Mês: abril 2018

US Empire

Did the West Just Lose World War III by Forfeit?   Jim Jatras Apr. 20, 2018   In the fall of the year 1480, at a point not far from Moscow, two armies faced each other on the opposite banks of the Ugra River. On the one side were the forces of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, whose ruler, Grand Prince Ivan III (known as “the Great” and the “gatherer of the Russian lands”), had recently rejected further payment of tribute to the Great Horde. On the other were the forces of Grand Khan Ahmed bin Küchük, who had come to lay waste to Moscow and instruct the impudent Prince Ivan to mend his ways. For weeks the two assembled hosts glared at one another, each wary of crossing the water and becoming vulnerable to attack by the other. In the end, as though heeding the same inaudible signal, both withdrew and hastily returned home. Thus ended more than two centuries of the Tatar-Mongol yoke upon the land of the Rus’. Was this event, which came to be known as “the great standing on the Ugra River,” a model of what happened in Syria last week? Almost immediately upon reports of the staged chemical attack in Douma on April 7, speculation began as to the likely response from the west – which in reality meant from the United States, in...

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Putin and Trump

Mikhail Octavian Trump   Jim Jatras Apr. 6, 2018   It is said that during the 1990s’ time of troubles in Russia a popular view held that the prevailing chaos and ruin could only be redressed by a leader meeting the description of “Adolf Vissarionovich Pinochet.” (Адольф Виссарионович Пиночет). The composite name of this hypothetical rescuer featured (1) the surname “Pinochet” of the anti-communist Chilean military strongman, (2) the patronymic “Vissarionovich” of Joseph “the Great Helmsman” Stalin, and (3) the first name “Adolf” of – well, you know… Let’s leave aside for now whether Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin bears any remote resemblance to this imaginary (but 20 years ago, much hoped-for) personage except to note that Russia under his tenure has made an astonishing comeback. As described by historian Vladimir Brovkin: “What Putin has accomplished or what Russia has accomplished since 2000 is astonishing. It amounts to a political, economic, and moral revolution. Any aspect of Russia’s existence you take, you see measurable progress. The standard of living has grown, pensions are paid, factories are working, and unemployment is lower than in most European countries. Life expectancy has steadily increased, birth rates have increased, and incomes have increased. Education is back, Russian research and development is back again, one of the best in the world and not staffed by foreigners who flock to Silicon Valley, but staffed by Russians educated in Russia. “Military...

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Foreign Policy

Why Moscow’s Foreign Philosophy Is ‘Westphalian’   Patrick Armstrong Apr. 2, 2018   These days there are two styles of foreign policy being practised; Paul Robinson here describes them: one is a “a traditional, Westphalian, order in which states are equal sovereign entities”. In the other style, there are said to be two kinds of states: “the just and the unjust”; they are not “legally or morally equal”. Others have called the second “idealism“ or “moral diplomacy“. There is a continuous tradition of the USA regarding itself as quite a new category of country as recounted here and so the moralistic stance is sometimes called “Wilsonian” after the President who wished to “teach the South American republics to elect good men” but it’s quite bipartisan: witness the “Roosevelt Corollary” in which Theodore Roosevelt arrogated to the United States of America, as a “civilised country”, the right to intervene “in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence”. Neither of these approaches is new: there have always been countries that have believed that their gods gave them the mission of instructing and disciplining their neighbours and there have always been countries that were content to leave others alone. The moralistic position is erected on the assumption that the speaker’s country is virtuous; that its virtue is evident and demonstrable: that its virtue is a fact. The lack of virtue of the other country is also a...

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F.U.K.U.S. Strikes Syria – Who Won?   Moon of Alabama Apr. 14, 2018   Last night France, the UK and the U.S. launched an illegal attack on Syria and bombed several military and civilian sites within the country. They justify their attack as revenge or punishment for an alleged ‘chemical attack’ that had taken place a week earlier. The ‘chemical incident’ on April 7 in Douma was designed to reverse Trump’s publicly announced decision to order the U.S. military out of Syria. The Saudi financed Salafi ‘rebels’ in Douma collected bodies, probably from another incident, and stacked them up in one apartment to stage a scene and to create fake videos of a ‘chemcial attack’ which they falsely attributed to the Syrian government. Trump pretended to fall for the videos and tweeted threats against Syria and Russia. Russia threatened to respond with strong force should any U.S. attack hurt its soldiers or interests in Syria. The UK and France, who like the U.S. were only recently visited by the Saudi clown prince and showered with fresh Saudi billions, jumped onto the case. France now admits that its ‘intelligence’ of the Douma incident is solely based on the obviously staged youtube videos and claims made by ‘western’ financed propaganda operations who cooperate with the Jihadis. Yesterday the Russian Defense Ministry accused Britain of having organized the ‘chemical incident’: Today, there...

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War Costs

American Taxpayers Must Be Told The Real Cost Of War   Bonnie Kristian Feb. 1, 2017 Congress has spent much of the last decade not passing budgets, and the federal spending bills—the omnibuses and the stop-gaps, the sequesters and the extensions—which do pass are typically byzantine monstrosities unintelligible to most of the constituents their creators ostensibly serve. Congress has also spent recent years not passing declarations of war, and the multitude of military interventions in which the United States is entangled anyway is a confusing mess of conflicting and concealed information in which waste is ignored and mission is ever-creeping. With such ramshackle fiscal and foreign policy alike, Americans might be forgiven for being uncertain whether and where our government is at war, how long it has been there and how much the whole thing will cost us. And that’s a shame, because without such information we are ill-equipped to select our representatives or demand their accountability and good policy-making once in office. Washington’s irresponsibility is self-perpetuating, and it occurs on such a grand scale that even the canniest observer is liable to miss gross imprudence and corruption. It is that context which makes so valuable a little-noticed clause in this year’s defense authorization bill requiring the defense secretary and Internal Revenue Service commissioner to put online the full cost, “including the relevant legacy costs, to each American taxpayer...

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