when we discuss Crimea, our Ukrainian colleagues refer to the Constitution? How come when we try to discuss how they overthrew the President, how they took un-Constitutional decisions, there is no discussion? The Constitution holds sway in one case, but not the other. So what are we discussing here? And if someone here took it upon themselves, beside the Euro Left faction in the Parliamentary Assembly -- the Euro Left faction was the only one who raised the question about the legality of what happened February 22nd in the Ukraine. At the very least, a decision should have been taken to look into this matter and then conduct discussions to understand whether those actions were or were not Constitutional. No! We are told ahead of time everything was Constitutional. Who decided this?

    The Ukrainian Constitution describes how the President may be removed from power. A special commission is set up to investigate the reasons for impeachment. Then, a hearing in Constitutional Court about this question. And following, a vote for impeachment in the Rada. This is the Constitutional procedure for impeaching a President in the Ukraine. If everything happened in this manner, I can assure you, Russia would not have protested at all. Instead of this, what happened? The Constitutional Court was disbanded. Five people were ejected from the Constitutional Court including the head judge -- notwithstanding their immunity. And people are trying to convince us this new power is legal and lawful?

    The most unpleasant thing in this story is that the Parliamentary Assembly has betrayed its own principles. The majority in PACE have betrayed the principles of right, the supremacy of human rights, and the supremacy of law. The majority in PACE have taken care of the political interests’ of those governments who want the geopolitical assimilation of the Ukraine. I am very sad to say this because PACE was supposed to be an organization above politics. It was supposed to be an organization creating precise standards in that or another sphere(?) Russia is to blame...

    UNKNOWN MAN: Sorry to stop you Mister. This is a press-conference not a political statement.

    PUSHKOV: Who is saying this?

    UKNOWN MAN: Me over here.

    PUSHKOV: Where?

    UNKOWN MAN: Here.

    PUSHKOV: If you are not happy with my statement, [ unintelligible ]...

    UNKOWN MAN: It has nothing to do with your st...

    PUSHKOV: If you are not happy with my statement, please leave.

    PUSHKOV: The Parliamentary Assembly of Europe (PACE) ...

    ...[ PUSHKOV WAVES HAND ]...

    PUSHKOV: Don’t put obstacles to what you say.

    UNKOWN MAN: [ unintelligible ]

    PUSHKOV: And so, the Parliamentary Assembly of Europe (PACE) betrayed those principles it was supposed to defend. I should say, not all members did that. Those representatives who took a nuanced, well-thought out position; those who voted against the decision to...Russia...


    GERMAN JOURNALIST: Could you speak in English? Could you speak in English, please? We would like to understand what you are saying. Please.


    GERMAN JOURNALIST: Please...can you speak in English?

    PUSHKOV: Those people who voted for well though-out decision to leave an opportunity for Russia to work in the European Assembly -- they, I think, deserve all possible support. Those who voted to have the Russian delegation stripped of most of its powers made a conscious decision. The continued presence of the Russian delegation in PACE no longer makes sense, and I want this to be understood. If the majority in PACE believe they hold the keys to history in their hands, they are mistaken. Decisions are not only made here. We also are making a decision about whether we should remain in this assembly. Our presence here is of our own free will -- our presence in the European Assembly is of our own free will -- but we may change our minds. Thank you.

    GERMAN JOURNALIST: Could you speak in English? Please? We would like to understand you. My name is Petra Klingbar(?) from the German Press Agency.


    GERMAN JOURNALIST: Could you speak in English, please? So we could understand you. Thank you.

    PACE RUSSIAN DELEGATE: I would like to say a few words. We here...

    GEORGIAN JOURNALIST: Can I ask a question? Please, can I ask a question? This is Georgian Television.

    PACE RUSSIAN DELEGATE: Later, later. Perhaps there will be a question time. We here represent the large country of Russia. Everything we have heard here for the past two days, is upsetting for all of our country. That is first. Second, I would like to say that not one amendment we have tried to put forward was accepted. I even think that if I put forward an amendment that the Volga flows into the Caspian Sea, it would also not be accepted. The responsibility of the work of my colleagues...

    GEORGIAN JOURNALIST: Don’t you think that perhaps Russia is mistaken and that it deserves these sanctions?

    PACE RUSSIAN DELEGATE: Please let me finish. It seems to me, I am here...

    GEORGIAN JOURNALIST: What, do you think the whole world is mistaken?

    ANOTHER PACE RUSSIAN DELEGATE: Mr. Potyomka(?) is older than you, please let him finish.

    GEORGIAN JOURNALIST: If I could ask a question? This is a press-conference.

    PUSHKOV: Excuse me. If there will be further disturbances from the audience, we will finish this press-conference and leave. You can stay behind with your opinions and questions.

    GERMAN JOURNALIST: There is no translation. We would like to understand what you are saying.

    ...[ PUSHKOV SHRUGS ]...

    GERMAN JOURNALIST: But you speak very good English.
    What is so important in the word of Pushkov?

    First, this is the first time that a high ranking Russian diplomat who clearly "had it" decides to "hold up a mirror" so to speak to the EU officials and show them how ugly their faces are. Gone is the pretense of civility and friendship - Pushkov is calling the PACE delegates unprincipled hypocrites and liars whose lack of basic decency is total.

    Second, Pushkov also tells the western corporate press to go to hell, well, not quite in these terms, but that is the substance of his reply when the press corps first tries to shut him up and then leaves the room.

    In other words what Pushkov does is show his absolute contempt for the *cheap prostitutes* (there is no other way to put it) who would execute any order of their bosses, repeat any lie, deny any fact, no matter how obvious.

    Of course, Pushkov does not use Mrs Nuland's colorful expression, but the message is the same. So now both the USA and Russia have expressed their total contempt for the EU. God knows the latter really had it coming.

    In conclusion I will say that Alexei Pushkov is really a "big shot" in Russia and not just he hold the powerful position of head of the foreign affairs committee of Russia's lower house of parliament but also because he has his own weekly analytical program on the Russian TV called "post-scriptum" which is watched by a lot of people. He is a very smart man, impeccably educated, well-read and well-traveled. And he is a real diplomat, a man of a level of professionalism and expertise as Sergei Lavrov. All this is to say that his word carries a lot of weight, especially in the circles of power around the Kremlin.

    Speaking of Lavrov, he also spoke for a full hour on Russian TV in the show "Sunday evening with Vladimir Soloviev" (a very well-known journalist) and his message was the same one: the EU has gone mad, and if they are dead set on a confrontation with us, we are quite ready.

    As for Putin, he has had a public meeting with representatives of his Russian Popular Front movement and he is preparing for a lengthy TV "townhall meeting" on TV. All the signs are that his message will be the same one.

    On March 1 of this year I warned that Russia was ready for war. It now appears that this war will not be hot (thank God for that!), but "cold" and primarily economic. I think that the PACE vote and the Russian reaction to it mark the beginning of active hostilities.

    It shall be interesting to see what the EU muster in terms of "firepower" other than hot air and how much staying power all these EU prostitutes really have.

    The Saker
    "There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

    Joseph Fouche

  7. #17


    About time they were called out for the hypocritical lackeys they are.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  8. #18

    Default A New World Order?

    The US/NATO war on the Russian Federation via the Ukraine, is raising all kind of question, issues, etc. Here's Pepe Escobar:

    The Obama administration may - and "may" is the operative word here - have realized the US government has lost the battle to control Pipelineistan from Asia to Europe, despite all the efforts of the Dick Cheney regime. What energy experts call the Asian Energy Security Grid is progressively evolving - as well as its myriad links to Europe.

    So what's left for the Obama administration is this spanner in the works - still trying to scotch the full economic integration of Eurasia.

    The Obama administration is predictably obsessed with the EU's increasing dependency on Russian gas. Thus its grandiose plan to position US shale gas for the EU as an alternative to Gazprom. Even assuming this might happen, it would take at least a decade - with no guarantee of success. In fact, the real alternative would be Iranian gas - after a comprehensive nuclear deal and the end of Western sanctions (the whole package, not surprisingly, being sabotaged en masse by various Beltway factions.)

    Just to
    start with, the US cannot export shale gas to countries with which it has not signed a free trade agreement. That's a "problem" which might be solved to a great extent by the secretly negotiated Trans-Atlantic Partnership between Washington and Brussels (see Breaking bad in southern NATOstan, Asia Times Online, April 15, 2014.)

    In parallel, the Obama administration keeps applying instances of "divide and rule" to scare minor players, as in spinning to the max the specter of an evil, militaristic China to reinforce the still crawling "pivoting to Asia". The whole game harks back to what Dr Zbig Brzezinski conceptualized way back in his 1997 opus The Grand Chessboard - and fine-tuned for his disciple Obama: the US ruling over Eurasia.

    Still the Kremlin won't be dragged into a military quagmire. It's fair to argue Putin has identified the Big Picture in the whole chessboard, which spells out an increasing Russia-China strategic partnership as crucial as an energy-manufacturing synergy with Europe; and most of all the titanic fear of US financial elites of the inevitable, ongoing process centered on the BRICS-conducted (and spreading to key Group of 20 members) drive to bypass the petrodollar.

    Ultimately, this all spells out the progressive demise of the petrodollar in parallel to the ascent of a basket to currencies as the reserve currency in the international system. The BRICS are already at work on their alternative to the IMF and the World Bank, investing in a currency reserve pool and the BRICS development bank. While a tentative new world order slouches towards all points Global South to be born, Robocop NATO dreams of war.

    Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books,
    and The Saker takes it up a couple of notches:

    Okay, I decided to squeeze in one more post before taking time off for Holy Paskha, this is well worth it.

    Some of you have asked about China's role in all this, in what the real interests of the USA are, how the EU is positioning itself and what Russia does or does not want. And, somehow, bogged down by the minutiae of the unfolding events I managed to never mention something which Putin, Lavrov and many other top Russian politicians have repeatedly said:

    What is happening today before our eyes is the end of one international system and the birth of a qualitatively different one.

    Interestingly, Putin has declared that for him the point of no return was reached when the USA and its allies at the UNSC and NATO clearly and grossly twisted the intention of the UNSC on Libya and "upgraded" what should have been a "no fly" zone to a free-fire zone to attack and bomb Libya [of course, it was pretty darn clear to Putin that the "all necessary means to protect civilians" of the resolution was an open ended invitation for the AngloZionists to "interpret" it in any way they wanted; now his says that Russia was "lied to" in order to not blame Medvedev for walking into a 10 foot wide hole. But that is irrelevant here]. Putin says that from then on he had acquired the conviction that the West could not be negotiated with and had to be simply stopped. Then Syria happened: for the first time since the end of WWII the USA had decided to do something and was stopped by an outside power in the most humiliating way possible.

    The Russian stance on Syria was an overt challenge to US world hegemony. It was clearly understood as such in Washington and now, following the crisis in the Ukraine, the Russians have openly admitted this.

    So this is the real stake of the civil war in the Ukraine: for the USA it is to punish Russia for daring to challenge the world hegemon; for Russia it is to unseat this hegemon and replace him by a multi-polar international system in which sovereign countries act within the bounds of international law. You could say that even though most of the Security Council is vehemently opposed to that, Russia is trying to show to the world that the USA does not own the UN and that it only represents 1/5th of the P5 and 1/15th of the UNSC.

    The West has slouched into a position of total submission to the USA and its domination tools over Europe: the EU and NATO. The central Europeans have even volunteered to become a US protectorate, a territory to house US missile systems and secret CIA prisons.

    With the exception of Iran and Syria, the Arab and Muslim world has sold out, some to the USA, others to Saudi Arabia, most to both at the same time. Latin America tries hard, but is still heavily dependent on the USA while Africa just wants to survive the best it can. As for Asia, some parts are as sold out as Europe (Japan, Korea), others are trying to keep a low profile, while China is clearly quietly standing behind Russia but in an externally undeniable way even though China stands to benefit more than any other country on the planet from a change in the international order.

    The Russians would have much preferred to wait, to buy time, but the US determination to punish it for daring to oppose it on Syria literally forced them to fold and surrender or openly accept the US challenge and stand firm.

    I will repeat that again and again - Putin had no other choice.

    And now that this is all in the open, you can be absolutely sure that Russia is not playing to return to the status quo ante. With an amazing candidness both Putin and Lavrov have openly spelled out their goal on Russian TV (Lavrov on the show "Sunday Evening with Vladimir Soloviev" and Putin on during his 4 hours long Q&A yesterday).

    So this is the Russian end-goal: to unseat the USA from its role as a world hegemon. And that goal implies a much longer, bigger and more sustained effort that just force the freaks in Kiev to the negotiating table. Among other things, this goal implies that Russia must:

    1) Force the Europeans to fully realize the outrageous price they are paying for being the obedient and silent vassals of the USA and slowly drive a wedge between the USA and Europe.
    2) Force the USA to admit that it does not have the military might to punish or, even less so, "regime change" anybody they don't like.
    3) Encourage China and other Asian powers to openly stand with Russia in demanding that international law be adhered to by the West.
    4) Gradually replace the dollar with other currencies in international trade and thereby slow down the financing of the US debts by the rest of the planet.
    5) Create the conditions for Latin America and Africa to be able to make choices about its future and replace the current monopoly enjoyed by the West in setting the terms of North-South relations.
    6) Present another civilizational model which openly reject the current Western paradigm of a society run by small and arrogant minorities.
    7) Challenge the current liberal and capitalist economic order embodied in the Washington Consensus and replace it by a model of social and international solidarity (call it "21 century socialism" if you want).

    All of the above can be summed up in one word: re-sovereignization.

    Since he got elected, Putin mentioned many times the need for a re-sovereignization of Russia. The Ukrainian crisis has forced him reveal the real end goal of his agenda: to re-sovereignize the entire planet.

    This is a tall order and it will take many years, possibly decades, to achieve this goal, though my personal feeling is that the total incompetence and infinite arrogance of of the 1%ers plutocrats which rules over the western world will continue to accelerate that process.

    The big question now is this: can the AngloZionist Empire follow the example of the Soviet Empire and collapse without triggering a massive bloodbath on its way down?

    There will be violence, for sure, as has been with the former Soviet Union. But if we can avoid a global conflagration or even a large scale massive war then that would have to be considered as success because it is when they collapse that empires become the most dangerous and unpredictable.

    I hope that the above answers many of the questions which have been posted here.

    Many thanks and kind regards,

    The Saker

    PS: I just got this amazing video of a woman stopping a APC in Kramatorsk with her bare hands. I guess she could be seen as a symbol of what Russia wants to do with the AngloZionist Empire:
    "We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

    "We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl

  9. #19

    Default Why War Is Inevitable

    Paul Craig Roberts

    Memorial Day is when we commemorate our war dead. Like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day is being turned into a celebration of war.
    Those who lose family members and dear friends to war don’t want the deaths to have been in vain. Consequently, wars become glorious deeds performed by noble soldiers fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. Patriotic speeches tell us how much we owe to those who gave their lives so that America could remain free.

    The speeches are well-intentioned, but the speeches create a false reality that supports ever more wars. None of America’s wars had anything to do with keeping America free. To the contrary, the wars swept away our civil liberties, making us unfree.

    President Lincoln issued an executive order for the arrest and imprisonment of northern newspaper reporters and editors. He shut down 300 northern newspapers and held 14,000 political prisoners. Lincoln arrested war critic US Representative Clement Vallandigham from Ohio and exiled him to the Confederacy. President Woodrow Wilson used WWI to suppress free speech, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt used WWII to intern 120,000 US citizens of Japanese descent on the grounds that race made them suspect. Professor Samuel Walker concluded that President George W. Bush used the “war on terror” for an across the board assault on US civil liberty, making the Bush regime the greatest danger American liberty has ever faced.

    Lincoln forever destroyed states’ rights, but the suspension of habeas corpus and free speech that went hand in hand with America’s three largest wars was lifted at war’s end. However, President George W. Bush’s repeal of the Constitution has been expanded by President Obama and codified by Congress and executive orders into law. Far from defending our liberties, our soldiers who died in “the war on terror” died so that the president can indefinitely detain US citizens without due process of law and murder US citizens on suspicion alone without any accountability to law or the Constitution.

    The conclusion is unavoidable that America’s wars have not protected our liberty but, instead, destroyed liberty. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, “A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny.”

    Southern secession did pose a threat to Washington’s empire, but not to the American people. Neither the Germans of WWI vintage nor the Germans and Japanese of WWII vintage posed any threat to the US. As historians have made completely clear, Germany did not start WWI and did not go to war for the purpose of territorial expansion. Japan’s ambitions were in Asia. Hitler did not want war with England and France. Hitler’s territorial ambitions were mainly to restore German provinces stripped from Germany as WWI booty in violation of President Wilson’s guarantees. Any other German ambitions were to the East. Neither country had any plans to invade the US. Japan attacked the US fleet at Pearl Harbor hoping to remove an obstacle to its activities in Asia, not as a precursor to an invasion of America.

    Certainly the countries ravaged by Bush and Obama in the 21st century–Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen posed no military threat to the US. Indeed, these were wars used by a tyrannical executive branch to establish the basis of the Stasi State that now exists in the US.

    The truth is hard to bear, but the facts are clear. America’s wars have been fought in order to advance Washington’s power, the profits of bankers and armaments industries, and the fortunes of US companies. Marine General Smedley Butler said, “ I served in all commissioned ranks from a second Lieutenant to a Major General. And during that time, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism.”

    It is more or less impossible to commemorate the war dead without glorifying them, and it is impossible to glorify them without glorifying their wars.

    For the entirety of the 21st century the US has been at war, not war against massed armies or threats to American freedom, but wars against civilians, against women, children, and village elders, and wars against our own liberty. Elites with a vested interest in these wars tell us that the wars will have to go on for another 20 to 30 years before we defeat “the terrorist threat.”

    This, of course, is nonsense. There was no terrorist threat until Washington began trying to create terrorists by military attacks, justified by lies, on Muslim populations.

    Washington succeeded with its war lies to the point that Washington’s audacity and hubris have outgrown Washington’s judgment.
    By overthrowing the democratically elected government in Ukraine, Washington has brought the United States into confrontation with Russia. This is a confrontation that could end badly, perhaps for Washington and perhaps for the entire world.

    If Gaddafi and Assad would not roll over for Washington, why does Washington think Russia will? Russia is not Libya or Syria. Washington is the bully who having beat up the kindergarden kid, now thinks he can take on the college linebacker.

    The Bush and Obama regimes have destroyed America’s reputation with their incessant lies and violence against other peoples. The world sees Washington as the prime threat.

    Worldwide polls consistently show that people around the world regard the US and Israel as the two countries that pose the greatest threat to peace. and
    The countries that Washington’s propaganda declares to be “rogue states” and the “axis of evil,” such as Iran and North Korea, are far down the list when the peoples in the world are consulted. It could not be more clear that the world does not believe Washington’s self-serving propaganda. The world sees the US and Israel as the rogue states.

    The US and Israel are the only two countries in the world that are in the grip of ideologies. The US is in the grip of the Neoconservative ideology which has declared the US to be the “exceptional, indispensable country” chosen by history to exercise hegemony over all others. This ideology is buttressed by the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines that are the basis of US foreign policy.

    The Israeli government is in the grip of the Zionist ideology that declares a “greater Israel” from the Nile to the Euphrates. Many Israelis themselves do not accept this ideology, but it is the ideology of the “settlers” and those who control the Israeli government.

    Ideologies are important causes of war. Just as the Hitlerian ideology of German superiority is mirrored in the Neoconservative ideology of US superiority, the Communist ideology that the working class is superior to the capitalist class is mirrored in the Zionist ideology that Israelis are superior to Palestinians. Zionists have never heard of squatters’ rights and claim that recent Jewish immigrants into Palestine–invaders really–have the right to land occupied by others for millenniums.

    Washington’s and Israel’s doctrines of superiority over others do not sit very well with the ”others.” When Obama declared in a speech that Americans are the exceptional people, Russia’s President Putin responded, “God created us all equal.”

    To the detriment of its population, the Israeli government has made endless enemies. Israel has effectively isolated itself in the world. Israel’s continued existence depends entirely on the willingness and ability of Washington to protect Israel. This means that Israel’s power is derivative of Washington’s power.

    Washington’s power is a different story. As the only economy standing after WWII, the US dollar became the world money. This role for the dollar has given Washington financial hegemony over the world, the main source of Washington’s power. As other countries rise, Washington’s hegemony is imperiled.

    To prevent other countries from rising, Washington invokes the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines. To be brief, the Brzezinski doctrine says that in order to remain the only superpower, Washington must control the Eurasian land mass. Brzezinski is willing for this to occur peacefully by suborning the Russian government into Washington’s empire. ”A loosely confederated Russia . . . a decentralized Russia would be less susceptible to imperial mobilization.” In other words, break up Russia into associations of semi-autonomous states whose politicians can be suborned by Washington’s money.

    Brzezinski propounded “a geo-strategy for Eurasia.” In Brzezinski’s strategy, China and “a confederated Russia” are part of a “transcontinental security framework,” managed by Washington in order to perpetuate the role of the US as the world’s only superpower.
    I once asked my colleague, Brzezinski, that if everyone was allied with us, who were we organized against? My question surprised him, because I think that Brzezinski remains caught up in Cold War strategy even after the demise of the Soviet Union. In Cold War thinking it was important to have the upper hand or else be at risk of being eliminated as a player. The importance of prevailing became all consuming, and this consuming drive survived the Soviet collapse. Prevailing over others is the only foreign policy that Washington knows.
    The mindset that America must prevail set the stage for the Neoconservatives and their 21st century wars, which, with Washington’s overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine, has resulted in a crisis that has brought Washington into direct conflict with Russia.

    I know the strategic institutes that serve Washington. I was the occupant of the William E.Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, for a dozen years. The idea is prevalent that Washington must prevail over Russia in Ukraine or Washington will lose prestige and its superpower status.

    The idea of prevailing always leads to war once one power thinks it has prevailed.

    The path to war is reinforced by the Wolfowitz Doctrine. Paul Wolfowitz, the neoconservative intellectual who formulated US military and foreign policy doctrine, wrote among many similar passages:

    “Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere [China], that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

    In the Wolfowitz Doctrine, any other strong country is defined as a threat and a power hostile to the US regardless of how willing that country is to get along with the US for mutual benefit.

    The difference between Brzezinski and the Neoconservatives is that Brzezinski wants to suborn Russia and China by including them in the empire as important elements whose voices would be heard, If only for diplomatic reasons, whereas the Neoconservatives are prepared to rely on military force combined with internal subversion orchestrated with US financed NGOs and even terrorist organizations.

    Neither the US nor Israel is embarrassed by their worldwide reputations as the two countries that pose the greatest threat. In fact, both countries are proud to be recognized as the greatest threats. The foreign policy of both countries is devoid of any diplomacy. US and Israeli foreign policy rests on violence alone. Washington tells countries to do as Washington says or be “bombed into the stone age.” Israel declares all Palestinians, even women and children, to be “terrorists,” and proceeds to shoot them down in the streets, claiming that Israel is merely protecting itself against terrorists. Israel, which does not recognize the existence of Palestine as a country, covers up its crimes with the claim that Palestinians do not accept the existence of Israel.

    “We don’t need no stinking diplomacy. We got power.”

    This is the attitude that guarantees war, and that is where the US is taking the world. The prime minister of Britain, the chancellor of Germany, and the president of France are Washington’s enablers. They provide the cover for Washington. Instead of war crimes, Washington has “coalitions of the willing” and military invasions that bring “democracy and women’s rights” to non-compliant countries.

    China gets much the same treatment. A country with four times the US population but a smaller prison population, China is constantly criticized by Washington as an “authoritarian state.” China is accused of human rights abuses while US police brutalize the US population.

    The problem for humanity is that Russia and China are not Libya and Iraq. These two countries possess strategic nuclear weapons. Their land mass greatly exceeds that of the US. The US, which was unable to successfully occupy Baghdad or Afghanistan, has no prospect of prevailing against Russia and China in conventional warfare. Washington will push the nuclear button. What else can we expect from a government devoid of morality?

    The world has never experienced rogue states comparable to Washington and Israel. Both governments are prepared to murder anyone and everyone. Look at the crisis that Washington has created in Ukraine and the dangers thereof. On May 23, 2014, Russia’s President Putin spoke to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, a three-day gathering of delegations from 62 countries and CEOs from 146 of the largest Western corporations.

    Putin did not speak of the billions of dollars in trade deals that were being formalized. Instead Putin spoke of the crisis that Washington had brought to Russia, and he criticized Europe for being Washington’s vassals for supporting Washington’s propaganda against Russia and Washington’s interference in vital Russian interests.

    Putin was diplomatic in his language, but the message that powerful economic interests from the US and Europe received is that it will lead to trouble if Washington and European governments continue to ignore Russia’s concerns and continue to act as if they can interfere in Russia’s vital interests as if Russia did not exist.

    The heads of these large corporations will carry this message back to Washington and European capitals. Putin made it clear that the lack of dialogue with Russia could lead to the West making the mistake of putting Ukraine in NATO and establishing missile bases on Russia’s border with Ukraine. Putin has learned that Russia cannot rely on good will from the West, and Putin made it clear, short of issuing a threat, that Western military bases in Ukraine are unacceptable.

    Washington will continue to ignore Russia. However, European capitals will have to decide whether Washington is pushing them into conflict with Russia that is against European interests. Thus, Putin is testing European politicians to determine if there is sufficient intelligence and independence in Europe for a rapprochement.

    If Washington in its overbearing arrogance and hubris forces Putin to write off the West, the Russian/Chinese strategic alliance, which is forming to counteract Washington’s hostile policy of surrounding both countries with military bases, will harden into preparation for the inevitable war.

    The survivors, if any, can thank the Neoconservatives, the Wolfowitz doctrine, and the Brzezinski strategy for the destruction of life on earth.

    The American public contains a large number of misinformed people who think they know everything. These people have been programmed by US and Israeli propaganda to equate Islam with political ideology. They believe that Islam, a religion, is instead a militarist doctrine that calls for the overthrow of Western civilization, as if anything remains of Western civilization.

    Many believe this propaganda even in the face of complete proof that the Sunnis and Shi’ites hate one another far more than they hate their Western oppressors and occupiers. The US has departed Iraq, but the carnage today is as high or higher than during the US invasion and occupation. The daily death tolls from the Sunni/Shi’ite conflict are extraordinary. A religion this disunited poses no threat to anyone except Islamists themselves. Washington successfully used Islamist disunity to overthrow Gaddafi, and is currently using Islamist disunity in an effort to overthrow the government of Syria. Islamists cannot even unite to defend themselves against Western aggression. There is no prospect of Islamists uniting in order to overthrow the West.

    Even if Islam could do so, it would be pointless for Islam to overthrow the West. The West has overthrown itself. In the US the Constitution has been murdered by the Bush and Obama regimes. Nothing remains. As the US is the Constitution, what was once the United States no longer exists. A different entity has taken its place.

    Europe died with the European Union, which requires the termination of sovereignty of all member countries. A few unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels have become superior to the wills of the French, German, British, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Greek, and Portuguese peoples.

    Western civilization is a skeleton. It still stands, barely, but there is no life in it. The blood of liberty has departed. Western peoples look at their governments and see nothing but enemies. Why else has Washington militarized local police forces, equipping them as if they were occupying armies? Why else has Homeland Security, the Department of Agriculture, and even the Postal Service and Social Security Administration ordered billions of rounds of ammunition and even submachine guns? What is this taxpayer-paid-for arsenal for if not to suppress US citizens?

    As the prominent trends forecaster Gerald Celente spells out in the current Trends Journal, “uprisings span four corners of the globe.” Throughout Europe angry, desperate and outraged peoples march against EU financial policies that are driving the peoples into the ground. Despite all of Washington’s efforts with its well funded fifth columns known as NGOs to destabilize Russia and China, both the Russian and Chinese governments have far more support from their people than do the US and Europe.

    In the 20th century Russia and China learned what tyranny is, and they have rejected it.

    In the US tyranny has entered under the guise of the “war on terror,” a hoax used to scare the sheeple into abandoning their civil liberties, thus freeing Washington from accountability to law and permitting Washington to erect a militarist police state. Ever since WWII Washington has used its financial hegemony and the “Soviet threat,” now converted into the “Russian threat,” to absorb Europe into Washington’s empire.

    Putin is hoping that the interests of European countries will prevail over subservience to Washington. This is Putin’s current bet. This is the reason Putin remains unprovoked by Washington’s provocations in Ukraine.

    If Europe fails Russia, Putin and China will prepare for the war that Washington’s drive for hegemony makes inevitable.
    "We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

    "We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl

  10. #20

    Default Die Zeit: Europe must readjust its relations to the USA

    Europa muss seine Beziehungen zu den USA neu justieren

    From a poster on the Moon of Alabama site:

    It advocates exactly the same policy for Europe that people at MoA have been arguing for.

    With a view to its own interests, peace and economic stability in Europe, as well as to geopolitical considerations, it is high time for Europe to redefine its relations with the United States.

    Europe has always been bad at the pursuit of its own interests. But its clear complicity in and the subsequent handling of the crisis in the Ukraine can only be interpreted in one way: in view of the increasing challenges with which the European Union is confronted, the European heads of state and government have abandoned the goal of a united and strong EU with an independent foreign policy, submitting themselves to a strategy made in Washington instead.

    Already, some commentators have rightly pointed out that America's strategic goals in relation to the Ukraine were clearly formulated in the year of 1998 by the former US national security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. …

    A policy based on European self-interest naturally … requires, of course, that Europe lies in a preserved and even deepened unified and strong West. It also demands however with regard to the economic and security interests of Europe and important geopolitical considerations, the preservation and deepening of Europe's relations with Russia. And it asks, finally, that Europe's own interests with respect to friends, such as the USA, are represented much more clearly (as the US also does) and these friends are clearly shown, if necessary, their limits.
    Die Zeit is one of Germany's most influential newspapers, so it is nice to see that these ideas are being circulated in the German mainstream.

    An interesting and ambitious point that the author makes is that Europe should develop a state that is capable of acting in a unified, coherent manner, something that the EU obviously is unable to do. However, how Europe can develop such a state without excluding the UK and Poland is beyond me. Those will always be Trojan horses, determined to do everything in their power to make Europe act in the interests of the US instead of Europe. They will always be traitors to Europe.

    Yandex translathion:
    "There are three sorts of conspiracy: by the people who complain, by the people who write, by the people who take action. There is nothing to fear from the first group, the two others are more dangerous; but the police have to be part of all three,"

    Joseph Fouche

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